Rabbi Teaches the Significance of Galatians

Rabbi Teaches the Significance of Galatians

Who is Paul writing to in the book of Galatians? Listen as Rabbi Eric Tokajer explains the context of Paul's writings and how it brings together the Old Testament and the New Testament. Go deeper in your Bible study with Rabbi Tokajer's book, "Galatians In Context."

23 Minutes • 14 days ago

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Rabbi Eric Tokajer

Who is Paul writing to in the book of Galatians? Listen as Rabbi Eric Tokajer explains the context of Paul's writings and how it brings together the Old Testament and the New Testament. Go deeper in your Bible study with Rabbi Tokajer's book, Galatians In Context.

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is the Greenelines podcast. I'm Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. I'd like to tell you about a series that's available to you now through Charisma. Many of you have seen bits and pieces of maybe one of these books, The Deborah AnointingThe Esther AnointingThe Anna Anointing, and The Ruth Anointing, plus a free bonus all in the Solid Rock Series. You're going to get all four anointing books by Michelle McClain-Walters, plus a Charisma subscription and to Life in the Spirit devotions for only $36. I want to say that part of it again. You're going to get all four of those anointing books by Michelle McClain Walters. Plus, you'll receive a Charismasubscription, a subscription to Charisma magazine, and then you'll get two Life in a Spirit devotionals for only $36. Now, you can find this at charismamag.com/anoint. Or, you can just look right here, down below this podcast in the show notes and you'll see the link to charismamag.com/anoint. I know you'll love these books, and I know you'll love the free bonuses and a subscription to Charisma magazine. Now let's get to the show.

Dr. Steve Greene: There's nothing like the opportunity to sit across the table from a rabbi, a Messianic Jew who has an insight that is so powerful that it's got to be put into a book. My guest today is going to share with you about what he's learned through context, through contextual study of the Book of Galatians. Don't run off and leave us now. That's so critical. I want you understand that my brother, Rabbi Eric Tokajer, is a regular contributor to Charisma mag. Most of you have been reading his columns for years. He's also on many other sites like messiancdailynews.com. He's authored seven books. I won't read you that list of books, but he's done this for a long time. I think you're going to really enjoy getting to know him. He has lived in Pensacola, Florida, for last 18 years. He's helped establish six different congregations throughout the Gulf Coast area, including Slidell. I think they're still there after the hurricane came through. But he's just really well known across the Gulf Coast. I've gotten the privilege of meeting him and worked with him. I'm just excited to be able to have a conversation with him today about the book of Galatians. So, without further discussion, I want to welcome Rabbi Eric Tokajer to the podcast.

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer on Charisma

·         You Can’t Accurately Interpret the Bible Without This Perspective

·         How the Book of Mark Hides These 6 Revelations About Jesus in Plain Sight

·         Should You Still Observe the Sabbath?

·         What to Do When Satan Has a Hook in Your Jaw

·         It’s Time to Hate, and Yes, That’s Biblical

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: It’s so good to be here with you, Steve, what a blessing to be with someone who not only loves the Lord and loves the Bible, but understands the connection that the Bible teaches for Jews and non-Jew to become one in Messiah. So, it is really a blessing for me to be with you on this broadcast as well as the interactions we have ministry-wise over the last few years.

Dr. Steve Greene: I will tell you that we certainly have loved your writing for many years here at Charisma. I appreciate it and know that everything that you stand for, we support. That's what Charisma has been. Steve Strang has been a loyal supporter for as long as I've known him. We go way back. I know that this type of conversation is important to us. Tell us where this book of Galatians, the book titled Galatians In Context, where it came from.

 

Some of Rabbi Eric Tokajer’s Books

·         Galatians In Context

·         Transient Singularity: A Novella (Book 1 of the Singularity Series)

·         With Me in Paradise: Lesson Learned From a Criminal

·         Oy! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me before Entering Ministry

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: It originally came from a teaching series I did about 15 years ago. Then I wrote it out. I went through a period of time and deeper study. This book is the result of that study. As people came and talked to me about the book of Galatians, there's all kinds of questions, all kinds of presuppositions. But when we read the scriptures, we not only have to read them in the context of the Bible, just as a book of the Bible, but we have to find how it's interwoven with the rest of the Bible. Context is established by knowing who wrote it, who it's written to and, at times it within one book, it can be written to different groups of people. When we read the writings of Paul, it's either being written to Jewish people who do not yet believe in Yeshua or Jesus, written to Jewish people who do believe in Yeshua, Gentiles who do not believe in Yeshua yet, or Gentiles who do believe in Yeshua. In order to understand the context of what we're reading, we have to find out who it's being written to. In the book, I make an analogy that if I were a dietician and I wrote two books, one to obese people, and one to people who were anorexic. When I wrote to the obese people, I said, if you don't stop eating so much, you're going to get very sick and die. And if I wrote to the anorexic it says that if you don't start eating more, keeping it within your body, you're going to get sicker and you're going to die. Then I took those two books and just, kind of like a deck of cards, folded them into one book so they interacted as they went. Either someone would think I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, or they would identify that when I was talking to one group of people, it was a message from me to them about where they are in the context of who and what they are versus he other group that was in an entirely different situation. So, when we read about Paul's writings, for instance, Paul will say, in Galatians that circumcision doesn't matter. But in Romans, he says what good is circumcision much in every way. So, it depends on who he's talking to. It’s not that he's talking two different messages, but to Jewish people, but he's saying this covenant relationship you have with Abraham is something that's very valuable and very good. The covenant of circumcision is of utmost importance to you because the Word of God was preserved by God through the Jewish people because of that covenant. And the coming of Messiah who came through that lineage is vital and it's all connected to the covenant. But for a non-Jewish person, getting circumcised is not something they need to do. So, to them, trying to get circumcised becomes physically Jewish so that they can abide by Jewish Torah or Jewish law for justification is not something of value. So, depending on who you're talking to, the statements can be totally opposed but accurate and true in both cases.

Dr. Steve Greene: That's amazing. So, just from your expertise and your writing, can you give all of our listeners an overview of the purpose of the Book of Galatians? I know it, I've got my own ideas of why Paul wrote Galatians. But come at it from your perspective a rabbi.

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: From my perspective, you had a whole group of non-Jewish people that were coming to this amazing faith in the Messiah of Israel as promised to Abraham and throughout the prophets. Then you had a bunch of Jewish people who had come to faith that were telling them that they had to become Jewish physically in order to be part of Israel. Paul calls the Gentile believers grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and the whole discussion was, do you have to physically accomplish something in order for somebody to be saved, or is it something that happens in the heart and the soul? Is it the circumcision of the heart that we read about in Romans and in Deuteronomy? Or, is it something that we have to physically do to achieve something for God that He has promised to do supernaturally.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, how do Christians read this? What's your experience with people who feel they understand the context of Galatians? What do you see?

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: Generally, my Christian friends that I talk to generally take Galatians as evidence that New Testament believers do not have to abide by Old Testament laws or instructions, which is kind of a strange thing for me because those same people would say you have to obey the 10 Commandments, but not the following commandments and things like that. So, there are parts of the Old Testament law we can't keep. They are not relevant to our life. There's no temple, there's no priesthood, there's no sacrifices and offerings. We don't have to make three trips to Israel a year in order to keep the (inaudible), the pilgrimage feasts, and make our offerings and sacrifices at the temple. All of those things can't be done. But those things that are interactive between us and the Lord, those things that are interactive between us and other people, those are covenant commandments that help us to live not only communally in unity, but also in a right way with the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: Yes. So, let's talk about a way forward. How would this change my life if I really got this message? What would change my behavior in my lifestyle and what we do day to day? What's the Lord trying to tell me?

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: I think the biggest thing that I'm hoping will come out of this book and people like you, of course, I think you get this already. But people that are not in messianic communities and may not look at the book in this way, is for it to stop the separation. One of the worst things that exists in a traditional Bible is that blank page between the Old Testament and the New Testament that makes it seem as if the New Testament is a separate book from the Old Testament, when 80 percent of the New Testament is either direct or indirect quotation of the Old Testament. So, when we read the book of Galatians, for instance, when we're reading about the analogy between Isaac and Ishmael, between Hagar and Sarah, between Abraham and his sons, in order to understand that, you have to go to the book of Genesis and find out what Paul's actually talking about. We don't generally do that because we look at it and we read just the context of the text itself, instead of the context of what the analogy is. If I use an analogy, you're supposed to understand the basis of the analogy in order to get with the analogy means. If you don’t go back to Genesis and read about Abraham and Sarah and Hagar and Ishmael, then you cannot understand the analogy in Galatians. So, rather than looking back, because it's one book that starts in Genesis and goes through Revelation, people will read Galatians out of the context of the entirety of Scripture. And when you do that, you by necessity come up with a bad understanding and thus it becomes Torah versus grace or Old Testament versus New Testament when God never intended for the New Testament to be an opposition to the Old Testament. It is a continuing book of one life lesson that begins with God speaking, let there be light and the sound of water and ends with Yeshua being the light and the sound of many waters.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, let's think about Paul as the writer here, as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit came over him. Usually the Holy Spirit will move us according to what we're experiencing, what we're learning, what we're living. And then we write what God is giving us. And I think that probably the inspiration of the Bible came along that way, pretty close. So, I want to think about the life of Paul and being a minister to the Gentiles, how he developed the heart for them to be able to write like this and be frustrated with a division that was developing between them even in a communion service.

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting that God spends the entire Bible trying to build one people, and his people spend almost the entire Bible trying to divide. So, Paul is an unusual character in the role that he's playing. First of all, oftentimes we hear that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. We know the scripture says that but the word Gentile means nations. If we read where everywhere Paul went, he went to the synagogue. Then if he was thrown out of the synagogue, he went somewhere else. But he met with both Jews and non-Jews in the nations. But he largely brought the message … and when you go to another nation, you have a minority Jewish community and a majority non-Jewish community. So, he did minister to a much larger group of non-Jews in trying to bring unity to what's happening. So, Paul has this amazing insight, because of his studies because of his education. But in that insight, he also has this new influence of Yeshua faith, and of the working of the Ruach, the Holy Spirit in his life, which totally transforms who he is as far as his faith. He's no longer living by a strict code of laws, but that doesn't mean he stopped keeping those laws. He just put his faith in Yeshua instead of in the laws. And so, a lot of what he does in Galatians and Ephesians and Colossians is expressed that … those things, for instance, in the book of Acts, when Paul goes and meets with James, James says, all these people are teaching that you're teaching Jewish people not to keep the laws of Moses. And we know that's not true. To demonstrate that that's not true, we want you to go make the sacrifices in the temple for these men that have made a vow for those three men and for yourself. So, clearly the scripture doesn't teach us that Paul had stopped keeping the commandments of Moses. What it teaches us is that Paul isn't dependent on a written paper of laws for his redemption. He understood that the Lamb slain for the foundation of the Earth is what brought hit and redemption.

Connect with Rabbi Eric Tokajer

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         At rabbierict

 shalompensacola.com

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Rabbi Eric Tokajer

Who is Paul writing to in the book of Galatians? Listen as Rabbi Eric Tokajer explains the context of Paul's writings and how it brings together the Old Testament and the New Testament. Go deeper in your Bible study with Rabbi Tokajer's book, Galatians In Context.

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is the Greenelines podcast. I'm Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. I'd like to tell you about a series that's available to you now through Charisma. Many of you have seen bits and pieces of maybe one of these books, The Deborah AnointingThe Esther AnointingThe Anna Anointing, and The Ruth Anointing, plus a free bonus all in the Solid Rock Series. You're going to get all four anointing books by Michelle McClain-Walters, plus a Charisma subscription and to Life in the Spirit devotions for only $36. I want to say that part of it again. You're going to get all four of those anointing books by Michelle McClain Walters. Plus, you'll receive a Charismasubscription, a subscription to Charisma magazine, and then you'll get two Life in a Spirit devotionals for only $36. Now, you can find this at charismamag.com/anoint. Or, you can just look right here, down below this podcast in the show notes and you'll see the link to charismamag.com/anoint. I know you'll love these books, and I know you'll love the free bonuses and a subscription to Charisma magazine. Now let's get to the show.

Dr. Steve Greene: There's nothing like the opportunity to sit across the table from a rabbi, a Messianic Jew who has an insight that is so powerful that it's got to be put into a book. My guest today is going to share with you about what he's learned through context, through contextual study of the Book of Galatians. Don't run off and leave us now. That's so critical. I want you understand that my brother, Rabbi Eric Tokajer, is a regular contributor to Charisma mag. Most of you have been reading his columns for years. He's also on many other sites like messiancdailynews.com. He's authored seven books. I won't read you that list of books, but he's done this for a long time. I think you're going to really enjoy getting to know him. He has lived in Pensacola, Florida, for last 18 years. He's helped establish six different congregations throughout the Gulf Coast area, including Slidell. I think they're still there after the hurricane came through. But he's just really well known across the Gulf Coast. I've gotten the privilege of meeting him and worked with him. I'm just excited to be able to have a conversation with him today about the book of Galatians. So, without further discussion, I want to welcome Rabbi Eric Tokajer to the podcast.

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer on Charisma

·         You Can’t Accurately Interpret the Bible Without This Perspective

·         How the Book of Mark Hides These 6 Revelations About Jesus in Plain Sight

·         Should You Still Observe the Sabbath?

·         What to Do When Satan Has a Hook in Your Jaw

·         It’s Time to Hate, and Yes, That’s Biblical

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: It’s so good to be here with you, Steve, what a blessing to be with someone who not only loves the Lord and loves the Bible, but understands the connection that the Bible teaches for Jews and non-Jew to become one in Messiah. So, it is really a blessing for me to be with you on this broadcast as well as the interactions we have ministry-wise over the last few years.

Dr. Steve Greene: I will tell you that we certainly have loved your writing for many years here at Charisma. I appreciate it and know that everything that you stand for, we support. That's what Charisma has been. Steve Strang has been a loyal supporter for as long as I've known him. We go way back. I know that this type of conversation is important to us. Tell us where this book of Galatians, the book titled Galatians In Context, where it came from.

 

Some of Rabbi Eric Tokajer’s Books

·         Galatians In Context

·         Transient Singularity: A Novella (Book 1 of the Singularity Series)

·         With Me in Paradise: Lesson Learned From a Criminal

·         Oy! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me before Entering Ministry

 

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: It originally came from a teaching series I did about 15 years ago. Then I wrote it out. I went through a period of time and deeper study. This book is the result of that study. As people came and talked to me about the book of Galatians, there's all kinds of questions, all kinds of presuppositions. But when we read the scriptures, we not only have to read them in the context of the Bible, just as a book of the Bible, but we have to find how it's interwoven with the rest of the Bible. Context is established by knowing who wrote it, who it's written to and, at times it within one book, it can be written to different groups of people. When we read the writings of Paul, it's either being written to Jewish people who do not yet believe in Yeshua or Jesus, written to Jewish people who do believe in Yeshua, Gentiles who do not believe in Yeshua yet, or Gentiles who do believe in Yeshua. In order to understand the context of what we're reading, we have to find out who it's being written to. In the book, I make an analogy that if I were a dietician and I wrote two books, one to obese people, and one to people who were anorexic. When I wrote to the obese people, I said, if you don't stop eating so much, you're going to get very sick and die. And if I wrote to the anorexic it says that if you don't start eating more, keeping it within your body, you're going to get sicker and you're going to die. Then I took those two books and just, kind of like a deck of cards, folded them into one book so they interacted as they went. Either someone would think I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, or they would identify that when I was talking to one group of people, it was a message from me to them about where they are in the context of who and what they are versus he other group that was in an entirely different situation. So, when we read about Paul's writings, for instance, Paul will say, in Galatians that circumcision doesn't matter. But in Romans, he says what good is circumcision much in every way. So, it depends on who he's talking to. It’s not that he's talking two different messages, but to Jewish people, but he's saying this covenant relationship you have with Abraham is something that's very valuable and very good. The covenant of circumcision is of utmost importance to you because the Word of God was preserved by God through the Jewish people because of that covenant. And the coming of Messiah who came through that lineage is vital and it's all connected to the covenant. But for a non-Jewish person, getting circumcised is not something they need to do. So, to them, trying to get circumcised becomes physically Jewish so that they can abide by Jewish Torah or Jewish law for justification is not something of value. So, depending on who you're talking to, the statements can be totally opposed but accurate and true in both cases.

Dr. Steve Greene: That's amazing. So, just from your expertise and your writing, can you give all of our listeners an overview of the purpose of the Book of Galatians? I know it, I've got my own ideas of why Paul wrote Galatians. But come at it from your perspective a rabbi.

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: From my perspective, you had a whole group of non-Jewish people that were coming to this amazing faith in the Messiah of Israel as promised to Abraham and throughout the prophets. Then you had a bunch of Jewish people who had come to faith that were telling them that they had to become Jewish physically in order to be part of Israel. Paul calls the Gentile believers grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and the whole discussion was, do you have to physically accomplish something in order for somebody to be saved, or is it something that happens in the heart and the soul? Is it the circumcision of the heart that we read about in Romans and in Deuteronomy? Or, is it something that we have to physically do to achieve something for God that He has promised to do supernaturally.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, how do Christians read this? What's your experience with people who feel they understand the context of Galatians? What do you see?

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: Generally, my Christian friends that I talk to generally take Galatians as evidence that New Testament believers do not have to abide by Old Testament laws or instructions, which is kind of a strange thing for me because those same people would say you have to obey the 10 Commandments, but not the following commandments and things like that. So, there are parts of the Old Testament law we can't keep. They are not relevant to our life. There's no temple, there's no priesthood, there's no sacrifices and offerings. We don't have to make three trips to Israel a year in order to keep the (inaudible), the pilgrimage feasts, and make our offerings and sacrifices at the temple. All of those things can't be done. But those things that are interactive between us and the Lord, those things that are interactive between us and other people, those are covenant commandments that help us to live not only communally in unity, but also in a right way with the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: Yes. So, let's talk about a way forward. How would this change my life if I really got this message? What would change my behavior in my lifestyle and what we do day to day? What's the Lord trying to tell me?

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: I think the biggest thing that I'm hoping will come out of this book and people like you, of course, I think you get this already. But people that are not in messianic communities and may not look at the book in this way, is for it to stop the separation. One of the worst things that exists in a traditional Bible is that blank page between the Old Testament and the New Testament that makes it seem as if the New Testament is a separate book from the Old Testament, when 80 percent of the New Testament is either direct or indirect quotation of the Old Testament. So, when we read the book of Galatians, for instance, when we're reading about the analogy between Isaac and Ishmael, between Hagar and Sarah, between Abraham and his sons, in order to understand that, you have to go to the book of Genesis and find out what Paul's actually talking about. We don't generally do that because we look at it and we read just the context of the text itself, instead of the context of what the analogy is. If I use an analogy, you're supposed to understand the basis of the analogy in order to get with the analogy means. If you don’t go back to Genesis and read about Abraham and Sarah and Hagar and Ishmael, then you cannot understand the analogy in Galatians. So, rather than looking back, because it's one book that starts in Genesis and goes through Revelation, people will read Galatians out of the context of the entirety of Scripture. And when you do that, you by necessity come up with a bad understanding and thus it becomes Torah versus grace or Old Testament versus New Testament when God never intended for the New Testament to be an opposition to the Old Testament. It is a continuing book of one life lesson that begins with God speaking, let there be light and the sound of water and ends with Yeshua being the light and the sound of many waters.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, let's think about Paul as the writer here, as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit came over him. Usually the Holy Spirit will move us according to what we're experiencing, what we're learning, what we're living. And then we write what God is giving us. And I think that probably the inspiration of the Bible came along that way, pretty close. So, I want to think about the life of Paul and being a minister to the Gentiles, how he developed the heart for them to be able to write like this and be frustrated with a division that was developing between them even in a communion service.

Rabbi Eric Tokajer: Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting that God spends the entire Bible trying to build one people, and his people spend almost the entire Bible trying to divide. So, Paul is an unusual character in the role that he's playing. First of all, oftentimes we hear that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. We know the scripture says that but the word Gentile means nations. If we read where everywhere Paul went, he went to the synagogue. Then if he was thrown out of the synagogue, he went somewhere else. But he met with both Jews and non-Jews in the nations. But he largely brought the message … and when you go to another nation, you have a minority Jewish community and a majority non-Jewish community. So, he did minister to a much larger group of non-Jews in trying to bring unity to what's happening. So, Paul has this amazing insight, because of his studies because of his education. But in that insight, he also has this new influence of Yeshua faith, and of the working of the Ruach, the Holy Spirit in his life, which totally transforms who he is as far as his faith. He's no longer living by a strict code of laws, but that doesn't mean he stopped keeping those laws. He just put his faith in Yeshua instead of in the laws. And so, a lot of what he does in Galatians and Ephesians and Colossians is expressed that … those things, for instance, in the book of Acts, when Paul goes and meets with James, James says, all these people are teaching that you're teaching Jewish people not to keep the laws of Moses. And we know that's not true. To demonstrate that that's not true, we want you to go make the sacrifices in the temple for these men that have made a vow for those three men and for yourself. So, clearly the scripture doesn't teach us that Paul had stopped keeping the commandments of Moses. What it teaches us is that Paul isn't dependent on a written paper of laws for his redemption. He understood that the Lamb slain for the foundation of the Earth is what brought hit and redemption.

Connect with Rabbi Eric Tokajer

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         At rabbierict

 shalompensacola.com

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

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Rabbi Teaches the Significance of Galatians