Updated: Sep 8
If we are truly living in the "perilous times" Paul warned Timothy about in 2 Timothy 3, we'd do well to better understand the things Jesus taught about what to expect when we stand before Him as our Judge, "Sinner" and "Saint" alike.
2 Timothy 3;1-5
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
Every trait you see above is a violation of some part of Torah. So Paul was essentially making a passive reference to perilous times being a time when people would not heed the warnings of Torah. We see some of these traits among the Body of Christ almost as much as in the world. To understand Yeshua/Jesus's words we need to take a little trip into the epistles and apply proper context to the things the Apostles said so we can grasp why their Teacher (Yeshua/Jesus) taught them what He did.
We like to use the Marcionist* twisting of Paul's writings to "prove we aren't under the Law" but even that very phrase is a twisting in understanding, or evidence of ignorance, of what Paul truly wrote. Nowadays we need a code breaker to understand Paul because of the extent to which the enemy has successfully twisted Paul's real message. So I will add a graphic below, that I have used a lot of late, in order to help us see through the Marcionist teaching we have received and believed.
*More information about Marcion's teaching can be found HERE
and it's impact on the modern "church" HERE
Let me further point out that "being under the law" actually means being a violator of Torah, in Paul's writings. So when you see this, read it that way. This doesn't mean salvation comes by Torah. We are justified by Faith in Christ and this is the only way to salvation, though, as you will see in the graphic, Romans 3:20 isn't talking about Torah. It is talking about the religious laws and traditions added to Torah.
Torah is the Law of God's Kingdom as taught by the principle of Matthew 5:19. Torah is Eternal Psalm 119:160. Torah is the standard for holiness Leviticus 11 and repeated in 1 Peter 1:16. Otherwise, Paul (and other Apostles) comes off as a schizophrenic because in Romans 3:31 he says 'we establish the law by adding faith in Christ to it, this does not void it'.
Paul said when speaking to a Jew he 'spoke as a Jew and when speaking to those under the law he spoke as one under the law' in 1 Corinthians 9. The very fact he phrased it that way shows these are clearly two separate people groups. One is Jew and the other are 'violators of Torah'. This is why he, as a trained Pharisee said "of which I am not one"** when referring to those "under the law" - NOT because he considered himself free from following the Instructions of God. So, being that Jews would not be cursed for being "under the law", and Paul was a Jew and not "under the Law"... he was clarifying between two groups of people he ministered to... are you beginning to see the difference? This is at least partly why Peter said some of Paul's writings are difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:16).
**1 Corinthians 9:21 - Some translations say "(being not without law to God, but under
the law to Christ,)". This is likely a scribal add-on to the original manuscripts.
However, using the context explained above Paul was saying that to those who had
never heard of Torah (without the law) he could never go back to being without
the Law so he communicated like someone who violated the Law, under Christ.
He was pointing out that as a follower of Christ he was subject to Torah, and there
was Grace which didn't require another sacrifice but Jesus' once and for all
sacrifice provided for when he failed. and THIS was what he communicated
to those who had never heard of Torah.
I'm going to take just a very short moment here to point out something regarding Paul and the Marcionist twisting of his writing. Marcion contended that Paul was some kind of super apostle because in his lack of education in Hebraic Context, Hebraic Idioms, and Hebraic Teaching styles, etc Marcion misinterpreted (eisegesis) what Paul really was saying. I'm going to give you a short lesson on the Marcionist view of Paul in Romans 2 in one translation and another using a translation/version which happens to get Paul's point quite well. The lense of Marcionism makes Paul seem like hypocrite or worse a lunatic.
(Hebrew teaching styles are known as PaRDeS - an acronym for Peshat, Remez, Derash,
and Sod - I'll let you dig these out so I don't get too far out on this rabbit trail. these
are the equivalent of the Greek "Hermeneutics" loosely meaning Dividing of Scripture.)
Below is a perfect example of why and how Marcion may have mistaken what Paul was saying on occasion. Aside from the likelihood that Marcion just CHOSE to misinterpret Paul and purposely misrepresented his teachings. This is entirely possible, but not knowing his motive, we cannot totally conclude his heresy was completely purposeful. Look at verse 12 by itself first, then read the rest of the passage. At a glance, it seems Paul is pointing out that the Law will be used to judge Jews and that it's a harsh thing. But taken into context with the Grace we clearly see in 13-15 this cannot be true. Take a look at that verse again and try to notice Paul is speaking of the destruction of both Gentile and Jew in verse 12. In a close examination of the entire passage, it seems more that he is pointing out God's Grace in not judging Gentiles by Torah because they had not learned it yet. We know Acts 17:30 tells us that God winked at ignorance in the past, but in the age of information technology we live in, this is no longer so. We are obligated to search out the truth according to Proverbs 25:2, after all, are we not members of a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)?
Romans 2:12-15 (NLV)
"12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right."
Now let's look at a Word for Word Literal Translation and see why Marcion may have gotten the impression he did about Paul... After all, in 150AD it is unlikely there were many "paraphrased" versions of the Bible. I am not discounting the possibility that Marcion was a purposeful heretic attempting to become a famous Gnostic for his "Secret Knowledge", I am just saying that it is possible he was as deceived as those who followed him then and those who are still believing his false teachings even now. PLEASE carefully consider my urging to research Marcion and discover what you might have been taught and have chosen to believe that comes from his deceptive version of Christianity.
Romans 2:12-15 (YLT)
"12 for as many as without law did sin, without law also shall perish, and as many as did sin in law, through law shall be judged, 13 for not the hearers of the law [are] righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be declared righteous: -- 14 For, when nations that have not a law, by nature may do the things of the law, these not having a law -- to themselves are a law; 15 who do shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also witnessing with them, and between one another the thoughts accusing or else defending,"
I hope this makes it easier for you to understand why Marcionism has remained such a powerful force of deception in the Body of Messiah. Not to mention, making it ring all the more true when we read Peter's statement about Paul''s writing sometimes being difficult to understand - 2 Peter 3:16.
Shall we get back to the original trail we were on now?
Pay especially close attention to Galatians 3:10 in the graphic below. Paul sounds like he is contradicting himself UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND THE ERROR IN TRANSLATIONS. The curse comes from obeying the rabbinic laws added to Torah, NOT from following Torah. To be cursed by Torah means you did NOT follow its Instruction - Deuteronomy 27:26. Scripture cannot contradict itself or THE WHOLE THING IS A LIE.
We HAVE to learn to make this about Love and Intimacy with Abba though. The letter of the Torah is all the people would accept at Mt. Horeb when God offered to make them all priests and give them each an individually intimate relationship with Him. They were afraid of the 'God of Moses', so they allowed their still enslaved minds to force them to behave as slaves who weren't capable of living in positions of honor with a God of such awesome power! So in fear, they said they wanted Moses to meet with God and then tell them what He had to say. They wanted religion not relationship, just as they had known in Egypt. We must be careful to keep the Spirit of Torah and not the Letter Only (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Combine these keys with the information below and you get a very clear picture that Paul never advocated for not following Torah. You may remember from my blog "Falling in Love on the Sabbath" where I explain that being Torah Observant isn't bondage when you're In Christ. It is freedom to operate in every gift Scripture offers without limits because you are then a law-abiding citizen of the Kingdom of God. This is about expressing intimacy to Him using His love language.
If you were president of a nation, wouldn't you believe a law-abiding citizen appreciated you and your efforts to create a civil society more than a violent repeat felon?
How does any of this relate to the ministry and teaching of Yeshua/Jesus?
Looking at one perspective of the day when "saints" will stand before Jesus as a Judge, in Matthew 7:21-27 Yeshua/Jesus says:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Torah is not the Law of Moses, it is God's Law - another way to put it is "The Laws of God's Kingdom") Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, [ye that work iniquity]."
See the graphic below showing the meaning of anomia, which is the word falsely translated as iniquity in many Bibles. It literally means "without the Law".
Luke 13:24-27 reveals a slightly different account of what is probably the same event. Even if it is actually a different event, the resemblance to Matthew in the above passage makes it worthy of investigation.
"Strive to enter in at the [strait gate]: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye workers of iniquity]."
FIRST - did you notice the spelling for strait? It's not straight as in "the shortest route between two points is a straight line" it is strait as in "dire straits". This spelling is a nautical term which means "difficult, narrow, or under pressure" - in this case probably the latter. It takes endurance and determination to get through the "strait gate" and into the Kingdom of Heaven.
SECONDLY - notice Jesus repeats a reference to "workers of iniquity". In Luke's Gospel, the word chosen and falsely translated as "iniquity" is adikia. It literally means "violator of the Law". See the graphic below.
Well then, how do we know if we are involved in a'nomia or adikia?
1 John is the ONLY place in Scripture where we find specifically what God views as sin. Not what is subjective to the individual, like if God told me to never watch a Hollywood produced movie again yet I continue to do so, then that would be sin for me but not a violation of Torah, nor would it be sin for those who have not been given the same instruction if they watched a Hollywood movie. That would be an example of "to him who knows to do right but doesn't do right" from James 4:17. But not all sin is subjective. A great vast number of 'sins' can be avoided by understanding what Scripture objectively defines sin to be. 1 John 3:4 holds the key.
"Whosoever committs sin transgresses also the Law (Torah): for sin is the transgression of the Law (Torah)."
It's all throughout Scripture but most of us in the Western Gentile Christian world have been taught the Eisegesis of such Scriptures and told we were being taught an Exegesis. This is important because we only THINK we can rightly divide the Word of God (Hermeneutics using Exegesis). Instead, we just keep holding on to what others have "interpreted" Scripture to mean (Eisegesis) and called it Good Theology and Sound Doctrine.
Eisegesis is the process of interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one's own presuppositions, agendas or biases. It is commonly referred to as reading into the text.
WE MUST LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENCE
Exegesis is the critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of Scripture. Example - Using proper Hermeneutics (dividing of Scripture) one can find Exegesis and avoid Eisegesis.
Notice the graphic below showing that when Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" He was quoting several "Old Testament" Scriptures. He is more than the Word Incarnate, He is Torah Incarnate. So when He comes into your heart (Revelation 3:20) He is fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31-33 that Hebrews 8 repeats as the "New Covenant" which is what He was actually offering at Mt. Horeb when the people rejected it in fear.
Jeremeiah 31 "...I will make a new covenant... this shall be the covenant that I will make... I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (simplified to show the point of the New Covenant)
Hebrews 8 "... I will make a new covenant... this is the covenant that I will make... I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (simplified to show the point of the New Covenant)
Some will want to argue that this Covenant was with Israel and Judah, and the New Testament Believer has a Covenant of Love, Mercy, and Grace but they neglect to consider Romans 11 makes it clear salvation came to the Jew first then to the Gentile AND that we are grafted into Israel. This misguided view is also indicative of the deep levels of Marcionist deception they have bought into.
It is by the spirit of adoption we can even be part of God's Kingdom- Romans 8:15. So if there be neither Jew NOR Greek in the Kingdom of God (Galatians 3:28 & 29), and we are all seed of Abraham, how do we reconcile between these two principles? It's easy really; if salvation came by the Jews, and Yeshua/Jesus is the means by which salvation is secured, and He is Torah Incarnate, then the Rules/Law for the Kingdom by which we enter through salvation are/is Torah. But not the religious letter of Torah those of the Exodus preferred because of their fear, but rather the Spirit of Torah which makes it possible for us to keep Torah. We obey thousands of laws every day in the US without ever even thinking about it, so why do we argue that we cannot Keep God's Law(s) when He made a Covenant to put them in us and make us capable of keeping them?
As I close this article, let's take a quick look at what Paul actually said in Romans 2:12 using the principles I outlined at the beginning.
"For all who have sinned outside of Torah will also perish outside of Torah, and all who have sinned according to Torah will be judged by Torah. For it is not the hearers of Torah who are righteous before God; rather, it is the doers of Torah who will be justified."
We have to do a better job of rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We have to learn what was REALLY being said and rid ourselves of the ungodly Eisegesis which has been passed on to us. We just have to.
After all, it is ALL about Him... isn't it?
(All parenthetic inserts and brackets in Scripture are mine except for the YLT of Romans 2:12-15)