The common belief within Christianity today is that the Law (Torah) of the Old Testament is no longer valid for today’s converts who are saved by grace and therefore have only to believe. Some say that to recognise and observe the Torah/Law is to return to the curse/bondage of the Law and possibly risk one’s salvation.
Let’s look what Scripture has to say on this subject and I pray you will find the true blessing that the Torah provides.
The foundational Torah of Moses
I begin this article with a message from Batya Wootten.
First of all, we must understand what the term Law refers to in Scripture. It refers to the first five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) – The Torah. The Torah is YHWH’s foundational, fundamental instructions for His people. Detailing His role as Creator, Judge, Lawgiver, and Saviour among others.
The Second thing we must look at are the words from YHWH concerning the Renewed Covenant. This is the most misunderstood area of Christianity today.
“See, the days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’ĕl and with the house of Yehudah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Mitsrayim, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares YHWH.
Notice also that He says the house of Yisra’ĕl (Israel) and the house of Yehudah (Judah), but then He says the house of Yisra’ĕl. This is because the two will have been united under Messiah. The most astounding part, though, is that YHWH will not only forgive iniquity and sin, but that He will write His law upon our hearts and minds!
“And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them”.
”YHWH, by His Set-apart Spirit will cause us to walk in His law (statutes, judgments, etc…) and we are supposed to keep and do them. Incidentally statutes and judgments, throughout Scripture, always signify the “law of Moses”. Yet here it is shown that we will keep and do them by the power of YHWH’s Spirit.
These passages are probably the strongest argument from YHWH as to how we should view not only His Torah, but that the New Covenant is actually a renewing of the Old Covenant! It is now established by the blood of Y’Shua and carried out by the ministry of the Set-apart Spirit working in our hearts.
However, these are not the only passages that deal with the Torah; in fact all of His Word reveals YHWH’s desire for us to walk in His ways and not our own.
I must however caution those who are finding their way back to these foundational teachings though in that the Torah was always meant to be a shadow picture of greater things to come. The Torah is the ‘lessor light’ to rule the night (absence of Messiah). Y’Shua our Messiah is the ‘Greater light’ to rule the day. Many are obediently returning to the ‘ways of old’ but neglect to find the deeper revelation and intent in the Torah with a result that many are falling into a trap of ‘religious’ legalism. We must now view all things in the Torah through the knowledge and teachings of Y’Shua our Messiah.
Please read my article on The Greater Light for more discussion on this topic.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
One or two ‘Laws’?
Most people recognize that YHWH has laws and that they are good; however they argue that there are two sets of laws. The Ten Commandments and the Law of Mosheh. They say the Ten Commandments are for all believers, but the Law of Mosheh was just for the Jews and was abolished by Y’Shua when He came in the flesh. Is there a separation between the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law, which is typically referred to as the law of Mosheh/Torah?
Most people accept that because YHWH gave the whole law to Mosheh, it is first and foremost YHWH’s law. They go on to say that because YHWH wrote only Ten Commandments with His own finger and placed only those stone tablets in the ark, there is a separation. They say, “The law of Mosheh was for the Jews, but the Ten Commandments are for everybody”. Why would YHWH split His people up under two separate laws, when His Word makes it clear that He has only one body, one bride, one people for Himself, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but we are all one in Messiah Y’Shua (Galatians 3:28).
The Ten Commandments are identified as the covenant that YHWH made with the congregation at Sinai. However, when examined closely, we see that the Ten Commandments are really a “table of contents”, so to speak, of the whole law.
Scripture supports this and it makes sense when viewed through people’s lives and the various commands from the law of Mosheh that they want to follow if they love YHWH – Not consulting mediums or astrologers, honoring the elderly, not following certain fashions of the world, not committing bestiality, or not cutting oneself for the dead, which are all commands from the law of Mosheh. Also, notice in Exodus 24:7 it says, And he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that יהוה has spoken we shall do, and obey.”
The “Book of the Covenant” referred to here is the Torah/Law – the Ten Commandments as well as the other laws that God gave Mosheh on the Mountain. Notice that the previous three chapters contained laws and ordinances, other than the Ten Commandments that YHWH had given Mosheh. In fact, when Mosheh went up onto the mountain for forty days and forty nights, he was given not only the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them, but also a host of other laws, statutes, and judgments. Nowhere is it implied in these scriptures that there are two separate laws from YHWH.
YHWH gave His commands and statutes and judgments for our instruction and benefit (Deḇarim /Deuteronomy 10:13; Romans 2:18).
As we will continue to see, there is only one law, though not all of the commandments still apply to us. YHWH’s word defines the role of each law in a believer’s life if we take the time to study it, remembering that Y’Shua is the living Word and everything has its beginning and end in Him. He is the reason for obedience. He is the goal of the law. Through faith in Him, our Elohim and Savior, we establish His Torah (Romans 3:31).
“And when a stranger sojourns with you and shall perform the Passover to יהוה, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and perform it, and he shall be as a native of the land. But let no uncircumcised eat of it.
If the need still existed for adult convert circumcision then surely Sha’ul would not have mentioned that the reason for circumcising Timothy was due to the Yehudim (Jews).
‘You are to have one right-ruling, for the stranger and for the native, for I am יהוה your Elohim.’ ”
Also: Leviticus 16:29; 18:26; Numbers 9:14
“this Ezra came up from Babel. And he was a scribe, skilled in the Torah of Mosheh, which יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl had given
-Notice the Torah is called both the Torah of Mosheh (which YHWH gave) and the Torah of YHWH in this chapter.
v2. The Torah
v3. The Book of the Torah
v5. The book
v8. The Book of the Torah of Elohim
23 as it has been written in the Torah of YHWH, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called set-apart to יהוה” – (Exodus 13:2, 12, 15)
24 and to give an offering according to what is said in the Torah of YHWH, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Leviticus 12:8)
-Notice that in verse 22 it says the Torah of Moses yet in the next two verses it is called the Torah of YHWH.
-Also, notice that in verses 23 & 24 it says “as it has been written” or “what is said” in the Torah of YHWH, yet those two laws are taken from Exodus and Levviticus, and not anywhere in the Ten Commandments.
If those commands were taken from what we call the law of Mosheh, then why are they recognized as being from the Law of YHWH?
Did Y’Shua abolish the law?
It is true that He did away with some laws, particularly the ones dealing with our relationship to sin and YHWH’s judgment on it. In other words, the earthly sin sacrificial system – the temple, the priesthood, and the sin animal sacrifices. All of these, Y’Shua did away with because He is the temple (Yohanan/John 2:19-21), He is our High Priest (Ibrim/Hebrews 8:1-2), and He is the only sacrifice capable of taking our sins away (1 Corinthians 5:7; Ibrim/Hebrews 10:8-10). However, because He did away with those, this does not mean He did away with all of it. That would imply that we could throw out any part of The Scriptures that we don’t agree with.
Some will say that Y’Shua lived out the Law perfectly so that we don’t have to. Does that mean we don’t have to live out any of YHWH’s law (Torah)? That’s absurd! That’s like saying “He lived it perfectly, so I don’t have to worry about whether or not I commit adultery, disrespect my elders, or indulge in pornography.” That might seem a little harsh, but that’s essentially what one is saying if they take that road.
* Y’Shua perfectly lived out the Law because He is the only One capable of doing so – He is YHWH (Yohanan/John 8:58). YHWH wants us to know His standard for being set-apart. He is the only One who is truly Set-Apart. However, because He loves us, He wants us to follow His example and walk as He walked. To be instructed out of His laws gives us understanding of who He is and who we are as His creation.
*Y’Shua also lived by the Law, because if He didn’t He would be disqualified as the Messiah. No false prophet would go unnoticed if they broke any of the commandments. That’s why the religious leaders of Y’Shua’s day tried to trap Him by saying He broke the Law. He didn’t disobey YHWH’s commandments, but He broke their laws, their man made traditions! (Mattityahu /Matthew 16:11-12). They were trying to catch Him breaking the commandments so they could murder Him, because He challenged their traditions which they held at the same standard as YHWH’S law – The Torah (Mark 7:6-9)!
Y’Shua and the Law
Let’s examine some Scriptures that specifically touch on the relationship between Y’Shua and the Law.
Y’Shua not only fulfilled the Law and Prophets by embodying the prophecies about Him, but also by finishing YHWH’s work of redemption on the stake – His death for our sins. This does not destroy the meaning or importance of the Law and the Prophets which makes up nearly 2/3 of The Scriptures. All Scripture is still relevant and important to the life of the believer.
Y’Shua said that He didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill/complete. That alone cancels out any argument that He abolished (destroyed) the law of Moshe or the ‘ceremonial law‘. So regardless of how we interpret the word “fulfill” it doesn’t change the fact that He didn’t destroy any of the word which He, Himself, spoke through Moshe and the Prophets.
He also said that until heaven and earth pass away not even the tiniest mark would disappear from the law. Since neither heaven nor earth have passed away yet (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-6), I would say that the Law/Torah still stands.
Y’Shua’s “teaching/instruction” was not His but the Father’s.
What was the Father’s “teachings or instructions“?
– The Law/Torah.
“If you love Me, you shall guard My commands”
“If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love”
7 Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning.
Verse 3 says that we know Him, if we keep His commands. Romans 2:18 says, “and know the desire of Elohim, and approve what is superior, being instructed out of the Torah”, To know YHWH is to know what He says about His desires for us, and His desire to see us walk in His Set-Apart ways.
Verse 6 says to “walk, even as He walked”. Given the context here, it is clear that we should follow Y’Shua’s example of how He lived while on earth which is to say that He lived out the law perfectly. We, ourselves, could never live the law perfectly, but we don’t have to because it’s not about being made righteous before YHWH by living the law. It’s about growing in our relationship with Him and separating ourselves from the world, through His loving instructions. YHWH’s law is all about love – love for Him and for others.
1 John 5:2-3
Most will argue that obeying the law means you are in bondage of the law. I’ve said this a thousand times and I’ll probably say it a thousand more – no one is saved by keeping the law! The law can’t save us from sin because it wasn’t made to do that. However, it was made to point out what sin is and give us the standard by which YHWH judges sin. If we know that, then we know His will and can live according to His will for our lives. Living by the law, not under it, is not burdensome. Rather, it’s freedom when considering the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 6:15-18,
6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favour? Let it not be!
2 John 1:6
These are just a few Scriptures on YHWH’S law and they show the attitude of the authors toward His law.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies; For it is ever before me.
115 Turn away from me, you evil-doers, For I observe the commands of my Elohim!
For the command is a lamp, And the Torah a light, And reproofs of discipline a way of life,
Why do people think that the law was abolished?
Many believe that the following passages of Scripture state that the law was done away with in Y’Shua.
“The Torah and the prophets are until Yohanan. Since then the reign of Elohim is being announced, and everyone is doing violence upon it.
-Notice the next verse, though,
If YHWH has placed His Word in such a high position, then we should take notice. An interesting note – when the psalmist spoke of YHWH’s word in this psalm, he was speaking primarily of the Torah.
“Now then, why do you try Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the taught ones which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
The meaning of this verse is explained in light of the context of the entire chapter. Some Jews were saying that a person had to be circumcised and follow the Law to be saved – essentially that they had to become a Jew. However, we know that “no flesh shall be justified by the works of the law“. That doesn’t mean, however, that the law is dead or obsolete.
The law brings death because it is the perfect will of YHWH revealed, and we can never measure up to that standard. That is why we need Y’Shua to be the propitiation, or substitute, for our sins.
“For My yoke is gentle and My burden is light.” Mattityahu /Matthew 11:30
YHWH never said that Jews and Gentiles couldn’t worship Him together, however, YHWH made it a point to say that no foreigner could approach Him in the same way His people did. They had to come to an understanding of who YHWH was and enter a covenant relationship with Him first. In verses 11-13 of this same chapter, Sha’ul talks about how the Gentiles were foreigners from the “commonwealth of Yisra’ĕl and strangers from the covenants of promise,” meaning that they were not a part of YHWH’s family (not the Jewish nation, but the people of faith that YHWH had created beginning with Abraham). But through Y’Shua they who believe have been brought near to YHWH. In verse 14 it says He has “broken down the middle wall of separation“. This is probably referring to the separation in the Temple where there was a place specifically for Gentiles only – the court of the Gentiles. They could not enter in beyond that point. However, the Jews had made up a myriad of rules that were not in YHWH’s law. In fact, Leviticus 17:8-9 states that an Yisra’ĕlite and/or “the strangers” (Gentiles), could both offer burnt offerings and sacrifices. The Gentiles, though, had to enter the covenant that YHWH had established with His people. YHWH, through Messiah Y’Shua, had broken down the wall and allowed both Jew and Gentile to enter a covenant relationship with Him.
“friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim” James 4:4
Hebrews 7:18; 8:13; 10:1
All three of these passages deal with the fact that the earthly priesthood was insufficient to deal with sin because the priests were human, therefore they sinned just like everybody else. However, our Messiah Y’Shua is YHWH, so He is without sin and can thereby effectively deal with our sin by atoning for it and setting us free from it. Since Y’Shua came to earth in human form though, He can understand our struggles – “For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was tried in all respects as we are, apart from sin.”
Our Messiah is our Great High Priest who lives to make intercession for us.
This is essentially what has taken place. The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant with better promises because now it is fulfilled in that our Messiah is performing the priestly duties in heaven, ministering to us through the work of the Set-apart Spirit, and defending us in YHWH’s court room before the accuser, Satan.
Not under obligation
Throughout the New Testament, we see two major points that appear contradictory, but are nothing more than the sublime, almost-hidden aspect of the Renewed Covenant, seen throughout the New Testament as the mystery of the Kingdom, the mystery of His will, the mystery of Messiah, the mystery of the Faith.
Here is the mystery:
1) Under the New Covenant, as we saw in The New Covenant: According to the Scriptures, those who have been Born-Again have been set free, and are no longer under any obligation to keep, or to obey, the Law (“Torah” – all the Words of Scripture);
2) However, as we saw in The Way of Salvation, one will probably NOT enter the New Jerusalem (the closed-in realm of the Kingdom) without obedience to the Law (“Torah”)!
The above items together appear to be contradictory, but they simply reveal one of the many “mysteries” mentioned throughout the New Testament. Sha’ul explained this extensively in many passages, and used multiple examples to reveal this truth.
Here is a brief explanation of this mystery. At the moment the Blood of Yahushua has Redeemed or set one free from the slavery of sin, man is set free to choose his new master, and to choose a new yoke. He has been set free from the old master, and therefore he is NOT to be forced or obligated to go back under the old master – which would be a violation of Torah (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:39; Jeremiah 34:14-16). He may, however, choose to volunteer to serve the Master whom he loves, and so he may take a “new” yoke upon himself. Some of the Apostle Sha’ul’s writings, as well as the Words of Yahushua, are in regard to this Torah truth.
The apostle Sha’ul wrote extensively on this exchange of yokes, and he revealed this mystery in his own life, in one short verse (1Cor 9:21). The Reader is referred to several articles (New Covenant Liberty: Freedom to Choose) and the ones mentioned above, that deal a little more with this exchange of yokes, and of being set free, in order to choose a new Master.
In view of the importance of our obedience to Torah, but also the lack of “requirement” to keep or obey the Torah, it is imperative that we present and teach this Truth: that we are NOT justified by obeying the Torah, and therefore we are NOT “required” to obey the Torah. However, we who choose to return to the New Master, and to take His yoke upon us, DO obey the Torah, only because of our Love for, and Delight in, the Master. Rather, we allow the New Master, “Messiah-in-us” (Colossians 1:27), who is our only hope of Glory, to provide His Favour – His ability within us – to walk in all His Torah, as He reveals it to us.
Yahushua does NOT require anyone to take His yoke upon him. All are encouraged to though willingly. Our hearers must develop their own Love for the new Master, which can NOT happen where obligation exists.
If a Teacher gives the Truth of Scripture, along with the idea that one MUST obey Torah, that Teacher has required obedience as an obligation – and thus that Teacher himself is in violation of Torah! That Teacher is in error, just as the Teacher who says obedience to Torah is not important under the Renewed Covenant! One must seek to observe Torah out of love for the Master – Yahushua.
Do we know what the word “grace” really means? The word for grace in the Greek is ‘charis’.
The following is an extract from the book ‘Come Out Of Her My People’ written by C.J. Koster.
I for one will never be able to use the word ‘grace’ the same way. How many of us have boldy stated that we are saved by ‘grace’ – what are we saying, that we are saved by a Greek goddess. YHWH please forgive our ignorance. Favour on the other hand is the true gift from The Creator. YHWH showed favour to, amongst others, Noah, Abraham and a nation of people, and through this very same favour has shown mercy to all of mankind ever since, through His Son Y’Shua Ha Mashiach.
For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim,it is not by works, so that no one should boast.
“Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.
If we are filled with His favour then we are strengthened by the Set-apart Spirit for “obedience to the faith” as Sha’ul says in Romans. So if our faith is real, then works will follow and proclaim the reality of our faith, all by the power of His favour.
1. To lead one to Messiah Y’Shua
2. To reveal YHWH’s Set-apart nature and His instruction for our Set-apart living.
Lev 20:26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.
The question then arises: Is being categorized as legalistic an insult or a compliment?
Let me close off with Proverbs 28:9
He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination.
The Torah - General
Belief – Author: Jennifer Ross
Law is not bondage – Author: Noel Hornor
Misquoted Scripture – Author: Yaacov Natan Lawrence
New Covenant Liberty – Freedom to Choose – Author: Bill
The Ancient Torah Cycle – Author: Glenn McWilliams
The Atonement – Author: Hoshana Rabbah
The Mark Of The Beast System vs Law – Author: Craig Peters
The Tithe – Author: Glenn McWilliams
The Unity of the Commandments – Author: Glenn McWilliams
Torah Is For All People – Author: Monte Judah
What Does The Term ‘ Under The Law’ Mean – Author: Hoshana Rasbbah
What Does The Term ‘Works Of The Law’ Mean – Author: Hoshana Rabbah
What Was The Apostle Paul’s View Of The Torah – Law – Author: Hoshana Rabbah
Yahshua and the Adulterous Woman – Author: M Evans
Yeshua’s View Of Torah – Author: Yaacov Natan Lawrence