Rav Shaul, the Apostle Paul, made a pretty audacious statement in his first letter to the Corinthians he says,
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
We are to imitate him just as he imitates Yeshua! So, what exactly was Rav Shaul’s example? And, what were the ‘traditions?’
Good questions! Let’s just look at a few verses in the Book of Acts.
Did Rav Shaul keep the feasts?
We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days…..For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. 5:8
What day did Rav Shaul worship on?
and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. Acts 13:14
As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.
43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. Acts 13:42-44
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
And a dozen more similar references…
Did Rav Shaul offer sacrifices? (Understand, christendom doesn’t like this one and we must be careful to note that Yeshua is the perfect atoning sacrifice, but other sacrifices were not done away with and, at the time of Rav Shaul, could still be lawfully offered in Jerusalem, at the temple, by Levitical Priests. Scriptural support includes Hebrews 8:4 as well as Ezekiel 43-44, etc.)
Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. Acts 21:26
Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings; Acts 24:17
Did Rav Shaul keep the Torah?
James, to Paul about what actions to take to prove he (Paul) walked Torah: “…and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.” Acts 21:24b
…I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; Acts 24:14b
Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” Acts 25:8
If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death (IE breaking Torah), I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Acts 25:11
So, how DID Rav Shaul view himself?
“But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;” Acts 24:14
Even Rav Shaul’s accusers viewed him as leading a sect of Judaism. NOBODY thought he was starting some new religion. He was a Torah observant follower of Yeshua haMashiach!
What was Rav Shaul’s expectation of Gentiles who came into the faith?
For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Acts 15:21
Rav Shaul expected new believers to:
- learn Torah (Moses)
- in the synagogue
- on the Sabbath.
When Rav Shaul/the Apostle Paul exhorts us to follow him as he follows Messiah, is this what your pastor teaches?