The Primary Purpose of LDS Temples

It has been said that the purpose of LDS temples is to make men into Gods. Many Mormons dispute this, complaining about the insensitive way this sacred information is presented. Whether such a statement seems sensationalized or not, the question is: Is it true?

In the October 2009 Ensign LDS Apostle Robert D. Hales wrote about the “Blessings of the Temple.” Some excerpts from the article:

“The temple endowment blessings are as essential for each of us as was our baptism…

“The temple’s saving ordinances are essential to–and even the central focus of–the eternal plan of happiness…

“The primary purpose of the temple is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom…

“…know the importance of the saving temple ordinances and temple covenants and their necessity in achieving eternal goals…

“The temple is a sacred edifice, a holy place, where essential saving ceremonies and ordinances are performed to prepare us for exaltation…

“Our objective is…to be worthy to stand and live in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, for all eternity–to achieve what is called eternal life.” (Ensign, October 2009, 46-49).

In Mormonism then, temples and the covenants and ordinances accomplished therein, are essential, necessary, and the central focus of God’s plan for saving people and preparing them to achieve their eternal goal of exaltation (aka eternal life). This is, in fact, the primary purpose of LDS temples.

Neither of the official LDS websites ( and include a  glossary entry for the term “exaltation,” but directs inquiries to the section on “eternal life.” Though a bit ambiguous, the definition reads in part,

“Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4).”

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a little more informative:

“To Latter-day Saints, exaltation is a state that persons can attain in becoming like God–salvation in the ultimate sense (D&C 132:17)…This exalted status, called eternal life, is available to be received by a man and wife. It means not only living in God’s presence, but receiving the power to do as God does, including the power to bear children after the resurrection (TPJS, pp. 300-301; D&C 132:19).” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Exaltation”)

The “Eternal Life”  entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism speaks more about how to achieve it than what it is, but the reader is directed to the entry titled “Godhood” for more information. That says in part,

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods (cf. Gen. 3:22; Matt. 5:48). They will dwell again with God the Father, and live and act like him in endless worlds of happiness, power, love, glory, and knowledge; above all, they will have the power of procreating endless lives…

“…while the faithful worship only one God in spirit and in truth, there exist other beings who have attained the necessary intelligence and righteousness to qualify for the title ‘god.’ Jesus Christ is a god and is a separate personage, distinct from God the Father…

“Latter-day Saints believe that God achieved his exalted rank by progressing much as man must progress and that God is a perfected and exalted man…” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Godhood”)

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie provided a concise and articulate explanation of exaltation:

“Celestial marriage is the gate to exaltation, and exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life which God lives…they have spirit children in the resurrection, in relation to which offspring they stand in the same position that God our Father stands to us. They inherit in due course the fulness of the glory of the Father, meaning that they have all power in heaven and on earth. (D.&C. 76:50-60; 93:1-40.) ‘Then shall they be gods,…'” (Mormon Doctrine, “Exaltation,” 257)

If, as LDS Apostle Hales said, the primary purpose of the temple is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation; and if, as LDS Apostle McConkie has said, exaltation is procreating spirit children in the resurrection to whom we are then Gods; then it seems entirely reasonable to conclude, though perhaps a bit simplistically, the purpose of LDS temples is to make men into Gods.


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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198 Responses to The Primary Purpose of LDS Temples

  1. Enki says:

    The mythology of the Greeks and Romans from what I remember are very much alike, but with different names for the gods as you mentioned. I don’t know enough about the Druids or Nordic stories to know if this follows the same pattern. Inupiaq stories of Arctic Canada are very different. Then there is the rest of the Americas, not much in common except for the Sun part. Then Asia, Africa, I have read a number of stories from Asia, but those were more in connection to herbs, which is a pretty fun way to remember what particular herbs are used for. Then there is the pacific islands and Australia. I don’t have any idea if there is much in common with the paganism of Rome or Greece.

    Most of the ancient temples had something to do with sacrifices and other rituals and worship. I think for the most part ritual animal slaughter isn’t practiced today. The general consciousness of the planet has changed. Don’t most temples and places of worship have most to do with places of instruction? Maybe rituals of commitment to the faith as well.

    Whats pagan about saying grace before eating a meal? That is interesting. I think I am missing something however. Whenever someone gives me something as a gift I usually say thank you before I open the wrapping, and even know what it is. Before I even know if its something I want or need. Its off topic I know but it is interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  2. falcon says:

    Thanks bfwjr,
    You’re right, I live in a geographic area where Mormonism isn’t even an after thought in people’s minds. I got into this initially because of my interest in Christian apologetics, doctrine and (Church history). I really admire the folks who are involved in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Mormons because of their love for the Mormon people. That’s a great and honorable motive. I won’t claim that because the number of people I know who are Mormon wouldn’t fill a telephone booth. I will say however that over the years I’ve had opportunities to be in the area of the U.S. where there is a significant Mormon population. I’ve really met some nice people and it gives me at least a counter-balance to the typical hardcore Mormon who shows-up on sights like this. In fact I was in one community where I think I was probably the only nonMormon in the place. I prayed-up a storm. Even drove around the temple asking God to pull down walls of resistance to His Word. I wasn’t praying against the Mormon people but the spiritual forces of darkness that keep them in bondage.
    I’m sure for Mormons this talk of “spiritual forces of darkness” comes as a surprise because they think they’re nice moral people who are honoring God. Satan won’t draw people to something that appears overtly ugly. It’s all about “traps”, “prey” and attractive “bait”. If this sounds diabolical, it’s because it is.
    Exposure to the Word of God provides a clear contrast to the disguised false religion of Mormonism.

    John 6:44

  3. messianic says:


    If you truly look into history you will find that everything associated with Christmas is pagan, the tree, the wreaths, the colors, the spiced cider, the star on top of the tree, santa claus etc… all pagan. And it just happens to be on the same day as a plethora of pagan god birthday’s. Then there is the Catholic church which readily admits that they attached Christian meaning to pagan celebrations as an effort to bring pagans into the “church”. Here’s a few quotes for you from the Catholic Church:

    ” We catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith.Besides the Bible we have the living church,the authority of the church,as a rule to guide is always somewhat laughable,to see protestant churches ,in pulpit and legislation,demand the observance of sunday,of which there is nothing in the Bible”—-Peter R,Kramer, Catholic church Extension Society(1975),Illinois.

    “But the protestant mind does not seem to realise that,in observing the Sunday,in keeping Christmas and Easter,they are accepting the authourity of the spokesman for the Church,the pope”—our Sunday visitor.Feb 5,1950.

    ” For example,nowhere in the bible do we find that Christ or the apostles ordered that the Sabath be changed from Saturday to Sunday.We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabath day,Which 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,oct 3,1947,p9 art

    Instead of searching for some shred of a reason that Christmas, Easter and the Sabbath where adopted when they were, why don’t we stick to history and the words of the church that established them.

    If you truly want a ballpark date as to when Christ was born you only need to learn a bit of the Jewish priesthood as well as the land of Israels seasons.

  4. messianic says:

    Read Luke 1 and you will meet John the Baptist’s father Zechariah. He was of the course of Abijah, a priestly line. In 1 Chr King David sets up a course of priestly duties with a schedule of which group of Priests will serve when. One of these groups is Abijah (1Chr 24:10) When you read through the Luke account you can pinpoint about when John was conceived by using these courses that repeated year after year. We also are told that Jesus was conceived in Elizabeth’s (John’s Mom) 6th month of pregnancy. So now we have some actual date estimates, you just have to do the math. What you find is that Jesus was born sometime in Sept or Oct. This is confirmed by the fact that during the account of Jesus birth we are told that the Shepard’s were tending their sheep in the field in the middle of the night. Well, no Shepard in Israel would be in their field, or have sheep out at the end of December, they would have froze to death! This would also make sense, because it would have corresponded to the time frame that the festival of Sukkot would have been taking place. This was a pilgrimage festival, where all Jews would have been travelling to Jerusalem and would account for the fact that the inns were so full and that the government would wisely have held the census for the Jews during a pilgrimage festival, because they would all have been travelling there anyway. So what is the significance of Sukkot? It is the celebration of when God had the Israelites build the Tabernacle tent and He came to dwell among His people. What did God do with Christ? He came down and tabernacled in human form in Christ among His people! Here is an article that explains this a lot better than I can:

  5. messianic says:

    BTW, Enki is right, birthdays are not celebrated in the Bible by believers. There are only 3 mentions of someone celebrating a birthday. One is Pharaoh (Gen 40:1-23), the second is Herod in reference to the beheading of John the Baptist (Matt 14:3-11) and the last is in Job in reference to Job’s sons, which caused Job concern that his son’s were sinning (Job 1:4-5)

    So it is no surprise that we are not told the exact date of Yeshua’s birth in the bible, it would not have been celebrated. Birthday’s were celebrated by the pagan’s, not the Israelites.

  6. messianic says:


    LOL, yes, I guess our cultural tendency is to say thanks weather we are thankful or not!

    Don’t quote me on this as it was awhile ago I read it and might not remember it exactly correct. But the blessing before a meal had more to do with the actual wording you hear “Bless this food into our bodies”. I grew up saying this, it’s a pretty common line in Christian grace. the idea is that you are blessing the food, therefore removing any evil spirits in the food so that they do not enter one’s bodies. Same idea when we say ‘God Bless You’ after someone sneezes, it stems from the belief that the spirit leaves you when you sneeze. I would have to do some searching for the actual reference on either of these though.

    I know we are off topic, but it is very interesting!

  7. Enki says:

    Thank you, I had never thought of that. I was raised to always say a prayer before eating, I had never thought of that. Its curious because LDS households in theory should have had the habit of blessing AFTER a meal. Alma 8:22.
    There is a complete article on the webpage:
    “The Nephite and Jewish Practice of Blessing God after Eating One’s Fill
    Angela M. Crowell, and John A. Tvedtnes”
    So, in theory this should be the LDS habit, but its not. The BOM mentions wine being used in the sacrament, but thats overlooked also. So, apparently its not a source for authority for the LDS either.

    I did a search for “Temple” in the LDS scripture search, the BOM states that a temple was built like Solomons temple, except not as fancy. I don’t know if any such building has ever been found. There is also a mention of ‘synagogues’ somehow this word doesn’t seem fitting. Is there a particular way these were built? Those seem like they would be more numerous, and should have been found.

  8. gpark says:

    Regarding a blessing (and/or giving of thanks) being offered in association with a meal, please see the verses below.

    Matthew 26:26-27 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    John 6:11 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

    Acts 27:33-36 33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

    I Timothy 4:1-5 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

    Please note that in all of these verses thanks was offered either before the meal began or before a particular item was consumed (as in the bread and wine during the Lord’s Supper).

  9. gpark says:

    Interestingly, as they are eating the Passover Meal, the Lord blesses the bread and offers it to the disciples and gives thanks for the wine and offers it to the disciples and speaks about the new covenant in His blood – introducing the new covenant while celebrating a related part of the old covenant. They’re related, of course, because the Passover was about the blood being placed on the required portions of the homes of the Hebrew people so that the angel of death would pass over those homes. The new covenant was celebrated during this same meal. Jesus introduced the practice of partaking of bread (to represent His body, broken for us) and His blood (shed for us for the remission of our sins); sparing, not our earthly lives, but securing for us life eternal.

    In our own family, the blessing most often shared before a meal is along these lines: “Dear Father, we thank You for this food and for this time together, and we ask You to bless them both.” Then, additional thanks or requests may be offered, as in: “Dear Father, we thank You for Your gift to us of your precious Son, Jesus, Who shed His blood for us.” or “Dear Father, we ask that You be with Grandpa during his surgery tomorrow morning, that You guide the hands of the surgeons, that You grant Grandpa peace before, during, and after his surgery, and that You bless him with a complete, speedy, and uneventful recovery,” or “Dear Father, thank You for being with Glenda during her recent illness and for Your great blessing of bringing her back to the table with us today, well and whole.”

    Sabbath and Festivals

    As for a day of the week on which to worship, I would encourage everyone to look at the excellent article regarding this on the CARM website. The article is entitled: “Does the Bible Allow Christians to Worship on Sunday?” See the link below.

  10. messianic says:


    Matthew 26:26-27 26 Read it again, it says as we were eating, not before we were eating. They are taking part in the Passover feast, of which there is a distinct order, this is the part of the feast where the bread is normally broken and a blessing is said during passover. I will touch on this below when responding to your other comments. Back up to verse 20, they are already eating.

    John 6:11 11 This was not a blessing before a meal. He was performing a miracle by multiplying the loaves and fishes.

    Acts 27:33-36 33 There is a standard blessing done at the end of Sabbath (sundown Saturday) in which the bread is broken and blessed, the wine drank and blessed and a father will say a blessing over each child and the mother. This is followed by a meal. So there are instances where blessing over food is down before a meal. However it is Jewish custom to bless the food after the meal as the norm. And the words “bless this food into my body” are from paganism. But again I would have to look it up. I really think this is a side issue and not that important, I would never say a Christian is wrong for saying grace before a meal. In fact the verse in Deuteronomy does not say it is is wrong to say a blessing before you eat. This is just what rabbinical Jewish law interprets it as. I am not dogmatic about this idea, I was just presenting what I had learned about the Jewish tradition and the wording from paganism.

    I Timothy 4:1-5 1 The below is quoted from this article by Ronald Dart. If you would like to check out the rest of the article it covers the other verses commonly used by the Christian community to say that we no longer should abide by God’s food laws:

  11. messianic says:

    “Upon taking a closer look, this cannot refer to a command not to eat the “unclean meats” of Leviticus 11. If it did, it would be tantamount to calling Leviticus 11 a doctrine of demons!
    Additionally, the doctrine specifically refers to a command to abstain from those foods which God created to be received. It may be presumed that He created things which were not to be received as food.
    Paul continues: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified [set apart] by the Word of God and prayer” (I Timothy 4:4, 5). Where in the Bible are foods “set apart” for human consumption? In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Paul did not say that everything created by God was good for food without qualification. Some things created by God are not fit for human consumption. Paul was condemning those who go beyond the Word of God to prohibit cleanfoods.
    The apostle John was also present when Yeshua made His statement about eating with unwashed hands. Very late in John’s life, he received an apocalyptic vision. In this vision he saw an angel descend from heaven and heard him cry, “Babylon the great is fallen, and has become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird ” (Revelation 18:2). Here, late in the first century, there is apparently still such a thing as an unclean bird.
    There is one other incident in Yeshua’s ministry that may shed some light on His intent relative to unclean meats. When He encountered a man possessed with a “legion” of demons, the demons pleaded with Yeshua to allow them to enter a herd of swine feeding nearby (Mark 5:1-13). If Yeshua had declared pork fit to eat, why did He allallow such wholesale destruction of valuable private property?
    There may also be some symbolism involved in the question. No animal more symbolizes filth than the swine.

  12. messianic says:

    Demons are called unclean spirits, and are allowed to enter, possess, and destroy swine. Babylon is become the hold of every foul demonic spirit and every unclean and hateful bird. The unknowing ingestion of unclean meat bears no symbolic meaning. The choice to eat swine s flesh may be quite symbolic.”

  13. messianic says:

    I plan on responding to the CARM article, but need to formulate my response first. Interestingly, this is the article that I turned to a little over a year ago to defend the same thing, and now understand that this article does not take into account a lot regarding the Sabbath and uses verses completely out of context. Once you understand Jewish customs and what was really being done by the first apostles you begin to see that they did not meet on the First day of the week to worship. They continued to meet in the synagogues along with the other sects of Judaism of the day. But I will respond later today.

  14. mobaby says:


    The main point of the article I linked was not that December 25th is Jesus’ actual birthday – the main point is that the concept that Dec. 25th was chosen because of pagan connections is a recent development. This idea has become very popular – but if you research the early Christian writings, there is no mention of this association. In the past few hundred years or so we have made the association, but there is no evidence that the early Church did. I see nothing wrong if you do not observe Christmas, neither do I see anything wrong with observing it.

    It is clear where Santa Claus came from – St. Nicolas. We know who he was and how it became Santa Claus in the US (due to the accent of early US settlers, his name transformed into Santa Claus). The other article gives a little historical reference to St. Nicolas. Now, I am not a proponent of Santa Claus and we have always taught our children that he is a fake, not real at all, and taught them about the real St. Nicholas upon whom he is very loosely based, but we focus primarily on God becoming a man in Jesus – who was born to die for our sins. We celebrate Advent and use this time to focus the children on Jesus. They love it, and it’s a great way to catechize.

    I have been told Sunday became the Sabbath for Christians for 2 reasons – it was the day Our Lord rose from the dead and as they were rejected more by the other Jewish folks, they distinguished themselves by worshiping on another day. I think God is pleased when we worship the Lord Jesus Christ, whenever that opportunity is made available. How do you feel about Christians who worship on Friday in countries that are officially Muslim? They have to work on Sunday so they worship when they can (in Dubai I noticed it seemed that only the Catholic Church kept worship on Sunday – I don’t know how they did it). Once again, I have no problem with worship on Saturday or Sunday (Friday, I admit, bugs me a bit but not for a rational reason).

  15. messianic says:


    I was right where you are about a year ago. Keep reading, the more you find out about history and Judaism, the more you will see the truth.

    The concept of Christmas being born out of Paganism is not a recent development. It was well know among the Pilgrims, they did not celebrate Christmas for this same reason. Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible, you would think the apostles would have been celebrating it if it were something we should do. And in fact birthdays are only associated with pagans in the Bible. If you are truly open minded I would suggest reading up on the history. It is well known, and admitted by the catholic church, that they adopted pagan days and ways and attached Christ to them in oder to bring in more pagans without having to make them forsake their traditions. This is not biblical! We are not to learn the ways of the pagans and use them for worship of God.(Deut 18:9)(Deut 18:12)(Deut 20:17–18)

    As for St. Nickolas, the history is not even very good on him. There were more than one St. Nick and there is no historical evidence that he actually existed or did any of what people say he did. Everything attributed to Santa Claus comes directly from paganism.

    I actually don’t care when people choose to worship, in fact we should worship. However coming together and worshiping should not be a substitute for observing the Sabbath. God does not tell us to become like the culture we are in, He tells us to be set apart from them. One of the ways to do this is to worship on the day He slated for us to rest. Although Sunday is the day most pagans worship. As for setting themselves apart from those that rejected them, this is just bad history. “Christianity” was nothing more than a sect of Judaism called ‘The Way’ when it began, they worshiped right along side the Pharisees and the Sadducee’s in the synagogues every Sabbath. It was the Romans and their anti-Semetism that came in and did away with all of the Jewish way

  16. messianic says:


    As far as Temples and Synagogues. They are not equal. The Synagogue would be more like what the LDS call their Wards, I think. they were the place they came to meet and worship on the Sabbath. The Temple was only in one spot and there was only one Temple, but there were synagogues in every major village. The NT talks of the believers going to the synagogues regularly on Sabbath. Judaism did not ban them from worship, like many think. they were just another sect of Judaism and called themselves ‘The Way’. As for any archeological evidence of this, I think there are synagogue remains in many towns in Jerusalem. I know there is one in Capperneum(spelling?) Where Peter’s house is thought to be. And there are some inscriptions found there that are identified as some of the early followers of Christ. But, when you read the accounts of Paul, he regularly was allowed to get up and speak in the synagogue to the people.

  17. Okie says:

    Acts 15:19-20
    “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

    but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

    Acts 15:29
    that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

    For myself,as a gentile,this and the Gospel of Jesus is enough. I maybe making this more simple than it really is BUT I grew up in a VERY legalistic church,never learning about GRACE. I won’t go back.

  18. Enki says:

    I didn’t think it was necessary to make that distinction between the Temple and a Synagogue. I used ‘temple’ in the singular, plural for synagogues. I was trying to ask you how one could spot a synagogue on the other side of the world, from ‘the holy land’ if they existed. The Nephite version of the Temple should be readily identifiable if they found such a thing. Theologically is the BOM incorrect to have the Nephites building a temple in the new world? This would have made at minimum temple number 2.

    There was quite a technical commentary about the use of the term ‘unclean spirit’ and ‘demon’. Its often assumed that these are interchangeable, but its not quite correct. The article I read stated that there isn’t really anything quite like the word ‘demon’ in the O.T. In English translations it might appear to be so, but something in the original isn’t quite the same.

    Demon is Greek for starters, and from what I understand demon is neutral, something like ‘spirit’, not specifically ‘evil spirit’. But through general word use since the christian era it has come to mean that.

    “Although Sunday is the day most pagans worship. ”
    You keep saying that. Its probably an adaptation to modern life, if anything.

    “Pagans and Wiccans around the world celebrate the eight Sabbats, or holidays, as the Wheel of the Year turns. The Sabbats are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas or Lughnasadh, and Mabon.
    Beltane – May Day (45) Mabon, the Autumn Equinox (48) Imbolc, February 2 (50) Ostara, the Spring Equinox (44) Lammas, August 1 (42) Samhain, October 31 (58) Litha, the Summer Solstice (37) Yule, The Longest Night (75)
    (from Paganism/Wicca, Sabbats and Holidays)

    A more detailed description of Wiccan Sabbats.

    The concept of a ‘Sabbath’ on a seven day cycle comes from the hebrew concept of the completeness of crea

  19. Enki says:

    …the completeness of creation. Genesis 2:2

    I don’t think there is an equal story to be found among pagans, but I could be surprised. The only possible connection I can see is the naming of the days of the week.

    In naming a day of the week “sunday” I don’t know if there is any connection to special observations by pagans each week.

    “Concurrently there is a weekly cycle of seven days, mirroring the seven-day period of the Book of Genesis in which the world is created. The names for the days of the week, like those in the Creation story, are simply the day number within the week, with Shabbat being the seventh day. ”
    From wiki-Hebrew calendar. (if you could please confirm this is correct)

    I find it a little bit odd that there were also seven days in the pagan week. Its called the ‘sabbath’ by jews, but its SATURNS’ DAY to pagans. You would have to know a little bit more about paganism to know why this could be very significant. Most of the associations with saturn are negative, but not all. Its curious. What in particular to the hebrews do or did on the sabbath? Whatever it was, it was very important, a sabbath breaker could be put to death.

  20. falcon says:

    You are echoing my sentiments in your comment above. I’ve been casually following the latest discussion here, which is way off topic, and asking myself, “And the point is what?” The basis of the Gospel is Christ and Him crucified, period! Not to get snarky and condescending here, but if folks want to entertain themselves with these discussions I really don’t mind, but none of it is going to change much in my life. I hate to be such a minimalist but does any of the points presented effect anyone’s salvation? Also I see a form of elitism sneaking in here.
    As most of you know, I was raised Catholic in the real macho hardcore days. I like Okie have had enough of legalism. I have a couple of books here on the subject of spiritual abuse. The author of one cites the example of some students at a Bible college who would “visit” the dorms of a near by Christian college on Sunday afternoons and charge that’s the students weren’t born again because they were watching NFL football on the Lord’s day.
    There are a lot of things to be concerned about but I’m not going to spend a lot of time on when I say grace, when or if I celebrate Christmas and birthdays and any other variety of customs. Sorry folks, I just can’t get into it.

  21. Mike R says:


    Thanks for your comment. Like yourself, my wife
    was involved in a religion that was very legalistic.This was a pseudo-christian religion
    that claimed to be the only true church/organiz-
    ation which God was using to dispense His truth
    through, it was THE prophet, Jehovah’s prophet.

    After my wife came to trust Jesus as her Savior
    and left the group, she found out all about the
    grace of God, she even went through the N.T. and
    underlined every verse that mentioned “grace”.
    Striving hard to try and comply with all the
    required religious deeds, in order to gain God’s
    favor and thereby escape Armageddon, was a very
    stressful existence. Thank God for the truth of
    His Word. Eph.2:8-9

  22. falcon says:

    Thanks Mike for your well timed comments.

    Honestly, I really don’t care much how Christians live out their witness for Jesus Christ as long as they stick to the basics of the faith. I sort of had a talk (actually on-going) with God about this and I think I have a pretty good handle on what he’s interested in as far as “working out our salvation” goes. I think I’ve been exposed to or been involved in every “movement” since the days in the very early 70s when I got saved. I’m really sensitive to folks doing “add ons” to God’s mercy, love and grace in drawing me to Him and maintaining my faith in Him.
    I do enjoy the study of the history of the Christian faith and all of the various shades of color that are present in the various Christian sects. But quite honestly, I’m always drawn back to the Cross where Christ died and shed His blood for me. I stand on Christ and that perfect sacrifice for my foundation. Drawing closer to Jesus, causes me first of all to see what a wretched sinner I am. Secondly it causes me to understand God’s acceptance of me as perfect because of my faith in Jesus and His payment for my sins. Thirdly I’m reminded of how my behavior towards others needs to be adjusted to reflect God’s love. Here it is: To love God, with our whole hearts, minds and soul and our neighbor as ourselves. Way to simple it might seem, but the entire law is contained here.

  23. messianic says:

    To those that are concerned about legalism –

    One of the reasons I spent so much time lurking and none posting on this site was because I knew it would inevitably turn into me defending the Messianic movement. And thus it has turned into exactly that. It is so interesting to me that there are so many Christians who belittle the LDS for not knowing their history and following blindly the traditions of men and yet many (not all) of those same Christians never question their own doctrine. While I don’t believe that these Christians are not saved by grace, I do think they would be much more effective in reaching Mormons if they took the time to really research the cohesivness of their doctrines and practices. Because when you change doctrine from the OT to the NT you are essentially guilty of exactly what you are accusing the LDS church of doing.

    I in no way made this a salvation issue. We are all saved by grace, but as Paul says:

    Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the Torah through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Torah!

    The Jerusalem council is reiterating this same point. They are telling the Gentiles, do these few things to seperate yourselves from your pagan past. But then what do they say next?

    Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

    He tells them to go to the synagogues and learn the rest of how to live. Not in a rush, but as followers of Christ we should be growing closer and closer to Him through learning His ways and obeying His commands. We are already saved, yes, but if you don’t have a desire to learn God’s ways and follow them, then you might want to go back and check your heart. Do you really think that as a Gentile all you should do are these 4 things? What about lying, stealing and murder?

    So who cares? well, God cares, He wants us to obey Him. Are we saved by doing this? No. But as saved individuals led by the Holy Spirit you should be seeking out God’s will.

  24. messianic says:

    Also- I don’t find that celebrating God’s feasts and resting on His Sabbath are burdensome or legalistic. They are incredibly meaningful and prophetic feasts that God gave us and I feel blessed to be able to partake in them. I do them because I want to show my love for God, not because it saves me.

  25. mobaby says:

    Don’t mean to pile on, but I really appreciate the sentiments expressed by Falcon, Okie, and Mike. Understanding Christ sacrifice for my sins is key. Whether I choose to celebrate Christ’s birth, my children’s birthdays, pray before or after eating, etc. is not an essential to the faith and by binding myself up in Jewish tradition I may become more like the Judaizers, the false believers from the book of Galatians who sought to make new Gentile Christians into Jews. The Scriptures that Okie sited are the ones my wife always sites on what we are to do as Gentile believers (that is not contained in the 10 Commandments). She is very interested in Jewish law and customs and reads up on it, has debates online with Jewish folks, and has a growing understanding of both ancient Judaism and the modern day sects. She has said to me that Martin Luther may have not gone far enough in the Reformation, and should have taken us back to the festivals of Israel. But then, where do you stop? If you’re trying to be justified by the law, as Saint Paul said, you better keep it all – every bit, perfectly, because that’s where your salvation lies, not in Christ. Problem is, no one can do it. I have persuaded her that we don’t need to return to following Jewish festivals as that was never intended for us. For a Jewish Christian I actually think it would be a good idea to keep the festivals as long as you recognize that your salvation is completely in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and nothing else. Passover etc. looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. We do believe God’s Law (moral, not ceremonial law)- the 10 commandments, essentially the Law drives us to the cross, it shows us our sinfulness and makes us cast ourselves on the mercy of Christ. And it provides guidelines for living (not salvation). Also, it acts as a curb to sin in society – both believers and non-believers, it restrains rampant destructive sin. But our salvation is never found in the law.

  26. messianic says:


    On Passover:

    If you do a quick study on the Passover and what the meal consists of you will find that Jesus was not doing something new here. In the middle of the meal He is breaking the unleavened bread and attributing it to His body. The Israelites already did this during passover, Jesus was not introducing a new concept here. During passover 4 cups of wine are set out and used in the feast. The 3rd cup which Christ raises and says drink this in remembrance of me was and is refered to as the cup of redemption. The last cup He raises and says I will not take part in this cup until I am with you again, is the cup of sanctification. When He commands them to do this He is telling them to observe passover with Him in mind. He was the fullfillment that is sybolized in the passover. Jewish people already associate those items in the passover with the Messiah, they just don’t know He has already come. With that last cup Jesus is telling His deciples that He won’t partake in it until they are santified with Him. Jesus is not instituting the Lord’s Supper (a catholic addition), He is confirming the observance of Passover. Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with remembering other times of the year, but it should not replace the Passover feast that we are told to keep forever! For more on this:

    By the way, even Paul tells us we should keep the Passover feast:
    1 Corinthians 5:7-8
    Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

    The Sabbath:

    Regarding the CARM article. The first problem I saw was that they claim that if one did not keep the law of the Sabbath they lost favor with God, or that somehow following the laws in the OT made one

  27. messianic says:

    saved. This is just not true. The Israelites were always saved by their faith just as we are. They were looking forward to the Messiah that we are looking back on. But, their salvation came by faith in that same Messiah. They were well aware that the sacrificial system was a shadow of what was to come. Later on Rabbinical Judaism got this reversed, but that doesn’t mean it was always misunderstood. Yes, Jesus died so that we are free from having to keep the law, but does this mean we should not strive to keep God’s standards? What law did Jesus keep? Every time we break this law, we are nailing Him to the cross again.

    Romans 14:1-12

    Here is an excellent article on what is being discussed in this passage. The gist of it is they were probably discussing the ongoing debate in the Jewish circles of the time of which days during the Passover week should be observed as Sabbaths.
    Not whether the weekly Sabbath should be observed or not. This was not even a debate at the time. 14 & Sabbath.pdf

    Col. 2:16-17
    You really need to go on and read the next few verses here. A specific doctrine is being addressed in this passage in regards to a teaching that was going around called Asceticism. In this doctrine the self-righteous mentality of severe fasting and punishing the body, abstaining from food, wine, sex, festivals, etc.. is practiced. You see this clarified in verse 18-21. So what Paul is saying is that some people thought they were more holy because they were denying themselves and did not celebrate festivals (like the Sabbath) this was a man-made way of “crucifying the flesh.” Paul is telling them not to let those people judge them by their Ascetic doctrines of men or discourage them from keeping the Sabbath. So, they are being judged for keeping the Sabbath and not the other way around.

    Acts 20:7
    There is actually a tradition of coming together on the first day of the week as the sun goes down on Saturday.

  28. messianic says:

    This tradition is called Havdalah in which bread is broken, a cup is filled to over flowing, a special three braided candle representing the trinity is lit and a blessing is said. Then it is followed by the regular evening meal. Them coming together to break bread does not mean that they were having a church service. They were meeting to have a meal to wish Paul well on his departure and Paul talked into the early hours of the morning. Hardly a church message. Nothing about this passage implies that they were replacing Sabbath worship with Sunday worship.

    1 Cor. 16:1-2
    Well, since no money was to be exchanged on Sabbath I hardly think they were instituting Sunday as their Sabbath in this verse! Paul was simply telling them to collect the money now so that it would not have to be collected later when he came. No indication that this was a church service of some kind. this verse does not even suggest a congregational meeting, it simply tells them to set aside money for a collection as individuals for a specific purpose of gathering money to bring back to the community of believers in Jerusalem.

    The ‘Lord’s Day’ in this verse no where suggests that it is the first day of the week. Sunday was attached to the term ‘the Lord’s day’ by the catholic church founders, not the other way around. Why don’t we assume ‘the Lord’s day’ to be the Sabbath? Or maybe he is speaking of the day the Lord will return. We don’t know, he doesn’t specify?

    There is no scripture that tells us the Sabbath was changed. Jesus rose on the first day of the week because it was the festival of first fruits which always falls on the first day of the week as it is to be observed on the day after the first weekly Sabbath following Passover.


    To answer your question regarding what the Hebrews do or did on the Sabbath. Rabbinical Judaism in NT times as well as today has set up many ‘fences’ around the law. So they have a bunch of man-made rules they follow.

  29. messianic says:

    In the Torah there are only a few instructions on what can and can’t be done on the Sabbath. And we are told that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. We are told the following regarding the Sabbath:
    – Remember it and keep it holy(Exodus 20:8)
    – Do not do any work, not you, anyone in your household and not even your animals. Not even strangers among them were to work.(I interpret this as don’t cause anyone else to work either eg. go to the store, get gas etc..)(Exodus 20:9-10)
    – Don’t light a fire on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:3)

    God leaves us to interpret these regulations in our own way. Isn’t it interesting that the one commandment we are told to remember, is the one commandment the church has forgotten and ignored?

  30. Okie says:

    Growing up in Oklahoma I was raised in the Assembly of God church. There was a long list of do’s and don’t’s like woman couldn’t wear makeup,wear pants, cut their hair. We weren’t allowed to go to the movies,go to dances,go to the bowling alley or roller skate. Every sermon was hell fire and damnation, tearing down the believer. It wasn’t until I was in my forties did I learn of GOD’s grace. It felt as if the whole world was lifted off my shoulders. Christ alone,faith alone is where I will take my stand.Amen

  31. Mike R says:


    Perhaps your concern of having to sooner or later
    defend the messianic movement was because of the
    way in which you sincerely tried to enlighten
    your brothers and sisters in their walk with
    Jesus. What I mean is, once you start implying
    that other believers are ” influenced by paganism”
    it can tend to change the tone of the conversation
    or topic.I learned a lot from your comments, and
    I’m sure there are some things that could stand
    adjusting in my walk with Jesus, and yet I
    appreciated the fact that you stated this was
    not a salvation issue. I think this is the bottom
    line here.

    We share in common the truth of the True and
    Living God, and the truth of salvation in Jesus.
    Our efforts here are concentrated on reaching
    those precious people who have been deceived in
    following a false prophet, in worshiping “another
    Jesus” and in spreading “another gospel” — the
    Mormon people.

    Again, your insight on how LDS leaders have
    distorted the need for a Temple and it’s
    rituals, has been appreciated.

  32. falcon says:

    As I mentioned in my previous post(s), I really don’t care how a saved believer structures their personal religious walk. I know of folks who’ve been into the modern, contempoary worship and headed back to “high” church. They like the formality and predictability of the rituals.
    Does anyone know what it was like growing-up Catholic in the 50s? Talk about formality and all sorts of religious observances. I’ll never forget when they flipped the alter around so the priest faced the people and started saying the Mass in English. All those years of the Mass said in Latin, the religious world suddenly opened up to me. Lent was really something.
    So if someone wants to return to Jewish observances, I don’t care. However, I really don’t think it makes much difference to God.

  33. Enki says:

    I am glad your sticking to your support of 7th day observation for Christians. No more commentary about Sunday services being pagan or Wiccan. I don’t believe there is any evidence that pagans observed Sundays. As for Sunday observing Christians, what meaning does that have? If its not the sabbath day, and its not a pagan holiday, what is it?

    The jewish perspective on the Sabbath is interesting. On reading about it I found that I was taught being raised LDS was not quite correct. There is an interesting aspect I had not anticipated.

    “In modern America, we take the five-day work-week so much for granted that we forget what a radical concept a day of rest was in ancient times. The weekly day of rest has no parallel in any other ancient civilization. In ancient times, leisure was for the wealthy and the ruling classes only, never for the serving or laboring classes. In addition, the very idea of rest each week was unimaginable. The Greeks thought Jews were lazy because we insisted on having a “holiday” every seventh day.”

    “The Torah does not prohibit “work” in the 20th century English sense of the word. The Torah prohibits “melachah” (Mem-Lamed-Alef-Kaf-Heh), which is usually translated as “work,” but does not mean precisely the same thing as the English word. Before you can begin to understand the Shabbat restrictions, you must understand the word “melachah.”

    Melachah generally refers to the kind of work that is creative, or that exercises control or dominion over your environment. The word may be related to “melech” (king; Mem-Lamed-Kaf). The quintessential example of melachah is the work of creating the universe, which G-d ceased from on the seventh day. Note that G-d’s work did not require a great physical effort: he spoke, and it was done.”

    The article goes on to examine prohibited activities in depth. It seems too exhaustive a search, but the reasoning seems logical. Are they man made? I guess thats a matter of opinion.

  34. Enki says:

    If anyone else cares to examine jewish sabbath observation, here is the link. 39 prohibited acts. Technically driving a car is prohibited on the sabbath. Being raised LDS we had no problem driving to church on sunday. Pseudo jews going to pseudo sabbath services, so I guess that makes ‘sense’ that LDS people have a different perspective on what is prohibited or not.

    Observation of the LDS sabbath is one of the temple recommend questions, sometimes lumped together with a general following the commandments questions. I still don’t quite ‘get it’ what the jewish temple was for exactly, and how a general jewish believer related to the temple. Even though I am no longer affiliated with the LDS church I still have rather LDS notions about the word ‘temple’. After reading your commentary, and reading a list of temple recommend questions it does seem like a man made list. The authority that the LDS ‘priesthood’ exercises also seems very suspect. I don’t care much for the authoritarian aspect they tend to have. Also any authoritarian anywhere. Okies experience seems like another example, so this sort of over extension of ‘authority’ can occur elsewhere.

  35. Enki says:

    The connection of the Sabbath with wealth and the ruling class makes me feel rather uncomfortable. I have sensed a sort of aggression and arrogance with the jews that I have interacted with. It seems like every religious practice has that sort of edge, and maybe its passed on culturally even to jews that are not that observant. Is that the intent of the jewish religion?

    Deut. 14: 2, 1 Pet. 2: 9

    To me it seems like the Christian faith is a sort of puppet religion made up for gentiles to serve the jewish people, and exert an influence to modify and control gentiles. Jews may not be able to modify their rules, but is there anything against modifying the rules and customs of non-jews?

  36. messianic says:

    The main reason I posted on this site was to speak to the LDS who see the inconsistancies in Evangelical Christianity and therefore don’t take Evangelical’s seriously. How many times has an LDS person tried to turn the argumant back on you as a Christian by saying, well Christians have inconsistencies and contradictions as well? When you stick to the Bible instead of man’s traditions you don’t have this problem. I was actually challenged by an LDS missionary as an Evangelical Christian when I said God’s Word can’t change and therefore if LDS doctrine contradicts scripture than it is wrong. They came back and said, but didn’t He change his laws from the OT to the NT? That is the very question that led me to be like the Bereans and search out scripture to see if what I was saying and practicing was actually God’s Word. Guess what, the Bereans did not have the NT scriptures, they were searching the OT and they would have rejected Paul if he was truly telling them to abandon God’s laws! The next visit from that LDS mssionary I told him what my conclusin was regarding his question. I told him that he was right mainstream Christianity has traditionally preached that the NT discredits the OT and that I believed now that we should be keeping the laws in the OT, that in the OT they were saved by faith looking forward to a Messiah while we are looking back. But our salvation is the same salvation had by Abraham, Moses and David. It is through the blood of Christ. We are saved by grace! But that does not mean that the law is abolished, instead we are able through the help of the Spirit living within us to establish that law! Then I in tuen pointed out that Easter and Christmas and Sunday Worship were all instituded by the Catholic church at the very same councils that the LDS claim corrupted the church. So why do the LDS still practice these things that have no base in the Bible? And why do their Temples not match the Temples described in the Torah? Why don’t the priestly

  37. messianic says:

    garments in the Torah? Etc… the missionaries had nothing to say, they looked at each other questioningly and turned to me and said, well you will just have to ignore all that and pray over the Book of Mormon, we don’t have an answer. They then said that it looked like there was no need for them to visit me anymore, it was clear I would not be converting. I left telling them to please continue to study and answer these questions because the truth will set you free.

    I am sorry if I caused an uproar with the Christians on the site, that was not my intention. If anyone would like to discuss my beliefs furth please feel free to email me at [email protected]

  38. messianic says:


    Thanks for your post, it was very interesting! I think you are right, there doesn’t seem to be Pagan origin of Sunday as a worship day. It looks like most of the world didn’t have a break down of weeks and went mostly by months. The Israelites were pretty unique as far as a weekly Sabbath. See, I do admit when I have something wrong. I do think it was born out of the antisemitism of the Catholic church, which can be readily documented through early Catholic quotes. Christmas and Easter are another story.

    A little on the Temple:

    it was built as a pattern after the Tabernacle, so the same functions would apply to both. The Tabernacle was basically a traveling Temple that the Israelites took with them through while wandering in the desert. The Tabernacle and subsequently the Temple as well both had three seperate sections. There was the Holy of holies which held the Ark of the Covenant containing the testimony given by God(some say this was the ten commandments, some say it was the entire Torah). On top of the Ark was the mercy seat with two angels on either side. this is to be the place that God meets with the high priest once a year on Yom Kippur, the only time that the high priest is to enter the Holy of Holies. So this is said to be where God meets and talks to the high priest.(Exodus 25:22) Only the high priest could enter this portion of the temple and only once a year to make atonement for the nations sins. Interestingly the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the Holy place was the one that was torn from top to bottom as Christ was being crucified.
    The second section in the Tabernacle was the Holy Place. This was only for the priests to enter to perform the priestly duties. Inside there was a menorah (lamp stand)(Exodus 25:31-40) A table for setting the bread of the ‘presence’ on. The word presence implies the presence of God Himself. and an altar for burning incense.

  39. messianic says:

    All three of these elements were to be kept burning or present at all times. This was the priests duty i n the Holy place, to keep these going at all times. The last portion of the Temple was the Court. This contained a laver filled with water (for the priests to wash in before entering the Holy place) and an altar used for sacrifice. All Jews could come into the court. This is where they presented their sacrifices for the priest to administer. So the purpose of the Temple was to be a dwelling place for God and to be a pattern of the heavenly Temple. As for what was done in the Temple, it is all outlined in Exodus starting at chapter 25. Basically they were to keep everything going, the fire, sacrifices, bread etc… and the people could bring their offerings and sacrifices to the court. Hope this helps you understand.

    As for a holier than though attitude coming from Jews. I think you get this with any religion. It is human nature to take power and misuse it. Just read the Bible for examples! But, I think you get this less when you make the Bible your authority rather than man. That is the main issue in the early church, Paul is refuting years of Rabbinical Judaism where the Rabbis have taken it upon themselves to say who can do what when. And we have just transfered it to the churches today, they do the same thing. If we would just go back to the Torah and follow God’s commands you wouldn’t see this. Yes, the Israelites were God’s chosen people, however all along the way there is an open invitation to join them and therefore become Israelites. The Rabbis in Jesus time had added a conversion process, but that didn’t exist until it was added by man. Check out the OT, the sojourners that traveled with mentioned so many times, those are non-Israelites joining Israel and being made equal with the Israelites.

  40. Enki says:

    Thank you for that incredibly complete yet concise answer! I really really appreciate what sounds like your honest quest to find out what is real and what is superstition. It helps knowing that anyone could understand and apply their religion the wrong way, or make it mean something more than what is implied. Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

  41. Messianic wrote about an encounter with a Mormon missionary

    I told him that he was right mainstream Christianity has traditionally preached that the NT discredits the OT and that I believed now that we should be keeping the laws in the OT, that in the OT they were saved by faith looking forward to a Messiah while we are looking back…

    I haven’t been able to spend the time recently to keep up with this thread.

    I’d agree with messianic whe he (she?) says there’s a lot in popular Christianity that fosters the view that the NT discredits the OT. However, its not the view promoted by all “mainstream” evangelical Christianity (I’m thinking of NT Wright, Leon Morris and other scholars). I also object to the idea that “the NT changes the OT rules”.

    Jesus said

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them

    (Matt 5:17)

    The serious debate, I think, should be about what Jesus meant by “fulfilling the law and the prophets”. There are perhaps two strategies that can be illustrated by the different approaches taken by me and messianic.

    messianic may wish to correct me, but he says that we need to be saved into the law, because, as stated earlier the particulars of the law are not simply Jewish laws, they are God’s laws for all humanity. As he rightly pointed out, these laws don’t come with a “sunset clause” or termination date.

    I am more attracted to the approach of NT Wright, who views the “law and the prophets” as a timeless story that reaches its ultimate conclusion in Christ. This doesn’t mean that we abandon all moral behaviour; rather that if we follow the particular law, prophets, temple system etc, we will always end up by finding that we cannot be reconciled to God by implementing and complying with the system. We need something else, which is where the Grace of God in Christ Jesus comes in to save us.

  42. messianic says:

    As a bit of correction, I don’t believe as you stated:
    “that we need to be saved into the law”

    If what you mean by that is that we must keep the law in order to remain saved. We are saved by grace from the law. Nothing we can do will save us or keep us saved. So we are justified by grace. The sanctification process is what I am referring to. It has nothing to do with salvation other than if we are not moving toward the perfect standard it is an outward sign that the inward heart might not be changed. Hence, “faith without works is dead”. I think most Christians would agree with this.

    I used to think that just following the ‘moral’ laws was a good standard and we were set free from the OT laws through Christ. But when you look more closely at Scripture you find that the law was never bondage in the sense that it was burdensome. The Torah is perfect, we are flawed. It is only bondage in the sense that it keeps us from fellowship with our creator, but Christ came and took care of that allowing us to freely follow the law out of our love for our creator. And how exactly do you define the ‘moral’ laws? Where do you say that one is moral and one is not? Isn’t keeping the feasts and the Sabbath morally a sign of our love and devotion to our creator? Is it moral to stand up our appointed times with God? How would your spouse feel if you had a standing date and you decided to show up at a different time? What defines sin if it is not a transgression from God’s law? What laws did Jesus have to keep? Are those not the definition of what we should be keeping? So should we choose to sin by ignoring some of God’s laws and choosing to keep others? If the Holy Spirit has written the law on our hearts, what exactly does that law say? Is it different then the laws that were written down for the OT believers?

  43. Enki says:

    “…the particulars of the law are not simply Jewish laws, they are God’s laws for all humanity.”

    That is definitely a Christian idea. I don’t think the Jewish people feel that their laws are binding on other people.For example traditional Inupiaq laws have many taboos, but they are not jewish taboos. The jewish food laws would have been very difficult if not impossible to follow in the Arctic environment. Some villages lived exclusively on whale, not kosher. Inuit were not an agricultural people, so laws around raising crops would not have any meaning at all.

  44. Enki,

    I think you’ve touched on a very important point.

    In my previous post, when I referred to “God’s laws for all humanity”, I was attempting to represent messianic’s position, but I’m not satisfied with it myself.

    The reason I am not satisfied is because of the issues you raised – many of the particulars of the OT law are bound to an ancient middle eastern culture.

    So, this leads to the consideration of what “laws” are important, and what aren’t. For example, is whalemeat kosher? (I don’t know – you’d have to ask a qualified rabbi). Or, how can arctic peoples prepare grain offerings?

    Inevitably, this leads to a classification of what “laws” are compulsory and what are not. The problem with this approach is that the Bible makes no such distinction. As Paul says, if you want to follow one law, you’ve got to follow the whole lot; notice the “everything” in Gal 3:10

    All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.

    (from Deut 27:26)

    Calvin and the Reformers divided them into “moral” and “ceremonial” laws (Westminster Confession 19:3), the idea being that the “moral” laws are timeless, but the “ceremonial” laws are bound to culture and time.

    However, this is not a division that is presented in Scripture itself, and we run the risk of getting the “classification” wrong. For example, Christians don’t circumcise their sons, perhaps because circumcision is classified as a “ceremonial” law, yet God nearly kills Moses for not doing it to his son (Ex 4:24-25). Have we got our “classifications” wrong?

    To answer this, we need to ask “what are the laws for?”

    The answer, I believe, is found in Paul’s rebuttal of the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that a person needed to become a Jew before becoming a Christian. This meant circumcision, temple rites, kosher and the whole package. Paul’s reaction is neatly summarized in Gal 3:1 etc. ctd

  45. …ctd…

    You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing— if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.

    (Gal 3:1-7)

    The whole of Galatians is worth a read in this respect, but I stopped at the “children of Abraham” for a reason. Paul (and Jesus before him) maintains that the true “children of Abraham” are those who believe, not necessarily those who comply with the law, or who are a product of the law (see also Romans 9:7).

    The Christian revelation, I believe, looks beyond the law to the purpose of the law. The law is not an end-goal in itself. What it does, and what the OT law does in particular, is expose our sinfulness in the light of a Holy God.

    It also provides the defining metaphor, or meta-narrative for humanity’s relationship with God. The OT is a story, and Jesus brings that story to its conclusion in himself. There are a number of ways to express this and apply it. One summary I suggest is;

    * We have sinned and broken the relationship with God

    * God has taken the burden of our sin upon himself and carried it away

    * In doing so, God demonstrates His great love for us by serving us in our need

    * We worship a God who is the servant of all

    * Our worship of this God motivates us to serve others

  46. Enki says:

    Well, that does sound like a modern Christian point of view. You don’t have to consult a Rabbi to know that whale is not kosher. It doesn’t have hooves, and doesn’t chew cud. It also doesn’t have scales. Curiously enough, I have read statistics which say that more Christians(around 60%)are circumcised than Jews.(around 1%) Muslims have the highest rate.(95%) I don’t recall where I read that. If you are interested I could try to find an exact source, but that could take awhile, because that issue is one which is changing rapidly in practice around the world. More favoring decline.

    Of all the Jewish taboos, the ones regarding menstruation are the least practiced today, at least that is what I have read. Its interesting that around the world most cultures had taboos around it. It could perhaps be the most universal source of taboos.

  47. gpark says:

    Falcon, Mobaby, Mike R, Okie, and Martin,

    Thank you for putting into words the thoughts (and even citing some of the verses) that have been running through my mind for the past even busier than usual several days; especially, Falcon, what you wrote about loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself. I know that I am saved by grace through faith; which brings tears of gratitude to my eyes more and more as I grow older! I know that the law is written on my heart, because just the thought of killing or stealing or giving even the appearance of paying too much attention to a man other than my husband is horrid to me. On that note, I have always thought it so revealing that adultery comes between murder and theft in the 10 commandments. It’s a sure way to stab a person in the heart and take what does not belong to you all in one fell swoop. Gossip is something I can guarantee the Holy Spirit will convict me about in a split second, knowing how much damage what many consider to be a small thing can do to another person. The worst thing about all of these things, of course, is that they grieve God.

    As for a time of rest, more and more as the years pass, I realize that my rest is in the LORD. Any time I make the time to pray, to read the Bible, to praise and worship God, to think on Him, I have a sense of being at rest in Him.

  48. gpark says:

    I love fellowship with other believers, and greatly enjoy the teaching, preaching, and praise and worship at church, but I truly experience rest in the LORD at many other times and in many other places. We have a fine, well-educated (in the Biblical languages and in Biblical history) pastor, and teachers who are mature in the LORD and in Bible study, but who interpret the same Scriptures differently than those whose teachings Messianic has embraced. I have heard a good deal of teaching regarding asceticism, Gnosticism and other New Testament heresies and areas of dispute, and I just recently heard a teaching on one of the festivals; but, the bottom-line, as Okie says, is: “Christ alone, faith alone, is where I will take my stand. Amen.”

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