Truth About The Torah
Let’s establish this first because if you do not believe this, nothing else I write below will matter to you. We all believe/trust the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of YHVH (God), written down by men. If we are in agreement on this then let us continue. The Natsarim or followers of the Way believe the Torah (minus the sacrificial Sin Offering, which Yeshua (Jesus) completed by His sacrifice) is still in full effect and we are expected to follow it. The Christian Church calls it Legalism. Legalism is defined by dictionary.com as
- strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.
- Theology .
- the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works.
- the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.
- the principles and practices of a school of political theorists advocating strict legal control over all activities, a system of rewards and punishments uniform for all classes, and an absolute monarchy.
The Christian Church teaches that one only needs to “believe” to be saved. The “Christian” belief that the Torah (Law) cannot save you is true, but misleading in the context used by the Christian Church. We can believe with head knowledge that He is who He said He is, but even the demons believe this: James 2:19 – You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder!. The idea behind the word “belief” or “believe” is trust or faith. If you truly “believe” Yeshua was the Messiah and that He died for your sins, then you would trust what He said to be true.
Yeshua said in Matthew 5:16 – 20: “Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens. Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, til the heavens and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah til all be done. Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens.”
So if the Torah was done away with or we do not have to follow it today, then what does He mean by “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.”? He said he came to “complete” or in some translations “fulfill” the Torah. When you complete or fulfill (fill up) something do you destroy it by doing so? He completed the Torah by living it perfectly, something we cannot do, but we should try to do since we are to imitate Yeshua as much as possible.
Then Yeshua says: “til heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah til all be done.” Well the heaven and earth are still here, right? Well, He did say “til all be done.” and we know He was talking about his death and resurrection, right…or was He? The very next verse brings the “completion”, being His death and resurrection into question because He states: “Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.” Well now wait…if He does away with the Torah (the commands/instructions) then why make this statement at all? Did we enter the “reign of the heavens” after Yeshua’s death and resurrection or are we still waiting for this reign to begin? Based on this statement we can see the Torah, the Word of YHVH, did not end at the cross.
Then Yeshua says we must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Well, they followed the Torah (Law) and they were not righteous enough for Yeshua, so then we must not need to follow the Torah (Law) either, right? We must transcend beyond the Law, by simply believing He is who He says He is, right? Well the problem with the scribes and Pharisees is three fold: 1. They attempted to become righteous by observing the Torah (Law) instead of through trust and belief in YHVH, which is legalism. 2. The “laws” they were following most of the time were traditions (the Talmud) their “rabbis” had put in place over the Torah. 3. They worked by the “letter” of the law instead of by the Spirit of the law. So to be more righteous than them we simply have to trust in Yeshua and work to learn and follow the Spirit of the Torah (Law) as He did.
Well, this all sounds great, but what about Paul, he said we were no longer under the law. Paul was a follower and teacher of Yeshua, so how can Paul say we no longer have to follow the Torah, while Yeshua says it will not pass away until the earth and heaven pass way and not even then (since a new heave and a new earth will be created), for it was with YHVH in the beginning and it will be with YHVH at the end (if there ever is one).
The Truth of Paul
We know how Shaul (Paul) became a follower of Yeshua on the road to Damascus. We also know that Shaul was a Pharisee. Acts 23:6 – “Now Sha’ul, perceiving that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, cried out in the council, “Men, brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, I am being judged concerning the expectation and resurrection of the dead!” This tells us that Shaul knew the Torah and the Talmud very well and followed them daily. He continued to follow the Torah even after he began following Yeshua, but he did do away with following the Talmud or traditions of man.
Also, we have this warning from Peter about the writings of Shaul in 2 Peter 3:14-18: “So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless, but grow in the favor and knowledge of our Master and Savior Yeshua Messiah. To Him be the esteem both now and to a day that abides. Amĕn.” So even Peter admits Shaul’s writings are hard to follow sometimes and that those “untaught and unstable” will twist them.
Let’s look at verses the Christian Church uses from Shaul to support their stance that we are no longer under the Torah.
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
- The law does not determine your salvation. You are saved by grace, not by the law. Therefore your failure to follow the Torah perfectly as Yeshua did will not keep your from righteousness.
- C.E.B. Cranfield, “St. Paul and the Law,” Scottish Journal of Theology 17 (March 1964): 55 – “…the Greek language used by Paul had no word-group to denote ‘legalism’, ‘legalist’, and ‘legalistic’ . . . . In view of this, we should, I think, be ready to reckon with the possibility that sometimes, when he appears to be disparaging the law, what he really has in mind may be not the law itself but the misunderstanding and misuse of it for which we have a convenient term.”
- The phrase “under the law” is likely referring to Legalism not the doing away of the Torah.
“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4)
- This passage appears to state we were to die to the Law, possibly meaning not to use it anymore due to the death and resurrection of Yeshua, but when we read the verses following we can see this is not the case.
- Romans 7:5 – “For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, through the Torah were working in our members to bear fruit of death.”
- Passion of sins, through the Torah – sin is known because we know the Torah. The Torah defines sin (lawlessness). So the passion of sin was not because of the Torah it is because of the flesh.
- Sin was working through our members (body parts) to bear fruit of death; not because of the Torah, but because of our sinful (lawless) nature.
- Romans 7:6 – “But now we have been released from the Torah, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in newness of Spirit and not in oldness of letter.”
- This verse does not state we are no longer to follow the Torah, but we are expected to follow the Spirit of it, not the letter of it as the Pharisees and scribes believed.
- Romans 7:7 – “What, then, shall we say? Is the Torah sin? Let it not be! However, I did not know sin except through the Torah. For also the covetousness I knew not if the Torah had not said, “You shall not covet.”
- Shaul very clearly says here the Torah is not sin or bad. He says the Torah is what tells him what is a sin or not a sin.
- We’ll skip down a little; Romans 7:12-13 – “So that the Torah truly is set-apart and the command set-apart and righteous and good. Therefore, has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But the sin, that sin might be manifest, was working death in me through what is good, so that sin through the command might become an exceedingly great sinner.”
- Here Shaul states the Torah and its commands are set-apart (holy) and righteous and good. He is saying the sin he was aware of because the Torah was working death in him because he was concerned about his sinning (inability to completely follow the Torah perfectly) because before he did not understand the Spirit of the Torah or the grace of Yeshua which saves us from the death of sin.
- So we can see that Shaul used the Torah to define sin and that we should serve in the Spirit of the Torah not the letter which leads to legalism and boasting.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2)
- If you read the previous verses you will understand the “law of sin and death” is not the Torah, but exact opposite. It is “another law in my members battling against the Torah of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
- Following Yeshua and His instructions regarding the Torah is what will set you free from the “law of sin and death.”
“And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21)
- This is a description of how Shaul reached all types of people. Those “under the law” was referencing those under legalism, not Torah. In other words, when we witness to people we should not intentionally offend or condemn their beliefs, but rather explain and work to show them the righteousness of YHVH.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4)
- In other words, for those who believe, true justification comes through Christ—thus putting an end to futile attempts at justification through ritual works. So the actual meaning of Romans 10:4 is that Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice for sin, once for all time, ended the temple ritual laws and the traditional laws of Judaism for justification. By writing this, Paul did not unilaterally terminate all the laws of God as millions want to assume. He was emphasizing that true spiritual justification from God the Father is uniquely received through faith in the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ, which is the operation of faith and grace combined, and cannot be procured by any work of any law. – Paul’s Difficult Scriptures, Phil Neal
“Nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
- Again justification/salvation cannot be gained through legalism. This verse does not do away with the Torah or the following of it.
“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain? Does He, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2-5)
- Again does justification and salvation come from works of the law or through the faith of Yeshua?
- The Galatians were being led back into legalism and Shaul was asking them which justify you, the Spirit or the flesh?
- This does not do away with the Torah nor does it say not to follow it. It is in regards to justification through works verses faith.
“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:24-26)
- A tutor teaches or instructs you in the way to do or learn something. Once you have learned what the tutor has taught do you decide you don’t need what you have learned anymore? Do you leave school and say “well glad that’s over now I can completely forget how to read.”. No you keep the teachings of the tutor and continue to do them, which was the goal of being tutored in the first place. You may no longer be under a tutor, but this is because you have mastered the lesson and perform it consistently.
- “After repentance, baptism and the laying of hands, God gives the Holy Spirit—which unites with the spirit of man within the believer (I John 3:9) bringing conversion (John 14:17). God, then begins to write His laws and commandments in the mind of the new believer (Heb. 10:16). Instead of the external tutoring of the law, the believer now begins to develop the mind of Christ by the Holy Spirit through faith (Phil. 2:5). This is the internal working of the Holy Spirit to lead the believer in all righteousness (Rom. 8:14).” – Paul’s Difficult Scriptures, Phil Neal
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Galatians 5:18)
- What would the Spirit be leading you to do? Follow the instructions of YHVH and Yeshua or something else? What are the instructions of YHVH and Yeshua?
- “under the law” – again justification by law, not faith in Yeshua.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)
- This is a correct statement; the Torah does not have a law keeping us from following the Spirit which is instructing us to follow the Torah which is now written on our hearts.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
- You are not saved or justified by works; you are saved by the grace of YHVH through faithfulness in Him. This does not abolish the Torah. It only points out that works alone will not get you into the Kingdom of YHVH.
“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by having put to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
- This is speaking of the Judaism tradition (ordinance) that Jews should not associate with Gentiles. This was not the intent of YHVH in the beginning. It was a man made law put into effect by the Rabbis.
Shaul never did away with the Torah nor stopped following it. He did not have the authority to do so; only YHVH or Yeshua would have that authority and since neither of them have done away with the Torah or taught others to do so, why would Shaul?
What Does Yeshua Say About The Torah (Commandments)
Here are a few verses spoken by Yeshua during his teaching on earth. You can decide for yourself if you think He did away with the instructions of the Torah.
Matthew 19:16-20: And see, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good shall I do to have everlasting life?” And He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One – Elohim. But if you wish to enter into life, guard the commands.” He said to Him, “Which?” And Yeshua said, “‘You shall not murder,’
‘You shall not commit adultery,’
‘You shall not steal,’
‘You shall not bear false witness,’
‘Respect your father and your mother,’ and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The young man said to Him, “All these I have watched over from my youth, what do I still lack?” Yeshua said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heavens. And come, follow Me.”
Note: The man followed the Torah, but he did not follow all of the Torah. He was not putting YHVH before his stuff. Many of us refuse to give up our stuff, traditions, family, and everything to follow the steps of Yeshua; which, are the ways of His Father, YHVH. This is what the young man was lacking; his ability to put YHVH first and foremost in his life and Yeshua knew it.
Matthew 22:34 – 40: But the Pharisees, having heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, were gathered together, and one of them learned in the Torah did question, trying Him and saying, “Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?” And Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being and with all your mind. “This is the first and great command. “And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”
Note: The first 4 of the 10 Commandments refer to loving and worshiping YHVH; hence the “You shall love your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being and with all your mind.” The last 6 of the 10 Commandments refer to how to treat your neighbor; hence the “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Yeshua was simplifying the 10 Commandments for them. All the commandments stem from love; YHVH’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for one another. The Torah shows us how to love YHVH and one another properly.
John 14:15: If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
Note: What commands was Yeshua talking about here? Did he have some new commands that were not found in Torah? Did He not say He speaks only what YHVH, His Father, tells Him to speak? So if YHVH put the Torah in place to begin with then do you think Yeshua would speak against His Father’s commandments and add or take away from them? If He did then He would be a sinner and not the Messiah.
John 14:21 – 26:”He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.” Yahuḏah – not the one from Qerioth – said to Him, “Master, what has come about that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Yeshua answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him. He who does not love Me does not guard My Words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father Who sent Me. These Words I have spoken to you while still with you. But the Helper, the Set-apart Spirit, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you.”
Note: Guard His Word…what is His Word? The Word is not His, but from His Father, YHVH. What Words has YHVH given His people for thousands of years? Yeshua spoke the Words while He was here. He taught from the Torah and Prophets and spoke the words of the Torah and Prophets, which were Words His Father YHVH also spoke.
John 15:9-15: “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love. If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete. This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that one should lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Note: What teachings? The one’s His Father taught. And what did His Father teach? He taught “if you love me, guard my commandments.”
Finally, What I am I Repenting From?
The Christian Church is very consistent in its desire for you to repent from sin and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but what are you repenting from and how do you know you have repented?
1 John 3:4 – Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness and sin is lawlessness.
So we can deduce sin is the breaking of the Law…what Law? The Law of YHVH, the Torah. If we are to repent from sin then we should be turning back to the instructions / laws given by YHVH because breaking them is sin and without the Torah as Shaul stated earlier in this article we would not know sin if were not for the Torah.
Look up the word “lawlessness” in your Scriptures and see what it pertains to most of the time and what YHVH and Yeshua had to say about it.
So we are repenting from lawlessness.
We will continue to follow the teachings of YHVH and Yeshua; which has not changed since the beginning, and we will continue to rejoice in the grace provided by the sacrifice of Yeshua and New Covenant of the Set-Apart Spirit and Torah internalized within us. We can do no other than to follow the Torah to show our love and faith in YHVH our Elohim and His son Yeshua our Messiah.
The Christian Church may call us legalistic, a sect, a cult, etc., but that is fine with us because it is not the first time the large religious establishment of the day has done so: Acts 24:5 (Pharisees speaking about Shaul) – “For having found this man a plague, who stirs up dissension among all the Yahuḏim throughout the world and a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarim,”. Shaul’s response; Acts 24:14 – “And this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all that has been written in the Torah and in the Prophets,”. As you can see we have been labeled a plague which stirs up dissension among the religious establishment before, and I am sure we will be called the same or worse again.
So call us Natsarim, Followers of the Way, Messianic, either is fine with us and we will continue to be Watchmen over the Torah and guard the Commandments of YHVH till death if need be. For Yeshua said: John 15:11 – 15: “These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete. This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that one should lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” So since He is our friend then we would have no greater honor than laying down our lives to protect His Commandments and His Faith.
Repent for the Reign of YHVH draws near!