Torah – Law

The word Torah is commonly translated as “law”. Its literal meaning is  Instruction and Teaching.

Much is argued today if we should obey and do the Torah or not. Paul writes a lot about this subject and his writings are the root of all of the arguments, because we have a hard time understanding them. Even Paul’s contemporary, spirit filled Peter said that Paul’s letters were hard to understand. Because of the difficulties, ignorant people already then distorted the meaning of Paul’s writings. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

Let’s see what definitions for the word “law” we may find in the letters.

Ro 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.
Two laws are mentioned in this verse: The law which requires works and the law which requires faith.

Ro 2:14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law,(A) they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.
I leave the interpretation of this verse open.

Ro 8:2 because through Christ Jesus(A) the law of the Spirit who gives life(B) has set you[a] free(C) from the law of sin(D) and death.
There are two laws in this verse:  the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death

Ro 7:21 So I find this law at work:(A) Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
I think you get the idea.

Ro 7:22 For in my inner being(A) I delight in God’s law;(B)
   This should be the most important one:   God’s law     Even so we don’t know what God’s law actually is at this point of our study.

1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin,(A) and the power of sin is the law.(B)
   This law is surely not the one we like.

Gal 5:23 gentleness and self-control.(A) Against such things there is no law.(B)
   This is a very general term of the word “law”.

Gal 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.(A)
   Here we have the  “law of Christ”. Another law in the list of the many.

James 1:25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,(A) and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.(B)
   The “law that gives freedom” should probably be the one to find and live by.

The point I would like to make here is this:
When Paul or others uses the term “law” it does not always refer to the law which was written down by Moses. That raises the question, when Paul says, that we are no longer under the law, which law is he referring to?

Let’s look at what the bible says about the law of Moses:

Mt 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.(A) 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.(B) 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands(C) and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.(D)

Luke 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen of the Law to become void.(A)

John 15:10-11 If you keep my commands,(A) you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.(B)

Mt 23:3 So you must be careful to do everything he (Moses) tells you. But do not do what they (the Pharisees) do, for they do not practice what they preach.
(This is the correct translation of this verse. See for example the book by Nehemia Gordon “The Hebrew Yeshua versus the Greek Jesus”.)

Lk 16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
(In other words:  He who does not listen to the Torah will not recognize Yeshua who rose from the dead.)

Ps 119:165 Great peace(A) have those who love your law,    and nothing can make them stumble.(B)

Ps 1:1-3 Blessed is the one(A) who does not walk(B) in step with the wicked(C) or stand in the way(D) that sinners take(E)  or sit(F) in the company of mockers,(G) but whose delight(H) is in the law of the Lord,(I)    and who meditates(J) on his law day and night. That person is like a tree(K) planted by streams(L) of water,(M)  which yields its fruit(N) in season and whose leaf(O) does not wither—    whatever they do prospers.(P)

PS19:7 The Torah of YAHWEH is perfect, converting the soul. The Testimony of YEHOVAH is sure, making the simple wise.
8 The precepts of YAHWEH are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandments of YEHOVAH are clear, giving light to the eyes.

Eze 20:11 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, by which the person who obeys them will live.(A)

Lev 18:5 Keep my decrees and laws,(A) for the person who obeys them will live by them.(B) I am the Lord.

Nu 15:16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.(A)’”

Pr 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.(A)

Ro 2:13b Those who obey the law will be declared righteous.

Ro 3:31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

All of Ro 7 is only written for those who know the Torah.

 Ro 15:4 For everything that was written in the past (the Old Testament) was written to teach us,(A) so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

1 Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.(A) Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

1 Tim 1:8 We know that the law is good(A) if one uses it properly.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed(A) and is useful for teaching,(B) rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,(C)

2 Tim 3:15 and how from infancy(A) you have known the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament),(B) which are able to make you wise(C) for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.(A) And his commands are not burdensome,(B)

1 John 2:3 We know(A) that we have come to know him(B) if we keep his commands.(C)

Rev 12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war(A) against the rest of her offspring(B)—those who keep God’s commands(C) and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.(D)

Rev 14:12 This calls for patient endurance(A) on the part of the people of God(B) who keep his commands(C) and remain faithful to Jesus.

Eze 7:26  Calamity upon calamity(A) will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will go searching for a vision from the prophet,(B) priestly instruction in the law will cease, the counsel of the elders will come to an end.(C)

Eph 2:15 (Christ) having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances (dogma); that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;
(The commandments contained in dogma are the man made commandments, mostly invented by the Pharisees. These kind of laws were the ones Yeshua came to abolish as we can read out of the many arguments HE had with the Pharisees.)

Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.(A)39 Through him everyone who believes(B) is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.(C)
(In other words:  Yeshua did set us free from what the Torah could not, which is the law that says “the wages of sin is death”)

John 5:45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses,(BA) on whom your hopes are set.(BB) 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.(BC) 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”(BD)

1 Corinthians 10
Warnings From Israel’s History (learning from the Torah)

10 For I do not want you to be ignorant(A) of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud(B) and that they all passed through the sea.(C) 2 They were all baptized into(D) Moses in the cloud and in the sea.3 They all ate the same spiritual food(E) 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock(F)that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.(G)

6 Now these things occurred as examples(H) to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters,(I) as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a](J) 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.(K) 9 We should not test Christ,[b](L) as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.(M) 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did(N)—and were killed(O) by the destroying angel.(P)

11 These things happened to them as examples(Q) and were written down as warnings for us,(R) on whom the culmination of the ages has come.(S) 12 So, if you think you are standing firm,(T) be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;(U) he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear.(V) But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper

1 Cor 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends,(W) flee from idolatry.(X) 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break(Y) a participation in the body of Christ?(Z) 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body,(AA) for we all share the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices(AB) participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?(AC) 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,(AD) not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.(AE) 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?(AF) Are we stronger than he?(AG)

One famous Scripture Torah opponents always use is Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV)

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
The word “is” at the end of the sentence is added by the translators. Other translations add even more words. The KJV is closest to the original Greek, which you can see for yourself using helps like Paul explains to us, that the body of Christ is the church, the true followers of Yeshua. With this in mind this Scripture means: “Don’t let a pagan judge you for keeping the dietary laws, the feast days, the new moon or the sabbath, but be judged by true believers only.”

Obedience to YHVH’s commandments

Rev12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war(AM) against the rest of her offspring(AN)—those who keep God’s commands(AO) and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.(AP)
Rev14:11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.(AH) There will be no rest day or night(AI) for those who worship the beast and its image,(AJ) or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”(AK)12 This calls for patient endurance(AL) on the part of the people of God(AM) who keep his commands(AN) and remain faithful to Jesus.

Ps 111: HIS commandments are true, standing firm forever and ever.

Besides all of this, even the “Christians” who claim that they don’t obey the law still obey some of the commandments like “you shall not steal” and “you shall not murder”. But who is to say which commandments should be obeyed and which not?  This only comes down to what happened in the book of Judges “… and everyone did as he saw fit” and it ended in chaos and oppression.

 Happy studying and coming to your own conclusions.

Discussion and Testimony:

There are many arguments people bring up why they don’t obey the Torah. “Everything changed with Christ” is a common one. How does “everything changed” fit in with Yehovah saying “I do not change” ? (Mal 3:6; PS 55:19; Num 23:19)
The law was only for Israel.  If that was true, why do we obey any of the laws? Why even bother with any of the 10 commandments? Who is going to say which commandment to keep and which not?
The truth is that there was a mixed multitude leaving Egypt together with the Israelites. They counted over 600,000 men over 21 years old not mentioning women and children. When Israel and his sons and grandsons moved into Egypt they were 75 persons. Moses’ grandfather was among those 75 persons (Ex 6). This means Moses was the second generation being born in Egypt. How do we get from 75 to over 3 Million in this short time? It was the mixed multitude moving out of Egypt. This is why YHVH says that the same law applies to the foreigner as to the native born (Ex 12:49 etc.). All through the Torah we see the foreigner being required to keep the Sabbath and was invited to keep the Feasts, bring sacrifices etc.
The apostle Shaul is always cited to have explained that we do not have to obey the Torah, the law of Moshe anymore. However on his last visit to Yerushalayim Shaul undertakes great efforts to demonstrate to everyone that he is a Torah obeying Yehudi (Jew). Is Shaul a hypocrite?
In that same letter, the letter to the Hebrews Shaul writes in the same chapter that the old is obsolete and that YHVH will write His Torah (law) on the hearts of His people. If the Torah was done away with why would YHVH want to write it on our hearts?

Why I do what I do:

In the past I have not explained myself well to others why I desire to keep the Torah. I know that I am not saved by keeping it. I know that my sins are not forgiven by sacrificing animals. But I have learned that there are certain acts which please our God. YHVH desires a relationship with us, which is as intimate as the marriage relationship. If I truly love my spouse my desire is to do the things which are pleasing to my spouse.
A second reason is that YHVH promises blessings for obeying his commands. Those are mostly outlined in Dt 27-28.
A third reason is that we do things in remembrance. Yeshua commanded us at His last supper with the disciples to break the bread and share the cup in remembrance of HIM. It is easily overlooked that Yeshua did not establish a new habit here. It was the Melek Tzadik or Melchizedek, which means king of righteousness, who first is reported to have shared the bread and the wine with Abraham. Yeshua as THE king of righteousness is just fulfilling another prophecy to authenticate Himself. Shaul (Paul) explains to us that all the rituals in the Torah are shadow pictures (Col 2:17, Heb 10:1), because they all point to Yeshua. I conclude therefore that just as the communion reminds us of Yeshua so do all the other things like the Feasts, the Sabbath and the sacrifices. Just as we do communion today in remembrance of HIM, in the same way we keep the Feasts and everything else. The spring Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Shavuot) were fulfilled by Yeshua in His first coming. The fall Feasts (Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, Sukkot) will be fulfilled by Him in His second coming. Before Christ everything was done looking towards His first coming. Now we do many things looking back in remembrance and the fall Feasts still looking forward to His second coming. The prophet Ezekiel in particular makes it very clear that sacrifices will be reestablished in the third temple. This is not to make atonement for sins but in remembrance of Yeshua the ultimate sacrifice and to remind us that the shedding of blood and a payment is necessary for the remission of sins. It is a pleasing aroma to YHVH as stated in many verses throughout the Torah.
A fourth reason is my personal experience obeying the Torah.
When I was in college I had some friends who liked to play with the ouija board and call on the dead. At the time I understood very little from the bible. But I did remember that it said “Do not call on the dead”. So every time this family would do such thing, I left the house, because I didn’t want anything to do with it. Some years later I visited this family again and found them struck by divorces, diseases, bankruptcy and more. I was reminded on the consequences told in Deuteronomy 27-28. They did not understand what spiritual doors they had opened in their lives allowing demons to cause destruction.
A fifth reason is that I don’t want to be least in heaven. (Mt 5:19)

Ro 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law (Torah) who are righteous in Yehovah’s (God’s) sight, but it is those who obey(A) the law (Torah) who will be declared righteous.

Mark 7:6 He (Yeshua) replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’[bYou have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions!

This applies to most what is commonly referred to as “church” today. Xmas and Easter (two Baylonian feasts) are traditionally celebrated but the Feasts and Appointments of Yehovah are disregarded and set aside.

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