“Praises to the one whom You choose to draw near to dwell in Your courts; may we be sated with the goodness of Your House (Temple), the holiest part of Your Sanctuary.” Psalms 65:5
As of the time of the posting of this op, we are within just a few days from the end of this year’s Torah reading cycle which means we prepare to begin the new annual Torah reading cycle. As such I thought it important to once more post Scriptural proof text nothing changed, nothing ended and everything HaShem gave in the beginning is still very much for each of us today. Granted there is a lot which we are not able to do simply because we do not live in the Land of Israel nor is there is a Temple standing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but this does not negate there are countless principles to learn and can be applied to each of our lives as we strive to grow closer to HaShem and understand His Messiah Yeshua.
Unfortunately, in my experience, the subject of HaShem’s Temple along with all of the Temple Services, the Korbonot (Offerings), the Levites and Kohanim, the Tavnit (Blueprints) of the Temple, etc, tends to stir the anger of many within the systems of religion to include Christendom. It is not that these are bad people, it is the traditions they have been taught over the years are clashing with the truth of HaShem which has been hidden from our eyes all these years. But, Baruch HaShem, He promised centuries ago that it would be like this and in the very end He would open our eyes and ears to what has always been there. He promises in Jeremiah 16:19-21 “HaShem, my Strength, my Stronghold, and my Refuge on the day of distress! To You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say: ‘It was all falsehood that our ancestors inherited, futility that has no purpose. Can a man make for gods for himself? They are NOT gods!’ Therefore, behold, I inform them at this time, I shall let them know of My hand and My strength; and they shall know that My Name is HaShem!” In the very end HaShem will cause the nations to see all their religions, gods, traditions, etc, were all inherited futile lies which are completely useless and had absolutely zero benefit to them. Then they will see HaShem is the ONLY true Elohim and run to Him! This is happening today with so many running out of the futile lies of the systems of religion to include Christendom and are running to HaShem, embracing His Ways, His Feasts, His Shabbats and His Torah!
It is true that many who have come out of these systems of religion, to include Christendom, have brought with them the baggage they learned from the Replacement Theology doctrines and dogma they were taught. I know speaking from personal experience that it is a long process to get free from all the futile idolatrous baggage acquired over all those years, but Baruch HaShem He is long suffering and knows where each of us are as He works this all out in our lives, as we walk away from the idolatrous, futile Replacement Theology of Christendom into the freedom and liberty of His Torah and truth.
The one absolute 100% proof text as recorded in the Apostolic Writings I wish to cite showing once and for all the Torah was NOT done away with nor was Paul ever teaching against the Torah to include the Oral Torah, is recorded in Acts 21 with regards to his being ready to complete a Nazarite Vow! When we study this out in detail, there will not be any valid arguments to support the Torah abolishing doctrine and dogma of Replacement Theology we all were taught!
The topic of the Nazarite Vow will be the focus of this Op and by the end of it, I hope and pray you will see not only is the Torah is still valid but also see the absolute need for the Oral Torah as well. Remember Yeshua did not end nor did He change anything as He has been accused of! Instead He restored and renewed! Keep this in mind as we proceed!
But first, just to quickly recap:
– HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
– His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
– He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
– He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
– He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
– He says His Torah is eternal per Proverbs 3:19 and Psalm 119:160
– He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm Ps 119:45 and James 1:25
– He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
– He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
– He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
– He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
– He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
– He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
– He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
– He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
– He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
– He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
– He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
– He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
– He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
Acts 18:18 says “And Sha’ul (Paul) having stayed several days more, having taken leave of the brothers, was sailing for Suria, and Priscilla and Aquilas were with him, HAVING SHAVED HIS HAIR at Kenhrea, FOR HE HAD TAKEN A VOW.”
So the question that must be asked is ‘What vow did he take as the Apostolic Writings do not explain?’ This is the first indicator the writers of the Apostolic Writings expect we as the readers know His Torah inside and out for having known HaShem and His Torah we would have read this and immediately known exactly what vow and what is entailed in this vow, but again I digress.
We see Paul shaved his hair and took a Nazarite Vow in Acts 18:18. Where in the Torah of HaShem does He discuss what is required of a Nazarite Vow? Bamidbar (Numbers) 6:1-8 discusses the Nazarite Vow in depth and also states what is to be abstained during the period of the vow: 1 – abstention from any grape products of any kind. 2 – cannot shave the head until the completion of the vow and 3 – may not become tamei (Ritually unclean) due to corpse impurity during the duration of the vow. These abstentions are meant to bring the person closer to HaShem and elevate their level of kedusha (Holiness/Being set apart to HaShem).
There are questions that need to be asked that the Written Torah does not address such as:What is the minimum time period of a Nazarite Vow? What constitutes grape products that must be abstained from? Where do we go to find the answers to these two simple questions? We have to go to the Oral Torah, specifically Tractate Nazir in the Mishnah and Tractate Nazir in the Talmud Bavli to get the answers!!
Per Tractate Nazir in the Talmud Bavli the minimum duration of the Nazarite Vow is 30 days and with regards to what constitutes grape products to be abstained from, this includes anything containing wine, leaves of grape vines, grape seeds or grape skins.
The next question to ask is at the end of the duration of the 30 days, what is required to complete the Nazarite Vow? Per Bamidbar 6:13-21: The one who is ready to complete vow must bring to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting a sheep in its first year as an Olah (Burnt) offering, a ram as a Shelamim (Peace) offering and a female lamb in its first year as a Chatat (Sin) offering. Additionally, they must bring ten Challot (Fine flour mixed with oil loaves) Minchah/bread offerings, 10 R’Kikim (Unleavened wafers smeared with oil) as well as a wine libation to be poured out onto the Altar. Then the Nazarite will shave his head and take his hair and put it on the fire that is under the Shelamim and burn it.
The Kohen (Priest) will then take the cooked foreleg of the Shelamim and one Challot (Fine flour mixed with oil loaf) and one R’ikikim (Unleavened wafer), and place them on the palms of the Nazarite after he has shaved his hair. The Kohen will perform Tenufah (Waving) them as a wave service before HaShem. Afterward the Nazarite is freed from the abstentions of the vow and may drink wine!
More questions to ask that is not specifically discussed in the Written Torah: How are the korbonot slaughtered? Where in relation to the Outer Altar are the animal korbonot slaughtered? What parts of the animals are prepared and placed on the Altar? How are the Minchah (Bread) offerings prepared? Who eats what parts of these korbonot? Where may they be eaten in relation to the Temple and for what specific amount of time are they allowed to eat them? How are the Nazarite and the items in his palms waved before HaShem? Can you see how already we have shown the need for the Oral Torah?
– How are the korbonot slaughtered? Tractate Zevachim in the Mishnah and Talmud Bavli discusses this question in great detail.
– Where in relation to the Outer Altar are the animal korbonot slaughtered? The animal korbonot are divided into two categories: Korban Kodshai Kodashim (Most holy offerings) and Korban Kodashim Kalim (Lesser Holy Offerings). The Lesser Holy Offerings may be slaughtered anywhere within the Azarah in the courtyard of the Temple. The Most Holy Offerings may ONLY be slaughtered immediately north of the Outer Altar. There are four steps for the slaughtering of the korbonot. They are: Shechitah/Slaughter in accordance with the Torah. Keibalah/Receiving of the blood into a sanctified vessel and can ONLY be done by a Kohen. Holachah/Carrying of the blood to the Altar and Zerikah/Throwing of the blood onto the Altar.
– The emurim (Sacrificial Parts) of the korbonot are removed, salted and placed upon the Outer Altar and are eaten either by the Kohen or by the owner of the korbonot and their guests with the exception of the Olah/Burnt Offering where the meat is wholly burnt and consumed by the fire.
– The emurim of the Shelamim (Peace Offering) that belong to the Kohen i.e. the breast and the right hind thigh may be eaten only by the Kohen. The remainder of the cooked meat belongs to the owner and may be eaten within the walls of Jerusalem and by his guests for up to two days after the slaughter. Additionally, one Challot and one Ri’kikim of the Minchah (Bread) offerings belong to the Kohen and the remaining 18 belong to the owner to be eaten.
– How is the Tenufah (Waving service) performed? The Kohen waves the Nazarite along with the items in his palms in all four directions and then up and down before HaShem. This is briefly discussed in Vayikra (Leviticus) 10:15 and expounded upon in Tractate Menachot 5:6 in the Mishnah.
See how much detail we need to learn to fully understand what is involved with something as simple as a Nazarite Vow and how much we really do not know or understand the Apostolic Writings? No wonder HaShem commands us in Ezekiel 43:10-11 to learn everything about His Temple to include the korbonot and the Temple Services! It is the key to understanding everything from Genesis to Revelation! I digress.
Finally, in addition to bringing the three animal and twenty Minchah korbonot, the Nazarite must go to the Temple to shave his hair and cook the meat of his Shelamim (Peace Offering). So where in the Temple does he go? He goes to the Lishkat HaNezirim or the Chamber of the Nazarite which is a chamber in the SE corner of the Court of the Women. It is in here that the meat belonging to the owner of the Shelamim korbonot is cooked along with his cut hair is burnt in the fire!
So with all this in mind, now we go to Acts 21:17-26 which says “And when we (Paul) had arrived in Yerushalayim, the brothers received us gladly. And on the following day, Paul went in with us to Yaakov (James) and all the elders came. And having greeted them, he was relating one by one what Elohim had done among the Gentiles through his service. And when they heard it, they praised the Master. And they said to him (Paul), ‘You see, brother, how many tens of thousands of Yehudim there are who have believed AND all are ardent for the Torah, but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Yehudim who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moshe (Torah), saying not to circumcise the children nor to walk according to the practices (Oral Torah). What then is it? They shall certainly hear that you have come. So do this, what we say to you: We have four men who have taken a vow (Nazarite Vow). Take them and be cleansed with them (Sprinkled with the Ashes of the Red Heifer), and pay their expenses so that they shave their heads. And all will know that what they have been informed about you is NOT so, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Torah. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should keep themselves from what is offered to idols, and blood and what is strangled (Meaning they can only eat kosher) and whoring.’ Then Paul took the men on the next day, and having been cleansed with them, went into the Temple to announce the completion of the days of separation, until the offering should be presented for each of them.”
A few points to highlight in these verses in Acts 21 above: Consider that about 95% of all the writers of the Apostolic Writings are present here in this meeting with Paul and what are they discussing? How there are tens of thousands of Yehudim who are all believers in Yeshua as the Messiah AND are all ardent and zealous for the Torah! So if the Torah is now tossed aside, they clearly did NOT get that message!
Second, the fact Paul does not object to taking these four other men with him up to the Temple to complete their Nazarite Vows proves 100% Paul is NOT anti-Torah or anti-Oral Torah! This act not only elevates his kedushah closer to HaShem but also silences his accusers that he is teaching against the Torah and the Oral Torah!! So the question which must be asked is why is Christendom always siding with Paul’s accusers in teaching Paul taught a message against the Torah, the Feasts, the Shabbat, etc? Who is lying Paul or Christendom? Each of us will have to decide that for ourselves.
Additionally, we see that Paul is paying for the expenses for all five of them! That is a total of 15 animals (Three animal korbonot per person) as well as 100 Minchah korbonot (Twenty per person)! This is VERY expensive!! Then consider that this is some thirty years AFTER Yeshua had come and gone and yet Paul has zero objections to bringing a Chatat (Sin) offering. Uh oh, this can only mean Yeshua never ended the korbonot nor did He end the Chatat (Sin) offerings! Can you see how our theology has to change and how it is through learning everything about His Temple, just as He commands us to, reveals what the truth is and exposes the false doctrines?
Further, we see the elders here have decided the Gentile believers must abstain from the four prohibitions which are: what is offered to idols, and blood and what is strangled (Meaning they can ONLY eat kosher) and whoring. Unfortunately today many believe this is ONLY what Gentile believers must do and then toss out the rest of the Torah. What is certain is the elders are NOT limiting Gentile believers to these four prohibitions, but are in fact telling them they must immediately abstain from these four prohibitions as they BEGIN to learn the Torah in the synagogues every Shabbat. Additionally, until that Gentile believer formally converts and for the males to become physically circumcised, they are prohibited from going up to the Temple as there is a death penalty if they do. This further proves the believers in Yeshua were all Torah observant and walked according to the Halakah i.e. the Oral Torah!
It is so sad the way Paul has been depicted today as being against HaShem, His Torah, His Feasts, His Shabbat and just about everything HaShem established from the beginning when in reality the man was zealous for the Torah in every way possible! In fact Paul at one point says he IS a Pharisee, not that he used to be a Pharisee, but was still a Pharisee per Philippians 3 in which he says he was “circumcised on the eighth day, of the race of Yisra’el, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, according to the Torah a Pharisee.” Point is, he did NOT give up his identity nor his status as a Pharisee in order to follow Yeshua! This of course clashes with many in Christendom today, which again is very sad because they are missing out on SO much! I digress.
Can we take a Nazarite Vow today? Sadly, no we cannot, simply because there is no Temple in Jerusalem to bring our required korbonot, in addition there is no way to be purified from any corpse impurity which we all surely are contaminated with today whether we know it or not. Does this negate the need to study and learn everything about His Temple as He commands in Ezekiel 43:10-11? Not a chance!
So why are we collectively clinging to the Replacement Theology doctrine and dogma that teaches the Torah is something which has been rendered nullified, obsolete and something to be shunned when just from this one topic of the Nazarite Vow shows absolutely the opposite? Paul did tell the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:1 to “Imitate him as he imitates Messiah Yeshua.” If Paul remained a Pharisee, zealous for the Torah of HaShem while acknowledging Yeshua as the Messiah, then what options do we have today in our walks with HaShem?
For the record I am NOT saying we need to go out and convert to Judaism…that is NOT what I am saying. What I am saying is that if these resources that Judah has fought and literally died to preserve over the centuries per the mandate of HaShem, and were all supported by and used by Yeshua, as well as the writers of the Apostolic Writings, then why are we tossing them aside today? Again the question has to be asked, “Who is teaching futile lies inherited by our fathers, Paul or Christendom?”
This is precisely why I firmly believe HaShem is restoring everything because very soon, the Mizbe’ach (Altar) will be placed and operating once more on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and we all will have to know the protocols for approaching our Great King and the Oral Torah in conjunction with the Written Torah is the only way to do that.
So now that we prepare to begin a new Torah reading cycle, I hope any doubts the Torah doesn’t apply to us is proven once more to be false and that in fact the Torah does indeed apply to each of us!! Freedom from the bondage to the lies of inherited futility is beyond description!
This all said, we eagerly await the time when HaShem allows for the rebuilding of the Mizbe’ach on the Temple Mount and the restoration of the korbonot so we can draw near to our Great King! May it be very, very soon in our days!!
Much to consider!
– The Stone Edition Tanach by Artscroll
– The Writings Psalms by Artscroll
– The Schottenstein Edition Talmud Bavli Tractate Nazir by Artscroll
– The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
– Measure the Pattern by Joseph Good