Archive for May, 2016

What is it?

“Torah” is an instruction or teaching of Yahweh, the Elohim (God) of Israel, to His people. “Torot” is the plural of “Torah” and refers to the body of instructions or teachings of Yahweh. Abraham was blessed greatly by Yahweh;

“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws (Torot).”  (Genesis 26:5)

Also, the first five books of our modern Bibles have come to be called “Torah”. Along with the “writings” and the “prophets”, they comprise the “Tanakh” or “Old Testament”.

The word “Torah” is translated “law” many times in English Bibles, however, while Torah includes many laws, it has a much broader meaning. All of Yahweh’s wisdom, teachings, instructions, and judgments are Torah.

Here are some examples of how the meaning of Torah varies in Scripture.

“There is one [Torah] for the native-born and for the stranger who sojourns among you.  (Exodus 12:49)

“And this is the [Torah] of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are completed, . . .  (Numbers 6:13)

“This is the [Torah] when a man dies in a tent: . . .   (Numbers 19:14a)

“Blessed is the man you discipline, O Yah, And instruct out of your [Torah], (Psalms 94:12)

“Open my eyes, that I might see Wonders from Your [Torah].  (Psalms 119:18)

“For I gave you good instruction: Do not forsake my [Torah].  (Proverbs 4:2)

“She shall open her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the [Torah] of kindness.  (Proverbs 31:26)

With this understanding of Torah established, we can begin to understand the importance of Torah.

 

Why is Torah important?

“The [Torah] of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: . . . (Psalm 19:7a)

The Torah of Yahweh is perfect. It is the mind and will of our Creator and it accomplishes exactly what Yahweh wants it to accomplish, that is, the conversion of the “soul” or the very being. How does it do that?

Therefore by the deeds of the [Torah] there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the [Torah] is the knowledge of sin.

Sin is breaking the Torah or Yahweh’s laws:

“Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the [Torah]: for sin is the transgression of the [Torah].

If Torah says, “You shall not commit adultery”, and a person commits adultery, they know they have sinned. Under the “Old Covenant”, the sinner had to bring an animal sacrifice to the Levitical priest at the Temple to atone for his sin. There is no longer a standing Temple, nor are there any Levitical priests to offer sacrifices. What is the sinner to do?

“Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; (Acts 2:38a)

Yahweh provided a better way for sins to be forgiven than through animal sacrifices. He sent His Son Yeshua to die for the sins of the world. However, the world sees no need for his sacrifice on their behalf because they have no knowledge of their sins. They do not have Torah to tell them what sin is. When they are shown that they have broken their Creator’s instructions, then they will see a need to be forgiven. This is where Torah begins the conversion process.

“But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Yeshua Messiah might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the [Torah], shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the [Torah] was our guardian to bring us unto Messiah, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:22-24)

One of the functions of Torah was to lead us to Messiah Yeshua in order to be freed from sin. Once we see our disobedience to the Torah, it drives us to Messiah and to freedom from sin through his shed blood cleansing us. His blood is far more efficacious than animal blood. We were imprisoned (shut up) on death row because of our transgressions against the Torah (“the wages of sin is death” – Romans 6:23a), but now, the Torah has led us to Messiah and freedom from sin. Once we are free from sin, Messiah then drives us back to obedience to the Torah through faith. We become doers of the word, or as the Apostle Paul says, “doers of the [Torah]”, and not hearers only (Romans 2:13).

“Bind up the testimony (Ten Commandments), seal the Torah among my disciples.  (Isaiah 8:16)

“To the Torah and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light in them  (Isaiah 8:20)

Yahweh is making disciples of men who have a heart to learn His ways and live by His teachings. He will seal the Torah in the hearts of such people. This is one of the reasons why a New Covenant was necessary. Israel had much trouble obeying Torah because it was external (written on stone, parchments, etc.). Under the New Covenant, Torah will be written on the hearts of believers in Messiah Yeshua.

 

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Yahweh: I will put my Torah within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

Yahweh’s Torah is light (Proverbs 6:23). Those that reject Torah and refuse to live by Yahweh’s instructions/teachings do not have the light of Torah in them.

“He who turns away his ear from hearing Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.  (Proverbs 28:9)

Picture the person who is told that Yahweh forbids an adulterous relationship and who refuses to hear/obey Yahweh’s instructions in that matter. He goes and commits adultery anyway. Yahweh will not hear his prayers until he repents and discontinues the adulterous relationship.

“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as Yahweh my Elohim commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is Yahweh our Elohim whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole [Torah] which I am setting before you today? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

Not only is Yahweh’s Torah “righteous”, but when we obey His Torah, it is our wisdom and understanding in the site of those around us. It is a powerful witness to the existence of Yahweh and to His righteous ways.

“so that the righteousness of the Torah should be completed in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (Romans 8:4)

Yahweh wants His righteous Torah to be fulfilled by believers in Messiah Yeshua. They accomplish that by walking in the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“Because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim, for it is not subject to the Torah of Elohim, neither indeed can be.  (Romans 8:7)

Those that are not led by the Holy Spirit will not subject themselves to Torah because they are fleshly minded. They are opposed to Yahweh and His righteous rule in their lives.

“This book of the [Torah] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8)

Prosperity and success follow those who love Yahweh’s Torah and obey it.

“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the [Torah] of Yahweh; and in His [Torah] does he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

The way to avoid following the wicked, sinners and scornful people is by learning Yahweh’s Torah and living by it.

Yahweh knows how important Torah is for every individual, but especially for those in leadership. That is why He had every king of Israel write a personal copy of Torah and read and obey it.  King that obeys Torah is a king the rules with righteousness and justice.

“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this [Torah] on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Yahweh his Elohim, by carefully observing all the words of this [Torah] and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

 

What should our attitude be towards Torah?

“The [Torah] of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.  (Psalms 119:72)

“O how love I thy [Torah]! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)

“I hate vain thoughts: but thy [Torah] do I love. (Psalm 119:113)

“I hate and abhor lying: but thy [Torah] do I love. (Psalm 119:163) 

“I have longed for thy salvation, O Yahweh; and thy [Torah] is my delight. (Psalms 119:174)

“Yahweh is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the [Torah], and make it honorable.

These attitudes are quite contrary to many in the churches today who say the law (Torah) is bondage and too difficult to keep. They speak from ignorance, not knowing or understanding Yahweh’s ways and misunderstanding the Apostle Paul’s writings, twisting them unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Here is Paul’s true heart concerning Torah:

Seeing it is one Elohim, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void [Torah] through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish [Torah]. (Romans 3:30-31)

“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,  (Acts 24:14)

“And we know that the [Torah] is good if one uses it legitimately (not as a means for salvation, but as a fruit of salvation). (1 Timothy 1:8) parenthesis mine

“For we know that the Torah is Spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.  (Romans 7:14) (many in the churches believe the Torah/law is carnal and that they are so spiritual).

“For I delight in the [Torah] of Elohim according to the inward man (Romans 7:22)

Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the [Torah]. (Romans 13:10)

When we obey Torah by not stealing from our neighbors or committing adultery our neighbor’s wife, we show our love for our neighbor. If we bear false witness against our neighbor or murder our neighbor, we show that we do not love our neighbor. The same holds true for all of Yahweh’s Torah. To obey it is to love. To disobey it is to not love.

 

Judgment is coming for breaking Torah

“It is time for thee, Yahweh, to work: for they have made void thy [Torah]. (Psalms 119:126)

“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the [Torot], changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5)

Not everyone who says unto me, Lord, Lord enter into the kingdom of heaven, buthe that does the will of my Fatherwhich is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out devils and in thy name done more wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you. Depart from meyou that work iniquity (lawlessness/Torahlessness). (Matthew 7:21-23)

Yeshua’s Father is Almighty Yahweh, the Creator. His will is revealed through Torah. When we break Yahweh’s Torah, it is called sin or iniquity. To “work iniquity” is to break Yahweh’s laws. Stealing, idolatry, adultery, bearing false witness, coveting, and Sabbath breaking are all examples of works of iniquity.

The Apostle Paul gave a thorough explanation of the future judgment of mankind in Romans chapter 2.

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. But we are sure thatthe judgment of [Elohim] is according to truthagainst them which commit such things. And think you this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of [Elohim]? Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of [Elohim] leads you to repentance? But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of [Elohim];Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, anddo not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with [Elohim]. For as many as have sinned without [Torah] shall also perish without [Torah]: and as many as have sinned in the [Torah] shall be judged by the [Torah]; (For not the hearers of the [Torah]arejust before [Elohim], butthe doers of the [Torah] shall be justified.For when the Gentiles, which have not the [Torah], do by nature the things contained in the [Torah], these, having not the [Torah], are a [Torah] unto themselves: Which show the work of the [Torah] written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, andtheirthoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when[Elohim] shall judge the secrets of men by Yeshua Messiahaccording to my gospel. Romans 2:1-16

 

Torah in the future

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;  After those days, says Yahweh, I will put my [Torah] in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

This is an ongoing prophecy. As soon as a person receives Messiah Yeshua as Savior, he enters the New Covenant. As he learns Torah and chooses to obey it as a fruit of his salvation, it is written on his heart.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say,  Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the [Torah], and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)

When Yeshua returns at his second coming, he will rule all the nations. The nations will need to live by Torah for they are the laws that govern Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth. Those that continue to refuse to obey Torah throughout the millennial reign of Yeshua will be thrown in the Lake of Fire where their existence will end.

 

The Living Torah

You shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am Yahweh. (Leviticus 18:5)

But you are departed out of the way; you have caused many to stumble at the [Torah]; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says Yahweh of hosts. (Malachi 2:8)

“Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and your [Torah] is truth.  (Psalms 119:142)

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the [Torah] is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: (Proverbs 6:23)

Torah is the way, truth, light and life for those that obey by faith. Yeshua is the way, the truth, the life, and the light.

“Yeshua said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.

Then spoke Yeshua again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Why are these things true of both Torah and Yeshua? Because Yeshua is the living Torah as opposed to the written Torah.

Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.1 I did not come to destroy but to fulfill for truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be fulfilled.  (Matthew 5:17-18)

Yeshua was sinless. That means he kept every instruction of Torah perfectly. If you want to see what Torah obedience looks like, look at Yeshua’s life. He is our example. Believers are to walk as he walked. He walked Torah perfectly. That is Yahweh’s desire for us as well. We may slip up occasionally, but we have Yeshua’s shed blood to cleanse us when we confess our sins and repent of them. Yahweh desires an attitude in us that longs to keep His Torah perfectly as His Son did. We should not give up any attempt to keep Torah because we slip up occasionally as the practice of many is. When we fall, we get back up and continue the race and abide by the rules of the race.

I leave you with these words from Malachi that Yahweh left Israel among His final words of the Tanakh.

Remember you the [Torah] of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. (Malachi 4:4)