What are the Doctrines and Commandments of Men?When Yahushua was on earth in His own body, He revealed many things to His Disciples, to us today. One of these is in the form of warning, to show us examples of those things that are hindrances to us, that can prevent us from entering in to His Kingdom. Notice the following passages:
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:8-9)
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:7-9)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances <1379>, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Colossians 2:20-22)In the above passages in Matthew and Mark, we are told that laying aside ['departing from, disregarding'] and rejecting the Commandments of Yahuweh, leads to vain ['empty'] worship, and results in the teaching of the Tradition and Commandments of Men instead of the Commandments of Yahuweh.
Likewise in the above passage in Colossians 2:20, we see another glimpse of the commandments of Men, in the form of Decrees of Men, or 'Dogma.' Let's look at this Dogma of Men that is such a great hindrance.
Commandments of Men: the Greek Word DogmaIn the above passage in Colossians 2:20, we see the word Dogmatizo, Strong's number <1379,> which is a form of the Greek word Dogma, Strong's number <1378>. These two Greek words 'Dogma' and 'Dogmatizo' are interesting words, because they both reveal a startling picture of one of the most popular Doctrines of Men taught today. Let's look at how this Greek word 'Dogma' is used in Scripture:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree <1378> from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees <1378> for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. (Acts 16:4)
Whom Jason hath received : and these all do contrary to the decrees <1378> of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. (Acts 17:7)
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances <1378>; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances <1378> that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:14)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances <1379>...(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after ("according to") the commandments and doctrines of men? (Colossians 2:20-22)First we notice in the above passages in Luke and in Acts, that the Dogmas were decrees of men, either good or bad.
Next, we recall that it was the Decrees and Commandments of Men that Yahushua came against many times in His ministry. One of the main items of 'Dogma' taught today can be clearly seen in the Ephesians and Colossians verses above. Scripture tells us here plainly that it was the 'Dogma' — the 'Commandments of Men' — that were abolished, and were against us, and contrary to us, and were taken out of the way, and nailed it to his cross.
Men, however, continue to teach that it was the 'Commandments of Yahuweh' (the 'Law' or 'Torah') that were abolished, etc. in plain opposition to what the Scripture says! This modern-day teaching, that the Law has been abolished, is a prime example of a religious 'Dogma,' a popular 'Doctrine and Commandment of Men' being taught today!
It is the man-made Dogmas — the Commandments and Doctrines of Men — that poison the Good News of the Kingdom, and that infect the people, preventing them from 'entering in' to the Kingdom of Yahuweh:
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." (Matthew 23:13)
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6)
"In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1)Throughout the New Testament we see repeatedly the poisoning of the Gospel of the Kingdom by these leavened teachings. For further details on this Dogma and leaven, see Beware The Leaven.
Commandments of Men: Turn Men Away From TruthA Doctrine or Commandment of Men is one that that turns men away from the Truth (Titus 1:14), and if not repented of, will prevent New Testament Believers today from entering in because of their disobedience, in the same way that the Israelites were prevented from entering the Promised Land for their disobedience.
Another popular example today of a Commandment of Men that turns men from practicing the Truth, is the notion or Doctrine of 'The Lord’s Day.' As this phrase does occur in Scripture, we will look at this in detail, to see what the Scriptures tell us.
The idea of The Lord’s Day is a very interesting one. This idea of the Lord's Day is one of the better examples of how one should not determine Biblical Truth. (For more detail the Reader is encouraged to read What You Believe: True or False? The Simple Biblical Test). Let us see why this is true.
Of the many truths of the Bible, perhaps none are as important as the Truth that Yahushua tells us regarding the witness of Scripture. We are told that to determine or establish any matter, we must have adequate witnesses. Look at the following verses:
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. (Deuteronomy 19:15)
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18:16)
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)There are many passages showing this truth of multiple witnesses being required to establish any matter. Indeed, we are reminded often that we may not make a Doctrine out of any idea or concept that appears only once in Scripture. As we look at the New Testament, we find that the phrase 'the Lord’s Day,' the Greek words 'Kuriakos hemera,' appear only once (Revelation 1:10).
Now if a congregation were going to build a Doctrine on some idea, they should be careful to make sure that there is ample witness of Scripture, lest the masses of people catch on that they were being deceived. Surely they would be found out if their Doctrine had only one Scriptural reference! Nevertheless, our hallowed Lord’s Day Doctrine is many centuries old, having originated with the religious leaders in the early centuries.
Having originated as a pagan holy-day of sun-worship, its popularity was borrowed by Rome for use by their Religion. The Lord’s Day teaching then became a Doctrine of Men, taught by Rome, and then handed down to all her harlot-daughter congregations (Rev 17:5) that had come out from Rome during the Reformation. Today the man-made Lord's Day Doctrine continues to be taught and practiced throughout the evangelical community of Believers, with many explanations attempting to justify its observance.
The sad part is that, even though we should all worship Yahuweh on Sunday, and indeed every day of the week, the Lord’s Day Doctrine has removed the teaching, understanding, and practice of observing the true Biblical Sabbath Day, obscuring and hiding the truth from countless, precious Saints who truly love Yahuweh! Most have not yet realized that the keeping of Yahuweh's Sabbaths is one of the tests of their obedience to Messiah's own words, and of their love for the Master!
Observance of the Biblical Sabbath Day is not a simply a matter of worship on a particular day, but of obedience (which becomes worship as it is kept). As we saw in What You Believe: True or False? The Simple Biblical Test, the phrase, Lord's Day in Revelation was simply John’s identification of something with which he was very familiar: the Old Testament teaching of the 'Day of the LORD' or the Day of 'Yahuweh.' This is a term used in the Bible to describe the time of the end of the age and the return of Yahushua to earth. The reader is encouraged to become familiar with this vast and wonderful subject of the Day of the Lord.
Now, let us see what examples Yahushua and His Disciples gave us to follow.
Yahushua and His Disciples: Our ExamplesWe will note only this one additional point. Let's notice the words of the apostle Paul, in the following passage:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)In the above passage, Paul tells us we are to use him, and the other disciples, as examples for our walk, our daily lives. So we will ask the question, "What did the disciples of Yahushua do, as a matter of daily life and practice, in the first century congregation?" Did they keep the Biblical Feasts of Yahuweh, or did they worship on some day known as the 'Lord’s Day?' Let’s see.
The Disciples Gathered Together on PentecostFirst, the Scriptures tell us that all the Disciples were gathered together in one accord, in one place, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). Is there any doubt as to what day it was, and why they were all gathered together in one place? The Scriptures tell us clearly that on the day of Pentecost, all of Yahuweh's people are to convocate, or gather together in a particular place (Exodus 34:22; Lev 23:15-21; Deut 16:10,16).
So we see that the Disciples, as Believers, had all come together with one mind, and in one place, to celebrate the commanded Feast of Pentecost, the Festival of 'Shavuot.' Known also as the Feast of Weeks, this day is the High Sabbath day that occurs fifty days after the day Messiah was resurrected as the 'Firstfruits' of all mankind, on the Biblical day of the Feast of Early Firstfruits (Lev 23:9-16), which that year occurred three days and three nights after Passover.
The Disciples had previously celebrated Passover with Yahushua, and had eaten the Passover meal, also called the Last Supper, together with Him that night. The following afternoon, still within the legal 24-hour period, between the two evenings — between the beginning and ending evenings of the 14th day of Abib — Yahushua became the Passover Lamb for that year, and for all eternity!
So the Disciples were all together, celebrating the Biblical Feast of Shavuot [Pentecost — one of Yahuweh's Sabbaths — "These are MY Feasts"]. The Disciples were celebrating the Feast of Shavuot in obedience to Yahushua, for they loved Him. They also knew that this Feast, like Passover, was one of Messiah's commandments that He — as the Word of Yahuweh — had given to Moses, to be obeyed by those who love Him.
It was then, while all together on Shavuot [Pentecost], that the Holy Spirit fell, and the rest we know very well. The details of the lives of Yahushua and His Disciples, however, have been obscured from us by much modern-day teaching of the Doctrines of Men. We must earnestly contend against the prevailing man-made teachings, the Doctrines of Men, in order to lay hold of The Faith which was at one time delivered unto the saints. We must study the Scriptures, looking closely at Messiah and His Disciples, to see what they did.
Following The DisciplesThe Scriptures tell us that we are to become followers [lit. 'imitators'] of the apostle Paul, just as Paul was [an imitator] of Messiah:
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers [lit. imitators] of me. (1Corinthians 4:16)
Be ye followers [lit. imitators] of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1Corinthians 11:1)
Brethren, be followers together [lit. imitating together] of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)The above Scriptures are clear. We are to be followers of Messiah and His Disciples. Today however, there are many man-made teachings that obscure, and even deny, much of the daily lives and practice of Paul and the other Disciples. What we can see plainly and clearly in Scripture becomes obscured, and appears confusing, in the light of the modern-day teaching of the Doctrines and Commandments of Men.
And so if we are to follow, and imitate Paul and the other Disciples, we must first dig deeply into the word of Yahuweh, to find out what they did, how the they lived their daily lives.
Following The Disciples: An ExampleFor example, many today teach that the Disciples in Yahushua's day worshipped on Sunday. Beloved, Is this true? Let's see what the Bible says:
And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7)
Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (John 20:19)In your Bible and in mine, we see that on only two occasions were the Disciples gathered together on the "first of the week [lit. sabbatown]" (Acts 20:7; John 20:19).
In both of the above passages, the word 'day' is not there, but has been added by the translators for clarity. The Greek word 'sabbatown,' Strong's number <4521>, is translated "sabbath" 59 times, and "week" 9 times, and can mean either sabbath or week, depending on context. There is also no mention of an identifying 'Lord’s Day' in either passage.
On both occasions mentioned in the above Scripture passages, the disciples came together on the first of the sabbatown. This would be either a Friday night if it was the first of the 'sabbath,' or Saturday night if it was the first of the 'week.'
Let's now look more closely at these passages to see what they say.
And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7)In the Acts 20:7 passage above, we see that the Disciples had all come together to hear Paul speak before he left for Ephesus. We know it was a night meeting, since we are told in Acts 20:7 that Paul continue his speech until midnight. We know it was a Saturday night, because if it were a Friday night, Paul would not be travelling the next morning, on a Sabbath day.
We also know it was during the occasion of a fellowship meal, and we also have two confirmations that this meal was not a 'Lord's Supper.' First, we are told in verse 6 that this occasion was after the days of Unleavened, from the 15th through the 21st day of the month of the Abib. It was on the 14th of Abib that they had eaten the once-a-year Passover meal, the true "Lord's Supper," so they would not eat this Feast until the next year. Second, we know from Scripture, that the term "break bread" together means to 'eat a meal together' (Lam 4:4; Acts 2:46).
From the evidence in Scripture, we see that this meeting does not appear to qualify as a modern-day Sunday meeting, but was likely an extension of the Sabbath gathering and oneg meal that continued beyond the close of Sabbath, before Paul's departure.
Now, as we look at the next passage, let us ask this question. When we and other children of Yahuweh gather to worship Yahuweh, what is our purpose?
It is very clear that as Believers, our purpose for gathering together is to worship Yahuweh, perhaps in prayer, singing, teaching, and giving testimony of His Goodness. But what were the disciples doing in the John 20:19 passage?
We will now look at the one remaining passage in John 20:19, to see if we can determine the purpose for which the Disciples had gathered:
Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (John 20:19)In the above passage in John 20:19, as well as from the context of the surrounding passages, it is very clearly stated that on this occasion, the Disciples were assembled together at evening, on the same day as Yahushua's resurrection, but later in the evening. What is not clear is the purpose for their assembling together.
It may be that the fear of the Jews applies to the reason for the assembly, or might apply to the reason the doors were shut. We do not know. In any event, this is the one, single passage of Scripture, that gives no hint either way, of establishing any new 'Doctrine' for assembling on the first of the sabbatown.
Dear Reader, what should we conclude from this passage?
As we have already seen, we are NOT to establish any Doctrines on the testimony of only ONE witness. Thus the idea of a first day of the week meeting does not seem to be Scriptural. What is clear is that there are no witnesses of Scripture that have nullified or done away with Messiah's words to His people, but that they are to keep Yahuweh's Sabbaths (Lev 19:1-3,30; Lev 26:2) — and that the Strangers ['Gentiles'] are included in the promises AND the Blessings of keeping Yahuweh's Sabbaths (Isaiah 56:3-7).
ConclusionWe have seen that the Doctrines and Commandments of Men are simply man-made, religious Traditions and dogmas, mere decrees of men, that are taught as if they were Biblical Truth.
We have seen that the Doctrines and Commandments of Men turn men away from the Truth, and can prevent people from 'entering in' to the Kingdom of Yahuweh.
We have seen examples of popular Doctrines and Commandments of Men that are commonly taught today. We have also seen that if we are to be followers and imitators of Messiah and His Disciples, we must look closely in Scripture, to observe what they did, how the they lived their daily lives.
We have seen that there are only two instances in Scripture, in which the disciples are said to gather together on the first day of the week. We have that in one of those two instances, the purpose of their gathering was clearly not as a Sunday gathering as commonly known today.
We have seen that in the one, remaining instance of the Disciples gathering together on the first day of the week, the purpose for their gathering is not made clear, but is in question.
We have seen that we may NOT establish any Doctrines on the testimony of only ONE witness, even if it were clear. Thus we must conclude that the idea of gathering on the first day of the week, as a replacement for gathering on the Biblical Sabbath Day, is not Scriptural, but is a popular, man-made Tradition, a Doctrine of Men.
We have seen that departing from, disregarding, and rejecting the Commandments of Yahuweh, results in the teaching of the Tradition and Commandments of Men instead of the Commandments of Yahuweh.
We have also seen that disregarding the Commandments of Yahuweh can prevent Yahuweh's people from entering in to His Kingdom. It is this final result that reveals the awful truth of our greatest hindrance: the Doctrines and Commandments of Men.
Proceed to Let No Man Steal Your Crown.