Rubel Shelly - Paul and Ritual Purification
Dr. Rubel Shelly's sermon at Woodmont Hills Family of God claims that Paul taking a vow was becoming like a Jew to win some Jews for Christ. This meant that he became all things to all people.
The full sermon by Dr. Rubel Shelly at Woodmont Hills Family of God may be read by clicking here for the faith matters article. However, you are going to miss the first rung on the ladder unless you take time to read the sermon and then read the rest of the story from the Bible.
In part two of this review we showed that Dr. Paul said just the opposite of Dr. Shelly. He said that he did not worship with the Jew and like the Jews to get some Jews to join his church.
Furthermore, he lumped the concision with dogs or homosexuals and therefore refuted Dr. Shelly's probably-sincere compassion for homosexuals with AIDS and for prostitutes.
Rubel Shelly concludes that:
"First, Paul wanted people to
know Christ so badly that he took the initiative to
know and be like others as much as possible.
And I know he worshiped with and even participated in ritual purifications with Jews long after he had left all that personally (Acts 21:20-26).
The goal of this sermon is to prove that instrumental music is a suitable way to become all things to all men in order to win some to Christ.
The proof-text implicates Paul in demonstrating this. For instance, he was a Christian but he could switch back to worshiping with and like the Jews to help convert Jews to Christianity.
However, Paul would never fall back into a religion of the flesh or outward man after becoming a Christian believer.
We bring forward the table from Dr. Shelly's proof-text which began in Philippians 3:4b in part two of this article. Paul actually began this chapter with verse one. In this passage he contrasts the worship of the religious Jews whose priesthood, like most ancient priesthoods, was highly contaminated with homosexuality.
They are the Jews who are grouped with "dogs" and "evil workers."
We are the ethnic Jews who worship God in the spirit or mind and not with the external rituals of the male prostitutes who co-ministered with the pagan prophetesses and prophetesses:
First Repudiation of Worshiping with and like the Jews:
The Religious Jews still practicing pagan fertility rituals with external music Click for More
FINALLY, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Philippians 3:1
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. Philippians 3:2
The National Jews who worship God in the Spirit or mind. Click for More
- For we are the circumcision,
- which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus,
and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
Repudiation of Worshiping with and like the Jews:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Philippians 3:8
Not like Dr. Shelly Says: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law,
But like Dr. Paul says: but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9
If Paul had been all things to all people in the ecumenical sense he might still be alive.
Proof-Text: Paul assisting men in taking a vow:
Now we have seen one of the many of Paul's condemnation of Jewish worship as not just outdated but something which God "added because of transgression."
Let's put the present proof-text together. Afterward, we will begin before Dr. Shelly's proof-text and we will continue where Dr. Shelly stopped in the middle of the rest of the story:
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: Acts 21:20
And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they
ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. Acts 21:21
What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Acts 21:22
Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Acts 21:23
Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing;
but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. Acts 21:24
As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Acts 21:25
Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. Acts 21:26
Now, let's back up to show that this was not to demonstrate Paul worshiping like and with the Jews.
Well! Guess what! This story had a beginning. Philip had four daughters who prophesied but they were not prophets (Acts 21:9) but they "prophesied" which was one of the signs Joel predicted where the young people would be prophesying in the sense of singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and speaking as prophets. You see, you can be false prophetesses and Ezekiel 13 condemned it as a sign. The clergy "children" piping to try to make Jesus sing and dance was a pagan form of prophesying and Jesus soundely condemned it. The sign would be a sign and not a method of preaching.
Instead, Agabus was sent to warn Paul that the experience in Jerusalem
was not to demonstrate ecumenical worship like and with the Jews.
The event was to bring about the prophecy that Paul would be bound and placed in the hands of the Romans.
If God wanted Dr. Shelly to misuse this event He would have had a mass meeting and conversion of Jews in Jerusalem. God did not and therefore the Scripture is handled carlessly and error is continued to justify decisions already made:
And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. Acts 21:10
And when he was come unto us, he took Pauls girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost,
So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21:11
And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Acts 21:12
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?
for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 21:13
Paul was not going to Jerusalem to "become a Jew" to gain the Jews for the Gospel. He had already turned from the Jews as unworthy of his effort. In his mind, he was going to Jerusalem to defend the name and authority of Jesus against the Jews so completely and uncompromisingly that he was ready to die.
Because the prophecy was that Paul would be taken captive,
the activities of James and the elders were providential in fulfilling that prophecy and not, in God's eyes, to prove that Paul worshiped with and like the Jews:
And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. Acts 21:17
And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. Acts 21:18
And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. Acts 21:19
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother,
how many thousands of Jews there are which believe;
and they are all zealous of the law: Acts 21:20
All of those seekers, Paul, but you have to become all things to these Jews. Why? Because, Paul, they are convinced that you reject circumcision and that is the thing which is losing so many thousands of converts. Surely it won't help if you stick to your principles. Just once, compromise. However, they are part of fulfilling God's prophecy through Agabus--and NOT Philip's daughters who prophesied in the poetic sense.
And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses,
saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. Acts 21:21
What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Acts 21:22
If as a Christian you make a VOW you should pay it. However, this would not give you authority to pollute the assembly with instruments. How do we know that? Because the Levitical Warrior Musicians who made panic noise and NOT music operated at the sacrificial altar and therefore musically mocked Jesus at the cross. Not one of them could enter the presence of the 'god' even in the vilest pagan temple. They served--meaning hard bongage--the priests to slaughter innocent animals as types of Lord Jesus Christ. Still, there was never any cleansing except of the FLESH.
Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Acts 21: 23
Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges [pay their expenses] with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing;
but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. Acts 21: 24
Note: purification is not worship. In many cultures one washed hands and feet before going into the temple grounds to worship. Therefore, Paul was not worshiping with and like the Jews.
James and the elders had been silent about circumcision for Jews when they answered specific questions which said:
As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Acts 21: 25
Paul knew what the preachers are not permitted to know after falling under the seduction of worshiping a Holy Spirit God by stimulating your own sexual senses with music:
In general the later legislation of the Rabbis was intended to discourage vows, on account of their frequent abuse (Nedar, i., iii., ix.). It was declared that only evil-doers bound themselves in this manner, while the pious gave of their own free-will. Where a vow affected the interests of others, every endeavour was to be made, to get him who had made it to seek absolution from its obligations, which might be had from one 'sage,' or from three persons, in the presence of him who had been affected by the vow. Further particulars are beyond our present scope.
All persons vowed unto the Lord had to be redeemed according to a certain scale; which, in the case of the poor, was to be so lowered as to bring it within reach of their means (Leviticus 27:2-8). *
* The Mishnah declares that this scale was only applicable, if express reference had been made to it in the vow; otherwise the price of redemption was, what the person would have fetched if sold in the market as a slave.
Can't you see the Holy Spirit working here? Let's do a test. Just compromise and they will love you. No, it is a fact that when you fellowship others to prove your judgmentalism that they are fine, they will wrestle your lambs away from you because you are weak shepherds and don't deserve them.
Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple,
to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification,
until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. Acts 21: 26
Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them
and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. Acts 21:26RSV
The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them.
Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end
and the offering would be made for each of them. Acts 21:26NIV
I have "purified" myself by taking off my shoes, putting on temple slippers and washing my hands in order to enter a Shinto temple. However, I did not go inside to worship with and like the Shintos (although I love the shrines with a quiet green tea)
In the same way, Paul purified himself and went inside (the outside) to simply tell the officials that after several days had been finished that "each of them" would make an offering.
This does not implicate Paul worshiping with and like the Jews because using Dr. Shelly's proof-texts we have shown that even as a ethnic Jew Paul would simply fall from grace if he continued to worship like the law of Moses prescribed.
What Happens When You Compromise.
Oh, saved from offering by the Seekers who always hate compromisers. Paul and the men were outside of the temple and they were still waiting for the ending of the prescribed time period:
And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Acts 21: 27
Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. Acts 21: 28
The next supernatural sign: those you try to "win" to your ways by following their ways will not be impressed: they will turn and rend you and carry out God's judgment against you:
(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) Acts 21: 29
And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. Acts 21: 30
And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar: Acts 21: 31
The only possible reason the Jewish "evangelists" hated Paul was because he rejected circumcision as a spiritual act even though he might have a Gentile circumcised to pacify the Jews.
As Paul was being rescued he wanted to speak to the people. He then spoke to them in Hebrew.
Paul told them that he had lived perfectly under the law as a Jew. He told about his trip to Damascus and his conversion to Jesus. He said nothing about circumcision or keeping the Law of Moses
which had been added because of transgression.
He told them that Jesus told him that baptism was His means of washing away sins -- not animal sacrifices. That is, being a good Jews he taught them the gospel rather than to "become all things to all men" to save his life:
And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. Acts 22:22
And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, Acts 22:23
The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. Acts 22:24
All Paul had to do was cry out: "I worship with and like the Jews" and he would have been saved.
These whom you are trying to affirm with hold you in such raw contempt that they will feel that they are doing God a service to steal your sheep as you willingly stand by and applaud. He is not laughing with you but AT you.
Paul brought out his Roman credentials and was on his way to Rome. Why? Because he listened to what was bad advice but for a providential purpose.
You can have all of the seeker services you wish but if you ever preach the true gospel they will more likely kill you than crown you.
Conclusions: In these two proof-texts we have Paul pretty tough on the priesthood and totally denying the claim that he was a seeker-friendly worshiper with the Jews.
On the contrary, Paul became nothing Jewish to gain the Jews but he preached the gospel.
In Part One: Dr. Shelly used 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 and claims: First, Paul wanted people to know Christ so badly that he took the initiative to know and be like others as much as possible.
We showed that this is not true and is not based on the whole context.
In Part Two: Dr. Shelly at Woodmont Hills Family of God has used Philippians 3 to prove that Paul worshiped with and like the Jews. However, we showed that Paul stated just the opposite and that the verses Dr. Shelly did not quote implicates Judaizers and homosexuals as those whom a believer should beware of.I.
In this Part Three: Dr. Rubel Shelly at Woodmont Hills Family of God used Acts 21:20-26 to prove that Paul worshiped with and like the Jews when he assisted several men in taking vows at the temple.
We have shown that this is not true. If this is not true then the misuse of Scriptural facts doubly removes the right of Dr. Shelly's church to add the "secular and sexual religious music of Rap and Rock."
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