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Why We Ignore the Talmud

This chapter explains why we refuse to accept the alleged authority of the Talmud.

Our Orthodox Jewish brothers believe that in addition to the written Torah, Yahweh co-gave an Oral Torah to Moshe (Moses) at Mount Sinai. According to legend, it was passed down through the generations by word of mouth. Then, after the temple was destroyed in 70 CE it was allegedly written down to keep it from being lost.

Between 200-220 CE, the leader of the Orthodox Jewish Sanhedrin, Judah HaNasi, redacted (edited, censored) the (now-written) Oral Torah in a book called the Mishnah. This name Mishnah means “the second (telling)”, “study by repetition”, or perhaps “to study and review.” It claims to be the redacted word of Yahweh.

In addition to the Mishnah there is also a Gemara, which is a running rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah. This is where various rabbis comment on the Mishnah, to add their opinions. (They felt qualified to do this, since they believe Yahweh gave them the authority to establish Torah for their generation.)

While there are some other components, the Mishnah and the Gemara together form the bulk of the Talmud. And, as we saw in an earlier chapter, the Mishnah claims to be even more important than the Torah of Moshe. Here is another quote.

My son, be more careful in [the observance of] the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah, for in the laws of the Torah there are positive and negative precepts; but, as to the laws of the Scribes, whoever transgresses any of the enactments of the Scribes incurs the penalty of death.
[Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Eiruvin, 21b]

The Talmud claims that even if Eliyahu (Elijah) were to arrive “with his court” and speak contrary to the majority opinion of the rabbis in the Talmud, the rabbis “must not listen to him!”

A Court is unable to annul the decisions of another Court, unless it is superior to it in wisdom and numerical strength! Furthermore, Rabbah b. Bar Hanah has said in the name of R. Johanan: In all matters a Court can annul the decisions of another Court except the eighteen things [prohibited by the Schools of Hillel and Shammai], for even were Elijah and his Court to come [and declare them permitted] we must not listen to him!
[Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Avodah Zarah 36a]

While we see the Talmud as an important historical resource, there are many reasons we cannot accept the rabbis’ assertion that it was given by Elohim. First, Exodus 24:4 clearly states that Moshe (Moses) “wrote (down) all the words of Yahweh.”

Shemote (Exodus) 24:4
4 And Moshe wrote all the words of Yahweh. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

In other places Yahweh seems to indicate that Moshe did write down all His words, because Moshe commands Israel to read “all the words” of Yahweh’s Torah to the people. There is no mention made of any alleged “Oral Torah.”

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31:10-13
10 And Moshe commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles,
11 when all Israel comes to appear before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which He chooses, you shall read this Torah before all Israel in their hearing.
12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear Yahweh your Elohim and carefully observe all the words of this Torah,
13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear Yahweh your Elohim as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.”

Further, Yahweh is clear that we are not to add to or subtract from His words in any way. Yet this is precisely what the so-called Oral Torah does.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:32
32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

The above reasons should be clear enough for most disciples to understand why we do not want anything to do with Talmud. However, when we talk about the Talmud, what we are really talking about is rabbinic authority, which is a spirit. The apostles encountered this spirit in the first century, and this same spirit is still loose today. Just as there were many rabbinic believers in Yeshua in the first century, there are many rabbinic believers in Yeshua today. Because you will probably encounter many of them, and because they are very adamant in their beliefs, we want to cover this topic in some detail, so that you have the tools you need to put this spirit out of your assembly in love.

Yeshua the Melchizedekian High Priest

First let us consider that Yeshua is our Apostle and High Priest in the heavens.

Ivrim (Hebrews) 3:1
3 Therefore, set-apart brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Messiah Yeshua….

He is also our High Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek (not the order of Levi).

Tehillim (Psalms) 110:4
4 “Yahweh has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”

But what is His priesthood like? In the last chapter we saw that Yeshua was raised a devout Jew during the Second Temple period. It was His custom to go into the synagogues on the Sabbath. We also know that He was a regular participant in good standing, because He was invited to stand up and read before the assembly (Luke 4:16). Because of this, some mistakenly believe Yeshua was part of the rabbinical system (because the Torah portions were invented during the Second Temple period, and the Rabbinical order was in charge during that time). However, while Yeshua chose to participate in the Torah service, He rejected the Rabbinical order and its customs.

About the Change in Priesthoods

In Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume 4, in “About the Change in Priesthoods”, we show that when the rabbis rejected Yeshua, the active commission was taken away from the Rabbinical order, and was given to Yeshua’s renewed Melchizedekian order. That is why Hebrews 7:12 tells us that when the Levitical (i.e., Rabbinical) and Melchizedekian orders changed places, there also had to be a change in the operating instructions (Torah).

Ivrim (Hebrews) 7:12
12 For the priesthood being changed [places], of necessity there is also a change of the Torah.

The reason the Melchizedekian order needs different operating instructions (Torah) than the Levitical order is that the mission of the Levitical order is to unify the nation about a blood altar in the land. In contrast, the Melchizedekian order’s mission is to raise up disciples in all nations. These different missions require different organization, and different sets of operating instructions. Because of this, even though Yeshua was raised during the Second Temple period, and even though His custom was to go into the synagogues and participate in the Torah service, He was not rabbinically oriented in the normal sense of that term. Rather, His orientation was Melchizedekian. To see what we mean by this, let us briefly review the change from the Melchizedekian order to the order of the firstborn.

Different Spirits, Concepts, and Precepts

When Yahweh slew the firstborn of Egypt and redeemed Israel from bondage, He did not at first take the Levites. Rather, first He took the firstborn males.

Shemote (Exodus) 13:11-15
11 “And it shall be, when Yahweh brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,
12 that you shall set apart to Yahweh all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be Yahweh’s.
13 But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
14 So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that Yahweh killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to Yahweh all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’

Yahweh also did not command the firstborn priests to make blood sacrifices to Him. Rather, what He said was that if the people would hear and obey His voice, then we would be to Him a kingdom of priests and a set-apart nation.

Shemote (Exodus) 19:5-6
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a set-apart nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

The reason we were given blood sacrifices is that we did not listen for Yahweh’s voice. When we were in doubt, rather than pray and listen for Yahweh’s voice, or ask a prophet (who did hear Yahweh’s voice), we asked the High Priest Aharon to make us an idol.

Shemote (Exodus) 32:1
1 Now when the people saw that Moshe delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aharon, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moshe, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

As we saw earlier, when Yahweh commanded those who were with Him to gather to Moshe, the Levites came, and they opposed even their own flesh and blood. Because the Levites placed Yahweh even above their own flesh and blood (as Avraham had placed obedience to Yahweh above Isaac in the binding of Isaac), Yahweh chose the Levites to be His next priesthood.

Shemote (Exodus) 32:29
29 Then Moshe said, “Set yourselves apart today to Yahweh, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”

However, even though what Yahweh truly wanted was for us to obey His voice, He did not ask us to obey His voice this time, because we had already shown that we did not know how. Therefore, He gave us various ritual sacrifices (all of which speak of Yeshua) as parables, since we had already shown that the only thing we could understand were direct physical commandments.

Not Getting It: “Salvation by Works of Torah”

Although the Levites had arguably shown themselves to be loyalty to Yahweh, that did not mean they understood the bigger spiritual picture. Rather, the Levites looked upon the commandments as a checklist of activities by which they might earn their salvation. And because they looked at salvation as being based on physical activity, it only seemed to make sense to establish protocols and procedures for this, and these are perhaps the origins of the so-called Oral Torah.

If you believe that salvation is a result of performing certain actions, then it stands to reason that some ways of performing these actions are better than other ways—and this can lead to an attitude that actions must be done a certain way, in order to be valid. This would certainly fit with the rabbinical attitude today, whereby they say one must perform the commandments in accordance with the rabbinic procedure (demonstrating submission to rabbinic authority), or else one’s performance of the commandments is “not valid.”

The rabbinical concept is that since they have been given the authority to set the Torah for each generation, if we will simply revere them, and live as they live, and wear what they wear, and repeat their rote prayers at all the right times (and in all the right ways), then we can be saved. Yet this was the opposite of how Yahweh moved with Cornelius and his household.

Cornelius: Salvation by Favor Through Faith

Cornelius was a Roman centurion who did good works toward the Jewish nation. Yet as a gentile he would have been prohibited from obeying the Torah (just as the rabbis today prohibit the gentiles from keeping Torah). In Acts 10, Yahweh sent Kepha (Peter) to preach to Cornelius and his family. As Kepha was still speaking, the Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household, even though they were not doing any of the things the rabbis say are necessary prerequisites for salvation.

Ma’asei (Acts) 10:44-47
44 While Kepha was still speaking these words, the Set-apart Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Kepha, because the gift of the Set-apart Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify Elohim. Then Kepha answered,
47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be immersed who have received the Set-apart Spirit just as we have?”

Even though Cornelius and his household were not keeping rabbinic tradition, Yahweh poured out His Spirit on them anyway. However, as we explain in Nazarene Israel, when Kepha came up to Jerusalem, “those of the circumcision” (i.e., the rabbinical Orthodox Jews who believed on Yeshua) contended with Kepha.

Ma’asei (Acts) 11:2-3
2 And when Kepha came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him,
3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

Even though Kepha explained everything to them, the situation did not change, because the rabbinic mindset is a Babylonian spirit. And as we explain in “Acts 15 and Rabbinic Authority” (in Nazarene Israel), the apostles faced the same challenge again in Acts 15, where this time certain believing Pharisees tried to teach the gentile Ephraimites that they could not be saved unless they were circumcised according to the rabbinic ritual known as the custom of Moshe (which is different than the Torah of Moshe).

Ma’asei (Acts) 15:1
1 “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Scripture has many secrets which are sealed up until the end times, and in Nazarene Israel, in “Acts 15 and Rabbinic Authority”, we explain that the custom of Moshe is not the Torah of Moshe. Rather, the custom of Moshe refers to the rabbinic gentile conversion process. Today this is called the Giur (“gee-yure”) process, and it asserts that gentiles cannot be saved in the manner of Cornelius and his household. Rather, the rabbis say that one must first take classes for a year (to learn how the rabbis say to keep Torah), and then afterward one can become physically circumcised. It is the order that is in question here, and it is this order that is reflected in Acts 15:5.

Ma’asei (Acts) 15:5
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them [first], and [then] to command them to keep the Torah of Moshe.”

The rabbinic gentile conversion process is logical. Most modern countries require classes and tests for new immigrants, to make sure they know the laws of the land. Then they can be granted citizenship. And likewise, in the rabbinic version, once one has been instructed in the Torah, then one can become physically circumcised, as the “capstone” of conversion (allegedly meaning the convert is now a citizen of Israel, and therefore saved). Yet while it seems logical, Yahweh had a better way.

Yahweh’s way was that the returning gentile Ephraimites should abstain from four things which the Torah says will get you cut off from the nation of Israel (idolatry, sexual immorality, strangled meats, and blood). Then one can join the local synagogue, and hear the Torah of Moshe being preached.

Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19-21
19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are (re)turning to Elohim,
20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moshe has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

The idea is that since the returning gentile Ephraimites were already supposed to have Yeshua’s Spirit, they would be eager to conform to the Torah as they heard it being preached. Thus it was not an intellectual exercise of taking classes and then passing tests, but of being conformed directly by hearing the Torah of Moshe. This was also far more likely to lead to Yahweh’s true goal, of finally having a people who would hear and obey His voice.

The Goal: Hearing and Obeying His Voice

Because Yeshua was raised as a devout Jew of the Second Temple period, and even though His followers called Him Rabbi, it would be a mistake of the first order to think that Yeshua had a classical rabbinic mentality. The Rabbinical order descends from the Levitical order, and the focus of both is mechanical. They overfocus on rote performance of the Levitical Torah commands, and they seem to think that obedience to these rituals is what brings salvation. They do not understand that the blood sacrifice rituals were given to Israel as prophetic shadow pictures of Yeshua, because the people could not seem to hear (or obey) Yahweh’s voice.

Yeshua knew that originally, Yahweh did not command temple sacrifices. Yeshua knew that originally, what His Father wanted was a people who loved Him enough to listen carefully for His voice, and obey it, thus undoing the effects of mankind’s fall from favor (grace) in the Garden of Eden.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 7:21-24
21 Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohim of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat.
22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.
23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your Elohim, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.”

The reason we reject the Talmud is that it has nothing to do with restoring man’s obedience to Yahweh’s voice. It is a deception that alleges that Yahweh co-gave an “Oral Torah” at the same time the Torah was written—yet we already saw that this is impossible, because the Torah says that Moshe wrote down all of Yahweh’s words.

Shemote (Exodus) 24:4
4 And Moshe wrote all the words of Yahweh. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Further, it alleges that this so-called “Oral Torah” was written down to form the Mishnah, and that the Gemara is commentary on the Mishnah. Thus, if the Mishnah is a deception, the Gemara is commentary on deception. Together they form a compound deception which is of the Babylonian rabbinical order—and this Babylonian rabbinical order still holds the children of Judah under its spell. Yahweh will deliver Judah from this spell after Babylon falls at trumpet 7. (For details, see Revelation and the End Times.)

The rabbinical Jews have become a brilliant and worldly-wise people because they focus on the intellect, rather than the Spirit. And yet Yahweh asks, how wise can they truly be, when they have rejected the word of Yahweh (and replaced it with their own words).

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 8:8-9
8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the Torah of Yahweh is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.
9 The wise men are ashamed, They are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of Yahweh; So what wisdom do they have?”

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