The Answering Christian Objections website was not created to win arguments; it was created to present the truth given by Scripture.

As such, the Answering Christian Objections team wants to openly and honestly engage with everyone... especially those who might not agree with us.  That transparency includes stating the definitions and assumptions used in our approach clear to everyone.

 

GLOSSARY - © Taylor Hinton | iStockPhoto

The Answering Christian Objections website was not created to win arguments; it was created to present the truth given by Scripture.

As such, the Answering Christian Objections team wants to openly and honestly engage with everyone... especially those who might not agree with us.  That transparency includes stating the definitions and assumptions used in our approach clear to everyone.

 

Definitions

Jew - a biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, regardless of their religious affiliation

Gentile - someone who is not a biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Israel - a national entity comprised (predominantly) of Jews but can also include Gentiles (for example, Ruth in the book of Ruth)

Commonwealth of Israel - a group of nations, headed by Israel, who are obedient and faithful to God

Law - (generically) the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties

The Law of God/ Law of Christ - the infinite system of instructions, directions, or commands given by God to humanity.  This includes general commands (e.g. do not murder) found in the Bible as well as specific commands given to specific individuals at specific times (e.g. Gerry Willis, go witness to the gentleman who lives next door to you on Sunday, January 5th, 2014).

The Law of Moses - the finite set (traditionally 613) of God's commands [Hebrew: mitzvot], statutes [chuqim], judgments [mishpatim], and testimonies [edot] that were given to the nation of Israel at Mt Sinai that included both Jews and Gentiles (Exodus 12:38) and applied to both Jews and Gentiles (Numbers 15:16).

Commands [mitzvot]- direct orders to do something or not do something: e.g. love your neighbor, do not commit murder, do not commit idolatry, etc.

Statutes [chuqim]- inexplicable divine decrees that are given to allow the demonstration of obedience: e.g. circumcision, dietary laws, and family purity laws

Judgments [mishpatim]- "case law" that demonstrates proper application or use of a commandment: e.g. the ruling about murder versus manslaugher (Exodus 21:12-14) or kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)

Testimonies [edot]- testimonies that serve as warnings or reminders: e.g. resting on the seventh-day Sabbath in remembrance of God's ceasing from creating on the seventh day of creation (Exodus 20:10-11), eating unleavened bread as a remembrance of the Exodus (Exodus 12:17), etc

 

Old Covenant - the Law of God written on tablets of stone (i.e. our stony, unbelieving hearts Ezekiel 36:26, also 2 Corinthians 3:2-3).  Messiah is veiled and the law results in death (Romans 7:5).

New Covenant - the Law of God written on our new hearts (Jeremiah 31:33 in light of Ezekiel 36:26).  Messiah is unveiled and the law results in life (Romans 7:10).

Judaizer - someone who compels a non-Jew to perform a ritual conversion (circumcision) in order to merit salvation (Acts 15:1). We do not promote this.

Legalist - someone who attempts (or compels others to attempt) to earn salvation by performing the commandments found in the Bible. We do not promote this.

Torah - the Hebrew word sometimes translated as "law".  Torah comes from a Hebrew root word that means "to throw, shoot"1 and its essense is "to hit the mark".  The opposite of torah is chata ("to miss, go wrong, sin"2) or to fall short of the mark.  The apostle John affirms the definition of sin as "lawlessness" (1 John 3:4).

While "the Torah" is often used to describe Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the books of Moses), it can also encompass all of the Old Testament or the whole Bible.  For example, Paul says in 1 Cor 14:21, "In the Law it is written" and then quotes Isaiah 28:11-12.

 

Assumptions

If you don't like the word "assume", then please treat these as "foundational beliefs".  ;)

 

God never changes (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17)

Humanity changes and receives progressive revelation from God (e.g. Exodus 6:3)

God's progressive revelation never ends or annulls anything that precedes it; it is everlasting (e.g. Noah's covenant- Genesis 9:16, Abram's covenant- Genesis 17:7, the Sinai covenant- Leviticus 24:8, the Aaronic covenant- Numbers 18:19, the Davidic covenant- 2 Samuel 23:5, and the new covenant- Jeremiah 32:40).

Israel is God's chosen nation (Deuteronomy 10:15, Psalm 33:12, Isaiah 44:1, 1 Peter 2:9).

Believing Gentiles have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel (Romans 11:1-36, Ephesians 2:8-13) and are participants in the covenants [plural!] of promise given to national Israel (Ephesians 2:12).

The Law was never intended to bring about salvation.  The LORD is our King and He will save us (Isaiah 33:22).

The Law is good if one uses it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8).

To "fulfill" (Greek πληρόω- plero-o) means to "fill up", "complete", or "give the full measure".  It does not mean to annul, abolish, or end.  If you ask a Greek waitress to "fulfill" your water glass at a restaurant, she does not take it away from you once it is full.  You now have the "full-filled" glass to drink and enjoy.

  

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Footnotes

1. New American Standard(r) Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries Copyright (c) 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All Rights Reserved. [back]
2. ibid [back]