Contrary to popular belief, Yeshua (Jesus) did not bring a new "religion" into the world
The Refiner's Fire is constantly bombarded by e-mails from well-meaning (and some not-so-well-meaning) Christians who try to inform us that Messianic Jews and Gentiles are "under the law". They insist we are totally "off the mark" and promoting "works" because we don't seem to realize that "Jesus nailed it to the cross". (These people don't understand that, what has been "nailed to the cross" is our past SINS, not God's Torah/Divine Instructions in Righteousness!) He nailed our certificate of debt for breaking the Law to the cross - not His Torah. Some have even called Messianic Judaism a "doctrine of demons" - while others have actually threatened to look us up in order to do us physical harm because of our belief....
So, let's get Biblical!
People such as mentioned above obviously don't understand what Torah observance is all about. They don't seem to realize that Yeshua was the FINAL SIN SACRIFICE who came to abolish the man-made, "rabbinical" instructions that had people bound up and confused about what Yahweh (the Father) had actually said. He did not come to abolish God's original Divine Instructions (Torah - without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living - 1 John 3:4).
Yahweh gave us a new Covenant through Yeshua, not a new Torah! Torah has been around since the beginning, way before there were ever any "Jews". Cain and Abel knew to present animal sacrifices (Genesis 4); Noah knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals (Gen. 7:1-3). There we no "Jews" until Jacob gave birth to what was to become known as the Tribe of Judah - and yet EVERYONE up until that time who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was TORAH OBSERVANT....
Yeshua is the Living Torah who never, ever negated His Father's original teaching and instruction. Please read Torah made simple.
To help clarify this very important issue, we have compiled a list of questions every Christian should ask him/herself before sending irate e-mails to The Refiner's Fire. We ask that you read the following with an open mind; to verify in the Bible everything that is written here; and most of all, to push aside all malice and personal prejudices and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you:
PLEASE USE THE SCRIPTURES TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING:
(Try not to use personal interpretations or extra-Biblical, man-made writings)
- Was Jesus a Jew or a Gentile?
Answer: Yeshua was a Torah observant, tallit wearing, synagogue attending, Sabbath and feast-keeping, kosher Jew who observed the seven commanded holy days. Are today's Christians, for the most part, walking in Torah, keeping the Biblical feasts, or the seventh day Sabbath? (And please check your calendars to see that the 7th day falls on Saturday, not Sunday.) Various sects of Catholicism and many Christians denominations claim to be the "true religion" that Jesus established. Yet, modern day "Christianity" has very little in common with the founder of their "faith"....
- Why do Christians refer to the Jewish Messiah as "Jesus" when Yeshua was His given Hebrew name? It's not that hard to pronounce....
Answer: The Jewish Messiah's given name was Yeshua. "Jesus" is the Hellenized-Anglicized form of "Yeshua". "Jesus" doesn't mean anything, while Yeshua means "Salvation". Yeshua never heard the name "Jesus" in His lifetime. Some people have said that this is irrelevant, but our question is this: If your name is "John" or "Mary", why would you answer to "Charles" or "Betty"? Yes, Yeshua knows who we are talking about when we call Him "Jesus", but it's a lot more rewarding to call Him by His given Name - the name that has a meaning....
- Where in the Scriptures does Yahweh tell us to ignore the original, seventh day Sabbath - the day He Himself blessed and made holy (Gen 2:1-2)?
Answer: You won't find anything in the Scriptures that references the changing of the Sabbath to Sunday. Some argue that it's because "Jesus rose on a Sunday" - but you need to ask yourself: Why would that, in itself, change the seventh-day Sabbath that God ordained "in the beginning"? (First of all, please see our article which proves that Jesus did NOT rise on a Sunday!) Some argue that Constantine was responsible for changing the Sabbath because he hated the Jews.
No matter who instituted Sunday worship, in Yeshua's time, both Jews and Gentiles alike, regularly attended the synagogue for worship on the seventh day, and the fact that interested Gentiles in Antioch requested further instruction of Paul "on the next Sabbath" is irrefutable evidence that no separate Sunday (1st day) meetings were being held there by those early Christians: The Gentiles were willing to wait an entire week, till the next Saturday, for a meeting because they knew that Paul and his companions did not normally meet for worship on a Sunday. Acts 13:42-44 tells us that, on the next Sabbath (Saturday) almost the whole city arrived for the meeting.
Some insist that Acts 20:7 reveals Sunday worship, but this is not true. Fact is, Jewish believers in Yeshua continued meeting at synagogue (or the Temple) for Sabbath. Common practice would be havdallah - meeting in homes after sundown on Saturday to continue discussions and praise from the Sabbath, which explains Paul "preaching until midnight" in Acts 20:7. The first day of the week for Jews (like Paul) began at sundown at the end of the Sabbath - Saturday evening - not "Sunday."
Furthermore, the fact is, neither the Father nor the Son has ever claimed the first day as His own in any higher sense than He has each or any of the other laboring days. Neither of them has ever placed any blessing upon it, or attached any sanctity to it. The Bible tells us God expressly reserved the seventh day to Himself, placing His blessing upon it, and claimed it as His holy day. (Genesis 2:1-3.) Moses told Israel in the wilderness of Sin of the sixth day of the week, "Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." Exodus 16:23. (Please see The True Sabbath Day.)
- Christians insist that "the law" was abolished. How is that possible when sin is transgression of "the law"? When and by whom was it abolished? Certainly not by Yeshua! He said He came NOT to abolish but to confirm (Hebrew: koom which means "establish/confirm)". Why would Yeshua's role as FINAL SIN SACRIFICE in any way negate Torah - God's original teaching and instruction? Did He ever say, "I came to abolish Torah and render my original teachings void"? Yeshua is our "New Covenant" and "Sin Sacrifice". Period. God gave us a New Covenant, not a new Torah! Did He even mention Torah at all as He spoke about giving us a New Covenant (Jer.31:30-33/Heb.8:8-12)? You won't find anything in the Scriptures to show that Torah was ever abolished.
Yeshua said: Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. If "ALL" hasn't happened yet, and heaven and earth have not passed away, then that must mean that His Torah is still valid....
- Why do Christians insist that "the law" was "written on our hearts" (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Romans 10:4-8) but somehow, the "OT" no longer pertains to them?
Answer: Many Christians have decided that when God said, "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts" He meant that His original Torah (teachings) would be rendered null and void and that they would somehow "just know" right from wrong. But since we are born into sin, that is impossible! Until one actually studies and understands Torah, they can't possibly have His Torah "written on their hearts."
How many of today's people automatically know Yahweh's laws? NOBODY! How many actually keep his laws? If this were truly the case that God's laws were somehow imprinted in our hearts, there would be no adultery, divorce, murder, hate crimes, abortion, lying, stealing, coveting - things that many Christians are certainly guilty of....
Having "the law written on our hearts" means we now have the desire for Torah! The heart is the "seat of desire". Why? Because it is the battleground over which God and Satan fight continually. Allegiance comes from the heart; as do concepts such as honor, loyalty, and commitment. The heart sets apart greatness from merely "good". Without the heart no endeavor reflects the fact that we are created in the image of God.
- Since Yahweh said to celebrate the Biblical feasts FOREVER (Leviticus 23:21, 31, 41, Exodus 12:14), why do you believe He wants you to ignore them now, simply because His Son died on the cross? Has "forever" come and gone, or ended somehow?
Answer: No - "forever" has not come and gone. Torah observant believers celebrate the Biblical feasts because it is instructed by God in the Torah for Israel ("Israel" includes EVERYONE who accepts the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - see Numbers 15:13-16) to observe these festivals forever (Leviticus 23:21, 31, 41, Exodus 12:14). Messiah Yeshua observed these festivals as did the early Messianic Jews and apostles such as Rabbi Shaul/Apostle Paul (Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8, Acts 28:17). When Yeshua returns to this earth these festivals will be re-established worldwide (Zechariah 14:16-21). God has His appointed times! He does nothing without purpose. What makes us think we can simply ignore what He says?
Here's something to ponder. Yeshua has only fulfilled the first four of the seven Biblical feasts. If He fulfilled the first four, what makes you think He won't fulfill the last three? If everything goes according to God's Plan and the first four feasts have been fulfilled, then the next feast to be fulfilled is Rosh Hashana - the Feast of Trumpets: the "Rapture". Since Christians choose to believe the entire "OT" has been "nailed to the cross", then does this mean there won't be a "Rapture"? Why should there be, since you don't "believe" in the Biblical feasts....
- Did Rav Sha'ul (Apostle Paul) actually say that, since Yeshua's death, we can eat whatever we want, meaning there is no more "Kosher"?
1 Timothy 4: 1 The Spirit expressly states that in the acharit-hayamim some people will apostatize from the faith by paying attention to deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come from the hypocrisy of liars whose own consciences have been burned, as if with a red-hot branding iron. 3 They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods which God created to be eaten with thanksgiving by those who have come to trust and to know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing received with thanksgiving needs to be rejected, 5 because the word of God and prayer make it holy.
First of all we have to remember that Paul was talking to the Jews and Gentiles - who were KOSHER and adhering to God's "clean and unclean" laws. They wouldn't dream of going against what God said in Leviticus concerning what He considered to be food. (Although many prefer to think otherwise, Paul constantly confirmed Torah: Romans 3: 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law....)
Paul tried to warn people against doctrines of demons which twist God's Word. Every creature is good and not to be refused IF it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer (thanksgiving). The Word of God in Leviticus tells us what is holy and not holy. That is what Kosher means, because it comes from the same root as kodesh, meaning holy.
- Where in the Scriptures did Yeshua ever attend a "church"?
Answer: The Bible tells us that He attended "synagogues": Matthew 12:9, Matthew 13:54, Mark 1:21, Mark 1:29, Mark 3:1, Mark 6:2, Luke 4:16, Luke 4:20, Luke 4:28, Luke 4:38, Luke 6:6, Luke 7:5, John 6:59, John 12:42, John 18:20, Acts 13:14, Acts 13:42, Acts 14:1, Acts 18:4, Acts 18:26, Acts 19:8 to mention just a few....
Andrew Gabriel Roth's Aramaic English New Testament - translated directly from the original Aramaic into English - never mentions "church" but, rather, uses the words "congregation" or "community". This is a good place to mention that Messiah Yeshua was NOTHING like the modern New Testament representation that most Christian denominations have made Him into. The apostle Paul warned against what was already beginning to happen 1,900 years ago - the world had already embraced "ANOTHER JESUS", a totally different person from the One revealed in Scripture! Paul warned the Corinthian church:
II Corinthians 11: 2 For I am jealous for you with God's kind of jealousy; since I promised to present you as a pure virgin in marriage to your one husband, the Messiah; 3 and I fear that somehow your minds may be seduced away from simple and pure devotion to the Messiah, just as Havah (Eve) was deceived by the serpent and his craftiness. 4 For if someone comes and tells you about some other Yeshua than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received, or accept some so-called "good news" different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!
- If, as you believe, the Torah was "abolished" and the "Old Testament" is to be ignored - why are Christians still teaching the Ten Commandments or telling church members to tithe? Isn't it hypocritical to pick and choose what we want to believe of the "Old Testament?
Answer: The Ten Commandments appear in two places in the Bible: Both are in the "Old Testament" - Exodus, chapter 20; and in Deuteronomy, chapter 5. Neither version conveniently lists the commandments from one to ten, which is presumably how they would appear when posted. In the most commonly referenced passage, Exodus 20, the commandments cover 17 verses and encompass at least 14 imperatives. Concerning tithing, in the New Testament tithe and tithing are found eight times (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Hebrews 7:5-6,8-9). But all of these passages refer to the Old Testament usage "under the law!"
In view of the above, it seems that today's church pastors should never ask for tithes because, according to the Christian train of thought, tithes are "old testament".....
- Do the Scriptures command us to celebrate the birth or resurrection of the Messiah via Christmas and Easter? What's more, is it okay to lie to your children about the existence of Santa Claus and egg-laying rabbits? What do these things have to do with Yeshua's birth and death? For those who want to answer: "It's fun; it's tradition", then please check the Bible to see what God says about man-made traditions....
Answer: You won't find Christmas and Easter anywhere in the Bible. Those "holy days" were strictly man's idea - in the same way that Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, decided to offer a sacrifice with "unauthorized fire before the LORD," thus disobeying His instructions. For that, they were immediately consumed by God’s fire...So what makes us today think it's okay to "add or subtract" anything to the commands to keep His seven holy feast days? (Please see The Pagan Origins of Christmas and The Pagan Origins of Easter.)
What's more, it is NOT okay to lie to your children about the existence of Santa Claus and egg-laying rabbits. Lying is a sin! The Ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not lie. Can you honestly say that you've never said to your kids: "Santa Claus is coming soon to bring you toys, so you'd better be good!" or "Look! The Easter bunny brought you some colored eggs!" Is it okay to tell a "little" lie? Since when? Is human tradition worth the cost of making us guilty of sinning in God's eyes?
- When exactly did Gentiles come into faith, and how can they claim that THEIR "church" is the "original church that Jesus built" when none of them observe Torah, and MOST of them ignore the seventh day Sabbath and the Biblical feasts! Does YOUR church in any way resemble anything that Yeshua originally taught? Please check the Bible thoroughly before answering.
In the beginning, Gentiles were considered to be immoral heathens and Pagans because they worshipped every kind of "god" except Yahweh. But yet, it was always YWHW's will for the Gentile nations to receive His Salvation (Is. 49:6, 42:6). God told Abraham that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). Early Messianic Jews did not understand that this was God's will and proclaimed the Good News of the Messiah only to Jewish people. The controversy in the first century was not if it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua but whether Gentiles could be included without having to become Jewish. This was addressed by the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:1-31). (NOTE: Many people have misunderstood the proceedings at the Jerusalem Council to mean Gentiles were only required to perform certain acts - without realizing that Acts 15 is referring to man-made laws and not to the Torah itself!)
When the early Messianic Jews took the Good News of the Messiah to the Gentiles, a great number were brought into the Messianic faith. By the end of the first century A.D., the number of Gentile believers outnumbered the Jewish believers by a ratio of two to one! This occurred primarily because there were (and still are) more Gentiles in the world than Jewish people. Through the years, as the number of Gentile believers increased, they began to dominate this Messianic faith. Some Gentile believers, not understanding the Jewish roots of their faith and God's eternal covenant with Israel, wanted to split off and form a separate religion divorced from their Jewish roots (Romans 11:1-2). This "de-Judaizing process" continued until Gentile Christianity emerged as the dominant representative faith in the Messiah. In one of the greatest paradoxes in history, it became alien for a Jew to believe in Yeshua as his Messiah!
Yeshua said He came NOT to abolish but to fulfill/establish/confirm (Matthew 5:17). He also said that until all has been accomplished, and heaven and earth have passed away, not one "jot or tittle"/the smallest letter or stroke would disappear from the Torah (Matthew 5:18). Has ALL been accomplished yet? Have heaven and earth passed away yet? If not, why are you ignoring Torah?
Since Yeshua said He did NOT come to abolish Torah, we MUST adhere to Torah! The Bible clearly shows that Yeshua was a devout Jew who did not come to abolish the Torah of His Father and bring a new "religion"; but to magnify, establish, and confirm it! As we continue to read Matthew 5, verse 19 and 20 clench the previous two: 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
- The Bible in several places states that God's Word is FOREVER. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Did "forever" end at the beginning of the "New Testament"? Has "forever" come and gone?
Answer: Yahweh said His Word is FOREVER. "Forever" didn't end last Tuesday, so why are Christians negating His Torah NOW? "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). "As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the LORD, "from now and forever." (Also see Isaiah 59:21 and 1 Chronicles 16:15.)
"Forever" hasn't come unless "everything has happened that must happen" and "heaven and earth have passed away" (Rev.21:1). Has the heavenly Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) already come down from heaven to the earth (Rev.21:2)? Has Satan already been punished and cast into the lake of fire? (Rev.20:10.) Has the Great White Throne Judgment occurred already? (Rev.20:11-12.) Has Yeshua already returned and established the Kingdom of God (Rev. 10:1-7 and Rev.19:6, 11-16)?
- God said in Proverbs 4:2 - "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah (teaching, instruction, law)." What makes you think Jesus abolished that command?
God clearly told us NOT to ignore His teachings! The overwhelming decadence of today's world is clear evidence as to how much we have strayed from God's Word....
- Do you really believe that by ignoring Torah you are provoking the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11:11:12)? Do you think they're going to be jealous of the Christians who ignore the true Sabbath and the Biblical feasts, and ask the Jews to give up the first two-thirds of the Bible (which contain all of Yahweh's "forever" commands) and adhere to the last third only?
Answer: Christians have killed millions of Jews and been responsible for persecuting them in one way or another for centuries. And now you want to tell them that the God you borrowed from them - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - has come in the form of a man they are supposed to worship now, and who demands they throw away His Torah because Jesus' death on the cross automatically negated all of Yahweh's original teachings? You want them to believe they should throw out the original God-breathed Word and adhere to "New Testament" writings only? You want them to give up the idea of the original Sabbath and the Biblical feasts - the very feasts that Yeshua is STILL in the process of fulfilling??? (Please see Yeshua Has Fulfilled Only the First Four Feasts) and Jewish Holidays, in a Nutshell.
Please think about how you would feel if someone came and told you to throw Jesus out the window and start believing in some strange god that veered Yahweh's original Word! In order to win the heart of a Jew, you must first remember the correct Name of "Yeshua" who was Torah observant, and realize that the reason the Jews do not and cannot believe in your "Jesus" is because (1) Jesus was NOT the Torah observant Messiah who actually walked this earth; and (2) their "spiritual eyes" have not yet been opened to the Truth of Yeshua. Yahweh Himself will open their eyes in due time.
Yahweh warns us not to forsake His Torah. Since Yeshua said He didn't come to abolish Torah, we should be taking this VERY seriously! Yeshua didn't abolish - He tightened and strengthened God's original teaching and instruction! Take, for instance, the things He espoused in Matthew 5:
Matthew 5: 21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Matthew 5: 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Does this sound like someone who "abolished" God's original teaching and instruction?
Yeshua's intent was not to abolish or weaken or emasculate the Laws of Yahweh, revealed in the Old Testament, but to expand and magnify them to their full spiritual intent and conclusion; to show their full meaning, purpose, and relevance; to reveal their spiritual and supernatural nature and basis; to show that the commandments lead us by necessity to FAITH in him as the Messiah. We do not earn salvation by works, but by Faith in Yeshua the Messiah, who died for our sins, and who now gives us his spirit to enable us to fulfill the righteousness of the Law (Acts 2:38; 5:32; Gal.2:20). The Messiah did not replace the Law of Yahweh with Faith alone, but rather gave us inward Faith, through his spirit, to enable us to observe the holy commandments of God! Yet, with the advent of Christianity, the "Old Testament", along with God's original teaching and instruction, basically became null and void because they mistakingly think "Torah" equates to "law". BIG MISTAKE!....
The apostle Paul knew this truth and wrote to the believers in Rome: Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah (Romans 3:31). Not one "jot or tittle", was abolished from the Law of God.
Some have written to The Refiner's Fire to remind us that "animal sacrifices were abolished", and that they used to be part of "the law". To that, we say: "Because Yeshua was our final SIN Sacrifice and we don't have to do animal sacrifices anymore, how does that prove that the ENTIRE Torah was abolished? Yeshua abolished the need for animal sacrifices, and He came to abolish the "rabbinical" teachings of the time that had people so bound up in legalism, that they were afraid to get out of bed on the Sabbath because they feared that, with the effort of rising from bed, they might be guilty of "working". The teachings of the rabbis at the time had made the entire Torah a burden. Acts 21:20-24 tells us:
Acts 21: 20. And when they heard (it) they glorified Elohim. And they said to him: "Our brother, You see how many myriads there are in Judaea who have believed: and these are all zealous for Torah! 21. And it has been told them, of you, that you teach all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to depart from Moshe, by telling them not to circumcise their children, and not to observe the rites of Torah. 22. Now, because they have heard that you have arrived here, 23. do what we tell you. We have four men, who have vowed to purify themselves. 24. Take them, and go and purify yourself with them, and pay the expenses along with them, as they will shave their heads; that every one may know, that what is said against you is false, and that you fulfill and observe Torah. (AENT)
If Yeshua had abolished the "law", then why did the apostle Paul observe it with four other Church men in Yerushalayim 29 years AFTER the crucifixion of the Messiah?
What does this tell us about the true "religion" that Yeshua the Messiah proclaimed? What does it tell us about His true gospel? Paul wrote, Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if the Torah had not said, "Though shalt not covet." (Rom.7:7). He further added, So the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good. (verse 12). He went on to say that Yahweh's Law is spiritual (Rom.7:14) - and that which is spiritual is eternal. Paul also wrote, We concentrate not on what is seen but on what is not seen, since things seen are temporary, but things not seen are eternal. (II Cor.4:18). If the Laws of Yahweh were all abolished, as some believe, then Yeshua did away with what was clearly holy, righteous, good, and spiritual....
Those who teach contrary to the Torah, which Yeshua upheld - and Paul also taught - are false preachers and prophets. Paul wrote of them: II Corinthians 11: 13 The fact is that such men are pseudo-emissaries: they tell lies about their work and masquerade as emissaries of the Messiah. 14 There is nothing surprising in that, for the Adversary himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15 so it's no great thing if his workers masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will meet the end their deeds deserve.
So - is "the Law" still valid today? You bet it is! It is a standard for righteousness. Yeshua said that not one yod or tittle would pass away, and that those who love Him will keep His commandments. The Law is not for salvation, but for sanctification (being Holy). No one can keep the Law perfectly, but striving to live as Adonai commands brings us closer to His desire for our lives. Christians need to remember that, while God changed the Covenant, He never changed His Torah. Yeshua came to abolish the "rabbinical stuff", not GOD'S teachings. Messianic Judaism adheres to both, the "Old" and the "New" covenants. That does NOT make us weird or "off the mark" - nor does it make Messianic Judaism a "doctrine of demons" as many Christians suggest! We are merely OBEYING God according to what the Bible says.