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Torah After The Cross

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

            Some time back I wrote an article titled Grace Before The Cross. This was in response to an outright heretical teaching I saw put out by a high-profile television ministry that said “before the cross, there was no grace”. Obviously, a proper study of Scripture reveals that grace is found all throughout the Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible that most Christians call, wrongly, the “Old Testament”).

            The more I minister the truth and importance of Torah-keeping as a new covenant Believer—a Christian—the more I see the need to address the equally heretical view that after the cross there is no requirement to obey God’s Laws. So, I decided to do a sequel to my previous work. Despite that the Apostolic Writings are much shorter than the Tanakh—as my good friend and colleague in ministry Pastor G. Steven Simons calls it, that little sliver in the back of the book (check out his YouTube channel, Triumph In Truth, it’s amazing)—they contain a lot of valuable content, particularly on this topic.

            While this message is focused on Torah-keeping by followers of Yeshua after the cross, I actually want to begin with some of the statements of Yeshua Himself regarding this matter. While the canonical Gospels were written post-Calvary, they record pre-Calvary teachings of Yeshua. But, as He is our Messiah and His teachings are certainly the most important in all Scripture, I feel we should start there in a “New Testament” study of following Torah as a Christian.

Yeshua Taught Torah

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." ~Matthew 5:17 (TLV)

            This is a very misunderstood passage that many use to try and claim that Yeshua's work on the cross ultimately ended the need to follow Torah. There are two key words in this verse, abolish and fulfill. Let's examine them.

Abolish - Greek καταλύω (kataluó) - It means: destroy, overthrow, tear down, unyoke, unharness.

Fulfill - Greek πληρόω (pléroó) - It means: accomplish, amply supplied, complete, fully carry, fully preach/teach.

            In other words, πληρόω (pléroó) is sort of like when you order an item from a catalogue and received it in the mail, upon receipt of the item the order is fulfilled.

            So, knowing this, we can read the verse this way for a more proper understanding:

Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to destroy them, overthrow them, unyoke them, or tear them down, but rather to accomplish them through you, supply them to you, complete them in your presence as an example, fully carry you in them, and fully preach and teach The Torah and Prophets to you.

            Another way to understand fulfill would be to break it into the two words that are used in creating the word fulfill, which are: FILL FULL. So, we could render the verse...

Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to FILL YOU FULL [of Torah].

            We can also look at how this verse is rendered in Hebrew. Now, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not anything in the Apostolic Writings, which would include the Gospels, was originally written in Hebrew. There are good theories that at least some of these writings were originally in Hebrew, but there is not hard evidence, such as an original manuscript. But there are ancient copies of the “New Testament” canonical books in Hebrew, so we do have valid points of reference. With that, this is how Matthew 5:17 reads in Hebrew based on one source I looked at:

אל תחשבו שבאתי לבטל את התורה או את הנביאים {להפר התורה אלא להשלים} לא באתי לבטל אלא למלא

Think not that I have come {to overturn the Torah} to cause the Torah or the prophets to cease. I have not come to make [them] cease, but to fill [them] up {I have not come to overturn, but to complete}.

            Lastly, there is a third key in understanding this passage, and that is through knowing an old Hebrew idiom that is perfectly in harmony with what I shared above and finishes our clarification of this statement. In Hebrew the words "abolish/destroy" were used in this context as a slang for wrongly interpreting Torah and "fulfill" for correctly interpreting Torah. So, we could then render the passage this way...

Do not think that I came to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to misinterpret, but to correctly interpret [The Torah and Prophets].

            Now let's put all three approaches together in one final lengthy rendering of this verse and get the proper understanding of it...

Do not think that I came to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to destroy them, overthrow them, unyoke them, or tear them down, but rather to correctly interpret The Torah and Prophets by accomplishing them through you, supplying them to you, completing them in your presence as an example, fully carry you in them, and fully preach and teach The Torah and Prophets to you—to fill you full of Father's Torah.

            This harmonizes the passage with what Scripture declares is the sign and seal of the new covenant: Torah put into the mind and written on the heart of the new covenant Believer (Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8). If God puts Torah in your mind, it will consume your thoughts. If God writes Torah on your heart, it will consume your passions. And if Yeshua fills you full of Torah it will consume your entire being. So if you are REALLY saved, you will read, study, and obey Torah. Your whole life will be learning what the commandments are, learning how people in The Bible were blessed by keeping them, and learning avoid what happened to the people in The Bible who did not obey them.

            It is important for us to understand that Yeshua plainly taught in favor of keeping the Torah. John 14:15 could not be more clear: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Let’s continue this same passage from Matthew 5.

Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass. ~Matthew 5:18 (TLV)

            Has heaven and earth passed away yet? Clearly not! The Bible tells us when this will happen. Revelation 21:1 records the event of heaven and earth passing away and a new heaven and earth coming into being. It is an event that will happen after all future eschatological events, whatever they may be and in whatever order they may occur. So, whether or not you believe in a rapture, and whether or not you believe it will occur before, during, or after a tribulation, and whether or not you believe Messiah is coming for the first or the second time, and whether or not you believe in a thousand year Shabbat period where He will rule and reign, and whatever you think "Mystery Babylon" is, and whatever other “end-time events” you may hold to, the passing away of heaven and earth will occur after all of them. That means that The Torah has NOT passed away.

            The passage goes on, in Matthew 5, to talk about how those who obey and teach Torah will be greatest in God’s Kingdom and how those who reject and tell others to reject Torah will be least. I will remind you, as well, being least still requires admittance, and there are those sins [Torah violations] that lead to death (1 John 5:17).

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” ~Matthew 7:21-23 (TLV, emphasis added)

            This is a tough statement, as it describes a group of people that can only be called Christians—those who work miracles and prophecy in the name of Yeshua. There are people who perform miracles and speak prophecies in the names of other gods, but that is not who He is talking about here. He is talking about people who claim to be part of His Kingdom, but will be rejected because of LAWLESSNESS.

            As I noted in more detail in my article Lawlessness, this word is a direct reference to people who do not obey Torah. These are professing Christians who do not obey the Torah who are going to be met with this fate. And then there is 1 Peter 4:17 that says: “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the house of God. If judgment begins with us first, what will be the end for those who disobey the Good News of God?”

            Let’s continue on with what Yeshua said about Torah-keeping as His follower.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?

And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:36-40 (TLV)

            This is another passage that seems to be very clear, yet so much of the time it is interpreted as a “short list” of the only two commandments one need keep. But the fact of the matter, as I have covered in other messages, is that the focus of this passage is that we are to obey Torah. The “love God” and “love your neighbor” commandments are likened to two nails put into a wall to hang a piece of art from. The Torah and Prophets are that piece of art. They are what “love God, love your neighbor” draws your attention to if you receive the teaching in it’s proper context.

            It’s interesting, you know. I am talking about Torah after the cross in this message, and many who have already come to an expression of Christian faith that keeps Torah recognize that Yeshua is The Living Torah. He was hung on that cross with nails. One of those nails pierced His right wrist [Love God] and one his left wrist [Love People]. Something to think about when people want to say the Torah was nailed to the cross. Yes, He was, and He rose again so that you can be filled full of His Torah. Let’s examine one more point before we move on to the teachings of the Apostles.

And when the days of their purification were fulfilled, according to the Torah of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present to Adonai. As it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to Adonai.” So they offered a sacrifice according to what was said in the Torah of Adonai: “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” ~Luke 2:22-24 (TLV)

            This is an interesting passage. It shows an event early in the life of Yeshua, just days after He was born. His parents presented Him at the Temple and gave the appropriate offerings, because Torah declares that every firstborn male is to be called holy before God. It’s funny, you know. I read things like this and I just can’t figure out how Christians can be so radically opposed to the Torah message.

            Are they really that brainwashed by the deception of modern Christianity that says God’s Law is abolished? It seems they must be. But as we examine the teachings of the Apostles, we will see that this simply is not the reality. And it will put modern Christian thought into a very frightening place, as it could very well declare the billions of people claiming modern Christianity as their faith are part of a false religion. After all, as I express in my message The Narrow Path, a religion that claims one-third of the world’s population, 2.2 billion people, does not sound like the way few will find.

That Disciple Yeshua Loved

            The Apostle John is often recognized by the declaration in Scripture of being “the disciple Yeshua loved”. While his letters are listed last among the Apostolic Writings, it is with him I want to begin as many scholars believe he had the closest relationship with Yeshua. So let’s begin by looking at what John has to say about Torah-keeping in his letters and the Book of Revelation, also attributed to the Apostle.

Now we know that we have come to know Him by this—if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. ~1 John 2:3-4 (TLV)

            You know, that’s a pretty strong statement about keeping commandments, not something that should be taken lightly. Again, Matthew 7:21-23 talks about those who will be rejected by God because they worked many great signs and wonders in the name of Yeshua but they did not obey His commandments—they are sent away because they refused to obey The Torah.

            I’ve had people tell me about their extrabiblical experiences “with God” and use them as their “proof” that they must be in right-standing with Him. I cannot even begin to tell you how dangerous this is.

            I once heard a preacher say that a man with an argument is always at the mercy of a man with an experience. This is because an experience is a powerful convincer, but it can convince you of a lie just as much as it can convince you of the truth. And once you are convinced of a lie through your “spiritual experiences”, it becomes that much more difficult to be convinced of certain biblical truths.

            If the God, or whatever false god, you are serving can manifest in you in some sensational way but cannot propel you to obey The Bible, then there is a serious problem with that. And once you have that experience and through it you are convinced you must be right with God, because of the manifestations, then you are far less likely to receive the notion that you really are still required to obey the commandments. And yet, the person who says they know God and does not obey Torah is a LIAR and the truth is not in them. Look also at these passages from John’s letters about obeying the commandments.

The one who keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. We know that He abides in us by this—by the Spirit He has given us. ~1 John 3:24 (TLV)

We know that we love God’s children by this—when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God—that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. ~1 John 5:2-3 (TLV)

Now this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the commandment—just as you heard from the beginning—that you walk in love. ~2 John 1:6 (TLV)

            Where did John get this idea that keeping the commandments is an act of loving His Messiah? He got from Yeshua. John 14:15 quotes Yeshua as saying: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

            Let me ask you a serious question: What is the opposite of love?

            Most people know that the opposite of love is hate. Yet most Christians would have a hard time accepting the reality that if loving Messiah is defined in keeping the commandments then not keeping the commandments is the act of hating Yeshua.

            It is also worth noting that John says the commandments are not burdensome. This is in harmony with Deuteronomy 30:10-14 where, in the closing portions of the Torah books, we are told that it is EASY to keep Torah. It tells us that Torah is not in the sky or across the sea, out of reach, but that it is in our mouth and heart, near to us, that we can easily do what it tells us to do. Now let’s turn to a passage in the Book of Revelation.

Here is the perseverance of the kedoshim—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua. ~Revelation 14:12 (TLV)

            There is also a reference to those who keep the commandments and hold to the testimony of Yeshua in Revelation 12:17. In that passage it is talking about those whom the dragon wars against. In other words, the adversaries of Yahweh wage war with those who obey Torah. Those are considered the enemy of Satan, the lawless one. Christians who war against Torah-keeping are servants of Satan, doing his work of convincing people through the question of the serpent in Genesis 3, “Hath God said?

The Torah Gives Freedom!

            It is said that the Apostle James was the leader of the community of Believers—those who embraced faith in Yeshua as their Messiah—in the city of Jerusalem as the Apostolic movement began. James, of course, was also the half-brother of Yeshua.

            James only wrote one letter that is accepted as canon in Scripture, but in that one letter he certainly has a lot to say. Let’s take a look at what James says about Torah-keeping.

But the one who looks intently into the perfect Torah, the Torah that gives freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts—he shall be blessed in what he does. ~James 1:25 (TLV)

            Wait, what? The Torah gives freedom? But Christianity is always saying that The Torah is bondage and we are supposed to be free from the bondage of keeping The Torah. Christians say that anyone who thinks we should keep Torah is under a curse. Something must be wrong here.

            Again, I often find myself perplexed with these beliefs of the modern Christian. Do they really want us to believe that just a month and a half after being freed from 400 years of actual bondage in Egypt, God led His people through the Red Sea, drowning the army of Pharaoh, only to put them under “legalistic bondage” to His Torah and keep them there for thousands of years until He proved whatever point He needed to prove and sent His Son? That sounds ridiculous when you ask it like that, but it’s what most Christians actually believe.

            The Torah given at Sinai on what would become the biblical Feast of Shavuot—what many know as the Day of Pentecost—was and is the seal of freedom for those who serve The Living God. The Torah, according to James the literal blood brother of Yeshua, said that it is The Torah that gives freedom. It’s no wonder that historically “Jesus-only, grace-alone” heretics have taken exception with the Book of James. It is even said that Martin Luther, whose teachings are a primary foundation for these “Jesus-only” and “hyper-grace” heresies, wanted to have the Book of James expunged from Scripture. Think about that! The initial “Protestant Reformer” actually wanted a piece of literature written by the actual half-brother of Yeshua removed because it made too strong of statements about obeying God’s Law and conflicted with his views of grace.

But if you show favoritism, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Torah as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole Torah but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For the one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. ~James 2:9-11 (TLV)

            A lot of people like to look at this passage and say that if you are going to keep Torah you have to make sure you keep every single jot and tittle of it. While it’s true that everything in Torah that would apply to all of the Body of Messiah is to be obeyed, that’s not what this passage is talking about. James is pointing out that all sin—breaking of Torah—is equal and if you break one commandment you have broken them all.

            Now, James was dealing with the sins of adultery and murder as his examples. But the principle applies to all commandments. What if we swapped out murder with eating pork, which is also a violation of Torah. This would not change anything about the passage at all, as this is also a commandment from Torah, and so it would now read: Now if you do not commit adultery but do eat pork, you have become a transgressor of the Torah.

            We can do this with so many commandments. Take a look: Now if you do not commit adultery but do break The Sabbath, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. Now if you do not commit adultery but do wear wool and linen together, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. Now if you do not commit adultery but do get tattoos, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. Now if you do not commit adultery but do celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. Now if you do not commit adultery but do not celebrate Yahweh’s Spring and Fall Feasts, you have become a transgressor of the Torah.

            This is what James was saying, he was very emphatically saying that there is a need to keep ALL of the commandments, because if you love Yeshua, you will keep His commandments—and if you don’t you are a liar and the truth is not in you. Let’s look at one more statement from James.

Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the Torah and judges the Torah. But if you judge the Torah, you are not a doer of the Torah, but a judge. ~James 4:11 (TLV)

            So, here we see that it is a person who is not a doer of Torah who is a judge. This will be even more interesting when we get to Paul’s teachings. But for now let’s consider Christians who like to go around saying, “Don’t judge me,” whenever a true Believer points out that something is a sin—a transgression of The Torah.

            This passage is telling us that those who do not obey Torah are the ones doing the judging. The people crying out, “Don’t judge me,” are actually the ones in the wrong, according to Scripture. Isn’t that something!

Will People Go To Hell For THAT?

            Now we turn our attention to Peter. Of the Apostles who wrote contributions to Scripture, Peter’s letters are probably the most vague about Torah, but there are certain statements that I feel make a very strong case for Torah-keeping as a Christian. Especially when considered in the context of the teachings of all the Apostles.

            In a message I put out titled Sinless I presented from Peter’s first letter the notion that there was an Apostolic belief in becoming completely sin-free in this lifetime. Let’s look at the passage.

Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude. For the one who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. As a result, he lives the rest of his time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. ~1 Peter 4:1-2 (TLV)

            This is a hard concept to accept for most Christians who have been brainwashed by the errors of modern Christian thought, which says things like “You sin every day in word, thought, or deed”. This is particularly silly since you can’t sin in your thoughts, there is no prohibition in Torah against having a wrong thought. In fact, it is also an Apostolic teaching that Satan attacks your thoughts with fiery darts that you must take captive. So it simply cannot be a sin if you have a wrong thought, but you can allow that thought to turn into an act of sin. As far as the others, it should be quite easy to not do or say anything that would violate Torah if you are truly committed to following Yeshua and are filled with the Set Apart Spirit of Holiness.

            From here there is one more statement of interest from Peter, this from his second letter.

For if—after escaping the world’s pollutions through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah—they again become entangled in these things and are overcome, the end for them has become worse than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after learning about it, to turn back from the holy commandment passed on to them. What has happened to them confirms the truth of the proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit,” and “A scrubbed pig heads right back into the mud.” ~2 Peter 2:20-22 (TLV)

            It would have been better to not know the way of righteousness. This harmonizes with some statements made in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

For it is impossible for those who once were enlightened—having tasted of the heavenly gift and become partakers of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, and having tasted the good word of God and the powers of the olam ha-ba, and then having fallen away—to renew again to repentance, since they are again crucifying Ben-Elohim for themselves and publicly disgracing Him. ~Hebrews 6:4-6 (TLV)

For if we keep on sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a fury of fire about to devour the enemies of God. ~Hebrews 10:26-27 (TLV)

            These passages, like Peter’s statement, tell us that a rejection of righteousness—which would refer to Torah-keeping—essentially causes you to lose your salvation. I want to make it clear that this is not God rejecting you for rebellion, but you rejecting God by choosing to rebel. Titus 1:16 (CJB) says: “They claim to know God, but with their actions they deny him. They are detestable and disobedient; they have proved themselves unfit to do anything good.” This is a clear indication that a rejection of commandments (Torah) is a rejection of God. Rejecting God is a tossing away of your salvation. Look what the Prophet Ezekiel said:

But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity and does according to all the detestable acts that the wicked man does, will he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done will be remembered; for his trespass that he trespassed and for his sin that he has sinned, for them he will die. ~Ezekiel 18:24 (TLV)

            This is a theme all through Scripture, but lawless, Torah-rejecting Christians ignore these themes and pull their “proof-texts” out of the Scripture to try and justify their lawless deeds.

            I was recently challenged for saying that Christians who reject Torah are wicked, and yet here it is in Ezekiel. Those who turn from their Torah-keeping and sin—again, sin being the breaking, violating, transgressing of Torah—are called wicked in Ezekiel. Peter, as with the rest of the Apostles, simply reiterates this point.

            Notice also the passage in Hebrews 10, which is parallel to instructions regarding sins of ignorance and sins of intent in Numbers 15 (part of The Torah), where it says there is no sacrifice for sin when one sins—breaks, violates, transgresses Torah—willfully after being told the truth. The context in Hebrews 10, as with the whole work, pertains specifically to the sacrificial work of Messiah at Calvary.

            As hard as it is for Christians to receive this, the Apostles were literally teaching that if you openly defy Torah after you have been told the truth, even the blood of the Lamb of God cannot atone for you. If you are reading this message and you are on the fence, I strongly advise you to just start keeping Torah, even if it is just legalistically or ritualistically, fake it until you make it, while you do further study on this. It’s much better to play it safe than to set yourself up for a scenario where even the blood of Yeshua can no longer save you, because if that happens you have no hope left at all.

            Look, I’m not telling you that if you break Torah after receiving Yeshua you’ve lost all hope. I am simply telling you what The Bible says, giving you a “worst case scenario” interpretation, and pleading with you to use common sense and good logic as you proceed with your study of these matters. And chances are very high that if you start following Torah, even just legalistically or ritualistically to play it safe, Torah and all of The Bible will come alive to you and you will find yourself no longer obeying just to play it safe.

            Don’t listen to people who make ignorant statements like “that’s not a salvation issue” and “I don’t think God would send anyone to hell for THAT.” You don’t know what God will or will not send people to hell for, but I can assure you that everyone sent there will be a result of rejecting Him in some form—and The Bible DOES tell us that rejecting Torah, in whole or in part, is the same as rejecting God. The worst thing you can ever do is listen to the so-called Christian who, despite his or her outward religiosity, lives contrary to the Word of God. I can also assure you with absolute certainty that nobody will be sent to hell for the reason of obeying anything in The Bible.

            People argue with me all the time: Do you really believe that God will send me to hell for eating pork? I had one just recently, no reasoning with the guy whatsoever. He was fully persuaded that he is filled with the Holy Spirit and has no conviction when eating unclean things. Look, I can give you a very valid biblical argument that people WILL be cast into the lake of fire for eating unclean things, it’s not difficult. But I promise you not one person will ever be cast into hell for following the food laws or anything else in The Torah. I can stand here with 100% confidence in saying that God will not say “You were stuck on those old laws and refused to eat pork, now you have to burn.” People are sent to hell for breaking God’s commandments, not for keeping them.

God Said It, That Settles It

            Now we come to Paul, the one Apostolic Writer who did not walk with Yeshua during His earthly lifetime and the one man in all of Scripture that Christians believe created some “new” religion and solidified the Torah void. But is that what Paul believed? Did Paul teach against Torah? Before we get into what Paul taught in favor of Torah-keeping, let’s look at how Paul defended his teachings to those who, like today’s Christian, claimed he taught against Torah, as well as a brief biography of who Paul was in his own words.

But this I confess to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything written in the Torah and the Prophets. ~Acts 24:14 (TLV)

If anyone else thinks he might depend on the flesh, I far more—circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel; from the tribe of Benjamin; a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the Torah, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting Messiah’s community; as for Torah righteousness, found blameless. ~Philippians 3:4-6 (TLV)

            So, this fellow Paul identified himself as a Hebrew, from Israel, a Benjamite, a Pharisee, a Torah-keeper, and defended himself against his accusers as believing everything written in the Torah and Prophets. Does that sound like someone who would teach against Torah? Well, let’s take a look at some of the statements that Paul made about Torah—passages that drive context in the rest of his teachings.

For it is not the hearers of Torah who are righteous before God; rather, it is the doers of Torah who will be justified. ~Romans 2:13 (TLV)

            That’s an interesting statement, and actually not a lone thought. James, again the half-brother of Yeshua, said: “You see that a man is proved righteous by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24, TLV). John, as we already saw, said that a person who claims to know God but doesn’t keep Torah is a liar and the truth is not in them. Paul was simply saying the same thing as the other Apostles.

What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Torah. For I would not have known about coveting if the Torah had not said, “You shall not covet.” ~Romans 7:7 (TLV)

            This too is similar to what we already saw James saying, as well as harmonizing with John’s definition of sin as the breaking, transgressing, violating of Torah. Paul is saying here that it is because of Torah he knows what things are sin, because sin is the breaking of Torah, and so he could know how to obey. It’s simple! Religion is what makes it seem difficult and impossible to obey Torah—which is a totally false doctrine that contradicts what The Bible actually says. Now look at this one.

So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. ~Romans 7:12 (TLV)

            Wait a second, Torah is holy and righteous and good? I thought Torah was legalistic bondage? OK, I know, we already went over that.

            The simple fact of the matter is that Paul, a Benjamite, Pharisee, Hebrew scholar, trained by the famed Rabbi Gamaliel in the House of Hillel—one of the major schools of Jewish training in first century Israel—would never call Torah anything but holy and righteous and good. Look also at what he said along the same lines to his own student, Timothy.

But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, knowing that the Torah is not given for a tzaddik but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and worldly… ~1 Timothy 1:8-9 (TLV)

            Torah is good, but he also ties in what he said previously in Romans about how it defines lawlessness. This makes proper use of Torah, according to Paul, to expose the sins of the lawless. This means that legitimate and proper use of Torah, contrary to what non-confrontational, weak-minded, pansy-preachers want to say, is to throw it in the face of the wicked—especially the lawless ones in Christianity—and call out their wickedness. Like the old term “Bible-thumper”, a similar term has developed through the growing Torah movement: “Torah Terrorist”. While there is certainly something to be said about tactfully presenting hard truths, the fact of the matter is that Paul said legitimate use of Torah is to smack people over the head with the hard truth of it and call them to REPENT. And any preacher that is afraid to do this should get out of the pulpits of Christianity and stop making a continual mockery of the faith of the Apostles.

            Let me show you one more interesting thing from Paul’s statements about Torah before I conclude this message.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless. ~Titus 3:9 (TLV)

            A lot of people use this passage all sorts of ways. Again, some point to this as a “Don’t judge” statement, which is totally wrong. Others say that it is wrong to engage in “debates” with people about whether or not we should keep Torah—which are usually more like discussions of persuasion in an attempt to convince lawless Christians to start obeying the laws of their God.

            Let me simplify this passage for you: Paul was saying that if something is commanded in Torah it is to be obeyed, of this there is no debate. This is a longstanding Hebrew principle known among Jews worldwide but often lost to Christianity called Zot Chukat haTorah. It means “This is Torah’s decree” and it is much like the American Christian phrase “God said it, that settles it”. There is no debate, there is nothing to dispute, if it’s in Torah God said it and that settles it.

Filled With Torah

Then Yeshua said to him, “What has been written in the Torah? How do you read it?” ~Luke 10:26 (TLV)

            Now there is a question that is worthy of entertaining. While there was a particular context in which this question was originally asked, I wonder what would happen if we began to ask such a question of Christians today. Perhaps with a follow up question: Do you read it to obey it?

            Many would probably say, as they have been taught to, that The Torah is only in The Bible for historical purposes so we can study the oppression of Torah and how we are free from its clutches today. But this would be absurd, especially after going through this study and seeing that Torah-keeping was clearly the message of both our Messiah and the Apostles.

            The reality is that the sign and seal of the new covenant is through Torah-obedience. Look at this statement made in the letter to the Hebrews.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Adonai. I will put My Torah into their mind, and upon their hearts I will write it. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. ~Hebrews 8:10 (TLV)

            The writer of this letter was quoting Jeremiah the Prophet, who prophesied that this new covenant would be made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah and that the sign and seal of this covenant would be Torah put in the mind and written on the heart of the new covenant Believer (see Jeremiah 31).

            Now, think about this. Your mind is where your thoughts are contained and your heart is where your passions come from. So if Torah is put into your mind, then it should consume your thoughts, and if it is written on your heart it should drive your passions.

            Christianity teaches that it’s “all about Jesus”. That’s only partly true. It’s all about Yeshua AND TORAH. You cannot have one without the other. Look again at Revelation 12:17 and 14:12. It was BOTH faith in Yeshua and obedience to Torah that persevered the holy. “Jesus-only” theology may be the greatest deception the devil has ever concocted. Satan has literally convinced billions of people around the world that they can accept Yeshua, or “Jesus”, without accepting Torah-keeping. And to top it off, he has convinced them that obedience to or rejection of Torah is not a salvation issue. THAT’S NOT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES!

            It must be resolved! Yeshua is the door—the narrow gate—that leads you to the path to life. That path to life is paved with Torah-keeping. It was the teaching of the Apostles that Torah is to be obeyed. If you are not yet convinced, let me offer you one more point that should seal the deal on this matter.

They were devoting themselves to the teaching of the emissaries and to fellowship, to breaking bread and to prayers. ~Acts 2:42 (TLV, emphasis added)

            That phrase “teaching of the emissaries” is often translated as “Apostles doctrine” in some of the less Hebraic English Bibles. It is the Greek διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων (didachē tōn apostolōn). There is a first century document called The Didache, which is “the teaching of the twelve Apostles”. The Greek for this phrase is Διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. Notice the words I put in bold, they are the exact same words used in Acts 2:42 for the teaching/doctrine of the Apostles/emissaries.

            This document called The Didache has pretty much been confirmed as a simple set of basic guidelines that were given to all of the in-home fellowships within the communities of Believers throughout all of the regions evangelized by the Apostles. It was basically like the first “Statement of Faith” or basic rules by which all fellowships were to build on—a starters guide to following the whole Bible. Now look at this statement made in this essential document:

You shall not forsake the Torah of Yahweh, but you shall keep what you received, “Adding nothing to it and taking nothing away.” ~Didache 4:13

            If there is any doubt at all that this statement is referring to the Torah, that doubt is eliminated when the phrase “Adding nothing to it and taking nothing away” is quoted, making it clear this is a citation of Deuteronomy 12:32 (or 13:1 in some Hebraic translations), which states: “Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it.” Since that was said in Deuteronomy, it is contextually talking exclusively about Torah, not the whole Bible—though I certainly would not advocate for adding to or taking away from any part of The Bible. This passage from The Apostles’ Doctrine is literally telling Christians first not to forsake The Torah and then to not add to or take away from The Torah. Regarding this statement in The Didache Toby Janicki states in his full commentary on the document titled The Way Of Life: The Rediscovered Teachings Of The Twelve Jewish Apostles To The Gentiles:

Disciples of the Master must not only loathe what is sinful but must love the Lord's commandments and not neglect them. The commandments of the Lord are the commandments of the Torah.

The Didache urges one to "guard that which you have received," a turn of phrase that seems to imply oral transmission. This may indicate "those commandments of the Torah which you have received through apostolic teaching." The word "keep" corresponds to the Hebrew word shamar (שמר), which implies observance of a commandment. Therefore the phrase "keep what you have received" can be understood to mean "observe the commandments which have been entrusted to you." The Apostolic Constitutions adds, "Keep what you have received from him," which seems to emphasize that even the oral teachings should be viewed as from HaShem.

The phrase "what you have received" finds congruency in the Apostle Paul's words, "I delivered you as of first importance what I also received." "Delivered" (masorah, מסרה) and "received" (kabbalah, קבלה) are technical terms used in rabbinic literature for the detailed process of the oral transmission. This is evidence that even during the time of the Didache, some, if not the majority, of the Master's teachings were still being delivered orally. This is akin to the rabbinic practice of memorizing one's teacher's words. The Talmud praises the student who repeats his teacher's lesson over a hundred times. In order for the disciple to guard and preserve the commandments of the Master, he must internalize them through memorization.

The Didache then instructs that nothing should be added to or taken away from the commandments. The Torah as well prohibits both adding to the commandments and subtracting from them. We find this admonishment repeated twice in the book of Deuteronomy: "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2), and, "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it" (Deuteronomy 12:32). Spence comments, For a trained Jew, such as evidently the author of this treatise must have been, the Deuteronomy passage most likely was in his mind when he wrote this charge." The Apostolic Constitutions cites Proverbs 30:6: "Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar." In the minds of the earliest disciples, "the Torah must thus be seen as an organic whole and must be observed fully."

            So we have reviewed that all of the Apostolic Writers and Messiah, as cited in The Gospels, promoted Torah-keeping as the standard of being a follower of Yeshua. And now we have this first century document that was the foundation of all early Christian doctrine saying that we are absolutely to follow Torah, not adding anything to it or taking anything away.

            And there you have it. Torah remained and to this day remains the standard of what it means to follow Yeshua. 1 John 2:6 could not be more clear: “Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked.” Yeshua was a Torah-observant Jewish Rabbi, not a Lawless Christian Pastor. His followers were Torah-keeping Jews and righteous Gentiles who also embraced Torah-living. This is all made clear through proper study of first-century Christian practice. If you are a REAL Christian, you keep Torah. If you do not keep Torah, you are NOT a real Christian and your “Jesus” is the one mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:4.

~Blessings and Shalom~

©2020 Truth Ignited Ministry

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