In 2 Cor. 6:14-16 Paul called upon his congregation to separate itself from unbelievers. He contrasted good and evil as Christ and Belial which means worthlessness in Hebrew. His quotations here are from Leviticus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Samuel. The verses he used have a two-fold message in their original context

I will be their God and they will be My people.

(LEV 26:12, JER 32:38, EZEK 37:27, similar in 2 SAM 7:14)


Come out from among them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.

(Isaiah 52:11)

The assurance in the first phrase was given to Israel while the nation was wandering in the desert and again when settled in is own land. The advice in the second message was to leave Babylonia and is heathenism and return to Judea.

The exhortations were addressed to, and only to, the people of Israel. They were not directed to Gentiles. More importantly, they do not apply to any people being urged or willing to accept another deity. Paul was speaking or writing to Gentiles in Corinth, Greece.

Answer for yourself: Considering the above Scriptures, don’t you find it amusing to think of Paul warning his Gentile parishioners not to touch anything unclean after having told them that everything was permissible (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23) and having ridiculed the Law which made distinctions between clean and unclean, between the permitted and the forbidden?

The real message Paul was sending in his letters to the Corinthians and the Galatians was to separate themselves from a group which had become a serious threat to him because they were exposing his false teachings for what they were…lies based upon false pride. The Biblically illiterate Gentiles of Asia became easy pickings for Paul. It was these Gentiles who had learned about Judaism in the synagogues and felt an affinity to monotheism. Most had not accepted all the precepts of Judaism but were sympathetic to its principles. Paul found them a ready-made community to proselytize and had converted many of them to his faith. Then Paul discovered that many of his converts were reverting back to Judaism or Jewish practices. They and the Jewish-Christian missionaries who returned them to the fold of the Torah were called “Judaizers.” The Judaizing Christians were a problem to Paul because converts remained Christians while insisting on following a Jewish style such as observing the Sabbath, celebrating Jewish festivals following dietary laws as mandated in the Torah for them. These “Judaizers” were a threat to Paul's efforts to indoctrinate his false beliefs and practices into his converts and followers.

Paul expressed his greatest animosity for Judaizer, pronouncing a curse on them, when just the opposite is true for those who add to or take away from the Word of God (Deut.. 4:2). But it is only by understanding the conflict between Paul and the Judaizers and his bitter resentment of them as competitors that we can appreciate his virulent attacks on the Torah and his use or misuse of quotations from it. The Law is the underpinning of Judaism; by condemning it and its advocates, Paul hoped to weaken both. This, then, is the background and motivation behind Paul's choice of Pentateuchal quotations. He literally took the law out of the Law and transformed it into a mockery of Moses' messages. Paul, or a later Pauline writer since chapter 3 of Galatians was not in the original Galatiains until after 180 A.D., launched a battery of Biblical citations in Gal. 3. The following paragraphs contain Paul's quotations, their original wording in Tanakh, and comments.

Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do every written in the book of the law" (Gal. 3:10).

Paul was saying in essence that once a person became a Jew and agreed to try to live according to the Law, he incurred the wrath and curses of God if he failed to uphold every statute.

On the other hand, Paul inferred, if one did not take himself the obligation of living according to principles in Pentateuch, he was then free to violate them without penalty so long as he had faith.

Although Paul expressed another view later in the same letter (Gal. 5:19-21, 6:7-9), he nevertheless continued to propound the concept that the individual was not bound by any limitations provided, he professed the belief that Jesus is Christ.

So often I hear Christians say that the Jew cannot be “saved” without faith in Jesus because they do not obey the law perfectly, but to one’s amazement if they only knew a little about Judaism; … There is no hint in Rabbinic literature of a view such as the one Paul expressed, namely that one must achieve legal perfection through perfect obedience to the Law.

This neither corresponds to general rabbinic positions nor to those of any specific branch of the Pharisees such as the Shammaites who were considered stricter than others. “The Rabbis consistently passed up opportunities to require legal perfection.” Paul's version of Dt. 27:26 is predictably different from its original source, viz "Cursed is he will not uphold the words of this Law to do them.” It is important to know to what the phrase, 'the words of this Law,' refers. This is the last verse in the chapter and relates to commandments of a very serious nature. Mentioned in the previous verses. There is a series of imprecations against people who commit the following immoral acts: idolatry, dishonor of parents, removal of a neighbor’s landmark (theft of his land), inhumanity to the blind, injustice to the helpless (widowed, orphaned, and foreigner), incest and beastiality, murder, and bribery. Many of these offenses might never be discovered or judged in a law court. The Mosaic Law stated that God would judge the offenders and curse (punish) them for their wickedness. This, according to Torah, would be the fate of those who violated serious ethical laws, whether or not they expressed a belief in the Mosaic code.

Paul said in direct contradiction to the Deuteronomic phrase he cited that no one will be justified by the Law because "the righteous will live by faith." This is the same error he makes repeatedly as seen in the previous articles. We discussed this phrase from Habakkuk at the beginning of this series of articles. Of course no one will be justified by the Law or rather the Law will not justify any wanton and deliberate offender. On the contrary, the righteous Jew or Gentile will be justified by his good behavior which is his response to faith in God and His Word.

Immediately after Paul’s quote in Gal. 3 of the phrase in Deuteronomy with his anti-Torah interpretation, Paul will now do something he has not do often; he quotes correctly an Old Testament passage from Leviticus coupled with an explanation consistent with its meaning. He stated that the Law is not based on faith and illustrated this with Lev. 18:5:

You shall keep My statutes and ordinances and the man who does so shall live by them.”

It is a sad shame that he vacillates between these positions in his writings, and even sadder that the Christian Church as so ill-prepared their flocks that in reading the Bible they overlook such errors.

Answer for yourself: Are you now beginning to see the importance of studying your Hebrew Roots?