We’d like to present some verses for anyone who may believe Paul spoke against the law and those who are against the sacrificial system.
Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and KEEP THE LAW. But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time AN OFFERING should be made for each one of them. Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them. When the seven days were almost completed…(Emphasis Ours)
Shaving their heads, seven days, purification, and making an offering are all parts of a vow known as the Nazirite vow.
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to YHWH, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. ‘All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to YHWH, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separates himself to YHWH he shall not go near a dead body. He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he shall be holy to YHWH. ‘And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, THEN HE SHALL SHAVE HIS HEAD ON THE DAY OF HIS CLEANSING; ON THE SEVENTH DAY HE SHALL SHAVE IT. Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. He shall consecrate to the Lord the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. “‘This is the law of the Nazirite: when the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and HE SHALL PRESENT HIS OFFERING TO YHWH, one male lamb a year old without defect for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without defect for a sin offering, and one ram without defect for peace offerings, and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their meal offering, and their drink offerings. The priest shall present them before Yahweh, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering. He shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings to Yahweh, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its meal offering, and its drink offering. The Nazirite shall SHAVE HIS CONSECRATED HEAD at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace offerings. The priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the head of his separation; and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before Yahweh. This is holy for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is offered. AFTER THAT THE NAZIRITE MAY DRINK WINE. “‘This is the law of the Nazirite who vows, and of his offering to Yahweh for his separation, besides that which he is able to get. According to his vow which he vows, so he must do after the law of his separation.’” (Emphasis Ours)
It’s pretty easy to see the correlation between a Nazarite vow and the vow that Paul took in Acts 21. Whether it was a Nazarite vow or not, the fact is, Paul was going to take this vow as a way of discrediting the claims that he was teaching and walking contrary to the Torah. Otherwise, why would James and the other elders say what they did in 21:24?
Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that YOU YOURSELF ALSO WALK KEEPING THE LAW. (Emphasis Ours)
The remainder of the Book of Acts is all about Paul defending himself concerning being falsely accused of forsaking and teaching against Torah. Why would a man who so many claim taught that the law was no longer required go to such great lengths to defend himself? Perhaps he was only saying what he needed to say in order to get out of a precarious situation? If that’s the case, then we have to discount everything Paul ever said. NO! Paul is not a false apostle; he’s just the most misunderstood. Peter warned us that Paul was hard to understand in 2 Peter 3:16 and keep in mind that Peter was writing to people who lived during the time that Paul wrote his letters. They would have had intimate firsthand knowledge of the cultural and social norms of that time. If Peter felt it prudent to warn them then, how much more likely are we to misunderstand what Paul says in his letters, 2000 years removed from the cultural understanding in which they were written? In the context of understanding the meaning of an ancient text, Walton states that “if we are going to comprehend communication that took place between members of an ancient culture, we are going to have to adjust our thinking to be able to sit in the circle of communication with the ancient audience.” He also adds that “When we study ancient text (like the Bible), we cannot make words mean whatever we want them to, or assume that they meant the same to the ancient audience that they do to a modern audience. 1J. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2006), 20. Available at http://amzn.com/0801027500 (Emphasis Ours) In other words, Paul is hard to understand and if you think you can read Paul’s letters in a modern KJB and think you have the slightest idea about what he was really saying you are fooling yourself. If the ancient people had to be careful about rightly understanding what Paul said, how much more careful should we be?
This brings us to our second topic, Sacrifices. Y’shua was not the end of sacrifices. He was the ultimate sacrifice and our Passover Lamb, but after his death, burial and resurrection, sacrifices continued at the Temple until it was destroyed in 70AD, yes, even sin sacrifices. For more on the purpose of Y’shua’s death, burial and sacrifice see our teaching “WHY.” It’s clear by the verses in Acts 21 that Paul himself brought sacrifices to the Temple not only for himself but also for these other men who also took the vow with him.
Sacrifices are on hold at the moment because there is no altar, however at some point before the end they have to be restarted for Daniel 12:11 to take place. We know as long as the Temple was standing they continued sacrifices, but what about in the future? An examination of the prophets reveals that after the return of the Messiah, in the millennial reign, sacrifices will be taking place, including sin sacrifices. Don’t believe us though…it’s in the Bible.
In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering. The seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to Yahweh, seven bulls and seven rams without defect daily the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering. He shall prepare a meal offering, an ephah for a bull, and an ephah for a ram, and a hin of oil to an ephah. In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast, shall he do the like the seven days; according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meal offering, and according to the oil.
WOW! There’s a lot going on here. Let’s break it all down and see what we have. First of all, this is a prophecy of the millennial reign of the Messiah which means it has not happened yet. That’s a HUGE deal for multiple reasons. One is that we see the Feast of Passover being observed in the future, not Easter Sunday. Another is that sacrifices are taking place, but not only that, “SIN” sacrifices are taking place as well. Come on people, this is not the stuff they are teaching on Sunday mornings. Someone told you that Jesus was the end of sacrifices or if not all sacrifices, he was surely the final sin sacrifice. That’s not what Scripture tells us, though. We can also see that during the Feast of Tabernacles (also clearly shown as being observed during the millennial reign) which starts on the fifteenth day of the seventh month that sacrifices, including sin sacrifices, are being done. We’re not trying to discredit anyone’s Pastor, Priest, Rabbi or anything else, but at this point, we at least hope that you are wondering what else they never told you.
This isn’t the only thing that should jump out at us, though. There are quite a few significant differences in the millennium when it comes to sacrifices. If we compare the required sacrifices and offerings in Ezekiel’s writings with the sacrifices and offerings in Leviticus, there are some fascinating differences. One major difference is regarding the animals sacrificed during Passover. In Ezekiel’s prophecies, there is no lamb sacrificed. Instead, it is a bull. Could this perhaps be because Y’shua was our Passover Lamb and that is why there is no longer a lamb sacrificed at Passover? Perhaps. Something else of interest is that there are NO drink offerings mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecies. Could this have something to do with Y’shua making the statement that He would not drink from the cup again until all was complete? Maybe, maybe not, but it is interesting for sure.
How much do we really know about what the future holds according to the Bible? No one ever showed or taught us the things we have just laid out for you. Why is that? Why are so many people being taught that the law was fulfilled by Jesus, so now we don’t have to do it, except for the Ten Commandments, with a star beside the 4th one because it changed to Sunday? The law is done away with they tell us; we can now eat pork, but homosexuality is still a sin and you better still pay your tithes, even though Jesus fulfilled the old law. OH, that’s right, it’s only the civil laws that no longer apply, even though Jesus fulfilled the law for us, we still have to keep the moral laws, but not the civil ones. Question…who decides which laws are moral and civil? The Bible makes no distinction, so where did the idea of moral and civil come from? The easy answer is that anything people don’t want to have to do today becomes a civil law, thus effectively exempting them from having to observe it.
Y’shua spoke heavily against the traditions of men when they attenuated the Torah. It’s time for believers to wake up and realize that our fathers have lied to us, often times by no fault of their own, as they were lied to as well by their fathers before them. Is what you believe firmly based in Biblical truth, or is it only based on the traditions of men? Nothing has really changed since the time of Y’shua. People are still trying to do things their own way.
WAKE UP CHURCH!
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|1.||↑||J. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2006), 20. Available at http://amzn.com/0801027500|