The Kingdom of Heaven and the Lost Tribes

Verses are in YLT unless otherwise noted.

I see references to communal living in the Bible, the church of Acts for example, and where John (who came to prepare the way for Yeshua and the kingdom of heaven) said that if you have two cloaks to give one to the person who has none:

and he answering saith to them, `He having two coats — let him impart to him having none, and he having victuals — in like manner let him do.’” (Luke 3:11)

John also came to strengthen the family unit:

“And he hath turned back the heart of fathers to sons, And the heart of sons to their fathers, Before I come and have utterly smitten the land!” (Malachi 4:6)

“and he shall go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn hearts of fathers unto children, and disobedient ones to the wisdom of righteous ones, to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.’” (Luke 1:17)

Part of John’s purpose was to strengthen the family unit while Jesus seems to have expanded the family unit:


46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12)

I also see the kingdom or reign of God (or kingdom of heaven, which is the same, but was maybe used to avoid offending people who didn’t want to overuse God’s holy name) as something here on earth that we can be part of; basically, it is the movement that Yeshua started.

“and Jesus having seen, was much displeased, and he said to them, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the reign of God;” (Mark 10:14 NKJV) (NKJV and KJV agree with the “of such” in YLT)

The reign of God does not “belong” to anyone (as it says in some other translations) but is a movement that we can be part of.


“nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.’ 22And he said unto his disciples, ‘Days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not behold [it];” (Luke 17:21)

And there are references to sharing and equity in context of this kingdom:

1‘For the reign of the heavens is like to a man, a householder, who went forth with the morning to hire workmen for his vineyard,… 12that These, the last, wrought one hour, and thou didst make them equal to us, who were bearing the burden of the day — and the heat. … 16So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, and few chosen.’ (Matthew 20)

When it says “seek first the kingdom of heaven” and you won’t want for what you will wear or what you will eat (basic needs) I think it is talking about first seeking a community that will take care of you in your time of need:

24‘None is able to serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one, and despise the other; ye are not able to serve God and Mammon. . . . 31therefore ye may not be anxious, saying, What may we eat? or, What may we drink? or, What may we put round? 32for all these do the nations seek for, for your heavenly Father doth know that ye have need of all these; 33but seek ye first the reign of God and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you. (Matt 6)

32 `Fear not, little flock, because your Father did delight to give you the reign; 33 sell your goods, and give alms, make to yourselves bags that become not old, a treasure unfailing in the heavens, where thief doth not come near, nor moth destroy; 34 for where your treasure is, there also your heart will be. (Luke 12:32-34)

I think these verses in Luke 18 as well talk of the sharing, where you are guaranteed to acquire many times more houses after leaving one “in this present time” by joining the kingdom of heaven movement because you are joining a community that shares their houses: (this is right after he talked about the rich man going through the eye of the needle and his disciples exclaimed “who then can be saved?” and Peter says that they had left all to follow him)

29and he said to them, ‘Verily I say to you, that there is not one who left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the sake of the reign of God, 30who may not receive back manifold more in this time, and in the coming age, life age-during.’ (Luke 18)

The parallel in Mark 10 makes this even more clear:

29And Jesus answering said, ‘Verily I say to you, there is no one who left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for my sake, and for the good news’, 30who may not receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields, with persecutions, and in the age that is coming, life age-during; 31and many first shall be last, and the last first.’ (Mark 10)

This is also why I think Yeshua says of the rich:

‘But wo to you — the rich, because ye have got your comfort. (Luke 6: 24)
and again I say to you, it is easier for a camel through the eye of a needle to go, than for a rich man to enter into the reign of God. (Matt 19:24)

Not because the rich are worse than regular people or that it will be more difficult for them to have eternal life–I don’t think it is talking about eternal life at all. It is just saying that it will be psychologically much more difficult for them to join a community where you share your wealth.

I think the Kingdom of heaven is a precursor to the return of the lost tribes. It’s interesting that right after Matt 19:24 the disciples say “then who can be saved?” when the word saved can mean “made whole” (like “all israel shall be saved”) The Greek word used in the Septuagint can mean “returned” instead of “saved.” Compare Romans 9:27 with Isaiah 10:22 (in the YLT) “And Isaiah doth cry concerning Israel, `If the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved; G4982”
(Romans 9:27) “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, A remnant doth return H7725 (LXX G4982) of it, A consumption determined, Overflowing [with] righteousness.” (Isaiah 10:22)

In addition, the quote “whoever calls on the name of the lord shall be saved” used in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21 is from Joel 2:32


32And it hath come to pass, Every one who calleth in the name of Jehovah is delivered, For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there is an escape, As Jehovah hath said, And among the remnants whom Jehovah is calling! (Joel 2:23)

The next verse in Joel is Joel 3:1 which has a parallel in Hosea 6:11

Also, O Judah, appointed is a harvest to thee, In My turning back [to] the captivity of My people (Hosea 6:11)
For lo, in those days, and in that time, When I turn back [to] the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, (Joel 3:1)

Keil and Delitzsch connect this to the return of the lost tribes:


“The train of thought is the following: When the day of the Lord comes, there will be deliverance upon Zion only for those who call upon the name of the Lord; for then will all the heathen nations that have displayed hostility to Jehovah’s inheritance be judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat. By hinnēh, the fact to be announced is held up as something new and important. The notice as to the time points back to the “afterward” in Joel 2:28 : “in those days,” viz., the days of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. This time is still further described by the apposition, “at that time, when I shall turn the captivity of Judah,” as the time of the redemption of the people of God out of their prostrate condition, and out of every kind of distress. שׁוּב את שׁבוּת is not used here in the sense of “to bring back the prisoners,” but, as in Hosea 6:11, in the more comprehensive sense of restitutio in integrum, which does indeed include the gathering together of those who were dispersed, and the return of the captives, as one element, though it is not exhausted by this one element, but also embraces their elevation into a new and higher state of glory, transcending their earlier state of grace.”

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/joel/3.htm

The prophesies in Isaiah about John and what he was preparing the way for seem to tell of this as well in my opinion (especially in Isaiah 40 where it talks of John then talks of the regathering of Israel), also the same imagery of sheep is used when talking about the kingdom of heaven and the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Here in Acts the ones who are “afar off” are the lost tribes, and right after they talk of the promise given to Abraham and ask “what shall we do?” they are given instructions and told to be “saved” (same word) then they end up sharing everything in common, while signs and wonders are done.


36assuredly, therefore, let all the house of Israel know, that both Lord and Christ did God make him — this Jesus whom ye did crucify.’ 37And having heard, they were pricked to the heart; they say also to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, ‘What shall we do, men, brethren?’ 38and Peter said unto them, ‘Reform, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, 39for to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ 40Also with many more other words he was testifying and exhorting, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation;’
. . .
42and they were continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles, and the fellowship, and the breaking of the bread, and the prayers. 43And fear came on every soul, many wonders also and signs were being done through the apostles, 44and all those believing were at the same place, and had all things common, 45and the possessions and the goods they were selling, and were parting them to all, according as any one had need. (Acts 2)


We also have the fact that the coming of kingdom may be connected with the Pentecost since it associates it with the coming of “power:”

“And he said to them, ‘Verily I say to you, That there are certain of those standing here, who may not taste of death till they see the reign of God having come in power.’” (Mark 9:1)

but ye shall receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8)

The holy spirit did come in the same way that Jesus left (from heaven)

11 who also said, `Men, Galileans, why do ye stand gazing into the heaven? this Jesus who was received up from you into the heaven, shall so come in what manner ye saw him going on to the heaven.’ (Acts 1)

2 and there came suddenly out of the heaven a sound as of a bearing violent breath, and it filled all the house where they were sitting,3 and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them, (Acts 2)

Observe these parallels:

25 For whosoever will save his life, shall loose it. And whosoever shall loose his life for my sake, shall find it. 26 What shall it profit a man, if he should win all the whole world: so he loose his own soul? Or else what shall a man give to redeem his soul again withall? 27 For the son of man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his deeds. 28 Verily I say unto you, some there be among them that here stand, which shall not taste of death, till they shall have seen the son of man come in his kingdom. (Acts 2)

38 for whoever may be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, when he may come in the glory of his Father, with the holy messengers.’
9 And he said to them, `Verily I say to you, That there are certain of those standing here, who may not taste of death till they see the reign of God having come in power.’ (Mark 8:38-9:1)

26 `For whoever may be ashamed of me, and of my words, of this one shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he may come in his glory, and the Father’s, and the holy messengers’;
27 and I say to you, truly, there are certain of those here standing, who shall not taste of death till they may see the reign of God.’ (Luke 9:26-27)

“Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, who also himself was waiting G4327 for the reign of God, came, boldly entered in unto Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus.” (Mark 15:43) (Parallel in Luke 23:51)

“And lo, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name [is] Simeon, and this man is righteous and devout, looking for the comforting G3874 of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him,” (Luke 2:25)

Acts 9:31 uses the same word G3874 to describe the work of the holy spirit.

“Then, indeed, the assemblies throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, had peace, being built up, and, going on in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort G3874 of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)

Ruach in Hebrew means “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit.” When God gave Adam breath he brought him to life giving him movement where before Adam was just lifeless (motionless) body. When the wind blows it moves things but it is hard to get a hold of, it has motion but not much form. Spirit describes the actions or character of someone, just as God’s word describes his character. We can see here that Yeshua needs to leave to send the comforter (the holy spirit) according to John 16:7 and the waiting on the Messiah is associated with waiting on the comforter and the kingdom of heaven.

In the great commission Yeshua says “teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days — till the full end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:10) This seems to connect with the following: “in this know ye the Spirit of God; every spirit that doth confess Jesus Christ in the flesh having come, of God it is,” (1 John 4:2) “having come” is in the perfect active voice which emphasizes the ongoing result of a completed action implying that Christ is still here after having come. Now, since we know that in Hebrew the spirit and the body make a living soul then it becomes apparent the holy spirit is the same spirit that Christ has. So when the Holy Spirit comes it is Yeshua as well.

“and the helmet of the salvation receive, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the saying of God,” (Ephesians 6:17)

We want to clear up some possible confusion and refer readers to an article that distinguishes the son of man “coming in his reign” from the “coming of the son of man” https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/668-what-is-the-meaning-of-matthew-10-23

In addition “waiting” G4327 (from Mark 15:43 above) is referenced in another messianic passage:


For with gladness you shall go forth, and in joy you shall be led. For the mountains and the hills shall leap out favorably receiving G4327 you in joy, and all the trees of the field shall clap with their tender branches.(Isaiah 55:12 Apostolic Polyglot Bible)

http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/4327

There are other uses of this word in the old testament and may refer to the holy spirit indirectly but are certainly referencing messiah:
http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G3874

G3874 is derived from G3870
http://studybible.info/strongs/G3874

‘That you should nurse and be filled up from the breast of her comfort; G3874 that sucking out you should indulge at the introduction of her glory. For thus says the LORD, Behold, I turn aside to them as a river of peace, and as a rushing stream inundating the glory of the nations. Their children [2upon 3shoulders 1shall be carried], and [2upon 3knees 1shall be comforted G3870]. As if any mother shall comfort, G3870 so also I shall comfort G3870 you; and in Jerusalem you shall be comforted. G3870 As if any mother shall comfort, so also I shall comfort you; and in Jerusalem you shall be comforted. G3870′ (Isaiah 66:11-13 Apostolic Polyglot Bible)

Now lets look at this verse:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12 NKJV)

Some scholars have argued for other translations to this verse. Brad
H. Young for instance says:

“….To sum up the results of our linguistic and historical study of this difficult saying of Jesus, “From the days of john the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” a better translation of the text view within its original Jewish context make the message of Jesus concerting John the Baptist and the kingdom of heaven so much clearer. According to Lindsey, linguistically the a much better translation would be, “From the days of John the baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and everyone breaks forth with it” (Matt 11:12a and Luke 16:16b).

In keeping more closely with Matthew’s version, the verse is best translated, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and those breaking forth are pursuing [seeking] it. (Matt 11:12)”

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16 NKJV)

To quote from the book “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus”

“This saying is certainly difficult to understand. It is not just ordinary Christians who have been stumped by it. There seems to be no satisfactory explanation of this verse even in scholarly literature. Apparently, a great deal of violence is connected with the Kingdom of Heaven. However, that does not agree very well with the rest of the teachings of Jesus. Many and varied have been the attempts on the part of ministers and scholars alike to explain this passage.

“The key to its understanding turns out to be an old rabbinic interpretation (midrash) of Micah 2:13 discovered by Professor David Flusser. Micah 2:12-13. reads

12 I will gather all of you, Jacob;

I will collect the remnant of israel.

I will put them all together like sheep in a fold like a flock inside its pen.

It will be noisy and crowded with people.

13 The breach-maker (poretz) goes through before them.

Then they break out.

Passing through the gate,

they leave by it.

Their king passes through before them,

their Lord at their head.

“These verses are full of rich imagery. It is the picture of a shepherd penning up his sheep for the night. He quickly builds a fold by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the side of a hill. The next morning, to let the sheep out, he makes a hole or a breach in the fence by tossing some of the stones aside. He steps through his “gate” with the sheep following close behind. They have been penned up all night and can hardly wait to get out of their cramped quarters. …in the rabbinic interpretation discovered by Professor Flusser, they are two different persons: the “breach-maker” is interpreted as being Elijah, and “their king” as the Messiah, the Branch of the Son of David.

“Now we can begin to understand what Jesus is saying. He is not only hinting at Micah 2:13, but also a well-known rabbinc interpretation of it. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he says, “is breaking forth [not “suffering violence”], and every person in it is breaking forth [literally, “those who are breaking out break out in it, or by means of it,” not “the violent take it by force”]” (Compare Luke 16:16, the parallel to Matthew 11:12.) Two tremendous things are now happening simultaneously: the Kingdom is bursting forth into the world (like water from a broken dam), and individuals within the Kingdom are finding liberty and freedom.

“In Matthew 11:12, as in the midrash, Elijah, or John the Baptist, is the breach-maker, the Poretz. He makes the breach in the rock fence and goes through first. He has opened the way. He is the Elijah of Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6, who goes before the Lord to prepare His way. As in the midrash, Jesus, the King, follows John. Jesus is the Lord himself, who leads the sheep through the gate. It is a powerful image.

“Jesus is again teaching his disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven, his movement. It started when Jesus began calling disciples, during John’s active ministry, “the days of John the Baptist.” Since then, the Kingdom of Heaven has been “breaking out.” Notice that this is further proof that the Kingdom is not futuristic. The Kingdom is something that has been in existence since the time of John the Baptist.

“The Kingdom is breaking out, and members of the Kingdom are breaking out. In Micah and also in the midrash, it is the Lord and his sheep who are breaking out. Jesus alters that figure slightly so that it is the Kingdom and its sheep who are breaking out. Though Jesus does not refer directly to his own role as the shepherd leading the sheep out, no listener could possibly misunderstand Jesus’ stunning assertion–I am the Lord.

“Elijah had come and opened the way, and the Lord himself was leading a noisy multitude out to freedom. “

This may connect with the verse in Ephesians that also talks about an enclosure being broken out of. See also Tim Hegg’s article: http://messianicpublications.com/tim-hegg/the-dividing-wall-in-ephesians-214/


11Wherefore, remember, that ye [were] once the nations in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, 12that ye were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world; 13and now, in Christ Jesus, ye being once afar off became nigh in the blood of the Christ, 14for he is our peace, who did make both one, and the middle wall of the enclosure did break down, 15the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace, (Ephesians 2)

There also seems to be a thematic connection between the Micah passage and what happened in the church in Acts 4. The same word for “gathered” is used as well. (although that word is relatively common for being gathered together)

​12 In being gathered G4863 Jacob shall be brought together G4863 with all. In looking out I shall look out for the remnant of Israel. Together I will establish their return, as sheep in affliction; as a flock in the midst of their fold, they leap out because of men. (Micah 2:12)

And in their beseeching [7was shaken 1the 2place 3in 4which 5they were 6being gathered together G4863], and they were [2filled 1all 4spirit 3of holy], and they spoke the word of God with confidence. (Acts 4:31)

This possibly is related also with Micah 5:

Now gather thyself together, O daughter of troops, A siege he hath laid against us, With a rod they smite on the cheek the judge of Israel. 2 And thou, Beth-Lehem Ephratah, Little to be among the chiefs of Judah! From thee to Me he cometh forth — to be ruler in Israel, And his comings forth [are] of old, From the days of antiquity. 3 Therefore he doth give them out till the time She who bringeth forth hath brought forth, And the remnant of his brethren return to the sons of Israel. (Micah 5)

As Keil and Delitzsch note:

“. . . Bath-gegūd, daughter of the troop, might mean: thou nation accustomed or trained to form troops, thou warlike Zion. But this does not apply to what follows, in which a siege alone is mentioned. This turn is given to the expression, rather “for the purpose of suggesting the thought of a crowd of people pressing anxiously together, as distinguished from gedūd, an invading troop.” The verb hithgōdēd does not mean here to scratch one’s self or make incisions (Deuteronomy 14:1, etc.), but, as in Jeremiah 5:7, to press or crowd together; and the thought is this: Now crowd together with fear in a troop, for he (sc., the enemy) sets, or prepares, a siege against us. . .”

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/micah/5.htm

In addition the quote “whoever calls on the name of the lord shall be saved” used in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21 is from :

32 And it hath come to pass, Everyone who calleth in the name of Jehovah is delivered, For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there is an escape, As Jehovah hath said, And among the remnants whom Jehovah is calling! (Joel 2)

The next verse in Joel is Joel 3:1 which has a parallel in Hosea 6:11

Also, O Judah, appointed is a harvest to thee, In My turning back [to] the captivity of My people (Hosea 6:11)

For lo, in those days, and in that time, When I turn back [to] the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, (Joel 3:1)

Keil and Delitzsch connect this to the return of the lost tribes but with more meaning than that as well:

“The train of thought is the following: When the day of the Lord comes, there will be deliverance upon Zion only for those who call upon the name of the Lord; for then will all the heathen nations that have displayed hostility to Jehovah’s inheritance be judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat. By hinnēh, the fact to be announced is held up as something new and important. The notice as to the time points back to the “afterward” in Joel 2:28 : “in those days,” viz., the days of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. This time is still further described by the apposition, “at that time, when I shall turn the captivity of Judah,” as the time of the redemption of the people of God out of their prostrate condition, and out of every kind of distress. שׁוּב את שׁבוּת is not used here in the sense of “to bring back the prisoners,” but, as in Hosea 6:11, in the more comprehensive sense of restitutio in integrum, which does indeed include the gathering together of those who were dispersed, and the return of the captives, as one element, though it is not exhausted by this one element, but also embraces their elevation into a new and higher state of glory, transcending their earlier state of grace.”

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/joel/3.htm

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, part 4

Here, we must discuss the profound, and terrible impact of the life of Jean Calvin on our planet. I won’t clog the process with well-established history: you can easily find many sources that detail his life. What I want to show here is his part in the dialectic of darkness, and how significant he is to it. This requires a brief preamble.

Since the rise of Constantine, the Church began a path of power and pride that resulted in the marrying of itself to the State. It was slow, at first. The Bishop of Rome claimed to rule the Church through the Petrine Doctrine, which asserted that Christ built His church on Peter, whose successors occupied Peter’s chair. When Constantine became a Christian, and ordered orthodoxy in the Church, a swell of power began to rise, where humility was once commanded. Within a century and a half, Pope Hormismas became the first of the office to order the death of a heretic-a power found no where in the Bible.

This would blossom into full madness with the fall of Old Rome. When the Goths took the city in 476, they found a ruined glory, empty of it’s teeming thousands, with no one to even defend it. The sack by the Vandals in 410 had left it threadbare and dingy, as all the choice treasures had been plundered by them. Ostensibly, the government of Rome had been moved to swamps near Ravenna; calling itself the Exarchate, it held out hope that succor would arrive to restore Old Rome-which almost occurred under Justinian in the 6th century, in a reconquista spearheaded by the superb general Belisarius.

Gothic Rome held, however, and like all barbarians, they were much better at taking an empire than ruling it. They were in desperate need of assistance in running the Empire-and of all the institutions that had crumbled and atrophied, there was one that remained energized and vigorous: the Church. The bishop of Rome had a great following, and was a natural source of structure, which gave them a enhanced voice with the Gothic kings. This would find its’ fullness in the son of Merovese, Clovis the Frank.

Clovis married a Catholic girl, Clotilda, who gave him a crucifix to wear,which, according to him, saved his life in battle after he prayed to the Roman war god Christ. She never really explained what it meant-he was a Frank, the hardest fighters in the West, and that was the way he saw ‘gods’. He became a Catholic to honor the war god of his wife’s people, and the Bishop of Rome as all to happy to indulge his misconceptions-since those would now be his to direct. This began the Terror of Rome, and countless were its’ victims for the next millennium.

It was small at first. The Frankish war machine took the North, where the gnostic Gospels had fled after Nicaea, and where paganism was still rife. Here, people were tortured and murdered for resisting the Cross of Christ, which became a standard of violence and terror. In one case, St Dawid earned his stripes by butchering 200,000 pagans. Teutonic pagans were likewise subjected, until Charlemagne wiped them out, and tore down their great tree.

Then, the Papacy, not content to rule Heaven, cast its’ eyes on the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, and with that, it became a purely political office. It began to scheme and plot as any earthly ruler did-and it played the game the same way. It created the False Decretals, and the Donations of Constantine, to prove that the Papacy was the inheritor of the Empire, not the Emperor. This split Europe in two, as men like Dante-at the threat of death and damnation-wrote courageously of the right of the state to rule without subjection to the Church.

The sheer greed of power and opulence began to mushroom forward from the Vatican, and to the desire of the evil Popes, there was no limit. Some men wore the miter with dignity, even honestly. But the structure of the Papacy was increasingly corrupt by nature, as power attracts men willing to sacrifice ethics to obtain it. After time passed, the Papacy began to claim powers so absurd that reason could not bear them-which became a deadly virus to catch anywhere the Cross was displayed. At times, even where it was displayed.

Not only was it criminal to question the Pope, it was equally anathema to seek Christ your own way. Jon Hus was murdered-after a promise of safe conduct-for ‘heresy’, as were the pitiful Vaudois, who were abluted by methods of evil unparalleled until the 20th century, by the very pious Charles Emmanuel II of Savoy. The claims of power and avarice were unchecked, even by kings, as the Bishop of Peter claimed the power of Interdiction-the cutting off of an entire nation from Communion from Christ, if the ruler did not bow before the power of Old Rome.

The Papal Bulls-decrees- are visible to see, as a record of the madness of power. They made the teaching of the poverty of Christ a heresy, while launching wars of acquisition of land in the Levant. And after a while, they assisted empire in the converting people into property, with demarcation of the New World, and the Bull Dum Diversas. By the time of Age of Discovery, the Papacy had the power to conquer the world, and act as its’ primary functionary of human trafficking. Eventually, the became spiritual traffickers as well, being able to spring a loved one from Hell-for a modest donation.

The power of the Papacy to do harm became reckless, unchecked, unfettered, to the extent that they could burn men alive-for having the wrong Bible, or contradicting their version of the truth, like the geocentric doctrine. And when I say could, I mean did. Bruno would not recant the heliocentric model under torture, as poor Galileo did, and was roasted, hurling defiance at the Pope as he burned. At the turn if the 16th century, the Terror of Rome has no rival, no equal, no limit. The Hapsburg alliance controlled most of Europe, and underwrote the Papacy with the full support of the might of Austria, Germany and Spain. Heady with power, it seemed that the dream would never end for the men in the Lateran Palace (incidentally, known as the best whorehouse in Rome, for he array of prostitutes who gathered there, to service knights and priests, or, occasionally, a Pope, like Alexander or Julian). Then, the bravest man in Europe put an end to it all.

The Papacy had survived the game of power, and risen to the top of it. No one could stand against it. Then, a grumpy monk in northern Germany nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, and rewrote the planet dramatically. Martin Luther was the torch on the powder keg that had brewed for a thousand years. Armed with courage, conviction, and a surprise weapon-the printing press-he struck a blow at the Papacy that ignited the resistance to it, and with the help of Frederick the Elector of Saxony, found an ally in a growing movement of nations that would stand up to Rome, including Sweden, under Gustav Adolphus, and the Hanseatic League of the north. Francis of France also agitated greatly against the Hapsburgs, which helped Luther remain safe for a while, but it was the work of Frederick that kept him safe from the Pope’s promise of safe conduct that had led Hus to immolation not long before.

Eventually, the Empire struck back, and the Papacy formed the Councils of Trent, which formulated the response to the Reformation movement-and it was a violent one. Not at first, but an animal near death becomes thrice as savage for it, and the papacy was no different. The counter-Reformation was so bloody a war that Europe had to quit fighting, after a third of it had died, just as in the days of the Black Death. Finally, at Westphalia, all parties agreed on the sacred words: “Cuius Regio, est Religio”-to the ruler, his religion. What is insane-or human- in this whole affair, is that Protestants were seen as another religion.

So, as a new day dawned on Europe in 1648, let us look at the tally at the end of game for the Papacy. Execution by whim, torture at will by Inquisition, rapine and brigandage in the New world, the commodification of non-Christendom, land grabs by war of conquest in the Levant, the hostility to the poverty of Christ, and the assertion of the power to damn the very souls of men. I have not even touched what the Hebrew endured during this time-and what they saw, when the Cross came their way, which is even worse than I have enumerated thus far.

The true villainy of this is that the Bible permits none of this. In an age when the controllers of the Bible dictated what it said, it was used to validate virtually anything the controllers desired. It was, to borrow from Nietzsche, ‘human, all too human’. But, in defiance of the ‘True Scotsman’ nonsense, I must assert that Christ gave us one commandment which makes these affairs impossible to support Biblically. Thus He spoke, as Law from His mouth: “do to others what you would have done to you’. If adhered to, this obviates all the maladies hitherto abjured. He never said ‘If that guy disagrees with your political agenda, cut off his head’. So, it is not Christianity that is to blame, but rather, Christendom, the political edifice built on the Church, all those centuries ago, in the age of Constantine.

Thus, when the Vaudois were savagely extirpated, the last of their tortured moments saw the Cross emblazoned on the armor and shields of their assailants, as did the Cathars. The pagans of Wales and Germany share this with them, as well as the Huguenots of France, who were themselves Christians. The Hebrews, beaten, robbed, massacred, converted by force, burned as witches, and continually dehumanized came to see the Cross as a symbol of absolute terror-as did the Mezo-Americans who were obliterated by the men from the ships bearing it on their sails. Thus was the Cross impugned. It was the standard of men who bore no resemblance to the man who died upon it. It was a politicized emblem of an empire gone berserk. Nothing-nothing– that stood before the Terror of Rome could long survive. And this would be the blueprint for what was to come.

All of this has been a primer-a mere primer- for what is to come. For now, now you are ready to face the iniquity of the Arch villain of history, whose blackness, like a singularity, swallows all that it covers. Here, no light can escape’ here, only darkness prevails. What I showed you in the Papacy was the foreshadowing of the Pope of the Protestants, their true son, who made his father-for Papacy comes from the Latin for Father-proud of the stamp it left on its’ offspring. You saw what the Papacy did to the Cross. Now, prepare to see the epic shadow of the man who drowned the world in madness ineffable. Behold, the shade of Calvin.

Gesenius, Leviticus 19:29, And Premarital Sex

I had a discussion with some people that thought Leviticus 19:29 could have just prohibited forcing your daughter to become a prostitute. One person argued that prostitution wasn’t wrong on its own while the other stated that prostitution was wrong not because it was premarital sex but because sex was supposed to be free! This view about premarital sex being permitted is becoming more common among Christians today so I thought I’d share what I’d found. All verses are in YLT unless otherwise noted.

`Thou dost not pollute thy daughter to cause her to go a-whoring, that the land go not a-whoring, and the land hath been full of wickedness. (Lev 19:29)

1 How can we take the meaning of “cause to” given the definition? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cause “Cause” is different than “force” even though force certainly can be a cause. Can we cause our brother to stumble only if we do it forcefully? Romans 14:13-23

2 Yeshua says:

But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

(Matthew 5:32)

This is not about “causing” by force but about “causing” by neglect hence why must Leviticus 19:29 be about “causing” by force?

3 Gesenius defines the word translated “pollute” as “to lay open, to give access to [“to profane from the idea of opening”]

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H2490&t=NASB

The “laying open” is easier to understand if you look at the father as having responsibility for the daughter (other examples are his right to annul her oaths and refuse a marriage) There are many ways to “lay open” your daughter to prostitution, and I think forcing them to become one is certainly laying open access. I think their issue with it being an intensive Piel of “profaning” (hence they think it implies force) is resolved with Gesenius by the fact that laying open access to your daughter is an intense way of profaning your daughter (or is REALLY profane to put in another way)

I also should point out that that word for pollute/profane is only used in that exact form in Leviticus 19:29 and Lev 18:21
http://biblehub.com/text/leviticus/18-21.htm Lev 18:21 doesn’t really give us much insight but it would seem a bit odd if it allowed you to let God’s name be profaned and only prevented you from forcibly profaning it.

The expanded Brown Driver Briggs says: that it is to “sexually defile” a woman. So you can say that this is related to the prostitution and not to the act of causing:

1 defile, pollute:

a. sexually, Genesis 49:4 (poem) = 1 Chronicles 5:1 (the father’s bed); a woman = זנהLeviticus 19:29; …

https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/hebrew/hwview.cgi?n=2490

However the “opening” in that lexicon is only in the Hiphil:

Hiph`il also begin (literally untie, loosen, open, ….

4 The word translated “harlotry” refers both to prostitution and premarital sex.

For instance: ‘They shall not take a woman who is profaned by harlotry, H2181 nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for he is holy to his God. ( Lev 21:7 KJV)

then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her unto death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing H2181 the harlot H2181 in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deu 22:21 KJV)

Would you say that this only applies if she did it for money? Of course there is the more monetary definition used as well:

“Thus you are different from those women in your harlotries, in that no one plays H2181 the harlot H2181 as you do, because you give money and no money is given you; thus you are different.” (Eze 16:34 KJV)

But my point is that it means both things (gaining monetarily from promiscuity and just plain promiscuity) and is narrowed by context. This is why I think the respected Stone’s edition to the Tanakh translates this word is many places as “promiscuity” because that is the broadest definition.

I would also point out as a matter of context that promiscuity in any form is looked at as negative and used as a metaphore for very negative things: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?page=2&strongs=H2181&t=NASB#lexResults

It also condemns promiscuity in the next part of the verse:
“so that the land will not fall H2181 to harlotry H2181 and the land become full of lewdness.” It says to prevent the land from “falling” from a better state into a worse state of harlotry. It also doesn’t say anything about force it says “lewdness” which is related to sexual sin: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/zimmah_2154.htm

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2455&t=NASB H2455 has the root H2490 ( H2455 is used in Leviticus 19:29 for “pollute.”) The word H2490 implies sexual defilement. The word is never used for sexual uncleanliness, even in it’s expanded search in the strong’s. The other occurrence of the exact form is without a doubt negative. The usage seems to be only for prohibited sexual relations (when it is sexual):
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?page=1&strongs=H2490&t=NASB#lexResults
http://biblehub.com/hebrew/techallel_2490.htm

If it was about “uncleanness” it would say uncleanness, not defilement, which is a much stronger negative word.

They also seem to think that the Piel form implies force, but it’s really just an intensive
https://books.google.com/books?id=SCEWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=piel+verb+force&source=bl&ots=_YHNH7pdzT&sig=bmtZ6vVdocAaF393Ony2ODHVOR4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwju7tW70ozMAhXlsYMKHUSZB64Q6AEIKzAD#v=onepage&q=piel%20verb%20force&f=false

http://www.dabar.org/Tools/Heb-Piel-Pual.html

And the only place I can find “force” used to describe the Piel verb in general is a force in terms of intensity, not in terms of overpowering
https://books.google.com/books?id=h-AtAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=piel+implies+force&source=bl&ots=cHzfIBiPD2&sig=p3etlU-gv5SSpUWTNBVTtResI9Y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi8mpPj04zMAhVFnIMKHck2AVwQ6AEILjAD#v=onepage&q=piel%20implies%20force&f=false

There seems to be a lot of nuance in the Piel forms of words
“The biblical Hebrew D stem (piel) seems to be inconsistent from verb to verb, both in its meaning and in its relationship to the G stem (qal).”
https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/17463966/BECKMAN-DISSERTATION-2015.pdf?sequence=1

And while they can mean “violence” in some cases, that is only for certain words and even then there is debate occasionally:
https://books.google.com/books?id=hxn3PfjwNaYC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=piel+verb+forceful&source=bl&ots=hCgehtlR6J&sig=Hiu2QJWYcL0DbKs2i0DXiqF0AJY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiO9a651IzMAhWHgYMKHa8fBmUQ6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q=piel%20verb%20forceful&f=false

One of them was arguing that in places like Deut 23:7 it only prohibited cult prostitutes and not regular prostitutes. However, I argued that qedesh and zonah (cult-prostitute and prostitute) were used as synonyms. I cited the following:

“Contrary to the claims of some 20th-century scholarship, the Hebrew Bible never refers directly to cult prostitutes. Many modern Bible translations are simply misleading in this respect. Much of the confusion results from a misunderstanding of a few Biblical texts that mention qedeshot, the plural of qedeshah, which is related to qodesh, “holy place.” Originally qedeshah referred to a “consecrated maiden,” but Biblical authors used it in the sense of “harlot.””
https://members.bib-arch.org/biblical-archaeology-review/40/1/10

“As Lipiński argues, however, there is nothing in the story of Judah and Tamar to suggest sacred prostitution was involved; rather, it seems that zonah and qedeshah were synonyms and that the latter has simply been misinterpreted by translators.
Qedeshah likely originally referred to “consecrated maidens” who were employed in Canaanite and later Phoenician temples devoted to Ashtoreth worship. As such, the Biblical writers came to associate the fertility rites of Ashtoreth worship with sacred prostitution, and the word qedeshah, therefore, came to be used as a pejorative term for “prostitute.””
https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/sacred-prostitution-in-the-story-of-judah-and-tamar/

When they responded that the articles I quoted narrowly defined “cult prostitution” as Ashteroth worship. I responded: The main article does not use this as an argument from what I have seen. Here are examples of arguments it uses about Israel related to Astoreth:

The Hebrew meaning of qedeshah as harlot possibly derives from the perception that some “consecrated” maidens employed in Canaanite temples were also prostitutes in the context of fertility cults, especially of the goddess Ashtoreth. Indeed, the simple fact that such women served a heathen deity may have led to the understanding of the word qedeshah by outsiders in the sense of “harlot” and to its use in Biblical Hebrew as a synonym of zonah, “prostitute.” In short, in the Hebrew Bible, qedeshah (and its plural) simply refers to a prostitute, not to a cult prostitute in particular.
. . .
A widespread modern misunderstanding of the term asherah as a pagan goddess has led some to conclude that cult prostitution was involved in this passage, i.e., 2 Kings 23:7. It thus becomes important to unpack this reference to asherah and explain how it became confused with a Canaanite goddess, either Ashtoreth or Ashratu. The conclusion, however, as we shall see, is that asherah in the Bible refers to a shrine or sacred grove, not to a goddess.
The confusion can be easily recognized because in several West Semitic languages (Assyro-Babylonian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew), the common word for shrine (aširtu/ešertu in Assyro-Babylonian, ’šrt in Phoenician, ’trt in Aramaic and ’šrh/’šyrh in Hebrew) is similar to Ashtoreth (’štrt) and to the name ’Atrt of the Ugaritic goddess Rabbatu Atratu Yamma, “The Lady Who Treads upon the Sea.” The similarity of Biblical asherah to these terms in other related languages led modern mythographers to invent a goddess Asherah in the Bible. Modern translators followed suit.

It is clear, however, that asherah in the Bible cannot refer to a goddess. In the Bible, asherah has a plural, ’šrym,3 sometimes ’šrwt.4 This would hardly be the case if asherah were a goddess. Moreover, in the Bible asherah sometimes occurs with the article ha- (“the shrine”)5 and with the pronominal suffix (“his shrine”), as in the well-known Hebrew inscriptions from Khirbet el-Qom, near Jerusalem (yhwh w’šrth, “Yahweh and his shrine”), and from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud in the Sinai (yhwh šmrn w’šrth, “Yahweh of Samaria and his shrine”; yhwh tmn w’šrth, “Yahweh of the South and his shrine”).a This proves that asherah cannot be a proper name. In addition, asherah could be “built” (1 Kings 14:23), “made” (2 Kings 21:7), “set up” (2 Kings 17:10) or “installed” (2 Chronicles 33:19), again showing that asherah cannot be a goddess. Asherah was no deity but simply a grove or a shrine that eventually became a small construction.6

Provincial shrines, like those referred to at Khirbet el-Qom and Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, were prohibited after the centralization of religious observance in Jerusalem by King Josiah in the seventh century B.C.E. (2 Kings 23), but the prophet Jeremiah in the seventh–sixth centuries B.C.E. still refers to the asherim (in the plural), the sacred groves or shrines in the shade of spreading trees. In other texts, such as Jeremiah 2:20 and 3:6–10, the metaphors of prostitution and adultery are used as poetic descriptions of Judah’s infidelity to the Lord.

These passages do not allude to cult prostitution performed by young Judahite women, although the existence of fertility cults in Canaan was certainly known. They were even exported by Phoenicians to the western Mediterranean and appear in Phoenician and Carthaginian colonies.

There’s two other mentions of Ashtoreth in that paper that relate to the Canaanite practice (exported by the Phoenicians to Phonecian and Carthaginian colonies) and one related to an Etruscan version of the Goddess:
“At Pyrgi, north of Rome in what was Etruria, archaeologists uncovered a temple (Temple B) from about 500 B.C.E. A bilingual inscription found in the excavation records the dedication of a “holy place” to the Etruscan goddess Uni (Latin Juno), called Ashtoreth in her Phoenician version.”
None of these are making the argument that there is no evidence of cult prostitution in Israel because there is not evidence of Astoreth worship. They clearly recognize that other types of cult prostitution took place since Lipinski states “maidens employed in Canaanite temples were also prostitutes in the context of fertility cults, especially of the goddess Ashtoreth.” In fact Lipinski also states:

A further explanation is needed concerning the qadesh. In the well-known cuneiform texts from Ugarit (on the Mediterranean coast of modern Syria), which date to about 1200 B.C.E., qdšm (= Hebrew qedeshim) are often mentioned with the khnm (= kohanim, “priests”) and seem to be cultic servants assisting the priests. There is no indication that they were male prostitutes. They were simply priestly assistants. The qdšym of older Biblical psalms may have exercised a similar function, but the word was later understood in the sense of “holy men” and vocalized accordingly. In fact, the priestly assistants got a bad reputation in the seventh century B.C.E., as shown by 2 Kings 23:7, possibly indicating that prostitution did occur in the Temple, even a kind of cult prostitution. In the time of Josiah, the Biblical text tells us, the king “pulled down the houses of the qedeshim in the House of the Lord, where women were renting2 cubicles as a shrine (asherah)” (2 Kings 23:7, my translation). There is no evidence, however, that the qedeshim were male cult prostitutes. As at Ugarit, the qedeshim were priestly assistants. In 2 Kings 23:7, Josiah is said to have torn down the cubicles (literally, houses) of the qedeshim (male) in the Temple precinct. The qedeshim are thus said to have been renting houses in the Temple precinct to some women, possibly for prostitution. Perhaps the men were also acting as pimps.

Note that the women who rented their houses (or cubicles) are not called qedeshot. Whatever the women were doing in the cubicles (the JPS translation suggests they were weaving coverings for the shrine), it had something to do with a shrine, as indicated by the term asherah, which designates a shrine, a sacred grove or a tree under which an illicit cultic ritual is performed.

. . .
Cult prostitution existed in some parts of the Near East as well as in the Phoenician colonies of the western Mediterranean. It reflected the ritual practices of the Canaanites surrounding ancient Israel and Judah. Its faint reflection recorded in the Hebrew Bible serves as a metaphoric allusion to Israel’s infidelity to God or as a synonym of harlotry. Modern translations of the Hebrew Bible often unfortunately give another impression. There is a single passage (2 Kings 23:7, discussed above) that may contain an obscure reference to cult prostitution; it mentions a shrine rented to women in the precinct of the Temple and destroyed by King Josiah. But that is all.

There is a mistaken notion that “asherah” meant a shrine to Ashtoreth in the Bible which Lipinski argues against. However, this does not describe his full argument for why he believes qedesha and zonah to by synonyms. Their argument is as follows:

The earliest Biblical attestation of qedeshah is found in the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38. Judah’s son Er, married to Tamar, died. Judah then gave his second son Onan to Tamar. Onan also died. Judah was reluctant to give his third son Shelah to Tamar, as was required when a brother died without children. Later, Judah himself was widowed. He saw a woman on the road, assumed her to be a harlot (zonah), and slept with her. He gave her his seal as assurance that he would pay her with a sheep from his flock (Genesis 38:15–18). The zonah turned out to be none other than his daughter-in-law Tamar, who had dressed herself in a veil and sat by the road because Judah had refused to give her his third son as a husband. When Judah’s friend went to redeem the pledge, he inquired of the people of the town where he could find the assumed prostitute. They replied that there was no qedeshah in the area (Genesis 38:20–21). Obviously the two words (qedeshah and zonah) are used as synonyms. And there is no indication whatever that cult prostitution is involved. There is no cultic context here.

Lipinski says something similar with Deuteronomy

No Israelite shall be a prostitute (a prohibition expressed in the third person): “There shall be no prostitute (qedeshah) among the daughters of Israel; there shall be no qadesh among the sons of Israel” [my translation]. The word qedeshah here is a synonym of zonah, which is used in the prohibition in verse 19 [i.e. verse 18 in English]. This is the same situation we have seen in the story of Judah and Tamar.

I can also observe that the Hebrew uses these words as synonyms: zonah (h2181) and qedesh(ah) (h6945/h6948)

There shall be no whore H6948 of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite h6945 of the sons of Israel. (Deu 23:17 KJV)

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, h2181 or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deu 23:18 KJV)

This is how the septuagint treats it as well translating both as porneia (G4203/G4204)

17 There shall not be a harlot G4204 from the daughters of Israel, and there shall not be one whoring G4203 from the sons of Israel. 18 You shall not bring the hire of a harlot, G4204 nor the price of a dog, G2965 into the house of the lord your God for any vow. For [4an abomination 5to the lord 6your God 3are 1even 2both].

Deuteronomy 23:17-18 https://studybible.info/interlinear/Deuteronomy%2023:17-18

κύων, κυνός+ N3M/F 3-19-4-10-6=42
Ex 11,7; 22,30; Dt 23,19; Jgs 7,5
dog Ex 11,7; id. (as derogatory term for non-Jews) Ps 21(22),17; male prostitute Dt 23,19
→ LSJ Suppl(Dt 23,19); LSJ RSuppl

http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

The same is true of the judah and tamar:

Gen 38:15
When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; H2181 because she had covered her face.
Gen 38:21
Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, H6948 that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot H6948 in this place.
Gen 38:22
And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot H6948 in this place.
Gen 38:24
And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; H2181 and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. H2183 And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. (KJV)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2183&t=KJV

Or take the LXX ABP of Genesis 38:15-24:

15 And [2seeing 3her 1Judah], assumed her to be a harlot. G4204 For she covered up her face, and [3not 1he recognized 2her]. 16 And he turned aside to her in the way. And he said to her, Allow me to enter to you. For he did not know that [2his daughter-in-law 1she is]. And she said, What will you give to me, if you should enter to me? 17 And he said, I will send to you a kid of the goats from out of my flocks. And she said, You should give a deposit until you send it. 18 And he said, What deposit shall I give to you? And she said, Your ring, and the pendant, and the rod in your hand. And he gave them to her, and he entered to her. And [2in 3the womb 1she conceived] from him. 19 And rising up she went forth. And she removed her lightweight garment from herself, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 [3sent 1And 2Judah] the kid of the goats by the hand of his shepherd the Adullamite, to deliver by him to the woman the deposit. And he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, Where is the harlot, G4204 the one being in Enaim upon the way? And they said, There was no [2here 1harlot G4204]. 22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I did not find her, and the men, the ones from the place, say, There was no [2here 1harlot G4204]. 23 [3said 1And 2Judah], Let her have them, but lest at any time we should be ridiculed, I indeed sent this kid, but you have not found her. 24 And it came to pass after three months, it was announced to Judah, saying, [3fornicated G1608 1Tamar 2your daughter-in-law]. And behold, [2in 3the womb 1she has one] out of harlotry. G4202 [3said 1And 2Judah], Lead her out, and let her be incinerated!

https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=ABP|reference=Gen.38&options=HNVUG
https://studybible.info/interlinear/gen%2038:15-24

ἐκπορνεύω+
V 14-9-23-0-1=47
Gn 38,24; Ex 34,15.16(bis); Lv 17,7
to commit fornication, to play the harlot [abs.] Gn 38,24; to commit fornication with, to play the harlot
with [ἐπί τινα] Ez 16,26; id. [ἔν τινι] Ez 16,17; to resort to sb for fornication [εἴς τινα] Nm 25,1; to
prostitute, to cause to commit forni-cation [τινα] Lv 19,29
to go whoring after [ὀπίσω τινός] Ez 20,30; to seduce into immoral practices [τινα] 2 Chr 21,11
neol.
Cf. HARL 1986a, 266; HELBING 1928, 78; →LSJ RSuppl; TWNT

http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

A different version of the Septuagint even feels the need to add the idolatrous context to Deuteronomy 23 to make the case clear, showing that the original words did not necessarily mean just cult prostitution but included prostitution in general:


17 There shall not be a harlot of the daughters of Israel, and there shall not be a fornicator of the sons of Israel; there shall not be an idolatress of the daughters of Israel, and there shall not be an initiated person of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, nor the price of a dog into the house of the Lord thy God, for any vow; because even both are an abomination to the Lord thy God.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lxx/deuteronomy/passage/?q=deuteronomy+23:17-18

Septuagint Greek definitions from here: http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

One other thing I think is interesting in the paper is that this adds some context to Lev 19:29:

In the ancient Near East, women could in fact be dedicated by their fathers or their masters to a deity. Women could also devote themselves to the service of a god or a goddess in order to secure their living. This was done mainly by young widows without grown children, by repudiated wives, by female slaves sent away (like Hagar, Abraham’s concubine in Genesis 21), by lonely women, etc.

So the reason for becoming a prostitute could be from lack of support as well as compelling by the father. (both of which could be termed a cause by the father since the father was supposed to provide for them) Lipinski goes on to describe another nuance in their argument:

These “consecrated” persons performed tasks in the sanctuary, provided domestic help in temple annexes, perhaps provided musical entertainment and possibly sexual services, remitting their fees to the temple. However, qedeshot in the Bible never appear as performing religious sexual rituals, which is the key attribute of a cult prostitute. Women on duty at the entrance to Israelite sanctuaries are mentioned in Exodus 38:8 and 1 Samuel 2:22, but their tasks are not described, and they are not called qedeshot.

At the end of their paper Lipinski has this as well:

Genesis 38:15, 20–21
When Judah saw her, he took her for a harlot (zonah); for she had covered her face.

Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to redeem the pledge from the woman; but he could not find her. He inquired of the people of that town, “Where is the cult prostitute (qedeshah), the one at Enaim, by the road?” But they said, “There has been no prostitute (qedeshah) here.”

Deuteronomy 23:18–19 [17–18 English]
No Israelite woman shall be a cult prostitute (qedeshah), nor shall any Israelite man be a cult prostitute (qadesh). You shall not bring the fee of a whore (zonah) or the pay of a dog [i.e., male prostitute] into the House of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both are abhorrent to the Lord your God.

It looks to me like their main argument is from the biblical text and from Hebrew grammar concerning “Asherah.” Their argument that cult prostition (as it was practiced in Cananan) was at least extremely rare or even unheard of in Israel is just an additional fact that strengthens their argument. I do think it’s possible that we may just be missing the archaeological evidence that the Israelites were indulging in cult prostitution but the fact is that evidence is hardly in the bible (if at all) and the fact that Archaeologists are better than me at figuring out when we have enough archaeological evidence to conclude that an absence of archaeological evidence is indeed evidence of absence.

They (the people who believe in premarital sex) also stated that in the story of Judah and Tamar the context is cultic prostitution. I responded:

There is no cultic context here, she is sitting in the open not in a temple (as is the practice of cult prostitutes) and he recognizes her as a prostitute simply because she has covered her face. An interesting parallel is Rebecca wearing a veil for Isaac. Surely we are not to conclude that Rebecca is acting as a cult prostitute for Isaac:

The veil is also used as a means of enticement/attractiveness/sexuality when Rebecca is being led by Abraham’s servant to meet for the first time her new fiance, Isaac. (Gen 24) Upon being told that the man in the distance is in fact Isaac, she puts her veil on. (v. 65) Mind you, she had no veil on for the entire journey with Abraham’s servant – APPARENTLY, there was no “modesty requirement” compelling her to wear a veil when with the servant. Rather, when she meets her fiance – someone who she wants to and should look sexually attractive for! (see v. 67) – she then decides to put on a veil.
(Much of this answer is developed at length by Olivia Wizniter, at

http://curiousjew.blogspot.com/2008/02/symbolic-veil.html )
https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/26864/biblical-significance-of-face-veil

In addition, it seems like Lipinski is saying that there wasn’t archaeological evidence in the area that Judah and Tamar were in for that. In addition we have plenty of testimony from the Hebrew and the Septuagint that Lipinski’s understanding of zonah being synonymous with qedesha is how the earliest translators would have understood those passages. You again have to insert assumptions into the passages that are not there (and even contradict with Rebecca’s behavior) to make the Bible allow for premarital sex. Just like you have to assume that when Judah promises Tamar to Shelah he is betrothing her and hence her later being declared “zonah” might refer to “adultery.” However, it states in Gen 38:14

“And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.”

If Shelah was betrothed it would have been a big deal to break off the engagement so he could marry someone else. (engagements were treated like marriages) Remember Judah is planning on Shelah NOT marrying Tamar. Tamar obviously doesn’t think that she is going to marry Shelah, this is the whole reason she seduces Judah.

Another reason to connect H3611 and H2181 (hence prostition and “cultic” prostitution) is the following:

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, h2181 or the price of a dog, H3611 into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deu 23:18 KJV)

Gesenius notes that qedeshim (“cult” prostitutes) and the word for “dog” H3611 are used synonymously at the end of his lexical entry: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3611&t=KJV However, in the verse it is “a whore (zonah) or the price of a dog”

On the biblical and translational evidence alone I think it’s pretty overwhelming that qedashah and zonah are synonymous.

Discussion on The Requirements of Elders in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3

I got really interested in this and wrote up a pretty long summary of our Bible study on the topic and some of my own reading. What follows is my summary:

Two bible studies ago we agreed that the requirements in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 were indeed requirements, not just ideals, due to the context and the present indicative active form of “δεῖ” (translated “must”) : https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+3%3A2&version=NKJV http://biblehub.com/interlinear/titus/1-7.htm http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_timothy/3-2.htm However, my perspective is that we need to reconcile the issue of Deborah being more important than an elder and of Paul not being married. Both presumably were held to a higher standard so I would say that these requirements must have been for those churches at that time. Essentially, Paul was chosen by God, so we already know that he was qualified to be a leader–but assuming some elders were not going to be miraculously chosen–Paul gives requirements for the selection of Elders that would ensure that they were decent leaders. I couldn’t reconcile the language in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 with the position that elders weren’t required to be married and have children especially in 1 Timothy where it states “4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);” Maybe there were some cultural considerations taken into account with these requirements. We agreed on this conclusion but for various different reasons.

We decided to revisit the issue this bible study and invited another group with different perspectives, one of whom joined us and in addition we had another with a similar perspective contrary to the conclusion we came to previously.

We discussed the requirements for Elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The main points of disagreement were:

1 Were these requirements conditional upon the person being married and having children? Essentially could the actual meaning be: “if they are married then they must be the husband of one wife” and “if he has children he must rule his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence”?

2 What Paul meant by “husband of one wife”

3 Did Paul mean this in a universal sense or in a local sense i.e. for the churches under his control at that time

1: The first part of the discussion was whether Paul could mean something in a conditional sense without the use of “if”. We weren’t able to find other places where Paul does this like he would have to in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 but some maintained that this was conditional since it would be absurd to think that Paul would have excluded many capable people from leadership possibly just because their wife died or they were sterile and didn’t adopt children etc . . .

The idea I brought up was that it wouldn’t have been absurd for Paul to require elders to be married and have children since it was required of the Sanhedrin (whom Paul previously worked closely with) citing Maimonides: “3 We should not appoint to a Sanhedrin a man of very old age or one who does not possess male physical attributes, for they possess the trait of cruelty, nor a man who is childless, so that the judges should be merciful.” http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1172725/jewish/Sanhedri

Also Paul was a Pharisee and Pharisees although not required to be married were greatly encouraged because of the commandment to be fruitful and multiply (getting this from David Bivin “New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context”)

“The Jews teach, a priest should be neither unmarried nor childless, lest he be unmerciful [Bengel]. So in the synagogue, “no one shall offer up prayer in public, unless he be married” [in Colbo, ch. 65; Vitringa, Synagogue and Temple].” http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/3-2.htm

However, it was also pointed out that the requirements in the oral law were something that Jesus often condemned even though we do have some decrees written in the early church like in Acts 15 (and sent out to the churches Acts 16) that are comparable to the oral law in that they weren’t directly from scripture (even though they were based on scripture) Also if we take it like this 1 Timothy 3:12 would also mean deacons had to be married.

The idea was also brought up that if we are going to take these elder requirements of marriage and children as conditional without the presence of “if” we might as well start taking other parts of the verses as having additional considerations, maybe “husband of one wife” meant that he was only the husband of one in the past even if he is now a widower, or that the he had to have children at some point. This might be a more conservative way to read it and yet still resolve the exclusion of these people without explanation that comes with these requirements.

2: Paul’s requirement of “husband of one wife” was discussed. Since the marriage covenant is annulled upon death (Romans 7) you have the possible issue of someone not being able to continue to be an elder after their wife dies (which seems a bit unfair) unless they remarry and then are they the husband of “one wife?” (I think yes because they are no longer married to their previous wife) Some commentators take this as an idiom for “faithful to his wife” http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/3-2.htm (see Barnes Notes on The Bible) I think this in context would prohibit people from serial marrying and divorcing as was common practice (maybe because polygyny had been outlawed already) I think the following verses imply serial marriage was a problem:

Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11, Luke 16:18

This would also be the case if it meant “husband of first wife” (Greek might be able to be taken as ordinal or numeral) also compare: http://studybible.info/interlinear/Exodus%2012:18 to http://studybible.info/interlinear/1%20Timothy%203:2 and Thayer’s: “5. like the Hebrew אֶחָד, εἰς is put for the ordinal πρῶτος, first (Winers Grammar, § 37, 1; Buttmann, 29 (26)): μία σαββάτων the first day of the week, Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2 (L T Tr WH μία σαββάτου);”https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1520

3: We had differing opinions on whether this was referring to a universal requirement for elders. Some evidence from the word usage may be used to connect this to elders in the old testament. Although, if you look at the usage it seems to also be a generic term for people who were in charge of things.

Numbers 31:14 in LXX seems to connect elders in Ex 18 to Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1 since it uses the same word as in the NT and says they were commanders “ of thousands and commanders of hundreds”

from: http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G1985

Also see the same word just a different form:
http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G1984

I think this also connected to the “civil” authorities in the old testament (indeed their civil law was theocratic) Joel 2:16 seems to be talking about choosing elders http://studybible.info/interlinear/Joel%202:16

Ezra 3:12 talks about the elders being rulers, Ezra 5:9 talks about elders rendering a decree http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/4245/start/90

From: http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/4245 this word is used a lot in Acts to refer to elders.

Paul says this is a “word” (logos) and he starts out these requirements by saying “true is the word” or “This is a faithful saying” in 1 Timothy 3:1 and it seems to be used for both universal and localized teachings:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3056&t=KJV

If Paul’s words are to be taken as universal for all πρεσβύτερος or ἐπίσκοπος we have to reconcile the fact that these words are also used in a generic sense for people in authority or in the case of πρεσβύτερος someone who is old. If it is universal for the type of eldership in Ex 18 then we still have to deal with the fact that he adds to those requirements. If we take Paul’s word as being for the type of eldership in Ex 18 and those in higher positions (like apostles) we have to reconcile the fact that Paul wasn’t married and Deborah was a woman.

There are several ways to do this. If these statements about elders were an ideal (and not as the indicative present active mood would suggest) since this must be interpreted in context of the Bible as a whole; Deborah would have been an exception in extenuating circumstances. Paul could have been an exception as well.

If these statements about elders are requirements then maybe they are local to the churches he speaks of or to the cultural context.

The issue of Junia was brought up. Junia might be a female apostle mentioned in Romans 16:7 This was the view taken by the Greek fathers including Chrysostom. However there is some debate about this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junia#Grammatical_issue:_.22prominent_among.22_or_.22well_known_to.22.3F

for instance this paper argues from the grammar for the negative position: http://www.michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/Was%20Junia%20Really%20an%20Apostle%20A%20Re%20examination%20of%20Rom%2016%207.pdf

Wallace and Burer freely admit they are in minority on this position: “The vast bulk of translations and commentators today regard this line as indicating that Andronicus and Junia were apostles, though not in the most technical sense of that word.”

Here’s some references to scholars arguing in the affirmative:

http://juniaproject.com/who-killed-junia-part-one/

In addition to Junia one wonders if Joab’s and the people’s behavior at Abel Beth Maacah in 2 Samuel 20:16-26 indicated that the wise woman had a position of authority. In a similar way the wise woman of Tekoa is listened to by the king himself in 2 Samuel 14:4-16, was “wise woman” an official title?

Some evidence for Deborah being an exception was brought up. In some translations of the Seputagint she states that she arose after the leadership of the men failed: “The mighty men in Israel failed, they failed until Debbora arose, until she arose a mother in Israel” https://www.biblestudytools.com/judges/5-7-compare.html

However this is not the only translation of the LXX. Others simply say “the ones dwelling in Israel” http://studybible.info/interlinear/judges%205:7 and although the word for “one’s dwelling” (κατοικούντες) is in the masculine plural, to take this as just “males dwelling” does not work. Similar to how in english the masculine can also be generic e.g. “mankind” and “you guys,” this is how this form in Greek can be used. For instance when it says “But the ones dwelling in Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became to them for tribute” it includes the female inhabitants: http://studybible.info/interlinear/Judges%201:33

Likewise: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” includes women: http://biblehub.com/text/revelation/13-8.htm

For a full list see here:

http://biblehub.com/greek/katoikountes_2730.htm

For the Septuagint check: http://en.katabiblon.com/us/search.php?mode=list&text=LXX&find=KATOIKOUNTES

To complicate things, there are other versions of the Septuagint besides the one in the Apostolic Polyglot namely Codex A and B (Alexandrinus and Vaticanus respectively) which are very different:

http://www.katapi.org.uk/katapiNSBunix/Lxx/LxxByKFmTo.php?KFm=7005001.00&KTo=7005031.00

http://studybible.info/compare/Judges%205:7

For codex B I’ve come to the same conclusion: http://biblehub.com/greek/dunatoi_1415.htm however for A I can’t figure out what φραζων means. However,it seems to just designate a spokesperson without gender since it is an “indeclinable proper noun” (doesn’t have gender) and doesn’t have a masculine context: http://studybible.info/compare/Judges%205:7
In keeping with the idea of the masculine generic it seems it is translated “spokesman” or “spokesperson”, “A spokesman was lacking in Israel; he was lacking . . .” for more information see:

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/07-judges-nets.pdf

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015063632452;view=1up;seq=10

The significant differences between the Codices may be because the poetic and unusual Hebrew the song of Deborah uses. For instance in Codex B ἀναστῇ is in the subjunctive mood, which might be translated as “in order for her to arise” but it isn’t in the same mood in Codex A. This is just my best ideas as to what these things mean.

See the full original codices here:

http://en.katabiblon.com/us/index.php?text=LXX&book=JgsA&ch=5
http://en.katabiblon.com/us/index.php?text=LXX&book=JgsB&ch=5

It was suggested that Judges 4:9 meant that Deborah did not think it proper for her to be in a leadership role. However, this may just have been for leading an army, and it may be connected to the prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:5 which has been interpreted as banning female warriors: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/deuteronomy/22.htm http://biblehub.com/commentaries/deuteronomy/22-5.htm

In addition the context is that Barak would not obey what God told him to do, so it is possible Deborah is just insulting him because of this.

Isaiah 3:12 was also brought up and it was either interpreted as implying women shouldn’t rule to being figurative or simply idiomatic in that cultural context since it also says “[Israel’s] oppressors are children” hence it may be saying Israel would be ruled over by weak or effeminate men: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/3-12.htm

Deborah seems to have similar authority to Moses, if you compare Judges 4:5 and Exodus 18:13 the people came before her for judgement. Also both are called prophets Judges 4:4, Numbers 12:6-8. We didn’t deal with the broader context of female leadership some of which is talked about in articles such as these with very different conclusions:
https://www.opc.org/qa.html?question_id=155
http://christianthinktank.com/femalex.html

In the OPC statement they are using the Hebrew word in Ruth 1:1 (also appearing in Judges 4:4) to say Deborah was only a civil authority, they state: “It was not a position of religious authority; the priests and Levites were the preachers and worship leaders during that time.”

You can look at the word usage and it’s definition here. God is called “judge of the earth” in Gen 18:25 so I think this goes beyond a “civil” sense:
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8199&t=KJV
Also note it is used to refer to the elders Moses set up in Exodus 18 via Deu 1:16 where the word is used. You aren’t going to find it used for elders in the new testament simply because it’s a Hebrew word.

Also Deborah gave judgements from God’s law (remember it was a theocracy) and elders and apostles do the same with regards to church governance: Matthew 18:18 Matthew 5:18-19 (the same word is used for “loose” a commandment in both, see start of list of verses here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3089&t=KJV ) Also the same word for what deborah did in Judges 4:4 is used for the decision made by the Apostles in Acts 21:25 http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/2919/start/360 (it’s a very generic word just meaning to “judge” or “decide” so I’m not making much of this, just that we aren’t told what she did was different)

In additions to these connections between old testament and new testament authority the 12 Apostles may have been appointed to be like the 12 princes of Israel that you see in the old testament, compare: Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30, to quote:

“God had promised David that his “house” (i.e., dynasty) would be everlasting, yet it appeared to have vanished along with the twelve tribes over which he ruled. The prophets reassured the people that this situation would not last forever. David’s family tree might appear to be cut down, but God would raise up “… a shoot from the stump of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1). Micah prophesied that he was to be born in Bethlehem and “when she who is to give birth has borne … the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.” There would be a Davidic kingdom that would gather in the twelve tribes of Israel scattered throughout the world.

Jesus is the Messiah king, the true son of David, who after his birth in Bethlehem of the Blessed Virgin, “rebuilds the fallen tent of David” (Acts 15:16) and like a Good Shepherd gathers those who are lost back to himself. Just as King David ruled with twelve princes, Jesus chose twelve Apostles. But Christ’s kingdom is more than David’s earthly kingdom. It’s not based on heredity or tied to one geographic location; it’s based on grace. The Apostles are to teach, sanctify and govern all the people of God, regardless of their race. Like the twelve princes, the Apostles held offices which after their death were occupied by successors (bishops) who continued their ministry.

As such, the fact that there were twelve Apostles is very significant and certainly not arbitrary. They are the ones who, in the age to come, will sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30). Twelve, in the Bible, means more than a dozen.”

http://www.themichigancatholic.org/2015/11/the-holy-dozen-why-twelve-apostles-and-not-thirteen/

If Paul’s requirements were influenced by cultural considerations the fact that Ephesus and Crete were under roman rule indicates the heavily patriarchal Roman society https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pater_familias and the amount of sexual temptation https://www.press.umich.edu/2798142/economy_of_prostitution_in_the_roman_worldmight have played a role in his instructions to choose people who were male and married. Saying they had to have children may have been in keeping with some traditions of Jews at the time to make sure the elders were respected by the Jewish believers. The definition of the word in 1 Timothy 3:2 translated “blameless” is listed by Thayer’s as “properly, not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of; hence, that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable” which may bring in the idea of “respected by everyone” hence some requirements may be to make them acceptable to the Jews: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G423&t=KJV also see Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/3-2.htm

Ultimately the discussion didn’t change anybody’s minds but it was quite fascinating.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, Part 3

Now, we have seen how the Great Barge made its’ way through history, as the vessel of one people, in one place, at one time. From their river, the Euphrates, came the Tigris, and the vessels for it, the kalak. Let us then examine the navigation of those tiny boats, for history will turn on them. Indeed, all the world will soon be covered by the swarm of them out on their run.

Following the reports of the resurrection of the Messiah, a frenetic wave of activity covered the Roman empire; first in Judea, then in Greek cities like Corinth, Thessaloniki, and the Gallic city Galatia. Within a generation, men trained to go out into the waters of the nations-to be fishers of men, as the kalak is used often-to spread the word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The most famous of these is of course Paul, the apostle to the gentiles; but, while chief amongst them, he was one of many who went forth, proclaiming the Good News.

There were fish to catch, for the Kingdom of God, and the early followers of The Way-known now as Christianity-left no stone unturned for those willing to repent and believe. They sailed the Tigris, casting their nets on all sides, looking for people to fish out and be saved. In the beginning, this was a tidal swell of activity, which was threatening to wash over the whole world. Indeed, until the age of Constantine, it looked for all the world like the Way might prevail against all odds. There seemed to be no way to stop the conversion of the Earth to the Gospel.

This is not empty rhetoric; Gibbons felt strongly that Christianity brought the Roman Empire down, as did Nietzsche. As a side note, I personally think the disease brought back from the Parthian wars of the third century did them in more than anything. Inflation was killing them, and political discord after the death of Marcus Aurelieus led to the splitting of the Empire into four factions. But it is perfectly reasonable to assert what Gibbons and Nietzsche did. An army with no weapons had beaten Rome-no weapons except having gained mastery over the fear of death.

You will recall our discussion of the impact of death on humans. Oddly, this is a dull sting to aboriginals and hunter-gatherers. They have an easier time accepting the way of things. Only as people became civilized did they become afraid: it would seem that having a luxurious life leads one to fear it ending. After all, if death eats you, what was the point of anything? If the only fate that awaits is nothingness, is it not the ultimate cruelty, to live long enough to realize that you are going to blank out, then go dark, extinguished, and erased?

The idea-the fact, in a Roman mind-that you will end was a torment they could not endure. They sought for every way possible to gain immortality-through writings, sculptures, histories. When you see these things, you seeing the Roman soul, flailing in fear, that they will not even be remembered. It was the keen awareness of this fear that the Romans used to dominate and control people; without this, Rome could not stand. A person who did not fear death was a weapon that could not be disarmed. This did challenge the Roman way of thinking, and undermined their cultural values greatly.

So, Christianity could be seen as an assault on Roman values themselves, as Nietzsche points out in Genealogy of Morals. Even today, I still cannot find a way to conclusively dismiss his argument empirically. While I do not agree with Frederick’s conclusion, his synopsis is quire valid. Romans did not like The Way. It was emasculating, prudish, and, well, Jewish. Romans liked conquest, personal glory, domination, and the glorious festival of the winter solstice, the Saturnalia. They were lovers of life, the Romans-for death was always after them.

Christianity is the death they fear, plus a new kind of death-a death to self, which took away the thin veneer of joy they had, in keeping Grendel upon the moors. In any other circumstance, they would have obliterated the offending cult-as they were famous for doing. But in Christianity, they finally met their match. They met an opponent who grew stronger as you killed them. Roman plebians-the commoners-who had long suffered under the patrician class, found that The Way offered them a power they could not have elsewise: the power to defy Rome. Slaves, as Frederick noted, were especially attracted to the Gospel, as it offered what they had never known, which was hope for a better tomorrow.

So the swell built, washing away the Roman power, and was being followed-even against psychotics like Diocletian-in the breadth of the Empire, surging as the Pagan ways were dwindling out. After Adrianople, Rome was an empty shell, a paper tiger that barbarians would to scoff-and later, take. Those people, the Goths, would elevate Christianity to new level-but at the price of creating a juggernaut of terror unmatched even in the days of Rome. This terror was Rome plus the Church, which became known formally as the Papacy. Please note, with acumen, the following:  This is not anti-Catholic. This is anti-Papal. I love my Catholic brethren fully and unconditionally. The Papacy is not Catholic: it is a tumor than grew up on the church. After the Peaces of Westphalia. the terror was finally leashed, and today is actually a spiritual center of some sorts, although the sybarite, hedonistic elements still remain strong within the Vatican.

The fall of the Terror of Rome was coterminus with the discovery of the New World (or, not Europe), and with this came a literal sailing of missionaries across the whole Earth, in the wake of Magellan’s epic quest to triumph over the insults heaped upon him by the King of Portugal. Unfortunately, this would not be the tale of epic splendor one would hope-for vessels meant to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead brought horror and darkness, and the commodification of people in the service of avarice. This is largely due to the impact of the arch-criminal of history, who harmed more than can be counted. This isn’t the standard bad guy-Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or even Karl Marx. This person cast a shadow over most of our planet that threw billions into ruin and nightmare, all through uniting the Gospel of Christ with that of Mammon. He is the son of the Papacy, who in fighting Popes became one, and the father of most protestant denominations in the West. This was Jean Calvin, and our next interlude will have to examine why he and his Papal counterparts made the Cross of Jesus Christ a sign of disrepute and disgust to most of humanity.

Popular Thought on Collectivism

There’s quite a lot of arguments made about how collectivism doesn’t and can’t work. Why does this interest us? One popular argument is that humans are–at their core–selfish and that there’s nothing we can do to change ourselves. A popularizer of this argument was Ayn Rand whose books are required reading for Paul Ryan staffers. She is still a household name in the U.S., especially among Libertarians.  For example, Eric Michael Johnson summarizes her ideas and popularity:
Ever since Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand has been gaining prominence among American conservatives as the leading voice for the political philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism, or the idea that private business should be unconstrained and that government’s only concern should be protecting individual property rights. As I wrote this week in Slate with my piece “Ayn Rand vs. the Pygmies,” the Russian-born author believed that rational selfishness was the ultimate expression of human nature.

“Collectivism,” Rand wrote in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal “is the tribal premise of primordial savages who, unable to conceive of individual rights, believed that the tribe is a supreme, omnipotent ruler, that it owns the lives of its members and may sacrifice them whenever it pleases.” An objective understanding of “man’s nature and man’s relationship to existence” should inoculate society from the disease of altruistic morality and economic redistribution. Therefore, “one must begin by identifying man’s nature, i.e., those essential characteristics which distinguish him from all other living species.”

As Rand further detailed in her book The Virtue of Selfishness, moral values are “genetically dependent” on the way “living entities exist and function.” Because each individual organism is primarily concerned with its own life, she therefore concludes that selfishness is the correct moral value of life. “Its life is the standard of value directing its actions,” Rand wrote, “it acts automatically to further its life and cannot act for its own destruction.” Because of this Rand insists altruism is a pernicious lie that is directly contrary to biological reality. Therefore, the only way to build a good society was to allow human nature, like capitalism, to remain unfettered by the meddling of a false ideology.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/ayn-rand-on-human-nature/

Having not read Rand’s work I’m curious how this is different than the is-ought leap known as the naturalistic fallacy: https://www.britannica.com/topic/naturalistic-fallacy The Ayn Rand Lexicon tries to address this:

It is only an ultimate goal, and end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.”

In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between “is” and “ought.”
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/is-ought_dichotomy.html

This leaves me rather mystified. I agree that values depend on what the goal is. (the values of a thief are different than the values of a police officer) One wants to gain more money for themselves and the other (while also probably wanting to gain money for themselves) also wants to enforce a standard of voluntary behavior when attaining money. However, why is life an “end in itself.” Since Ayn Rand was an atheist I fail to see how undirected evolution has value. It is nature. The animals that evolve are selected for because of their ability to survive. Just because one species of animal survived better than another doesn’t make it more valuable. What if an animal evolved that was out-competing us for resources and was causing our extinction? I don’t think Ayn Rand would argue that it, therefore, should wipe us out, especially if it was a species of communist insects like ants. More issues (in addition to the is-ought problem I mentioned) with Ayn Rand’s philosophy are discussed here:
Rand in addition to selfishness advocates for capitalism:
in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. (Rand 1957 [1992]: Afterword)
Capitalism, “the unknown ideal”, is for her the only political-economic system compatible with this philosophy because it is the only system based on respect for human beings as ends in themselves. The free-market libertarian political movement, though largely disowned by Rand, drew—and draws—great inspiration from her moral defense of the minimal state, that is, the state whose only raison d’être is protection of individual rights.
This is one fact you don’t hear often. To say Ayn Rand “largely” disowned the libertarian movement may be a bit of an understatement:
Q
What do you think of the libertarian movement?
AR
All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement. [FHF 71]
Q
What do you think of the Libertarian Party?
AR
I’d rather vote for Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, or Jerry Lewis—they’re not as funny as John Hospers and the Libertarian Party. If Hospers takes ten votes away from Nixon (which I doubt he’ll do), it would be a moral crime. I don’t care about Nixon, and I care even less about Hospers; but this is no time to engage in publicity seeking, which all these crank political parties are doing. (George Wallace is no great thinker—he’s a demagogue, though with some courage—but even he had the sense to stay home this time.) If you want to spread your ideas, do it through education. But don’t run for president—or even dogcatcher—if you’re going to help McGovern. [FHF 72]
Her reason for disowning the libertarians was made quite clear and it may surprise you:
Q
Libertarians advocate the politics you do, so why are you opposed to the Libertarian Party?
AR
They’re not defenders of capitalism. They’re a group of publicity seekers who rush into politics prematurely, because they allegedly want to educate people through a political campaign, which can’t be done. Further, their leadership consists of men of every persuasion, from religious conservatives to anarchists. Most of them are my enemies: they spend their time denouncing me, while plagiarizing my ideas. Now it’s a bad sign for an allegedly pro-capitalist party to start by stealing ideas. [FHF 74]
I don’t often hear that libertarianism is compatible with anarchism or voluntary collectivism as the “Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party” shows:
Another prominent libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick describes such:
The official purpose of Part III of ASU, “Utopia”, is to show that the minimal state is not merely legitimate and just; it is also inspiring. This purpose is advanced by sketching a framework for utopia that is inspiring and noting that this framework is highly akin to—Nozick actually says “equivalent to” (333)—the minimal state. Yet Nozick also says that the framework might not have any “central authority” (329). Still, the framework is akin to the minimal state because it is an institutional structure that enforces peaceful co-existence among voluntarily formed communities. It protects the independence of such communities and their freedom to recruit members and also protects the liberty of individuals to enter and exit communities as they respectively choose. Although Nozick is not explicit about this, we have to presume that the framework enforces the same norms of personal freedom, property, and contractual compliance that the minimal state enforces except insofar as individuals voluntarily relinquish such rights within the communities they enter.
In fact, I would like to see a libertarian thinker who would say that voluntary collectivism is wrong. This is because Libertarians start from the position of individual rights:

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty: a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and are not forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
https://www.lp.org/platform/ (accessed 2019-01-02)

This is where the left and the right could potentially agree and work together. More on that may come in another post. The second problem with Ayn Rand’s argument for selfishness and capitalism is not metaphysical but factual.  Eric Michael Johnson writes affirmingly of Peter Kropotkin’s discoveries:

What he found was that competition was virtually nonexistent. Instead, in every nook and cranny of the animal world, he encountered mutual aid. Individuals huddled for warmth, fed one another, and guarded their groups from danger, all seeming to be cogs in a larger cooperative society. “In all the scenes of animal lives which passed before my eyes,” Kropotkin wrote, “I saw mutual aid and mutual support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species and its further evolution.”

Kropotkin didn’t limit his studies to animals alone. He cherished his time in peasant villages, with their sense of community and cooperation: in these small Siberian villages, Kropotkin began to understand “the inner springs of the life of human society.” There, by observing “the constructive work of the unknown masses,” the young scientist witnessed human cooperation and altruism in its purest form.
. . .
He advocated that natural selection was the driving force that shaped life, but that Darwin’s ideas had been perverted and misrepresented by British scientists. Natural selection, Kropotkin argued, led to mutual aid, not competition, among individuals.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-prince-of-evolution-peter-kropotkin/

We rarely hear this.  We usually take for granted that nature is a heartless matriarch who feeds one of her children to another after the slightest mistake on the former’s part. Although humans are part of the natural world, making arguments about animal societies won’t convince everyone since humans are unique creatures. More formidable still (in my opinion) is the common idea of the doctrine of original sin in Christianity. The mechanics of original sin are not often clearly delineated, yet strangely, the conclusion is that selfless expectations are bound to create disaster for humans.  Fortunately, we can resolve what is possible with humans:
As, of 2010 at least 15 Kibbutzim in Israel “still follow the full traditional communal model” (there are 270 total according to this article)
Today there are some 260 kibbutzim and as this experiment evolved over the last century and longer, they seem to be experiencing some sort of a revival. But as most kibbutzim prove by their very existence, staying alive requires working together. . .

KIBBUTZ DEGANYA, which eventually split into Kibbutz Deganya Alef and Deganya Bet, developed into one of Israel’s most iconic institutions, and led the way for the hundreds of kibbutzim thereafter. It was established in October 1910 by a dozen men hailing from Russia. They were inspired to pursue the Zionist socialist vision in Palestine by working the land during what is known as the Second Aliya.
https://www.jpost.com/Magazine/A-uniquely-Israeli-institution-543296

The waiting lists are the most recent in a series of changes that the kibbutz movement has undergone since the financial crisis it faced in the 1980s. And in recent years, most kibbutzim are accepting new residents only as fully fledged members, with full rights and obligations, rather than as people simply living there. Many of the arrivals are children of the kibbutz who are returning home.
Many kibbutzim simply cannot meet the demand, and it’s not just the wealthy kibbutzim near the center of the country that are a draw, but also smaller collective communities in outlying areas. Kibbutz movement secretary general Nir Meir says every year, on the eve of Shavuot, the number of babies on the kibbutzim is tallied. This year the number exceeded 3,000.
Speaking to Haaretz, Meir attributed the growth to a number of factors. One is that the era in which kibbutzim were allowing non-members to move in, living in new neighborhoods that were being built, but not really fully part of the kibbutz community, is over. At the same time, the kibbutz movement extracted itself from its earlier financial crisis and changes on kibbutzim “made the way of life a lot more attractive,” Meir asserted.
Ein Dor and Yizre’el in northern Israel were both established in 1948. One was privatized in 2003, while the other still serves three communal meals a day and adheres to the old kibbutz socialist ethos – can you guess which one is thriving today?
. . .
Ein Dor is certainly not a failing kibbutz today, but Almog says it isn’t the most financially successful, either.
. . .

A 30-minute drive away in the Jezreel Valley, Yizre’el is among a handful of kibbutzim that still embraces the old-fashioned principles of communal life.

Here, monthly allocations are based not on job description and title, but on seniority at the kibbutz, family size and need. At Yizre’el, the mess hall is still the place where all members take their three daily meals (free of charge) and gather for events, activities and important votes.

. . .
Today, Yizre’el is one of the richest kibbutzim in Israel thanks to its controlling stake in a company that is the world’s single largest supplier of robotic pool cleaners. Maytronics, which is traded on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, has a market capitalization of 1.9 billion shekels (about $540 million). Last year, it boasted almost $200 million in sales (almost exclusively exports) and net earnings of $24 million. Maytronics, which is 60 percent owned by the members of Yizre’el, now has subsidiaries in the United States, France and Australia, and recently opened a second plant in northern Israel.
Of course, this only shows what is possible not what is likely. There are many more cities than kibbutzim. Yet, this type of system may be more common than rich westerners would know.  Some societies in third-world countries operate on a similar level of sharing. For example, a sojourners commune was normal for refugees from Nicaragua:
A couple of us from Sojourners were showing the group around. We introduced them to our tenant organizers, who were helping neighbors in massive tenement buildings join together to hold landlords accountable for fair rents and repairs. We stopped in and picked up a snack at our food co-op. We took our guests into our daycare facility for preschoolers and our neighborhood center, where older children were receiving after-school tutoring and adults computer training. There we talked with the group about the structure of our life: the shared assets, communal living, prayer.
All this was met with complete silence. We got none of the tough questions and challenging arguments we were used to from detractors—or the accolades of admiration and expressions of just-how-impressive-it-all-was that spilled readily out of the mouths of supportive observers. Just polite smiles. Translation was not the problem, as the Spanish interpreter had done a marvelous job of describing it all. The spokesperson for the group thanked us for our time, and they left.
The translator came back around a few days later to explain. “They didn’t understand that this is unusual in North America,” he said. “This is how they live—looking out for one another and each other’s children, sharing their food and everything they have, praying for God’s protection.” Of course.
Ultimately it is your decision what to value. We can talk about what we would naturally do all day but if something is possible for one human to value I believe it is possible for others. (what a libertarian idea) On Robert Nozick, the Standford encyclopedia comments that we don’t actually know what types of communities would suit human beings:
It is inspiring to anyone who appreciates how little each of us knows about what sorts of communities best suit human beings in all their depth and diversity and how much the operation of the framework assists individuals in their discovery of and engagement in communities that enhance their respective well-being.
Joyce Hollyday states that she believes collectivism is even natural for humans:
Now I’m closing in on 60. As I ponder my life, I give thanks for a rich and roundabout journey that has brought me back to community by intention. I share life on a small farm in the mountains of western North Carolina with friends. I co-pastor a faith community that includes additional friends and families that are committed to living justly and in peace. I try to remind myself often that those of us who inhabit industrialized, digitalized, privatized early-21st-century North America are an aberration on our planet and in human history. That we even have to engage in conversations and write articles and organize conferences about how to “do community” speaks of our poverty and our alienation from the way of being human. We have lost sight of the fact that we are designed to live interdependently, caring for one another and sharing all that we have for the sake of the common good.
As it turned out, the visit by the Central Americans was not our last at Sojourners. They soon returned when they discovered the traumas and frights of our competitive and unwelcoming US culture. And as the terror in Central America escalated, Spanish began to be spoken in more and more of the homes in our neighborhood.
I have presented a rough outline of where the left and right may agree and of how human nature is compatible with the communal system. We hope it provokes some thought.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part Two

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter four, part two

     So, we have discovered the basic state of play for mankind in the time of Jesus.  It was to this broken, fallen world that He came, draped in human flesh, Emmanuel, God with us.  He ministered to the Hebrews, to the tribes of Abraham, to the Great barge, because only they could
know who He was.  No one else would have understood His miracles, His sermons, His sacrifice.  Having ministered for three years, He established His church, and prepared her to got out into the rest of the world, to make disciples of all men, in preparation for the day when the rivers merge again.

     He explained by parable, that He wanted His hall filled, for the great day of His marriage, and that the disciples were to go and preach, ‘whosoever will’.  From Matthew 22:

Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with [e]dinner guests.

     This stands in stark contrast to the first journey on the Euphrates.  The requirements were harsh, terrifying and immutable.  There was no grey area for behavior under the Law.  This seemed like a bum deal to the Hebrews; after all, they bore the Torah through the desert, and suffered greatly for it.  We see the mind of Judah in the parable of the Prodigal: the older brother, the one who remained, was angry that the profligate was received.  And in the parable of the vineyard, those who worked all day were angry that the wage was the same for those who worked an hour.  To be honest, they kind of have a point.

     It seems grossly unfair that the gentiles would be treated as family by El Shaddai.  What was the point of separating out from the nations, if those nations are welcomed in anyway?  I sympathize with the Hebrews in this: like Jonah, I have to call BS on what must be called as such.  The Ninth commandment compels it.  I can understand the older brother: why did he remain and work, if the younger could party and come back like nothing happened?

     Well, as the story goes, the older brother, Judah, did not get shorted after all.  The Father comforts him, and says, clearly in Luke 15

29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never [k]neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your [l]wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you [m]have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

     Yahweh has never left Judah, not even in the worst of times.  He cannot, for Judah is His inheritance.  While the Gentiles were welcomed in, to be loved, restored, and uplifted, he has no portion on the farm.  It is, in fact, Judah’s farm.  Now, please pay close attention to the following words:

     This not about the love of God: this is about the proprietorship of the farm.  Jesus loves all mankind, no exceptions.  He paid for the sins of all people, no exceptions.  He sent His disciples to all the world, no exceptions. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is supernumerary to all barriers, all thoughts, all constructs of matter or will than do or can exist.  There is no power, in hard or limitless reality, that can interpose between the soul reaching to be saved, and mighty hand Yahweh to do so, as he attests in Isaiah 59. 

     That love belongs to all His progeny, no exceptions.  However, the administrative functions of the farm-those are not handed out to the wedding guests.  Those belong to Judah.  This will rankle a few people-and let me state that I am a gentile by birth-but the facts are intransigent.  The older brother has, as his portion, all the Father has.  This is established by the leadership team of the next reality, the final one, immortal, impervious to darkness.  Eternity is going to be run by thirteen Jewish men.  One Messiah, Yeshua, and His twelve friends, the Apostles.

    If you think that is incidental, try this.  Flip a coin thirteen times in a row, and try to get all heads.  Unless you have an Altered Carbon download, you will die of old age before that happens.  A permutation of 2 to the 13th power is pretty huge; it’s a series circuit that fails the first time you flip tails-and that just represents that they are are males.  That they are all Hebrew males-the chance of that event occurring is so  astronomical that I can’t calculate it.  It would be a theta value, which in Trigonometry is a number so small, it can be said to be 0, even though it is not.

     So let’s face the facts: Judah has not been subjected to ‘replacement theology’.  El may add to that number-after all, there were Ger who followed the Law, and were counted as native born, with an inheritance (ezek 47).  But Judah is given reign over the estate.  When all things come to an end, when the Millenium is over, and this world obliterated, the leadership team of New Jerusalem, which has a gate for each Tribe of Israel, will be Hebrews, and those who joined them on the Great Barge. 

     If this chaffs you, please remember that if you attending the wedding of the Lamb, you are not on fire.  That is a benny worth-well, anything.  If you are on fire, that is your job.  Not being on fire is an amazingly  good deal, especially when we earned it.  So, I am alright if I say ‘Sir’ to a Hebrew-considering that I could be saying “AHHHHHHHHH!” as I run around perpetually immolated.  Perspective, at times, is a virtue worth pursuing.

     This segue will lead us right to where Paul discusses the Jew and the Gentile, in Romans 3, where he explains that Hebrews have lost nothing.  Rather, the goyim have gained life, and the love of God, which can be spread around to as many as will receive them.  Now, we have returned to Romans 4 again, where the circumcised and uncircumcised children of Abraham are being brought in their vessels.  We will discuss the Kalak one more time, so that we can envision the day when all the vessels of faith join up in that happy armada, the Marriage of the Lamb.

A Theory on the Mark of the Beast

Just to note. I didn’t come up with this on my own but I adapted it from the work of someone else. I’ve asked that person previously if he wants me to credit him and he hasn’t responded.

The theory is that originally the mark of the beast meant “man-made torah” in Hebrew or Aramaic[1] while when it was translated into Greek some translators changed it to mean “man-made Christ” (the two are actually connected)[2]

The first thing is that the number is 616 in the earliest manuscripts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/616_(number)
Gematria (or assigning numbers to letters) can get very full of woo and yield too many results (you can find 616 and 666 in too many people’s names) so I want to figure out the shortest and most simple way to get 616 in Hebrew. If these sources are correct maybe you could do the following:
http://www.jensenpetersen.org/images/Ancient_Hebrew_Alphabet_Chart.pdfhttps://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/yod
(yod means “arm” or “hand”) (in the previous source they only mentioned the “arm” meaning)
tav means mark
resh means head
yod means hand
vav means affix/add
(all adds up to 616 http://www.gematrix.org/?word=%D7%AA%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%95 )
or see:

Table of Numerical Values of Letters
http://www.jewfaq.org/alephbet.htm

Looking at the context of the verses [3][4] you get the idea of man-made Torah.

So why did some translators of the Hebrew/Aramaic (or copiers of the Greek) change the number in Greek? Since 616 is in the earliest documents maybe the later translators were worried that as Christianity spread the audience wouldn’t understand the meaning of Hebrew gematria and since the Greek letters also had meanings they changed the number to get a similar meaning in Greek (with Christ being thought of as the living Torah) [2]

In the Greek 666 is represented as chi (600) xi (60) stigma (6) and the meanings are “Christ detached-from piercing”[5] This is a reference to the gnostic version of Christ [6] It would take me too much space to describe all the animosity between early Christianity and Gnosticism but basically that there are a lot places in the new testament that criticize the Gnostic rejection of the law or “antinomianism”.[7]

Just to include the mainstream theory in the mix as well the other idea is that 666 means “Neron Ceasar” and that 616 means “Nero Ceasar” [8][9]

[1]
It is important in this connection to note the Hebraisms of the whole of this part of the book, which prove that the writer or—if he himself originally wrote Hebrew or Aramaic—the translator could neither write nor speak Greek correctly. As to the relation of this to the apocalypse which follows see below.
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12712-revelation-book-of

[2]
Compare the following Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30 and uses “Christ” in place of “Torah” (one idea you can get is that Christ is the living torah in that he fulfilled the law: Matthew 5:17)
Romans 10
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Deut 30
11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

[3]
Mark head hand affixed = torah
Deut 6:8″You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Deuteronomy 11:18
“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Exodus 13:9
“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:16
“So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

[4]
Context dictates it means something related to the torah and is man-made “it is the number of a man”
Rev Chapter 13
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
14:1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads

[5]
” the letter Chi used to abbreviate the name of Christ . . .”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christogram

“The letter Ξ means detached-from.
. . .
Ksustos (ξυστός) is a detached portion of a building, a covered colonnade, a walking place on the grounds of a private residence or gymnasium.”
http://www.greekalphabeta.com/learn-about-ksi-xi-60.html

(stigma has a value of 6 http://www.parthia.com/fonts/stigma.htm )

“The name, stigma (στίγμα), is originally a common Greek noun meaning “a mark, dot, puncture”, or generally “a sign”, from the verb στίζω (“to puncture”);[1] the related but distinct word stigme (στιγμή) is the classical and post-classical word for “geometric point; punctuation mark”.[2] Stigma was co-opted as a name specifically for the στ sign, evidently because of the acrophonic value of its initial st- as well as the analogy with the name of sigma.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi_(letter)

[6]
“Those Gnostic texts that discuss Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection display a variety of views that, nevertheless, reveal some common themes. James is consoled by Jesus in the First Apocalypse of James: “Never have I suffered in any way, nor have I been distressed. And this people has done me no harm.”19 In the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, Jesus says, “I did not die in reality, but in appearance.” Those “in error and blindness….saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was rejoicing in the height over all….And I was laughing at their ignorance.”20”
http://www.equip.org/articles/gnosticism-and-the-gnostic-jesus/

[7]
The first people accused of antinomianism were found, apparently, in Gnosticism; various aberrant and licentious acts were ascribed to these by their orthodox enemies; we have few independent records of their actual teachings. In the Book of Revelation 2:6-15, the New Testament speaks of Nicolaitans, who are traditionally identified with a Gnostic sect, in terms that suggest the charge of antinomianism might be appropriate.
https://www.theopedia.com/antinomianism

[8]
The seven heads of the beast are seven emperors. Five of them the Seer says are fallen. They are Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. The year of Nero’s death is A.D. 68. The Seer goes on to say “One is”, namely Vespasian, A.D. 70-79. He is the sixth emperor. The seventh, we are told by the Seer, “is not yet come. But when he comes his reign will be short”. Titus is meant, who reigned but two years (79-81). The eighth emperor is Domitian (81-96). Of him the Seer has something very peculiar to say. He is identified with the beast. He is described as the one that “was and is not and shall come up out of the bottomless pit” (17:8). In verse 11 it is added: “And the beast which was and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction”.

All this sounds like oracular language. But the clue to its solution is furnished by a popular belief largely spread at the time. The death of Nero had been witnessed by few. Chiefly in the East a notion had taken hold of the mind of the people that Nero was still alive. Gentiles, Jews, and Christians were under the illusion that he was hiding himself, and as was commonly thought, he had gone over to the Parthians, the most troublesome foes of the empire. From there they expected him to return at the head of a mighty army to avenge himself on his enemies. The existence of this fanciful belief is a well-attested historic fact. Tacitus speaks of it: “Achaia atque Asia falso exterrit velut Nero adventaret, vario super ejus exitu rumore eoque pluribus vivere eum fingentibus credentibusque” (Hist., II, 8). So also Dio Chrysostomus: kai nyn (about A.D. 100) eti pantes epithymousi zen oi de pleistoi kai oiontai (Orat., 21, 10; cf. Suetonius, “Vit. Caes.”; s.v. NERO and the SIBYLINE ORACLES). Thus the contemporaries of the Seer believed Nero to be alive and expected his return. The Seer either shared their belief or utilized it for his own purpose.

Nero had made a name for himself by his cruelty and licentiousness. The Christians in particular had reason to dread him. Under him the first persecution took place. The second occurred under Domitian. But unlike the previous one, it was not confined to Italy, but spread throughout the provinces. Many Christians were put to death, many were banished (Eusebius, Church History III.17-19). In this way the Seer was led to regard Domitian as a second Nero, “Nero redivivus”. Hence he described him as “the one that was, that is not, and that is to return”. Hence also he counts him as the eighth and at the same time makes him one of the preceding seven, viz. the fifth, Nero. The identification of the two emperors suggested itself all the more readily since even pagan authors called Domitian a second Nero (calvus Nero, Juvenal. IV, 38). The popular belief concerning Nero’s death and return seems to be referred to also in the passage (13:3): “And I saw one of its heads as it were slain to death: and its death’s wound was healed”. . .”
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01594b.htm

[9]
” . . . In ancient Greek and Hebrew, letters also represented numerals (as in Latin), their values assigned according to the order of the alphabet, alpha and aelph, for example, having the numerical value of 1. By adding these values, words could be represented as the sum of their numbers. This literation of numbers and numeration of letters was known as isopsephia by the Greeks and gematria by the Jews (which, in cabalistic practice, has been used to interpret Hebrew scripture). Suetonius relates an example of isopsephia when he records that graffiti appeared in both Greek and Latin lampooning Nero after he had his mother killed: “A calculation new. Nero his mother slew” (Life of Nero, XXXIX.2). In Greek, both “Nero” and “killed his own mother” have the same numerical value (1005).

If the Greek spelling of Nero Caesar (Neron Kaisar) is transliterated into Hebrew (nrwn qsr), the numerical equivalent is 666—although it should be remembered that this number was not represented as a figure but as letters of the alphabet or written in full. In other words, the “number of the beast” was not expressed as “666” (indeed, discrete Arabic numerals would not be invented for another five hundred years) but by the phrase hexakosioi hexekonta hex or the numerical values of the Greek letters themselves, chi (600), xi (60), and stigma (6).

But what is curious is not so much that 666 can be decoded to signify Nero but that the name is encoded in this particular number, especially since it could have been represented as readily in other ways. It only is when the words are transliterated from Greek into Hebrew and then calculated that the numeration adds up to 666 (nrwn qsr, 50 + 200 + 6 + 50 + 100 + 60 + 200). Even so, this is an alternate spelling, a letter being transliterated in “Neron” (nrwn instead of nrw) but not in “Caesar” (qsr instead of qysr). Although these forms do appear in the Talmud and an Aramaic scroll from Qumran, they no doubt complicated the solution to the puzzle.

For Watt, the significance of 666 is that its expression in Latin is the sequential Roman numerals DCLXVI, which parallels but is the antithesis of the “Alpha and Omega” that John uses to characterize both Christ (22:13) and God (1:8, 21:6). As the Deity represents the beginning and end, so the Antichrist is a reversal of the first and last, D (500) preceding I (1). To phrase this another way, 666 (or rather DCLXVI) signifies the Antichrist because that number signifies Nero, and Nero—who was a matricide, proclaimed his divinity on coins as the “Savior and Benefactor of the World,” and was the first emperor to persecute Christians—signifies the Antichrist.

If the Latin (rather than the Greek) spelling “Nero Caesar” is transliterated into Hebrew (nrw qsr), the final “n” in Neron being omitted (and its corresponding value of 50), the name computes as 616, which is the number indicated in the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament (the fragment illustrated below). If “Neron Caesar” is correct, it may be that the Latin was transcribed incorrectly, perhaps because the copyist realized that this transliteration did not equate to 666 and so omitted the letter, which changed the sum to 616. Still, each digit of 666 is one less than seven, the perfect number, and such mathematical play may have tended to establish 666, rather than 616. . .”
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:AlKMuuobaggJ:penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/gladiators/nero.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Some Problems with the Brad Scott and Walid Shoebat Theories on the Number of the Beast

Notes: I can’t find this particular Brad Scott presentation online so I’m writing this from my memory of it. I want to acknowledge Richard Bartholomew and his post on a similar topic which was of great help to me: http://barthsnotes.com/2008/06/30/cufi-speaker-666-is-in-the-name-of-allah-2/
Brad Scott claimed that the Greek letter “Xi” looked like “in the name of Allah” or “bismallah” in Arabic. The first problem with this is that the Arabic is significantly longer. In modern script it is something like:
بسم الله
More often it is written with a long line in “in the name of” http://aboutislam.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/RememberAllah-is-Most-Merciful.jpg
However, this is not how it was originally written. When you get into the relevant scripts (the earliest Qurans) the comparison is even harder to make. In the 8th century script you can see “Allah” الله the second word from the right below the orange line of Arabic text in the picture:
As a side note you can see how the writing evolved by 1154 where “in the name of” is the word with a long line in it followed by the word “Allah” at the beginning of both covers/pages:
The Greek and Arabic comparison is further made different by the fact that the ancient Greek Xi looks very little like the script Brad Scott used. Here is a comparison someone made in their post (compare the three examples to the last inserted picture)
You can double check this in the image of the original Codex Sinacticus although it is hard to see: http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=59&chapter=13&lid=en&side=r&verse=13&zoomSlider=0
This is partially because Greek was originally written in all capital letters (majuscule) and minuscule (lowercase) script only emerged in the 9th century but Brad Scott was using minuscule (lowercase) script for his comparison:
Lastly, what Brad Scott was actually doing was comparing later Greek lowercase script not to “in the name of Allah” but to “Allah,” (which looked like it was not in the original Arabic script of the Quran) الله
I’ve compared below “Allah” and lowercase “xi” in modern Greek. I don’t have the script that he got “Allah” from.
الله  ξ
In addition to what I already stated there is another problem here: “Allah” generically refers to “God” in Arabic and can be found as the name of God in Arabic Christian bibles. You can see it here as the fourth word in Genesis (from the right): http://www.copticchurch.net/cgibin/bible/index.php?version=SVD&r=Genesis+1 This would label Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians together.
Brad Scott says he got this theory from Walid Shoebat but contrary to Brad Scott, Shoebat alleges that letters in Arabic were inserted in the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus and this is what scholars (mistakenly) read as “666”
In this video Walid Shoebat asserts that the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus and “other codexes” don’t have the number 666 in Greek but instead just the three Greek letters (which he asserts are actually Arabic and an Islamic symbol). . . However, the Codex Sinaiticus has the numbers written out in Greek (not in the form of the three letters: chi, xi, and stigma) while Codex Vaticanus did not originally include The Book of Revelation which was added to it in the 15th century.
Here’s confirmation of this from Sinaicticus if you look at verse 13:18 (I don’t have a font for the ancient script so it is displayed in modern)
“εξακοϲιαι εξηκο τα εξʼ”
“The extant New Testament of Vaticanus contains the GospelsActs, the General Epistles, the Pauline Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews (up to Heb 9:14, καθα[ριει); thus it lacks 1 and 2 TimothyTitusPhilemon and Revelation. These missing leaves were replaced by a 15th century minuscule supplement (folios 760-768), they are catalogued separately as minuscule codex 1957″
Shoebat says he read the Codex Vaticanus and saw Arabic words (and an Islamic symbol) instead of Greek letters. However, the Greek script he saw is minuscule 15th century which does not represent how the original Greek would have looked in majuscule. Irenaeus wrote in the second century that the number was 666 (he alleged that 616 which is in the earliest documents we have was a scribal error) when they were still writing in capitals in Greek and this is before the manuscripts that Shoebat mentions: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103530.htm In fact I don’t believe there is an extant manuscript that predates Irenaeus’s assessment of the Greek characters being a number.
The 15th century addition (which shouldn’t be relevant) of the Codex Vaticanus contains this for the number of the beast:

of which Shoebat is trying to say the middle letter is this in Arabic:

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part One

So, what then is the purpose of having a Tigris?  El gave a Law to His people, to govern their existence.  Why then does the Tigris branch off at all?  After all, it would seem that He had a plan in place for the superintendence of His people.  But that proved to be the very reason the Tigris run was needed.  There were people living in this world that had grown up under the aegis of inquiry.  These had never heard of the written Torah, and did not know how the universe worked.

The civilized world was built on power, brutality, and avarice, all of which stemmed from one source: the fear of death.  From the mighty to the small, death plagued the soul of fallen men.  It was the spectre on the moors, a dread banshee that could not be repelled.  In fact, the more power and largess an empire acquired, the more the feared death.  The race of power makes one aware of the danger of power; thus, as one gains power, one fears losing it even more.  This was true for civilizations as well as people; the savagery and cruelty needed to make civilization (as Nietzsche detailed in Genealogy of Morals) always leaves a haunting whisper in the mind of the victor, as he surveys the dead he slaughtered to become a king: one day, this will be you.

Death, the constant northern star of fallen man’s literature and art; Death, the motor that drives his quest for first medicine, then immortality; Death, the hand and their throat, waking them in the night, waiting silently just beyond the door, silently, patiently.  Death, the cessation of anima, obsessed fallen man.  Death is the progenitor of all the gifts of civilization, either through the arts, philosophy, medicine and logic, or through mathematics and science, through which power may be gained.  It’s invincibility, omnipresence, and inevitability made it a god to men, literally.  Every ancient pantheistic religion had a god of death, who generally had to be appeased to stave him off.

If you think I am overstating this, pick up some Camus, or give Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal a watch.  For an abridged version of existentialist angst, watch What if Ingmar Bergman directed the Flash? on youtube.

Ultimately, we can go back to the man that the Greeks and Romans revered as the great sage: Homer.  It was he that penned the verse by which all of them lived:

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

This diatribe is of overwhelming importance, because you can now see how the minds of men were formed by history.  It was to this verse that Paul referred when he wrote “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”.  (1 thess 4).

Now, I must be thorough, which requires a quick statement.  The Greeks were investigating the possibility of the immortality of spirit as early as 400 bc, in what were called the Eleusinian mysteries.  So the idea of escaping Death was not totally unheard of.  These cults were highly guarded and secretive, probably because they were sexual rites.  For the majority of mankind, however, it seemed that life was a cruel joke,  in which Camus said it was absurd to assign meaning.  It is perhaps summed up best by T.S. Elliiot:

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

It was to this world, a world without hope, a world of fear and terror, ruled by empires of fear and terror, that the Great Barge brought the sacred scroll, Torah.  Alexander of Macedon introduced the Hebrews to the world, and they moved to his eponymous city, Alexandria.  There, the Greek would work with them to translate the Torah into the Septuagint work that survives today.  Things were looking good, until the Hebrews revolted against the Seleucid Greeks (Seleucus  being a general of Alexander that inherited part of his master’s empire upon Alexander’s death).  Antiochus IV placed a statue of Zeus in the Temple, prefiguring the Abomination that causes Desolation in the End Times, when the Antichrist sits in the 3rd temple’s holiest seat, and declares himself God.  This led to the Maccabean revolt, which plunged Judea into constant turmoil and violence, until the Diaspora in 70 ad.

It was to Judea that Yeshua ben David, known also as Jesus, came with His ministry.  His work was strictly limited to the people of Israel;  not that He was a racist, but His focus was on the Hebrews, not the Goyim.  This was intended, for the Hebrews were versed in the Torah: they were educated and instructed by the Law, and moreover, knew of the prophesies that accompanied the arrival of the Messiah.  Jesus performed His miracles to show the Hebrews that He was the Anointed One, of whom the prophets had spoken.

In short order, the power elites of Judea worked to kill Jesus.  Like the empires of men, they feared death, and the loss of power.  That should have been the end of it.  But then, the world changed in three days (note: for a Hebrew, three days means “one whole day, with part or all of a day on either side of it’).  The impossible, if the reports of this man Jesus could be believed, had occurred.  Mankind’s ancient enemy, his tormentor, his god-like foe, had been thrown down.  As lunatic as it was fervent, the cries rang through the streets of Jerusalem, tearing down walls between Greek and Jew, and giving mankind the hope that they had never known:

“HE IS ALIVE!”

To the Greek, the Roman, the fallen, this simply could not be.  Death could not be defeated. And yet, here they were, the tribe of Christians (as Josephus called them), willing to face the very power at which all men and empires quailed, to proclaim the name of Jesus to Rome and the rest of the world.  Here, the Tigris Run, the Gospel of the Risen Christ, would burst forth from the water table made flush by the mighty Euphrates, to bring the light of the Torah to all mankind, borne on the modest Kalak that bears the joyous refrain:

He is Alive.

Paul’s Former Life in Judaism and Related Points

Galatians 1:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

1 On Paul’s “former conduct” in “Judaism.” It’s clear to me that he couldn’t have said that he is no longer a jew because Christianity didn’t exist yet. Also, for the following reasons:

Acts 28:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,

Acts 23:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

Acts 22:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

Acts 25:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”

Consider also Paul’s statement that he is a member of what is called a sect of Judaism before the Romans:

13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.  (Acts 24 NKJV)

Compare with:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/7682/does-nazarene-sect-mean-nazarene-cult

. . . Ἰουδαϊσμῷ The rendering of this word in our versions, Jewish religion, is unfortunate: it implies a definite separation between the two religions which did not then exist, for Christians were still habitual worshippers in the synagogue; and it puts this view into the mouth of Paul, who steadfastly persisted in identifying the faith of Christ with the national religion. The word Ἰουδαϊζειν denotes the adoption of Jewish habits, language, or policy (cf. Galatians 2:14). So here Ἰουδαϊσμός denotes Jewish partisanship . . .

(Expositor’s Greek Testament)

. . . the Jews’ religion] One word in the original, which does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. except in Galatians 1:14. From the use of the corresponding verb, we may regard it as referring not to the religion revealed to the Jews in the writings of Moses and the prophets, but that which was its actual development in St Paul’s day, when the word of God had been overlaid and ‘made of none effect’ by the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees, and the puerile conceits of the Rabbinic expositors. . . .(Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges) https://biblehub.com/commentaries/galatians/1-13.htm

“former” modifies “conduct” not “Judaism”  (G2454)

So Paul had a former behavior in “Judaism” and now he has a different behavior in “Judaism” after learning the gospel of Christ.

  1.  the word translated “Judaism” is only twice in the entire NT (Gal 1:13-14) and LXX (excluding Maccabees): https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/2454

13–14 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

The word “Judaism” ( jIoudai>smov~, ioudaismos) is used only here (twice, once in v. 13 and once in v. 14) in the whole Apostolic Scriptures. It is found only five times in the Lxx (2Mac 2.21; 8.1; 14.38(2x); 4Mac 4.26) and then only in the Maccabees. Y. Amir, in a study entitled “The Term Ioudaismos: A Study in Jewish-Hellenistic Self-Identification,”50 comes to the conclusion that the word means a “a sort of fenced-off area in which Jewish lives are led.”

https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

the word this is derived from G2450 (verb form) which is only used in Ester 8:17 and Galatians 2:14 https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G2450 In Gal 2:14 it is used to denote specific Jewish practices. In Ester 8:17 it is used for “jewish-like” in “were circumcised and were jewish-like” indicating that it might mean something other than circumcision. A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE SEPTUAGINT defines it as:

+ V 0-0-0-1-0=1

Est 8,17

to side with or to imitate the Jews; neol

http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

Dunn thinks that the term may indicate something other than “circumcision” (=becoming a proselyte), since its only other use (the Lxx of Esther 8:17) has both the term “circumcised” as well as “made themselves Jews” (the verb ‘to circumcise” is lacking in the Hebrew). But the Lxx phrase (“and many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and became Jews, for fear of the Jews”) may well be simply a commentary on “becoming a Jew.” From the Lxx translators’ standpoint, this surely involved the ritual of the proselyte. It hardly seems possible that Paul would have so sharply denounced Peter if he was simply trying to persuade the Gentiles to take on Jewish customs. This hardly goes

contrary to the gospel. Rather, it seems to me far more likely that Peter, for what ever reasons, was attempting to sway the Gentile believers over to the viewpoint of the “party of the circumcision,” that full covenant membership was only available to Jews.

From the viewpoint of the influencers, the whole matter turned on the observance of established halachah. But for Paul, the issue was that of the gospel: “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel ….” The word translated “straightforward” by the NASB (“not acting in line,” NIV; “their conduct was not in step,” ESV) is interesting. It is ojrqopodevw, orthopodeõ, being made of two words; ortho, meaning “straight” (note our English “orthodontist”) and pous, “foot.” The obvious idea is “to walk in a straight path,” “to be on the right road.” Our modern idiom, “walk a straight line” fits the meaning well. It was not that Peter and those he was following were denying the gospel, nor attempting to undermine it directly. Rather, their approach to this whole matter was a detour from the gospel, and one that Paul feared would so sidetrack the Gentile believers as to keep them from reaching the goal

https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

In the context of Galatians 2, G2450 may be related to a halacha or Jewish practice: 1 a false gospel or good news (how you are saved) and 2 justifying yourself by works of the law. . .  This seems to fall outside of torah vs. non-torah observant, rather it is a certain take the Torah or on Judaism. (mainly the false idea that you needed to become a Jew to be saved) In this case it was false but that doesn’t mean the word G2450 implies falsity. See below:

13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew (G2450), live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Gal 2)

https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

Note: “we are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners” is tongue-and-cheek (explained later)

Peter’s hypocrisy consisted of his having engaged in table fellowship

with the Gentiles when unobserved by the Jerusalem folk, but separating from the Gentiles when the group from James arrived, and even compelling them to submit to proselytism in order to be accepted by the party of the circumcision. The Greek has ijoudai÷zw, ioudaizõ, “to live like a Jew,” used only here in the Apostolic Scriptures. The Lxx utilizes this same verb in Esther 8:17 (the only time found in the Lxx) to translate the hapax legoumena  . . .  , mityahadim, “made themselves Jews.” Though the term is used only these two times in biblical literature, the meaning is clear: Peter had been swayed by the “party of the circumcision” to compel (ajnagkavzw, anagkazõ45) the Gentiles to submit to the ritual of a proselyte. Interestingly, Paul used this same word (Acts 26:11) to describe his attempts to “force” the believers in Yeshua to blaspheme in order to have a sure judgment against them
https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

2 How was Peter compelling Gentiles to live as Jews? By making them undergo the proselyte ritual in order to consider them saved and hence worthy of table fellowship. Similar to how Paul was put in a situation where he was “compelled” to call on Cesar where same word is used: Acts 28:19 https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G315

3 The Revelation that Paul had was about Yeshua’s salvation for the nations. It seems like this revelation started on the road to Damascus and continued afterward:

15 But when God thought well to separate me from out of the belly of my mother, and called me by his favor, 16 to reveal his son in me, that I should announce him good news among the nations; immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood; (Gal 1 ABP)

4  A suggestion on how the New Covenant is different:

The New Covenant covenant is different in that it is God writing the law on the heart rather than man. This I think is significant. Let’s say I make an agreement with you that you will build a house with certain specifications and that I will pay you a certain amount of money. Then I propose a different agreement where the only difference is that I will build the house instead of you. That’s pretty significant, even if I don’t change the money or any of the other specifications. I think maybe the other difference is that God is able to write the law on the heart much better than man (hence why no one will need to teach another which is also different): this is possibly why it also differs in that God will write the law “on your inward parts” or “inside of you” in the New Covenant (maybe a deeper writing than just the mind)

Compare inward parts to heart (I thought this was kind of interesting)

There seems to be some significance to the writing surface and instrument used in metaphors involving writing: As a side note  Jer 17:13 is used to explain what Jesus wrote in the dust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZSG7p5DQ-M

 Jer 17:1 The sin of Judah is written H3789 with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; (KJV)

Jer 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written H3789 in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. (KJV)

Compare with:

Deu 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (KJV)

It says in proverbs to either write God’s law on your heart or to write the instructions of whoever is writing proverbs on your heart:

 Pro 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write H3789 them upon the table of thine heart: (KJV)

 Pro 7:3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write H3789 them upon the table of thine heart. (KJV)

Compare with:

Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write H3789 it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (KJV)

It seems like God would have better instruments than us to write the law. Keil and Deilitzche in their commentary on Deut 10:6 make the observation that the writing surface will be entirely different as well:

The Lord will then circumcise their heart, and the heart of their children (see Deuteronomy 10:16), so that they will love Him with all their heart. When Israel should turn with true humility to the Lord, He would be found of them, – would lead them to true repentance, and sanctify them through the power of His grace, – would take away the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, a new heart and a new spirit, – so that they should truly know Him and keep His commandments (vid., Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33. and Deuteronomy 32:39.). “Because of thy life,” i.e., that thou mayest live, sc., attain to true life. The fulfilment of this promise does not take place all at once. It commenced with small beginnings at the deliverance from the Babylonian exile, and in a still higher degree at the appearance of Christ in the case of all the Israelites who received Him as their Saviour. Since then it has been carried on through all ages in the conversion of individual children of Abraham to Christ; and it will be realized in the future in a still more glorious manner in the nation at large (Romans 11:25.). The words of Moses do not relate to any particular age, but comprehend all times. For Israel has never been hardened and rejected in all its members, although the mass of the nation lives under the curse even to the present day.

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/deuteronomy/30.htm

5 Something interesting “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles” might be Paul being sarcastic. Hence, he is also speaking against the idea of “works of the law” in this case going through the ritual of proselyte and becoming a “Jew by nature” is not going to automatically save you are make you not a sinner. 

Paul quotes (perhaps a bit “tongue-in-cheek”) the primary premise of the party of the circumcision: “we are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners.” This is not Paul’s perspective, but that of the influencers. Dunn agrees:

This language rings oddly on the lips of Paul, until we realize what hewas doing. Paul was putting himself in the shoes of a typical Jew who looked out at the rest of the world as outside the realm of God’s covenant righteousness and sinful (cf. Eph 2:12). More to the point, he was using the language of typical Jewish factionalism, which was ready to condemn those Jews who disagreed with the sect’s interpretation of what the law required as ‘sinners’— outside their sectarian understanding of the covenant, which meant, of course, from the sectarian viewpoint, outside the covenant. In fact, Paul was probably echoing the language used by the ‘individuals from James’ when they spoke against the Jewish Christians’ table-fellowship with the Gentile believers: such table-fellowship with ‘Gentile sinners’ was unacceptable.46

Thus, when Paul writes, “we are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners,” he is deliberately using the language of those who were distancing themselves from the Gentiles, encouraging them to become proselytes in order to leave the status of “sinner” and enter the circle of “Jews by birth.”

https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

Conclusion: I think G2454 and G2450 refers to practice or halacha of Judaism. That is, Paul had abandoned his former practice in Judaism that viewed converting to Judaism (or jewish-like) as a prerequisite for salvation. To quote Tim Hegg:

There is no doubt that Paul made a clear distinction between his former life, lived under the acceptance of the prevailing Pharisaic belief that Jewish status rendered one a member of the covenant, and his current life lived in the reality of the risen Messiah. But such a distinction said nothing about the place of the divinely inspired Torah, and its central importance in the life of the believer. What it did contrast, however, was the life of faith in Messiah Yeshua and the

message of the influencers which insisted upon Jewish status as a prerequisite for covenant membership.

https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/study-in-galatians/galatians_commentary.pdf

Abraham, River of Faith: Interlude on Bifurcation

This is a short rest on our journey, a place to cool our heels. In the old West, cowpokes would use these reprieves to tell stories, and pass around some grub or coffee.  In keeping with the traditions of the land where men were free, I too want to spin a yarn-not a tall tale of epic daring-do, but, rather, about a thematic element in the writing of Yahweh.  This element is bifurcation.

Some will beef with me on this.  How can I, a mere man, critique the words of the Almighty God?  Well, I am made in His image, Regenerate in His royal blood-and I have a university education.  Image, by the way, should be rendered likeness, or similarity.  Yahweh doesn’t have a body-He is supernumerary to the conventions He created (time, space, matter).  Our likeness to Him is our reason (or wisdom, in Psalms 8).  His mind works like ours, because ours works like His.

His writing can be deconstructed, just like any literary form.  El has themes, a plot, symbolism, and a conflict.  He has styles which He favors, that flavor His work, like any human writer does.  Accordingly, we can examine one of His primary thematic elements, which is bifurcation, the splitting of something into two parts.  This works in tandem with His consistent use of the symbolism of two in His work.

From the beginning, Yah divides the universe.  He makes water and land; earth and heaven; sun and moon; and, when HE makes His children, He makes them ‘male and female’.  This particular bifurcation, along with providing fodder for most music and writing, is considered by some cultures to be the fundamental substance of existence itself (Yin and Yang, Shiva/Shakti).  This is a curious situation, since El reveals Himself in the masculine primarily.  There does not appear to be a feminine aspect of Elohim (a fact which the Babylonians derided, as their religion was based on gods and goddesses having sex).

The theme of two repeats itself throughout the Bible.  Proverbs are phrased in couplets, for instance.  Some of the major overtures of the Bible come from two brothers in conflict: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ismael, Jacob and Esau, and even Judah and Israel.  If we examine history, we can see that Jew and Greek are not just terms of Paul’s day, but, rather, represent the perpendicular patterns of life between the Hebrew pattern-superintendence- and the Greek, which is inquiry.  The latter would build civilization to answer the great questions, and the former would come from the wilderness to bring them the sacred scroll, Torah.

Paul refers to this continually in his missives.  As we saw in Romans, he discusses the two sons of Abraham: the Circumcised, and the Uncircumcised.  This pattern is consistent with flow of the Bible.  Although the Shmei tells us ‘El is one’, he often has two sons that He loves equally.  Even when He separates out the Hebrews, and the Prosyltos with them, to make Israel, He also provides hope that He will one day tear down the walls, and bring the Gentiles home to Him.

In the end, there is only one.  When all is settled, there will be divisions no more.  This is the power of a well written story: when the end almost entirely resembles the beginning.  The circle completed is a hallmark of masterful writing.  In the Bible, we see this.  All was one, then divisions occurred.  But when the final second of the clock of this reality is struck, we will reunite forever in El.

Now that we have chewed the fat, and sat a spell, I will pick up my tack and head back out on the range.  The theme of two will recur often in this work, so I wanted to hash out the details before we hit the trail.  Let us take our kalak, now, into the swift, roaring waters of the Tigris.  The Great barge is still rumbling along, chugging inexorably to the end.  Let us see, then, what the trip on the Tigris entails.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 3, Part 3

The voyage of the Great Barge began in Abraham, when El promised him an heir from his body (gen 15). That seed would go into slavery in Egypt for 400 years, and would be marked by a sign-a physical seal of the Covenant, circumcision (gen 17).  This creates in them a unique identity, that separates them from the rest of the world.  Reinforcing this is the Law of Moses, a code of rules that reiterates the holiness, or quality of being set apart, of the tribes of Jacob.  This word, tribe, needs examination, as it is comprised of two elements.

The primary element, or branch, is the issue of Abraham, in the form of the Hebrews from his body.  The other branch are those who entered into Covenant with the natural root, who were not of his body.  Indeed, Yahweh says plainly “the same Law applies to you, and the stranger who sojourns among you” (exo 12).  many other times, He says that His justice is indivisible, comprehensive, and evenly applied.

This bolsters claims made by the Torah Community that indeed, there is one Law for everyone.  However, the word stranger/sojourner needs further examination here.  A study of this word conducted in our convocation revealed that this word, ger, relates very strongly to the word Proselyto/Proselytes in the Septuagint, which changes the connotation of the word.  This directly imputes a property of motion towards converting to the worship of Yahweh. not simply one ‘passing through’.  In other words, this is one who acts and lives as one native born.

This is a moebius band, an object with one side.  It appears to be a union of two, a common theme with El.  But, in fact, it is one.  It can, in fact, be no other way.  The commandments do not differentiate between two groups: they are for anyone living in Israel.  Observe the language: the 613 mitzvah all center around how you live in The Land, and How you worship Yahovah.  These events are localized.  If you are not near the Holy Land, you are not involved in these affairs.

Further, if you are near the Land, you still have a wall to cross.  If you did not come from the loins of Abraham, you had to enter in through the Covenant as native born.  You were no longer what you were.  To live in Israel, to have an inheritance, a potion, you had to belong to a tribe.  Your genetics did not change, but your body did: for it had to bear the sign of the Covenant.  To cross the barrier Paul describes in Eph 2 15, you had to become as Native born.

Consult the map of Israel.  How is the land demarcated? By tribe.  Where is the space for ‘ger’, or stranger?  Where is the land for the Hittite, the Jebusite, Gibbionite?  None exists.  This Land was for the offspring of Jacob-and any who, by conversion, took the sign of their people.  Subsidiary to this was the adoption of Yahweh as Elohim, the God.  This requires that any practice of former cultures-the shaping of beards, the carving of flesh to honor dead ancestors (note: that is not a commandment against ‘inking’ the skin).

Several statutes prohibit mixing of things-fabrics, seeds, even people.  The law prohibited miscegenation-yet, if they entered in, the very same people, genetically, could marry and live in Israel.  Why? They were now Native born.  Their very identity had been altered.  They were no longer goyim: they were Israelites.  Thus, while the Tribe had genetically different members, it was racially unique. It was a tribe, of Hebrews, whether through the loins of Abraham, or adopting his Covenant with El.

Thus, any who were in the Euphrates could be pulled up out of the water.  Indeed, there was much room on the Great Barge-for anyone near enough to enter it.  Further, as the hand reaches up, it changes: before the rescued can set foot on the Barge, he must transmogrify into a Hebrew, both in body, and in habit.  Where once he was a Hittite, he transforms into a Hebrew, and now, by commandment, must see the very people from which he came as Goy, as unclean, as the enemy-or, at least, as uncircumcised.

Thus, Steve the Hittite becomes Steven Cohen, although he still has the same history and genetics.  He might keep his old monniker, as in Steve “the Hittite” Cohen.  But once he joins the ecclesia, the Assembly, his identity is now Hebrew.  he has the sign of the Covenant, he has adopted the ordinances.  He is now reborn, as one native to Jacob.  In the New Covenant, the blood of Christ, this is called regeneration.

In this way, the Covenant of the Circumcision was, by its’ nature, exclusive and divisive.  It was meant to separate out, to keep undefiled the people of God.  Those people were Hebrew, or counted as.  That identity was required to inherit the Land, the blessings, the portions of the tribe of Jacob.  This was open to any who would come in, and transform, but the great majority of the Earth was not able to enter in.  The Circumcision was localized, immobile, and exclusive.  It would take another river to reach out to all mankind, one in which the transformation required was not bound by any earthly demarcation.

The Two Covenants of Galatians 4

Last update: 2020-04-07

All verses are in the NRSV unless otherwise noted. This is a document written in response to some things about the law we were discussing at Bible study.

To understand the two covenants we must start with Paul’s introductory comments here:

Tell me, you who desire to be subject G5259 to the law, will you not listen to the law? (Galatians 4:21)

or more literally:

Tell me, ye who are willing to be under G5259 law, the law do ye not hear? (Gal 4:21 YLT)

What does “under G5259 law G3551” mean? Paul earlier compares “works of the law”–which is an Essene teaching that one could be justified by keeping certain laws[1]–to the work of Christ. Paul argues against “works of the law” and contrasts it with faith in many different places.

There are several directions you can go with the meaning of “under law.” Gesenius connects H8478 to G5259 “under” in Greek and lists places when it can be used to designate being under to “authority” for instance “under her husband” means “under the authority of her husband” [2] In addition Luke 7:8 and Matthew 8:9 clearly make this connection of being “under” someone to being “under the authority of” someone.[3] Gesenius gives Nu. 5:19 and Eze. 23:5 as examples which both have the context of punishment for the wrong-doing while “under” the husband. [4]  However, what does it mean to be “under authority?” If we go with this meaning I would suggest it means close to “under power” [5] the usage in the new testament seems to fit better with “power” than plain “authority.” [6] After all, what good is authority if you don’t have the power to carry it out? However, the meaning of “under” seems to depend on what is metaphorically on top. [7] The closest I could find to being under “law” in the Greek Septuagint was in 2 Maccabees 7:36 which speaks of dying “under (God’s) covenant” i.e. ὑπὸ διαθήκην (θεοῦ). The result or consequence of dying while “under God’s covenant” is “everlasting life.” [8][9] “Under covenant” is the closest parallel to “under law” I have found, therefore, keep in mind this meaning of “under the results of the law” when we read “under law” in the following. Let’s start in Romans to see if “under results” fits.

First some context:

6 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

This is a quote from Habakkuk 2:4 and the context is about the Chaldeans being eventually judged for plundering Israel and other nations even though they are about to destroy the temple and attack Israel. This was brought about by Israel’s sin:

4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.
5 Moreover, wealth is treacherous;
the arrogant do not endure.
They open their throats wide as Sheol;
like Death they never have enough.
They gather all nations for themselves,
and collect all peoples as their own.

6 Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them,

“Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!”
How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
7 Will not your own creditors suddenly rise,
and those who make you tremble wake up?
Then you will be booty for them.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
all that survive of the peoples shall plunder you—
because of human bloodshed, and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who live in them. (Habakkuk 2:4-8)

Tim Hegg notes:

The context of the Habakkuk text is the conclusion of the prophet’s cry of woe, in which he questions God over the use of the Chaldeans to punish the chosen people. For the prophet, this brought into question God’s justice and even His holiness (1:13f). In raising the question of how God could use such a wicked nation to punish His people, he awaits God’s answer (2:1). The Lord’s answer comes in the form of a revelation or vision that Habakkuk was to record and make known. It’s application would be for the appointed time, and those who believed in God would await its fulfillment, even though it might appear for the interim that it was not correct. The proud in heart would doubtless refuse to accept the revelation given to the prophet, but the one who had faith (and would thus accept the revelation) would live, i.e., preserve his life on the basis of acting in accordance with the revelation which God would give the prophet. Thus, “the just shall live by faith.”
https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/through-romans/RomansVol1.pdf

We find important clues as to the meaning of “faith” in this quote of Habakkuk by understanding the Hebrew word ה ָמוּנֱא’ ,emunah. The first time we find the word in the Tanach, it refers to the hands of Moses held up by Aaron and Hur (Ex 17:12)—“his hands were ה ָמוּנֱא until the going down of the sun,” i.e., they were raised continually and incessantly. In every other passage where the term ה ָמוּנֱא is found, it refers to the conduct of persons or of God, sometimes categorizing such actions as attributes (“faithful,” “genuine,” “reliable,” etc.). Jepsen notes:

Thus ‘emunah is not so much an abstract quality . . . but a way of acting which grows out of inner stability, “conscientiousness.” Whereas ‘emeth [a related word meaning “truth”] is always used in relationship to something (or someone) on which (or whom) one can rely, ‘emunah seems more to emphasize one’s own inner attitude and the conduct it produces. The frequently suggested translation, “conscientiousness,” would seem to come closest to the meaning intended in many passages.26

On the basis of the meaning of ה ָמוּנֱא’ ,emunah, it seems warranted that some translations (NEB, JPS, margin of RSV and NRSV) have opted to translate Hab 2:4 along the lines of “the righteous will live on the basis of his faithfulness.” Indeed, in BDB’s Lexicon (p. 53) Hab 2:4b is translated as “a righteous man by his faithfulness liveth.”
https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/through-romans/RomansVol1.pdf

Keil and Delitzsch state:

 אמוּנה does not denote “an honourable character, or fidelity to conviction” (Hitzig), but (from ‘âman, to be firm, to last) firmness (Exodus 17:12); then, as an attribute of God, trustworthiness, unchangeable fidelity in the fulfilment of His promises (Deuteronomy 32:4Psalm 33:4Psalm 89:34); and, as a personal attribute of man, fidelity in word and deed (Jeremiah 7:28Jeremiah 9:2Psalm 37:3); and, in his relation to God, firm attachment to God, an undisturbed confidence in the divine promises of grace, firma fiducia and fides, so that in ‘ĕmūnâh the primary meanings of ne’ĕmân and he’ĕmı̄n are combined. This is also apparent from the fact that Abraham is called ne’ĕmân in Nehemiah 9:8, with reference to the fact that it is affirmed of him in Genesis 15:6 that האמין בּיהוה, “he trusted, or believed, the Lord;” and still more indisputably from the passage before us, since it is impossible to mistake the reference in צדּיק בּאמוּנתו יחיה to Genesis 15:6, “he believed (he’ĕmı̄n) in Jehovah, and He reckoned it to him litsedâqâh.” It is also indisputably evident from the context that our passage treats of the relation between man and God, since the words themselves speak of a waiting (chikkâh) for the fulfilment of a promising oracle, which is to be preceded by a period of severe suffering. “What is more natural than that life or deliverance from destruction should be promised to that faith which adheres faithfully to God, holds fast by the word of promise, and confidently waits for its fulfilment in the midst of tribulation? It is not the sincerity, trustworthiness, or integrity of the righteous man, regarded as being virtues in themselves, which are in danger of being shaken and giving way in such times of tribulation, but, as we may see in the case of the prophet himself, his faith. To this, therefore, there is appended the great promise expressed in the one word יחיה” (Delitzsch). And in addition to this, ‘ĕmūnâh is opposed to the pride of the Chaldaean, to his exaltation of himself above God; and for that very reason it cannot denote integrity in itself, but simply some quality which has for its leading feature humble submission to God, that is to say, faith, or firm reliance upon God.
https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/habakkuk/3.htm

This type of “faith” is different than checking off a rule list. In the verses before the vision of justice was said by God to not come for a while but that it would surely come so a long-suffering trust is implied in God’s promises:

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

Paul is using this to say that the basis for justifying sinners (sinners such as Israel) was always this type of faith. Habakkuk later makes connection to eschatology according to Keil and Delitzsch. This is possibly why Paul says he is “not ashamed” of the gospel since he knows Christ will have victory in the end:

In Habakkuk 3:12 there follows a description of the judgment upon the nations for the rescue of the people of God. Habakkuk 3:12. “In fury Thou walkest through the earth, in wrath Thou stampest down nations. Habakkuk 3:13. Thou goest out to the rescue of Thy people, to the rescue of Thine anointed one; Thou dashest in pieces the head from the house of the wicked one, laying bare the foundation even to the neck. Selah. Habakkuk 3:14. Thou piercest with his spears the head of his hordes, which storm hither to beat me to powder, whose rejoicing is, as it were, to swallow the poor in secret. Habakkuk 3:15. Thou treadest upon the sea: Thy horses, upon the heap of great waters.” The Lord, at whose coming in the terrible glory of the majesty of the Judge of the world all nature trembles and appears to fall into its primary chaotic state, marches over the earth, and stamps or tramples down the nations with His feet (compare the kindred figure of the treader of the winepress in Isaiah 63:1-6). Not all nations, however, but only those that are hostile to Him; for He has come forth to save His people and His anointed one. The perfects in Habakkuk 3:13-15 are prophetic, describing the future in spirit as having already occurred. יצא, referring to the going out of God to fight for His people, as in Judges 5:4; 2 Samuel 5:24; Isaiah 42:13, etc. ישׁע, rescue, salvation, is construed the second time with an accusative like an inf. constr. (see Ewald, 239, a). The anointed of God is not the chosen, consecrated nation (Schnur., Ros., Hitzig, Ewald, etc.); for the nation of Israel is never called the anointed one (hammâshı̄ăch) by virtue of its calling to be “a kingdom of priests” (mamlekheth kohănı̄m, Exodus 19:6), neither in Psalm 28:8 nor in Psalm 84:10; Psalm 89:39. Even in Psalm 105:15 it is not the Israelites who are called by God “my anointed” (meshı̄chai), but the patriarchs, as princes consecrated by God (Genesis 23:6). And so here also משׁיחך is the divinely-appointed king of Israel; not, however, this or that historical king – say Josiah, Jehoiakim, or even Jehoiachin – but the Davidic king absolutely, including the Messiah, in whom the sovereignty of David is raised to an eternal duration, “just as by the Chaldaean king here and in Psalm 2:1-12 we must understand the Chaldaean kings generally” (Delitzsch), wince the prophecy spreads from the judgment upon the Chaldaeans to the universal judgment upon the nations, and the Chaldaean is merely introduced as the possessor of the imperial power. The Messiah as the Son of David is distinguished from Jehovah, and as such is the object of divine help, just as in Zechariah 9:9, where He is called נושׁע in this respect, and in the royal Messianic psalms.
https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/habakkuk/3.htm

If we realize that this type of faith (or the belief Abraham: “he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” or the obedience of Abraham: compare Hebrews 11:8) is different than having everything checked off with regards to your observance of the law–then we can see how Yeshua can tell the rich young ruler to “keep the commandments” to inherit eternal life:

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:18-22)

16 Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:16-21)

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:17-21)

Paul as well can say:

6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.” (Romans 4:6-8)

This is because “keeping the commands” is not the same as doing specific works.

In Luke 18:21 “kept” is https://studybible.info/strongs/G5442 

in Matthew 19:17 “kept” is https://studybible.info/strongs/G5083

in Mark  10:19 “know” is https://studybible.info/strongs/G1492

in Mark 10:20 “kept” is https://studybible.info/strongs/G5442

If you look at these words and their context this has to do with guarding and respecting/remembering. Check the following occurrences. Really, I think this is not about the laws but about honoring the lawgiver himself. You can safely ignore the word for “know” because I think Yeshua was just pointing out that the man already knew what to guard not that this was a prerequisite for guarding but I’ve posted it below for completeness sake)

https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G5442

https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G1492

https://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G5083

To summarize: “guarding the commandments leads to eternal life because by guarding the commandments you show you honor the commander but doing any number of specific things in the law will not gain you salvation.”

Back to the main subject, Paul then talks about idolatry:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

Continuing on we have something interesting:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2 You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” 3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:1-11)

Paul uses Israel’s idolatry to point out that both they and the pagan nations are without excuse as Tim Hegg notes this is addressed to the Jewish part of the congregation:

The opening word of the second chapter, “Therefore,” has caused some difficulty in understanding how what Paul is now saying connects to what he has already said in chapter one. But to answer this question we must first ask ourselves to whom Paul addresses his remarks in the present text: to Gentiles who were a “cut above” in their moral outlook, or to Jews, or to a mixed group? While each of these options have been held by scholars, I would think that several factors weight the case toward Paul addressing Jews beginning in 2:1. Here are the reasons: 1) the language of v. 4 fits the history of Israel but does not fit God’s activity toward the nations. While it is true that He does show mercy to the Gentiles (such as at Ninevah), the strong language of mercy and patience in view of Israel’s often rebellion seems to underly Paul’s words here. 2) Since it seems clear that Paul has two groups in mind in 1:18-3:20, i.e., Jews and Gentiles, it seems most likely that he refers to Jews when he characterizes a group as morally superior, as he does in 2:1ff. 3) It is clear that he addresses the Jew at v. 17, but it does not seem that he begins to address someone different at this point than he has from the beginning of the chapter. Therefore, one would conclude that he addresses Jews from the beginning of the chapter. 4) It was characteristic, at least by the report of our extant literature, of some (perhaps a majority of) Pharisees that they had an attitude of superiority toward the Gentiles, so that the attitudes described in the opening verses of our chapter best describe the Jew rather than the Gentile. In light of these things, I would think it best to interpret Paul’s words in 2:1ff as addressed primarily to the Jewish congregant in the synagogue at Rome
https://www.torahresource.com/radio-files/through-romans/RomansVol1.pdf

Notice Paul is not speaking to people as individuals but people as part of Israel and God’s people in the greater historical context. This is thinking that seems to be prevalent in the Bible and hence Israel’s particular tribal culture. Another example of this type of corporate non-individualist thinking appears in the prayer that Daniel makes for Israel in Daniel 9. Paul then uses this to establish that everyone is guilty. However, he notes that different people will be judged in different ways:

12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God. (Romans 2:12-29)

Verse 2:27 is more literally translated as:

27 and the uncircumcision, by nature, fulfilling the law, shall judge thee who, through letter and circumcision, [art] a transgressor of law. 28 For he is not a Jew who is [so] outwardly, neither [is] circumcision that which is outward in flesh; 29 but a Jew [is] he who is [so] inwardly, and circumcision [is] of the heart, in spirit, not in letter, of which the praise is not of men, but of God. (Romans 2:27-29 YLT)

Notice how “letter”, “flesh”, and “outward” are contrasted with “spirit”, “spiritual” and “inward.” The school of Hillel was lenient and followed the “spirit” of the law while Shammai followed the “letter” of the law and was strict. Yeshua seems to side with Hillel most of the time. Also, the school of Hillel accused Shammai of following after flesh and blood and not after spirit with regards to the kingdom of God. (more on this later) Circumcision here may refer to the group distinction rather than the physical sign. (you could be circumcised but still not be considered Jewish, this will be discussed in another article) If it does refer to physical circumcision it may be saying that he who fails to keep the requirements of the law loses the right to bear the physical sign of circumcision. (Essentially: physical circumcision has become hypocrisy.) Paul says that circumcision benefits in some way but he is not saying this is a matter of salvation. He seems to refer to it as one of identity and representation.

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. (Romans 3:1-2)

Here we see that the Jews have an advantage because they were raised in the oracles of God, not from the specific act of circumcision. If this refers to physical circumcision it seems to refer to them who were circumcised on the eighth day, not those who would convert and become circumcised as adults. If this refers to physical circumcision there are some questions this raises about whether circumcision was actually required by the law for adults: “So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?” might imply a negative answer but Paul later uses the same Greek word to talk about fulfilling the law through being justified by Christ:

 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:2-5)

This leaves the meaning uncertain. Even if Paul did say something positive or negative about adult physical circumcision we would need to evaluate the context in which he said it. If Paul said something negative we must ask: could he just be referring to its irrelevance to salvation?  If positive we must ask: in what sense? as a requirement that fulfills part of the law? or as a sign of being raised in the oracles of God? This is beyond the scope to get into detail I just want you to know that this question exists. I do not believe adult circumcision is required in any way. (only if one wants to eat of the Passover sacrifice, see: Exodus 12:48 which is irrelevant now because there is no temple) Let’s continue:

3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,

“So that you may be justified in your words,
and prevail in your judging.”

5 But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), “Let us do evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved! (Romans 3:3-8)

Here Paul is saying that God is just, whether or not people, even Jews, believe in God. Commenting in more detail would be irrelevant to the topic. In the following, we see that Paul does indeed view his previous arguments as putting everyone “under (the results of) sin.”

9 What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10 as it is written:

“There is no one who is righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who has understanding,
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned aside, together they have become worthless;
there is no one who shows kindness,
there is not even one.”
13 “Their throats are opened graves;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of vipers is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery are in their paths,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:9-20)

Paul is not pulling out of the air: “no human being will be justified in his sight.” Paul gets this from Psalm 143:

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you. (Psalm 143:1-2)

Paul starts his quotations with Psalm 14 (also see the almost identical Psalm 53). Psalm 14 begins:

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.(Psalm 14:1)

Maybe Paul is making the point that goodness only comes from God and that God can only justify man. The fool who uses the lack of God to justify his actions is an example of this. One might say: “man – God = sin”

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.

3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one. (Psalms 14:2-3)

Is it broadening the context or still talking about fools that reject God? I think the latter. Paul goes on to say that since man without God cannot do good we cannot be justified by God except by grace. Adam (as a representative of humanity) had sinned causing all to suffer for it, Israel (as priesthood to the world) had broken the old covenant hence imparting the curses of not following the law to all God’s followers. What could solve this problem? Since we were unable to write the law on our own hearts God would do it for us. Compare the following:

32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write H3738 it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:32-34)

 You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

It is true that the law was in their hearts in some sense in Deuteronomy 30:

No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart H3824 for you to observe.(Deut 30:14)

However, there are several differences with the wording in Jeremiah 31:33

1 God puts the law in the heart and not man. (hence grace)

2 The law is “written” now. (possibly suggesting more permanence)

3 It adds “put My law in their minds H7130” (a totally different word than h3824 for “heart” in Deut 30:14)

4 Tim Hegg has observed that the new covenant is a nationalistic covenant with both houses of Israel. Therefore the idea of Israel being united and following the law seems to be part of what makes it new since throughout the Bible Israel and even the good kings are described as failing in various respects. 

Considering points one and two we can observe some significance attributed to the writing instrument used and of the writing surface:

The sin of Judah is written H3789 with an iron pen; with a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts, and on the horns of their altars, (Jer 17:1)

O hope of Israel! O Lord!
All who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be recorded H3789 in the underworld,
for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the Lord. (Jer 17:13)

It seems like God would have better instruments than us to write the law. Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary on Deut 10:6 make the observation that the writing surface will be entirely different as well:

The Lord will then circumcise their heart, and the heart of their children (see Deuteronomy 10:16), so that they will love Him with all their heart. When Israel should turn with true humility to the Lord, He would be found of them, – would lead them to true repentance, and sanctify them through the power of His grace, – would take away the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, a new heart and a new spirit, – so that they should truly know Him and keep His commandments (vid., Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33. and Deuteronomy 32:39.). “Because of thy life,” i.e., that thou mayest live, sc., attain to true life. The fulfilment of this promise does not take place all at once. It commenced with small beginnings at the deliverance from the Babylonian exile, and in a still higher degree at the appearance of Christ in the case of all the Israelites who received Him as their Saviour. Since then it has been carried on through all ages in the conversion of individual children of Abraham to Christ; and it will be realized in the future in a still more glorious manner in the nation at large (Romans 11:25.). The words of Moses do not relate to any particular age, but comprehend all times. For Israel has never been hardened and rejected in all its members, although the mass of the nation lives under the curse even to the present day.
https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/deuteronomy/30.htm

Knowing this may help us with the idea that in the final fulfillment of the new covenant “no man shall teach another.” Now lets read these two verses together that are positioned around Paul’s quotation:

9 What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10 as it is written:

. . .

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:19-23)

Verse 20 is more literally translated as:

wherefore by works of law shall no flesh be declared righteous before Him, for through law is a knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20 YLT)

If “under the law” means “under the results of the law” then by charging that the whole world is “held accountable” Paul is saying that everyone is subject to the penalty of the law which is death. Here, Paul is implying that the cursings of the law given at Mount Sinai now fall on all of mankind. Essentially, the law + sin caused death, and this is part of the law “bringing knowledge of sin” which is why it states that through the law “sin might become exceedingly sinful” but this will be explained later. For now, observe how everyone is under (the results of) sin and hence “death:”

 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)

Grace and law go together because we need grace to be forgiven from transgressing the law. (sin)

21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:21-23)

Here “apart from the law” just means “apart from the deeds of the law” see below:

“Works prescribed by the law” is literally “works of the law.”

therefore do we reckon a man to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law. (Romans 3:28 YLT)

24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:24-34)

The statement “law of faith” makes a bit more sense if you remember that “Torah” (the Hebrew word that Paul is referring to with the Greek “nomos”) can mean “instruction.” The “instruction of faith.”  As for the meaning of “circumcision,” for now, just observe, that here, it could mean “Judaism” with all the rules and traditions that they followed in addition to the Torah. If Paul is saying that the law no longer applies to us his whole argument of us needing grace is complete nonsense. We no longer have the results of the law apply to us but it still defines God’s unchanging character, see here: http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/the-ten-commandments-god.html Moving on:

1 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:1-3)

Paul here is contrasting the physical with spiritual and works with faith. However, these are simply two different ways of viewing your relationship with the law. If you believe in works then you are not being saved by grace. He will also do this in Galatians 4 (we’ll see this later). We have works that show our faith but they are just a sign of our faith, works don’t save us. The physical sign of circumcision does not show the character or spirit of the person bearing it. Spirit (ruach) in Hebrew can also be translated as “wind” or “breath.” It is the same thing that animates a lifeless body with a given personality. Compare the following:

so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. G4151 (Rom 8:4) 

Her spirit H4151 returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. (Luke 8:55)

8 And I beheld, and behold, upon them nerves and flesh germinated, and [2ascended 3upon 4them 1skin] above; but [2breath G4151 1there was no] in them. 9 And he said to me, Prophesy over the wind! G4151 Prophesy, O son of man, and say to the wind! G4151 Thus says the Lord the lord; From out of the four winds, G4151 come wind G4151 and breathe onto these dead, and let them live! 10 And I prophesied in so far as he gave charge to me, and [3entered 4into 5them 1the 2wind G4151], and they lived; and they stood upon their feet, [4gathering 3great 1a very 2exceedingly]. 11 And the lord spoke to me, saying, O son of man, these bones [2all 3the house 4of Israel 1are]. And they say, [4dry 3are 2bones 1Our]; [3is destroyed 2hope 1our]; we are perished. 12 On account of this prophesy and say! Thus says the Lord the lord; Behold, I shall open your tombs, and I shall lead you from out of your tombs, and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the lord, by my opening your graves, for me to lead you from out of your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my spirit G4151 into you, and you shall live. And I will put you upon your land, and you shall know that I the lord have spoken, and I will act, says the lord. (Ezekiel 37:8-11 ABP)

 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath H7307 came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. (Eze 37:10) (H7307 can also be translated as “spirit”)

Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual G4151 and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God. (Rom 2:29)

but a Jew [is] he who is [so] inwardly, and circumcision [is] of the heart, in spirit, G4151 not in letter, of which the praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom 2:29 YLT)

as it is written,
“God gave them a sluggish spirit, G4151 
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.” (Rom 11:8)

so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. G4151 (Rom 8:4)

God seeks spirit and character, not physical appearance. For example, the temple and its rituals were physically impressive but Hebrews makes a list of its severe limitations which were eventually covered by Christ as our new high priest:

1 Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent that the Lord, and not any mortal, has set up. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They offer worship in a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one; for Moses, when he was about to erect the tent, was warned, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one.

8 God finds fault with them when he says:

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah;
9 not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors,
on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
for they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord. (Hebrews 8:1-9)

Similarly, Stephen states the following:

44 “Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Our ancestors in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors. And it was there until the time of David, 46 who found favor with God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says,

49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. (Acts 7:44-51)

Now we can compare this to these verses:

like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)

 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

Also, the context of the verses Stephen quotes in Acts 7 is from Isaiah 66 about having the right heart condition:

1 Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is my resting place?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine,
says the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look,
to the humble and contrite in spirit,
who trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:1-2)

All this is to say that Paul contrasts things associated with the physical such as “works,” “letter,” and “flesh” with “faith,” “spirit,” and “writing on the heart.” The “heart” is associated with the new covenant where we will be given new hearts and the law will be written on our hearts. Let us continue with Romans 4:

4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. 6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.” (Romans 4:4-8)

Notice this is not about changing the law but about covering the transgression made against it. Paul is simply pointing out that if you make your salvation conditional on any action or any physical sign (manifestation of faith) you are not believing in salvation by grace. Again, this is all about how we have salvation despite the law applying to us:

9 Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Romans 4:9-12)

This sign of circumcision was for the faith that Abraham had not vice versa which means all people can be justified by faith whether they are circumcised or not. In Romans 4, we can easily forget the verse that comes before that chapter:

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31)

As for whether circumcision was required for gentiles converting there are several possibilities here: 1 circumcision is required for adults and the point is only that it is not a matter of salvation. 2 Circumcision was not required as an adult so it is not required for an individual to circumcise themselves except if they were going to eat the Passover sacrifice. 3 Circumcision means “Judaism” so it’s not even talking about circumcision literally. When Paul is talking about Abraham being declared righteous before he was circumcised he is saying that circumcision is just a sign, and the true circumcision is a circumcised heart. Note, there is no law commanding adults who join Israel to be circumcised (with the exception of eating the Passover sacrifice), only that you circumcise your son on the eighth day. I believe that option 2 is correct, and in this case what Paul is condemning is an outward appearance that has nothing to do with following God. Regardless of that we can say that Abraham was declared righteous because he believed, and while belief leads to obedience, the outward appearance of something is not to be confused with the heart condition, especially in the context of salvation.

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (Romans 4:13-15)

Again, being under sin + results of the law = punishment = death. Faith, as we have seen leads to justification which is needed to save us from condemnation. Hence, grace, as is made clear in the following:

16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. (Romans 4:16-25)

Again all that is going on here is that we are being promised redemption and we are not earning it by doing any specific works in the law:

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. (Romans 5:1-13)

Again sin + law = penalty = death. This means we need grace. The same idea is made clear in the following:

14 Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19 For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:14-19)

Again, without the law still applying to us this argument is nonsense.

20 But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21)

The law was given so that sin would become painfully apparent or obvious. Paul, now has to explain why we need to not sin even without being under (the results of) the law because this means the penalties of the law won’t fall on us:

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:1-15)

Commenting on all of this is beyond the scope here. For now let’s look at the starting and ending verses to further establish our theory of what “under the law” means:

1 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means!  . . .

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:1-15)

The law still applies because grace abounds when we sin. Also, why would we start to sin simply because we are not “under the law?” If “not under the law” means the entire law no longer applies then we can’t sin . . . If we are now under a “law of love” (as some argue) which has no specific rules, just “anything we consider loving” why would not being under the old law imply we might break this law of love? However, if “under the law” means “under the results of the law” and by implication “under the penalty of the law” (because of all being under sin) then we might be tempted to sin because there are no more law-related results/consequences for sin. Paul relates the reason we do not continue in sin to the fact that we serve God and not sin:

16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:16-23)

Believers even in the old testament were always intended to be under grace: Daniel 9:18; Gen. 6:8; Ex. 33:12, 17; Judges 6:17f; Jer. 31:2. However, Israel broke the covenant and the northern kingdom was divorced by God and yet Israel was promised to be restored:

She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce; yet her false sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. (Jer 3:8)

How would God restore Israel? This is what Jews expected the messiah to do.  Paul uses an analogy here to explain this. Notice, the relation to Israel as a whole is easier to see if you remember that Paul is talking to people as being part of their larger groups in the greater historical context:

1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Romans 7:1-12)

Several things to notice here: 1. It is through our death that we become free from the condemnation of the Torah, not that the Torah dies in any way because it is specifically talking about the condemnation of the law and not of it ceasing to be: “she will be called an adulteress . . . she is no adulteress” 2. The law is good. 3. The law makes us aware of our sin 4. Without the law, sin could not cause punishment 5. The letter is contrasted with the spirit which are different ways of relating to the law.  6. Sin taking the opportunity of the commandment killed him  .  .  . what does that mean? I think he’s using an analogy here. Sin is clearly being talked about as bringing curses/death through punishment. However, Paul is still alive therefore his idea of being righteous on his own has to be what was killed, allowing him to accept grace. Let’s read on:

Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working 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. (Romans 7:13)

The commandment showed sin as sin and it made it [appear] sinful beyond measure. (it made it obvious) I inserted “appear” to make it make more sense. However, if you know that “sin” can also mean “guilt” you’ll understand better how this happening:

ἁμαρτία,-ας+ N1F 186-54-94-92-119=545
Gn 15,16; 18,20; 20,9; 41,9; 42,21
guilt, sin Gn 15,16; sin-offering Lv 4,33
Cf. COX 1990, 119-130; DANIEL, S. 1966, 301-328; HARL 1986a, 62.63; HARLÉ 1988, 33; LE BOULLUEC
1989 294.297; →NIDNTT; TWNT
http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

Here, “guilt” makes sense as a translation for the last two occurrences of sin. Try this reading:

Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be [guilt], and through the commandment might become [guilty] beyond measure. (Romans 7:13)

It continues in the same vein lamenting guilt/sin:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. (Romans 7:14-25)

Again remember “law of” could mean “instruction of” and this is pretty self-explanatory and backs up the law being good. Everyone should still try to live by the law but when we fail to do this is where grace covers us. Paul continues to contrast the spirit with the flesh:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.(Romans 8:1-17)

Paul then harkens back to his quote of Habakkuk seeming to refer to the trials of Israel as a whole before it would be restored:

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-25)

The context of Paul’s quote of Habakkuk is promised sufferings in the near future with redemption from the Chaldeans and other nations in the end. Paul continues to encourage patient endurance and hope:

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Romans 8:26-36)

The last verse is a quote from Psalm 44 which promises present troubles but hopes for future redemption. It also mentions Israel being scattered among the nations and asks God to rescue them. (a possible reference to Israel being reformed)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

Here Paul also makes the point of the irresistible nature of God’s grace that nothing physical can separate us from it, again relating it to his theme of contrasting physical and spiritual. Now, lets continue with the context in Galatians:

yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. (Gal 2:16)

The Essene MMT document argues that certain works of the law could justify you associates this with separation and purity. [1] (Paul was refuting this in some of his letters) This backs up one position of E.P. Sanders in his reading of 1st century Judaism in “The New Perspective on Paul” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Perspective_on_Paul He says that many Jews believed that by separating themselves from impurity and observing certain laws that they considered boundary markers of their distinctiveness among the nations would allow God to show his grace to them and save them. Those who didn’t observe these boundary markers had to be separated from. “Pharisee” means “separate.” This explains why issues of salvation and issues of separation or table fellowship are often mentioned together like they are the same thing. Here, in Galatians 2 Paul is simply making the point that law cannot justify you since we know that Christ justifies us and that is well accepted among us.

17 But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.(Gal 2:17-18)

Galatians 2:17-18 is a reductio ad absurdum to the position of “works of the law” that “if seeking to be declared righteous in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners” is saying that if we have Christ but we still need works of the law then Christ has misled us and caused us to sin.

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21)

Here “through the law I died to the law” means that the law kills our idea of being self-righteous and of saving ourselves. Once we die to self, we can accept a savior outside of ourselves and paradoxically live more in line with the law which is part of the work of grace as Titus 2:11-14 explains:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)

The word for “iniquity” is literally “lawlessness” 

who did give himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; (Titus 2:14 YLT)

In addition, this may be because we are no longer being righteous in a self serving way. Without knowledge of sin we cannot humble ourselves and repent which is reflected in several old testament references describing what behavior God’s people will have to have if they are to be forgiven. (this will be alluded to later) This idea is developed in Galatians 3:

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” (Gal 3:10-12)

Here Paul relates the law to the cursings added at Sinai so we see “the law” in the general sense of “the first five books” or “God’s instructions” is not applicable here; rather it is a specific part of the instructions which started at the Sinai covenant. I’ll explain, there are many parts of the first five books which give instructions to God’s people and give unconditional promises like in the Abrahamic covenants in Gen 15,17 and 22. However, here “the law” seems to reflect curses and blessings, life and death, which started at Sinai:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4 My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the Lord. (Lev 18: 1-5)

11 I gave them my statutes and showed them my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live. 12 Moreover I gave them my sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the Lord sanctify them. (Ezekiel 20:11-12)

God promised the inheritance to Abraham with no strings attached but the law at Sinai came with blessings and cursings and was conditional on them following the law. Let’s see if this theory holds up:

16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ. 17 My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise. (Gal 3:16-18)

Here we see “law” is used in a specific context for that which was given at Sinai after Abraham “four hundred and thirty years later” he’s clearly distinguishing this from the other parts of the old covenant such as the Abrahamic covenants: “cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ” He’s not saying they are separate, those covenants/instructions all apply to us but Paul is using law specifically to refer to the blessings and cursings in this context starting at Sinai.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. 20 Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one. (Gal 3:19-20)

Here clearly it says the law was given because of transgression. We see this in several ways, 1 it was given with a penal system to punish transgression, 2 it was given with a priesthood to atone for transgression. However, is this what Paul means?

21 Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. 22 But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, (Gal 3:21-25)

Here we see the third purpose relating to transgression for which the law was given: to make people aware of their transgression. Without humility and acknowledgment of sin, we cannot come to Christ and accept grace. Once you leave a tutor and go to university the tutor’s more elementary teachings should still hold (otherwise you went to a bad tutor). No longer being under the tutor means no longer being under the law. This means you know you are not righteous (since the law taught you that) and therefore you are no longer trying to justify yourself by doing the law which means the law is no longer needed to teach you that you need grace through its punishments: you already know you deserve punishment. This is shown clearly through the history of the curses that God brought on Israel. Israel can’t claim they are righteous on their own after breaking the law and being put through its curses. Hence being “under (the results of) the law” while being “under sin” means being “under the results of sin” and hence “under the penalty of the law.”

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:26-29)

Paul relates Christ to the unconditional promises to Abraham as distinguished from the covenants starting at Sinai. Does this mean the Sinai covenant is no longer valid for us? No, if it isn’t valid for us then it makes Paul’s whole argument absolute nonsense: we don’t need Christ to save us from a penalty of a law that is no longer valid. To further establish this distinction lets jump ahead and look at what Paul says later:

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. 23 One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. 24 Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (Galatians 4:22-25)

Why is being “under (the results of) the law” related to Mount Sinai? Because that is where the curses and hence death started to be piled up and while being “under (the results of) sin” those curses will fall us:

14 But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, 16 I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. 18 And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. 19 I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. 20 Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.
21 If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins. 22 I will let loose wild animals against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock; they shall make you few in number, and your roads shall be deserted.
23 If in spite of these punishments you have not turned back to me, but continue hostile to me, 24 then I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. 25 I will bring the sword against you, executing vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven, and they shall dole out your bread by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27 But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, 28 I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins. 29 You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars; I will heap your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols. I will abhor you. 31 I will lay your cities waste, will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing odors. 32 I will devastate the land, so that your enemies who come to settle in it shall be appalled at it. 33 And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword against you; your land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste.

34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbath years as long as it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its sabbath years. 35 As long as it lies desolate, it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were living on it. 36 And as for those of you who survive, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall though no one pursues. 37 They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand against your enemies. 38 You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall devour you. 39 And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of your enemies because of their iniquities; also they shall languish because of the iniquities of their ancestors.

40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover, that they continued hostile to me— 41 so that I, in turn, continued hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land shall be deserted by them, and enjoy its sabbath years by lying desolate without them, while they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they dared to spurn my ordinances, and they abhorred my statutes. 44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God; 45 but I will remember in their favor the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, to be their God: I am the Lord.

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws that the Lord established between himself and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai through Moses. (Lev 26:14-46)

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. (Galatians 4:4-5)

Christ is said to be born “under (the results of) the law” because he was born into a world where the cursing from mount Sinai could still be applied to God’s people.

Knowing this we can continue reading Galatians 4:

1 My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; 2 but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. 3 So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. (Gal 4:1-5)

“Elements of this world” is interesting. He’s contrasting being redeemed from under the law with being in bondage to the “elements of this world.”

The root of the word G4747 for “elements” is G4748 and is in the Septuagint:

στοιχέω+ V 0-0-0-1-0=1
Eccl 11,6
to prosper, to go on to sprout
Cf. HORSLEY 1982, 97; →NIDNTT; TWNT

This is clearly not referring to the law of God as the same word is used to describe the traditions of men in the same book. Here’s the usage in the new testament (there is none in the Septuagint version of the Tanakh )

But now, having known God, but rather having been known by God, how do you return again unto the weak and poor elements,  G4747 in which again, as at the beginning [2to serve 1you want]? (Gal 4:9 ABP)

8 Take heed lest [2anyone 4you 1there shall be 3robbing] through the fondness of intellectual pursuits and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements G4747 of the world, and not according to Christ! (Colossians 2:8 ABP)

If then you died with the Christ from the elements G4747 of the world, why as living in the world do you subject yourselves to decrees? (Col 2:20 ABP)

For though you ought to be teachers because of the time, again [2need 1you have] of one to teach you what are the elements G4747 of the beginning of the oracles of God; and you have become [2need 1having] of milk, and not of solid nourishment. (Hebrews 5:12)

But shall come the day of the Lord as a thief in the night, in which the heavens by a loud noise shall pass away, and the elements G4747 being destroyed by fire shall be loosed; and the earth and the [2in 3it 1works] shall be incinerated. (2 Peter 3:10 ABP)

expecting and hastening the arrival of the day of God, by which the heavens being set on fire shall be loosed, and the elements G4747 being destroyed by fire shall melt away? (2 Peter 3:12 ABP)

“World” or “kosmos” (G2889) is the other word and is also used for “ornaments:”

κόσμος,-ου+ N2M 5-2-17-5-43=72
Gn 2,1; Ex 33,5.6; Dt 4,19; 17,3
world, universe Prv 17,6a; world, earth 2 Mc 3,12; world, mankind Wis 2,24; ornament, decoration Ex
33,5; honour, delight Prv 28,17a
*Gn 2,1 ὁ κόσμος ornamentation-◊צבה or-צבי for MT ◊צבא host, army, see also Dt 4,19, 17,3, Is 24,21,
40,26, Sir 50,19; *2 Sm 1,24 μετὰ κόσμου ὑμῶν with your ornaments-עם־עדיכן for MT עם־עדנים with
luxury, with ornaments
Cf. DOGNIEZ 1992, 138; HARL 1986a, 98; SCHMITT 1974, 152; →MM; NIDNTT; TWNT
http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

Paul says we are crucified to the world through Christ. This other word also can’t be talking about some divine law:

14 But for me may it not be to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to me the world has been crucified, and I to the world G2889.(Gal 6:12 ABP)

And [6were completed 1the 2heaven 3and 4the 5earth], and all the cosmos of them. (Genesis 2:1)

5 And the lord said to the sons of Israel, You are a people hard-necked; see that [2do not 5calamity 4another 1I 3bring] upon you! and should completely consume you. Now then remove [2apparels 1your glorious], and the ornament! and I will show to you what I will do to you. 6 And [4removed 1the 2sons 3of Israel] their ornamentation, and the attire at the mountain of Horeb. (Exodus 33:5-6 ABP)

It continues in the same fashion:

6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. 9 Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? 10 You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted. (Gal 4:6-11)

Commenting on the verses 12-20 is beyond the scope here so we will skip ahead. Here we start out with the verse that caused us to ask the question “what does under the law mean?” in the first place:

21 Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. 23 One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. 24 Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (Gal 4:21-25)

Notice that Paul is using symbolism here and the majority of translations here use “allegory” or “illustration.” If Paul is suddenly going to tell us that we don’t need to follow the law–here is not the place to do it, it would too easily be misunderstood as figurative. Let’s get into the allegory: the reason the Jerusalem at that time was in bondage was because they weren’t accepting the grace of Christ and they were trying to justify themselves through “works of the law.” Doing this makes the curses of the law fall on you. God instead wanted Israel to “acknowledge their iniquity as it says in Jeremiah 3:13-15:

But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother. (Gal 4:26)

The reason the Jerusalem above is free is that by acknowledging their iniquity God will redeem Israel from the curses of breaking the covenant. The law is the thing that “brings knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20) and again we see that grace and law go together. To explain more fully, let’s continue:

27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children,
burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs;
for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than the children of the one who is married.” (Gal 4:27)

Here we see a picture of Israel being restored being quoted from Isaiah 54:

7 For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing wrath for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

9 This is like the days of Noah to me:
Just as I swore that the waters of Noah
would never again go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:7-10)

Things to notice here: 1 God will keep this covenant of peace with them no matter what. 2 God keeping this covenant is based on mercy not on anything that they did 3 It is a promise like God made not to destroy the earth with water any longer so it was certainly not based on anything humanity did. When God made that promise there was no time for humanity to do anything after the flood to prove that it wouldn’t be corrupted again.

40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover, that they continued hostile to me— 41 so that I, in turn, continued hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land shall be deserted by them, and enjoy its sabbath years by lying desolate without them, while they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they dared to spurn my ordinances, and they abhorred my statutes. 44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God; 45 but I will remember in their favor the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, to be their God: I am the Lord. (Lev 26:40-45)

12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say:

Return, faithless Israel,
says the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
says the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree,
and have not obeyed my voice,
says the Lord.
14 Return, O faithless children,
says the Lord,
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion. (Jeremiah 3:12-14)

As mentioned earlier, if they humble themselves and accept their guilt God will not bring death (i.e. the curses for breaking the covenant at mount Sinai) Again, notice Sinai is not the only covenant in the line of covenants with God’s people. There are the covenants with Abraham’s descendants is Gen 15, 17 and 22 and the covenant at Moab apart from the one at Horeb (Sinai) in Deuteronomy 29. However, Paul picks Sinai when talking about being under the penalty of the law and Sinai was the place where the penalties were laid out including the judicial penal system and the laws of the priesthood and the tabernacle for atoning for sin. (“the law was added because of transgression”) Paul continues:

28 Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. (Gal 4:28-29)

“even so it is now” clearly states that this is contrasting the ones persecuting “the way” with those of “the way” (part of this would later become known as Christianity) Paul actually participated in this persecution. You can confirm this by seeing the usage of the word in Galatians:

You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting  G1377 the church of God and was trying to destroy it.(Gal 1:13 NRSV)

they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting G1377 us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.” (Gal 1:23 NRSV)

But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted G1377 the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. (Gal 4:29 YLT)

But my friends, why am I still being persecuted G1377 if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. (Gal 5:11 NRSV)

It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted G1377 for the cross of Christ. (Gal 6:22 NRSV)

If Paul is saying that we no longer should keep the law he is doing a terrible job of it since the early Church was made up of a mixture of those who totally kept the law and those that didn’t (as evidenced by Acts 15) In addition since Christ almost always sided with Hillel the analogy of spirit and letter also fits here. Paul is instead continuing to contrast the physical with the spiritual as he did with circumcision earlier:

Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? (Gal 3:3)

This part is interesting:

30 But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” 31 So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman. (Gal 4:30-31)

Here some people jump to the conclusion that since we are not “of” the bondwoman we no longer should keep the rules at Sinai. There are a few things to remember here: 1 he started off with the context of those who wish to be “under the law” and this is caused by using “works of the law” to justify yourself (we have already discussed this) 2  This is allegorical. 3 This can’t be only about the old and new covenant because of how he says the people of the bondwomen are persecuting the people that are free even now.  In addition, Paul is not just contrasting the new covenant and the old covenant because the freewoman is symbolic of the promises given to Abraham which are older than Sinai. 

However, it is possible that Paul is making some allusion to the new and old covenant here. Here’s why I think this: 1 The old covenant brought curses and the people who are of “works of the law” are “under the law” and therefore subject to its curses. 2 The promises given to Abraham are the precursors to Messiah who is the mediator of the new covenant. 3 The new covenant is about being restored and perfected by having the law written on our hearts (something that was not accomplished in the old covenant) and Christ followed the spirit of the law not the letter (he almost always sided with the house of Hillel) Also compare the following (YLT)

2 Corinthians 3:3
3 manifested that ye are a letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in the tablets of stone, but in fleshy tablets of the heart,

Ezekiel 36:26
26 And I have given to you a new heart, And a new spirit I give in your midst, And I have turned aside the heart of stone out of your flesh, And I have given to you a heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 31:33
33 For this [is] the covenant that I make, With the house of Israel, after those days, An affirmation of Jehovah, I have given My law in their inward part, And on their heart I do write it, And I have been to them for God, And they are to me for a people.

Hebrews 8:10
10 because this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, giving My laws into their mind, and upon their hearts I will write them, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to Me for a people;

5 Finally, the Zealot’s (of Shammai) were referred to as following after flesh and blood by the Hillelites:

Flusser discussed the political aspect of the rabbinic concept of the Kingdom of Heaven, arguing that originally “the Kingdom of Heaven” was an anti-Zealot slogan.[23] At the end of the Second Temple period there were various groups of militant Jewish nationalists who advocated armed revolt against the Roman Empire. These insurgent groups believed that national liberation could be achieved through violent means. They believed that their armed struggle would provoke divine intervention on Israel’s behalf and the eschatological events of the final redemption would be set in motion as a result of their terrorist activities. It seems likely that at least one stream of militant Jewish nationalism emerged from the School of Shammai. This militant Jewish nationalist ideology was countered by the Hillelite stream of Pharisaic Judaism with the concept of the Kingdom of Heaven. According to Hillelite ideology, violent militant insurgence can only replace the Roman Empire with a kingdom of flesh and blood:

Rabbi Hananiah, prefect of the priests, says: He who takes to heart the words of the Torah is relieved of many preoccupations—preoccupations with hunger, foolish preoccupations, unchaste preoccupations, preoccupations with the evil impulse, preoccupations with an evil wife, idle preoccupations, and preoccupations with the yoke of flesh and blood…. But he who does not take to heart the words of the Torah is given over to many preoccupations—preoccupations with hunger, foolish preoccupations, unchaste preoccupations, preoccupations with the evil impulse, preoccupations with an evil wife, idle preoccupations, and preoccupations with the yoke of flesh and blood…. He used to say: Do not look at me because I am dark and the sun has tanned me [my mother’s sons were angry with me (Song 1:6)]—these are the assemblies of Judah who broke off the yoke of the Holy One, blessed be he, and caused a king of flesh and blood to reign over them. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 20 [ed. Schechter, 70-72])
. . .
Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai says, “From the time murderers increased, the calf’s neck rite was annulled, because the calf’s neck rite is not applicable except in cases of doubt, but now murderers increased in the open. From the time adulterers increased, they stopped the ordeal of the bitter waters, because the ordeal of the bitter waters is not applicable except in cases of doubt, but now those who see [their lovers] in the open are many. From the time the lovers of pleasure increased, wrath came to the world and the glory of the Torah was annulled. From the time whisperers increased in the Sanhedrin, deeds were perverted, the judges were cursed, and the Shekhinahceased from Israel. From the time respecters of persons increased, You must not show partiality in judgment…you must not respect persons [Deut. 1:17] was annulled and they cast off the yoke of Heaven and caused a yoke of flesh and blood to reign over them. (t. Sot. 14:1[1-4])

In this saying Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai criticizes those who set up a yoke of flesh and blood and who cast off the yoke of Heaven. The terminology is similar to that of Hananiah the prefect of the priests. Does “murderers” who kill “in the open” refer to terrorist groups like the Sicarii? Does “whisperers…in the Sanhedrin” refer to the chief priests, and in particular those of the House of Hanan (cf. t. Men. 13:21; b. Pes. 57a)? If so, then Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai criticized both the militant Jewish nationalists on one extreme and the high priests who colluded with the Romans on the other. If so, Jesus was not unique in his rejection of violent insurgence and condemnation of the corrupt priesthood.
https://www.jerusalemperspective.com/13546/

However, the explanation that Paul is only contrasting the new and the old covenant is completely impoverished as we have already seen. Rather if Paul is alluding to the old and new covenants he is only mixing it in with his main subject material. The last section we will look at backs this up again: 

1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. 4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. (Gal 5:1-6)

This allegory is introduced as a response to those who wish to be “under the law” and ends with something about those who want to be justified by law: the context is clear. Here Paul is not making any comments about what we should or shouldn’t do physically but rather what we should or shouldn’t justify ourselves by. This is a mistake people often make when reading Paul’s writings, context is key. However, the language here is slightly confusing. It can’t be that just by becoming physically circumcised that Christ profits you nothing since a change in your physical appearance can never cut you off from Christ. Paul also circumcised Timothy because of the Jews so it couldn’t be that Paul was cutting Timothy off from Christ by circumcising him. This issue may be helped by some historical context that Tim Hegg presents in his commentary on Acts 15:

The prevailing belief of the Judaisms in Paul’s day was that only Jews had a place in the world-to-come since God had made the covenant of blessing with Israel and no other nation.

All Israel have a place in the world-to-come. [[m.Sanhedrin 10:1.]

This central theological axiom shows that from the perspective of the Rabbis, a Gentile could secure a place in the world-to-come only by becoming a Jew. This, the Rabbis taught, was possible through becoming a proselyte, a ritual based entirely upon their rules but without any foundation in the Torah itself. In fact, the added phrase “according to the custom of Moses”629 in the opening verse of Acts 15 may point to the fact that the disagreement taking place between Paul and Barnabas and the others was not over what the written Torah prescribed for Gentiles but whether or not the additional teachings of the Sages were binding upon them. Thus when men from Judea taught that “unless you are circumcised (undergo the ritual of a proselyte) according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved,” they were simply applying the standard theology of their day. This is what the Council was dealing with: Did all Israel have a place in the world-to-come? Did Gentiles therefore need to submit to the man-made ritual of the proselyte so that, in accordance with the prevailing theology, they too could secure eternal life, that is, be saved? Nowhere in God’s word is there a ceremony outlined for a Gentile to become a proselyte. . .

The issue was one of status. What status qualified a person to be assured of a place in the world-to-come—ethnicity or faith? What was essential for salvation: the status of Jewishness or the  status of being “in Messiah?” Paul and the other apostles at the Jerusalem Council unanimously agreed that one’s ethnic status had no bearing whatsoever on one’s salvation. The crux was faith not ethnicity.

Click to access letter-writer.pdf

In conclusion, this has all been to show the context of what Paul is talking about in Galatians 4 with the two covenants. He is responding to those who wish to be justified by works of the law or want to be under the law. The two covenants in Galatians don’t seem to be directly related to the “old” and “new” covenants because Paul uses part of the old covenant (the older part before Sinai) in arguing for us being the children of promise. Rather Paul seems to be contrasting two parts of the old covenant and saying (to oversimplify things) that the blessings of it will save us from curses of it eventually. The new covenant rather is about the law eventually being written on our hearts by God since we were unable to do so. There is however a relation here: the writing of the law by God in the new covenant is accomplished by the work of Christ (through the holy spirit) as a mediator of the new covenant and Christ was predicted by the promises given to Abraham. In any case to say that the judgments of the law are done away with makes Paul’s argument nonsensical; rather, Christ needed to come to save us from the results of those judgments.

Compare the following:

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.(Hebrews 9:15)

13 For we write you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— 14 as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.
15 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor; 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been “Yes and No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.” 20 For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God. 21 But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, 22 by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment. (2 Corinthians 1:13-22)

[1]
“The topic of the work is reflected in the phrase tohorat haqodesh, “the purity of the holy.” Stated simply: “Do not allow the holy to be profaned by what is impure.”

The issues include bringing Gentile corn into the Temple, the presentation of Gentile offerings, and the cooking of sacrificial meat in unfit (impure) vessels. Other rulings concern cleansing of lepers, admitting the blind and the deaf into the Temple; and permitting intermarriage with Ammonite and Moabite converts, long forbidden to enter the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:3). Other issues involve the transmission of impurity by a flow of water (musaq), the intermixture of wool and linen (sha‘atnez), plowing with diverse animals (qilayyim) and perhaps the climax of the discussion: the intermarriage of priests with the common people.

Most of the rulings espoused by the author of MMT are based directly upon Biblical law (for example, the prohibition against plowing with unlike animals in Deuteronomy 22:10). A few others are interpretations or amplifications of Mosaic prescriptions (for example, bans on Gentile offerings and dogs in the Temple). The list clearly reflects a conservative reaction against a relaxation of Torah precepts.”
http://www.sabbathreformation.com/article-paul-works-of-the-law-and-mmt-118800746.html

[2]

Gesenius says:

“Prep. below, beneath, under (ὑπό) . . . Of a woman it is said, she commits whoredom, adultery, under her husband, Nu. 5:19; Eze. 23:5, i.e. she commits whoredom who ought to obey the authority of her husband.”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8478&t=KJV

[3]
8 For I also am a man set under G5259 authority, G1849 with soldiers under G5259 me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”  (Luke 7:8 New Revised Standard Version)

9 For I also am a man under G5259 authority, G1849 with soldiers under G5259 me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” (Matthew 8:9 New Revised Standard Version)

[4]
Under husband’s authority:
19 Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, “If no man has lain with you, if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings the curse. (Numbers 5:19 NRSV)

19 `And the priest hath caused her to swear, and hath said unto the woman, If no man hath lain with thee, and if thou hast not turned aside [to] uncleanness under thy husband, be free from these bitter waters which cause the curse;(Num 5:19 YLT)

19 And [3shall adjure 4her 1the 2priest], and he shall say to the woman, If no one has gone to bed with you, if you have not violated to be defiled being under [2husband 1your own], be innocent from [2by the 3water 4of rebuke 1this accursing]! (Num 5:19 ABP)

Gesenius’s usage in Ezekiel 23 may relate to “consequences” or “power” from doing something while “under” an authority

5 And go a-whoring doth Aholah under Me, And she doteth on her lovers, On the neighbouring Assyrians, (Ezekiel 23:5 YLT)

5 And Aholah fornicated from me, and doted upon her lovers, upon the Assyrians being next to her; (Ezekiel 23:5 ABP)

5 Oholah played the whore while she was mine; she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors . . . 9 Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. (Ezekiel 23:5-9 NRSV)

[5]

ἐξουσία,-ας+ N1F 0-1-0-39-39=79
2 Kgs 20,13; Ps 113(114),2; 135 (136),8.9; Prv 17,14
power, authority 1 Ezr 4,28; control over [τινος] Ps 135(136),8; permission [+inf.] 1 Mc 11,58; office,
magistracy Dn 3,2; <αἱ> ἐξουσίαι (the) authorities (personification of invisible, angelic powers) DnLXX
7,27
see ἀρχή
Cf. CARAGOUNIS 1986 68-70 (DnLXX 7,27); HORSLEY 1982 83-84; SCHOLTISSEK 1993, 85-88;
→NIDNTT; TWNT

http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

[6] Usage of “authority” (G1849):

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1849&t=KJV

[7]

Compare the following usages of “under” with alternate translations, it seems the meaning of “under” is related to what is metaphorically on top:

Gen 9:2:

2 And the fear of you and trembling will be upon all the wild beasts of the earth, upon all the winged creatures of the heaven, and upon all the things moving upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea. Under your hands I have given them to you. (Gen 9:2 ABP)

2 The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. (Gen 9:2 NRSV)

Esther 8:13:

. . . to the future, that we may maintain the government in undisturbed peace for all men, adopting [needful] changes, and ever judging those cases which come under [our] notice, with truly equitable decision. . . . (Esther 8:13 Brenton Translation of the Septuagint)

. . . In the future we will take care to render our kingdom quiet and peaceable for all, by changing our methods and always judging what comes before our eyes with more equitable consideration. . . (Esther 8:13 NRSVACE)

Bar 1:12:

And the Lord will give us strength, and lighten our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son, and we shall serve them many days, and find favour in their sight. (Baruch 1:12 Brenton Septuagint Translation)

The Lord will give us strength, and light to our eyes; we shall live under the protection of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and under the protection of his son Belshazzar, and we shall serve them for many days and find favour in their sight. (Bar 1:12 NRSVACE)

2 Maccabees 7:36:

36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of ever-flowing life, under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. (2 Maccabees 7:36 NRSVACE)

For our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life: but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride.  (2 Maccabees 7:36 Brenton Septuagint Translation)

Deuteronomy 33:3:

3 And he spared his people, and all the ones being sanctified by your hands; these [2under 3you 1are]; and he received of his words (Deuteronomy 33:3 ABP)

3 Indeed, O favorite among peoples,
all his holy ones were in your charge;
they marched at your heels,
accepted direction from you. (Deuteronomy 33:3 NRSV)

3 Also He [is] loving the peoples; All His holy ones [are] in thy hand, And they — they sat down at thy foot, [Each] He lifteth up at thy words.  (Deuteronomy 33:3 YLT)

Esther 3:6:

6 But he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. (Esther 3:6 NRSV)

6 And he took counsel to remove all [2under 3the 5of Artaxerxes 4kingdom 1the Jews]. (Esther 3:6 ABP)

6 and it is contemptible in his eyes to put forth a hand on Mordecai by himself, for they have declared to him the people of Mordecai, and Haman seeketh to destroy all the Jews who [are] in all the kingdom of Ahasuerus — the people of Mordecai. (Esther 3:6 YLT)

6 and took counsel to destroy utterly all the Jews who were under the rule of Artaxerxes. (Esther 3:6 Brenton)

[8]
hypó, hoop-o’; G5259 example usage in the Septuagint:

For our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life: but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride.  (2 Maccabees 7:36 Brenton Septuagint Translation)

36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of ever-flowing life, under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. (2 Maccabees 7:36  NRSV)

[9]

ὑπό+ P 61-42-43-140-212=498
Gn 9,2; 16,9; 18,4.8; 19,8
[τινος]: by (with a pass. verbal form indicating the agent) Gn 26,29; from Ps 73(74),22; under, in (indicating reason) Jb 30,4; under Jb 8,16

[τι, τινα]: under (with verb of motion) 1 Mc 6,46; under (place) Gn 18,8; under, at the foot of Ex 24,4; under (in geogr. sense) Dt 3,17; beyond Ex 3,1; about (time) Jos 5,2; little before Jon 4,10; in the course of, during 3 Mc 7,12; under (as subordination) 1 Ezr 3,1; under, in the hand of 2 Mc 3,6; under (reason) Ex 23,5 ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν under heaven, on earth Ex 17,14; ὑπὸ τὴν ὄψιν under (our) notice Est 8,12i; ὑπὸ χεῖρας in (your) hands Gn 9,2; ὑπὸ τὴν σκιάν in the shadow Bar 1,12; ὑπὸ διαθήκην (θεοῦ) under (God’s) covenant 2 Mc 7,36; ὑπὸ φόρον under tribute 1 Mc 8,2; ὑπὸ καιρόν within the space of one day 2 Mc 7,20; ὑφ’ ἕν at one stroke Wis 12,9
Cf. DORIVAL 1994, 56; JOHANNESSOHN 1910 1-82; 1926 174-184; →NIDNTT

http://www.glasovipisma.pbf.rs/phocadownload/knjige/greek%20lexicon%20for%20the%20septuagint.pdf

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 3, Part One

So let us take the Great Barge, as it slowly, inexorably rolls along, to the end of history itself.  Something we will need to discuss before proceeding in the difference between Eternal Torah and written Torah.  Paul’s use of Law is sometimes confusing, so a deconstruction of what is being referred is prerequisite.  The difference is between source and destination.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a Light to my path”  Thus David says of the Scriptures.  The imagery here is potent; as an official biographer of Yahweh, David has a deeper insight into the character of El.  Here, he expertly divides the two aspects of the Law.  First, he reveals the rubber on the road function, found in the written Torah.  This is the lamp function.

The lamp acts as a symbolic standard for the Mitzvah.  The ordinances formed the context of all aspects of a Hebrew’s life.  It was the mechanism of their existence.  Whatever occurred in the Holy Camp, the written Torah was sought a light on the matter.  In this way, it is the lamp.  Where it is held up, light bathes the holder, and illuminates his environs.

More importantly, though, is that the Light shows the path.  A path goes somewhere; it isn’t static.  A lamp can set on a table, and it is good.  But when you need to travel through the dark, it must move.  The Light of Eternal Torah shows the way forward.  It isn’t there to sit in one place; it is there to keep you moving, towards a destination.

Thus, the lamp serves as the icon of the local; the Light, the icon of the universal.  This is born out by what the Scripture reveals of itself.  Paul says ‘sin was in the world before the Law was given’.  This means the subject is not eternal.  It has a beginning-and end.  When everyone dwells in perfect love, there will no longer be a code of ordinances (against perfect love, there is no Law).  But that cannot refer to the Eternal Torah, the light of El-for that is forever a part of Him.  ! tim 6 says ‘ He dwells in light immortal’.

So, if one Law is temporal, and one is Eternal, are they the same thing? It is more accurate to say that Eternal Torah powers written Torah, as the latter reveals El’s disposition on sin.  Sin cannot be defined in sum toto as breaking the law, as Paul says sin preceded the Law of ordinances.  This Law divided mankind, whilst the Eternal Law is uniting us, on our voyage to the end of human history.

Now, it is true that this final period of the world will see the written Torah emerge, where the Holy Edicts will govern humanity for 1000 years.  But the existence of the Ordinances still accompany a division, between the Holy People, and the hordes of Gog and Magog.  When the last division is resolved by judgment, then the Law of ordinances will have no more use.  Yet, the Light of God goes on forever, even as this reality paradigm is destroyed 2 peter 3).

This subject requires a great deal more discussion to fully consummate.  Labyrinthine arguments exist on these matters, and I cannot do them justice with bullet points.  I am only revealing how I see the matter.  My goal was to define the elements.  This being done, I can now turn to Captain Moses, to show us a tour of the Great Barge.