As soon as we mention the importance of keeping or guarding the Sabbath, then we are often quoted a single phrase of Scripture from Romans 14 (out of context I might add). The very words are, “One indeed judges one day above another, another judges every day alike. Let each one be completely persuaded in his own mind.”
Now to the “untaught” and “unstable” these words simply mean that it doesn’t make a difference to ELaHYM which days we keep or guard. To them, the Sabbath isn’t really that much important. These are one of the many “strongholds” which people have accepted from constant exposure to false teachings. Overcoming strongholds like this is done by simply accepting the TRUTH. Scripture make a clear distinction of what truth is! We need to scripturally define what truth is! “Your righteousness is righteousness forever AND YOUR TORAH IS TRUTH.” Tehillim (Psalms) 119: 142 Which brings me to Messiah’s words in Yochanan 16: 13, “But when He comes, the Spirit of Truth, HE SHALL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH…”and according to Scripture – “Torah is Truth” so Messiah was in fact saying that the Spirit of Truth shall guide us INTO ALL TORAH. i.e. He will not guide you into believing a lie, and annul the 4th Commandment, the sign of the everlasting Covenant. Yshayahu 56: 4-8; Yehezqel 20:12; Shemoth (Exodus) 31: 12-17; Bereshith (Genesis) 2:2; Ibrim (Hebrews) 4
The text (Romans 14) is discussing the very people who are misapplying this section. FOR THEM the “weak” brother “eats” some things and “esteems one day (Sabbath) above another” while the strong brother believes that he may “eat all things” and “esteems every day alike” which is not only plain ignorant but both foolish and unscriptural, as it implies that Shaul is granting anyone the ability to ignore Leviticus 11 (which is found in the Torah and the Torah is TRUTH), assuming that “unclean” animals are included as “food.” Unclean animals are NOT food to begin with, but every animal that Leviticus 11 declares to be food is “clean”, declares so by the Word. If the Word of YaHUaH declares that an animal is not to be eaten, and you ignore His Word, then the prophecy at Yshayahu (Isaiah) 66: 16,17 will befall you. Because Messiah will not judge us by what any man believes. He will judge us by His Words (the Torah, Prophets and the Writings), “the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”Yochanan 12: 48
REMEMBER the words of YaHUaH in Yshayahu 8: 20 “To the Torah and the Prophets! If they do not speak according to this Word [according to the Torah or according to the Prophets] it is because there is no light in them.”
SHAUL WAS NOT trying to say that the “weak” brother “eats” some things and “esteems one day (Sabbath) above another” while the strong brother believes that he may “eat all things” and “esteems every day alike” – TO THE CONTRARY! In order to grasp its true intent, we must read starting where the context of the subject begins, not just one or two verses taken out of context. The same hold true for many who had an incorrect idea on what Shaul was in fact teaching, assuming him of teaching against the Torah. If ever Shaul had the opportunity to show that we no longer had to follow and obey the Torah (including Leviticus 11), this was it – however, Shaul denied the charge that he taught against Torah in the strongest possible way, by taking a Natzarite vow (Acts 21: 21-26). This involves him performing sacrifices and offerings (Numbers 6: 1-21) long after Messiah’s death and resurrection.
So let us carefully and thoroughly look at the text of Romans 14:
“And receive him who is weak in the belief, [Being “weak” in the belief, means the new believer has not yet learned the details of how to walk according to Torah] not CRITICISING his thoughts.
One indeed believes to EAT all food,(that which Leviticus 11 declares to be food) but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
“vegetarian” is probably a concept that developed from the minds of those in 1Corinthians 8 who’s conscience were troubling them – “until now eat it as having been offered to an idol, so their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to ELaHYM, for we are none the better if we eat, nor any worse for not eating.”(verse 7-8)
Now carefully notice! Not only were there “weak” converts who avoided eating meat offered unto idols, but there were others who customarily abstained from particular foods. They semi-fasted “twice a week” (Luqas 18:10-13). Still others refused to practice a semi-fast or abstain from foods, but regarded every day in the same way!
He that EATS, (that which Leviticus 11 declares to be food) [the one who refuse to practise a fast] let him not DESPISE him who does not EAT [the one who fast/“him who is weak”] and he that does not eat [the one who fast/“him who is “weak”/”vegetarian”], let him not JUDGE him who eats [the one who refuse to practise a fast], for ELaHYM receives him[the one who does not fast, like the tax collector see Luqas 18:10-13].
Who are you to JUDGE another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he shall be made to stand, for ELaHYM is able to make him stand.
Disputes, criticism, despicable and judgemental attitudes regarding FOOD existed among a few and Shaul clearly exhorts that in such things no longer essential to those in the belief. But one important thing the reader is usually unaware of that is central to this section concerns FASTING. A man made tradition held by the Pharisees to “fast twice a week”(see Luqas 18: 10-13) and some would also fast during the fifth and seventh month (Zekaryah 7: 4-7). They were divided as to exactly when too fast while others were divided as to what days to obtain from certain foods. There were division that should not recite amongst the believers. YaHUShA taught us that fasting is something between an individual and ELaHYM without making it obvious to others. (Mattiyahu 6:16) The subject of this question surrounded the matter of abstinence on particular days – upon which days many voluntarily abstained from certain foods. It did not involve whether or not to “keep” or “guard” YaHUaH’s Sabbath. Carefully notice how Shaul combines “the day” with “those who eat” and “those who do not eat” which is central to this section. And key to understand the entire chapter.
One indeed judges one day above another, another judges every day alike. Let each one be completely persuaded in his own mind.
He who minds the day [and fast] minds it to YaHUaH. And he who does not mind the day [who does not fast] to YaHUaH he does not mind it. He who EATS [during a day when everyone else fast] EATS to YaHUaH for he gives ELaHYM thanks. And he who does not EAT [the one who FAST], to YaHUaH he does not EAT,[i.e. to YaHUaH he fast – now does he?(see Zekaryah 7: 4-7)] and gives ELaHYM thanks.
For not one of us lives to himself, and not one dies to himself.
Shaul seems to tell us that not one of them is trying to short circuit YaHUaH, they both are in the belief and still have an honest and serious regard for YaHUaH. If a person did not choose to FAST, then that is fine. If a person DID choose to FAST, that is fine too. The same holds true for those who eat meat and for those who choose to be a “vegetarian”.
For both [the one who fast & the one who does not fast][“weak” brother or the “strong” brother] if we live, we live unto the Master, and if we die, we die unto the Master.[remember though both are in the belief and both have an honest and serious regard for YaHUaH]
Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Master’s.
For unto this Messiah died and rose and lived again, to rule over both [both in the belief] the dead and the living.[even if one might have passed away]
But why do you [the one who FAST “the weak brother in the belief”] Judge your brother? Or why do you [the one who does not fast/the ”stronger” of the two in the belief] despise your brother? [Implied from verse 3] For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah.
For it has been written, “As I live, says YaHUaH, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to ELaHYM.”
Each one of us [the one who fast & the one who does not fast / the “weak brother in the belief as well as the stronger brother in the belief] therefore, shall give account of himself to ELaHYM.
Therefore, let us not judge one another any longer, but rather judge this, not to put an obstacle or stumbling block in our brothers way.
I know and am persuaded in the Master that NONE AT ALL is common of itself. But to him [who is weak in the belief] who regards whatever to be common [in this case who regards the meat to be common for he only eats vegetables], to him it [meat] is common. In order to grasp its true intent, we must read starting where the context of the subject begins, not just one or two words taken out of context. Many would like to rely on their own understanding instead of following the very guidelines YaHUaH has set out in His Word (Proverbs 3:5) and until you know what ELaHYM says in His Word and not rely on your own understanding, how are you going to be fully assured in your own mind? Shaul stated “the set apart Scriptures which are able to make you wise”(2 Tim 3:15). The “Scriptures” is none other than the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. Its true intent would never contradict Leviticus 11 which is part of the Torah.
And if your brother is grieved [the weaker brother in the belief] because of your food [in a case where you might offer him meat which he regards to be common when you know that he only eats vegetables], you are no longer walking in love.
Do not by your food ruin the one for whom Messiah died.
Do not then allow your good to be spoken of as evil.
For the reign of ELaHYM is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Set Apart Spirit. [Which is why he states in 1 Corinthians 8: 8, “But food does not commend us to ELaHYM.”]
For he who is serving Messiah in these matters is well pleasing to ELaHYM and approved by men.
So then, let us pursue the matters of peace, and the matters for building up one another.(see 2 Tim 3:16,17)
Do not destroy the work of ELaHYM for the sake of food.(that which Leviticus 11 declares to be food) All indeed are clean but evil to that man who eats (that which Leviticus 11 declares to be food) SO AS TO CAUSE STUMBLING.
Purposefully eat meat when it causes the one who is “weak” in the belief much distress.
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine, nor to do whatever by which your brother [the one who is weak in the belief] stumbles.
Do you have belief? [Are you persuaded that it is good to eat meat as described in Leviticus] Have it to yourself before ELaHYM. Blessed is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves (the Torah)
But he who doubts,[those who’s conscience are troubling them – “being weak” as described in 1 Corinthians 8] if he eats, is condemned, because it is not of belief, and all that is not of belief is sin.” Our belief is not in idols but in YaHUaH and His Torah, and it is through the Torah we know what sin is. So we measure ourselves by the Torah.