Carrying on with this series about Paul and his minions, we see another way how the missionary who uses the tactics mentioned in a previous post is to manipulate definitions.
It’s important to remember throughout this series that the greatest weakness of the missionary is the very standard they are using – namely, the 10 commandments – and the context of those commands, i.e., the Jewish Bible.
Condemning where there is no law
I’ll deal with most obvious case of distorting the law first.
The missionary started his attempt to persuade a person by telling them that he would use the 10 commandments to see if a person is good or bad in the eyes of God. But further along he took the target down a certain logical route, a piece of which is this.
EVANGELIST: Jesus said that if you look at any one [of the opposite sex] with lust that means you’ve committed adultery. Have you ever look at any one with lust?
EVANGELIST: What do you call someone who commits adultery?
Target: An adulterer?
If you have read the flow of the whole conversion conversation the missionary uses, did you notice the shift? For each of the other commands, the missionary is kinda literal [I’ll discuss the issue of literalness further later]. Have you stolen? Have you used God’s name lightly? Those sort of questions are somewhat literal. But when it comes to adultery, the missionary takes a side step. Instead of simply dealing with the words of the 10 commandments, he then goes to a reinterpretation of the commandment by Jesus who equated lust with committing adultery. Whether Jesus actually had a point or not is not the issue here. What is the issue is that that missionary is supposed to be judging you according to the 10 commandments. But for this commandment he doesn’t. I’ll show you what I mean.
Just focus on the 10 commandments. The missionary asked “have you ever stolen?” He didn’t mean whether a person has stolen metaphorically or “in the heart.” He meant to ask whether that person literally took possession of something that didn’t belong to him. Why? Because that is the classical christian understanding of the command in the 10 commandments not to steal (see a later section called “What do the commandments really mean?” for further discussion on the accuracy or literalness of these christian definitions). When they ask a person if they have blasphemed, they are not asking about any invisible sin of the heart, but what the command somewhat says, whether a person has spoken with their mouths any name of God in a casual way, lightly. When they interpret one of the laws as not to lie, they are talking about literally deceiving someone with outspoken words, not a metaphorical sin of the heart.
So what does it mean to commit adultery? Again, we’ll go with the general christian definition. This crime occurs when you are married and you have sex with someone who you are not married to. This definition is true whether you are the husband or the wife. If you have sex with someone else other than your spouse, it’s adultery. That is adultery, according to the normal christian definition. That’s what the 10 commandments prohibits as they understand it. According to other parts of the law of Moses, adultery is a capital offense worthy of death.
So when the missionary comes and shifts the definition of adultery to simply lusting, and, to make things worse, he uses the same argument with unmarried people, you should be able to plainly see he is no longer judging a person based on the 10 commandments or the command against adultery. He’s using a totally different definition!!! How can an unmarried person commit adultery if adultery is only applies to married people? Of course, we can expect the christian to spiritualize things, to make things metaphorical, but the law isn’t metaphorical! If the missionary is using this same argument against both married and unmarried person in the same way – basically condemning lust of the heart, not an actual action – then he has left the proper definition of adultery and is speaking about something else which may be, in his eyes, as serious as adultery, but it is not adultery!
The reason I state this is because the missionary is supposed to be judging a person based on the 10 commandments. In this case, he does not do this. He’s supposed to getting the person to look in the mirror of God’s word in the 10 commandments and seeing their sin. In this case, he’s left those 10 commandments for a metaphor.
What do the commandments really mean?
When the missionary goes through his selection of the list of the 10 commandments, you’ll notice what he says: “have you stolen anything?” “have you lusted?” “have you lied?” “have you used God’s name in a casual way?” Remember the missionary is supposed to be using this selection of commands to show that you are guilty of breaking the 10 commandments. But here’s an important question to ask: is the missionary using the proper understanding of the commandments to condemn you? I mean, is there really a commandment against lying in the 10 commandments? Does the command not to use the Lord’s name in vain really mean just to use the Lord’s name in a casual manner in normal conversation? Does the commandment against stealing mean to steal absolutely anything?
It’s important to know that the person who recorded the 10 commandments and all the law of Moses was not a christian. The same is true for all the books of the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish Bible, erroneously called the “old testament”, was written in Hebrew and is the heritage primarily of the Jews. It is to that nation that God gave the 10 commandments which is just a subset of the whole law of Moses. It was to the nation of Israel that God said “I am the LORD your God that brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” That’s what the 10 commandments starts with. According to Jewish numbering, there are actually 613 commandments given to Israel in the law of Moses. You can see that by the fact that the law doesn’t start and end where the 10 commandments are written in Exodus 20 but goes all the way through Exodus, through Leviticus, through Numbers, all the way until the end of Deuteronomy – through four books of the five books of Moses.
Those parts of the nation of Israel, those descended from the nation that was originally given the law, who continue to uphold the covenant, they have maintained the integrity of the written word and the meaning of the text. They are the natural custodians of the law as overtly shown in the Jewish Bible, as opposed the johnny-come-lately christians. So the question should be asked again: is the missionary using the proper understanding of the commandments to condemn their targets? Would a knowledgeable Jew even be budged by the way the missionaries portray the commandments?
Let’s take a simple one. A missionary will ask their target if they have ever lied, thus implying that it’s one of the 10 commandments. But, unless you are one of those people cursed with using a christian paraphrase of the 10 commandments, you would see that there is no such command in the 10 commandments. The actual command in the 10 commandments says “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour,” or “you shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.” Sorry but in Hebrew, there are much easier ways of saying “don’t lie” and there are other commandments among the 613 that are much closer to saying “don’t lie” rather than “don’t give false testimony against your neighbour,” such as:
“… you shall not utter/accept a false report.” (Exodus 23:1)
“Distance yourself from a false matter/word.” (Exodus 23:7)
“You shall not deal falsely [or lie] a man to his fellow.” (Leviticus 19:11)
These laws, which are not part of the 10 commandments that the missionary uses, is much closer to the definition of lying. But bearing a false testimony against a neighbour sounds more like doing wrong in a court setting rather than just telling lies in general. The words of the command refer specifically to a testimony, official or solemn evidence. So the missionary doesn’t seem to be going with the 10 commandments here.
What about the command against adultery? Well, this law primarily prohibits any man from having sexual relations with a married woman, and that is it. It is about what is done to a married woman by any man. So it is neither about an unmarried woman having sexual relations with a married man and it is not simply about lust. So again, missionaries have messed up on this one. It makes it ludicrous when they use this commandment against unmarried women.
What about taking the name of the Lord in vain? What is the primary understanding of that law? This commandment has to do with taking oaths in God’s name, and that you should not take such oaths lightly so as to break them or to use them for things contrary to what is known. Take special note, this is not an overt command not to blaspheme or insult God, which is more clearly given in Leviticus 24. Missionaries both muddle up terms, using the word “blasphemy” to condemn a person when the 10 commandments don’t overtly mention it.
Even the command against stealing is misused. It is widely understood in Judaism that the command in Exodus 20 refers to kidnapping, stealing people, a capital crime, not simply stealing things. The actual command against stealing things is in understood by the Jews to be in Leviticus 19:11.
So for all these sins that the missionary puts on his target to guilt-trip them into christianity, he has misunderstood and misused each one. Adultery is spiritualized into lust, kidnapping is turned into stealing anything, giving a false testimony is turned into every single way of lying. In so many ways, instead of being judged by the 10 commandments, God’s standard, the missionary really seems to be giving his own standards, his own laws and the main reason for the missionary’s misuse of and ignorance about the Law of God is because they do not study the Law of God. They may know plenty about Jesus, but they have little clue when it comes to God’s law.
Now understand that christians are going to argue this point. They will use the notions that they have the “holy spirit” or the promises of Israel were given to them, despite the fact that the Jewish Bible speaks in open terms only about the nation of Israel, not some “spiritual” or invisible group of Israeli-gentiles. The fact is that the Torah of Moses, the Law of Moses, was the way of life, the national law for the nation of Israel. The Jews who hold to God’s covenant with Israel and Moses belong to a heritage of Torah law experts who live their lives based on that Law, a history based on a national understanding and application of those laws and the study of the words of the prophets and all the books of the Jewish Bible. The vast majority of christians, including those “way of the master” missionaries are outside of that group. Without such a rich background, because they are either non-Jews or are Jews who have cut themselves off from that heritages to basically embrace christianity, they have a woefully poor knowledge of Torah law.
But this is also why it makes it so easy for them to deceive the normal joe on the street because they mainly don’t have a clue either about the Torah, and they’ve usually been raised in a godless culture still sucking from the dregs from a weak christian heritage. So all the christian misunderstandings of the law is still part of this culture’s contaminated lack of knowledge. It’s way easy to build deception on ignorance. And believe me, when it comes to an accurate understanding of Torah, this culture is ignorant!
God’s judgment and the judgment of man
The missionaries tell you that they are going to judge you by God’s standard, yet the question has to be asked, when they go down the route of “have you ever done this” and “therefore that makes you this,” are they going by God’s judgment or their own. I’m not going to go too much into this because I’ve spoken about it already in the previous post, but here’s a little reminder.
If you read the whole Jewish Bible, the sort of judgment God gives is not “have you ever sinned” or “have you ever made a mistake?” In a way, it’s a silly question to ask since we are all human and we all make mistakes, so it’s like asking “do you breathe?” The sort of judgment that God gives has more to do with a lifestyle and whether someone is doing their best to live obedient to his law. If they make a mistake, then although there is punishment, if that person sincerely repents and does his best to move away from the wrong and walk in the right path, then he is forgiven and his past mistakes forgotten.
So the missionary is not using God’s judgment to judge a person. They are using their own.
The root of misunderstanding
I’ll make a small note of this since it is still a valid point.
You’ll notice that for the most the missionary distorts the 10 commandments for his own purposes. Unless he mentions the law against idolatry, the rest of his commentary of the law is misleading at best. But there is something about the 10 commandments that he misses at the very beginning. As I said before, the 10 commandments starts with this:
I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage. (Exodus 20:2)
At that point (and because of the whole context) we know who God is talking to: Israel! God gave the 10 commandments and the rest of the 613 commandments to Israel! So what are these missionaries doing by condemning gentiles, non-Israelites, non-Jews with Jewish law?
The fact that, as I’ve shown in another post, gentiles are supposed to keep 7 commandments that existed before Torah of Moses and was confirmed and permanently established by it. For more information on that just go the post about “So I’ve left Jesus. Now what?” But the christian missionaries don’t accept the truth of the 7 commandments (which actually focus more on repentance than sacrifice to atone for) so they try to push the Jewish 10 commandments on a non-Jew. If the non-Jew understood the mismatch, the misapplication of law, then they could easily say that the missionary is using the wrong set of laws, and that the missionary should come back when they have a clue what they are talking about.
But again, non-Jews have ignored such a teaching or they just don’t know.
These christian missionaries prey upon a person’s ignorance of God’s law to guilt-trip them into christianity. They distort God’s law to deceive people into thinking that they are simply looking into God’s law like a mirror and seeing their sin, when in fact they are looking into the missionary’s distorted mirror of their misuse of God’s law to see a false self-image. And from that false self-image, the target is led into more falsehood.
It’s better to get the facts for the rightful holders of the Mosaic covenant, the Jews.
Ok, off to the next post!