Where’s The Love In Torah?
I recently received a comment on Facebook about my postings related to Torah.
Here’s an excerpt from my friend’s reply:
“My Savior was Jewish, I am not. My Savior taught that the most important thing to do was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. I’m concerned I don’t see any mention of this type of love in your postings. I would encourage you to take time to carefully read the book of Galatians. If you choose to be live by the law you will be judged by it…”
This is a reasonable and understandable response. – I get it, and I know where they are coming from…
It’s my hope that the response below will help all those seeking truth in these confusing matters:
“Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?”And יהושע said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה 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 neighbour as yourself.’“On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.” ~ (Matthew 22:36-40)
Meaning, these 2 commandments did not replace the law (Torah)… but rather, these 2 are the foundational categories that which all the other commandments fall under. All the instructions we’ve been given in the Torah will either pertain to how we love God or how we are to love our neighbor. They are also not “new” commands being given here. They are found in the OT in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5.
The Law of Love.
The Torah, is all about love… love for God and love for our neighbors – it teaches us how we should do this. The Torah, which is better translated from Hebrew as guidelines or instructions were given to all of Israel, not just the Jews. Regardless, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in the eyes of God, we are one and the same – both the native born and those that are grafted in.
“There is not Jew nor Greek, there is not slave nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all one in Messiah יהושע.” ~ (Galatians 3:28)
We see in Numbers 15 that the same law applies to all of God’s children. It doesn’t matter what our bloodline is – it’s our faith that makes us children of Abraham, not where we originated from.
“One law is for you of the assembly and for the stranger who sojourns with you – a law forever throughout your generations. As you are, so is the stranger before יהוה.” ~ (Numbers 15:15)
I’ve prayerfully read Galatians several times this past year. It’s without a doubt the most difficult book in the Bible to understand. Upon first glance, it appears to contradict the rest of scripture. Through inductive studies, I find that Paul, throughout his ministry is combatting Judaism in it’s various forms. The religious belief that salvation is by works alone and not of faith.
In most of our churches today, we are taught salvation is by faith alone and not of works. Through months of daily study of hours upon end – I believe this is not accurate either. I believe James explains the relationship of Faith, Grace & Obedience most clearly:
“Was not Aḇraham our father declared right by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected?
And the Scripture was filled which says, “Aḇraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.”
You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.” ~ (James 2:21-24)
Paul in his various letters spells this out as well. While the focus of his letters were to prevent the false works only based gospel from overtaking the gentile converts, he always at some point in his letters said the Torah was to be upheld after salvation.
“is He the Elohim of the Jews only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also, since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief.
Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.” ~ (Romans 3:29-31)
One of the next logical arguments I hear is that Jesus fulfilled the law with His first coming and it’s been done away with. This is found in Matthew 5 with the sermon on the mount, starting with verse 17, but to keep it in context we’ll go a little further.
“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, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till 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.” ~ (Matthew 5:17-19)
So, here Jesus tells us that He didn’t come to destroy the Torah but to complete. This word complete is also fulfill in other translations and is the Greek word “Pleroo”. Pleroo also has a definition of “fully teach”. Meaning, He didn’t come to remove the Torah but to teach us how to properly walk in it.
Heaven and earth have not passed away yet either. This doesn’t happen until sometime after the millennial reign of Christ in the New Jerusalem. Therefore, according to Christ, nothing within the Torah is removed until that time. It’s still established for all of God’s people to follow as pointed out in Numbers 15:15.
It’s for LOVE that I post messages about the Torah to my friends and family. My studies have shown me that we are not living the lives that God intended for His people. Specifically, we aren’t loving God in the manner that He told us to.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” ~ (John 14:15)
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” ~ (1 John 2:3)
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not burdeonsom.” ~ (1 John 5:3)
We are today seeing the same pattern of belief systems that Paul was fighting against in his day. The Jews add to the Torah by making their Rabbinical decrees (Talmud) equal to, if not higher than God’s laws. The gentiles take away from God’s commandments by teaching they have been abolished. Both are equally wrong in this regard as it states in Deuteronomy.
“Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it, so as to guard the commands of יהוה your Elohim which I am commanding you.” ~ (Deuteronomy 4:2)
One problem I had, and I’m sure that most others do as well, is how we define “sin”. Are we defining sin based on our judgement of what is right and wrong or are we using the Bible to define what sin is?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” ~ (1 John 3:4)
Is this making sense? Are you see what I’m seeing?
When Paul talks to those following the law for salvation in his letters, he’s speaking of those practicing Judaism as he once did. It’s not that the law has been removed, it’s that is only a component of God’s designed plan for His people. Salvation comes by Faith that gives us Grace when we fail in our Obedience to His instructions (Torah).
I’ll leave you with this… who does the Anti-Christ go after in Revelation? It’s not those that only keep the commandments and it’s not those that only hold to the testimony of Jesus… it’s those that do both.
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” ~ (Revelation 12:17)