After noticing that my teachings significantly contrast with 119 Ministries’ teachings in many ways, a StandInFaith.org reader asked me to watch the eight-part Pauline Paradox video series and provide my perspective in response to their teachings.
119 Ministries is a YouTube teaching ministry from a Messianic (or Hebrew Roots) perspective. They teach that the law of Moses is still ‘the law of God’. Therefore, (they say) the law of Moses still applies to Christians today.
In this article, I provide a high-level, summary rebuttal to the Pauline Paradox videos.
Summary Response to the Pauline Paradox Series
The Purpose of the 8-part Video Series
119 Ministries says the purpose of their Pauline Paradox series is ‘To call the whole Body of the Messiah back to the whole Word of God.‘
By this, they mean that the Old Testament’s Mosaic law is still the law that Christians must obey today, and this is what they advocate in the entire video series. In Part 1 they introduce the series by asking,
“If the law of God has not changed, then how could so many people be wrong, and for so long?”
Then, for the next 7 videos, they argue that the Mosaic law still applies to YHWH’s believers (Christians) today.
This debate concerning the applicability of Mosaic law to Christians is not new. It’s the same conflict Stephen and Paul had, more than 1900 years ago, with those (Jews and Christians) who refused to believe that the New Covenant completely changed how we’re both saved and sanctified.
While I agree that we’re grafted into Israel, we’re in a new dispensation. It’s literally impossible for any Jew of Gentile on earth to live under the Mosaic law today. Even if we wanted to, we don’t have a tabernacle, Aaronic priesthood, and animal sacrifices. In the New Covenant, our Savior fulfills all these Mosaic types and shadows.
The Mosaic dispensation looked radically different than its predecessor, the patriarchal dispensation, which included Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The New Covenant is likewise radically different from its predecessor, the Mosaic covenant. YHWH doesn’t change, but His revelation to mankind evolves to fulfill His eonian plan. If we’re following YHWH’s Spirit we’ll change when he changes.
My disagreement with the Pauline Paradox teachings starts in the introduction with these statements:
- Their purpose was “To call the whole Body of the Messiah back to the whole Word of God.” I enthusiastically support calling the whole Body of the Messiah back to the whole Word of God–but not in the way they mean it.
- They open the series by asking, “If the law of God has not changed, then how could so many people be wrong, and for so long?” But the law of God (that’s applicable to disciples today) HAS changed, so this question is based on a false assumption.
Basically, 119 Ministries is saying the worldwide Church is in apostasy if we don’t live under Mosaic laws.
- Their first statement above assumes the Body of Christ (the worldwide Church) departed from ‘the whole’ Word of God.
- In the second statement, they assume the applicable law for Christians has not changed, even though the New Testament clearly teaches the law has changed.
The Law Has Changed
Anyone who studies the New Testament with an unbiased mind will understand the law of God has changed as a result of our Savior’s finished work. For example,
Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on this basis the people received the law), why was there still need for another priest to appear—one in the order of Melchizedek and not in the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed as well…So the former commandment is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.Hebrews 7:11-12, 18-19
If anyone still doubts, the apostle Paul chides his spiritual children who would revert to legalism.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?
Are you so foolish? After starting in the Spirit, are you now finishing in the flesh? Have you suffered so much for nothing, if it really was for nothing? Does God lavish His Spirit on you and work miracles among you because you practice the law, or because you hear and believe?Galatians 3:1-5
Two Key Questions
- What is the Word of God?
- What ‘Law of God’ applies to Christians today?
What is the Word of God?
Many Messianic believers believe the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) is the Word of God, and all other Biblical books are subordinate to the Torah.
Just as I’ve heard ignorant Christian pastors teach the Old Testament is no longer applicable, some Messianics disparage the New Testament, referring to it as ‘the apostolic writings’. In fact, during a Sukkot conference in Oklahoma in 2018 I was gob-smacked when I heard Messianic teacher Monte Judah say the Book of Hebrews should be taken out of the Bible. People on both sides disparage (and disregard) the part of the Bible they don’t understand.
The Living Word
But, the Word of God is infinitely more than the written Torah. From before Genesis 1:1 until the end of the Book of Revelation, the Word of God is the living and eternal Son of God, Yeshua.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:1-5
Entering God’s Rest through the Living Word’s Ministry
Today, His disciples are entering His rest. Mosaic covenant believers weren’t able to do this because they were yet carnal. They weren’t born again by YHWH’s Spirit.
If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:8-13
The living Word is thus bringing us into perfection, and God’s rest.
The Law of Christ Superseded the Mosaic Law
The New Testament scriptures (especially Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews) plainly teach that the New Covenant’s Law of Christ superseded the Mosaic Covenant’s laws. Therefore, the overall message in the Pauline Paradox ‘misses the mark’, and believers who submit themselves to live under the Mosaic law will prevent themselves from progressing into perfection and God’s rest.
Ignorance Leads to Unbelief
The teachers in 119 Ministries seem to be diligent and sincere, but their teachings about the applicability of Mosaic law are poison for the faith of a Christian believer. 119 Ministries’ teachers are apparently ignorant of (or disbelieve) the radical changes that occurred with the implementation of the New Covenant. This ignorance results in unbelief, similar to Israel’s unbelief when they refused to enter the Promised Land.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.Hebrews 3:17-19 (KJV)
Likewise, unbelief will prevent us from entering God’s rest, our Promised Land.
Fundamentalism versus Spirit
Messianic 119 Ministries teachers are like many ‘fundamentalist’ Christians who disbelieve that God’s Spirit does supernatural works today. Fundamentalists don’t believe in supernatural ‘gifts of the Spirit’. As a result, their religion is bland, boring, and lifeless.
Below is a graphic illustration using God’s Tabernacle pattern. Fundamentalists choose to stay in the outer court, where the brazen altar and laver are. They refuse to enter into the Holy Place, where the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the incense of their praise and worship go into God’s presence.
So, what changed with the implementation of the New Covenant? What is 119 Ministries ignorant of? Simply this: the Law of Christ superseded the Mosaic Law.
The two links below provide explanations to define ‘the Law of Christ’ and prove that it superseded the Mosaic law for believers today.
- Hebrew4Christians article entitled, “Torah of Messiah…Are You Yeshua Observant?”
- Law of Christ article on this StandInFaith website
Detailed Responses to the Pauline Paradox Series
Below are the eight titles in the Pauline Paradox video series.
- Is the Majority Ever Wrong?
- The Paul You Never Knew
- Why is Paul So Difficult to Understand?
- Which Law Paul?
- The Pauline Paradox in Corinthians
- The Pauline Paradox in Romans
- The Pauline Paradox in Ephesians
- The Pauline Paradox in Galatians
I watched all 16.5 hours of the Pauline Paradox video series, taking 22 pages of notes in the process. I estimate it would take 2-3 full weeks of work for me to create 8 detailed responses addressing all 8 videos in the Pauline Paradox series.
To be honest, it was painful listening to these 8 videos, and I haven’t received a lot of responses to this post. So, instead of laboring on this topic further, I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you have concerning the truth or falsehood of any of the 119 Ministries’ teachings in this series. Simply put your questions in a comment under this article, or email me directly.