Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Original sin?

Original sin?

Judaism says man is a sinner because he sins.
Christianity says man sins because he is a sinner.

Jews believe that one is born into the world with original purity, and not with original sin. Jews do not believe in original sin. We know that Human Beings can choose to do evil, but Judaism does not dwell on that fact. Rather, Judaism rejoices when Human Beings choose to do Good.

IN SHORT... Jews do not believe in the existence of Original Sin. The concept of Original Sin simply states that because Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they brought Death into the world. Every human being dies because Adam and Eve committed a sin, and for their sin, all humans bear guilt of that sin, and are punished with death. However, the Bible describes something entirely different. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because if they remained, they could eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would make them IMmortal. If Adam and Eve had to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life to become IMmortal, then they were created mortal. They did not bring Death into the world, and we don't die because they sinned. As a matter of Biblical fact, the first essay on this website shows that one person cannot die as the punishment for the sins committed by another. We die because Death is a natural part of existence, and has been from the moment the first human beings were created. That is why Gd told the animals, before Adam and Eve ate the fruit from The Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil, to be fruitful and to multiply, since they needed to replace themselves. Gd also told the same thing to Adam and Eve before they ate that fruit as well.

"We were not created as mindless drones and we can not please HaShem by acting as such today. “


The Dual Nature
“In Genesis 2:7, the Bible states that God formed (vayyitzer) man. The spelling of this word is unusual: it uses two consecutive Yods instead of the one you would expect. The rabbis inferred that these Yods stand for the word "yetzer," which means impulse, and the existence of two Yods here indicates that humanity was formed with two impulses: a good impulse (the yetzer tov) and an evil impulse (the yetzer ra).
The yetzer tov is the moral conscience, the inner voice that reminds you of G-d's law when you consider doing something that is forbidden. According to some views, it does not enter a person until his 13th birthday, when he becomes responsible for following the commandments. See Bar Mitzvah.
The yetzer ra is more difficult to define, because there are many different ideas about it. It is not a desire to do evil in the way we normally think of it in Western society: a desire to cause senseless harm. Rather, it is usually conceived as the selfish nature, the desire to satisfy personal needs (food, shelter, sex, etc.) without regard for the moral consequences of fulfilling those desires.
The yetzer ra is not a bad thing. It was created by God, and all things created by God are good. The Talmud notes that without the yetzer ra (the desire to satisfy personal needs), man would not build a house, marry a wife, beget children or conduct business affairs. But the yetzer ra can lead to wrongdoing when it is not controlled by the yetzer tov. There is nothing inherently wrong with hunger, but it can lead you to steal food. There is nothing inherently wrong with sexual desire, but it can lead you to commit rape, adultery, incest or other sexual perversion.
The yetzer ra is generally seen as something internal to a person, not as an external force acting on a person. The idea that "the devil made me do it" is not in line with the majority of thought in Judaism. Although it has been said that Satan and the yetzer ra are one and the same, this is more often understood as meaning that Satan is merely a personification of our own selfish desires, rather than that our selfish desires are caused by some external force.
People have the ability to choose which impulse to follow: the yetzer tov or the yetzer ra. That is the heart of the Jewish understanding of free will. The Talmud notes that all people are descended from Adam, so no one can blame his own wickedness on his ancestry. On the contrary, we all have the ability to make our own choices, and we will all be held responsible for the choices we make.”
“This understanding negates the Christian doctrine of "original sin" theorized originally by Augustine of Hippo ("Saint Augustine" -- November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) because it shows that HaShem created us with two impulses: one good (the yetzer tov) and the other negative (the yetzer ra). Which impulse we submit to is up to us. We were not created as mindless drones and we can not please HaShem by acting as such today. “

Augustine (354-430)
Original Sin
Augustine was the author of the disastrous Church doctrine of original sin that would become orthodox dogma for more than a thousand years.
Reinterpreting Jewish scripture, Augustine said that the disobedience of Adam was an inherited human trait, a sin transmitted in the act of procreation. He thus arrived at the conclusion that all people are sinners from birth. No longer was sin solely the result of conscious individual choice.
With pitiless fanaticism, Augustine extended the guilt of Adam's transgression to every new born baby.
"Unconscious infants dying without baptism are damned by virtue of their inherited guilt."
– St Augustine (Newman,Manual of Church History, Vol. I, p. 366).
New born babes were sinners like the rest of us! There was no escape. Unbaptised babies would burn in torment forever,  said the wise bishop. Moreover, the individual could not remove sin by himself no matter how "righteous" he might be; only within the embrace of Holy Mother Church could he be "saved."
"It was just, that after our nature had sinned ... we should be born animal and carnal."
– Augustine (R. Seeburg,History of Doctrine, I, p338)

Judaism says man is a sinner because he sins.
Christianity says man sins because he is a sinner.

The Christian concept of Original Sin is that since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, all human beings are born not only with a tendency to sin, but they are also born with the guilt of Adam and Eve, and for this guilt, all human beings die (see I Corinthians 15:21-22 where it states, ‘For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’). In other words, Adam and Eve brought death into the world as a result of their sin, and because of this sin, all human beings die.

This is simply UnBiblical. The Biblical text tells us that Adam and Eve were not removed from the Garden of Eden because they sinned. (Please note that the first time the Bible uses the term, "sin," it is NOT in reference to Adam and Eve, it is in reference to the jealousy of Cain against Abel in Genesis 4:7.) Rather, Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden because there was another tree in the Garden from which Gd did not want them to eat. That tree was the Tree Of Life.

But think about this logically! If Adam and Eve had to eat the fruit of the Tree Of Life to become IMmortal, then Gd made them mortal to begin with. Adam and Eve were created in such a way that Death was a natural part of their existence, from the moment of their Creation!

The Biblical text of Genesis 3:22-24 tells us that Adam and Eve were almost like Gd and the Angels. They were almost like Gd and the Angels because they knew the difference between Good and Evil. Both Gd and the Angels know the difference between Good and Evil, but both Gd and the Angels are IMmortal as well. Because Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of The Tree Of the Knowledge Of Good And Evil, they, like Gd and the Angels, instantly knew the difference between Good and Evil. However, Adam and Eve were not yet IMmortal because they had not yet eaten from the Tree Of Life. Therefore Gd separated Adam and Eve from the Tree Of Life by kicking them out of the Garden Of Eden. This means that Adam and Eve did not bring Death into the world!

And the Etrnl Gd said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree Of Life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Etrnl Gd sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree Of Life. [Genesis 3:22-24]

The verses above make it abundantly clear. Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden Of Eden? “Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree Of Life, and eat and live for ever, THEREFORE THE ETRNL SENT HIM FORTH” Gd kicked out Adam and Eve so that they could not become IMmortal by eating from the Tree Of Life. Just as Adam and Eve and their descendants became responsible for their choices between Good and Evil because they ate that first time from that tree, so would they and their descendants become IMmortal the first time Adam and Eve ate from the Tree Of Life as well. Additionally, to insure Adam and Eve and their descendants were to be forever separated from the Tree Of Life, Gd placed the Cherubims and the flaming sword ‘to keep the way of the Tree Of Life.’

We Human Beings do not die because of their sin, we die because Gd made Death a part of life from the moment of Creation. There is no such thing as Original Sin!

What are the implications of the Christian doctrine of original sin?

Answer: According to the Christian doctrine of original sin, until Jesus, atonement for sins could only be received through a blood atonement offering at the altar of the Jerusalem Temple. Those (Jews and all Gentiles) who could not avail themselves of the atonement granted at the Jerusalem Temple's altar died by this sin, consigned to eternal punishment with no means of achieving atonement and heavenly blessings. Following Jesus' death, it is claimed, neither Jew nor Gentile could receive forgiveness of their sins without belief in him as savior from sin. Indeed, if what Christianity says is true billions of people since then have also suffered the same fate, unaware of Jesus as their "savior" or that there was even a need to be "saved." According to this rationalization, God created humankind with free will and the ability to sin then demanded superlative perfection from this imperfect being that He created. Then God took on the guise of humanity in the form of Jesus in order to rescue His imperfect creation. But, in the process consigned billions of lost souls before and after the advent of Jesus to eternal punishment for not knowing of Jesus and accepting the "grace" he allegedly provided. Billions of people, Christian doctrine teaches, have gone to eternal damnation for not accepting what they did not know about!

Some Christian commentators explain, "he [Jesus] went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison" (1 Peter 3:19) as meaning that Jesus, between his death and supposed resurrection, descended into Hell and offered to those who lived before Noah (verse 20) a second chance for salvation. But, this is a doctrine that is without even New Testament support. The eternal damnation of billions of men, women, and children who whether living before or after Jesus never heard of the claim that there is no forgiveness of sin outside of belief in Jesus is the summation of the Christian doctrines of original sin. Is this the Christian understanding of a just and righteous God who is also compassionate?
© Gerald Sigal

A blood sacrifice is not required for forgiveness of sins.

A blood sacrifice is not required for forgiveness of sins.

Even if God allowed one person to die for the sins of another, 
you do not need Jesus or any other blood sacrifice to die 
in order for your sins to be forgiven by God. 

IN SHORT... If one believed that a blood sacrifice was necessary before Gd would forgive you, then even one example where Gd forgave without a blood sacrifice would prove that this idea is UnBiblical. There are many such examples, but the most interesting is found in the Book of Leviticus. The reason this is so interesting is that it comes right in the middle of the discussion of sin sacrifices, which is found in the first chapters of this book. In Leviticus 5:11-13, it states, "If, however, he cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, he is to bring as an offering for his sin a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering." One can also see that one does not need a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins in the Book of Jonah 3:10. There, the Bible simply states that Gd saw the works of the people of Ninevah. Specifically it says that the works Gd saw were that they stopped doing evil, and so Gd forgave them. There are plenty of other examples, and the idea that one needs a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins is UnBiblical.


The God-man relationship was never limited to the animal sacrifices, nor was it ever the only means by which a human being obtained forgiveness from Gd for sin.

The centrality of the animal sacrifices ceased, not with the second destruction of the Temple by the Romans, but rather with the first destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians. Please remember that the vast majority of Jews never returned to the Promised Land under Cyrus of Persia. They remained in Babylonia. By the time Jesus was born, eighty percent of the world's Jewish community lived outside of the Promised Land, and could not have cared less about the cessation of the animal sacrifices. When the Temple was reestablished, the Jews of Babylonia made an annual financial gift for the maintenance of the Temple, but never worried that Gd was not going to forgive them their sins without a blood sacrifice, just as Diaspora Jews do today. The reason why they had no such fear, was that the Bible makes it explicitly clear that no blood sacrifice is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and that the means for the Gd-man relationship was never exclusively through the animal sacrifices. Gd had given us other ways besides through blood sacrifices to receive forgiveness.

Those who believe that one must have a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins look to Leviticus 17:11, which reads:

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." [Leviticus 17:11]

But if you read the whole context of this verse, you will find that it is in reference to abstaining from eating the blood of a sacrifice, and nothing more. Gd commanded the abstaining from eating or drinking blood because most other pagan religions ate the blood of their sacrifices as a way to incorporate their gods into their bodies and into their lives. (See The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer, the chapter on "Eating The Gd." Perhaps this is the source of the Christian ritual of communion?) But the Holiness of the People of Israel requires them to not practice the pagan ways and not to hold the same beliefs of their pagan neighbors.

The whole quotation from Leviticus 17 reads:

Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood-- I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, `None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood. Any         Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood.' That is why I have said to the Israelites, `You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.'"

Many might still insist that blood is needed to atone for sins. But there are many examples in the TaNaCh where other things besides blood atone for sins. If you are poor and unable to afford a blood sacrifice, Gd allows you to use flour (which has no blood and is not an animal!). If the poor were not able to offer a sacrifice of flour, forgiveness would only be for the wealthy. Gd would never exclude humans from obtaining forgiveness on the basis of wealth.

If, however, he cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, he is to bring as an offering for his sin a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He must not put oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. He is to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial portion and burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made to the Eternal by fire. It is a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for any of these sins he has committed, and he will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering. [Leviticus 5:11-13]

So here, right in the midst of the commandments concerning the sacrifices for sin, the Bible tells us we do not need any blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. This proves that the idea that one needs a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin is an UnBiblical idea.

Remember, too, the story of the book of Jonah. Jonah tried to escape from doing Gd's will, and preaching to the People of Ninevah. After the problem with the great fish, he goes to the people of Ninevah, says five words to them (in the original Hebrew) and what do they do? They fast ("let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water" Jonah 3:7) just as the Jews do on Yom Kippur. The people of Ninevah also prayed ("Let them cry mightily to Gd." Jonah 3:8) just as the Jews do on Yom Kippur. And, finally, the people of Ninevah stopped doing Evil, started doing Good ("Let everyone turn from his evil ways and from the violence which is in his hands." Jonah 3:8) as we are, hopefully, inspired to do on Yom Kippur. What was Gd's response? Gd forgave them of their sins because of their works ("When Gd saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, Gd repented of the Evil which He had said He would do unto them, and He did not do it." Jonah 3:10) Please note that the text does NOT read that Gd saw their sacrifices, the People of Ninevah were never commanded to sacrifice. Nor does the text read that Gd saw that they had the right faith. Rather it says that Gd saw what they did, their works.

We have proof of other non-blood sacrifices:

So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. [Numbers 16:47]

And in the following verse we see jewelry offered for atonement, but no blood is shed.

So we have brought as an offering to the Eternal the gold articles each of us acquired-- armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces-- to make atonement for ourselves before the Eternal. [Numbers 31:50]

It should be obvious that a blood sacrifice is not needed! Another example is that Isaiah had his sin removed by a live coal:

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. [Isaiah 6:6-7]

But many will say, that without a Temple, we cannot offer any kind of blood sacrifice. This is true. That is why Gd gave many different methods of atonement to the Jews. There was a time in Israel's history when they became all too consumed with the sacrificial ceremonies. For this, Gd rebuked them. Gd reminded them that the Laws of Gd were more important than the sacrifices.

For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your Gd and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. [Jeremiah 7:22-23]

Out of all the methods Gd gave to us for atonement, the sacrifices were the weakest. This is true because sacrifices only made atonement for one kind of sin. Many may point out several verses that show that there needs to be a sacrifice for sins. They often point out these verses that show that sacrifice does atone for sin. But they seem to leave out which sins are forgiven by these sacrifices, and that is UNintentional sins and only         UNintentional sins:

The Eternal said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: `When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Eternal's commands--" [Leviticus 4:1-2]

If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Eternal's commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. [Leviticus 4:13]

When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the Eternal his Gd, he is guilty.[Leviticus 4:22]

If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Eternal's commands, he is guilty.[Leviticus 4:27]

When a person commits a violation and sins unintentionally in regard to any of the Eternal's holy things, he is to bring to the Eternal as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. [Leviticus 5:15]

He is to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the wrong he has committed unintentionally, and he will be forgiven. [Leviticus 5:18]

Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the Eternal gave Moses-- " [Numbers 15:22]

The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have brought to the Eternal for their wrong an offering made by fire and a sin offering. The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong. "`But if just one person sins unintentionally, he must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest is to make atonement before the Eternal for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven. One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien. [Numbers 15:24-29]

But if someone were to commit a sin intentionally, he would be punished!

But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the Eternal, and that person must be cut off from his people. [ Numbers 15:30]

For some intentional sins, the punishment was severe:

While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Eternal said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Eternal commanded Moses. [Numbers 15:32-36]

Gd is a righteous judge. For intentional sins to be atoned for, there had to be repentance and restitution and often punishment because the sins were committed on purpose!

A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft... If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in another man's field, he must make restitution from the best of his own field or vineyard... If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution... But if the animal was stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner... If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must make restitution. [Exodus 22:3, 5, 6, 12, and 14]

Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death. [Leviticus 24:21]

Say to the Israelites: `When a man or woman wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Eternal, that person is guilty and must confess the sin he has committed. He must make full restitution for his wrong, add one fifth to it and give it all to the person he has wronged. [Numbers 5:6-7]

It would be nice to live in a society where, if a criminal stole and stripped your car, he would have to replace it, and then give you 20% in addition to what it was worth.

There were other methods used to receive atonement that were superior to the sacrificial system. This is what Gd truly desires from us, Teshuvah, which means repentance and return to Gd.

..if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. [2 Chronicles 7:14]

But if from there you seek the Eternal your Gd, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.[Deuteronomy 4:29]

He prays to Gd and finds favor with him, he sees Gd's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by Gd to his righteous state. [Job 33:26]

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. [Psalm 34:14]

The Eternal is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. [Psalm 34:18]

It is true repentance and prayer that Gd wants from us, NOT sacrifice!

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of Gd are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O Gd, you will not despise. [Psalm 51:16-17]

Remember, the Psalms were written to sing praises to Gd in the Temple, right where the sacrifices themselves were to be performed. They understood quite well Gd's attitude towards the sacrifices:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.[Psalm 40:6]

Gd wants us to pray for forgiveness, and it is prayer that replaces the sacrifices, just as Gd commanded us to do as Hosea stated:

Take words with you and return to the Eternal. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the bulls of our lips. [Hosea 14:2]

(Please note that many Christian translations intentionally mistranslate this passage. The Hebrew is quite clear, "Pa-reem S'fa-tay-nu, the bulls of our lips." Instead they mistranslate the Hebrew as if it said, "Pay-rote S'fa-tay-nu, the fruit of our lips." This means that for the specific purpose of misrepresenting what the Bible says, that Gd accepts prayer in place of sacrifices, they change the word of Gd!)

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. [Proverbs 28:13]

Another superior method is charity:

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Eternal a man avoids evil. [Proverbs 16:6]

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Eternal than sacrifice. [Proverbs 21:3]

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of Gd rather than burnt offerings. [Hosea 6:6]

Please note:  The following quotations all come from I Kings 8, in which King Solomon dedicates the only Temple in the world to the One True Gd. It was in this very Temple that the sacrifices were to take place. Yet at the dedication of this very Temple, Solomon states that one need only pray to Gd for forgiveness, after repenting, and Gd would forgive:

...and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel-- each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple--then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men)... [I Kings 8:38-39]

The Gentiles too, were to pray directly to Gd for the forgiveness of their sins, and without the need of a sacrifice!

As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name -- for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm -- when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. [I Kings 8:41-43]

Notice here, that Gd allowed the Gentiles to pray directly to him, without the need of a mediator. Gd never did exclude anyone from Him. All Gd asks for is a contrite heart, and the willingness to follow Gd!

Remember, still, that the whole of the sacrificial system was centered at the Temple. Solomon continues:

When they sin against you -- for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, `We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerorsto show them mercy. [I Kings 8:46-50]

So if you repent, Gd will save you!

The Eternal is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. [Psalm 34:18]

And he will restore your righteousness! Even though you sinned!

He prays to Gd and finds favor with him, he sees Gd's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by Gd to his righteous state. [Job 33:26]

Gd has clearly shown us that sacrifice is NOT necessary for atonement. Gd has made it abundantly clear to Israel what we are to do for atonement:

With what shall I come before the Eternal and bow down before the exalted Gd? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Eternal be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Eternal require of you? Only to do Justice, and to love Mercy and to walk humbly with your Gd. [Micah 6:6-8]
Blood sacrifice, the ritual slaughter of animals, has been basic to religion through history, so that it survives in spiritualized form even in Christianity. How did this violent phenomenon achieve the status of the sacred? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Ten Lost Israelite Tribes

Courtesy of
No one really knows who is or is not a descendent of those lost tribes, except those in India, who preserved their identity as Mannasseh. Israel is in its infancy in conducting that research, but the trail of evidence is sparse, and the task is nearly impossible. To declare oneself an Ephraimite arbitrarily is dangerous, and links one to the Mormon error, playing to people's pride through the spirit of jealousy over the Jew's place with G-d. There is no reason to be jealous, as anyone born in Messiah becomes a Jew, spiritually, descended from one of the Apostles. What an honor! The LORD will tell us all which "tribe" we belong to after the Tekiah HaGadol (the "great trumpet", or awakening blast of Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShannah)) For now, we glory in Messiah alone, (who happens to be Jewish, of the tribe of Judah).

EVIDENCE in the News!

Below is an article from the Jerusalem Post concerning The Ten Lost Tribes..
In our commentary [above] on the "Two-House" Ephraimite movement, it is asserted that these tribes were scattered initially to the east, and therefore highly unlikely that Europeans, especially Brits, whom the "two-housers" claim are the Ephraimites (and therefore the other nine tribes too) because they came to be "born again". This article shows that what I asserted is what Israel believes, and what archaeology and science are proving. In our article, I said that one tribe had already been found: Mannaseh. Ephraim has been added to that list! There's only eight more to go! Both of these were found in India. This article shows that the evidence is pointing predominantly east. We also asserted that JUDAH would call Ephraim back to the land! In the last days! This is exactly what is happening before our eyes!!!!!!!!! Judah is, in this context, the Jews who know they are Israel today...And they are making a VAST effort to find Ephraim (and all the tribes) !!! And they're NOT looking at Britain! [or subsequently America].

This article is another "trickle" of prophetic fulfillment happening "right under our noses".

Enjoy the article. I highlighted in red parts that are applicable to our "Two House" article ..

The saga of the Ten Lost Israelite Tribes has fascinated and captivated generations of researchers, pilgrims, religious leaders, and believers of many faiths and of many nationalities. For over 2700 years, ever since the residents of the Northern Israelite Kingdom were exiled by the King of Assyria, the story of the Ten Lost Tribes has been shrouded in a mystery of anecdotal traditions and competing narratives. Based on important historical, anthropological, and archeological theories, important research has unearthed the beliefs and spiritual awakenings, and the fascinating political, ethnic, and religious struggles of the Ten Lost Tribes.

One thing is above all argument - this is a compelling phenomenon. The story of the Ten Lost Tribes has occupied and challenged human civilization for nearly 3,000 years, and it continues to stimulate the imagination and faith of peoples and cultures throughout the world.

The Ten Lost Tribes Challenge is a multinational initiative that will provide the public, for whom the mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes is a source of profound interest, with a thrilling and unique intellectual experience.

The Ten Lost Tribes Challenge intends to launch a series of research and discovery expeditions that will provide authentic meetings in the field with varying ethnic groups around the world, who consider themselves - by their own traditions and beliefs, or according to historical and ethnographic research - to be descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes.

The integration between unhindered human encounters and an intensive scientific milieu will enable expedition members coming from all over the world as members of the Ten Lost Tribes Challenge to be part of an extraordinary and exceptional geographic and anthropological experience.

The expeditions are intended for people who are willing to travel to far-flung, remote and forsaken areas at the "ends of the earth," sometimes under difficult field conditions, in order to create a moving and direct dialogue with those groups who are part of the mysterious dispersion of the Ten Lost Tribes.

From the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia; from China and Mongolia through Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan; from the Caucus Mountains to the heart of Africa, the dispersed descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes are alive and breathing under different regimes, within a variety of cultures, religions, and languages, all the while inciting profound questions and wonder.

The long road home.
by Michael Freund

The road leading to the village of Churachandpur winds through lush and verdant fields. Aside from an occasional military checkpoint, there is little vehicular activity along the thoroughfare, in this remote region of India’s northeast.

Located in the state of Manipur, near the border with Burma, Churachandpur is a sprawling complex of stone, wood and bamboo structures, interspersed with vast meadows and farmland. The rhythm of daily life is pastoral and tranquil, lending an air of calm and even serenity to the people who call it home.
It is late in the afternoon, and hundreds of members of the local Bnei Menashe (Hebrew for “Sons of Manasseh”) community, a group descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, have gathered in the local synagogue to recite the afternoon prayers.
The men sway back and forth in intense concentration, reciting the words in Hebrew with deliberate precision and care. Naturally, they all rise turn towards the west, facing Jerusalem as they reaffirm their determination to return to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.
Despite being cut off from the rest of world Jewry for more than 2,700 years, they managed to preserve their Jewish heritage.
To a visitor from abroad, it is a magnificent sight to behold. Indeed, when closing one’s eyes and listening to the chazzan (cantor) recite the repetition of the Amidah prayer, it is easy to forget that one is standing in a synagogue in northeastern India, rather than in London, New York or Tel Aviv.
A life in exile
The story of the Bnei Menashe is truly breathtaking, one which almost defies rational explanation. Despite being cut off from the rest of world Jewry for more than 2,700 years, they managed to preserve their Jewish heritage, while always nourishing the dream of returning to Zion.
Some 7,000 Bnei Menashe currently reside in the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh. Their tradition, passed down through the generationsis that they are descendants of the lost Israelite tribe of Manasseh, which was exiled from the Land of Israel by the Assyrian empire in 723 BCE.
Throughout their wandering in the Diaspora, the Bnei Menashe observed the Sabbath, practiced circumcision on the eighth day, kept the laws of Kashrut and meticulously upheld the rules of family purity. They even established cities of refuge, where people who had killed inadvertently could flee, just as the Torah prescribes.
Evidence of the Bnei Menashe’s ancient connection with the Jewish people abounds. On a visit to the community in India, I met with a Bnei Menashe elder named Yossi, a 69-year old resident of Aizawl, capital of the state of Mizoram, where many of the Bnei Menashe currently live.
Two of Hualngo’s uncles served as village priests and, speaking through an interpreter, he offered a detailed description of the ceremonies they performed. His uncles, he said, would don white garments before carrying out sacrificial rites, including one with strings dangling from its four corners, reminiscent of the tallit with arba kanfot (the four-cornered ritual prayer shawl) worn by Jews.
In the spring, at Passover time, they would mark an annual festival of deliverance by sacrificing an animal, but not before smearing its blood on people’s doorways, just as the Israelites had done during the Exodus from Egypt. Indeed, according to Hualngo, there was a rule that the priests had to carefully remove the meat from the bones of the animal without breaking any of them, just as the Bible instructs regarding the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12:46).
Then, in a remarkable scene, Hualngo proceeded to chant one of the prayers that his uncles used to say while conducting the sacrificial ceremony. The words in the song, and their Biblical origin, are unmistakable: Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Red Sea, Marah and Shiloh (site of the ancient tabernacle and capital of the northern tribes of Israel until the Assyrian conquest).
This ancient Bnei Menashe prayer, known as “Miriam’s Song,” parallels the Biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt: “We had to cross the Red Sea, our enemies were coming after us with chariots, the sea swallowed them all, as if they are meat. We are led by the cloud during the day and by fire at night. Take those birds for the food, and drink water coming out from the rock.”
In their community, among strangers
To locals living in Mizoram, there is no question regarding the origins of the Bnei Menashe. Lal Thlamuana, 45, a devout Christian who is the proprietor and principal of the local Home Mission School, has no doubt about the Israelite origins of the Mizos (the local name for the tribe from which the Bnei Menashe come).
“Even Christian Mizos believe the Bnei Menashe are descendants of Israel,” he says, and proceeds to expound on a number of the community’s ancient customs and traditions, such as circumcision of newborn boys on the eighth day, levirate marriage, and strict laws regarding menstruation, all of which are strikingly similar to Jewish law.
The British colonialists, Thlamuana notes, referred to the Mizo people as Lushei, a mispronunciation of Lu Se, which means “Ten Tribes”. According to the Bnei Menashe, their ancestors migrated south from China to escape persecution, settling in Burma and then moving westward into what is now Mizoram and Manipur in India.
Before long, the missionaries succeeded in converting most of Mizoram’s population. But some did not convert.
A century ago, when British missionaries first arrived in India’s northeast, they were astonished to find that the local tribesmen worshiped one God, were familiar with many of the stories of the Bible, and were practicing a form of biblical Judaism. Before long, the missionaries succeeded in converting most of Mizoram’s population. Yet many of them, Christians and other tribesmen alike, proudly continued to preserve the tradition that they are descended from the ancient Israelites.
Some, however, did not convert, and remained faithful to the ways of their ancestors. Indeed, in recent decades, the Bnei Menashe have built dozens of synagogues across India’s northeast, and three times a day they turn fervently in prayer, with their eyes raised toward Zion.
Over the past decade, thanks largely to Shavei Israel (, the organization that I chair, some 1,700 Bnei Menashe have moved to Israel, where they have undergone formal conversion to Judaism by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate in order to remove any doubts regarding their personal status.
In March 2005, after I approached Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and asked him to study the community and its origins, the Chief Rabbi formally recognized the Bnei Menashe as “descendants of the Jewish people,” and agreed to facilitate their return.
In September 2005, Rabbi Amar dispatched a rabbinical court to India, which converted 218 Bnei Menashe in Mizoram back to Judaism, and in November 2006, they all made aliyah to the Galilee, in Israel’s north. An additional group of 230 Bnei Menashe from Manipur made aliyah in 2007, completing the conversion process once they arrived in Israel. Part of the group settled in the city of Upper Nazareth, with the rest making their homes in Karmiel. In recent years, two Bnei Menashe scholars have since received rabbinical ordination, while another is a certified religious scribe whose quill has produced beautiful Scrolls of Esther. In the summer of 2006, over a dozen young Bnei Menashe served as soldiers on the front lines in Lebanon and Gaza.
Those still in India continue to grow in Jewish knowledge and practice, and hundreds of Bnei Menashe currently study at one of the three educational centers that Shavei Israel has established on their behalf in Mizoram and Manipur. Patiently, they await the day when Israel’s government will allow them to make aliyah and be reunited with their friends and family already living in the Jewish state.
Khaute’s journey
For Tzvi Khaute, a Bnei Menashe community leader in Israel, the separation from his family back in India has not been easy. Though he has been living in Israel for ten years, and has successfully been absorbed in the country, he still feels pangs of yearning for his close relatives who remain behind.
From a very young age, Khaute always knew that by being Jewish he was different.
One of six children, Khaute’s youngest brother is serving in the Indian army. He has a cousin who is the chief of the Indian Police Intelligence department in his home state of Manipur, and another cousin who is a former government minister. As a child growing up in Churachandpur, Khaute recalls, he didn’t pay all that much attention to Jewish tradition.
Like most kids, Khaute was more interested in playing soccer with his friends and doing well at school. Nonetheless, even from a very young age, he always knew that by being Jewish he was different. “My grandfather, who was the chief priest of the village, told us that our living in India was only a sojourn and temporary, and that we Bnei Menashe are separate from the rest of the country - politically, socially and ethnically,” Khaute recalls.
His family instilled within him a deep pride in their roots as Bnei Menashe, and as he grew up, Khaute began to take more interest in his heritage.
He took note of the rituals of the Bnei Menashe that he would later learn were in many ways parallel to modern Jewish observance. “Shabbat was always observed as a rest day from work,” he says. “We never mixed milk and meat, and chicken and cattle were slaughtered by the community priest.”
Other Bnei Menashe customs Khaute remembers include a form of brit mila (circumcision) which was followed by a community feast; a mourning period that lasted 30 days (rather than the usual Jewish custom of seven); tithing one-tenth of one’s agricultural produce to sustain the community’s priestly caste; and a strict policy against intermarriage.
Rediscovering Zion
The community yearned for Zion, but “we thought Zion was in heaven. We didn’t know it was real,” Khaute says. After the creation of the State of Israel, the Bnei Menashe began their struggle to reach the Promised Land. “The first official letter was sent in the name of the Bnei Menashe to (then prime minister) Golda Meir in 1974. We wrote ‘we are Jewish. We want to come back home.’ But we received no answer.”
We thought Zion was in heaven. We didn’t know it was real.”
After his arrival in Israel ten years ago, Khaute began working in the greenhouses in the village of Sussia. But he didn’t actually get his hands dirty. With a degree in economics from India’s prestigious University of New Delhi, he served as the greenhouse’s in-house statistician. And in order to deepen his knowledge of Judaism, he spent six years studying Torah part-time at the Machon Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Khaute’s grandparents – who were influential in his initial Jewish reawakening – died over ten years ago, and never fulfilled their life-long vision of reaching the Promised Land. But he remains confident that the rest of his family, and community, will soon be able to come on aliyah. “We pray and hope for them every day,” he says.
The saga of the Bnei Menashe is testimony to the power of Jewish history and Jewish memory. The Bnei Menashe clung to their identity despite 27 centuries of wandering, never forgetting who they are or where they came from, even as they nourished the dream that one day they would return. Their story is our story, and it underscores our people’s faith and resilience even in the most trying of circumstances. May they reach their destination speedily and without delay.
This article originally appeared in


The "Two House" and "Replacement Theology" Heresies



Watch this short video explaining the Jewish understanding of Isaiah 53.


Chosen People Ministries has focused on Isaiah 53 because it believes this passage is one of its most powerful proof-texts. When read out-of-context and mistranslated, Isaiah 53 gives the impression of a prophecy describing the suffering and death of the messiah, specifically Jesus dying for our sins.
This Christian interpretation is absolutely incorrect for several good reasons. Isaiah commonly uses familiar metaphors and often speaks of the people of Israel as a single individual referred to as the Servant of God. Moreover in nine previous  passages, Isaiah identifies the Servant to be  Israel, as we see in Isaiah 41:8  “Israel is my Servant…” and Isaiah 43:10 “You are My witnesses says the Lord, and My Servant whom I have chosen…”
Chapters 52-53 describe the reaction of the nations of the world when they witness the future and ultimate redemption of the Jewish people.
Initially, the nations viewed the Jewish people scornfully and considered them to be rejected by God and deserving of suffering and His divine punishment. Isaiah states that in the future, the nations will be shocked and dumbfounded when they witness God’s unexpected and glorious redemption of the Jewish people.
The nations will then contrast their new realization of Israel’s grandeur with their previous beliefs. Ultimately, they will conclude that the Jews were not rejected by God, but in fact, they suffered from the unjustified and disproportionate persecution inflicted upon them by the nations of the world.
To validate their biased misinterpretation, missionaries intentionally avoid mention of a critical fact. In Isaiah 53:5, they deliberately mistranslate the word “from” as“for”, andthereby claim that the Servant will suffer for the sins of the Jewish people. In fact, the verse says that the nations of the world will actually admit that Israel – the Servant of God – “was wounded from our transgressions, bruisedfrom our iniquities.” In the original Hebrew, the letter “מ – mem” which serves as the prefix to the words “transgressions” and “iniquities” means “from”, not “for.”Therefore, this verse cannot be read as supporting the Christian view that the Servant, namely Jesus, suffers for the sins of the world.
In fact, many Christian commentaries including the New English Bible: Oxford Study EditionThe New Interpreters Study Bible and The Harper Collins Study Bible agree with the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53. For example, the Oxford Study Edition states, “Israel, the servant of God, has suffered as a humiliated individual.”


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What does the Bible say about wearing jewelry?

What does the Bible say about wearing jewelry?

A study in Judaism you will find that it is part of their belief that a man fails his wife if he does not provide her with jewelry and cosmetics to make herself look attractive for her husband.
Opinion from a Christian on Jewelry and the UPC:

If you are an apostolic woman reading this article, and you feel that God has led you to not wear jewelry, then I want you to know that I am not ridiculing you at all. You have my respect. My problem is not with you, it is with a religious system that creates 
man-made rules and regulations and then demands that people follow them.

The UPC, along with many other holiness groups, teaches against wearing jewelry. I know that when I was in the movement I took the teaching for granted. I think that many others did as well. If new converts asked questions then the general answer went something like this: “It’s an inward change of the heart that is reflected by an outward change of appearance; as Christians we are called to be separate from the world.” Alternatively, the new convert might be given a well-meaning lesson on respecting pastoral authority even if we do not “see it for ourselves.” If the person questioning is not a new convert then they are often judged as being “cold on God” or “lukewarm.” I am ashamed to admit that I was often guilty of judging people that way.
When I was part of the apostolic Pentecostal movement I happily went along with the doctrine of no jewelry without really questioning it. I had this vague idea that there was biblical support for it. There must be, right? Otherwise, why would we be teaching it? It was not until I began to question many of the doctrines of the UPC that I studied the no-jewelry doctrine for myself. When I did, I was surprised to find out that there is literally no biblical support for the doctrine. In fact, the Bible has more good to say about jewelry than it does bad!
In this article I will share some Scriptures and make some comments. I think that the Scriptures will speak for themselves, but hopefully you will find my comments beneficial. As always, I encourage you to study Scripture and formulate your own opinions.

What Do Holiness Organizations Say About Jewelry?

First, let’s look at what the UPC and a couple of other apostolic holiness organizations have to say about jewelry. The doctrinal section of the UPC’s Web site says:
[The Christian woman] has dedicated herself to the cause of Christianity. This manner of dedication avoids expensive, extravagant clothing and superfluous, ornamental jewelry, permitting only the functional use of a wristwatch and a wedding band to designate her wedlock1.
Their conclusion comes from these two passages: 1 Tim. 2:8-10 and 1 Pet. 3:1-5. I will come back to those Scriptures in a moment.
The Articles of Faith of the ALJC—an organization that allows its member churches more autonomy on how much jewelry they allow—also cites 1 Pet. 3:1-5 as “instruction to wives about their behavior and appearance.”2 They conclude that “Holiness is not only an inward presence of God but it is also reflected in the outward life of the Christian in his conduct in this world.” On the surface this is a very generic statement, and one that every Christian would agree with. In practice, though, the “outward life” is translated into a dress code.
The Articles of Faith of the WPF says:
The glory of the female believer is manifested, among other ways, through the emanation of the divine glory in her appearance (I Peter 3:3,4). All artifice is viewed as obstruction to her authentic beauty and is to be avoided (I Timothy 2:9,10). Jewelry, (I Timothy 2:9), make-up, (II Kings 9:3) dyes, and any other artificiality, as well as immodest apparel, are viewed as attempts to artificially induce beauty (Isaiah 3:16-24 RSV, I Peter 3:1-5) and replace the lost glow of God’s glory as seen in the face of the believer as well as in the heavens. All this is Scripturally associated with Jezebel, who is both an Old Testament (I Kings 18:4, 19:1-2, II Kings 9:7,30), as well as New Testament, example of seduction and artificiality (Revelation 2:20,22). Thus, “cosmetics,” derived from “cosmos” (arrangement, as in the universe) are attempts to “make-up” the sparkle and glow, which is normative in the presence of the living God as well as within the believer (Philippians 2:15)3.
It is clear that out of the three views the WPF’s is both the most restrictive and the one with the most Scripture citations. I could write an entire article responding just to the things that the WPF said in the above quotation (and I probably will). For now I would just like to point out two things. First, Jezebel was never condemned for her artificiality; she was condemned for trying to kill the prophets of God (Rev. 2:20). It is Western society that has associated Jezebel with extreme make-up and jewelry; that idea is not found in the Bible. Second, Phil. 2:14-15 is talking about not grumbling and disputing. The reason Paul says not to grumble and dispute is because we “appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). To say that I think it is a logical stretch to teach that cosmetics are wrong because they make us sparkle and glow would be an understatement. (Come to think of it, I’ve never seen any cosmetics that make someone glow; I think it would be pretty cool.)
If we exclude the WPF’s connection between cosmetics and artificial glowing then it becomes apparent that there are only two passages that are used to support the no-jewelry (or limited jewelry) rule: 1 Tim. 2:8-10 and 1 Pet. 3:1-5. I will deal with those two passages in a moment, but first let’s look at some Scriptures that the holiness groups probably never showed you.

Some Scriptures Your Pastor Never Showed You:

Ezekiel 16:8-15, NASB 
Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares the Lord God. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your earsand a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you, declares the Lord God. But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.
Song of Solomon 1:10-11, NASB 
Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, Your neck with strings of beads. We will make for you ornaments of gold With beads of silver.”
Pro 1:8-9 NASB 
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck.
Son 7:1 NASB 
"How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.
Isa 61:10 NASB 
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isa 49:18 NASB 
"Lift up your eyes and look around; All of them gather together, they come to you.As I live," declares the LORD, "You will surely put on all of them as jewels and bind them on as a bride.
Now, when I read these Scriptures I asked myself a question: If jewelry is so sinful, then how come God repeatedly used it as an analogy of beauty? If it’s such a sin to wear jewelry then why would God promise to clothe people with "garments of salvation…as a bride adorns herself with jewels"? If jewelry’s a sin then isn’t God making some really, really bad analogies?
To put it another way, if jewelry is bad, then was God really saying, “I’m going to give my bride a bunch of jewels, and they’ll make her look really beautiful, but she’d better not wear them because they’re bad!” Or, “Wow, my bride rocks, the curve of her hips are like jewels! Too bad she can’t wear jewels because it’s a sin.”
Isn’t it a stretch to think that God would make these analogies if jewelry is bad?

Does the Bible Ever Say That Wearing Jewelry Is A Sin?

This is a really important question. You see, everything that is a sin in the New Testament was also a sin in the Old Testament Law (I.E. Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy). Let me say that again: Everything that is a sin in the New Testament was also a sin in the Old Testament Law.
Now, the converse is not true. Everything that was a sin in the Old Testament Law wasnot necessarily a sin in the New Testament. The reason is because the Mosaic Law was broken into three parts: Moral, Ceremonial, and Penal. The moral law was (for the most part) what we call the 10 Commandments, as well as commands against fornication, homosexuality, drunkenness, and so on; the ceremonial law involved the sacrifices, the foods that a person could eat, whether or not you could dig your donkey out of a ditch on the Sabbath, and things like that; the penal law gave the penalties for breaking the moral or ceremonial law.5
When Jesus came on the scene He fulfilled the ceremonial law and the penal law. He did not fulfill the moral law.6 Instead, He "put [His] laws upon [our] heart[s]" (Heb. 10:16 NASB).
I said all of that to say this: You cannot find a sin in the New Testament that was not also a sin in the Old Testament Law. The reason is simple–the Law defines sin! Paul put it this way: "I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "You shall not covet" (Rom. 7:7 NASB).
Now let’s get back to my original question: Does the Bible ever say that wearing jewelry is a sin? The answer is apparently “No.” The Bible never says that jewelry is a sin. For that matter, it has more good to say about jewelry than it does bad!

So What Does The Bible Say?

As I showed at the start of this article, the no jewelry (or limited jewelry) doctrine is defended by two Scripture passages: 1 Tim. 2:8-10 and 1 Pet. 3:1-5. Before we look at those passages, though, please allow me to make one brief point. If I thought that the Bible even hinted that jewelry is a sin then I would be one of the doctrine’s strongest defenders. When I was in the apostolic movement I never had any desire to wear jewelry; I never cared one way or the other. So please do not think that this article is about me wanting to wear jewelry, or me “rebelling,” or anything like that. Because it’s not.
With that said, let’s look at 1 Tim. 2:8-10 and 1 Pet. 3:1-5. Let’s do 1 Pet. 3:1-5 first.
1Pe 3:1-5 NASB 
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be
 merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
Now, when presented with a passage such as this, we have two options. The first option is to assume that the author is presenting a principle, and that the examples that he uses to illustrate the principles are just that: examples. The second option is to assume that the author is laying down a set of rules, and that he expects people to take him literally. The one thing that is not an option is to take part of the passage literally and part of it figuratively—yet that is exactly what the UPC and other holiness organizations frequently do.
For example, if Peter expects us to take him literally then we need to do just that. If he is speaking literally, and he is laying down rules, then here is what we can glean:
  1. Peter is speaking only to wives. The things that he is saying do not apply to single women.
  2. Wives cannot braid their hair.
  3. Wives cannot wear gold jewelry (other kinds are presumably allowed).
  4. Wives must not wear dresses.
That is option one.
Option two is that Peter is using fancy hair styles, gold jewelry, and fancy clothes as examples because they help him make his point. If option two is correct then we can glean these principles:
  1. Peter is speaking specifically to wives—especially those who have unsaved husbands—but the principle can apply to us all.
  2. His principle is that we should not focus on our outer appearance—on our lavish hairdos, fancy clothes, and expensive jewelry—but we should instead focus on cultivating “chaste and respectful behavior.”
I will let you decide which of those two options is correct. All that I will say is that one of them has to be correct. I want to stress again that it is illogical and absurd to read this passage and pull one word out—jewelry—and teach that it is wrong while maintaining that braided hair and dresses are alright.
Now let’s look at 1 Tim. 2:8-10:
1Ti 2:8-10 NASB 
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
We are once again presented with two options. Is Paul using braided hair, gold, pearls and costly garments as examples in order to make a broader point, or is he laying down a set of rules?
If he is laying down a set of rules then this is what we can glean:
  1. Men always have to lift their hands when they pray. Furthermore, they cannot lift their hands if there is any wrath or dissension in their heart.
  2. Women must dress modestly and discreetly.
  3. Women must not braid their hair.
  4. Women must not wear gold or pearls.
  5. Women must not wear costly garments.
  6. Women must wear good works (what store do you buy those in?).
There are a couple of problems with the first option. One might reasonably wonder how a woman can wear good works. On the other hand, if Paul is making a broader point, and he is just using braided hair, gold, pearls and costly garments as an example, then this is what we can glean:
  1. Men need to cultivate a holy attitude. When they pray they should examine their hearts and make sure that they are not harboring any wrath or dissension.
  2. Women need to do the same thing. They need to make sure that they are focusing on the inside and not the outside. They need to dress modestly and discreetly. If they are poor then they need to not worry about not having gold and pearls and servants to give them fancy hairdos, and they should be content that they can dress modestly. If they are rich then they should not focus on their gold and pearls and fancy hairdos—they might even want to consider getting rid of some of that and helping folks out who are in need. That’s good works, and that’s what a godly woman should be worried about.
Now you might disagree with my broader interpretation of what Paul is saying to women, and that’s fine if you do. But my original point remains the same. Either Paul is speaking literally or he is making a broader point using examples that were common for his day. It’s one or the other, it can’t be both at the same time. It makes no sense to say, “Paul said don’t wear gold or pearls but it’s OK if we braid our hair!” That makes no sense at all.


Do you see how ridiculous this gets? The UPC and associated organizations allow women to braid their hair, but they don’t allow them to wear most jewelry. They allow women to wear “costly dresses,” even though Peter said they shouldn’t wear dresses at all (if we take him literally). Most of them allow women to wear gold wedding bands, almost all of them allow gold watches, and every single one allows gold-rimmed glasses, but they won’t let them wear a silver necklace (even though neither Peter or Paul said anything about silver).
Folks, I have a name for this sort of teaching: Hypocrisy. Apostolic Pentecostal organizations have no problem taking Scriptures figuratively when it fits their agenda. They have no problem saying that when Stephen saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God he was speaking figuratively. They have no problem saying that Paul was giving a cultural command when he commanded (on four separate occasions) for brothers to great each other with a holy kiss. They have no problem saying that women can talk in church even though Paul specifically commanded against it.
And you know what? I agree with the UPC’s interpretation of those passages. I do think that the command for brothers to kiss each other was entirely cultural. I do think that Paul’s command for women not to speak in church was a command for order in the church, and the reason that he specifically commanded women not to speak was because of the cultural norms of his day. I do agree with the Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians when they say that God the Father does not have a physical body. Frankly, I don’t know what Stephen saw, but the one thing that I do not think he saw was two Gods. Two Gods is both logically and Scripturally impossible, and the Trinitarians would agree with me on that.
Folks, God gave us a brain…let’s use it! At some point we have to step back and look at a Scripture passage and capture the meaning as well as the words! If one steps back and just reads the passage with an open mind then it becomes clear that Peter and Paul were saying the exact same thing: Both men and women should be focused on cultivating inward holiness and not outward beauty! We should dress modestly and discreetly and avoid gaudiness and extravagance so that people can see our good deeds and our good behavior.


Refuttation of the UPCI Teaching on Jewelry by Ricky Guthrie

According to the UPCI the Bible frequently associates jewelry with a proud attitude, an immoral lifestyle, or pagan worship. They take this stand based on the story of Jacob and the story of the golden calf. This is one of the reasons they say the wearing of jewelry is sinful.

In Genesis we find that Abraham sent his servant, Eliezer, to find his son Isaac a wife. Abraham sent him to some of his kinfolk. Eliezer met a young girl named Rebecca. When she told him whose family she was with, he gave her a gold nose ring and two gold bracelets. Later on we read where he gave her more jewelry, etc.

We all know that Abraham was called the friend of God. It is obvious that he did not think the wearing of jewelry was sinful or he would not have sent Eliezer with jewelry for the young future bride of his son, Isaac.
We also know that Rebecca was the mother of Jacob. The same Jacob the UPCI claims did away with the wearing of jewelry.

Jacob left his home because he took his brother's birthright and went to his mother's brother's home. Here he married two sisters, Leah and Rachel. We have to understand that Laban did not worship Jehovah but worshipped household gods as we find in Genesis when Rachel stole her dad's household gods.
It was in worship of these gods that the women wore certain types of jewelry. They wore amulets and charms also to ward off evil spirits. Jacob, who served Jehovah, knew in God's sight these article of jewelry were wicked so he had them buried. This in no way tells us that the wearing of jewelry is sinful. The wearing of jewelry worn to ward off demonic spirits or worn in worship to false gods is wrong.

1 Peter 3:3, 5 – “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel...For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:”
Above, Peter instructs women to adorn themselves as the holy women of the ‘old time’ did, right? How about Rebecca? She was unquestionably a holy woman of the old time. Was she not one of the most prominent female figures of the Old Testament? Of course. So then, let’s look at some passages about Rebecca:

Genesis 24:47, 53 – “And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands….And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebecca: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. "(KJV)

What? One of the women of old wore jewelry? Is the Bible contradicting itself? I hardly think so. So then Peter is not forbidding jewelry outright, he is forbidding excessive use of it and telling us not to let our outward appearance be what we are known by, but instead to be known by our meek and humble spirit.

In the passage below, God himself is putting jewelry on His people and referring to Israel’s beauty as ‘perfect through my comeliness.’ In fact, this passage even seems to suggest that God was glorified to the heathen as a result of Israel’s beauty.

Ezekiel 16:9-14 – “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.” (KJV) .

Later on when Joseph, Jacob's son, was sold into slavery and became the second man in command in Egypt, we read where Pharaoh put a ring on his finger and a gold chain around his neck. We know that Joseph did not commit adultery with Potiphar's wife for it was considered sin. If Jacob his father considered the wearing of jewelry sin, why did Joseph accept these articles of jewelry from Pharaoh? The reason is clear as a bell. His father did not think the wearing of all jewelry as sinful.

If Jacob had taken this stand, then he would have stood against his Grandfather and his own mother. We know his Grandfather gave his servant jewelry to give to Rebekah and she wore it.

When God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, he told Moses to have the Israelites borrow jewelry from the Egyptians and for them to wear it. In his omniscience, God knew the Israelites would take this jewelry and wear it and later would take the jewelry and have Aaron melt it down and the golden calf would be formed and they would worship this calf as their god. Did this stop God from telling Moses to borrow the jewelry? NO!

Even though, after they had committed this grave sin, God did tell them to remove their jewelry it was not permanent.

We know that King Saul wore gold bracelets for this was told to us at the time of his death and again at the time when David composed his most famous song about Saul and Jonathan, he spoke of Saul who adorned the people with jewelry.

The Song of Solomon tells us that King Solomon wore gold chains. Also Daniel was given a gold chain by the King of Babylon.

We also read in the Book of Jeremiah where God said "Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number." (Jeremiah 2:32.) Also in the Isaiah 61, God spoke of a bridegroom wearing his ornaments.

The UPCI speaks of the time that God accused Israel of committing adultery against him in the same book of Isaiah as other proof that the wearing of jewelry is sin. Here in Isaiah 3 we read where God spoke of Israel as if she were a literal woman committing harlotry against him.

He speaks of all the jewelry she was wearing and said he would take away all of it from Israel. God also spoke of head-bands, cloaks, undergarments, bonnets, scarves, mantles, hoods, and veils. All this he was going to take away from Israel. Yet when you read UPCI's stand on outward adornment and jewelry they say it is sin to wear jewelry but okay to wear headbands, undergarments, veils, scarves, etc. Doesn't make sense does it?

When we turn over to Ezekiel the 16th chapter, when God again likened Israel to a real woman, he said he had clothed her in fine clothing and put rings on her fingers and rings in her ears and in her nose, and bracelets and gold chains and a gold crown.

This was Jehovah who said he had adorned Israel this way, and even though later in the same chapter we read where this same Israel used this jewelry to attract other lovers, God still said he would adorn her with all this jewelry.
If throughout the Old Testament we find that God told Israel to wear jewelry, why does UPCI teach something blatantly different?

Both Peter and Paul wrote that women should not put so much emphasis on outward appearance, so they both mentioned the wearing of gold or pearls. If you read their writings in the original language, you come to the understanding that they were not forbidding jewelry from being worn but were saying things such as a meek and mild spirit etc. was better adornment. They both were speaking of moderation. If we took what Peter said in the light of how the UPCI interprets what he said in I Peter the third chapter, we would come to the conclusion that Peter was telling the women not to wear clothing.

UPCI tends to have this attitude that if something has ever been used for evil then it becomes strictly evil. People have used jewelry for sexual purposes or for prideful purposes so they say it is a sin to wear it. If God felt that way about everything that has been used to sin with, he would have destroyed the world a long time ago.

One good example of this is the act of sex. It is one of the greatest sins committed daily in life (adultery and rape etc.) but God has not forbidden the use of this act in marriage just because mankind has used the act to sin with.

The wearing of jewelry is not sinful, neither for men nor for women. Also, for those who take a stand against this trend of men wearing earrings or women wearing nose rings, the people of Israel wore both.


Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. 


This commandment is given to the entire community.

God only commands something that we are capable of fulfilling. Failure comes in because we underestimate our abilities.

You do not have to separate yourself from society and go meditate in a forest to become holy. These mitzvot are not for angels. They are mainly interpersonal commandments, such as honoring parents, feeding the poor, not slandering, and not hating in our heart. Being a contributing part of society is a personal obligation. Everyone should aspire to elevate himself, and at the same time aspires to elevate the community. That's why the command to be holy, kedoshim t'hiyu – is written in the plural.

This commandment is given to the entire community. If your being holy enhances your connection to the community, then you are behaving correctly. But if it causes a separation between you and those around you, that is incorrect. Our actions  should always be gauged by what will bring the biggest Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of God’s Holy Name.

Performing altruistic acts without the expectation of reciprocity is one of the greatest godly-attributes. Most religions of the East and West are bogged down by the pre-occupation with what God is or isn’t. For certain, the more we attempt to paint a picture or imagine what He looks like, the more elusive will become the effort to find Him. Emphasizing deed over creed will prove more productive.

The doctrine of the imitation of God is related to the biblical account of the creation of man in the image of God, which acknowledges a resemblance between man and his Creator. Yet man is to imitate God, not impersonate Him (see Gen. 3:5). The main biblical sources for the injunction to imitate God are found in the command to be holy as God is holy and to walk in God's way (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 10:12, 11:22, 26:17).

Man is to be God-like in his actions, but he cannot aspire to be God. This distinguishes the biblical notion from the pagan attempts to achieve apotheosis or absorption in the deity. 
Man is to imitate God in loving the stranger (Deut. 10:18–19); in resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10–11); and in other ethical actions.

"Be like Him. Just as He is gracious and merciful, so be thou also gracious and merciful" 
What is meant is that man ought to walk after [imitate] the attributes of God. Just as the Lord clothes the naked, so you shall clothe the naked. Just as He visits the sick, so you shall visit the sick. Just as the Lord comforted the bereaved, so you shall also comfort the bereaved; just as He buried the dead, so you shall bury the dead"
A person should not adhere to a standard of holiness that could have a negative effect on the community.


If you are an apostolic woman reading this article, and you feel that God has led you to not wear jewelry, then I want you to know that I am not ridiculing you at all. You have my respect. My problem is not with you, it is with a religious system that creates man-made rules and regulations and then demands that people follow them. My problem is with a religious system that adds to the offense of the Cross. My problem is with any denomination, organization, or church that creates barriers between the lost and God.
You have heard my opinion of the subject, but if you would like to read “the other side of the story” then you can do so at these two links:

Additional Study:

Studying the subject of jewelry can be hard since different words were used (ornaments, ornamentation, pearls, etc.). If you would like to do your own study into the subject then here are a couple of links that I hope will be helpful!
  • ISBE – This is a link to the ISBE (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) article on "Ornament."
  • Smith’s Bible Dictionary – A link to the "Ornaments, personal" article in Smith’s Bible Dictionary.
  • NASB word search – A link to the results of a search for the word "ornaments" in the NASB (New American Standard Bible).