False Doctrines In the Church

The Sabbath, the Jewish Feasts, the Circumcision, the Unclean Meat Doctrine

Have you ever encountered someone who attempted to convince you that the Jewish Sabbath must also be honored and kept by Christians?

Have you also heard the countless arguments on why it is an everlasting command of God and why Christians may honor and keep it on a Sunday?

I understand that some people have sincere and honorable motives about this. Many of them just want to be obedient and they want to do the right thing, but, as Paul has warned us, there will be people who refuse to understand and accept the truth about the Sabbath and other Jewish rituals, in spite of the fact that Paul and Jesus Christ were so clear about the Old Testament shadows and New Testament fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

When dealing with these people, just refer them to Paul. What he had to say about these Old Testament Jewish doctrines in the church is so clear that even a child can understand it. Paul calls people who promote these Old Testament doctrines false prophets and false apostles who spoil the church through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Paul knew exactly how to deal with such people because they started to hinder and destroy his work and ministry soon after his apostolic journey began. He had to counter their work of destruction with the pure word of God. They followed him wherever he went and they did not leave one stone unturned to beguile and deceive the young congregations and young Christians that Paul ministered to. Whilst he was planting churches and teaching them the doctrines of Christ these false teachers followed him and taught the Christians to go back to the law and their roots in Judaism.

They basically taught the Gentiles to be circumcised, to keep the Sabbath, to keep the Jewish  Holy Festivals, and not to eat unclean meat.

Paul warned the Christians in several of his letters not to fall for these Jewish laws. He told them not to be deceived and not to allow these false teachers to take away their freedom in Christ. When they did not heed his pleas, he asked them why did they allow these false teachers to bewitch them with their false doctrines. These doctrines were authentic and correct in the Old Testament but they cannot be incorporated into the church. We cannot serve Christ and the law at the same time.

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This is why Paul called these doctrines “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”.

Let’s read what else Paul had to say about these doctrines.

Colossians 2

1. For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

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:

17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

18. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

19. And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

20. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21. (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22. Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

23. Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

In Colossians 2 Paul addressed all of the mentioned doctrines and he named and identified all four of them in one sentence. I mention this because many Christians accept some of them but not one or two of them. How can we accept Paul’s explanations with some of them and not all when he said the same thing about all of them?

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It is very clear that Jesus Christ and the apostles did not instruct anybody to keep these laws, but, contrary to what anybody may claim, they actually explicitly instructed the church not to keep these laws.

About unclean meats:

Mark 7:14-23

14. And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

15. There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

16. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19. Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20. And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22. Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

About circumcision:

Galatians 5: 1-12

1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

8. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

10. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

11. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

12. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

About the Sabbath and Jewish festivals:

Galatians 4:9-11

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9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

11. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

About all these laws:

In one sentence, Colossians 2:16, Paul tells us that we should not allow anybody to judge us because we do not keep these laws. 

All these laws were Old Testament shadows and the New Testament declares that all of them have been fulfilled in Christ.

Why would the Bible confirm that all these shadows have been fulfilled in the New Testament in Christ and then instruct us to keep adhering to or honoring these laws? It does not. As I already proved with the necessary Scriptures, it explicitly asks us and warns us and even appeals to us not to keep these shadows and not to allow anybody to judge us if we don’t.

Before I prove to you that Jesus Christ did fulfill all these shadows, even the Sabbath, allow me to tell you what the Bible says about Sundays. The Bible only vaguely mentions that Christians kept coming together on Sundays after they did it the first time with Jesus’ resurrection, but, it does not say that it should be kept as a Sabbath or similar to a Sabbath, in fact, in the book of Hebrews we read that Jesus Christ is the Sabbath that the Old Testament pointed to as mentioned by Joshua. So our rest is in Christ, as explicitly declared in the Book of Hebrews (referring back to what Joshua said about the real Sabbath that will come), but more about this at the end of the post.

Why is there no holy day or days for the Christians? Why is there no holy building for the Christians, like the Jewish temple and the Muslim mosques or the iron dome? Because Jesus Christ is the temple of God and because Jesus Christ is the Sabbath and because He fulfilled all the Jewish festivals.

Colossians 2:9

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Colossians 2:20-23

20. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21. (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22. Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

23. Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Do not forget, whenever anybody attempts to convince you that you must keep these Jewish laws, they are busy with “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”. It is for this very same reason that you should not attempt to influence other people to do so.

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It does not matter what these people say, especially that some of these laws, like the Sabbath, were implemented by God at the beginning of the world, long before the Jews or Israel even existed, or that the Jewish festivals are God’s festivals, that unclean meat is actually very unhealthy and that is why God instructed the Israelites not to eat unclean animals, or whatever they come up with.

Unclean meat was a shadow of sinful things that should not be allowed in our hearts, the Jewish festivals were given to the Jews to keep. It is Jewish festivals. The Sabbath was given to the Patriarchs and their seed. It was given to one nation. It was not given to the rest of the world and it was not given to the church. Only one nation, Israel or the Jews and their fathers (of which Abraham was the most prominent and most well-known).

Paul clearly says that these Jewish laws are the rudiments (first principles) of the world. This emphasizes the fact that it belongs to the old and not the new. He calls these things an opinionated religion and that it only satisfies the flesh and he concludes that it is of no spiritual value.

Some people may ask, “How can Paul call the keeping of the Sabbath a tradition of men if God implemented it in the first place?” 

The answer is simple: If God did not implement it in the church because He is satisfied that Jesus Christ fulfilled this Old Testament shadow, then people who want to implement it in the church teach an erroneous doctrine, which is now a tradition of men. It was the truth in the Old Testament but it became a tradition of men in the New Testament.

I always ask people who are in doubt about these doctrines to read Colossians 2 and Hebrews 4 slowly and prayerfully. Ask God to help you understand and accept His truth.

We read in Hebrew 4:1-11 that Christ is the true Sabbath of God. Everybody and anybody who accepted Christ as his or her Savior, or anybody who decides to follow Christ, enters the Sabbath rest of God. The Jews kept the Sabbath but they never entered God’s rest. God promised that He would never allow them to enter into His rest because they did not believe. 

Read Hebrews 4 and see exactly how Jesus Christ became the true Sabbath of God and how the gospel of Christ is the Sabbath-rest of God. Read how this replaced the Old Testament Sabbath or rather, how Jesus Christ fulfilled this shadow:

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Hebrews 4:1-11

1. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

5. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

6. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

7. Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

8. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Verse 8 confirms that Joshua talked about the true Sabbath which was at that stage still somewhere in the future. Jesus Christ fulfilled this shadow on the cross. This rest can only be entered by accepting and following Jesus Christ. This rest is in the gospel of Christ because Hebrews 4: 2-3 connects it with the gospel of Christ. So regarding the Sabbath, the New Testament confirms that the fulfillment has come and it even says when the Sabbath was fulfilled. It says that it became a reality in Christ and it becomes a reality when a person is confronted with the Gospel of Christ: “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts”. We enter God’s rest when we accept Jesus Christ.

Another rest, although not as important as what I discussed above, is every Christian’s ability to be blessed financially, without working. I am not talking about the false prosperity teachings of the organized church but about the true financial system or the true prosperity teachings of God.

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Read about this at the link below:

Finances in the church

What is really the Sabbath rest of God?

This quotation below describes it beautifully:

The key to understanding how Jesus is our Sabbath rest is the Hebrew word sabat, which means “to rest or stop or cease from work.” The origin of the Sabbath goes back to Creation. After creating the heavens and the earth in six days, God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). This doesn’t mean that God was tired and needed a rest. We know that God is omnipotent, literally “all-powerful.” He has all the power in the universe, He never tires, and His most arduous expenditure of energy does not diminish His power one bit. So, what does it mean that God rested on the seventh day? Simply that He stopped what He was doing. He ceased His labors. This is important in understanding the establishment of the Sabbath day and the role of Christ as our Sabbath rest.

God used the example of His resting on the seventh day of Creation to establish the principle of the Sabbath day rest for His people. In Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, God gave the Israelites the fourth of His Ten Commandments. They were to “remember” the Sabbath day and “keep it holy.” One day out of every seven, they were to rest from their labors and give the same day of rest to their servants and animals. This was not just a physical rest, but a cessation of laboring. Whatever work they were engaged in was to stop for a full day each week. (Please read our other articles on the Sabbath day, Saturday vs. Sunday and Sabbath keeping to explore this issue further.) The Sabbath day was established so the people would rest from their labors, only to begin again after a one-day rest.

The various elements of the Sabbath symbolized the coming of the Messiah, who would provide a permanent rest for His people. Once again the example of resting from our labors comes into play. With the establishment of the Old Testament Law, the Jews were constantly “laboring” to make themselves acceptable to God. Their labors included trying to obey a myriad of do’s and don’ts of the ceremonial law, the Temple law, the civil law, etc. Of course they couldn’t possibly keep all those laws, so God provided an array of sin offerings and sacrifices so they could come to Him for forgiveness and restore fellowship with Him, but only temporarily. Just as they began their physical labors after a one-day rest, so, too, did they have to continue to offer sacrifices. Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the law “can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” But these sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross, who “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Just as He rested after performing the ultimate sacrifice, He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement because there was nothing more to be done, ever. Because of what He did, we no longer have to “labor” in law-keeping in order to be justified in the sight of God. Jesus was sent so that we might rest in God and in what He has provided.

Another element of the Sabbath day rest which God instituted as a foreshadowing of our complete rest in Christ is that He blessed it, sanctified it, and made it holy. Here again we see the symbol of Christ as our Sabbath rest—the holy, perfect Son of God who sanctifies and makes holy all who believe in Him. God sanctified Christ, just as He sanctified the Sabbath day, and sent Him into the world (John 10:36) to be our sacrifice for sin. In Him we find complete rest from the labors of our self-effort, because He alone is holy and righteous. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can now cease from our spiritual labors and rest in Him, not just one day a week, but always.

Jesus can be our Sabbath rest in part because He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). As God incarnate, He decides the true meaning of the Sabbath because He created it, and He is our Sabbath rest in the flesh. When the Pharisees criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that even they, sinful as they were, would not hesitate to pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath. Because He came to seek and save His sheep who would hear His voice (John 10:3,27) and enter into the Sabbath rest He provided by paying for their sins, He could break the Sabbath rules. He told the Pharisees that people are more important than sheep and the salvation He provided was more important than rules. By saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), Jesus was restating the principle that the Sabbath rest was instituted to relieve man of his labors, just as He came to relieve us of our attempting to achieve salvation by our works. We no longer rest for only one day, but forever cease our laboring to attain God’s favor. Jesus is our rest from works now, just as He is the door to heaven, where we will rest in Him forever.

Hebrews 4 is the definitive passage regarding Jesus as our Sabbath rest. The writer of the Hebrews exhorts his readers to “enter in” to the Sabbath rest provided by Christ. After three chapters of telling them that Jesus is superior to the angels and that He is our Apostle and High Priest, he pleads with them not to harden their hearts against Him, as their fathers hardened their hearts against the Lord in the wilderness. Because of their unbelief, God denied that generation access to the holy land, saying, “They shall not enter into My rest” (Hebrews 3:11). In the same way, the writer to the Hebrews begs his readers not to make the same mistake by rejecting God’s Sabbath rest in Jesus Christ. “There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9–11).

There is no other Sabbath rest besides Jesus. He alone satisfies the requirements of the Law, and He alone provides the sacrifice that atones for sin. He is God’s plan for us to cease the labor of our own works. We dare not reject this one-and-only Way of salvation (John 14:6). God’s reaction to those who choose to reject His plan is seen in Numbers 15. A man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, in spite of God’s plain commandment to cease all labor on the Sabbath. This transgression was a known and willful sin, done with unblushing boldness in broad daylight, in open defiance of the divine authority. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp’” (verse 35). So it will be to all who reject God’s provision for our Sabbath rest in Christ. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Got Questions

 

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I hope that this post will help you to deal with people who want to know more about the Jewish laws

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