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Author Topic: What happened to the Law?  (Read 5032 times) Average Rating: 0
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« on: February 27, 2011, 04:18:20 PM »

I was reading this:
http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/The_Law_stands.htm
And it brought up some things that I think have not been entirely dealt with. To start, a lot of what this guy says is just plain wrong. However, he talks about the Law in relation to Christianity. How exactly are we to view the Law now? It is still wrong to murder, commit adultery, etc. Yet we ignore the Sabbath. Why? I know there was a lot of debate in the early Church about certain "Judaizers". It just seems to me that the early Church did a "pick and choose" job with how the Law applied to them. Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 04:28:56 PM »


I don't think that we "pick and choose", we simply don't achieve perfection.

All the laws hold fast, we just can't discipline ourselves to follow them.  Our not following the laws, doesn't mean that they are invalid.

As for the Sabbath, we celebrate Sunday as the Lord's Day.   We attend Divine Liturgy and refrain from doing "work" as much as possible on this day.

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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 04:35:42 PM »

So if the Law was not abolished, why do we not follow it? And how did the Sabbath switch days?
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 04:42:46 PM »


What do you mean by "not following" it?

I try to follow it, don't you?

I don't always succeed, but, I try.
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 04:47:08 PM »

Are you following the Kosher laws? Do you keep the Sabbath on Saturday? What happened to these laws? Are they abolished, or just ignored?
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2011, 04:54:24 PM »

I was reading this:
http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/The_Law_stands.htm
And it brought up some things that I think have not been entirely dealt with. To start, a lot of what this guy says is just plain wrong. However, he talks about the Law in relation to Christianity. How exactly are we to view the Law now? It is still wrong to murder, commit adultery, etc. Yet we ignore the Sabbath. Why? I know there was a lot of debate in the early Church about certain "Judaizers". It just seems to me that the early Church did a "pick and choose" job with how the Law applied to them. Thoughts?
The Sabbath rest was fulfilled by Christ in the Tomb.  Murder, adultery, etc. cannot be "fulfilled."
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2011, 04:55:27 PM »

So if the Law was not abolished, why do we not follow it? And how did the Sabbath switch days?
Christ fulfilled the Sabbath in the Tomb and rose on the 1st day of the New Creation.
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 06:09:47 PM »

Saturday is still considered holy, at least according to the allowances for wine and oil that are made every saturday that falls in a fasting period (with very few exceptions). We gather for worship on sunday because we gather to commemorate our Lord rising from the tomb freeing us from death and corruption.

Part of the curse of Adam was "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground... Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."

If part of the curse is to bound to labor, then a day of rest can be a symbol of freedom from that curse. The day of rest on the Sabbath was fulfilled as our Lord rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day. Our freedom from the curse is fully realized on the next day, that is the eighth day of the new creation, which we celebrate as the Lord's day in honor of His glorious resurrection that grants us our rest in Him.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2011, 06:17:52 PM »

Where, though, does it say that we no longer keep the Sabbath? What about the dietary laws, and the Cleanliness laws? Where did they go?
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2011, 06:20:48 PM »

As far as Kosher, the Apostles discerned in Acts 15 that the Holy Spirit did not require Gentile Christians to eat or otherwise live according to Kosher or other laws (ie circumcision), except for eating blood, which remains prohibited for Christians.

As far as ritual purity, refer to St Peter's vision. "Call nothing unclean which I have made clean."
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2011, 06:22:39 PM »

I appreciate all of the responses thus far. I just fail to grasp the subject. Are there any church fathers that deal in depth with this issue?
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2011, 06:25:34 PM »

Where, though, does it say that we no longer keep the Sabbath?

We do observe Saturdays as a holy day. But Sunday is more important, as the Lord's resurrection. I can't give a citation unfortunately, but I have read that we should avoid servile work on Saturdays if possible, with a strict prohibition on Sundays.

And really, in proper usage the Divine Liturgy and cycle of services is celebrated every day, so every day is holy to God. We just commemorate the Resurrection on Sundays, and that is the most important day of the week.
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2011, 06:27:27 PM »

I just remembered: Another reason why the Sabbath has fallen somewhat "out of favor" is the long-standing prohibition on observing the same days as Jews. That is why we fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, while the Jews fast (or used to) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2011, 06:41:37 PM »

As far as Kosher, the Apostles discerned in Acts 15 that the Holy Spirit did not require Gentile Christians to eat or otherwise live according to Kosher or other laws (ie circumcision), except for eating blood, which remains prohibited for Christians.

As far as ritual purity, refer to St Peter's vision. "Call nothing unclean which I have made clean."

The kosher and ritual laws were fulfilled in Christ. The Jews were chosen to bring Christ into the world. God gave them the Law when he seperated them to Himself as a holy poeple chosen to bring forth the Messiah. The rituals were signs of what Christ would accomplish and were fulfilled in His actions. The dietary laws and circumcision were there to serperate the Jews from the gentiles. Once Christ came to reconcile both in Himself, the laws that had kept the gentiles seperated, were no longer applicable because a) the jews did what they were seperated to do when they bore the Messiah and b) the gentiles were no longer to be excluded as unclean but to be grafted into God's chosen people. Circumcision which was the fleshly sign of being inculded in God's chosen people in Israel, was replaced with baptism which unites into Christ through His death and resurrection bringing us into His chosen people in the new covenant.

The blood was still prohibited because it is the life of the creature, and that life rightfully belongs to God.

Sexual immorality was prohibited because of it's relation to marriage and the fidelity of only being joined to what God has joined together, especially as a symbol of Christ and His Church.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2011, 06:54:08 PM »

How exactly did the kosher laws separate the Jews, and why did they matter? And the vision of Peter in Acts had more to do with accepting Gentiles, and less about food restrictions, am I correct?
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2011, 07:32:58 PM »

The Mosaic Law was given to Israel alone, and its aim was to single Israel out from among the nations of the world for the sake of her dedication to God.

The sacrifice of the cross ended this separation as St. Paul says:

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh – who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands – that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. (Ephesians 2:11-16)
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2011, 11:29:35 PM »

From Webster's Dictionary:
Quote
Main Entry: nul·li·fy
Pronunciation: \ˈnə-lə-ˌfī\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): nul·li·fied; nul·li·fy·ing
Etymology: Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus
Date: 1595
1 : to make null; especially : to make legally null and void
2 : to make of no value or consequence
It seems to indicate by the passage in Ephesians that Christ made the law null, or without consequence. So which is it? Did He complete the Law, or make it void?
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2011, 09:47:33 PM »

Quote
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
What does this verse from Matt 5 mean exactly? Until what is accomplished?
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2011, 12:44:58 AM »

Wikipedia has an article called Sabbath in Christianity and I found this:
Quote
seventh day Sabbath observance by Gentile Christians prevailed in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Some authorities continued to oppose this as a Judaizing tendency.[1] For example, the Council of Laodicea (canon 29) states Christians must not Judaize by resting on Sabbath but must work that day and then if possible rest on the Lord's Day and any found to be Judaizers are anathema from Christ.
Isn't the Sabbath an eternal obligation?
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2011, 01:15:41 AM »

Saturday is still the Sabbath and most Orthodox sources I have read indicate that the Church teaches such.
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2011, 01:22:25 AM »

PFN,

St. Paul is your man. And some good answers above and not so good. But one thing that drives me nutty is when people say the Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. In our secular world it is from Friday eveningish to Saturday eveningish. The particulars about exactly when it starts and ends are probably not apropos nor do I have the time to chime in about them.

Others can if they so desire.

Again go to St. Paul and his discussion on the role of the Law before Christ for Israel and the role of the Law of Israel for Jews after Christ, and Gentiles after Christ.

Most interesting is that St. Paul argues for his point of view from the Hebrews Scriptures. Beautiful stuff.

FWIW.
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2011, 01:42:52 AM »

But one thing that drives me nutty is when people say the Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. In our secular world it is from Friday eveningish to Saturday eveningish.

I'm sure people on an Orthodox forum are significantly more inclined to acknowledge "Saturday" as possibly meaning sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2011, 01:46:15 AM »

Hebrews 4:1-10.  Hebrews 8:10.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2011, 01:51:35 AM »

But one thing that drives me nutty is when people say the Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. In our secular world it is from Friday eveningish to Saturday eveningish.

I'm sure people on an Orthodox forum are significantly more inclined to acknowledge "Saturday" as possibly meaning sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Are Orthodoxy more inclined to start their Mondays at work on Sunday evening?

You might be right given the set of Orthodox here (nerds), but I am talking in general. Orthodox or otherwise, nearly everyone I every speak with who has little contact with Jewish folks thinks their Sabbath is on Saturday as the secular world understands it. And in the rare occasion they know when it begins, they think it lasts till Sunday morning.

Again. Irrelevant. Just a rant directed at no one in particular.

 
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2011, 01:52:13 AM »

Hebrews 4:1-10.  Hebrews 8:10.

It's not for nothing Hebrews is reading during the Lenten season.
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2011, 02:42:29 AM »

But one thing that drives me nutty is when people say the Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. In our secular world it is from Friday eveningish to Saturday eveningish. The particulars about exactly when it starts and ends are probably not apropos nor do I have the time to chime in about them.

If they celebrate the Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening, then it is on Saturday. Liturgically, the day ends (and the next day begins) at sunset. This is why we can say Christ was in the tomb for 3 days. He wasn't literally in the tomb for 3 24 hour periods.
This is also why fasting for the "next day" usually begins after Vespers, because as soon as the Sun sets, the day switches. That is also the reason we celebrate some of the services for "Great and Holy ... such and such" during Holy Week on the "day before", it's because they are vespers and served at sunset. So we sing about Christ's crucifixion (technically) the day before it actually happened.

As for the whole question about the Law and such... First of all, we must remember that Christ fulfilled the law, and he issued the new covenant with God's people.
We must also remember that the Church is God's people, not the modern-day Jews. The Church is the continuation of Judaism, Israel, Hebrews etc... We are the same group. Therefore, it would technically be proper to ask Jews why they don't follow the New Covenant issued by God himself, and why they still hold to the Old Covenant which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2011, 03:36:57 AM »

From Webster's Dictionary:
Quote
Main Entry: nul·li·fy
Pronunciation: \ˈnə-lə-ˌfī\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): nul·li·fied; nul·li·fy·ing
Etymology: Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus
Date: 1595
1 : to make null; especially : to make legally null and void
2 : to make of no value or consequence
It seems to indicate by the passage in Ephesians that Christ made the law null, or without consequence. So which is it? Did He complete the Law, or make it void?

He completed the Law. Jesus is the END of the Mosaic Law.

When the promises and predictions in the Law about the Messiah and His Kingdom came true, the Law was also fulfilled in Jesus and through Jesus.
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« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2011, 03:38:26 AM »

But one thing that drives me nutty is when people say the Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. In our secular world it is from Friday eveningish to Saturday eveningish. The particulars about exactly when it starts and ends are probably not apropos nor do I have the time to chime in about them.

If they celebrate the Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening, then it is on Saturday. Liturgically, the day ends (and the next day begins) at sunset. This is why we can say Christ was in the tomb for 3 days. He wasn't literally in the tomb for 3 24 hour periods.
This is also why fasting for the "next day" usually begins after Vespers, because as soon as the Sun sets, the day switches. That is also the reason we celebrate some of the services for "Great and Holy ... such and such" during Holy Week on the "day before", it's because they are vespers and served at sunset. So we sing about Christ's crucifixion (technically) the day before it actually happened.

As for the whole question about the Law and such... First of all, we must remember that Christ fulfilled the law, and he issued the new covenant with God's people.
We must also remember that the Church is God's people, not the modern-day Jews. The Church is the continuation of Judaism, Israel, Hebrews etc... We are the same group. Therefore, it would technically be proper to ask Jews why they don't follow the New Covenant issued by God himself, and why they still hold to the Old Covenant which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Exactly... awesome answer.

As I understand it - Saturday is still the sabbath... always has been.

But Christians worship on Sunday; the Lord's Day; the mystical Eighth Day.

The traditional work week was (and still is as far as I'm concerned) Monday to Friday...

Saturday (the Sabbath) is a day of rest, and Sunday is a day of worship.

As for the Mosaic Law (as opposed to the Talmudic Law followed by today's 'Jews') it has been fulfilled in Christ, all of mankind has been offered entrance into His New Covenant with the world, and the Law has been made obsolete and has passed away with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2011, 03:39:03 AM »

Quote
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
What does this verse from Matt 5 mean exactly? Until what is accomplished?

God is the protector of His word forever. Jesus did not deny the Law, but gave it a new meaning.
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2011, 03:45:14 AM »

Wikipedia has an article called Sabbath in Christianity and I found this:
Quote
seventh day Sabbath observance by Gentile Christians prevailed in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Some authorities continued to oppose this as a Judaizing tendency.[1] For example, the Council of Laodicea (canon 29) states Christians must not Judaize by resting on Sabbath but must work that day and then if possible rest on the Lord's Day and any found to be Judaizers are anathema from Christ.
Isn't the Sabbath an eternal obligation?

Sabbath was made for man, not man for Sabbath. The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.

The shift of Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in the Church is similar to every celebration and feast's gaining new meaning in Christ. As we no longer celebrate the Passover of the Mosaic Law, but the Lord's Pascha, we also celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, which became the day of the new creation in Christ.

By no coincidence does John the Evangelist emphasize the difference between Moses and Jesus as well as between the Law and Grace & Truth in the prologue to his Gospel. 
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2011, 04:04:27 AM »

A few points:

1) Purity laws (corpse impurity, menstrual impurity, childbirth impurity, etc.) were for entering the Temple or for eating holy food.  Being impure did not mean being in sin.  For example, burying one's parents was considered a moral duty but it inevitably made one impure.  When the temple was destroyed, those laws became largely null and void.  As for others, it is my understanding that in many Orthodox Churches women will not commune when menstruating, etc. and that men are not to commune after a noctural emission.  Similarly, couples are to refrain from sexual activity before communion.  These practices reflect those purity laws.

2) The Apostles and first generations of Christians were not innovating when they didn't not impose the Mosaic Law on Gentile converts.  Already there was a (at least theoretical) category of people known as "God-fearers".  God-fearers were Gentiles who, while not full Jewish converts (i.e. didn't keep all the holidays, weren't circumcised, etc.), didn't participate in idolatrous worship, etc.  There was debate as to whether or not Gentiles needed to be circumcised, etc. even before the beginning of Christianity.  Even today many Jews consider all those who follow the "Noahide Laws" to be counted among the "righteous of the nations".  The reason being is that from the Jewish standpoint the Mosaic Law is for those in the covenant of Abraham.  Gentiles are not in the covenant of Abraham but all humankind is in the covenant God made with Noah, thus the Noahide Laws are binding on all.  The Noahide Laws are very similar to the degree from the Apostolic Council in Acts.

3) The Fathers didn't discuss this stuff probably because it was a non-issue.  That Gentiles didn't need to keep the Mosaic Law was already decided in the Apostolic period at the beginning of their ministry.

Much of this information is from E.P. Sander's book Judaism: Practice and Belief: 63 BCE - 66 CE.
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2011, 04:15:50 AM »

Another thing:

I'ver heard the idea that the Law was fulfilled in Christ many times, but I'm not sure what that's supposed to tell us or what it's supposed to mean.  I also can't think of any Bible verses that mention that in those words (but it could be that my memory simply fails me). 

I have a feeling that the idea that Christ fulfilled the Law is a sort of "easy answer"- with no offense intended to those who offer it.  I think perhaps the case is simply that the Apostles judged that certain aspects of the Mosaic Law were unapplicable to Gentile converts for reasons we are not entirely sure of.  But as I said above, the Apostles had a precedent for that decision.
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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2011, 04:40:57 AM »

For starters, from Luke 24:

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
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« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2011, 07:50:03 AM »

Also, Sabbath for us has a new meaning...

While Jews rested on the Sabbath because God rested on the Seventh Day, we rest (and are supposed to focus on our faith, like Sunday) because God himself rested in the Tomb on the 7th Day. It is in anticipation that we rest on the Sabbath, in anticipation of the resurrection of Christ, the rising of our God. At his eternal victory over death. We don't rest on the Sabbath due to an adherence to a law fulfilled by Christ, but rather it's because of Christ himself that we rest.

The law was simply in place for man. It is what we needed until God himself became man to save us. The law wasn't bad, man's abuse of it was. We have not forgotten the law. It's just been completed. It was simply a preparation for the coming of Christ. Mankind was prepared for the coming of God, I think we can think of the law as kind of like a fast. The fast exists for us so we can prepare ourselves for the end goal. When we reach that goal, do we still fast, or do we feast?
In the same way, is it right to adhere to a law that was in place to prepare man, when Christ has already come and God has manifested himself among us?

The law pointed to Christ. We no longer offer blood sacrifices, because those simply prefigured Christ's sacrifice. Now we offer the ultimate bloodless sacrifice. We no longer worship solely on the Sabbath in anticipation of the Lord's resurrection, because Christ has risen and we now worship on the mystical 8th day, the Lords day. The day he vanquished death itself.

Christianity isn't in opposition to Judaism, nor the New Covenant in opposition to the Old, it's simply a fulfillment and the proper continuation of it. As Christians, we are the successors to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to the Prophets, to all the ancient Hebrews, Israelites and Jews. The Church has remained the same, always, Ancient Israel has just been fulfilled in the Church, not replaced by it.
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« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2011, 08:01:57 AM »

I don't have the time to write much at the moment; but what this thread needs is a dose of the New Perspective on Paul, which is regarded by many Orthodox today as to an enormous extent a return to the first millennium view. It removes not only many key old Protestant objections to Orthodoxy, but also dismantles the case of liberal Protestant scholarship that Jesus and Paul were in hopeless contradiction in their views of the law (e.g. Rudolf Bultmann). N. T. Wright, J. D. G. Dunn, E. P. Sanders and others out and out affirm Luther was wrong about the negative statements on the law in Paul being a reference to what the Reformation (and much biblical scholarship afterward) thought of as "works righteousness." Galatians was written to counter "Judaizers" who were claiming Gentile Christians had to become full-blown Jews, circumcised etc., to be saved, a radical view even among the ancient Rabbis who held that an uncircumcised Gentile could be a "Godfearer" who followed the Noahide laws and be right with God without becoming a full-blown proselyte (full Jew). Many of the Rabbis would have been as horrified by the claim that a man must be circumcised to be saved as Paul was. Galatians was not a tract against the validity of Gods moral law, by any means (cf. also whereas the OP link claims Paul actually contradicts his own position this notion effectively dissolves with the NPP as well). It should also be kept in mind both that the OT predicted Gentiles/non-Jews would worship the God of Israel after the advent of the Messiah, and more importantly, that the OT is the only ancient Near Eastern covenant document which predicted the covenant would come to an end and be replaced by a new covenant (e.g. Jer 31:31 etc.).

For example (minor bias alert, but still good introductory remarks),
http://www.thepaulpage.com/a-summary-of-the-new-perspective-on-paul/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Perspective_on_Paul  

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« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2011, 08:54:13 AM »

I don't have the time to write much at the moment; but what this thread needs is a dose of the New Perspective on Paul, which is regarded by many Orthodox today as to an enormous extent a return to the first millennium view. It removes not only many key old Protestant objections to Orthodoxy, but also dismantles the case of liberal Protestant scholarship that Jesus and Paul were in hopeless contradiction in their views of the law (e.g. Rudolf Bultmann). N. T. Wright, J. D. G. Dunn, E. P. Sanders and others out and out affirm Luther was wrong about the negative statements on the law in Paul being a reference to what the Reformation (and much biblical scholarship afterward) thought of as "works righteousness." Galatians was written to counter "Judaizers" who were claiming Gentile Christians had to become full-blown Jews, circumcised etc., to be saved, a radical view even among the ancient Rabbis who held that an uncircumcised Gentile could be a "Godfearer" who followed the Noahide laws and be right with God without becoming a full-blown proselyte (full Jew). Many of the Rabbis would have been as horrified by the claim that a man must be circumcised to be saved as Paul was. Galatians was not a tract against the validity of Gods moral law, by any means (cf. also whereas the OP link claims Paul actually contradicts his own position this notion effectively dissolves with the NPP as well). It should also be kept in mind both that the OT predicted Gentiles/non-Jews would worship the God of Israel after the advent of the Messiah, and more importantly, that the OT is the only ancient Near Eastern covenant document which predicted the covenant would come to an end and be replaced by a new covenant (e.g. Jer 31:31 etc.).

For example (minor bias alert, but still good introductory remarks),
http://www.thepaulpage.com/a-summary-of-the-new-perspective-on-paul/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Perspective_on_Paul  



I totally agree! it seems that too many Christians, even Orthodox are so influenced by the Western idea that Sunday "replaces" the Sabbath that we just accept that that is "the way it always was." Scholars like NT Wright and EP Sanders (especially Sanders' book Jesus and Judaism, and his book on Paul, which I cannot recall the title at the moment) will shed so much "new" light on this subject that these guys had me smacking my forehead with my palm crying out, "why didn't I see this before?" of course I didn't because no matter what we think we know, 1st century Judaism is a such a foreign and alien world to us that it takes a LOT of work and unlearning to really take that into our minds and begin to understand what was going on. The truth is though the "new" perspective is not really new, and I've heard Wright invoke Orthodoxy and our theologians a number of times as he argues that some strains of Christianity this stuff never died out. I think even in Biblical scholarship the simplest explanation is likely to be the best one, and the "new" perspective makes SO much sense out of so many things I cannot see a better theory as of yet. Worth reading these guys indeed.
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« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2011, 10:22:06 AM »

A few points:

1) Purity laws (corpse impurity, menstrual impurity, childbirth impurity, etc.) were for entering the Temple or for eating holy food.  Being impure did not mean being in sin.  For example, burying one's parents was considered a moral duty but it inevitably made one impure.  When the temple was destroyed, those laws became largely null and void.  As for others, it is my understanding that in many Orthodox Churches women will not commune when menstruating, etc. and that men are not to commune after a noctural emission.  Similarly, couples are to refrain from sexual activity before communion.  These practices reflect those purity laws.

2) The Apostles and first generations of Christians were not innovating when they didn't not impose the Mosaic Law on Gentile converts.  Already there was a (at least theoretical) category of people known as "God-fearers".  God-fearers were Gentiles who, while not full Jewish converts (i.e. didn't keep all the holidays, weren't circumcised, etc.), didn't participate in idolatrous worship, etc.  There was debate as to whether or not Gentiles needed to be circumcised, etc. even before the beginning of Christianity.  Even today many Jews consider all those who follow the "Noahide Laws" to be counted among the "righteous of the nations".  The reason being is that from the Jewish standpoint the Mosaic Law is for those in the covenant of Abraham.  Gentiles are not in the covenant of Abraham but all humankind is in the covenant God made with Noah, thus the Noahide Laws are binding on all.  The Noahide Laws are very similar to the degree from the Apostolic Council in Acts.

3) The Fathers didn't discuss this stuff probably because it was a non-issue.  That Gentiles didn't need to keep the Mosaic Law was already decided in the Apostolic period at the beginning of their ministry.

Much of this information is from E.P. Sander's book Judaism: Practice and Belief: 63 BCE - 66 CE.

Actually the Fathers talk a lot about this, to explain the type's fullfilment. For instance, circumcision: the Fathers point out that it was needed to set the Israelites apart from the pagan nations (take for instance what Dina's brothers tell her rapist what he has to do to marry her).  St. John points out that alone out in the wilderness they didn't circumcize, but when they were to enter among the nations in Palestine, they did at Gilgal.  Baptism now sets us apart in the real and true sense.
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« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2011, 11:29:18 AM »

I guess what the article linked above said that stuck with me the most was that Paul's equating the Law with something that was unable to make man righteous. Yet we see many righteous in the OT, take for instance Elijah, who clearly with the grace of God conquered death, and ascended to Him. So the Law, in some way was able to make us righteous, and acceptable to God. So if through the Law some conquered death, how exactly did Christ complete it?

Also thanks to all so far, very good responses! Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2011, 11:44:15 AM »

As far as Kosher, the Apostles discerned in Acts 15 that the Holy Spirit did not require Gentile Christians to eat or otherwise live according to Kosher or other laws (ie circumcision), except for eating blood, which remains prohibited for Christians.


I had no idea there was a prohibition on "eating" blood?  Does this mean blood sausages, blood pudding, etc.. are verboten?   (Not that I'm at all inclined to eat them; I'll eat a lot of weird stuff, but mmm, not that kind.)
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« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2011, 11:53:58 AM »

I guess what the article linked above said that stuck with me the most was that Paul's equating the Law with something that was unable to make man righteous.

Yes, this is exactly what St. Paul strove to teach. Read his epistle to the Romans.

Yet we see many righteous in the OT, take for instance Elijah, who clearly with the grace of God conquered death, and ascended to Him.

The Mosaic Law was or is NOT equal to the grace of God. What justifies a man is not the Law, but one's faith. Read Hebrews 11.

As a side note, it is theologically inaccurate to say that Elijah conquered death. He was taken away lest he tasted death. Since he did not experience death, it is impossible to say that he conquered death.

So the Law, in some way was able to make us righteous, and acceptable to God. So if through the Law some conquered death, how exactly did Christ complete it?

Again, it was not the Law, but faith. People obtained grace through their faith, not by observing the Law. There was actually no Mosaic Law prior to Moses!
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« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2011, 11:56:53 AM »


I had no idea there was a prohibition on "eating" blood?  Does this mean blood sausages, blood pudding, etc.. are verboten?   (Not that I'm at all inclined to eat them; I'll eat a lot of weird stuff, but mmm, not that kind.)

For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. (Acts 15:28-29)
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« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2011, 12:34:13 PM »

(...) Gentiles are not in the covenant of Abraham but all humankind is in the covenant God made with Noah, thus the Noahide Laws are binding on all. 

The Noahide Laws are very similar to the degree from the Apostolic Council in Acts.

What are 'Gentiles'?

In your opinion - are Christians 'Gentiles'?

Who is "in the covenant of Abraham"?

"The Jews," you will probably say... but Abraham was not a 'Jew' nor were there any 'Jews' in existence anywhere on earth when God made His covenant with Abraham.

This tells us to whom the promises were made:

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.

And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

For you (Christians) are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
- Galatians 3:16-29


As for the so-called 'Noahide Laws'... They are "similar to the decrees of the Apostolic Council"?



Christianity (TRUE Christianity, wherein the Church affirms the Divinity of Jesus the Christ) is considered idolatry according to the Noahide laws as outlined by the Neo-Pharisees and their new Sanhedrin.

The prescription for the punishment of idolaters (Christians) who transgress the Noahide laws by proclaiming the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Trinity - is capital-punishment; death by decapitation.

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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2011, 09:39:16 PM »

Within the Hebrew Scriptures there are many references to the Messiah. It seems that a lot of the verses that spoke of a Messiah were "spiritualized" because Jesus didn't literally fulfill them. Was there a movement within Judaism, before Christ came, that spiritualized these verses, or was this strictly the work of the early Christian community?

Also, were there any that taught a second coming of the Messiah, before the early Church?
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« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2011, 11:43:57 AM »

Within the Hebrew Scriptures there are many references to the Messiah. It seems that a lot of the verses that spoke of a Messiah were "spiritualized" because Jesus didn't literally fulfill them. Was there a movement within Judaism, before Christ came, that spiritualized these verses, or was this strictly the work of the early Christian community?

Also, were there any that taught a second coming of the Messiah, before the early Church?
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« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2011, 12:33:47 AM »

Within the Hebrew Scriptures there are many references to the Messiah. It seems that a lot of the verses that spoke of a Messiah were "spiritualized" because Jesus didn't literally fulfill them. Was there a movement within Judaism, before Christ came, that spiritualized these verses, or was this strictly the work of the early Christian community?

Also, were there any that taught a second coming of the Messiah, before the early Church?

Judging by the disciples' actions after Christ was crucified and before they knew He was risen, I would say that there were things the apostles themselves didn't understand until they saw Him risen from the dead and He explained it to them. One could even argue that they still didn't fully get it until they received teh Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

I think most of the things you're thinking of are understood in the spiritual context of Christ's victory over death, but we are also awaiting the end of all things at the second coming with the general resurrection and the judgement.
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