Sir Anthony Buzzard’s Absurd Crusade Against the Torah

 

The Millennial Temple of EzechielIt is always amazing to notice how some biblical scholars succeed in undermining their own theological position. One of the recent examples is Sir Anthony Buzzard. Buzzard has done a lot of biblical research and deserves well of all Messianics for his work on the Trinity and the Incarnation [1]. He did an excellent job in showing that the G’d the Bible teaches is One Person, not the multipersonal Being of Christian orthodoxy, and that Jesus was a faithful Jew who wholeheartedly subscribed to the Jewish creed: Hear, O Israel, HaShem is our G’d, HaShem is One (Dt. 6:4).

Buzzard ardently emphasizes the Jewishness of Jesus and the Jewishness of Jesus’ expectation of the Messianic Kingdom, and with great enthusiasm quotes the words of L.L. Paine about Jesus:

Jesus was a Jew, trained by Jewish parents in the Old Testament Scriptures. His teaching was Jewish to the core; a new Gospel indeed, but not a new theology. He declared that he came “not to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill” them, and he accepted as his own belief the great text of Jewish monotheism: “Hear, O Israel, the L-rd our G’d is One G’d”. His proclamation concerning himself was in line with Old Testament prophecy. He was the “Messiah” of the promised Kingdom, the “Son of Man” of Jewish hope…[2]

Buzzard insists that we should believe in HaShem and expect his future Kingdom in the same manner as Jesus did. His magazine, Focus on the Kingdom, and his website, Restoration Fellowship, are devoted to this mission.

While teaching, however, that we should adopt the biblical faith of Jesus, Buzzard at the same takes great efforts in teaching us that we should not follow Jesus’ practice of a biblical, Torah obedient lifestyle. In Buzzard’s eyes, Christians would go in the wrong direction in seeking Torah obedience. This would result in a life of shadows. In an article entitled: “Resting in Christ as More Than a Weekly Sabbath”, of the July 2012 issue of his magazine, he exclaims: “Why live in the shadows when the light has come?” [3]. Buzzard’s version of the Christian faith can thus be summarized as: Believe in the One G’d of Israel, like Jesus did, but don’t follow his Torah.

I think it is at this point, where theory and practice are separated, that Anthony Buzzard loses Jesus’ Jewishness and gets lost in ordinary Christian Replacement Theology. For if the Torah is set aside, Jewishness is set aside. A Messiah who doesn’t teach Torah is false Messiah, who cannot be accepted by the Jewish nation.

How contrary is Buzzard’s teaching here to the very words of Jesus spoken at the sermon on the mount (Mt. 5:17-19):

Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one titte shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

From this text we learn that fulfilling the Torah includes practising it. Even the the least commandment is important. Any ‘focus on the Kingdom’ of heaven will be empty and void if it doesn’t include doing and teaching Torah. How can we focus on the Kingdom at all, if we deny it by our lifestyle and do not follow the Royal Torah? (Cf. Jas 2:8-10). The words Jesus spoke on the mount after his resurrection make it all the more clear that his Kingdom includes the rule and reign of the Torah (Mt. 28:19-20):

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Ruach HaKodesh: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

Do the “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” include Jesus’ words of Mt. 5:17-19, yes or no? So when one thinks about the consequences of Buzzard’s viewpoint, one can only wonder whether he would be prepared to affirm that Jesus himself lived in the shadows during his earthly days and followed a pattern of behaviour of an altogether lower nature than the life of freedom from the commandments now supposedly enjoyed by Christians [4]. If Buzzard would dare to affirm and uphold that, essentially, Messiah’s own lifestyle was less spiritual than the so-called ‘Christian’ lifestyle of today, then the question arises how he can take serious Paul’s injunction to the Corinthians: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Messiah” (I Cor. 11:1), particularly so if we know that Paul too was a Torah observant Jew, as is clear from Acts 25:8-11; 28:17.

How can any call to lead a life of following Messiah — imitatio Christi in the terminology of traditional Christianity — be taken serious if the Jewish and Torah obedient lifestyle of Messiah is perceived of as belonging to an altogether lower order of things than the Christian believer is thought to be part of?

One also can only wonder about what kind of Kingdom Buzzard is expecting if it is not the Kingdom of the universal rule of the Torah announced by the prophet Isaiah (Is. 2:2-3):

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of HaShem’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of HaShem, to the house of the G’d of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we shall walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem.

If these words are literally true and if the rule of the Torah is the rule of HaShem’s Kingdom, then what excuse do we have for not obeying the Torah and its commandments, since in them we anticipate and foretaste the reality of the Kingdom? [5]. Buzzard has repeatedly admitted that the Kingdom of G’d is a real physical Kingdom to be expected here on earth, having its centre in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. And yet he seems to conceive this Kingdom as a secular reality without the Torah and without a restored Temple.

Buzzard deplores that “a giant muddle has been introduced by a failure to grasp basic distinctions between the two covenant arrangements provided by G’d. The Old must not be confused with the New” [6].

One can ask who is really muddling the waters here if one recollects the words of Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-33):

Behold, the days come, saith HaShem, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith HaShem: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith HaShem, I will put my Torah in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their G’d, and they shall be my people.

Here it is clearly taught by the prophet Jeremiah that the content of the New Covenant is the same as the content of the Sinai covenant. The New Covenant has the same commandments and ordinances, and this is only logical as it is the renewal of the Sinai Covenant. The only important difference is that in the Kingdom Age this content will be written in the heart of HaShem’s people. The circumcision of the heart was always the deepest intention of the Torah [7]. It will be realized when all Israel is brought back to HaShem and his Torah, and the full effects of Messiah’s sacrifice will be revealed.

And the prophet Ezechiel teaches us that the centre of the Kingdom will be the restored and expanded Temple he depicts in chs. 40-48 of his prophecy.

In his absurd crusade against the Torah, Anthony Buzzard is threatening the legacy of his own worthy case, the defense of the Unity of G’d. For if Christians are no longer bound by the commandments of the Torah and should not follow Jesus’ practice and lifestyle, then why should they make such a big point of the commandment of the Shema? If the Torah is superseded and we have something better now, shouldn’t this be reflected in a better teaching about G’d?

By undermining the authority of the Torah, Buzzard undermines his own position on the Jewishness of the Creed of Jesus. For the Jewishness of this creed is rooted in the Torah. Buzzard also undermines his own Kingdom theology. For Jesus’ expected a Kingdom as outlined by the prophets and ruled by the Torah.

________________

[1] Buzzard, A.F. & C.F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, International Scholars Publications, Lanham · New York · Oxford 1998.

[2] Buzzard, A.F., Who Is Jesus? A Plea for a Return to Belief in Jesus, the Messiah, Restoration Fellowship.

[3] Focus on the Kingdom, Vol 14, No. 10, July 2012, p. 3.

[4] We would recommend to Buzzard Tim Hegg’s paper: “Spirituality: Are We Better Off Now? At: TorahResource

[5] This is clearly the gist of the much disputed verses 16 & 17 in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians. View the article: “Exegesis: Colossians 2:13-17”, from the Parshanuth website.

[6] Focus on the Kingdom, Vol. 14, No. 10, July 2012, p. 3.

[7] This can be deduced from the Shema itself, which concentrates on the obedience of the heart, and from many other texts, among them Dt. 10:12-16: “And now, Israel, what doth HaShem thy G’d require of thee, but to fear HaShem thy G’d, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve HaShem thy G’d with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of HaShem, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is HaShem thy G’d, the earth also, with that therein is. Only HaShem had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked”.

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23 Responses to “Sir Anthony Buzzard’s Absurd Crusade Against the Torah”


  1. 1 Rolf BLS De Jong July 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Sad to hear this about (Sir) Anthony Buzzard!

  2. 2 Joe Rizoli July 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Nice try but I disagree with you. You said a lot but didn’t say anything.
    What laws are we under then from the Torah?
    Seems to me Christians are under a NEW covenant. Jerimiah 31:31

    Expound please

    Joe Rizoli

    • 3 messianic613 July 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      To Joe Rizoli:
      Consider with whom the New Covenant will be made according to Jer. 31:31. With the House of Israel and the House of Judah, i.e. with the ten tribes and with the two tribes. Not with the Church. Perhaps the following article of a fellow blogger will be of help: What is so NEW about the New Covenant? It explores the nature of the New Covenant.

  3. 4 Visitor July 30, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Buzzard’s article is truly a disappointment and an example of replacement theology at its finest. Not surprisingly he uses Colossians 2:16-17 as the main proof text for his position that the Law of Moses is superseded in Messiah due to its being a “mere shadow” until his coming (connecting this also to Hebrews 10:1). Perhaps you could relate your view/understanding of Colossians 2 and Hebrews 10 as a rebuttal of Buzzard’s main point?

    • 5 messianic613 July 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      To Visitor:

      Thanks for your suggestion. Buzzard’s article is certainly worthwhile to be refuted more in detail because it excels in displaying the typical misunderstandings of Replacement Theology without any scruples and in all openness. It deserves a clear answer.

  4. 6 Helez August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    The Mosaic Law was to be a temporary arrangement. Paul described it as a “tutor leading to Christ.” (Ga 3:24) A tutor was generally not the teacher, but merely led the children to the teacher. Similarly, the Mosaic Law was designed to lead God-fearing Jews to Christ. Once the Christian congregation was formed, the “tutor” (i.e., the Law) served no further purpose. (Ro 10:4; Ga 3:25)

    Peter had a vision in which a heavenly voice commanded him to slaughter and eat birds and animals that were considered unclean under the Law. The voice told him: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Ac 10:9-15) Gentiles who had not submitted to the Mosaic Law could become followers of Jesus Christ. God did not expect Gentile Christians to observe the Law of Moses as a condition for baptism. Later, the apostles and older men in Jerusalem affirmed that there was no need for Gentile Christians to get circumcised and come under the Mosaic Law. (Ac 15:1-29)

    What about Jewish Christians? According to Paul a real Jew “is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit.” (Ro 2:28, 29) He used an illustration to prove that Christians were no longer under the Law. He argued that a woman could not be married to two men at once. But if her husband died, she was free to remarry. Paul applied the illustration, showing that Christians could not be subject to the Mosaic Law and belong to Christ at the same time. They had to become “dead to the Law” so that they could be united with Christ. (Ro 7:1-5)

    True, some Jewish Christians were slow to grasp this vital truth, and continued observing features of the Law even after Jesus’ resurrection. However, when God allowed Jerusalem, its temple, and the records pertaining to its priesthood to be destroyed, it was made impossible for anyone to observe all the features of the Law.

    “But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.” (Ga 3:25)

  5. 7 gold price August 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one titte shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  6. 8 Helez September 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Jesus condemned the attitudes that contribute to breaking God’s Law. He himself did not break the Law, he fulfilled it by keeping it perfectly. Once fulfilled, the Mosaic Law was no longer binding on God’s people.

    God’s people are now submitted to “the perfect law that gives freedom” (Jas. 1:25). This is not the Mosaic Law, for that code made transgressions manifest and was, indeed, fulfilled in Christ (Gal. 3:19). It is the “the law of Christ,” also called “the law of faith” and “the law of liberty” (Gal. 6:2; Rom. 3:27; Jas. 2:12). It is neither complex nor burdensome (1 John 5:3; Matt. 11:29, 30). It has no need for a long list of sanctions or penalties, for it is founded on love and is engraved on minds and hearts, not on tablets of stone:

    (Hebrews 8:6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

    (Hebrews 8:10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds,
    and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

  7. 9 Tim October 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    It is crucial to understand that the Law is not Moses’ Law, as it is often described, but YHVH’s law. It is a simple but complete statement about the perfect righteousness of God, and as such it can never be overturned, modified, or questioned. Hence Christ’s validation of it, even to eternity.
    All that has changed is that we now, in the power of the Spirit, have the ability and the desire to do what once was hateful to us. We are no longer under the law inasmuch as we are no longer crushed beneath and convicted of sin by it; which was its purpose, now it is merely a burden easy to bear, and a yoke that is light. That burden, such as it is, we are required to carry.

  8. 10 Dwight S. Porter May 24, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I HaShem have builded the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate; I HaShem have spoken it, and I will do it (Ezekiel 36,36).

  9. 11 Rudy X. Cunningham May 25, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one titte shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  10. 12 Andrew September 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    One final note…since this article is about Anthony I should stress that I have personally held a number of debates with him and my consensus is this: Anthony buzzard worships Paul of tarsus. He holds the letters of Paul above any other biblical text so it matters not what Hebrew texts or Gospel texts you quote in defense of the moral code given by YHWH through Moses and Yeshua. Paul trumps YHWH according to Anthony. Trying to unravel his misunderstanding of Paul is a futile effort.

  11. 13 James Ericksen October 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Sir Anthony Buzzard did try to observe the sabbath, He thought it interfered with his life style. In my opinion he did not see the sabbath as serious, and he made it to be a legalistic ritual.

    Anthony uses Moses as an example of rest in the book of Hebrews. He uses that rest, to rest in God and do his will. He also is misinformed about Col 2.

    Moses found the rest of God, and did his will, Moses did not neglect the Sabbaths of God.

    Something went wrong with his understanding of Gods word, and brought out tainted interpretations concerning sabbaths.

    • 14 RBLS De Jong October 16, 2013 at 6:50 am

      I agree James, what can go wrong, how come to see the sabbath as a burden instead of a lust? Could it be, in general, something to do with intellectuality? Yeshua came also to explain the why and how of the law: He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    • 15 Anthony Buzzard October 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks for your good words on our work on the Incarnation, but it is a slanderous falsehood, which I hope you will withdraw, to say that I do not keep the sabbath, for reasons of personal preference! The issues are simply of NT exegesis, and you do not understand how radical Paul was! You must justify your sabbath observance on the basis of the clear teaching of Paul in Col 2:16ff. It is wrong to imagine Paul enforcing the trio of observances when he calls them a single trio and a SHADOW! It is equally wrong to try to subtract the weekly sabbath from the trio! Evasions of Col 2:16, 17 by Messianics fail if only because there are about 4 differing attempts to avoid the obvious here, including some “creative” mistranslation of the Greek. No wonder that some Messianics simply reject Paul! Others think that he can be twisted to agree with them! We need to move into the light of the New Covenant. Anthony

      http://www.restorationfellowship.org

    • 16 messianic613 October 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Sir Anthony,

      I’m convinced that your reasons for not keeping the Sabbath are not based on personal preference. This is the opinion of James Ericksen in his comment. It is not my opinion.

      Yet I think that your exegesis of Col. ch. II in this matter is flawed. You are right that one cannot single out the Sabbath from the other observances mentioned in Col. 2:16, and this is a difficulty for Adventists who keep the Sabbath and disregard the other Appointed Times of HaShem. But we here, at Messianic613, keep and celebrate all these things, together with many Torah observant communities around the world.

      The context of the admonitions in Col. 2:16-17 is not the Torah, but emerging ascetic Gnosticism and human religious rules, as is easily detectible by reading the entire chapter. The believers are warned “lest any man should beguile you” (2:4) with things “after the tradition of men” (2:8). For that reason it is said that they should not subject themselves to human regulations concerning eating and drinking or in respect to the celebration of the Holy Days, for example by turning them into ascetic excercises and occasions of wrongly directed worship (2:23), according to the standards of this world, “the commandments and doctrines of men” (2:20-22). The Torah, however, is not the doctrine and commandments of men. It is the word and instruction of HaShem.

      Your interpretation heavily relies on a negative appreciation of the term ‘shadow’. This negative connotation is not present in the text. For the text doesn’t say that the things mentioned — Sabbath, New Moon, Holy Day — are shadows of a reality that now has arrived. It says that these things are a shadow of things yet to come. They are shadows of the World to Come. And as such they have a function in this world, to keep us on track and to lead us to that World which is still future. The body or substance of them is Messiah, who is the one who leads us to this eternal future.

      To give another example where shadows don’t have a negative meaning, I would refer to the restoration of the Temple, and of all that belongs to the divine service, in the Kingdom Age. There will even be sacrifices for sin according to the prophecy of Ezechiel, and the Passover will be kept. All these things are shadows of the person and work of Yeshua the Messiah, or earthly reflections of it. Why will they still be necessary, after the sacrifice of Messiah? It is because Messiah’s sacrifice, which is of eternal value and the means of entering the World to Come, has to be applied and shown forth in this world as the basis of G-d’s ruling presence.

      In the Kingdom Age the Aaronite priesthood will be restored, but obviously it will function under the authority of the higher and Melchizedic priesthood of Messiah. The Kingdom Age still belongs to the order of ‘this world’ and that’s why animal sacrifices for sin have to be brought in order to receive forgiveness in this world. This is necessary in the situation when the public rule of G-d’s law is in force (theocracy), and the means of access to his presence has constantly to be demonstrated, which is exactly the situation of the Kingdom.

      So despite the fact that the observances of the Temple are shadows, yet these shadows will be in force and kept during the 1000 years of the Millennial Kingdom. You are right that they are destined to disappear, ultimately. But this will only happen in the new and eternal creation of the World to Come.

      Nowadays we should keep and observe all things of the Torah which are possible for us to observe in the situation of the Kingdom still being in abeyance and living in the diaspora. Disregarding the Sabbath and the other commandments of the Torah is like throwing away old shoes before having new ones. Through faith we are already new creatures in Messiah, but this renewal has still to be materialized. The Torah is in complete harmony with our renewal in Messiah, since it teaches us how we should lead a godly life in this world, following the lead of Messiah, who gives us the assistance of his grace to do so.

    • 17 Anthony Buzzard October 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks, but would you be kind enough to present your own exact account of what is meant by the calendar being a shadow replaced by the body of Christ! You say my view which has the support of masses of Greek scholars is flawed but why? I agree that you are much more logical by insisting on ALL THREE! So the SDA’s are completely illogical by subtracting the weekly sabbath. But in a context (Col 2) in which circumcision is without hands (spiritualized) can you say why Paul calls the calendar a single SHADOW negatively contrasted with the body which is Christ (so in Heb 10 too) Thanks Anthony

      http://www.restorationfellowship.org

    • 18 messianic613 February 27, 2014 at 1:29 am

      Anthony Buzzard:
      Thanks, but would you be kind enough to present your own exact account of what is meant by the calendar being a shadow replaced by the body of Christ!

      Response by Messianic613:
      The text doesn’t say that the calendar is a shadow which is now replaced by the body of Christ. It says that the things mentioned are a shadow of things to come. These things to come are of course the things the body or substance of which is Messiah — i.e. the eternal things of the resurrection order. Paul is speaking here of things which are still future. Otherwise he would have spoken of things that were to come and that are now present, but he doesn’t.

      Excursus: It seems a rather odd and unintelligble concept in itself to “replace” a calendar by the body of Christ, without further specification of the meaning or sense of such a replacement. If this is about the mystical Body, or Assembly, of Christ, then it seems to imply, either, that those in the Body of Christ can do without a calendar, or else that they should now live by a secular instead of a sacred calendar. I’m unable to see the point of this. The idea of a replacement only leads to a secularization of our religion.

    • 19 messianic613 February 27, 2014 at 1:39 am

      Anthony Buzzard:
      You say my view which has the support of masses of Greek scholars is flawed but why?

      Response by Messianic613:
      Although many NT scholars are of your opinion, this in itself doesn’t establish it — or refute my opinion. If the trinitarian NT scholars were on one pan of a balance scale, and the biblical monotheists on the other, the first group would easily outweigh the second.

      For the sake of the argument I mention here three commentators who are basically in agreement with your opinion and yet do acknowledge that the gist of the passage is not a condemnation of the Sabbath or Israel’s calendar, but rather that the Colossians were not to accept judgment from adherents of a syncretistic philosophy which gave a false meaning to these things. [1]

      Peter O’Brien says: “For Israel the keeping of these holy days was evidence of obedience to God’s law and a sign of her election among the nations. At Colossae, however, the sacred days were to be kept for the sake of the “elemental spirits of the universe”, those astral powers who directed the course of the stars and relegated the order of the calendar. So Paul is not condemning the use of sacred days or seasons as such; it is the wrong motive involved when the observance of these days is bound up with the recognition of the elemental spirits”.

      Andrew Lincoln says: “There is no indication here that the motivation for abstinence from food and drink was due to observance of the Torah […] There is no hint that such special days are being observed because of the desire to obey Torah as such or because keeping was a special mark of Jewish identity. Instead, it is probable that in the philosophy they were linked to a desire to please the cosmic powers.”

      Douglas Moo says: “Only Sabbath observance that is connected inappropriately to a wider religious viewpoint is here being condemned. These interpreters [who agree] are quite right to emphasize the importance of interpreting contextually and historically. And they are also right, we have suggested, to argue that Sabbath was taken up into a larger, syncretistic mix”.
      ______________
      [1] The three examples are taken from John K. McKee’s article: “Does the New Testament Annul the Biblical Appointments” (TNN Online).

    • 20 messianic613 February 27, 2014 at 2:00 am

      Anthony Buzzard:
      But in a context (Col 2) in which circumcision is without hands (spiritualized) can you say why Paul calls the calendar a single SHADOW negatively contrasted with the body which is Christ (so in Heb 10 too).

      Response by Messianic613:
      Paul doesn’t say that circumcision is spiritualized. If this were true, then circumcision was spiritualized already ages before he wrote this text, for the Torah summons the people to circumcise their hearts (Dt. 10:16), a demand which is repeated by the prophets (e.g. Jer. 4:4). Such a spiritual circumcision is identified, however, with the very willingness to obey the Torah and its commandments and does not in any way stand in opposition to literally fulfilling them, including the commandment of circumcision itself.

      The circumcision “without hands” of the Colossian text is undoubtedly to be identified with this circumcision of the heart. Yet Paul doesn’t declare that bodily circumcision is now spiritualized or of no avail. He says that with respect to being “in Messiah” the circumcision without hands is the decisive thing. His whole point is that you cannot be “in Messiah” without the circumcision “made without hands”.

      In Hebrews ch. X it is clear that the sacrifices and other institutions of the Torah cannot make atonement for us with respect to the World to Come. The atoning effect of animal sacrifices is limited to our life in this world. The author of Hebrews doesn’t say that after the Cross the sacrifices are no longer of any value. He concludes instead that the effect of the one and unique offering of Messiah is the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah. According to this prophecy HaShem will put his laws into the hearts of the people, and write them in their minds (Hebr. 10:16; cf. Jer. 31:33). Obviously this means that these laws should be done! This is also confirmed by the quote of Psalm XL (in 10:5-9). This Psalm was written while the Torah was undisputedly in force. Yet David says: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire”, which would be a heretical utterance if taken literally. From the contrasts made here it is clear that he only means to say that bringing sacrifices is secondary to the true desire of the heart to obey HaShem — a desire which then again leads to doing the commandments and bringing the sacrifices, as can be inferred for instance from Ps. 51:15-19, which deals with a similar theme.

      Considered systematically: ‘Body’ and ‘Shadow’ exist together as long as this world stands. The sacred calendar and all the institutions regulations of the Torah will not end before the arrival of the World to Come, as Messiah has himself made in clear in Mt. 5:17-19. For it is to inherit a place in the World to Come that Messiah came to redeem us. In that eternal world we won’t need a calendar or Sabbaths and holy days. For that Coming World is in itself an eternal Sabbath or Holy Day, i.e. the reality of the resurrection life wrought by Messiah. To throw away the things of the Torah, however, while still being in this temporal world is an outright disaster. It is like throwing away your old shoes before you gaining new ones. It leads to platonistic, intangible, purely spiritual religion, and to a complete secularization of daily life. Such a spiritualism conflicts as deeply with Jewish-Hebraic nature of our religion as the doctrine of the Trinity conflicts with Israel’s monotheism. Both deviations fundamentally change the religion revealed by HaShem and both changes are due to misguided forms of Platonism.

    • 21 James Ericksen October 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you Anthony. I stand corrected. It is your interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Yes I agree with you that Paul was radical about his teachings.

      I have to agree with messianic613 on the issues of the Sabbaths.

  12. 22 Dean M. November 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Geert, are you aware of the rabbis teach concerning the Torah’s rules and regulations when Messiah comes? The teaching is they will be done away with. Check it out. They will have served their purpose when the Messianic Age comes. The problem is, the Messianic Age has not come. The Messianic prophecies are dual in nature: Messiah ben Joseph comes before Messiah ben David. He is opposed by one, Armilus, who causes his death. Jesus fulfills the Messiah ben Joseph paradigm with Pontius Pilot looking a lot like Armilus (who is said in Midrash to be an Edomite–Roman). In Midrashic literature, Jesus is said to be ben-Joseph, corresponding to Luke’s genealogy, Joseph ben Heli. This is a different Joseph than the one espoused to Miriam (Mary). Joseph ben Heli was said to be a Jew who had become a Roman soldier, and thus was called Joseph Pandera (or Panthera–meaning Panther). It is implied in the gospels that Jesus was looked down upon as being a mamzer because of his paternity. It is a rabbinic mistaken notion of what constituted a mamzer that led to their rejecting him as Messiah ben Joseph, etc. A lot more to this, but I’ll stop for now . . . Enough already.

  13. 23 messianic613 January 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Recently we have received additional comments on this article, and Anthony Buzzard’s latest comment here above still demands a comprehensive reply. We hope to publish this reply within the next weeks and will also give our reaction to some of the other comments.


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