Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Covenant View of The Sabbath vs. Dispensationalism

By Maria Merola
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, May 2006

Back in 2006, I was shocked to discover that the well-known street evangelist, Ray Comfort wrote an article entitled “Freedom from Sabbath-Keeping.” What I find hypocritical about this, is that Ray Comfort uses the Mosaic Law (Towrah) as a strategy to win people to faith in Messiah. He approaches people on the streets, and proceeds to ask them if they have ever violated the Ten Commandments. As he enumerates each of the commandments, (one by one), they are forced to admit that they have violated each one of them.

He goes on to explain to them that our Messiah, Yahuwshuwa (whom he calls Jesus), has made a way to be atoned for through his blood sacrifice. They are then lead into a prayer of repentance, from their sins, as they surrender their lives to Elohiym, through Yahuwshuwa.

Right up until this point, everything Ray Comfort is doing and saying is correct. However, what he does next, is explain to these people that they are no longer under any obligation to obey the same commandments (which they had previously broken), because supposedly, “The blood of Jesus has made you us from the law.”

If violating these commandments, disqualifies us from salvation, why are we now free to break them again? What is the point of them repenting, only to go back to breaking them again?

It would be the equivalent of being bailed out of jail by your father; and on that same night, you go out and commit the same crime again, that landed you in jail in the first place. As a parent, I would be outraged that my son wasted my hard-earned money on bail, only to land there again in the same night. 

This sort of maneuver reminds me of what used car salesmen do. They lure you into the dealership with the promise of a great deal on a car. But when you arrive, they tell you that the car you were interested in has been sold, and they proceed to try and sell you a lemon. We have all heard the terminology “Bait & Switch.”

A friend of mine emailed me with Ray Comfort’s article, and she wanted me to respond to his objections to Sabbath-keeping, because she was confused.  

Even though I have respected and admired Ray Comfort in the past, I was very disappointed to see that he has taken this position against Sabbath-keeping. 

After reading Ray Comfort’s articleI realized that the root of his error (concerning the Sabbath commandment), comes from a theological view that is held in many Seminaries since the late 1800s. 
This theological view is called “Dispensationalism.” 

A brief explanation can be found below: 

“Dispensationalism is an evangelical, futurist, Biblical interpretation that understands God to have related to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants in a series of  ‘dispensations,’ or periods in history. As a system, dispensationalism is rooted in Scripture and expounded in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and the Brethren Movement. 

The theology of dispensationalism consists of a distinctive eschatological end-times perspective, as all dispensationalists hold to premillennialism and most hold to a pretribulation rapture. Dispensationalists believe that the nation of Israel is distinct from the Christian Church, and that God has yet to fulfill his promises to national Israel.

This doctrine basically holds the view that those truly saved people in the Church are completely separate from Yisra’el in Yah’s prophetic scheme of things.

Dispensationalists teach that the Church will be “raptured” before the “Great Tribulation, while the Jews will be “left behind” to endure what is called “Jacobs Time of Trouble.” 

However, this theology is totally false because it seeks to divide and separate two groups of believers whom our Messiah came to unite as “One New Man” (Ephesians 2:15). I used to believe this erroneous doctrine at one time, until Yah woke me up with prophetic dreams and began to teach me from the scriptures. 

I now see that YaHuWaH is grafting together the true remnant from the Christian Church who will obey the call to come out of “Mystery Babylon” (Revelation 18:4) and the Yahuwdiym (Jews) who believe in Yahuwshuwa for the end-time “two witnesses” in Revelation 11:4. These people will carry the double portion anointing which is that of Mosheh & Eliyahuw (Moses & Elijah). In other words spirit & truth, law & prophets, wisdom & revelation.

I too, have wrestled with this issue of how to keep the Sabbath for years, and whether or not it is a salvation issue. So with that said, let me answer what Ray Comfort has written in light of my Hebraic under-standing of scripture.

Freedom from Sabbath-keeping
By Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort writes:

Today, some people insist that Christians must keep the Sabbath day on the first day of the week (Sunday), however, they are are in great error. They reason that “Sunday” comes from the pagan worship of the sun-god, that Jesus and Paul kept the Sabbath day as an example for us to follow, and that the Roman Catholic Church is responsible for the change in the day of worship. Those who continue to worship on Sunday will receive the mark of the beast.

Maria Merola’s Response:

First of all it is not wrong to worship Elohiym (God) on Sunday, attend a congregation or a Bible study on Sunday, or any other day for that matter. It is simply wrong to call “Sunday” the Sabbath day or to use Sunday worship as a substitute for “honoring the Sabbath.” 

It is true that the Catholic Church has admitted that they have willfully and rebelliously changed the true biblical Sabbath to Sunday. This can be substantiated by the very quotations of the Catholic Church itself as well as historical documents proving that the Roman Emperor Constantine did indeed outlaw the true Sabbath of our Creator in the 3rd Century (under penalty of death). 

Constantine was a follower of the pagan sun-god, Mithra, before his so-called conversion to Christianity. As a Gnostic, Constantine believed that the Messiah Yahuwshuwa of the Bible (called Yzeus Christos by the Greeks) was another reincarnation of the many false Christos who came before him such as Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, Nimrod, Tammuz, Krishna, Bacchus etc. 

The holy day assigned to all of these pagan sun-deities was always “Sun-day” and so it should come as no surprise that the pagan masses included the true Messiah in this pagan sun-god day of worship. Listen to what the Vatican claims is their “mark of authority” over the Protestant Churches. The Roman Catholic Church proudly “boasts” of her rebellion against the commandment of YaHuWaH:

“Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The Holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. ‘The day of the Lord’ was chosen, NOT from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its own power…People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh-day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.”(Saint Catherine Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.)

“Of Course the Catholic Church claims that the change (Saturday Sabbath to Sunday) was her act…And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things.” H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons.

“Sunday is our MARK of authority…the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is the proof of that fact.” ---Catholic Record of London, Ontario Sept 1, 1923.

“Protestants do not realize that by observing Sunday worship instead of Saturday Sabbath, that they accept the authority of the Holy Father of the Church, the Pope.”----Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950

“No such law in the Bible…Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Jesus or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep the Sabbath day that is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today, most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the Roman Catholic Church outside the Bible.”-----Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947

“Sunday is a Catholic Institution…..From the beginning to the end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer….from the last day of the week to the first.”----Catholic Press, Sydney Australia, August 1998

“Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her;----she could not have SUBSTITUTED observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is NO SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY.”----Rev. Steven Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, “On the Obedience Due to the Church,” chapter 2, pg 174.----Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey, archbishop of New York.

The world is already moving towards this civil legislation to make “Sunday” worship mandatory by law:

“Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to make Sunday holy”----Section 67 of Pope John Paul II's “Dies Domini”, July 7th 1998

“The Pope is calling for Global Sunday Observance”---From the Brook, July-Sept 1998, Vol. 4, No.3

Yahuwshuwa & Sha’uwl (Paul) did in fact teach that we should honor the true Sabbath day of our Creator. In fact, Yahuwshuwa expected the end-time believers to keep the Sabbath during the period called the Great Tribulation:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 24:20 But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Some may reason that Yahuwshuwa was only speaking to Jews, but what most Christians don’t understand is that born-again believers  are actually grafted into Yisra’el as one stick or one tree (Romans 11:16-19, Ezekiel 37:16-17).

Paul calls those of us who have our hearts circumcised true Jews:

Romiym (Romans) 2:

28 For he is not a Yahuwdiy (Jew), which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

29 But he is a Yahuwdiy (Jew), which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Elohiym.

The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) taught the newly converted Gentile believers from the Law of Moses every Sabbath day in the synagogues (Acts 15:21). 

He did not stay home in bed to rest. YaHuWaH also taught us in the 4th chapter of Hebrews about “resting” from our own selfish works, and he declared that there remains to this day a “Sabbatismo” (rest) for the people of Elohiym. I have heard many Christians make the claim that the only reason why Sha’uwl (Paul) was honoring the Sabbath was to reach the Jews for Messiah. But as you can see in the verses below, Sha’uwl (Paul) preached on the Sabbath to both Jews & Gentiles:

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 13:42 And when the Yahuwdiy (Jews) were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 17:2 And Sha’uwl, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 18:4 And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Yahuwdiy (Jews) and the Greeks.

While it is true that the early Natzarim followers of Yahuwshuwa Messiah met on the “first of the weeks” following the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (Acts 20:7), one must understand, that on Yah’s calendar, a new calendar date changes at sundown, not at midnight. Pope Gregory was the one who caused the calendar date to change at midnight in the 1500’s with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.

This was a fulfillment of Daniel 7:25 the Beast shall think to change times and laws…

This means the Papacy (Beast) has done a lot to change YaHuWaH’s reckoning of times, seasons, holidays, calendar dates etc., and thus confusing prophecy!

In Acts 20:7 the Greek translation for “first day of the week” says “En de te mia ton Sabbaton.” Here, “mia” is not “the first day of the week” but rather it is “the first of the weeks” (plural). 

Also, (important to note), is the fact that whenever a word is seen in italics in the King James Bible, we can be certain that the word was not there in the original text. 

Hence, the word “day” is italicized in Acts 20:7 indicating that this was not during the day-time nor was it on a Sunday morning. A new calendar date since the beginning at creation commences at sun-down, and so this was not a “Sun-day morning,” but it was a Saturday (Sabbath) evening at sun-down. 

The Greek word “Sabbaton” literally means “Sabbaths” (plural) which, (as in Hebrew), also means “weeks.” If you read the entire chapter of Acts 20, you will see in the previous verses that the disciples had just finished celebrating the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” and now they were counting “seven weeks” (Sabbaths) until “The Feast of Weeks” (Pentecost or Shabuwoth) and so this was the “first of the weeks” (plural) in the count. 

The English translators did not know this because they were not keeping the Feasts of YaHuWaH and so they did not translate this correctly.

And furthermore, even if this was the “first of the week,” (singular), since the word “day” in Acts 20:7 is in italics in the King James Version, we know that this was not a Sunday morning, but it was a Saturday evening at sun-down. 

When the Natzarim Yahuwdiym (Jewish followers of Messiah) met on the first “day” of the week, it was immediately following the Sabbath day on Saturday evening at sun-down. This is called “Havdalah” which means “exiting the Sabbath.” They had teaching all day on the Sabbath, and as soon as the sun went down, they ate a big meal at Havdalah and celebrated exiting the Sabbath. The next morning on Sunday morning, they went to work. They did not go to church on Sunday morning. How do we know this? Because Yah commands us to do our work in “six days and to rest on the “seventh day.

Shemoth (Exodus) 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to YHWH: whosoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

They never called the 1st (day) of the week the “Sabbath” nor did they “replace” the Sabbath with another day:

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 20:7 And upon the first (day) of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Shauwl (Paul) preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 

Ray Comfort says: 

Some teach that “Those who continue to worship on Sunday will receive the mark of the beast.”

Maria Merola’s Response:

The Vatican and the Papacy have already begun making plans to enforce a “Sunday Law.” This legislation is already in the works and this will give way to the enforcing of the microchip implant. 

Those of us who want to obey the 4th Commandment will be punished by civil law and we will be forced to choose between worshiping according the Pope’s International Sunday Law and thereby take the microchip implant, or be decapitated. Ultimately, those of us who have the “Mark of Yah” in our foreheads (Ezekiel 9:4, Revelation 14:1) will be forced to honor Yah’s holy day at the expense of our lives!

This same thing happened during the days of Antiochus Ephiphanies, who was one of the historical Antichrists in 164 B.C. and also in the days of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Both of these men were “pre-cursors” to the final Antichrist because they brought into YaHuWaH’s Temple the “Mystery of Lawlessness.” 

Both of these men persecuted the true followers of YaHuWaH who wanted to obey the Towrah, by honoring Yah’s Sabbaths & Feast days. Those who treat Sunday as the Sabbath day, (by using it as a substitute day instead of the true 7th day Sabbath), will ultimately be forced into receiving the Mark of the Beast, or they will have to choose to obey Yah’s commandments and be decapitated.

Yah has already deemed the Sabbath day a “sign” or a “mark” between us and him forever:

Shemoth (Exodus) 31:13 Speak you also unto the children of Yisra’el, saying, Verily my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am YHWH that does sanctify you.

The word in Hebrew for “sign” in this verse is owth, which literally means: a signal, evidence, mark.

Keeping the Sabbath day on the 7th day of the week (Saturday) is a “sign” not just for those under the “Old Covenant,” but also for “all generations” as YaHuWaH has commanded. Even in the Briyth Chadashah (New Testament), Yah speaks to his children concerning this:

Ibriym (Hebrews) 4:4-9 For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And Elohiym did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limits a certain day, saying in Dawiyd (David), Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Yahuwshuwa (Jesus) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest (Sabbath) to the people of  Elohiym.

The writer of Hebrews is saying: “there still remains a Sabbath (rest) to the people of Elohiym under the Renewed Covenant.”

How do we know that this is what the writer of Hebrews is saying?

In the Greek Strong’s Concordance, the word for “rest” in Hebrews 4:9
is #4520 which is the Greek word σαββατισμός sabbatismos. This word occurs only one time in the entire Bible! 

There are three different Greek words used for “rest” in the New Testament scriptures. They are as follows from the Greek Strong’s Concordance:

# 373. anapano an-ap-ow-o from 303 and 3973; (reflexively) to repose (literally or figuratively (be exempt), remain); by implication, to refresh:--take ease, refresh, (give, take) rest.

# 2663. katapausis kat-ap-ow-sis from 2664; reposing down, i.e. (by Hebraism) abode:--rest.

# 4520. sabbatismos sab-bat-is-mos’ from a derivative of 4521; a “sabbatism,” i.e. (figuratively) the repose of Christianity (as a type of heaven):--rest (7th day weekly rest for the body).

The writer of Hebrews says that YaHuWaH “limits a certain day” to be called the Sabbath!

YaHuWaH is giving us a warning under the Renewed Covenant not to harden our hearts to him as he has limited the 7th day to be called the Sabbath!

Why is it so important to keep the Sabbath? Because all of YaHuWaH’s holy convocations are called “rehearsals” (Leviticus 23) and they are prophetic shadow pictures of good things to come. Keeping the Sabbath means that we are rehearsing for the 1,000 year Millennial Reign with Messiah! If we don’t rehearse all these prophetic things to come in his Holy Days, and Feasts, we will not be ready at his return!

In Hebrews 4, YaHuWaH is saying that if Yahuwshuwa has already given us eternal rest through his finished work on the cross, then the Sabbath day is a “shadow” which prefigures this finished work, but it also prefigures the future fulfillment of the 1,000 years of Sabbath rest during the Millennium.

But what kind of rest, do we have for the moment? Only rest for the soul, but not for the body yet.

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 11:28 Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

Yahuwshuwa is talking about rest for our soul, (not the body yet) because we have not received our resurrected body until we get married to him at the marriage supper of the Lamb which will take place at the Sabbath Millennium. 

Yahuwshuwa knows that we are all caught up in the cares of this world, worries and anxieties, so he wants us to “learn of him” by studying the scriptures and getting to know him. So what is he saying here? What is a yoke? It is a wooden harness that farmers used to yoke two animals together to plow the field. 

They would yoke together two donkeys or two oxen. But in the kingdom, Yahuwshuwa wants us to yoke with him so that together we pull the plow with him and we work the harvest field for the souls of men. Yahuwshuwa wants us to take his yoke by “working for the kingdom” instead of our own selfish works, doing our own thing. That is why Yahuwshuwa said the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. He wants us to be ministered to on that day.

So, let’s read the words of Yahuwshuwa again, with the Hebrew word for “Sabbath” interjected into it and let me paraphrase what he is saying:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 11:28 …Come unto me, all you that do your own thing, or your own selfish works, (and you are burdened down with the cares and riches of this world, trying to earn a living) and I will give you Sabbath (rest)Take my yoke or my burden to work for the kingdom upon you, and learn of me, reading my word, my Towrah; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find Sabbath (rest) unto your souls.

When Yahuwshuwa died on the tree, and said “it is finished” he provided for everything he will ever do for us past, present and future. In heaven it is all done, and complete. But the outworking of it in the natural has yet to be all fulfilled. That is why Yahuwshuwa said:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 5:

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah (law), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

When does heaven and earth pass away?

Chazown (Revelation) 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

This will occur after the 1,000 year Millennial Reign of Messiah here on earth, and after this, we will receive a new heaven & new earth. At this point, the first heaven and earth will be passed away, and every “jot & tittle” or punctuation mark of the Law of YaHuWaH will have been fulfilled by Messiah during the Millennium.

Messiah was our “first-fruits” by resurrecting on a mowediym (holy day) of YaHuWaH called “The Day of First Fruits” or Yom ha’Bikkuwriym. He did not resurrect on Easter Sun-day which is the name of the pagan fertility and sex goddess.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, the high priests in the Tabernacle of Moses would have to go into the Sanctuary and wave the first fruits offering of the harvest of Barley before YaHuWaH immediately following the weekly Sabbath after Passover (Leviticus 23:10-11). 

Yahuwshuwa, as our High Priest went into the Heavenly Temple and offered up the souls of men that he redeemed from the lower parts of the earth, as they were his “first-fruits” harvest (Ephesians 4:8-9). Yahuwshuwa also preached the gospel to the spirits in the lower parts of the earth and gave gifts of salvation unto men (1st Peter 3:19).

And in doing this, he also provided the “first-fruits” of the Holy Spirit for us as a “down payment” or an engagement ring for when we receive our resurrected bodies on our wedding day with him.

Romiym (Romans) 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoptionthe redemption of our body.

Now, do we have “rest” or Sabbath for the body yet? No! We have only received rest for our souls for now. And so is the Sabbath fulfilled yet? Has heaven and earth passed away yet? No!

When the writer of Hebrews wrote “there remains a rest (Sabbath) for the people of Elohiym what was he talking about? He was talking about the fact that there still remains under the Renewed Covenant a day of resting in him and learning of him so that we can have rest for the soul and rest for the body.

Otherwise “Wouldn’t Yahuwshuwa have spoken of another day?” But Yahuwshuwa did not speak of any other day as the Sabbath. We see that YaHuWaH “limits” a certain day to be called the Sabbath (Hebrews 4:4-9).

This was not only for the Mosaic Covenant, as it was still one of the commandments which Yahuwshuwa had commanded that we should keep:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 19:17 …..but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”

YaHuWaH has already made the Sabbath day a “sign” or a “mark” between us and him forever:

Shemoth (Exodus) 31:13 Speak you also unto the children of Yisrael, saying “Verily my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am YHWH that does sanctify you.

The word in Hebrew for “sign” here in this verse is owth, meaning a signal, evidence, mark. This “sign” or “mark” is the Holy Spirit who does what?

The “sign” of the Holy Spirit in our lives is that he will write his Towrah in our hearts and minds:

Yirmeyahuw (Jeremiah) 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisrael; After those days, says YHWH, I will put my Towrah (law) in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohiym, and they shall be my people.

Ibriym (Hebrews) 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisrael after those days, says YHWH; I will put my Towrah (laws) into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them an Elohiym, and they shall be to me a people:

Ibriym (Hebrews) 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says YHWH, I will put my Towrah (laws) into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

When did YaHuWaH “seal” this Renewed Covenant? It was on the Day of Shabuoth (Pentecost), when we received the FIRST FRUITS of our redemption which is the gift of the Holy Spirit!

YaHuWaH has already marked his own people with the “sign” of the Covenant which is the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

These “signs” followed the disciples in the form of miracles. They received “new tongues” as a “sign” that they had been set-apart for Yah’s service, and they did many exploits in Yahuwshuwa’s name:

Marqos (Mark) 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.

Satan is a master counterfeiter and will try to counterfeit the “mark” of Yah in these last days. But YaHuWaH marks his own people with an invisible mark in the forehead:

Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 9:4-6 And YHWH said unto him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in my hearing, Go you after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

The word mark in the above passage in Hebrew is taw which means signature.

Chazown (Revelation) 3:12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohiym, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohiym, and the name of the city of my Elohiym, which is new Yerushalyim (Jerusalem), which comes down out of heaven from my Elohiym: and I will write upon him my new name.

This is that same “mark” or signature of Elohiym that he writes on our heads. If we belong to that city called New Jerusalem it means that we “overcome” the world, the flesh, the devil, and the Anti-Messiah. It means that we are citizens of the House of Yisra’el and that we are all in one covenant with the Jewish people and we all keep the same commandments with them. 

YaHuWaH says that the Sabbath shall be a “sign” or a “mark” between me and you FOREVER, THROUGH-OUT YOUR GENERATIONS! This means all who are part of the House of Yisra’el. This is the one thing that sets us apart from other religions and other people in the world. We keep the Sabbath!

All other pagan religions believe in keeping the other commandments such as “do not steal, do not murder, do not lie, do not covet your neighbors goods....” 

However, the first four commandments out of the ten tell us how to love YaHuWaH Elohiym: “have no other mighty ones before me, no graven images, do not take my name in vain, honor the Sabbath....” The first four commandments are unique to the true Creator YaHuWaH Elohiym, but all other pagan religions don’t believe in keeping the Sabbath. It is the Sabbath and the Holy Feasts that set-us apart from the rest of the world religions, hence the word “sanctify” means “to set-apart.”

Ray Comfort Continues:

Let’s briefly look at these arguments. First, nowhere does the Fourth Commandment say that Christians are to worship on the Sabbath. It commands that we rest on that day: 

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work . . . For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11).

Maria Merola’s Response: 

Ray Comfort has not examined the scriptures in its entirety concerning the Sabbath commandment and he does not have full revelation of how it applies to the New Covenant and end-time prophecy.

YaHuWaH gives us a guideline as to what he requires us to do on the Sabbath:

Yeshayahuw (Isaiah) 58:

13 If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of YHWH, honourable; and shall honour him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words:

14 Then shall you delight yourself in YHWH; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Yaaqob (Jacob) your father: for the mouth of YHWH has spoken it.

YaHuWaH is giving us a wonderful promise here! He is admonishing us that if we turn away our “foot” (meaning that we do a 180-degree turn) from doing our own pleasure (shopping, golfing, cleaning house, whatever) on HIS HOLY DAY, and instead we call the Sabbath a delight, and we “honour him” by not doing our own things, or what makes us happy, but doing what pleases him, then he will cause us to “ride upon the high places.”

This means we will be able to go into the heavenlies and soar like an eagle above all powers and principalities and rulers of darkness! If we honour YaHuWaH on the Sabbath day, the day that he calls qodesh (holy), we will over-come the devil in the “high places. 

And we will be “fed” with the heritage of Ya’aqob (Jacob). Christians want to stand on all the promises of YaHuWaH from Deuteronomy 28, all the blessings, yet they don’t want to keep his Towrah. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. The blessings and the curses of Deuteronomy 28 are conditional upon what? Keeping all his commandments!

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of YHWH your Elohiym, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that YHWH your Elohiym will set you on high above all nations of the earth:

Yahuwshuwa commands us to do what on the Sabbath?

Marqos (Mark) 3:4 And he said unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

Luqas (Luke) 6:9 Then said Yahuwshuwa unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

Yahuwshuwa commanded us to “do good, and to save life” on the Sabbath. We should preach the gospel, win souls, feed the hungry, do the work of the kingdom on the Sabbath day. 

We should not do “our own thing,” (recreational pleasures), on the Sabbath. We are commanded not to conduct business transactions, nor exchange money, nor buy or sell on the Sabbath day (Nehemiah 10:31). It is a day that was “set-apart” at creation before the Mosaic Law was given at Mount Sinai. It is date with our bridegroom, to be treated like your date night with your spouse. It is a day that is to be treated unlike the other six days of the week (Genesis 2:3).

Ray Comfort Continues:

Sabbath-keepers worship on Saturday. However, the word “Saturday” comes from the Latin for Saturn’s day---a pagan day of worship of the planet Saturn (astrology).

Maria Merola’s Response: 

This is a very weak argument because all of the days of the week have been renamed after pagan deities. The 7th day of the week has been named Shabbat in Hebrew, Sabbatismo in Greek, Sabato in Italian, Sabado in Spanish, etc. All languages of the nations acknowledge that the 7th day of the week is the true Sabbath of our Creator. 

Just because the day of the week called Sabbath or “Shabbat” in Hebrew on Yah’s Biblical Calendar was renamed after Saturn by the pagans, does not mean that we should not continue to honor the seventh day as commanded by setting it apart for YaHuWaH. We should reclaim that day back for YaHuWaH and not call it “Saturday.” 

I stopped calling YaHuWaH’s Sabbath “Saturday,” and I now call it “Shabbat” or Sabbath. Since every day of the week has been renamed after a pagan deity, that reasoning does not hold water.

Ray Comfort Continues:

If a Christian’s salvation depends upon his keeping a certain day, surely God would have told us.

Maria Merola’s Response:

Yahuwshuwa did indeed tell us that if we want to enter into life we must “keep the commandments.” Ray Comfort also ignores Hebrews 4:7-9 where we are told that there remains a “Sabbatismo”(rest) for the people of covenant and that YaHuWaH “limits a certain day” to be called the Sabbath.

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 19:17 “....but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The question is “how” do we keep the Sabbath? We keep it according to the guidelines I have shown above in Isaiah 58 and by Yahuwshuwa himself.

None of the commandments are “pre-requisites” to salvation, (for we are saved by grace through faith) initially. However, we are commanded to also work out our own salvation with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) after we have obtained salvation. Nobody is able to obey all of the commandments 100% of the time while we are in exile and not living in the land of Yisra’el. 

This is the very reason why blood atonement was made for us. Yahuwshuwa gave us his blood atonement for those times when we slip and fall, but we are not exempt from obeying the commandments. 

If we willfully and purposefully continue to violate the commandments, then we will experience his wrath (Hebrews 10:26-30). Yahuwshuwa also gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit which is a “sign” of the Renewed Covenant as well. This sign is evidenced by the fact that we will have his laws “written upon our hearts.” Which laws? Only nine of them?

All of them! But Yahuwshuwa, knowing that our human nature is to turn everything into a religion, showed us that when keeping these commandments, the two greatest commandments should be the main ones that we follow as the guideline of “loving YaHuWaH with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength” and “loving your neighbor as yourself ”(Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27). 

When he was asked “which is the greatest commandment in the Towrah,” he replied with these two greatest ones, not as a means of canceling out the others. He was telling us that these “two greatest commandments” should dictate how we keep the other commandments. In other words, Yah is not impressed with us honoring the Sabbath if we are not doing it out of love for him.

If we do any of the commandments as a means to being made righteous, this is a wrong motivation, and Yah calls this “self-righteousness.” We keep the commandments out of love for him and of course because we want to “enter into life.”

Keeping the commandments should be dictated always by loving YaHuWaH first with all of our being, and then loving our neighbor.

Ray Comfort Continues:

At one point, the apostles gathered specifically to discuss the relationship of believers to the Law of Moses. Acts 15:5–11, 24–29 was God’s opportunity to make His will clear to His children. All He had to do to save millions from damnation was say, “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy,” and millions of Christ-centered, God-loving, Bible-believing Christians would have gladly kept it. Instead, the only commands the apostles gave were to “abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication.”

Maria Merola’s Response:

What Ray Comfort is missing here is that the Yahuwdiy (Jewish) Apostles gave these 4 commandments to newly converted Gentile Believers as “starter laws” in order to be allowed into their fellowship. 

These four commandments had nothing to do with salvation. It would be the equivalent of let’s say a Christian Church that has a large group of former drug dealers, and gang members that want to attend their fellowship. 

The elders get together and say among themselves: 

“These former gang members are newbies in the faith, and we know that it may take them years to forsake all their former bad habits, sins and addictions. Our concern, is that they will have a bad influence on the other members, while they are learning to live a holy life. However, for the sake of allowing them into our fellowship, (and so they can be taught the scriptures), let’s decide on some ground rules to allow them into our fellowship.” 

Now, let’s say that they come up with four ground rules for these former gangsters, and this is what they determine: 1.) No t-shirts or jewelry with skulls, pentagrams, or occult symbols 2.) No drugs 3.) No alcohol 4.) No sexual immorality, pornography, etc. 

Now these four rules are not meant to be the “end-all-be-all” to righteous living. Obviously, these men would already know that murder, lying, cheating, stealing, incest, are things they are still expected to abstain from. 

It would be foolish to think that the Apostles determined that these new converts could just abstain from “these four, no more,” and yet they would be allowed to murder, steal, lie and cheat as long as they keep only those four commandments? Do you see how ridiculous that sounds?

Ya’aqob (James), the brother of Yahuwshuwa, sentenced the Gentiles to keep these four laws in addition to the other commandments in the Towrah as they learned and grew in the faith, because it was already understood that Yahuwshuwa taught us to “keep the commandments” as a means to entering into life. 

Yahuwshuwa had already told us that he did not come to destroy the Law of Mosheh.  Yahuwshuwa had already told us to save life and do good on the Sabbath. And so any newly born-again Gentile believer would know that this was what Yahuwshuwa required.

But because these Gentiles were not trained in the Towrah all of their lives, it would take them years to become fully Towrah observant. And so to make it easier on them, and so that they could come into immediate fellowship with the Yahuwdiy (Jews), Ya’aqob (James) broke it down for these Gentiles to abstain from four things until they could learn to become fully Towrah observant:

Maaseh Shliciym (Acts) 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Notice that the KJV does not say “meat” sacrificed to idols. It says “pollution of idols” and so this also means pagan holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day, Halloween, etc. which are all offered up to idols as well, not just food.

Ya’aqob (James) continued to reason with the other elders and Apostles by saying:

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 15:21 For Mosheh of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

What Ya’aqob (James) was saying here, if I may paraphrase: “These Gentiles will be learning the Law of Moses in the synagogue every Sabbath day, and so they will eventually learn to be fully Towrah observant. But for now, let’s only give them these 4 things to abstain from.

Ray Comfort Continues:

There isn’t even one command in the New Testament for Christians to keep the Sabbath holy.

Maria Merola’s Response:

Ray Comfort is being hypocritical in saying this, because his method of evangelism includes showing people that they have broken the Ten Commandments. Yet, does he include the 4th Commandment? Or does he really mean “the nine commandments?”

He shows people that they have broken the laws of YaHuWaH in order to show them that they are sinners in need of a blood sacrifice. But what about asking them if they have broken the 4th Commandment? 

Why do so many Christians say that they believe in the Ten Commandments, yet in reality they only believe in the Nine Commandments?

What Ray Comfort is in essence saying to these people he is evangelizing to is this: “you have broken the law, you are a sinner, and now you must become saved so that you will be allowed to keep on breaking the law under Grace.

What is the point of bringing these people under Grace if it does not transform them? If all the law is good for is showing us that we are sinners, and once we are saved we are allowed to go back to breaking the law again under Grace, then why not just remain a sinner?

The New Testament is full of Yahuwshuwa’s own words to “keep the commandments” and Yahuwshuwa himself told us in Matthew 5:17-20 that he did not come to destroy the Law of Moses. This means he expected us to continue to keep them until “heaven and earth passes away.” Yahuwshuwa went on to say that “whosever shall teach men to break one of the least of these commandments; he shall be called least in the kingdom.”

I love Ray Comfort, and I hope that he does not end up being one of the least in the kingdom by teaching that we are “free from keeping Sabbath.”

However, I am going to have to believe Yahuwshuwa over Ray Comfort on this one.

For the first 60 years after Yahuwshuwa died on the cross, the New Testament Scriptures had not even gone into print yet until about 96 A.D. when Yahuwchanon (John) was exiled on the Island of Patmos. 

The New Testament believers preached the gospel out of the TaNaKh (the Old Testament). The Towrah (five books of Moses), and the Prophets were the only scriptures the newly converted Gentiles had to read, and so it was already understood that keeping the Sabbath was a “sign” between YaHuWaH and those who are grafted into Yisra’el.

Ray Comfort Continues:

In fact, we are told not to let others judge us regarding Sabbaths (Colossians 2:16), and that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man (Mark 2:27).

Maria Merola’s Response:

Many Christians take Colossians 2:16 out of context, but we have to see what Paul is saying from a Hebraic understanding of scripture in order to understand what he means. 

Paul was speaking to the Church at Colossi who were formerly pagans, and they used to keep all the pagan holidays. Then they were newly converted and the Jewish Rabbi’s who did not believe in Yahuwshuwa were trying to impose on them the man-made traditions of the Talmud (oral traditions of men). 

The Rabbi’s were trying to impose on these newly converted Gentiles, man-made rules and regulations regarding how to honor the Sabbath days and Holy Days (mowediym) of YaHuWaH. But Paul was telling them that these “man-made” traditions called “ordinances” or (dogma in Greek), had been “blotted out” and so now we are able to keep the Holy Days that Yah commands us to keep without all the man-made traditions attached to it:

Qolasiym (Colossians) 2

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

The Apostle Shauwl (Paul) was telling the Colossians that they should let no man judge them for wanting to keep the Sabbath days and for “how” they were keeping the Sabbath days and the Feasts. One such group who were enforcing extra man-made rules and regulations regarding the Sabbath days and the biblical dietary laws were the Essenes. The Essenes were a strict sect of the Jews who were Gnostics. They were not even accepted by the Pharisees, the Sadducees nor the Jewish Sanhedrin in those days. Gnosticism denies that our Messiah Yahuwshuwa “is come in the flesh” (1st John 4:3). 

They teach that all things in the material world are evil to include eating meat (even biblically clean meat) and sexual relations (even in marriage). It was these very same Essenes whom Shauwl wrote about in 1st Timothy 4 as he warned us about those who would “give heed to seducing spirits & doctrines of devils.” They made up a whole lot of rules and regulations (ordinances) that were not in the Towrah, and so Shauwl was telling them, that they were free to keep the Holy Days and the Sabbath Days without being judged by these “Gnostic Pagans” on “how” to obey the Holy Days. 

The Essenes were so strict about Sabbath-keeping that they would not even rescue their animal if it had fallen into a ditch on the Sabbath day. This was the very reason why our Messiah made a point of telling us to “save life and do good” on the Sabbath day---even by saving the life of an animal if necessary. Paul was telling us here that the Sabbath days were a prophetic shadow picture of “things to come” in the future.

Qolasiym (Colossians) 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The word “is” here in this verse above was added in by the translators because it is in italics in the KJV. What is Paul talking about here? He is saying that the body of Messiah(Christ) are the only ones who are qualified to judge us in “how” we keep the holy days of YaHuWaH and the Sabbaths. Why? Because the body of Messiah are accountable to one another in the scriptures. But the pagans and the Pharisaic Rabbinic Jews (who did not believe in Yahuwshuwa as the Messiah) were not qualified to judge these Colossians in regard to holy days.

Ray Comfort Continues:

The Sabbath was given as a sign to Yisra’el (Exodus 31:13–17); nowhere is it given as a sign to the Church. Thousands of years after the Commandment was given we can still see the sign that separates Yisra’el from the world—they continue to keep the Sabbath holy.

Maria Merola’s Response:

Ray Comfort is showing his views as being a “Dispensationalist.” 

Dispensationalism teaches that “The Church & Yisrael are two separate entities,” but this is not the case! 

The other extreme of Dispensationalism is what is known as “Replacement Theology” but there are actually 3 schools of thought in Christianity as to who Yisra’el is, and only one of these schools of thought is correct.

There are three views in modern day Christendom today:

1.) The Church is a Substitute for Yisra’el:  (I don’t adhere to this view)

The dominant view in Christianity has been that the Church is the New Yisra’el, a replacement of the concept of Yisra’el from the Old Testament. This view teaches that the Church is the replacement for Yisra’el and that the many promises made to Yisra’el in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian Church----not in the literal modern State of Yisra’el or the natural born Yisra’elites.

The prophecies in scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Yisra’el to the Land of Promise are “spiritualized” into promises of Yah’s blessing for the Church. The prophecies of condemnation and judgment, however, still remain for national Yisra’el and the Jewish people.

This view has been called “Replacement Theology” because the Church replaces Yisra’el in the program of YaHuWaH. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Yisra’el since 1948. 

If Yisra’el has been condemned by Yah (there being no future for the Jewish nation), how do we account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish people, Yisra’el’s rebirth among the gentile nations, victories in major wars with the Arabs and a flourishing modern democratic Jewish state? 

The Catholic Church since the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 3rd Century has been the main proponent of this doctrine and it has spread into Modern day Christianity today. There is another form of Replacement Theology on the side of Judaism where they refuse to acknowledge that the other ten tribes today in the nations could be lost tribes of Yisra’el. 

They contend that “all twelve tribes of Yisra’el returned after the Assyrian Captivity there are no more lost tribes of Yisra’el in the nations today.” This, of course is false reasoning since the end-time prophecies in Ezekiel 37:16-17 about “the two sticks” (Ephraim & Judah) have not happened yet. 

2.) The Church is Totally Different and Distinct from Yisra’el: (I don’t adhere to this either)

The view that Yisra’el and the Church are different is not accurate either. In this view, the Church is completely different and distinct from Yisra’el and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably.

This view erroneously teaches that the Church is an entirely new creation, which came into being on the Day of Pentecost. The only problem with this view is that all those on the day of Pentecost were Yisraelites from various tribes or Jewish. None were Gentiles. It was not until 15 years later that Cornelius received the Holy Spirit and thus began what is called the “Gentile Church.” 

This view holds that the Church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Yisra’el, the covenants, promises and warnings are valid only for literal and physical Yisra’el. 

Yisra’el has been set aside in Yah’s program during these past 2,000 years of dispersion. YaHuWaH has preserved the Jewish people through great persecutions, though they are largely in unbelief. This view comes from another erroneous doctrine called “Dispensationalism.”

3.) The Engrafting of the Church with Yisra’el: (This is the view I adhere to)

YaHuWaH changed Jacob’s name to Yisra’el, and later on when Yisra’el was dying, he gave his blessing to two of his sons, Joseph and Judah. Joseph had two sons born to an Egyptian woman, Ephraim & Manasseh. In Genesis 48, we read that Yisra’el blessed the younger son of Joseph named Ephraim and called him a “multitude of nations.” Jacob gave the “scepter” or authority to teach the Towrah (Mosaic Law) to Judah (Jews). 

Judah is the English word for Yahuwdah from where we get the word Yahuwdiym which means “Jews” in Hebrew. In this story, Joseph is a prophetic picture of our Messiah being married to the pagan Church. 

Since Yahuwceph (Joseph) married an Egyptian (Gentile) woman, and raised his sons in an Egyptian culture, Ephrayim & Manasseh thought they were Gentiles, but it wasnt until Ya’aqob (Jacob -Yisra’el) prophesied over these grandsons of his and said “let my name be named upon them” that they suddenly realized that they were every bit as much Yisra’el as the original 12 sons of Jacob, even though they were living in a foreign land as Egyptians. 

Likewise, today many born-again believers have no clue who they are, and they continue to call themselves “Gentiles,” even though they are in reality Yisra’elites through the blood covenant of Messiah. 

Ephrayim & Manasseh inherited the same promises of Yisra’el with Judah (Jews) because of the Covenant that Yah made with Abraham and his descendants. Likewise we are told in Galatians 3:29 that we are all “Abrahams seed and heirs to the promise” when we belong to Messiah Yahuwshuwa.

In Ezekiel 37:16-17 we read a prophecy of YaHuWaH taking the tribe of Ephrayim (Gentile Believers) and the tribe of Judah (Jews) and grafting them into one stick or one Olive Tree. 

The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) speaks of the same thing in Romans 11:16-19, when he calls Gentiles “wild branches” and he calls the Yisra’elites who are grafted back into the Olive Tree with Judah (Jews) the “natural branches.” 

Sha’uwl & Ezekiel both show us that we are grafted into one Olive Tree called Yisra’el if we are trusting in Yahuwshuwa for salvation. Hence there should be no difference between what we call “the Church” and Yisra’el. 

We are one body of people in one covenant who keep the same commandments if we are in Messiah. As a matter of fact the word “Church” is a very bad translation in our English Bibles. 

This word actually comes from a Greek goddess in mythology named “Circe” who gave men the wine of her fornication and turned them into pigs! 

This word church” is derived from the word “circus.” The heathens in Greece would meet in large round stadiums shaped like the sun for their pagan sun-gods, and worship pagan deities. 

This is where the word “church” comes from. The Greek word for “Church” in our English Bibles is Ekklesia which means “called out, separated ones.” 

In the book of Exodus YaHuWaH called out and separated for himself the people of Yisra’el, called “the Congregation in the wilderness” and they are the same people who are his covenant people today. Hence those in the Christian Churches should see themselves as Yisra’el with the same covenant promises and the same Laws to live by (Towrah). 

The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) even confirmed this in Ephesians 2:11-12 calling those who have been “brought near by the blood of Messiah” former Gentiles! He said that they were at one time “Gentiles in the flesh,” but now they are part of the “Commonwealth of Yisra’el” and they are no longer deemed as strangers, foreigners! 

The Church has NOT “replaced Yisra’el” with regard to the promises of Abraham. But instead the Christian Church has been “grafted into” the same Olive Tree with Yisra’el. They are being called out to forsake their pagan ways and to fully embrace the same Covenant promises with Yisra’el through the blood of Messiah.

Galatiym (Galatians) 3:29 And if you be Messiahs, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Messiah by the besowrah (gospel).

Ray Comfort Continues:

Romans 14:5–10 tells us that one man esteems one day of the week above another; another esteems every day alike. Then Scripture tells us that everyone should be fully persuaded in his own mind. We are not to judge each other regarding the day on which we worship.

Maria Merola’s Comments:

No place in Romans 14 does Paul mention a particular “day of the week.” Ray Comfort is adding words that are not in the text. Paul said nothing about certain days of the week. In order to properly understand the Book of Romans and Romans Chapter 14 in particular, one must understand that the congregation in Rome was diverse in such a way that it was comprised of three categories of believers:

1.)       Messianic believers who were descendants of the House of Yisra’el or the Ten Tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Yisra’el, and the House of Judah of the Southern Kingdom of Yisra’el that had been scattered among the “nations” as punishment by YaHuWaH for their sins (Deuteronomy 28:64-68). These were the descendants of Yisra’el that Paul (Sha’ul) referred to as “Greeks” in Romans 1:14-16. 

         He did so because these were Yisra’elite descendants that had fully assimilated into Greco-Roman culture prior to salvation; and so he equated them with the “Greeks” or “Hellenized” people of that type of culture. 

         Upon hearing the “Good News” of YaHuWaH’s forgiveness of their sins through the blood atonement of Yahuwshuwa ha’Mashiyach, the Messiah or “anointed one“ of Yisra’el, they came out of the “nations” and “Greco-Roman” culture and returned to YaHuWaH and His Towrah to become members of the Messianic congregation meeting in Rome.

2.)           Messianic Jewish believers from the House of Judah of the Southern Kingdom of Yisra’el which had also been scattered among the “nations” by YaHuWaH for their sins (Deuteronomy 28:64-68 applies to all twelve tribes). 

         Prior to salvation, these Jewish believers had retained Towrah observance as they sojourned “among the nations” but when they heard and believed the “Good News” of Yahuwshuwa ha’Mashiyach’s blood atonement for their sins, they left traditional Judaism (with the added man-made rules) to become members of the Messianic congregation meeting in Rome but were a minority within the congregational numbers.

3.)            Gentile converts (non-Yisra’elite descendants) to the Messianic faith of Yahuwshuwa ha’Mashiyach who had come out of the world of paganism. They became “saints” by accepting Yahuwshuwa ha’Mashiyach as their “savior,” and were transformed in their minds by obeying Torah instructions.

Thus, there would be differences among the believers in the Roman congregation according to their spiritual growth and knowledge of Torah obedience.

In Romans 14, Sha’uwl (Paul) addresses two issues that were dividing the Messianic congregation in Rome. The first issue concerns vegetable vs. meat diets, and the second issue is regarding “fast days“ considered special to the Jewish believers and not to the other believers within the congregation.

When scrutinizing Romans 14, we find that apparently, the Jewish believers, who ate meat in their diets were looking down on and judging or criticizing those that did not have their faith fully resting on the foundation of Towrah, and YaHuWaH’s implementation of meat into man’s diet. Sha’uwl tells the Jewish believers that it is all right that the others eat only a vegetarian diet, because both diets came from YaHuWaH. YaHuWaH first prescribed a vegetarian diet for mankind in Genesis 1:29 and later included meat in man’s diet in Genesis 9:3. 

However, YaHuWaH gave no restrictions against eating the vegetarian diet that He first gave to mankind. Sha’uwl (Paul) wanted to correct the Jewish believers on this point. He also understood the others point of view of eating only vegetables.

One thing that the reader probably should take into consideration regarding the issue of vegetable vs. meat diets in this chapter is that the Gentile believers, and possibly some Messianic Yisra’elites who had sojourned among the Gentiles, had come out of the nations that maintained vulgar eating habits.

Such habits included eating meat from animals that had been strangled, (whereby the blood became “backed up” in the body of the dead animal), and thus became tainted or “poisoned” due to the manner of gentile or pagan slaughtering of animals for their food. 

Pagans often drank the blood from dying or dead animals as part of religious ceremonies, and superstition that the life of the animal, including the animal’s strength, would enter into their bodies so that they could become like the “gods.” They also offered “unclean” types of animals to their pagan “gods” that were an abomination to YaHuWaH, and consumed the meat in their diets.

The purpose of the Council at Jerusalem’s letter to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia was to inform the new Gentile converts not to continue to eat as they had done before their salvation (Acts 15: 23-29). 

When they converted to Towrah obedience, it was very possible that they deeply repented of their disgusting ways and chose to stop eating meat totally to eat only a vegetarian diet so that they would not take a chance of offending YaHuWaH. The Jews on the other hand ate meat that was butchered according to “kosher” instructions learned from the Levitical priests of their past heritage. 

It would be understandable then that Sha’uwl would point out to the Jewish believers not to look down and judge those that did not choose to eat meat like they did. However, Sha’uwl also reminds the Gentile converts not to judge or condemn the Jews for eating meat in their diet. Both diets are within Torah boundaries and YaHuWaH will be the judge as to the individual’s belief, and the thanksgiving that he gives to YaHuWaH for his food provision.

The second issue in Romans chapter 14 deals with a certain day that is considered to be “sacred” or “relevant” to one group within the congregation and not the other. What is this “day” that Sha’uwl is referring to? The Church has traditionally taught that this “day” mentioned in Romans 14:5-6 is justification for the Church to consider Sun-day as their worship day rather than the 7th day, the Shabbat or Sabbath day that Jews go to worship on. But is that what Sha’uwl is talking about? 

If it is, then he is supporting division within the Body of Mashyiach. One day for the believing Jews and one day for the believing Gentile converts. Yet, Sha’uwl stresses in this chapter that division is not the way in a congregation and that everyone should be tolerant of each other’s personal beliefs. 

By having a loving attitude, and good behavior towards each other within the congregation than unity, peace, and mutual edification are maintained within a body of believers.

It is a grave error of the Church to insert the subject of a pagan day set aside for sun-god worship or Sun-day in Sha’uwl’s correction to the congregation at Rome. It is absolutely absurd to even suggest that Sha’uwl points to this idea when many believers within the congregation of Rome had come out of pagan sun-god worship that was prevalent in the “nations” at that particular time including Rome and its “multi” sun-gods and goddesses.

We must understand that Romans Chapter 14 is a correction about eating habits of two groups within the congregation of Rome that are bringing conflict to one another. In staying with the food subject of this chapter, the only “day” that would have any relationship to the subject of food would be a “fast day” when one chooses not to eat food. In actuality, the whole chapter is about food and how some in the congregation had certain beliefs that incorporated “fast days” into their spiritual lives. Sha’uwl corrected both sides on their views on the subject of “fast days.”

The “day” that Sha’uwl was referring to in this chapter would be one of the traditional Jewish “fast days” that the Jewish believers continued to keep, and the Gentile believers did not and probably did not understand why the Jews continued to do so. 

These “fast days” were not Torah commanded but were times of remembrance special to the House of Judah. They were times for the Jewish believers to remember their ancestors’ captivity in Babylon. Thus these times had no relevance or cultural interest to the Gentile believers in the same congregation. The “fast days” that Sha’uwl was referring to were the House of Judah’s “fast days” found in Zechariah 7:5-6:

The fast day in the 4th month of the Jewish calendar was in remembrance of the destruction of the Wall of Jerusalem.

The fast day in the 5th month was in remembrance of the burning of the Great Temple in Jerusalem.

The fast day in the 7th month was in remembrance of the killing of Gedaliah which brought about their ancestors’ exile into the nations.

The fast day in the 10th month was in remembrance of the siege of Jerusalem.

Included in these non-Towrah commanded Jewish Celebrations was Chanukkah (the Feast of Dedication) and Puwriym (Esther 9, 1st & 2nd Maccabees, John 10:22, and Haggai 2:18-20). In this second issue, the Gentile believers were judging the Jewish believers for keeping “fast days” that were not commanded by Towrah. Sha’uwl again corrects the congregation about judging and criticizing one another regarding their beliefs on “fast days” in the same manner as he did regarding their eating habits. 

As a descendant of the Tribe of Benjamin assimilated into the house of Judah, Sha’uwl would understand the Jewish tradition of fasting on those days considered to be “special” to the Jewish people. Because those days did not violate Towrah, but were a part of the House of Judah’s history, Sha’uwl understood then that the Jewish “fast days” were acceptable to YaHuWaH when observed in a right attitude. Thereby, one can not in any way insert the subject of “Shabbat vs. Sun-day” into these verses without breaking the continuity of Sha’uwl’s correction.

Ray Comfort Continues:

Jesus did keep the Sabbath. He had to keep the whole Law to be the perfect sacrifice. The Bible makes it clear that the Law has been satisfied in Christ.

Maria Merola’s Response:

Ray says “Jesus had to be perfect” yet Yahuwshuwa commands us also to be perfect:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The reason for Yahuwshuwa dying on the tree and giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit is so that we can also fulfill the righteousness of the law just as he did!

Romiym (Romans) 8:4 That the righteousness of the Towrah (law) might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Yahuwshuwa did not excuse us from having to keep the law; he has given us the ability to keep the law by the Holy Spirit’s power in us!

I already demonstrated that not all of the Towrah (Mosaic Law) has been fulfilled (satisfied) yet according to the words of Yahuwshuwa himself. Yahuwshuwa said that none of the Law of Moses, not even one punctuation mark will pass away until “heaven and earth passes away” and we know that this has not happened yet (Matthew 5:17-18).

Here is what is left to be fulfilled in the law:

When Yahuwshuwa catches away the believers, this will occur on the Feast of Trumpets. 

When the bride returns with him, (after a seven-day wedding in heaven), that will be the day when he “avenges the blood of the saints,” this will be on “Yom Kippur” (The Day of Atonement). The bride will be his army, as she will fight with him on the Great Day of Wrath. Therefore, the bride will have incorruptible bodies, hence indestructible, and not affected by the wrath to come. 

Five days later the bride will go into the Millennial Kingdom with him and this will fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles and the Sabbath for 1,000 years. This will occur on the 7th Day or the 7th  Millennium (a day is like a thousand years to YaHuWaH). And so you see, there are still more of the Feasts of YaHuWaH to fulfill from Levticus 23. Not all has been fulfilled yet!

Ray Comfort Continues:

The reason Paul went to the synagogue each Sabbath wasn’t to keep the Law; that would have been contrary to everything he taught about being saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). It was so he could preach the gospel to the Jews, as evident in the Book of Acts. Paul had an incredible evangelistic zeal for Yisra’el to be saved (Romans 10:1). To the Jew he became as a Jew, that he might win the Jews (1st Corinthians 9:19-20). That meant he went to where they gathered on the day they gathered.

Maria Merola’s Response:

Ray Comfort ignores the fact that Sha’uwl (Paul) went into the synagogue to teach Gentiles the Law of Moses in Acts 13:42 & Acts 18:4. He makes it appear that Paul’s only purpose was to preach the gospel to the Jews, and that Paul was in no way attempting to keep the Law of Moses.

But we find information contrary to what Ray Comfort is saying in Acts 21. Some of the Jews were falsely accusing the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) of teaching the Jews to no longer keep the laws of Moses and to stop circumcising their baby boys.

Maaseh Shliciym (Acts) 21:21 And they are informed of you, that you teach all the Yahuwdiy (Jews) which are among the Gentiles to forsake Mosheh, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

But Sha’uwl was not teaching the Yahuwdiy (Jews) to stop circumcising their baby boys. Sha’uwl merely preached that adult male Gentiles did not need to get circumcised in order to enter into covenant with YaHuWaH. They would still be required to be circumcised in order to enter into the sanctuary in the temple now and in the Millennium (Ezekiel 44:9).

Paul was not preaching that it was a sin to circumcise our baby boys. So in order to show the Yahuwdiym (Jews) that these rumors about him were false and that he was still very much a Towrah observant Yahuwdiy (Jew) keeping the Law of Mosheh, he shaved his head and did a purification ritual according to the Law of Mosheh. The Yahuwdiym (Jews) wanted him to make an open demonstration that these rumors about him were false so he did as they asked him to do:

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 21:

23 Do therefore this that we say to you: We have four men which have a vow on them;

24 Them take, and purify yourself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning you, are nothing; but that you yourself also walk orderly, and keep the Towrah (law).

26 Then Shauwl took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

If Ray Comfort is trying to build a case that the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was no longer keeping the Sabbath, and he only went into the temple to preach because that was the only way to win the Jews to Messiah, he is wrong about that, and the evidence in Acts 21 proves that to be so.

The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) did not contradict the Law of Moses ever once in his epistles! Sha’uwl (Paul) was a fully Towrah observant Jew. Ray Comfort is confusing salvation by Grace through faith with being sanctified and set apart from the world (sanctification). 

Most Christians make this mistake and treat the initial salvation by Grace as the end of the story. But there is so much more! Yahuwshuwa saved us by Grace and there is no law that can save us. But once we are saved, he expects us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” 

Pilippiym (Philippians) 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

This means that grace will continue to “teach us” to keep Yah’s commandments.

Ray Comfort Continues:

D. L. Moody said, “The law can only chase a man to Calvary, no further.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law so we are no longer in bondage to it. If we try to keep one part of the Law (even out of love for God), we are obligated to keep the whole law (Galatians 3:10)—all 613 precepts. If those who insist on keeping the Sabbath were as zealous about the salvation of the lost as they are about other Christians keeping the Sabbath, we would see revival.

Maria Merola’s Response:

No disrespect intended towards D. L. Moody, because he was a well-respected Bible Scholar for his time. However, in these last days, YaHuWaH is restoring the remnant of Yisra’el, by calling them out of traditional pagan mixture within the Church; and back to their Hebraic Roots. 

Many within the Christian Church are being called to come out of dispensationalist “anti-Towrah” thinking. We are experiencing a revival of Hebraic understanding of scripture, once again. True revival is always characterized by a return to keeping YaHuWaH’s commandments. What is the point of a a revival if it does not bring us into obedience? A revival of what? A revival of non-obedience makes no sense.

D.L. Moody is also displaying “dispensationalist” theology here, which is wrong.

Dispensationalism only came into existence in the late 1800’s but prior to that, the church did not teach this type of doctrine. When the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) speaks of the “curse of the law,” he is not saying that the Law of Moses brought the curse. Paul was telling us that the law was holy and the commandment was holy:

Romiym (Romans) 7:12 Therefore the Towrah (law) is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

But it was our weak sinful nature that brought the curse because we are unable to keep the law when we are in the flesh. What Messiah redeemed us from is the “curse” of not being able to keep the law and the curses that we come under when we break it according to Deuteronomy 28.

The Law of Moses is not cursed! Our sinful flesh brought us under a curse and Messiah redeemed us from the sinful flesh that prevented us from keeping the Law of Moses. The curse of the Law, which Paul was talking about, was not the Law of Moses. He was talking about a different law. He was talking about the “Law of Sin and Death.”

What is the Law of the Spirit of Life?

It is the Law of Moses being written upon our hearts as a sign of the New Covenant. And this law of the Spirit of life has set us free from this other law called the law of sin and death!

Romiym (Romans) 8:2 For the Towrah (law) of the Spirit of life in Yahuwshuwa Messiah has made me free from the law of sin and death.

If we love YaHuWaH Elohiym with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, his commandments will not be grievous or burdensome to us. We will enjoy obeying all of his commandments.

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 5:3 For this is the love of Elohiym, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

1 comment:

  1. Yes ...Yes ... YES! Thank you SOOO much for this! It has answered So many questions and cleared up so much confusion ... AND is SUCH a BLESSING and welcomed light to my SOUL! May Yahuwah continue to fill your mind with His words to share with us! Love you, my sister in HIM!