Stronger faith = less obediece? Say, what?!?

In an online conversation a while back, a seminary educated (seemingly intelligent) individual, referring to Acts 21:20 said, “In the case of Acts 21 it was weaker brothers who were zealous for the Law.”

eve20apple1That statement stuck in my craw and settled in my ‘draft box’ to ferment…  If we take that simple statement and draw a corollary, it would say, ‘Brothers who are strong in the faith don’t concern themselves with obedience to the Law.’  Or, taking it to the next level we could say, ‘The stronger one’s faith is, the less Law they need to keep…’

So…  Just how strong does one’s faith need to be for, say, lying?  Stronger faith lets you steal as well? Still stronger you can…


I knew this sentiment, “weaker brothers were zealous for the Law,” a lie straight from the pit of hell, was in different corners of Christendom, but did not realize how pervasive until I started digging a little…

I have an IVP commentary on the Book of Acts written by one of my seminary professors, William J. Larkin, Jr., Ph.D.   Early, as I was coming to a full understand of our Father’s Ways, I pulled it off the shelf to scrutinize his treatment of various passages in Acts that I was seeing as having been flipped upside down by Christendom.  Acts 21:20 was one such passage.  Larkin says,

While it is easy to see how such implications might be drawn from Paul’s teaching of a law-free gospel, there is no evidence that Paul ever instructed Jewish Christians this way (Rom 2:25-30; Gal 5:6; 6:15). In fact, Paul was most scrupulous not to offend the conscience of the “weaker brother,” the Jewish Christian who maintained ancestral customs, and even went so far as to have Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:3; Rom 14:1–15:13).

You get that?  Circumcising Timothy was an ‘ancestral custom!!’  (I think I’m getting sick.)  sick on plane

Of course, he trots out the demonstrably fallacious ‘civil, ceremonial and moral law’ divisions that I’ve written about before.

Now, lest you think I have taken it out of context, we are blessed to have the whole book available online!!  Notice that he never addresses the very clear statement at the end of verse 24 that says, James speaking to Paul,

but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.

According to Larkin, ‘zealous for the Law’ = ‘weaker brother.’

Hoping to NOT find more of this sentiment I read some C. E. B. Cranfield and will come back to that, because he pleasantly surprised me…  until….

First, another online resource that demonstrates the gravity and pervasiveness of this undermining of obedience is at our finger tips!!  Bible Hub, a supposed quality resource, has these quotes from commentaries on its Acts 21:20 page:

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary: … James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem, asked Paul to gratify the believing Jews, by some compliance with the ceremonial law. They thought it was prudent in him to conform thus far. It was great weakness to be so fond of the shadows, when the substance was come. The religion Paul preached, tended not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. He preached Christ, the end of the law for righteousness, and repentance and faith, in which we are to make great use of the law. The weakness and evil of the human heart strongly appear, when we consider how many, even of the disciples of Christ, had not due regard to the most eminent minister that even lived. Not the excellence of his character, nor the success with which God blessed his labours, could gain their esteem and affection, seeing that he did not render the same respect as themselves to mere ceremonial observances

Pulpit Commentary: … All zealous for the Law. This is a remarkable testimony to the unanimity of the Christian Jews in their attachment to the Law of Moses, and throws light upon the Epistle to the Galatians and many other passages in St. Paul’s Epistles. It explains the great difficulty experienced in the early Church in dealing with converts from Judaism.Zealous (ζηλωταὶ). So the fierce sect of Zealots were called at the time of the Jewish wars (see Josephus, ‘ Bell. Jud.,’ 4. 6:1, and elsewhere).

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible: … and they are all zealous of the law; of the law of Moses, of the ceremonial law, as Paul might see by their being at Jerusalem, to keep this feast; for though they believed in Jesus of Nazareth as the true Messiah, yet they had not light enough to see, that he was the sum and substance of all the ceremonies of the law, and that they all ended in him; and therefore were zealous in the observance of them, and could not bear to hear of their abrogation.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: … And they are all zealous of the law – They still observe the Law of Moses. The reference here is to the law respecting circumcision, sacrifices, distinctions of meats and days, festivals, etc. It may seem remarkable that they should still continue to observe those rites, since it was the manifest design of Christianity to abolish them. But we are to remember: (1) That those rites had been appointed by God, and that they were trained to their observance.  (2) that the apostles conformed to them while they remained at Jerusalem, and did not deem it best to set themselves violently against them, Acts 3:1; Luke 24:53.  (3) that the question about their observance had never been agitated at Jerusalem. It was only among the Gentile converts that the question had risen, and there it must arise, for if they were to be observed, they must have been imposed upon them by authority.  (4) the decision of the council Acts 15 related only to the Gentile converts. It did not touch the question whether those rites were to be observed by the Jewish converts.  (5) it was to be presumed that as the Christian religion became better understood – that as its large, free, and catholic nature became more and more developed, the special institutions of Moses would be laid aside of course, without agitation and without tumult. Had the question been agitated at Jerusalem, it would have excited tenfold opposition to Christianity, and would have rent the Christian church into factions, and greatly retarded the advance of the Christian doctrine. We are to remember also:….

Yaddaa, yadda, yech!!

Yep…  there are more.  Enough to demonstrate the utter contempt Christendom has for the Law of God, Jews, and the very context for right understanding of Scripture, statements to the contrary not withstanding.  Makes me ill.  (Now you know why I can’t even read most commentaries!  Many parts are undiluted poison.)

Notice the presupposed idea that ‘Jesus’ came to establish some new religion!  Further, pay attention to the contempt for Jews and their love of God’s Law!

I guess the ‘well educated indoctrinated’ pastor quoted in the opening paragraph was only parroting what he had been taught…  Why think if you don’t have to!

In his two volume International Critical Commentary on Romans, C. E. B. Cranfield has an interesting comment about Acts 21:20 and zeal in his notes on Romans 10:2 (Volume 2, pg.514).  He says,

Such zeal for God is the hallmark of orthodox Judaism in every century.  ‘Every page of Rabbinic literature’, observes Billerbeck, ‘reminds one of this word of the apostle.’  Both ζῆλον and Θεοῦ are emphatic and important here.  Their zeal is a zeal for God.  It has no heathen fanaticism of an empty ideology, but zeal for the true God…. There is no support here for any patronizing superciliousness on the part of Christians,  Indeed orthodox Judaism puts much that passes for Christianity , and even much true Christianity, to shame both in respect of the seriousness of its zeal and by the fact that its zeal is really zeal for God.

Sounds good, right?  Defending the zeal of the Jews in their observance of God and HIS Law.  Well…  some pages later (694-695) in his discussion of Romans 14 and the weaker brother Cranfield determines that,

…weakness of the weak consisted in a continuing concern with literal obedience of the ceremonial part of the OT law… the weak, while neither thinking they were putting God in their debt by their obedience nor yet deliberately trying to force all other Christians to conform to their pattern, felt that, as far as they themselves were concerned, they could not with a clear conscience give up the observance of such requirements of the law as the distinction between clean and unclean foods, the avoidance of blood, the keeping of the Sabbath and the other special days.

Yeah, I guess these guys simply cannot understand what עוֹלָ֔ם , olam means.  To understand that word is to destroy their replacement religion.  But, I digress.

In my opening statement I quote a pastor as having said,  “In the case of Acts 21 it was weaker brothers who were zealous for the Law.”  I wonder if he thinks David, King of Israel was weak in faith.  Maybe Moses was weak in faith?  How about the apostles?  Were they weak in faith?  (See my MANY posts revealing that Paul ALWAYS kept the whole Law!)  And, the biggie…  Yeshua’s faith was the weakest of all, because He kept the Law perfectly!!

Wow.  Just boggles the mind at that level of twistedness to warp Scripture into that pretzel…  Truly, sad!

To my readers, GET. OUT. OF. BABYLON!  Return to the ancient paths, where the good way is and you will find rest unto your souls!  (Jeremiah 6:16-19)  Yeshua our Mediator has made a way through His blood sacrifice to allow us back into covenant!  Let us not be sidetracked or blinded by the false religious systems of men…  Judaism OR Christianity.  Rather, find and walk in The Way.  (Acts 24:14)

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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14 Responses to Stronger faith = less obediece? Say, what?!?

  1. Connie E says:

    AMEIN! AMEIN! and AMEIN!!!! Parrots and Puppets!!!! Men and women who can not think for themselves! Who twist and distort Yah’s Truth to fit their own mindset to justify DISOBEDIECE and DISDAIN for His True Kadosh Word and nullify Y’shua’s wonderful work on that stake. Then train others likewise. How sad! Marcion or worse.

    There is not enough time or room to write all the things which came to my mind. So I will just give a picture of what came to me. Chickens in a wire cage, confined, only given to eat what their area allowed them or what was given too them. (and you know with chickens there is a pecking order-they keep each other in line with who’s top dog-they know where they belong-woe be if they try to get out of that order-the whole group will attack-but sometimes one will find a way of escape-they know DON’T GO BACK THERE!) FREEDOM!!! Isn’t that the truth!

    They think they have freedom, but truly is bondage. They think we have gone back into bondage, but we truly have freedom. WOW!

    Men thinking they have become wise have made themselves fools.

    Personally, I am going to stick with the whole Book. I’ll continue to read and accept it all in its simplicity of Truth and stay away from all this contorted stuff that says I/we don’t need it. I like the Proverbs that teaches me Wisdom (for the rest of the Book and how to conduct my life) and I will regularly read Ps. 119 that shows me what Love My Father has for us by giving us His wonderful Torah (Instructions not law) that He says is LIFE (not death). And as David says ‘How wonderful is Your Torah’. I would challenge any one to read a chapter of Proverbs a day and Ps. 119 regularly and BELIEVE what they read and them come back and say their view of Y’shua, Paul, James, Peter, etc says the same things as these commentaries are saying. If they don’t change their thinking and life then their head is buried too far into the sand!

    And that was only a start. Sorry I got on my soapbox. Sometimes it is like ‘fire shut up In my bones’ and I have to let it out. I pray the fire never goes out. But this only keeps the fire fueled and ready to blaze. Keep it up Dear Brother. TILL THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS. May Abba open doors that we don’t even know about. May He be Glorified and the Wonderful Name of Yahshua be proclaimed.

    AMEIN! and AMEIN! again. Be blessed.


    • Pete Rambo says:

      Thank you sis!! I feel that fire, too!!

      Chickens. Great illustration. Was picturing the wired pen we had at our previous residence… Worked well as it was wired top and bottom! They stripped the round bare and would fight for the strands of grass around the edge, but never think they were ‘caged.’

      How much healthier and tastier the eggs from our free ranging grass-fed birds. And they KNEW when they were penned!

      May Yah loose the bonds of those trapped in religious pens!!


  2. Roger Williams says:

    And this is only one specific point. I agree with your assessment of not reading commentaries. One must be careful with anything extra-biblical, even from the Orthodox Rabbis. Everything should be run through the filter of the Holy Spirit. However, an historical understanding of the culture of the time of Paul’s writings and the Hebrew idioms used in his writings is paramount to understanding the biblical text. This understanding, in general, is not part of Christendom, mostly, due to wanton ignorance and attributable to the pervasive Antisemitism in the majority of the Protestant Denominations as set forth by their founders. So, the middle ground is Yeshua and the Church as it was set forth by him. Today, they are the Messianic. But, beware, the Messianic is messy; the Messianic also runs the gambit from one extreme to the other. I very much agree with your final statement; “find and walk in The Way”. For any of us that have come out of the Church, that requires a desire to rid ourselves of the pervasive ignorance via the brainwashing by the seminarians in the pulpits, but, that requires time, of which, most in our society today have little. Many of us pray for wisdom, but wisdom comes from the internalization of truth, not ignorance and the displacement of ignorance with truth takes time.

    Thanks, Pete, for your willingness to spend the time to help us in a true and proper understanding of scripture.


    • Pete Rambo says:

      Shalom and welcome, brother!!

      You are right! I picture this narrow road as having big ditches on each side… Christianity and Judaism. Both some good and a lot of bad. Neither religion wants it adherent in the middle way… having the testimony of Yeshua AND keeping the commandments of God! (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 15:3; 20:4!!)



      • Roger Williams says:

        The Middle Way……what a concept! From my perspective, it is shameful how far Mainstream Christianity in this country has wandered from the middle way. I think it more like a mountain ridge with a narrow path where those without the sure footing of Yeshua and the Law are on either side. However, the sides of the ridge are not so steep that, if desirous, one can climb out of ignorance of the valley and up to the path.


      • Pete Rambo says:

        That’s a nice way to put it… and, leads me to think of Him giving us hinds feet to climb upon the high places. Ps. 18:33; Hab. 3:19.



  3. hisloammi says:

    Yeah that does turn the stomach


    • Pete Rambo says:

      Spent another hour last night reviewing oterh notes I had written in the margins of this commentary… May have to write a bit more about other twists of Scripture.

      Rightly understanding Acts is so pivotal to rightly understanding the Torahkeeping Messianics who performed miracles and died as martyrs! What a great legacy and understanding we have lost and need to recapture!


  4. A letter I just sent to a “pastor” of a Big Building church. Message body:
    Pastor John [redacted],

    When a man that is honestly mistaken hears the truth, only one of the following will be true: He will either stop being mistaken, or he will stop being honest. — Unknown author. Quote found on a wall in a building of a Law keeper.

    Part one of the message is from Jeremiah 22.

    Jeremiah 22: 13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; [that] useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; 14 That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and [it is] cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.2 3 15 Shalt thou reign, because thou closest [thyself] in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, [and] then [it was] well with him? 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then [it was] well [with him: was] not this to know me? saith the LORD. 17 But thine eyes and thine heart [are] not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do [it].4 18 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, [saying], Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, [saying], Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! 19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

    Jeremiah 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

    Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

    Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

    Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

    Jeremiah 22:22 The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.

    Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

    Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

    (Luke 16:12 [KJV])

    And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

    (Luke 16:13 [KJV])
    No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.


    Your student told me that the law of God is done away with and nailed to the cross with Jesus. What kind of doctrine is that?

    He says, “The Bible says, but we teach”. I ask you, who is “we”?

    (Matt 15:8 [KJV])
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.

    (Matt 15:9 [KJV])
    But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

    (1Tim 4:1 [KJV]) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    (1Tim 4:2 [KJV])
    Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    (Matt 5:17 [KJV])
    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    (Matt 5:18 [KJV])
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    (Matt 5:19 [KJV])
    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    (Matt 5:20 [KJV])
    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.


  5. Please delete the header of my letter with the name. I cut and pasted too fast.


  6. Pingback: Christendom and the ‘Law-Free Gospel.’ IVPNT: Acts Pt. 1 | natsab

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