From the outset of Freedom Ministries, in 2000, I have been teaching Matthew 5:17-18 as the basis of using the OT to address many of the problems in the lives of those in the body of Messiah.
Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
This has been and still is one of the main verses I use to show that Iniquities is an issue for today and is not just an OT doctrine. Further, when the Apostle Paul spoke of ‘all scripture’ in 2 Timothy 3:16, he had to be referring to the OT, as much of the NT had not been written and certainly not collated into a New Testament: All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
The Royal Law
I was recently challenged that we are now under the ‘Royal Law of Love,’ and that this is the only requirement upon us as disciples of Yeshua. Whilst the Royal Law of Love is a summary of Torah, I cannot see that it is a replacement of Torah. Surely this is what Paul is saying in Romans 13:8-9: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Torah. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended (AMP: are summed up in the single command) in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself).
Without Torah how would we have a clue how to fulfil the Royal Law of Love?
We can clearly see that Paul did not and was not abolishing Torah with his teaching: 1 Corinthians 9:21, KJV: …being not without law to Elohim, but under the law to Christ. So what is not to understand in this verse? What is Paul saying? Being not without Torah, but under Torah to Messiah. I now direct my question to my critics: what is not to understand?
Having said in Romans 13:8, He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Torah, the Apostle in the next verse listed some of the Ten Commandments as an illustration to demonstrate that licentiousness is not permissable, i.e. For this thou shalt not… And if there be any other commandment it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. It is clear we cannot violate Torah just because we ‘love.’
Sovereignty of Messiah
In that I am in Messiah, I am under the Messiah. Knowing that, I know that the demand of Torah has been satisfied in regard to my sin. As I am in and under Messiah I know I am to keep his commandments. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. Surely keeping the Commandments of the Messiah involves keeping the Commandments of Yehovah given through Moses, possibly without even realising it and just as surely this is what is involved in accepting the Sovereignty of Messiah.
That said, it is clear there are aspects of Torah that are no longer applicable. An example is the blood sacrifice of animals for sin, as Yeshua fulfilled the righteous demand concerning sin. Some commands are for priests, some for wives, some for daughters, some are civic laws and so on. Out of some 613 commands, for most only around 200 would apply. What is for today and what is not? I am teaching that if we walk with the leading of the Ruach of Yehovah and whenever we see a command that we feel is not for today, we are to look for the spiritual principle that can be applied to our lives today.
The Torah of Yeshua is higher than that of Moses. It sets a higher standard of righteousness and assumes a different kind of motivation and discipline than that of Moses’ Torah. It has rightly been said that freedom from the demands of Moses is precisely what prepares one for the happy yoke of Yeshua. Freedom from is also freedom for. His commands are not burdensome: 1 John 5:3, For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. Yet to keep them is to demonstrate the very righteousness that Torah wanted to achieve: Romans 8:3-4, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Elohim sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If we do not know what is in Torah and we violate it by our ignorance, then is it enough that righteousness is fulfilled by Yeshua’s ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh?’
The mistake of many under Torah, was seeking salvation through obedience to the rules and regulations (mostly following the Oral Law, that became the Talmud), yet Habakkuk 2:4 clearly says, The Just shall live by his faith. In this year of grace there are whole Christian denominations and cults trying to earn their salvation by rules and regulations and need to read and apply Habakkuk 2:4, Surely this is the point of what Paul is saying? Incidentally Paul quoted the Tanakh (OT) some 60 times in Romans alone and over one hundred times in all of his Epistles. This included quoting Habakkuk 2:4 in three different Epistles, assuming he wrote Hebrews.
The Law and The Prophets Were Until John
Luke 16:16. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of Elohim is preached, and every man presseth into it. To take this verse in isolation is especially dangerous as without the context one could easily conclude that Yeshua was abolishing Torah. To make absolutely sure He would not be misunderstood we have verse 17, And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Those two verses then taken without the preceding verses read like an oxymoron. However it is clear from verses 14-15 that Yeshua is addressing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. We then read Luke 17:21, Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of Elohim is within you. Clearly the Kingdom of Elohim since John ‘is within’. What is that kingdom within? Most surely a part of that is Torah written upon our hearts. (Romans 2:15)
Luke 16:14-16 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but Elohim knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of Elohim. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of Elohim is preached, and every man presseth into it.17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Luke 17:21, Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of Elohim is within you
Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of Torah written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;
Jeremiah. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YEHOVAH, 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.
Deuteronomy 30:6 And YEHOVAH thy Elohim will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love YEHOVAH thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Deuteronomy 10:16-17 (HRV), Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For YEHOVAH your Elohim is Elohi of Elohim, and Master of masters.
Amazing when one considers we have been taught that it is only under the New Covenant that the Kadosh Ruach would put his ‘laws’ upon our heart. What do we find? It was there all along in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah as a part of Torah and the Prophets!
No Law Before Moses?
I once heard it preached that there was no Torah (Law) before Moses. Whilst reading Genesis I came to 26:5, where Yehovah is speaking to Isaac: Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my Torahs. Clearly the “my commandments, my statutes, and my laws (TS: tarots – plural of Torah)” were from well before Moses and even before Abraham. Noah for instance knew the difference between the clean and unclean animals. Go back further and Cain and Abel knew to bring animal sacrifices.
If Torah is replaced by the Royal Law of Love then I cannot see that there is any foundation for teaching the blessings of Tithing for today, or how to deal with generational Iniquities and all manner of OT teaching. There are many that teach that tithing ended. Simply put: they are wrong. Why? Because Torah was not nailed to the cross and it was not abolished and Torah clearly existed long before it was written on a scroll. Hence the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all practiced Tithing.
The Curse of Torah?
Some love to quote Galatians 3:13 and declare ‘the Law’ (Torah) was a curse. How wrong can they be: The Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, and became for our sakes a cursed one: for it is written, Cursed is every one who is hung on a tree: When Paul spoke of the curse of the Torah he most certainly was not saying the Torah was a curse. That curse was living by regulations as a means of Salvation. Some teach that the curse of the Law was the Talmud and this is what is referred to by Paul in Ephesians, a view that I am also inclined toward. Though Yeshua observed many of the Rabbinic traditions, these could only have been when they did not make the Scripture of none effect. We will never correctly understand Scripture in isolation from other Scripture. We are are to understand one Scripture by another, or put another way, to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Messiah: the End of The Law?
Others love to quote a fragment of Romans 10:4 and state ‘Christ is the End of the Law!’ However, as we read the whole verse we have the whole meaning of what Paul is saying: For Messiah is the end of Torah for righteousness to every one that believeth. The Aramaic English NT says, For Messiah is the goal of Torah for righteousness to everyone that believes in him. The ‘Hebrew Roots Version’ and ‘The Scriptures’ say much the same.
The meaning of ‘end of the law’ in this context is not the termination of Torah so much as the goal, the arrival-point as a means of achieving righteousness. No longer is righteousness achieved through compliance with rules and regulations, but through Messiah. Let us rightly divide the word of truth and read this verse in the context of Romans 3:31 Do we then make Torah of none effect through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary we uphold (AV:establish) Torah. Paul clearly did not teach that Torah was abolished, but on the contrary, we are to establish, to uphold Torah.
Torah is Perfect
We read that Torah is perfect, so a few verses from the HRV, (Hebrew Roots Version) regarding the joy and perfection of Torah:
Psalm 19:7, The Torah of YEHOVAH is perfect converting the soul. Question: Did Torah stop being perfect at Calvary?
Psalm 19:10 More to be desired are they than fine gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalm 119:113 I hate them of a double-mind; but your Torah do I love.
Psalm 119:1 Happy are they who are upright in the way, who walk in the Torah of YEHOVAH.
Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man keep his way pure? By taking heed thereto according to thy word? Without Torah? How?
Psalm 119:97 How I love Your Torah! It is my meditation all the day. Is it your meditation?
Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy Torah: and nothing shall offend them. Are you offended by this message?
Psalm 119:89 Forever O YEHOVAH, Your word is settled in heaven. One has to ask, did forever end with the beginning of the NT? Has forever come and gone?
From the NT:
Romans 3:31, Do we then make void the Torah through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the Torah.
in the Aramaic English NT: Do we nullify Torah by faith? May it never be!
Romans 7:12, Wherefore the Torah is Set Apart, and the commandment Set Apart, and just, and good.
Some teach that we cannot keep the Jewish feasts. Maybe, but just like the Apostle Paul, we sure can celebrate the Feasts of Yehovah. Not convinced? Try Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. What feast? The one he had just been talking about! Go on, I dare you, open your bible and look it up!
1 Timothy 1:8, But we know that the Torah is good, if a man use it lawfully;
With no Torah, where we may ask, is our blueprint for morality or for righteous living? Surely ‘no Torah’ can only lead to licentiousness or lawlessness which would also be ‘Torahlessness’. Further why replace something that is perfect? When Messiah died he gave us a new covenant, not an abolition of Torah.
I recently read a quotation from a 4th Century Church Father by the name of Epiphanius who wrote a book, ‘Against Heresies.’ Frankly I believe he was the heretic and I hope you would agree. One has to wonder if those bashing the Hebraic Roots Movement have not to some extent come under the spirit of Epiphanius. Here is what he wrote:
“We shall now especially consider heretics who call themselves Nazarenes; they are mainly Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the ‘Law, the Prophets, and the Writings…’ so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Rabbis, except they believe in [Messiah]… They preach that there is but one God, and his son. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets…They differ from the Jews because they believe in Messiah, and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jewish rites, such as circumcision, the Sabbath, and other ceremonies.”
The Torah Observant Apostle
This ‘Church Father’ is truly remarkable: berating Jewish believers for making use of, and further, for not banning the use of the Old Testament! What a pity Epiphanius had not bothered to read Acts 21:24 HRV where we read:
And it will be known to all that what is said concerning you (Paul) is false, and that you obey and observe Torah
Further, from Acts 24:5 we read that Paul was of this ‘sect,’ called the Nazarenes: For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
The Apostle Paul and Dwight L Moody
So there we have it, Paul, just like Yeshua, is a Torah Observant, Kosher keeping Jew who observed Shabbat and all seven feasts of Yehovah. Dwight L. Moody is quoted as saying, “I pity the man who preaches only one side of the truth, always the gospel, and not the law!”
This teaching and thinking maybe new for some and some will disagree. However to quote my mentor, You can argue with my doctrine but you cannot argue with my fruit. Or better still to quote Yeshua in John 14:11, …or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
The fruit of my teaching this last few years on Torah as well as from my new book ‘Lead Me To The Father –A Study of The Oneness of Elohim That is Changing Lives’ has been astounding. The folks in the congregation I pastor have a new hunger for Scripture. They received emotional healing as they worked through this book. They are resisting the works of darkness and standing on their own two feet, such that I have never seen. They are falling in love with Yehovah in a new way. It is amazing and I give him, Yehovah all the glory.
At the Cornerstone we decided as a congregation in 2013 to meet on the Biblical Sabbath. This is not a requirement for Salvation, but our heart is to please our Elohim and wonderful Saviour. It was our choice and for nobody in which to judge us! Meanwhile we are finding Shabbat a delight as we seek to keep it Set Apart, Kadosh, unto Yehovah and like the Apostle being blessed in our Torah observance.
Wind of Doctrine?
The Hebraic Roots movement even with its many challenges is clearly an end-time work of the Kadosh Ruach. I read that in 1975 there were three Messianic congregations worldwide. By 1999 there were hundreds and fourteen years later I can only imagine there are thousands. When one puts ‘Hebraic Roots’ into Google it comes up with nearly 300,000 hits and that is just the English websites. Further there are endless programs on ‘Christian TV’ looking into the Hebraic Roots of our faith. To then call Hebraic Roots teaching a Wind of Doctrine, as one noted bible teacher did, is surely bordering on the absurd.
One area of concern is the confusion amongst many in the Hebraic Roots movement regarding the Deity of the Saviour and his relationship with the Creator. This is addressed with remarkable clarity in my new book ‘Lead Me To The Father – A Study On The Oneness of Elohim That Is Changing Lives.’ available from http://www.freedom-ministries.com.
In His love, with Shalom blessings
Note: Scriptures quoted are from the Divine Name King James Bible and where noted from The Scriptures. Use of the word Torah in Scriptures quoted is as per the Hebraic Roots Version.