A Discussion With Zachary Bauer of New 2 Torah(Pt. 5, HRM)
I am writing this post right after concluding my interaction with Zachary Bauer of New 2 Torah, a Hebrew Roots organization. Overall, I believe that the discussion went as well as it could with the amount of material we were trying to engage. It was a discussion, so there was no formal structure. I would encourage the reader of this post to view the discussion before reading this. You can see it here. I think there are points which need to be addressed and/or clarified. I feel as though I misspoke a couple different times and other times I clouded a few points I was trying to make. There are also things which Zach said that I didn’t have the time to address.
I didn’t feel that we spent enough time on this particular passage. It seems that Zach has changed his position concerning the interpretation of this portion of Scripture, but there are definite issues with what he posits. He claims that there is a New Covenant in order to remain consistent with the Scriptural language, but he suggests that the Covenant is not new in and of itself, but the newness of it results from the same Old Covenant merely being applied to a different people. I do not think that Biblical language allows for this and that this New Covenant is actually a New Covenant. I think that there is a special emphasis placed upon the Greek term for “new” when Christ Himself uses the term in Luke 22:20 and again when Paul quotes from Luke in 1 Corinthians 11:25. Paul himself then uses the term and continues to place the word for new (καινῆς) in the emphatic position.
The writer of Hebrews does not do this, καινῆς is placed after the word for Covenant (διαθήκης). However, there are still ways in which we can see the newness of the Covenant being established. Consider the language used in Hebrews 8:13 when it says, “And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (emphasis mine) Consider further the notion of a better Covenant in Hebrews 12:24. This does not say a better people or a better priesthood, but better word. (See also Heb. 7:22, “better covenant”) Furthermore, it uses the term “word” which suggests that this is referring to the entirety of the Old Covenant. In essence, the Old Covenant has run its course, perfectly as it was ordained to do, and now the New Covenant has been fully revealed and established in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Sabbath Change
Around 43:00 I failed to provide clarity as to what I meant regarding the change in the Sabbath. Zach says, “…but you’re saying Christianity says we can turn away from the Sabbath because Jesus rose on Sunday and that can be our new Sabbath.” I answer back simply, “Yeah..” I admit that this, even from my own perspective, muddies the waters. If I would have the opportunity to address that again I would have clarified that it was the symbol of the Sabbath which changed, not the principle substance which is never subject to alteration. Proceeding this I cite Hebrews 8 for my proof text of this substance, however, it is not Hebrews 8 which I meant to cite, but Hebrews 4.
Zachary then alludes to an allegation by stating that I am claiming that the Fourth Commandment is the only commandment out of the decalogue which has changed. Again, I answered with a simple “yes”. However, if I were to go back, I would have again clarified that the decalogue never changes in substance, not even the fourth commandment. But, it does change in symbol or the way in which it is observed. He then points out that I am being logically fallacious at which point I asked for the fallacy which he thought I was committing—he was unable to provide an answer. He then tries to state that I am claiming God changes as a result of this change in practical outworking of the Moral Law due to a covenantal discontinuity between Old and New. At this juncture I had to clarify the point I made earlier concerning the immutability of God.
The Greek of Mark 7:19
After I demonstrated that the Greek, in v. 19, translates in such a way that is contrary to Zach’s perception of it, he begins claiming that the “context is bread” not literally all foods. The problem he makes here is that he does not allow for a natural interpretation of the text. The chapter begins discourse concerning ceremonial hand washings which the disciples did not observe before they ate their bread (ἄρτους). (v. 2) However, the point of this passage was not the bread, but the man-made addendum of hand washing to God’s perfect (for the time in which it was designed) Law. Man-made doctrine plagued Israel in the first century, a concept which Jesus had a head on collision with for much of His earthly ministry.
What Zach does here is insist that, since bread is mentioned in the former portion of the chapter, it must then follow that bread is the entire underlying context of that particular chapter. Indeed, this is where his logic flows in a troublesome direction. This I see as a problem since there are many different points being communicated in this one chapter alone. In order to make His point, Jesus quotes the Fifth Commandment in v. 10 addressing a man-made statute which the religious leaders had attached to it. It is interesting that He addresses their misunderstanding of the decalogue, but seems to do away with ceremonial food laws which have nothing to do with the decalogue in vv. 18,19. Why is it that Jesus seemingly re-establishes the Fifth Commandment, yet following from the Pharisaical misunderstanding of the food laws, He “declared all foods clean”?
It is almost as if our Lord is pointing out the temporal nature of the ceremonial law. Furthermore, Zach clearly disagreed with my exegesis concerning the latter portion of v. 19. I would like to revisit this. Since Zach prefers the Textus Receptus I will work out of it here. Zach disagreed with this particular, common, translation:
(Thus he declared all foods clean.) (v. 19b)
The Greek in the Textus Receptus looks like this:
καθαρίζον πάντα τὰ βρώματα.
καθαρίζον also written as καθαρίζων in the Critical Text, denotes a present active participle. It is adjectival and because it is adjectival and not adverbial it cannot be translated the way Zach translates it (i.e. purging all meats). (See King James Version) The only way it could be translated that way is if it were adverbial. Furthermore, the term is a masculine allowing the insertion of the personal pronoun, He. Thus the most literal rendering of this passage in English would be, “Making all foods clean.” With the personal pronoun it would read something like, “He makes all foods clean.” The personal pronoun isn’t required in order to retain our interpretation since the context dictates the fact that this is direct discourse from Jesus. It is merely a useful insertion. There is absolutely no word here which allows for a notion of excretion into some sort of container (i.e. toilet, gutter, etc) as Zach suggested in our dialogue.
I would also like to suggest that the overwhelming evidence we have in the New Testament concerning the abrogation of food laws requires that we see those particular laws as nullified with the fulfillment of the New Covenant. Proof texts which seem to do this would be, not only Mark 7:19, but Matthew 5, Romans 14, Colossians 2:16 and elsewhere.
Note: In 48:00 I replied to Zach stating that the Greek does not translate to “bread”. However, I was referring to v. 19 while Zach was referring to v. 2. I was not intending to deny that v. 2 translates to bread, it most certainly does and I never contested that. Verse 19 translates to food, more specifically meats (βρώματα).
Second Note: Though not significant with respects to the subject-matter at hand, I expressed ignorance as to whether or not Bruce M. Metzger, author of the Textual Commentary I plugged in the discussion, was a Christian. Upon further research, I found that he indeed was. I apologize for this possible mischaracterization.
Hopefully this cleared up any misunderstandings one would have with what I sought to communicate. I also hope that this post solidifies the point I was trying to make with respects to Mark 7:19 and Zach’s misinterpretation thereof. There will be more on this discussion. Look for a podcast on www.DWIcast.com the next week on Wednesday or Thursday after the release of this post.