An interesting question in the light of Torah. Is the Torah still for today? Do we understand it's importance?
What do I hear in the circles I travel as a Christian?
We don’t need the OT anymore.
It is not for today. Boring. Dry.
I can’t relate to the God of the OT. He is harsh and violent…I can’t reconcile it with NT.
Many are offended by the Hebrew Scriptures as too primitive for educated minds.
Many have failed to see the unity of Scripture.
The legitimate method of interpretation is letting the scriptures speak for themselves naturally in the context of their time and place in the unfolding plan of God. We are looking back from the 21st century and much is difficult to comprehend.
We need the clear self-interpreting nature of scripture.
But something has happened in Christianity over the years as we have neglected the Hebrew Scriptures.
We keep looking for the “hidden” spiritual meanings behind the natural meaning.
Allegorical interpretation has become the norm and it is confusing God's people.
The preacher, bound by his tradition or dogma, spiritualizes the scriptures to fit his/her beliefs to make them more exciting or appealing.
We end up robbing the people of the historical and natural meaning of scripture that in it's entirety strengthens us.
Today, people only want positive messages.
I hear people say "Don't preach anything negative pastor. Just fill me up for another week. Let me live my life my way and don’t judge me. If you really loved me then you’ll agree that this is how God made me".
We’ve even gone so far as altering the meaning of grace…which means God’s actions in salvation as his and his alone.
It is not a word to give us permission to do whatever we want. Remember, we are being conformed to the image of Yeshua not culture.
The bible is one story.
What is hidden in the Hebrew scriptures is revealed in the B’rit Hadashah.
Yeshua, the promised Messiah, has come in the flesh in fulfillment of Torah promises. The Word has become flesh.
The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Yeshua, is often downgraded today in favour of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual.
We are called to live objective lives in the real world not subjective ones of our own creation.
Yeshua highlights the Hebrew Scriptures with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Luke 24:25 “Foolish people! So unwilling to put your trust in everything the prophets spoke! Didn’t the Messiah have to die like this before entering his glory?”
Then, starting with Moshe and all the prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found throughout the Tanakh concerning himself.
Verse 30, “As he was reclining with them at the table, he took the matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it and handed it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he became invisible to them. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn inside us as he spoke to us on the road, opening up the Tanakh to us?”
Stay focused and true to your lifetime vision of being conformed to the image of Yeshua.
Matthew 22:18-22 Yeshua gives us an amazing lesson in whose image we have been created and into whose image we are being conformed.
Render to Caesar. Coin has his image.
Render to God. You have God’s image.
I am a Messianic Pastor who tries to influence other pastors on the importance and value of their Hebraic Roots.
Most of the terminology and theology is foreign to them so I have to explain myself this way…
The whole Bible is the inspired Word of God and is completely reliable and practical with everything we need to live effective, God honouring lives.
Paul, summarizing the Hebrew Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:16 said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living…”
Valuable for teaching the truth
Convicting of sin
Training in right living."
This is Torah!
The First Five Books of the Bible (Torah) are foundational to understanding the rest of Scripture.
God’s revelation builds on itself as the Plan of Redemption unfolds from the Law and through the Prophets and Writings and into the B’rit Hadasha.
Torah is our foundation.
The rest of Scripture is a reflection of life based on the teachings of Torah or the neglecting of Torah.
Neglecting the importance and value of Torah studies in many churches has resulted in confused lifestyles and mixed messages about who God is and what He requires of us.
To be instructed in and enlightened by Torah gives us a framework of understanding why we needed the Messiah and what He accomplished at the Cross.
Human beings need the spiritual and moral teachings of Torah to understand the big questions of life.
Origins - creation or evolution?
God - Creator or man's invention?
Meaning - We give things meaning but can’t give ourselves meaning.
Morality - Right from wrong. Do all religions lead to God?
Destiny - What happens at death?
From the point of view of a Messianic Pastor, how do I answer the question, “What is the Torah?”
Torah is commonly translated as Law from the Covenant given to Moses at Mount Sinai.
The Ten Commandments or ten words given by God are his teachings and directions for our lives.
First on tablets of stone written by the finger of God.
Modern believers are often adverse to the word Law because they view it more as legalism which it is not.
They view Law as impersonal, legal and punitive…while it is God’s school master…it is also meant to reveal Yeshua to us so we can live godly lives towards him and our fellow man.
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being".
This is talking about Yeshua…God became flesh and dwelt among us.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OR WORDS
First four ‘words’ express love towards God.
He alone is Adonai the Creator
No idols or gods allowed
Honour my name
Keep the Sabbath holy
Next six ‘words’ express love towards others.
Honour your father and mother
Value human life. Do not murder
Marriage is holy and permanent. No adultery
No stealing from each other
To lie or not to lie. False evidence
No coveting what others have
1 John 5:3 reminds us that “loving God means obeying his commands”.
As scripture builds on itself we see two complimentary not competing systems - one is inaugurated by Moses and the other by Yeshua.
John 1:17 says, “For the Torah was given through Moshe; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah".
God speaking through Jeremiah 31:33 reminds us that he will write his word on our hearts…“I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know Adonai’; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest”.
First on tablets of stone…now on human hearts. Both with the finger of God.
This is about living the Torah from the heart that is taught truth about God and his ways in life from birth to death to eternity.
God is not limited in revealing himself to just the first five books of the Bible.
A true understanding of Torah is the totality of his revelation of himself to humanity in the Hebrew books of the Bible and the B’rit Hadashah.
Romans also reminds us that all creation reveals him so that we are without excuse.
Is Torah for Today?
What did Yeshua say?
Matthew 5:17, 20, “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete…For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven”!
Torah teaches us that God is the Creator and Possessor of all.
Torah reminds us that our primary role is stewards of all God has revealed and given to us.
Torah reveals that the curse limits us from being all what God originally made us to be.
Torah encourages us that we will not always live under oppression.
Torah truth applies to human life, marriage and family, sexuality, social justice and godly living.
Torah teaches us the true way to worship in spirit and truth.
Torah affirms us as the people of God learning and loving Him and one another from the heart.
Torah is now written on our hearts by the finger of God and adhering to truth allows us to become more like Yeshua.
The Torah of Adonai is perfect,
restoring the inner person.
The instruction of Adonai is sure,
making wise the thoughtless.
The precepts of Adonai are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The mitzvah of Adonai is pure,
enlightening the eyes.
The fear of Adonai is clean,
The rulings of Adonai are true,
they are righteous altogether,
more desirable than gold,
than much fine gold,
also sweeter than honey
or drippings from the honeycomb.
Through them your servant is warned;
in obeying them there is great reward.