Questioning Paul

Chapter 3

Part 5

Yaruwshalaim – Source of Reconciliation


While it may be a smaller issue among much bigger ones, the distinction between how Paul says he was treated versus Barnabas is revealing. Based upon the way Paul worded this, associating "the right" with him and "fellowship" with Barnabas, it would be inappropriate to suggest that the "right hand of fellowship was extended to Paul and Barnabas." And with this deliberate distinction, rendering dexias as "the right hand," when removed from "koinonia – fellowship," would be misleading. Therefore, we are left with what the context thus far has consistently conveyed: Paul wants us to believe that the Disciples Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob stepped aside to position Sha’uwl in "dexias – the place of honor and authority." And if you believe that...

But at least now we know one thing for absolute certain. The men who Sha’uwl was demeaning with "dokei – presumed and supposed" have been named: Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob. And while that is what we suspected, in this context, it is ironic because in 2:6 Paulos told us that their "advice and counsel was utterly worthless" and that they "meant absolutely nothing to him." But now that Paulos craves their endorsement, all of a sudden the "presumed pillars" are credible – at least when seen stepping aside and bowing to the ascendency of Paul.

While it is another small thing, you may have noticed that "the one" has changed genders from one sentence to the next. He was masculine in 2:8, but in the shadow of the naked goddesses of licentiousness, she is now feminine in 2:9. This suggests, at least grammatically, that the Charities empowered Paulos.

It is true that Yahowsha’s Disciples would have recognized the Greek and Roman goddesses, and they most likely suspected that Paul was associating his faith with the Charities, but that’s not a good thing. Although, in a conversation between four Yahuwdym, they all would have spoken Hebrew, so charis would have been chanan. But then, for there to be mutual familiarity and acceptance, they would have had to agree on circumcision, because without it there is no mercy.

Beyond his associating with false gods, and taunting the First Statement Yahowah engraved on the First Tablet, the evidence suggests that Paul’s declaration was another lie. Even if the "dexias – the right" is extrapolated to be "the right hand" as in a "handshake" or "greeting" rather than "the right to take the place of honor and authority," in Acts we learn that the greeting preceded the discussion, making this account, where "ginosko – recognition" precedes acceptance, invalid.

In Galatians the inference is that the Disciples had listened to Paul’s presentation of his past preaching, and then approved of it, offering him the position of power and authority. Thereby, the use of "ginosko – knowing and recognizing" at this juncture portends that Ya’aqob’s, the Rock’s, and Yahowchanan’s acknowledgement should be equated to an acceptance of his message. But as I’ve mentioned, in Acts we learn that this welcoming greeting occurred before, not after, Paul presented his case, and therefore it did not serve as an endorsement of his ministry.

On the positive side, the Greek word stulos is related to stauros, the "upright pillar" upon which Yahowsha’ hung, opening the door to life. His sacrifice as the Upright Pillar (the ‘edon) on the upright pole (stauros) was "symbolic of the authorized and authoritative leader who establishes and upholds (stulos)." And that is why in most of the early manuscripts "stauros – upright pillar" was written by way of a Divine Placeholder – literally associating Passover’s Doorway to Life with God, Himself.

Stulos, which literally means "a pillar or column which stands and supports something," is used several times in the Greek texts. The next two occurrences are found in Revelation 3:12 and 10:1. The ‘edon concept of the "Upright One who is the Foundation of the Tabernacle" is advanced by: "All who are victorious will become pillars (stulos) in the Tabernacle of My God and will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of My God…" (Revelation 3:12).

In Revelation 10:1, the stulos symbolism is reminiscent of Yahowah going before the Children of Yisra’el by day as a pillar-shaped cloud and by night as a pillar of light. "Then I saw another mighty messenger coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over His head. His face shone like the sun, and His feet were like pillars (stulos) of fire."

On the less than admirable side of the ledger, while the metaphor being established here is uplifting, there is a disturbing tone to some of this which needs to be considered. While dokei can convey the idea of "choosing to think and of thought," its primary meaning is more along the lines of "supposition and presumption," and thus of "imagination and opinion." That is not to say that dokei cannot be translated as "recognized and regarded," as evidenced by the verb dokimazo, which means to "examine, to regard as worthwhile, and to judge as good, genuine, worthy." But recognizing and acknowledging that Sha’uwl’s intent was to label Ya’aqob, Shim’own, and Yahowchanan "the supposed, presumed, and opinionated" pillars would be more accurate – especially since he has already equated this word to these men to say that they were meaningless and worthless.

So we must ask: why would Sha’uwl choose to refer to the three most important Disciples as the "dokei – assumed" pillars when he could have used "epiginosko – acknowledged" pillars? Epiginosko speaks of "a thoughtful conclusion which is formed after becoming thoroughly acquainted with the evidence." Epiginosko is the "synthesis of knowledge and understanding, of having sufficient information and the ability to process it rationally." Epiginosko is "objective" while dokei is "subjective." Epiginosko speaks of "an informed conclusion" while dokei is "an unfounded opinion." Therefore, in our search for truth, in our desire to know that which is trustworthy and reliable, epiginosko is the epitome of that quest, while dokei leads us backwards into the murky and mystical religious realm of faith. Further, dokei continues to pit Paul against the Disciples, as opposed to unifying them and their mission.

Twice now Paulos has divided the room, and each time inaccurately and unfairly, claiming that the outreach of Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan, was limited to the Jews, while his mission encompassed the whole world—the nations and races. This simply was not true on either side.

Yahowchanan’s mission wasn’t limited. If anything, it was focused on the "uncircumcised," especially the Greco-Roman world. He lived in Ephesus—the largest, most influential Greco-Roman city in the world. And Yahowchanan was the leader of the ekklesia there, not Sha’uwl. Moreover, Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s words and deeds was written in Ephesus, a city which lies well beyond the province of Galatia from the perspective of Yahuwdah / Judea. And it is interesting, that according to his second letter to Timothy, everyone who knew Paul intimately, ultimately rejected him.

In this light, if we were to consider the Torah as the treasure in the chest of the Ark of the Covenant, then Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s life helps illuminate many of its most profound truths. Said another way, I have come to understand the Torah better because of what Yahowchanan recorded Yahowsha’ saying and doing. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

While the eyewitness account of Mattanyah (meaning: Yah’s Gift) was written from the perspective of a Yahuwdym, and is especially meaningful to me know that I’ve come to cherish the Torah, Yahowchanan’s testimony was written to appeal to the Western mind, to enlightened Greeks. Its opening chapter is a soaring treatise on the Logos becoming flesh and tabernacling among us—a concept that resonated with, and inspired, Greeks and those who learned to think like them. To my mind, Yahowchanan’s commentary, at least apart from the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, is among the most brilliant presentations ever written.

Further, Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s Revelation, which was developed on the Greek Island of Patmos, provides a set of clues which assists us in our quest to understand the words of the prophets, especially those predictions which pertain to the last two-thousand years of human history. Without the book of Revelation, understanding what they predicted would be a bit more challenging.

I share this with you because to this Gentile, Yahowchanan’s writings are influential, enlightening, reliable, and accurate. And in my opinion, without Yahowchanan’s testimony, many of the seeds the Disciples spread throughout the nations would not have grown.

So, not only was Sha’uwl wrong in limiting Yahowchanan’s influence, claiming it for himself, in conjunction with his use of "dokei – presumed" with regard to Yahowchanan’s status, this letter has taken on an undeserved and undeniable egotistical tint, bordering on delusional.

And as we have just discovered, Paul’s ego was so enormous the Devil had to prod him to control him—to keep him in line. But that was not only the thorn in Paul’s side; it was just the reason for it. After all, Sha’uwl was a self-proclaimed expert on all things pertaining to rabbinic Judaism. And He was a Roman citizen from Tarsus, the center of Greco-Roman enlightenment. Adding to his résumé, Sha’uwl had studied in Yaruwshalaim / Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the foremost religious scholar of his day, and he wanted to be known as an extraordinary student with a superior intellect. He considered himself a soaring orator and an accomplished writer. By comparison, Ya’aqob was a lowly stonemason from Nazareth, and Shim’own and Yahowchanan were fishermen from backwater towns in Galilee. So while Sha’uwl protests (when it serves his interest) that men hold no rank with God, among men, Paulos seemed to rank himself well above others.

Continuing to deal with this controversial passage, we find the KJV affirming the "supposed" connotation of dokei: "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." But that is not what Paul wrote. The "right" was only associated with Paul and "fellowship" was all that was attributed to Barnabas. Remember... "And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9)

Jerome’s Vulgate blend of Old Latin texts revealed: "And so, when they had acknowledged the gratiam/grace that was given to me, Iacobus, Cephas and Ioannes, who seemed like pillars, gave to me and to Barnabæ the right hand of fellowship, so that we would go to the Gentes/Gentiles, while they went to the circumcisionem/circumcised," Jerome also picked up the less than flattering nature of dokei with "seemed to be" and "seemed like." And while we may also see glimpses here into the secret handshake of fellowship associated with the Mithraism mysteries, Jerome is to blame for creating the myth of "the right hand of fellowship" being offered to both men.

Writing their own bible, the New Living Translation authored the following verse, repeating every mistake while creating some of their own: "In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews." In this case, they weren’t even consistent with their beloved charis translating it as "gift," rather than transliterating the Roman goddesses’ name. This malfeasance highlights the most serious problem with Galatians 2:9. This is the second of 107 times that Paul blurred the line between Yahowah and paganism. He said: "having known the Charis of the one given to me." Charis is the name given to the Greek "Charities," just as Gratiam identifies the Roman "Graces."

Had Paul wanted to say that he had been the recipient of Yahowah’s "loving kindness," he would have selected the Greek word associated with the Ma’aseyah and His followers: chrestos. Elsewhere in the Greek texts, chrestos is rendered "kind," "good," "fit for use," "useful," "benevolent," "virtuous," and "moral" as in "upright." Chrestos is even translated "gracious" on occasion, albeit should have been rendered "merciful." In this light, it is little wonder the Ma’aseyah was called Chrestus in Greek, or that those who served with Him were known as Chrestucians. Knowing the appropriateness and history of chrestos, it saddens me more than words can express that Paul didn’t use it instead of charis.

Should you be curious, had Paul wanted to say "favor," he would have used eunoia. If he had wanted to say "gift," didomi would have been the perfect choice. If his intent was to say "fortuitous," tucheros would have worked. "Love" is agape. "Joy" is chara.

More appropriate still, the Greek word for "mercy" is eleeo, and "merciful" is eleemon. Eleeo speaks of "demonstrating mercy through helping the poor and afflicted by providing aid in the form of an unearned gift." As such, it was a vastly superior term. But there is more. Eleos also conveys "mercy, loving kindness, and goodwill toward those who are troubled." Ideally, eleos "demonstrates a willingness to help the unpretentious by offering them clemency." The related eleemosune even speaks of a "merciful gift which is charitably donated to the otherwise impoverished."

So with many practically perfect words at his disposal, and especially chrestos and eleos, why on earth did Paul choose to promote the name of a pagan goddesses and select Charis? And while I do not know the answer for certain, I know the result. He discredited himself and led billions of souls the wrong way, down a dead-end street. Christians would culture a faith-based relationship with an imaginary deity.

Since Paul’s path has led so many souls away from the Torah, it’s important to recognize that the concept we have come to know as "grace" is advanced more aggressively in Yahowah’s Testimony than it is in Paul’s letters. While I’m sure that is shocking to Christians, the fact remains that God inspired His prophets to write chen and its verb form, chanan, the Hebrew words for "the unearned gift of mercy and loving kindness, of unmerited favor and acceptance," twice as often as Sha’uwl scribed charis. So, the problem isn’t with the concept of "grace" as we know it today, but instead with Paul’s choice of words.

What we know for certain, however, is that Yahowsha’s words and deeds set an important example for us to follow. Therefore, we must recognize that we are called to nourish both body and soul. And that is why the stonemason and fishermen admonished the scholar:

"Only (monon – just, alone by itself) the (ton) lowly and poor (ptochos – worthless, of little value, beggars, destitute, and impoverished) that (hina – the purpose of) we might remember (mnemoneuo – we could call to mind, be mindful of, and possibly think about) which (hos – who) also (kai) I was eager and quick (spoudazo – I was giving the best effort, always ready) same (autos) this (houtos) to do (poieomai – to accomplish)." (Galatians 2:10)

This is funny in a way since Paulos means "lowly" in Latin. With tongue planted smugly in his cheek, I’m sure he was all too eager to profess that he was ever ready to serve his interests. He was doing so at this very moment. But alas, even if I’m being a little too cynical, what are the chances that after spending three years walking in the footsteps of God, witnessing everything that He said and did, that these three men would distill His words and deeds down to: "alone, by itself, the lowly that we might remember?"

Should this have been the sum total of His life’s work, there would have been just one unidentified and unspecific statement etched on a singular tablet. God could have dispensed with the rest of the Torah, including the Covenant. The Prophets were a waste of time. And why bother with all of the pain associated with fulfilling Passover and Un-Yeasted Bread? For that matter, why did Paul trouble himself by writing thirteen letters? And how does doing this fit into a faith-based religion where works are strictly forbidden?

The NAMI reads: "Alone the poor that we might remember that also I was diligent same this to do." I suspect Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan were slightly more articulate than this portends. But I’m not sure which was more impoverished, Sha’uwl’s Greek or Bacon’s English. KJV: "Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do." (So much for the notion that Francis Bacon wrote the Shakespearian plays.)

Jerome wrote fluidly and fluently. LV: "asking only that we should be mindful of the poor, which was the very thing that I also was solicitous to do." But for readability, the NLT is always smooth as silk: "Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do."

Recapping Sha’uwl’s eighth paragraph, we find:

"Because then namely, the one having previously functioned in Petro to an apostle for the circumcision, it actually functioned also in me to the nations and ethnicities. (2:8)

And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, and Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed, regarded, and supposed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9)

Only alone by itself the lowly and poor, the worthless beggars of little value that we might remember and possibly think about which also I was eager and quick same this to do." (Galatians 2:10)


There is considerable reason to believe that Paul was lying with regard to the purpose and outcome of this meeting—indeed, with regard to most aspects of it. I say this because the Yaruwshalaim Summit, also called the "Council of Jerusalem" and the "Apostolic Conference," between Sha’uwl and Yahowsha’s Disciples, is also presented in the book of Acts, dominating the 15th chapter. And Luke’s account stands in stark contrast to what Paul has written.

Beginning with the 15th chapter or Acts, we read: "And some (kai tis) having come down from (katerchomai apo) Yahuwdah (tes Ioudaia – transliteration of Yahuwdah, meaning Related to Yah, known today as Judaea) were teaching (didasko – were instructing) the brethren (tous adelphos – the brothers) that if (oti ean) you might not be circumcised (me peritemno) as prescribed by Moseh (to ethos to Mouses – per the manner or practice customary of Moseh), you are not able (ou dynamai – you are incapable, lacking the capacity) to be saved (sozo – to be healed, rescued, or delivered)." (Acts 15:1)

Luke just did two things Paul has been unable, or at least unwilling, to do. He not only identified Moseh as the author of the book Paul was assailing, thereby identifying it as Yahowah’s Towrah, he unambiguously told us what they were arguing about. Specifically, and recognizing that this was directed at "the brothers," the question before us is: can a man who is not circumcised in accordance with the Towrah’s prescriptions be saved?

So before we consider the impact of this testimony in relation to Sha’uwl, let’s check to see if the message these Yahuwdym were conveying was consistent with the Towrah. Yahowah’s instructions regarding circumcision are initially presented in Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17.

"And (wa) God Almighty (‘elohym) said (‘amar – promised) to (‘el – as God to) Abraham (‘Abraham – Loving, Merciful, and Enriching Father), ‘And (wa) as for you (‘eth ‘atah – regarding you), you should actually and continuously observe (shamar – you should carefully consider, diligently paying especially close attention to the details so that you understand and you should literally keep your eyes focused upon (scribed in the qal stem which addresses that which is literal and relational and in the imperfect conjugation which speaks of that which is ongoing)) My Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth-y – My mutually binding agreement, relational accord, and promise based upon home and family (feminine singular, scribed in the construct form, associating the beryth – covenant with shamar – observation; written with the first person singular, My, revealing that the Covenant is God’s)), you (‘atah) and (wa) your seed (zera’ – your offspring (singular)) after you (‘achar – following you) throughout (la) their generations, dwelling places, and eras of time (dowr – their families, related births, and lives (plural)).’" (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:9)

It should be noted that "zera’ – seed" and "dowr – generations, dwelling places, lives, and epochs of time," were both scribed in the construct form, not only linking the zera’ and dowr together, but also both with beryth. Therefore, the "Covenant" is the "seed" from which "generations come to dwell throughout time" with Yah. Christians, either unaware of this Towrah teaching, or opposed to it, fool themselves into believing that "Jesus Christ" was the singular seed.

According to God, our responsibility regarding His Covenant is to "shamar – observe" it – literally and continually. It is the same instruction He provides regarding His Towrah—which not so coincidently represents the only place where we can go to "observe" Yah’s Covenant, because its terms and conditions are recorded there and nowhere else.

The means to become a "zera’ – offspring" of the "beryth – family-oriented covenant relationship," and thereby "dowr – live throughout time in God’s dwelling place" is breathtakingly simple: shamar – actually and consistently, carefully and diligently, observe the terms and conditions of the Covenant, closely examining and carefully considering every detail as it is presented in Yahowah’s Towrah. We should do this, as should our fathers and our children, no matter where or when we live or with whom we are related.

And although "shamar – observe" serves as the operative verb with respect to our participation in the Covenant, shamar is among the least understood words in the Towrah. It is almost always errantly rendered "keep" in English bibles in spite of the fact that, etymologically, shamar is based upon "using our sense of sight to be watchful, carefully examining and closely scrutinizing that which can be seen." It speaks of "being focused and visually alert by keeping one’s eyes open," and of "overseeing things from the proper perspective so as to be aware of what is occurring." The linguistic inference is that those who "carefully observe and diligently examine everything within their purview will come to understand what they are seeing," and that "through this understanding they will be able to protect that which they value and those whom they love, keeping them safe by responding properly." Shamar conveys the idea that "people should keep their eyes open, that they should always be on guard, and that they should be focused, alert, aware, and perceptive."

The message of "shamar – observation is: look and you will see. See and you will know. Know and you will understand. Understand and you are empowered to respond appropriately.

Therefore, shamar is being used to encourage us to "observe" the terms and conditions of the Covenant by using our eyes to read, indeed, to focus upon what is written in the Towrah. God wants us to "examine and consider" the requirements and benefits of the Covenant as they are delineated in His Towrah so that we are secure, protecting those we love.

Shamar is related to shama’, "whereby we are encouraged to use our sense of hearing to listen" to what God has to say to us. Collectively then, the senses of sight and hearing enable us to know Yahowah and understand His Towrah by "qara’ – reading and reciting" it. But there is more: by observing Yahowah’s Guidance, by listening to God’s Instructions regarding His Covenant, by coming to know and understand His Teaching regarding this relationship and our salvation, we come to trust Yahowah and rely upon His Directions, thereby enabling God to adopt us and save us.

You may have noticed that this proclamation from Yahowah regarding what He expects from those who want to participate in His Covenant was direct and unequivocal. Simply stated: shamar beryth is a requirement. If you want to have a relationship with God, you do so by carefully and continually observing His written Towrah testimony regarding His Covenant. At least, that is what God, Himself, had to say regarding our participation, and He ought to know.

What many miss, and especially those who are religious, is that this statement from God is utterly devastating to Pauline Doctrine. Paul’s thesis, better known as the "Faith in the Gospel of Grace," is based upon the notion that Abraham was saved, not because He closely examined and carefully considered what Yahowah had personally revealed to him regarding His Towrah Teaching and Covenant Relationship, but instead because he "believed God." According to Paul, Abraham’s salvation was a product of his faith and not his willingness to do as Yahowah had instructed. But "being observant," especially during personal experiences like this one, leads to knowing, to understanding, to trusting, and to relying, while "belief" is the product of not knowing and of not understanding. In fact, belief all too often leads to faith in things which are neither reliable nor true.

Those who know, trust. Those who do not know, believe. Moreover, the means to "knowing" is "shamar – careful observation."

God did not ask Abraham to believe Him, nor did He suggest that we should believe Him. He asked Abraham and those who would benefit from the Covenant to carefully observe what He had to say. And to accomplish this, we must read the Towrah, closely examining its every word.

Let’s continue to do what Yahowah requested and see where it leads. "This is the one and only (ze’th – this particular, singular, unique, and specific) Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship of Mine (beryth-y – mutually binding agreement of Mine, My promise and relational accord based upon home and family), which relationally and beneficially (‘asher – by way of making a connection, developing an association, benefiting and blessing) you should actually and continuously observe (shamar – you should carefully and literally consider, you should diligently and consistently pay especially close attention to the details) forming an understanding between Me and you (byn wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know and understand Me as a result of you being perceptive, prudently considering the insights which are discernible), and also for forming and understanding between (wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know) your offspring (zera’ – your seed (singular construct)) following you (‘achar – after you), for you to actually circumcise (muwl – so that you literally cut off and remove the foreskin of the penis (scribed using the niphal stem which is used to convey the voice of genuine relationships where the subject, which is you, receives the action of the verb, which is circumcision, and the infinitive absolute, which intensifies the action of the verb)) accordingly your every (l-cm-kol) male to encourage remembering (zakar – masculine human individual who recalls and remembers (singular and absolute))." (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:10)

Not only was this request clear and unequivocal, not only does this affirm Yahowah’s previous appeal, not only does it reinforce the uniqueness of the one and only Covenant, it encourages us to be observant and to think so that we come to understand precisely what God is asking of us and offering to us.

But also, this verse is additive, providing us with another requirement: circumcise our sons so that we and they remember the Covenant. So, I ask you, when Paul screamed out against circumcision in his letter to the Galatians, demeaning it while promoting a second and different Covenant, why did anyone believe him? His position and God’s are irreconcilable.

Sometimes, if we pause long enough, if we dig deep enough, if we are especially observant and thoughtful, we learn something we would otherwise miss. Such is the case here. You see, "muwl – circumcise" was scribed using the niphal stem. The niphal, as the passive form of the qal, conveys three ideas. First, it is a relational stem, affirming the fact that circumcision is germane to our relationship with God. Second, it requires a literal interpretation of the testimony, meaning that these circumcisions are actual and not merely symbolic. And third, the niphal, as the reflexive counterpart of the qal, indicates that the subject, which is us as parents, receive the benefit of the verb’s action, which is circumcision.

Collectively then, when the niphal stem is used in conjunction with muwl in this context, we discover that by actually circumcising our sons, we as parents benefit from the act. It is as if we, ourselves, are being circumcised. And that is a very good thing, because circumcision is the sign of the Covenant. It affirms our acceptance, validating our willingness to be cut into this relationship with God. We are in essence saying: we will raise our children to become His children.

When we bring this all together, and consider everything God said to Abraham from the beginning, we discover that through their relationship Yahowah systematically presented the guidance and instructions necessary for us to know Him, for us to relate to Him, and for us to be saved by Him. After asking us to walk away from all forms of "babel – confusion," including family traditions, national allegiances, and religious corruption, Yahowah encouraged us to trust and rely upon Him instead. He then asked us to walk to Him to become perfect, with His Towrah providing the directions and means. God’s fourth request of us, indeed, His requirement with respect to our participation in His Covenant, was presented in the previous two statements. He wants us to continuously and genuinely observe His Covenant, focusing upon and diligently considering the conditions and benefits of this relationship. He knows that when we come to appreciate what He is offering that we’ll respond appropriately (which is what is revealed in Acts 15:21 by the way). And so now to demonstrate our understanding, to help us remember everything He has shared with us, God is asking us to circumcise our sons. Consider it a signature, a vow to accept and embrace this extraordinary gift – the opportunity to engage in a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.

If we want to participate in Yahowah’s Covenant, we must circumcise our sons. It is as simple as that. Written in the infinitive absolute, and followed by "kol – all," there is no room for negotiation or interpretation. We can either accept Yahowah’s terms or reject them – but we cannot alter them to suit us which is what Pauline Doctrine has done.

"And (wa) you all shall cut off and separate (muwl – you shall circumcise (scribed in the niphal stem which is used to convey the voice of genuine relationships where the subject, which is us as parents, receive the benefit of the verb, which is circumcision, in the perfect conjugation designating that this instruction shall be followed wholly and completely, and in the consecutive thereby associating it with our basar – flesh) your foreskin’s (‘aralah – the fold of skin covering the conical tip of the penis) association with (‘eth) the flesh (basar – the physical body and animal nature). And (wa) this will exist (hayah – this was, is, and forever will be (scribed in the qal perfect, signifying something associated with a relationship which is unchanging and unending) as (la) the sign to remember (‘owth – the owth and example to visually and verbally illustrate and explain, the symbol and standard, the pledge and attestation of the miraculous nature of (singular, as in there is only one sign, construct form, linking the sign to...)) the Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth – mutually binding agreement, household promise, relational accord, marriage vow based upon home and family (feminine singular, scribed in the construct form, eternally associating the beryth – covenant with ‘owth – the sign of muwl – circumcision)) forming an understanding between Me any you (byn wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know and understand Me as a result of you being perceptive, prudently considering the insights which are discernible)." (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:11)

Yahowah wants us to "muwl – be cut off and separated from" our "‘eth – association with" our "basar – physical bodies and animal nature." To be associated with God, we have to disassociate ourselves from man. Therefore, not only is the "‘owth – sign" of the "beryth – covenant" a reminder that we must walk away from Babylon before we can walk to God, it signifies that to be adopted into our Heavenly Father’s family, we must transition from physical beings with mortal, imperfect, substantially limited, and decaying bodies, to spiritual beings who are elevated, empowered, and enriched by this relationship.

It is interesting to note that while circumcision is symbolic, the act itself is literal and physical. Further, hayah, which was scribed in the third person masculine singular, and was rendered "this will exist," in the passage, was actually scribed "he shall exist" as the sign. Therefore, when we accept the terms of Yahowah’s Covenant, we become its living symbols.

Hebrew verbs do not designate the past, present, or future, as is the case with English tenses, but instead they reflect truths which remain unchanged throughout all time. Such is the case with hayah, meaning "was, is, and will be" all at the same time. Therefore, we were, we are, and we will always be signs of the Covenant.

"‘Owth – sign to remember" and "‘uwth – to consent and agree" are written identically in Hebrew. So not only is circumcision, this separation from our physical and animal nature, a "visual means to illustrate and explain the miraculous nature" of the Covenant, it is our way of showing our "consent and agreement" to raise our children in harmony with the conditions Yahowah has outlined. Circumcision is a parent’s pledge to honor God’s family-oriented agreement. It is our signature on their adoption papers—telling our Heavenly Father that we want our children to become His children; that we will dedicate ourselves to encouraging this desirable result. And not so coincidently, the best way to accomplish this is to recite the Towrah to our children and thereby expose them to its Covenant, sharing its prerequisite, requirements, and benefits.

"And (wa) a son (ben – a male child) of eight (shamonah – from shamen, meaning olive oil, which is symbolic of the Spirit, of light, and of being rooted in the land) days (yowmym) you shall circumcise (muwl – you shall cut off and separate his foreskin (scribed using the niphal stem denoting a relationship which is genuine and indicating that parents benefit from doing as God has requested, and in the imperfect conjugation which tells us that this must continue to occur over time and that it is designed to produce ongoing results)) with regard to your (la) every (kol) male (zakar – masculine individual; from zakar: to commit to memory, to remind, and to remember) throughout (la) your dwelling places and generations (dowr – your protected households and extended families, elevating and extending your lives), those naturally born (yalyd – those naturalized as a member of an extended family through natural childbirth) in the home (beyth – into the household and family), and also (wa) those really wanting to be (kasap – those deeply desiring, strongly yearning, and passionately longing to be) acquired and included (miqnah – adopted) of (min) every (kol) son (ben – male child) of foreign lands (nekar – of places where they are not properly valued and appreciated) who relationally (‘asher – by way of making a connection) are not (lo’) from (min) your seed (zera’)." (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:12)