By Larry Silverstein
Early traditions that reject Moses as the author of the Torah are found in the Bible
Did Moses write the Torah in the Bible? The radical school of Jewish prophecy did not think so. Christ as portrayed in the gospel of Mark did not think so, and Paul also did not think that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible, and neither did many of the earliest churches believe that Moses was the author of the Levitical laws found in the Pentateuch. Rather they called these Levite regulations human commandments, and even went so far as to call some of the laws found in books like Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 'the doctrines of demons'.
The Bible is contradictory, and presents variant records of both historical events and doctrines, which on examination prove to be mutually exclusive. This is most obvious when considering "history" as it is presented in the Bible. If one record of events said that I went out to buy milk on a specific Friday, and another record of events declares that on that same Friday I did not leave the house, the two records are mutually exclusive in that if one proves to be accurate, it excludes the other. Both cannot be true.
There are similar conflicts in doctrine found in the Bible, and they are also mutually exclusive. The Bible actually presents a range of positions on almost every issue. What passes for 'Bible based teaching' then consists of a process of selection and selective nullification, with the process of nullification submerged under the weight of polemical argument. Verses which contradict a certain dogma can be said to be 'misunderstood' or 'to be taken as 'metaphor' rather than literally (while the favored verse is always to be taken literally). In this way the process of creating these 'theologies' can be seen as one of attacking and destroying certain offending Bible verses. All theologians nullify the Bible, and the process of exegesis is one of upholding certain verses while destroying the authority of others. All theologians destroy Bible verses, but some are up front and direct in their attacks, while others attempt the slippery task of destroying Bible verses by way of subterfuge.
One perfect example would be in this belief in 'infallibility of scripture' and in particular this belief that 'Moses wrote the Torah,' any deviation from this belief then held to clearly demonstrate a turning away from the authority of 'God's word.' Moses 'brought the law of God' as scripture states. After all, could 'scripture be any clearer on the matter?" It is that this point that 'the evidence' of apostasy will be clearly presented in the form of 'crystal clear bible verses' and 'the meaning of such passages is unmistakably clear.'
However it turns out that much is submerged, nullified and rejected in order to maintain this obviously erroneous position. Keeping the Torah means nullifying prophets, Christ, and Paul. There are also early traditions, which are also found in the Bible itself, rejecting authorship of the law books by Moses.
In the book of the prophet Jeremiah we read that not only was Moses not the author of the Torah, but that the sacrificial system was a form of rebellion against God, and that the laws of God represented as coming from Moses were actually forged by the priesthood.
"Thus says YAHWEH of hosts, the God of Israel, "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat flesh. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward." (Jeremiah Chapter 7 verse 21)
A common 'apologetic' dodge is to insist that 'animal sacrifices were not ordained when the people came out of Egypt, but rather later. But the law books specifically state that the laws of sacrifice were part of the Laws of Moses which Moses supposedly received while on Mount Sinai.
"This is the law of the burnt offering, the grain offering and the sin offering and the guilt offering and the ordination offering and the sacrifice of peace offerings, which YAHWEH commanded Moses at Mount Sinai in the day that He commanded the sons of Israel to present their offerings to YAHWEH in the wilderness of Sinai." Leviticus Chapter 7 verse 37
This statement clearly conflicts with the version of events given by Jeremiah. Jeremiah makes his condemnation of the law books explicit in the passage that follows:
"My people do not know the ordinance of YAHWEH. How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of YAHWEH is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of YAHWEH, And what kind of wisdom do they have?" Jeremiah Chapter 8 verse 7
This rejection of Mosaic authorship is echoed in the book of Isaiah.
"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says YAHWEH; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and calling of convocation— I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them." (Isaiah Chapter 1 verse 11)
Everyone of the practices condemned as abominations by Isaiah in the following passage is advocated in the law books and supposedly commanded by Moses.
"But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog’s neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. These people have chosen their own ways and their souls revel in their abominations." (Isaiah Chapter 66 verse 3)
Isaiah refers to these practices as 'abominations' and, like Jeremiah, equates them with rebellion. They are all advocated in the law, supposedly delivered to Moses by God, the same God who then delivered messages condemning such practices to the prophets.
"...and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before YAHWEH, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today YAHWEH will appear to you.’" Leviticus 9:18 Then he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings which was for the people; and Aaron’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar." "When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be accepted as a sacrifice of an offering by fire to YAHWEH." "The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to YAHWEH." "Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to YAHWEH, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it." (Leviticus Chapter 9 verse 4, Leviticus Chapter 22 verse 27, Exodus Chapter 29 verse 41, Leviticus Chapter 2 verse 1)
The tradition of rejecting Mosaic authorship of the law books is also found in the psalms.
"I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls Or drink the blood of male goats?" "Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required." "For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering." (Psalm Chapter 50 verse 9, Psalm Chapter 40 verse 6, Psalm Chapter 51 verse 16)
And in the prophet Micah we read:
"With what shall I come before YAHWEH, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will YAHWEH be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does YAHWEH require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah Chapter 6 verse 6)
This prophetic tradition is carried on the Church Testament. For example, consider first the traditions surrounding the Sabbath found in the earlier law books, and ascribed to Moses.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to YAHWEH your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates." (Exodus Chapter 20 verse 8)
"Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to YAHWEH: whosoever does any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath forever throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever." (Exodus Chapter 31 verse 15)
"And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which YAHWEH hath commanded, that ye should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever does work therein shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day. And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which YAHWEH commanded." (Exodus Chapter 35 verse 1)
In just this way the matter has been 'proved' beyond all reasonable doubt by consulting the Bible. And notice that the commandment is permanent and is 'to last forever'. Failing to observe this instruction is reason enough to impose the death penalty.
"And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day ... And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as YAHWEH commanded Moses." (Numbers Chapter 15 verses 32, 36)
In the Church Testament we read the following regarding Joshua's attitude towards the Sabbath tradition:
One Sabbath Joshua was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pick ears of corn. And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath ... And they watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him ... And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out, and immediately began plotting with Herod's men to bring about Joshua's death." (Mark Chapter 2 verse 23)
Before I continue, I will point out two errors in the above passage. As I have been writing I have learned through embarrassing experience just how important it is to check your facts as you write. I have found that 'writing freeform' from memory alone is the best way to mix up facts and introduce factual errors. It is obvious to me that Mark was writing 'freeform' and due to human error two erroneous facts are found in the passage above. The incident referred to is related in the book of 1 Samuel, and in the passage that follows the italics indicate the relevant facts:
"Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no one with you?" And David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has charged me with a matter ... Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here." And the priest answered David, "I have no common bread at hand, but there is holy bread." (1 Samuel Chapter 21 verse 1)
The name of the priest was Ahimelech, not Abiathar, and while Mark points out that after David ate the forbidden bread he "also gave it to those who were with him" in the original story it explicitly states that David was alone "and no one is with you." (How embarrassing.) By the way, I am not judging Mark for his all to human error, for I have done similar things myself.
Corn does not have to be picked on the Sabbath. If one was unconcerned about the Sabbath, but wished to show respect for the traditionally religious, a person could, for example, make a point of picking all corn on the day before or the day after, thus avoiding controversy. However, as Mark's story goes on to insist, Joshua was deliberately provocative, and on such a matter as the holiness of the Sabbath, of all things. After all, they were 'watching him' knowing full well that he would 'profane the Sabbath' and he certainly knew they were watching. And the Sabbath law was 'permanent' which was what one would expect since it was of 'divine origin.' If a man could be put to death for gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath, then certainly corn pickers and healers were guilty enough to die, especially when they were being provocative and flirting with death."
The Gospel of John picks up on this theme and is even more explicit. Joshua healed on the Sabbath.
"Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father." (John Chapter 9 verse 16, John Chapter 5 verse 18)
This theme is picked up in the book of Romans.
"One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for YAHWEH." (Romans Chapter 14 verse 5)
It is common to find in the law books the phrase "this law must be obeyed forever."
"It shall be a perpetual statute throughout all generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood." (Leviticus Chapter 3 verse 17)
It turns out that this ordinance was another that was rejected by Joshua, according to the gospels.
"For the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'" Immediately he turned to the people and said to them, "Hear and understand: It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person." Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain the parable to us." And he said, "Are you as dull as the rest? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts." (Matthew Chapter 15 verse 6)
This incident is appears in Mark's gospel as well. Indeed, it is a common refrain in Mark's gospel that Joshua broke the 'Law of God' again and again, and each time Mark writes, "and they began plotting to kill him."
"How right Isaiah was when he prophesied concerning you, saying, 'this people pays me lip service, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain, for they teach as doctrines the commandments of men.' You neglect the commandments of God, in order to maintain your human traditions. How clever you are at setting aside the commandment of God in order to maintain your traditions...In this way by your traditions, handed down among you, you make God's word null and void. And you do many other things just like that. After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He *said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)" (Mark Chapter 7 verse 6)
In this passage then to follow the food laws showed that one was 'lacking in understanding' and merely following a human tradition. By the way, such a doctrine should be obvious and the only reason, for example, a rabbit could become an 'unclean animal' is if it were found mentioned as such in what is purported to be 'the law of Moses, given by God on Sinai'. There is nothing in human reason to make one think that a rabbit is in and of itself unclean. The reference to the passage in Isaiah referring to 'human commandments' is set beside the condemnation of laws about food and ritual washing to make the point these laws, though they were found in the Torah, were actually human commandments and human traditions. In Isaiah we also find a condemnation of religious rote, and rule after rule (a little taken from here, a little taken from there, rule after rule) as a form of worship, which, when understood in the context of the teachings of the prophets, is obviously, once again, a condemnation of the law books, in this instance combined with an explicit mockery of the religious authorities of his day.
"To whom would He teach knowledge, And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? "For He says, ‘rule on rule, rule on rule, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’" Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen. So the word of YAHWEH to them will be, "rule on rule, rule on rule, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there," That they may go and stumble backward, be broken, snared and taken captive. Therefore, hear the word of YAHWEH, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception."Therefore thus says YAHWEH GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level; Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place. Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you become its trampling place. As often as it passes through, it will seize you; For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means. The bed is too short on which to stretch out, And the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in. For YAHWEH will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon, To do His task, His unusual task, And to work His work, His extraordinary work. And now do not carry on as scoffers, Or your fetters will be made stronger." (Isaiah Chapter 28 verse 9)
The following list rules regarding ‘unclean' (prohibited) foods is found in the books of the law:
"You shall not eat any abominable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, (etc.) Every animal that parts the hoof and has the hoof cloven in two, and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cloven you shall not eat these .. because they chew the cud but do not part the hoof, are unclean for you. And the swine, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. (Etc.)" (Deuteronomy Chapter 14 verse 3)
One of the letters of Paul picks up on the theme of the two gospel writers in summary form:
"Everything I know about Messiah Joshua convinces me that nothing in itself is unclean (prohibited); but only if someone gets the idea into their heads that a thing is unclean' (prohibited) then for them it becomes unclean." (Romans Chapter 14 verse 14)
The idea is expressed again in the epistles, but this time in more radical form. You will notice in the following passages that 'the demands of the law books' are considered the work of 'powers in high places' and are even equated with 'elemental spirits' (some sort of demon), and, as in the gospels and in the prophet Isaiah, the specific laws being referred to are called 'human commandments.'.
"Having canceled the law which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a commandments. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human commandments and doctrines? ... Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Colossians Chapter 2 verse 14)
The book of Colossians is written in a style of Greek totally unlike that of Paul (as recorded in Romans and Galatians, two letters that use the same vocabulary and terminology, and are unique in this way in the New Testament). It was common practice during New Testament times to write 'pseudepigraphical' works in the name of a teacher, with the goal being to summarize the teachings and thought of the person being emulated. This practice was common among the Greeks and the early church as well, and did not carry with it the negative connotations such practices would have today. The author of Colossians borrowed his terminology from the book of Galatians (elemental spirits, etc.)
"So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years! I am afraid I have labored over you in vain." "Everything I know about Messiah Joshua convinces me that nothing in itself is unclean (prohibited); but only if someone gets the idea into their heads that a thing is unclean' (prohibited) then for them it becomes unclean." "To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith ...Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained." (Galatians 4:3, Romans 14:14, Philippians 3:1, 13)
The Torah law was a subject of hot debate within the early church, and both Joshua's rejection of the Torah regulations and the teaching of the prophets on the matter are echoed in these passages. In the following passages the dispute appears to center around 'clean and unclean' regulations. The 'Cretans' were apparently teaching an opposing doctrine, and are roundly condemned (and this passage is the source of the popular appellation that states that someone is a 'cretin' if they are stupid or foolish.)
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it. For there are many insubordinate men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially the circumcision party; they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, instead of giving heed to Jewish myths or to commands of men who reject the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed. But as for you, teach what befits sound doctrine ... The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned." "If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth." "As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith; whereas the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith. Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions ... hold faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith." "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, but especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things." "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their teaching will eat its way like gangrene." "They hold the form of religion but deny the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all YAHWEH rescued me. Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (Titus Chapter 1 verse 8, Titus Chapter 3 verse 8; 1 Timothy Chapter 6 verse 3, 1 Timothy Chapter 1 verses 3, 19; 1 Timothy Chapter 4 verse 1; 2 Timothy Chapter 2 verse 15, 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 5)
As these letters record, the church was involved in a struggle with those who either accepted or rejected the prophetic tradition and the traditions handed down about Christ which rejected the Torah and its regulations. The Church Testament is not a cohesive whole, any more than the rest of the Bible, and it is the case that while Paul, the Gospel of Mark, and the followers of these traditions had much of their material preserved, a counter tradition upholding the Torah, and nullifying Paul and Christ and the prophets on this matter is also preserved in the Church Testament, and will not be considered here.
(The Gospel of Luke purges all anti-Torah references from the earlier gospels, the book of Acts purges and cleanses Paul on the matter, and the book of Hebrews also purges the teachings of the prophets on this subject. These works belong to a separate tradition and are reactionary in nature.)
According to the Church Testament writers, those who wrote in the Pauline tradition, and followed the tenets laid out in the gospel of Mark, there were quarrelsome, dogmatic types who insisted on the divine nature of the law of Moses (and no doubt would have had to have made an argument in favor of 'the infallibility of the Bible' to support this position' - as the writers noted they were always quarrelling with people about words, a practice which only ruined everyone's faith). This conduct was not confined to certain schismatics, however, as Paul testifies in describing the hypocrisy of Peter.
Note, first, that a contradictory and cleansed version of this event Paul describes in Galatians appears in the book of Acts.
For example, in Acts, Paul humbly agrees to perform the Torah rites, and consents to having Timothy circumcised, and graciously gives way to the authority of Peter, and acknowledges that 'Peter was sent to the Gentiles', when in Galatians it was agreed that 'Peter was sent to the Jews', both statements conflicting with doctrines in Acts, which seem to be in line with the emerging doctrine of "Peter as the first pope', and in sharp contradiction to the version of events given in Galatians, among other contradictions present in the Acts version of the life of Paul). Paul begins by referring to the controversy stirred up by those holding to 'the divine status of the Law of Moses,' and the demands they were making on the early church, saying,
"But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek." (Galatians Chapter 2 verse 3)
He then points out how previously Peter and the group around in him in Jerusalem had been following the traditions of Joshua, and no longer 'living like Jews' but then had hypocritically caved in to the demands of the Torah crowd. He reminds everyone that the Torah demands had been 'torn down' and to build them back up again makes one a sinner, not keeping them, and that to turn back again is a demonstration of lack of faith in Christ (and further insists that to uphold the Torah is then to suggest that Christ promotes sin in that he promoted turning from the Torah regulations, suggesting then after this that to keep the Torah is the sin not faith in Christ on the matter)
"But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God." (Galatians Chapter 2 verse 11)
Paul's letter is addressed to the Galatians, and after reminding them of how he opposed Peter and the church in Jerusalem, he then notes that the same thing was going on the Galatian church. He reminds the church that Christ was crucified for his resistance, and he reminds them that God had already blessed them for having faith in Christ on this matter, so what ever made them decide to turn aside to falsehood (the falsehood in this case is the doctrine that the 'the bible is infallible' and thus 'the law of Moses was written by Moses, and is eternal and binding'.) He next employs a metaphor of slavery (to the Torah and the elemental spirits, and compares this to freedom through having faith in Christ on the matter). He then reminds them that those who are trying to get them to keep the law of Moses are only doing so in order that they can escape the kind of persecution that Joshua endured (for being 'heretics').
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain? —if it really is in vain. Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Thus Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham." "I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married." Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? "Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman." So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in YAHWEH that you will take no other view than mine; and he who is troubling you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!" "It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God." (Galatians Chapter 3 verses 1, 20, Galatians Chapter 6 verse 12)
The belief that Moses was not the author of the Torah, and that the Bible was never 'infallible' is (ironically) one of the traditions that compose the Bible itself. It weaves its way through the Bible, in the books of the prophets, in the gospels, and in the letters that compose the Church Testament. It is not a novelty, nor is it a 'heresy' but as the record indicates, believing that the Bible WAS NOT infallible was one of the (hotly contested) core doctrines of the very earliest church. To silence these voices is to support a position that cannot be supported (it is easy to demonstrate that the Bible is both fallible and errant). While such zealotry might carry a superficial gloss of piety, as the earlier writers noticed, such quarrelling over words RUINS PEOPLE'S FAITH, and in this case it would seem that the best way to honor the Bible, and to treat it with reverence, is to acknowledge the ideological conflicts in its pages, something that is never done by either those who claim to be defending the Bible (by 'proving' it is 'inerrant') or by those who attack the Bible (who never treat the diverse voices on its pages with any sort of respect, but, then, this is not their goal, and so why should they). To restate Paul's argument on this matter, the righteous will live by faith, and it is ironic that in the context in which he says this, what he is really saying is that the righteous will live by faith (in Joshua, in the prophets) and will believe that the Bible is not infallible, it is not inerrant, and that Moses did not compose the Torah.
Bible passages Moses could not have wrote
The law books contain clues that indicate that the five books we have today could not have been written by a single individual (Moses, or otherwise). Who wrote the Bible? If Moses wrote a book, it would not be the first five books we find in the Bible. Moses wrote the book of the law in one night and read it the next morning. (Exodus Chapter 24 verse 4) One could argue that he was a fast writer. However, we are also told that the entire law code was carved into the sides of a single altar, and it is hard to imagine five books carved into the side of a single altar. (Deuteronomy Chapter 27, Joshua Chapter 8 verse 37). Moses is referred to in the second person. We are told, 'this was a whole offering, as YAHWEH had commanded Moses,' and, 'Moses died and was buried,' excluding Moses as the author, and 'Moses was the humblest man who ever lived,' also excluding Moses as the author, if we assume that he was truly ‘the humblest man whoever lived.'
A long list of Kings of Edom who reigned in centuries after the death of Moses is found in Genesis Chapter 36 verse 31. Place names are referred to that did not exist until long after the death of Moses. In Genesis, Abraham went to Dan, a place name given long after Joshua. The tribe of Dan migrated to the northern most part of the country and took over some land, which they then renamed.
"The Danites came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and burned the city with fire. And there was no deliverer ... They rebuilt the city, and dwelt in it. They named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first." (Judges Chapter 18 verse 27)
In the Genesis account Abraham goes to the city of Dan in Genesis chapter 14, but ‘Dan' is not born until a later chapter, which takes place after the death of Abraham.
"When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan." (Genesis Chapter 14 verse 14)
"Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age." (Genesis Chapter 25 verse 8)
"Then Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son"; therefore she called his name Dan." (Genesis Chapter 30 verse 6)
One way in which an attempt is made to ‘harmonize' these (futuristic) inconsistencies and account for the past tense, disposing of the evidence in favor of a false traditional doctrine, is to insist that ‘Moses was a prophet'. This is the methodology of ‘divide and conquer.' An attempt is made to ignore the mass of evidence and then attempt to ‘harmonize' a single passage, as though it stood in isolation from the rest of the Bible. The weight of the evidence demonstrates conclusively the contradictory nature of the Bible, and the preponderance of evidence also lays to rest the suggestion that the first five books were ‘a single source, penned by Moses on the mountain, as dictated by God.' As Spinoza concluded, "it is clearer than the sun at noonday that Moses did not author the Pentateuch," which should be obvious on considering these matters.