Does the Torah Still Apply?

The Torah, commonly called the Law or Pentateuch, consists of the first five books of the Bible, the books written by Moses.  They provide detailed instructions from Yehovah (God) on how to live.  (Actually, the Torah is 6 books, with Jubilees originally being between Exodus and Leviticus.)  Many Christians, however, believe that the instructions in the Torah no longer apply, that they were nailed to the cross by Yehoshua/Jesus.  Jews and Messianics hold that the Torah still applies.

Who is right?

Well, let’s turn to the Scriptures themselves for the answer.

Do not think that I [Yehoshua/Jesus] have come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets.  I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will in no way pass from the Torah, until all is fulfilled.”  (Matthew 5:17-18)

I’ve just looked outside and confirmed that the heavens and the earth are still here!  Thus, in Messiah Yehoshua’s own words, the Torah and its instructions still apply to us.  Either that, or He is a liar, and not the Messiah.  It’s your choice.

Further proof of this is found in the following NT passages:

“Do we then make void the Torah through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Torah.”  (Romans 3:31)

“Whoever commits sin also transgresses the Torah; for sin is the transgression of the Torah.”  (1 John 3:4)

“Whoever therefore shall break one of the least commandments, and shall teach men to do so, he will be called the least/worst in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH.  But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH.”  (Matthew 5:19 – the words of Jesus Himself!)

“For this is the love of YAH [God], that we guard His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.”  (1 John 5:3)

“So that the Torah truly is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”  (Romans 7:12)

“‘For this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days,’ says YEHOVAH.  ‘I will put My Torah into their mind, and write it in their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they will be to Me a people.'”  (Hebrews 8:10)

Do we then make void the Torah through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.”  (Romans 3:31)

“If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the Torah that it is good.”  (Romans 7:16)

For I delight in the Torah of YEHOVAH…”  (Romans 7:22)

“Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the Torah.”  (Romans 13:8)

“Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Torah.”  (Romans 13:10)

Therefore let us keep the Feast [of Passover]…”  (1 Corinthians 5:8)

“But we know that the Torah is good, if a man conduct himself in it in accordance to the Torah; knowing this, that the Torah is not made for a righteous man, but for the Torahless and disobedient, for the wicked and for the sinners, for them without YEHOVAH and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons [meaning that the Torah saves the wicked]…”  (1 Timothy 1:8-10)

“But whoso looks into the perfect Torah of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  (James 1:25)

“And by this do we know that we know Him: if we guard His commandments.  He that says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not guard His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in himBut whoseover guards His Word, in him verily is the love of YEHOVAH perfected.”  (1 John 2:3-5; remember that the only Bible they had was the OT)

“He that says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked.”  (1 John 2:6; a perusal of the Gospels shows that He [Yehoshua/Jesus] walked in the Torah)

“Whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we guard His commandments.”  (1 John 3:22)

“And he that guards His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him.”  (1 John 3:24)

“By this we know that we love the children of YAH, when we love YEHOVAH, and guard His commandments.”  (1 John 5:2)

“And this is love, that we walk after His commandments.”  (2 John 1:6)

“And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who guard the commandments of YEHOVAH, and have the testimony of Yehoshua the Messiah.”  (Revelation 12:17; notice that having the testimony of Yeshua is equated with keeping the Commandments of Yehovah, which is the TORAH)

“Here is the patience of the holy ones: here are they that guard the commandments of YEHOVAH, and the faith of Yehoshua.”  (Revelation 14:12)

“Blessed are they that do YEHOVAH’s commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  (Revelation 22:14)

“There remains therefore a Sabbath for the people of YAH.”  (Hebrews 4:9; note that while the word in the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic is “Sabbath”, many Christian translators are uncomfortable with this, and change it to “rest”, which is not the correct translation)

And then of course there are the numerous instances of the disciples and apostles keeping the Sabbath and Feasts of the Torah after Yehoshua’s death and resurrection.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  (Acts 2:1; not that it was while they were observing Shavuot/Pentecost ACCORDING TO THE TORAH that the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they started speaking in tongues)

“And set up false witnesses, who said, ‘This man ceases not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the Torah.”  (Acts 6:13; note that the apostles were FALSELY accused of preaching that the Torah was done away with; in other words, they DIDN’T teach or believe that!)

“But when they [one of them being Paul, whom we’re always told was anti-Torah[ departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath, and sat down.”  (Acts 13:14)

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.”  (Acts 13:42)

And the next Sabbath came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of YEHOVAH.”  (Acts 13:44)

“And Paul, as was his manner, went in to them, and three Sabbaths reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.”  (Acts 17:2)

“And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Gentiles.”  (Acts 18:4)

“And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgement seat, saying, ‘This fellow persuades men to worship YEHOVAH contrary to the Torah.'”  (Acts 18:12-13; notice that they FALSELY accused Paul of opposing the Torah; in other words PAUL WASN’T ANTI-TORAH)

“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread…”  (Acts 10:6)

“And on one of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart the next day, and continued his speech until midnight.”  (Acts 20:7; note that not only was Paul teaching on the Sabbath, but he was traveling on Sunday, and apparently didn’t attach any significance to that day)

“For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia; for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost.”  (Acts 20:16)

“And when they heard it, they glorified YAH, and said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and they are all zealous of the Torah.”  (Acts 21:20)

“‘Take them, and purify yourself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that hose things, of which they were informed concerning you, are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly, and guard the Torah.'”  (Acts 21:24; not that the speaker is Paul)

“And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the Temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help!  This is the man that teached all men everywhere against the people, and the Torah, and this place.”  (Acts 21:27-28; notice again that Paul was falsely accused of teaching against the Torah)

This, of course, all lines up with what the OT itself says:

Forever, O YEHOVAH, Your Word is settled in heaven.”  (Psalms 119:89)

“The Torah of YEHOVAH is perfect, restoring the soul.  The testimony of YEHOVAH is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of YEHOVAH are right, rejoicing the heart.  The commandment of YEHOVAH is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of YEHOVAH is clean, enduring forever.  The judgements of YEHOVAH are true and righteous altogetherThey are to be more desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover by them is your servant warned, and in guarding them there is great reward.”  (Psalms 19:7-11)

“‘Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and guard all My commandments always, that it might be well with them and with their children forever.”  (Deuteronomy 5:29)

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.”  (Exodus 31:16)

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”  (Exodus 12:14)

And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.”  (Exodus 12:17)

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.”  (Exodus 12:24)

It [the Sabbath] is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”  (Exodus 31:17)

And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:”  (Leviticus 16:29)

It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.”  (Leviticus 16:31)

And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”  (Leviticus 23:21)

Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”  (Leviticus 23:31)

Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”  (Psalms 119:159-160)

Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always.”  (Deuteronomy 11:1)

There are more scriptures; see http://biblelaw101.com/Home/The%20Law%20of%20God%20is%20Forever.htm.

Note that the word for “everlasting” in the above verses is the same word used to describe Yehovah’s everlasting covenant with Noah (not flooding the earth again).  Will Yehovah go back on His covenant with Noah?  No!  Will He go back on His covenant through the Torah, and render the Torah obsolete?  NO!

But doesn’t Paul say we don’t have to keep the Torah?

As established in the passages above, Paul observed Torah and taught others to do so.  So, what of his supposed anti-Torah statements in his letters?

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”  (Romans 10:4, KJV)

The main problem here is that the word translated as “end”, #5056 telos, literally means a goal, as in “Messiah/Christ is the GOAL of the Torah”.  Slightly different meaning there.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law [Torah] of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”  (Ephesians 2:15 KJV)

However, this is a mistranslation; the Greek translator literally misunderstood one prefix, and accidentally changed the entire verse.  The original Aramaic reads:

“And enmity (by His flesh and the Torah, because of commands in His commandments), He abolished.”

Literally saying that He abolished enmity THROUGH and BECAUSE of the Torah – the complete opposite of saying He abolished the Torah!

Here’s another one:

“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.”  (Colossians 2:16-17, KJV)

Notice, in verse 17, that the word is is in italics.  Meaning it’s not in the original text.  Meaning that it literally says Let no man therefore judge you (in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon/month, or of the sabbath: which are a shadow of things to come), but the body of Messiah.”  It’s actually saying that unbelievers are not to judge us on these matters – that it’s the body of Christ’s responsibility.  NOT that it’s no longer important.

And now, here’s the most famous example: “Works of the Law/Torah” and “Under the Law/Torah”.

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)”  (Romans 2:15 NIV)

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”  (Romans 3:20 NIV)

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.”  (Romans 3:27 NIV)

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.  (Romans 3:28 NIV)

know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”  (Galatians 2:16 NIV)

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?”  (Galatians 3:2 NIV)

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”  (Galatians 3:5 NIV)

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'”  (Galatians 3:10)

“For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.” (Romans 2:12 NASB)

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God.”  (Romans 3:19 NASB)

“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.”  (1 Corinthians 9:20 NASB)

“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 9:21 NASB)

“But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.”  (Galatians 3:23 NASB)

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.”  (Galatians 4:4 NASB)

“in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  (Galatians 4:5 NASB)

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”  (Galatians 5:18 NASB)

So, what does all this mean?  How does this reconcile with all the other scriptures mentioned beforehand – including ones proving Paul remained Torah-observant throughout his life, and never preached against it?  Some take it to mean that Paul was a false apostle, which is absolutely false – as evidenced by his prominent and positive place in the Acts of the Apostles, and the praise given to him by Peter – who calls his writings “Scripture” and says that the lawless twist his hard-to-understand writings to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-17).  There is another explanation.  James Trimm explains:

Often when I share with Christians that the Torah is everlasting, for all generations, they respond by saying, “But we are not saved by “works of the law.”

The phrase “works of the law” (which is sometimes rendered “deeds of the law” in the KJV) appears only nine times in the New Testament and only in Paul’s writings:

Therefore by the deeds of the law
there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:
for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
(Rom. 3:20 KJV)

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law.
(Rom. 3:28 KJV)

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith,
but as it were by the works of the law.
For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
(Rom. 9:32 KJV)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
but by the faith of Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Jesus Christ,
that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
and not by the works of the law:
for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
(Gal. 2:16 KJV)

This only would I learn of you,
Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law,
or by the hearing of faith?
(Gal. 3:2 KJV)

He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit,
and worketh miracles among you,
doeth he it by the works of the law,
or by the hearing of faith?
(Gal. 3:5 KJV)

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse:
for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not
in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
(Gal. 3:10 KJV)

(In Gal. 3:10 the Aramaic has “works because of the law” rather than “works of the law”.)

This phrase, “works of the law”, is best understood through its usage in Gal. 2:16. Here Paul writes:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
but by the faith of Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Jesus Christ,
that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
and not by the works of the law:
for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
(Gal. 2:16 KJV)

If we consider this passage carefully we can see that Paul uses this phrase to describe a false method of justification which is diametrically opposed to “faith in the Messiah”. To Paul “works of the law” is not an obsolete Old Testament system, but a heresy that has never been true.

The term “works of the Torah” has shown up as a technical theological term used in a document in the Dead Sea Scrolls called MMT which says:

Now we have written to you some of the
works of the law, those which we determined
would be beneficial for you…
And it will be reckoned to you as righteousness,
in that you have done what is right and good before Him…
(4QMMT (4Q394-399) Section C lines 26b-31)

 

And that this is an amazing inverse literary parallel to Gal. 2:16; 3:6:

 

Now we have written to you some of the
works of the law, those which we determined
would be beneficial for you…
And it will be reckoned to you as righteousness,
in that you have done what is right and good before Him…
(4QMMT (4Q394-399) Section C lines 26b-31)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yeshua the Messiah, even we have believed in Yeshua the Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified….

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.

(Gal. 2:16; 3:6)

This heretical doctrine laid out in MMT is based on twenty-four purity regulations about which the Essenes held a stricter halacha than their Pharisaic counterparts, and which they believed would be reckoned to them as righteousness. Apparently Paul’s opponent takes “righteousness/justification” in this passage of MMT to mean “salvation”. Paul however argues that it is faith in Messiah and not these “works of the law” by which we are saved:

When Paul speaks out against “works of the law” it is like a Baptist preacher speaking out against “Latter Day Saints”, he does not mean the words according to their literal meaning, he has nothing against “Saints” who live in the “Latter Days” he is using the Mormon’s theological technical term to refer to their theology.

There can be no doubt that Paul sees “works of the law” as categorically bad, yet Paul calls the Torah itself “holy, just and good” (Rom. 7:12), certainly Paul does not use these phrases to refer to the Torah itself as obsolete, but to a heresy, a false theology that was never true.

HaSatan wishes “to steal and to kill and to destroy” (Jn. 10:10) and he knows the time is short and has stepped up his war with those who proclaim both Torah Observance and Faith in Messiah (the two pillars of Nazarene Judaism) (Rev. 12:12, 17; 13:7). But no weapon forged against us will prosper (Is. 54:17).  http://nazarenespace.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2182335%3ABlogPost%3A261062&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

And again:

Often when I share with Christians that the Torah is everlasting, for all generations, they respond by saying, “But we’re not under the law.”

The phrase “under the law” appears only twelve times in the Greek New Testament and only in Paul’s writings:

Now we know that what things soever the law saith,
it saith to them who are under the law:
that every mouth may be stopped,
and all the world may become guilty before God.
(Rom. 3:19 KJV)

For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid.
(Rom. 6:14-15 KJV)

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew,
that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law,
as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law,
(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,)
that I might gain them that are without law.
(1Cor. 9:20-21 KJV)

But before faith came, we were kept under the law,
shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
(Gal. 3:23 KJV)

4 But when the fulness of the time was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,
made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
(Gal. 4:4-5 KJV)

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,
do ye not hear the law?
(Gal. 4:21 KJV)

But if ye be led of the Spirit,
ye are not under the law.
(Gal. 5:18 KJV)

It is important to note that the phrase “under the law” is used in the Greek New Testament in several places where it does not appear in the original Aramaic text:

But we know that what the Torah said,
it said, to those who are in the Torah:
that every mouth might be shut,
and the entire world might be found guilty before Eloah.
(Rom. 3:19 HRV)

And to those who are without the Torah,
I was like those without the Torah,
although I am not to Eloah without the Torah,
but I am in the Torah of the Messiah that I might gain
them–even those who are without the Torah.
(1Cor. 9:21 HRV)

But until Trust comes, the Torah is guarding us,
while we shut up to trust which is ready to be revealed.
(Gal. 3:23 HRV)

The phrase “under the law” was actually read into each of these three verses by the Greek translator. But how should we understand the phrase “under the law” in the other nine instances where it appears both in the Aramaic and in the Greek:

For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid.
(Rom. 6:14-15 KJV)

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew,
that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law,
as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
(1Cor. 9:20 KJV)

4 But when the fulness of the time was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,
made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
(Gal. 4:4-5 KJV)

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,
do ye not hear the law?
(Gal. 4:21 KJV)

But if ye be led of the Spirit,
ye are not under the law.
(Gal. 5:18 KJV)

This phrase may best be understood from its usage in Rom. 6:14-15:

For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid.
(Rom. 6:14-15 KJV)

If we look at this passage carefully we can see that Paul sees “under grace” and “under the law” as diametrically opposed, one cannot be both.

The truth is that we have always been under grace we have never been “under the law”. In fact the real truth is that men of the “Old Testament” times were just as under grace as we are today:

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of YHWH.”
(Genesis 6:8)

“…you have also found grace in my sight….”
(Exodus 33:12)

“…for you have found grace in my sight…”
(Exodus 33:17)

“…and now I have found grace in your sight…”
(Judges 6:17)

“The people… found grace in the wilderness…”
(Jeremiah 31:2)

Thus as noble Bereans we learn from the Tanak that people in “Old Testament” times were saved by grace through faith. They could not have earned their salvation any more than we could today, as Paul writes:

“Knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by the faith of Yeshua the Messiah, even we have believed in Yeshua the Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by works of the law; and by the works of the law shall no flesh be saved.”
(Galatians 2:16)

In fact the “New Testament” contains more commandments than the “Old Testament”. The New Testament contains 1050 commandments [as delineated in Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible; By Finnis Jennings Dake; N.T. pp.313-316] while the “Old Testament” Mosaic Law contains only 613 (b.Makkot 23b; see Appendix). Thus faith and grace are in the “Old Testament” and law and works can be found in the New Testament. People in Old Testament times were saved by grace through faith just like people in New Testament times. Now many anomians will agree to this fact on the surface, but lets follow this thought through to its fullest conclusion. Lets go beyond the surface and really think this through. If what we have shown to be true is true, then the people in the wilderness in the days of Moses were saved by grace through faith. Now lets look at the full impact of that statement. That means that people were under grace, and saved by faith alone and not by works, when Moses was stoning people to death for violating the Torah! Obviously then being saved by grace through faith in no way affects Torah observance.

So if grace and faith do not negate the observance of Torah, then what is the true nature of faith and grace? What is faith? What is grace? Let us once again turn to the scriptures for answers.

Now part of the reason that many people have come to think that there is more “grace” in the New Testament than in the Old Testament is a translation bias in the KJV and many other English versions.

There are two words for “grace” in the Hebrew Tanak. The first word is CHEN (Strong’s 2580/2581) which means “grace or charm”. The other word is CHESED (Strong’s 2616/2617 ) which carries the meaning of “grace, mercy or undue favor.”

These two words closely parallel the meanings of the two Greek words used for grace in the Greek Bible. These are CHARIS (Strong’s 5485/5463) which means “grace or charm” and ELEOS (Strong’s 1651/1653) meaning “grace, mercy or undue favor.”

Obviously Hebrew CHEN = Greek CHARIS and Hebrew CHESED = Greek ELEOS. Now the KJV tends to translate CHEN/CHARIS as “grace” but tends to translate CHESED/ELEOS as “mercy”. Now when we think of “grace” in biblical terms we are ussually thinking of the concept of CHESED/ELEOS “undue favor”.

Now if we follow with the KJV translation scheme then it appears that there is much more grace in the New Testament than the Tanak, since CHEN only appears 70 times in the Tanak while CHARIS appears 233 times in the New Testament. But remember, the concept of “undue favor” is actually CHESED/ELEOS. CHESED appears 251 times in the Tanak, while ELEOS appears only 50 times in the New Testament. If anything there is far more “grace” in the Tanak than in the New Testament.

Now let us turn to the Tanak to get a better understanding of what grace really is. According to the Scriptures there is a close connection between “grace” and the “fear of YHWH”:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his grace (CHESED) toward those who fear him.”
(Psalm 103:11)

“Oh let those who fear YHWH say, ‘His grace (CHESED) is everlasting.’ “
(Psalm 118:4)

“By grace (CHESED) and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of YHWH one keeps away from evil.”
(Proverbs 16:6)

And the fear of YHWH, according to the Tanak, includes Torah observance:

“…that he may learn the fear of YHWH his God, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them:”
(Deuteronomy 17:19)

“…that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear YHWH your God, and observe to do all the words of this Torah.”
(Deuteronomy 31:12)

Therefore there is clearly no conflict between grace and Torah. In fact the Torah is closely connected to grace.

This is because the Torah was created for man, man was not created for the Torah. This is taught in the Talmud in regards to the Sabbath:

For it is holy unto you;
I.e., it [the Sabbath] is committed to your hands,
not you to its hands.”
(b.Yoma 85b)

Likewise the same concept was taught by Yeshua:

And He said to them: The Sabbath was made for a son of man,
<and not a son of man for the Sabbath.>
(Mk. 2:27 HRV)

By contrast the Essene Halacha concerning Shabbat was the strictest of any sect of Judaism. Josephus writes of the Essenes:

…they [Essenes] are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting
from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food
ready the day before, that they not be obliged to kindle a fire on
that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go
to stool thereon.
(Wars 2:8:9)

There is a lengthy discussion of the Sabbath in the Damascus Document, I will include here only some key points:

No man shall eat on the Sabbath day aught save that which is prepared
or perishing (in the field). Nor shall one eat or drink unless in the
camp. (If he was) on the way and went down to wash he may drink where
he stands, but he shall not draw into any vessel. … No man shall walk
after the animal to pasture it outside his city more than two thousand
cubits. None shall lift his hand to smite it with (his) fist. If it
be stubborn he shall not remove it out of his house. No man shall
carry anything from the house to the outside or from the outside into
the house, and if he be in the vestibule he shall not carry anything
out of it or bring in anything into it. … Let not the nursing father
take the sucking child to go out or to come in on the Sabbath. … No
man shall help an animal in its delivery on the Sabbath day. And if
it falls into a pit or ditch, he shall not raise it on the Sabbath. …
And if any person falls into a place of water or into a place of… he
shall not bring him up by a ladder or a cord or instrument. No man
shall offer anything on the altar on the Sabbath, save the
burnt-offering of the Sabbath, for so it is written `Excepting your
Sabbaths’.
(Damascus Document 10:14-11:18)

Note that the Essene Halacha was so strict as to place Sabbath observance above human life. The Essenes believed that man was positionally “under the law” and could only earn his salvation through Torah Observance. While Yeshua and the Pharisees taught that the Torah was under man, and not a path to salvation.
“Under the law” then, is not an obsolete Old Testament system, but a false teaching, which was never true.

When Paul speaks out against the “under the law” it is like a Baptist preacher speaking out against “Latter Day Saints”, he does not mean the words according to their literal meaning, he has nothing against “Saints” who live in the “Latter Days” he is using the Mormon’s theological technical term to refer to their theology.

At this point we must address Galatians 4:4-5:

4 But when the fulness of the time was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,
made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
(Gal. 4:4-5 KJV)

Here Paul uses irony to tell those that are in the false “under the law” theology, a theology that taught that salvation must be earned through Torah observance, that there is only one man who was actually born “under the law” in that he did actually earn salvation; the Messiah Yeshua.

There can be no doubt that Paul sees “under the law” as categorically bad, yet Paul calls the Torah itself “holy, just and good” (Rom. 7:12), certainly Paul does not use the phrase “under the law” to refer to the Torah itself.

http://nazarenespace.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-do-you-mean-under-the-law-2

But what about the sacrifices?

This is one of those objections that does not purport to have any evidence behind it; it is literally an objection based purely on someone’s lack of desire to obey the commands of the Torah.  Some try to compromise and say that Yehoshua did away with the sacrifices when He died.  However, that’s NOT true, as that would make Him a liar (Matthew 5:17), as He said NOT ONE JOT OR TITTLE of the Torah would be done away with.  Therefore the sacrifices still apply (as unpopular as that message may be).  However, most of us are not Levites, and even those that are would be hard pressed to prove their lineage.  In addition, we currently have no temple to make the sacrifices.  So, at the moment, we are unable to carry them out.  However, it IS prophesied in Scripture that in the Millenium – during YEHOSHUA’s thousand-year reign on earth – THE SACRIFICES WILL BE IN FULL FORCE due to the restored Temple (Ezekiel 43-46).

In conclusion

This is a very touchy and sensitive subject, and one that many people feel very strongly about (on both sides).  However, it is a very important one, and I believe the evidence points very strongly towards observance of Sabbath, Feasts, and the other instructions of the Torah as still being in force for believers.

27 thoughts on “Does the Torah Still Apply?

  1. “But we know that the Torah is good, if a man conduct himself in it in accordance to the Torah; knowing this, that the Torah is not made for a righteous man, but for the Torahless and disobedient, for the wicked and for the sinners, for them without YEHOVAH and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons [meaning that the Torah saves the wicked]…”  (1 Timothy 1:8-10)

    Absolute, so true, only God is perfect, those who believe they are perfect have no room in their heart for God.

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The wicked will be judged by Torah on Judgment Day, found guilty, and thrown into Gehenna (aka the lake of fire). Believers in Christ (Heb. Yehoshu’a HaMashiach/Gr. ‘Iesous Christos) receive Grace; that is, a judicial pardon or clemency. Today, the Jewry is still under Torah, but believing Gentiles are under four abstentions from the First Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15 concentrating on vv19-20 and vv28-29):

    1. things contaminated by idols;
    2. fornication;
    3. what is strangled; and
    4. blood.

    All of these have a basis in Torah. So, in effect, all Jews and believing Gentiles in Christ are ALL under the Law to a certain degree!

    P.S. James was NOT the name of Christ’s half-brother; it was Jacob (Heb. Ya’akov); he made the ruling in Acts 15.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This post is quite thorough and brings out some excellent points. The word torah means instructions for a happy life. When we life according to the Torah and have Holy Spirit inside of us as our teacher, our life will be so much better.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great and thorough article. Thank you! I must admit though, that one point does confuse me.
    If Jesus said, “Do not think that I [Yehoshua/Jesus] have come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill”. And then said, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will in no way pass from the Torah, until all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
    Doesn’t this indicate that He was the one that fulfilled the Torah by living a sinless life, then becoming our sacrifice to God? That’s how I’ve always seen it. Is that not right?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The word ‘fulfill’ does not mean ‘finished’. For example, Yeshua ‘fulfilled’ the feast of Passover, yet he himself tells us to observe the feast in remembrance of him (Matthew 22:19).

    The word ‘fulfilled’, in its cultural context, means something like, ‘filled up to completion.’ This means that the Torah is now complete in that it has been revealed what the Torah has been building up to. Yeshua is the capstone to the Torah. Without the capstone, the Torah was never complete. Being complete, we can enjoy the Torah fully. We can even say that without the Torah, Yeshua is ‘incomplete’. The two form a whole. This is all viewed from the spiritual side.

    The apostle Paul spent his ministry trying to get both the Gentiles and Jews to see the reality of this ‘mystery’ from a physical perspective. That is, trying to observe the Torah without its capstone leads almost inevitably to legalism (an oddity of our human nature). Likewise, having only the capstone can lead to lawlessness.

    So Paul taught people to accept and follow Yeshua, and slowly brought them into more concepts of the Torah. This is in accordance to a principle God shows us in His word. When God brought the Israelites into the promised land, He did not do so ‘all at once.’ He did so little by little. And for a good reason. If He drove out all the Canaanites at once, then ‘wild beasts’ would have moved in (Deuteronomy 7:22). In the same way, to try and bring a new believer into observing Torah observance immediately is to invite the ‘wild beasts’ (legalism) in.

    This is all just to say that Yeshua is the ‘author and finisher’ of our faith. Following Him into obedience to God is a wonderful, and joy filled, journey.

    Shalom, – Yosef

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fully agree. It’s interesting that Paul, in Hebrews, described the Torah as a “shadow” of Yeshua – since a shadow is inseparable from it’s owner. Neither can do away with the other. You must have one to have the other.
      Christians love to quote that passage when arguing the Torah doesn’t apply – but it actually proves it applies!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a
    great blog like this one nowadays.

    Like

  7. Apparantly I have been, unwittingly, observing portions of the Torah. This has been very enlightening. I need to reread each Bible verse very carefully going forward.

    One question came to mind when reading
    “And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:4)
    Is this a type of weekly attendance the way its observed in America? Well, except on the day after Sabbath.

    Liked by 1 person

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