Here are the three basic rules that I, along with most Christians follow, which will be essential in showing how my search for truth was conducted.
Rule number 1)
God does not change. He does not change his mind. He does not go against his own word
Rule number 2)
Jesus only said and did the things that God has told him to say and do.
Rule number 3)
Scriptures do not contradict.
95% of Christians would agree to these three points.
From these three points I ask one question with several sub questions that lead to the original inquiry. It is from these three points that I sought to compare denominational doctrine against scripture.
Is the Bible inconsistent?
If yes, then it is fallible and merely another book and not inspired by God.
If no, ( which I believe) Then one must rectify specific questions.
Why don't we as Christians keep the Dietary instructions as God prescribed them?
- A)If we were to say God said that it was okay to eat such things and pork and shellfish and owl, then this is a violations of Rules 1 & 3 as God has said that Pork and shellfish and owl are not food for man(Leviticus 11 ) .
- B)If we are to say Peter had a vision (Acts 10 ) where a sheet was lowered with all kinds of animals and God said to "rise peter kill and eat" if God was telling peter that it was now alright to eat unclean animals, then this would be a violations of rules 1 & 3. Further more, the passage states that peter was confused about the Vision (Acts 10:28 ). Peter starts to get a clue that this had nothing to do with food, and everything to do with the gentile inclusions in the kingdom.(Acts 10:28 ) In verse 34 it seems to come together for him. We see that Peter is now giving a detailed account of his vision to show that it was not about food, but about not showing partiality.(Acts 11 )
- C) If we are to say That Christ made all foods clean per Mark 7. This would violate rules 1, 2, and 3 if we are to think that all food is now including unclean animals. It would mean that either Jesus was teaching something that God said was not to be done, Or God had changed his mind about unclean animals being food for us... which then results in the conflict of scripture. As per Mark 7 passage, verse 3 states that the subject in question was a tradition making something that God had already said was food unclean. This is restated in verse 5. In verses 8,9, and 13 Jesus rebukes them for setting aside the commands of God, which would be folly if he himself were teaching something against the commands of God I.E. dietary laws.
- D) If we are to say That through Christ's death and resurrection all things can now be eaten because they are now clean. This would violate all three rules as the actions of Jesus would now conflict with the words of God. Also in There is a passage that talks about a out pouring of wrath on those who eat things which God has stated are an abomination. This event has yet to happen therefore one must deduce that this is an event to come ( Isaiah 66:16-18) Christ would not execute such wrath if he had deemed these things acceptable.
Why don't people keep the Sabbath the way that God said to keep it?
- (A) If we are to say that it has now changed to Sunday, this violates 1 and 3 as The scripture states that the Sabbath is the 7th day, and not the first. Further more, Paul tells people to collect money and conduct business on the first day, which would mean that if in fact the Sabbath was changed to the first day- Paul is telling people to violate it by conducting business. There is also no scripture that suggest that the Sabbath was transferred to the first day. Also, the Catholic church makes it very clear that there is not scriptural support for the change of the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st, and they take full responsibility for that change.
- (B)If we are to say that the Sabbath was part of the Law and the Law is not to be followed anymore, this violates all 3 rules as God states that the commands are to be a perpetual ordinance for Jew and gentile alike through out their generations( Exodus 12:49, Exodus-31:16, Galatians 3:29,Ephesians-2:19 ). Jesus kept the Sabbath, if we are to follow his perfect example, we would keep the Sabbath as well. To say that it is a perpetual sign for believers, but has been revoked is inconsistent. Plus there is support form the books of Hebrews that the Sabbath is still in place ( Hebrews-4:9-11) . In further support, Isaiah 56 shows that the Sabbath is still in place after the Messiah brings salvation. It is also stated that the Sabbath is in place in heaven ( Isaiah 66:22-23 ) as it endures from the new heaven and new earth which have not yet been made as pointed out in other passages ( 2 Peter- 3:10,2 Peter 3:14Revelation 21:1 )
- (C) If we are to say that we do keep the Sabbath on Sunday, then this doesn't exactly violate any of the 3 rules, but is a blatant ignoring of the scriptures on the Subject of Sabbath keeping. The Sabbath is a day where man is to cease form his efforts and his control. This cannot be done while still choosing what day one wants the Sabbath to be. Also God states that it is his Sabbath, therefore we do not have control over it. (Isaiah-58:13 ) The Sabbath is also defined as an appointed time of God, in which the Anti-christ seeks to change the times of. (Daniel 7:25-26)
- (D) If we are to say that Jesus broke the Sabbath then this is a violation of Rule number 2 and 3. Jesus kept the Sabbath as was his custom,(Luke-4:16 ) . and if he broke the Sabbath then he did not do as he has seen the father do (John 5:19, John 7:16,John 8:28 ,John 12:49) and would not be the sinless Messiah, but rather be acting like the anti-messiah.
Why don't people follow the law of God?
- (A)If we are to say that we are now under Grace, this would imply that there was a time that we were not under grace, and thus would be a violation of rule number 1. There are several points in the old testament where Grace is prevalent, as grace is loving kindness or unmerited favor (Psalms 103:4, Psalms 103:11,Psalms 103:17,Psalms 130:4,Psalms 130:7, )
- (B) If we are to say the law was for salvation, then this violates rules 2 and 3 as scripture states that by the law no man was saved, and in Hebrews it states that the sacrifices could never take away sins.( Hebrews 11) Plus, king David stated that he looked to the Messiah for salvation as he followed God's law. (Psalms-119:166 , Psalm 119:81) Also there was an issue in Acts where a new Idea was introduced that SOME people were saying that one had to be circumcised and ordered to keep all the commandments in Acts 15. This is refuted in the same passage, as it is pointed out that the law was never for salvation (Acts 15:10) but obedience is the result of salvation.
- (C) If we are to say that the Law has been done away with or Fulfilled [ by interpretation of fulfilled meaning rendered into a manner of non-observance], then this is a violation of rule 1 and 3. Jesus stated that he didn't come to do abolish the law ( Matthew- 5:17-19) but to fulfill it. If the word fulfill meant to render into a manner of non-observance, then that would have the same effect as abolishment. he also states that anyone who teaches others not to follow the commands will be least in the kingdom ( Matthew-5:19 ) Plus, how Could Jesus have rebuked the Pharisees for setting aside the commands of God, if he was going to set aside the commands of God, and therefore break the three rules.
- (D) If we are to say that the Law is Bondage, this is a violation of rule 3 since it is stated that the law is liberty (James 1:25,James 2:12,Psalms 119:44-45 ) and that the law is perfect (James 1:25,Psalm 19:7 ) Also, If Jesus lived this perfectly and we are called to follow in his footsteps (1 John- 2:6,John-14:21,John-14:15,John 14:12 ) how would living a life like Christ be bondage?
- (E) If we are to say that it is too difficult to follow, then this is a violations of all three rules because God stated that it wasn't, as scripture points out (Deuteronomy-30:1,Deuteronomy-30:14 ). This would also mean that walking the way Jesus walked is too difficult, which is not what the Messiah says (Mathew 11:30, )
- (F) If we are to say that Paul and the disciples taught against following the law then this is a violation of rule 3. Paul only taught against following the law for salvation, not as a result of salvation. Paul himself followed God's law, delighting in it and teaching it... Going so far as to perform a vow and sacrifice to show that there is no truth to this teaching (Acts-24:14-15, Acts 21:17-26,Acts-24:18,Acts 26:4-5,Acts-28:23,Romans-7:22,Romans 7:25,1 Corinthians 9:21,1 Corinthians 14:37 ) It was know the enemies of the disciples were the ones saying that they were teaching against the law of God (Acts 6:10-15 ) If you note that in verse 14 of acts 6, these liars state that Jesus was altering the Law, but according to Jesus' words, he doesn't ( John-5:46-47)
- (G) If we are to say that we now live by the spirit instead of the Law, this would somewhat be in conflict with rule 1, for the spirit of God would never tell you to do something contrary to the word of God. Plus the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14)
- (H) we are called to be without sin, this is impossible without following the Law as sin is defined as the violation of God's law (1 John-3:4) God's grace is defined as redeeming us from every lawless deed ( Titus-2:11-14)
How does a dispensation approach to scripture work?
- (A) the Idea of having 7 dispensations would imply that God changes, which would violate rule 1, as God changes his mind.
- (B) We then have to account for Noah knowing the difference between clean and unclean animals before the dispensations of the law, where God states what animals are clean and what ones are not clean ( Genesis-7:2, Deuteronomy 14,Leviticus 11 )
- (C) Then we would need to account for the fact that Grace is prevalent before the dispensations of Grace (Psalms 103:4,Psalms 103:11,Psalms 103:17,Psalms 130:4,Psalms 130:7,Proverbs 3:34)
- (D) and also how to account for the law being returned in the Millennial Reign of Christ if it is a burden now(Hebrews- 10:16,Colossians 2:17,Hebrews- 10:1,Jeremiah 32:40,Isaiah-2:2-3, Zechariah-14:16-21 )
- (E) It is also stated that the Holy Spirit was very evident in the life of believers before the dispensation of Grace ( Mark 12:36, Exodus 31:3, Numbers 11:16-17)
Do the Writings of Paul tell us a different story?
- (A)If one were to say that Romans 14 states that we can eat what ever animal we want, this would violate rule 1 & 3. If we were to look at the terminology as per what defines one who is weak in the faith and cross reference that with other passages of Paul's we could see that the issue is not about eating unclean animals, but about eating meat that was sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13 ) In verse 15 of Romans 14 Paul points out that the we are not to cause offense over food, if he was saying unclean animals were food then he would be violating rule 3.
- (B) If one were to say that the book of Galatians is telling us not to follow the law of God, then this would violate rules 1, 2, and 3 as God states that the law was to be followed by Jew and Gentile alike forever(Numbers 15:15-16,Numbers 15:29 ) Jesus states that we are to follow everything that the teachers of the law teach [but not to be hypocrites] (Matthew-23:2-3 ) If God said to follow the law, then who is Paul to say something different? We can see in Galatians 2:4 that Paul is writing this letter to refute the teaching that arose in Acts 15, this is restated in Galatians 5:4 since the issue in acts was men seeking to be justified by the law. In acts 15 the act of seeking to be justified by the law was a new heretical doctrine that was introduced, as Peter pointed out that it was a burden that no one in history was asked to bear. (Acts 15:9-11 )
- (C) If one were to say that by getting circumcised it invalidates Christ, This would violate rules 1 and 3. Why did Paul have Timothy circumcised if such an action would be dooming him? ( Acts 16:3) But as it were, the issue at hand was relying the law when one should have been relying on Christ as they follow the law. Paul also states that Circumcision and Uncircumcision are nothing, but what matter are keeping the commands of God (1Corinthians 7:19 ) which, include circumcision.
- (D) If some one were to imply that we are now circumcised by the heart as an implication of something changed, this would break rule 3, if it were not already something that was in place. ( Deuteronomy 10:16,Leviticus 26:41,Jeremiah 4:4)
- (E) If Paul were teaching that we should not follow the Law of God then he would have been guilty of taking away from the commands of God,(Deuteronomy -4:2,Deuteronomy 5:29-33,Deuteronomy-12:32 ) and therefore breaking rule 3. We see that Paul states that he agrees with everything written in the law and he follows it (Acts-24:14-15,Acts 26:4-5 )
- (F) If someone were to suggest that Paul teaches that we are not hold believers accountable in regards to what they eat or regarding the Sabbath, this would be in violation of rule 3. We find a notion of this in Colossians 2:16. However, if this is an admonishment of keeping the Sabbath or any of God's law, then Paul could not refer to it as hollow and deceptive philosophy (Colossians 2:8 ). This would also conflict with his own words, as he writes to timothy that all scripture is for rebuke encouragement reproof, breaking rule 3. (2 Timothy-3:14-17 ) This would include the dietary restrictions as at the time of him penning those words, the only scriptures that existed were the "Old Testament" in it's entirety. Further more, it is God's law and not that of any man and it has always been God's Sabbath.
- (G) We also have it under Peter's testimony that Paul does not teach against God's law (2 Peter- 3:14-17 )
- (H) How can we adhere to Paul when he says follow me as I follow Christ, if we are to interpret his teachings to say that after we are saved, we shouldn't follow the law of God, as Christ who we are saved by, followed the Law of God? It is also said in Daniel 7:24-26 that the Anti-christ seeks to change the Law and appointed times of God.
What about Revelation?
- (A) If the commandments of God are burden some, and it is one of the roles of the adversary to create burden and strife, why does he hate those who keep the commands of God? (Revelation 12:17 ) If the commands of God were said to a burden then this would violate rules 1 and 3 as God and 1 John say that they are not (1 John 5:3,Deuteronomy-30:11 )
- (B) If the commands are not to be followed, then why is the perseverance of the saints [us] outlined as those who hold to the commands of God in conjunction with faith in Christ (Revelation-14:12 )