One of the favorite Biblical quotes for people who are (what I like to call) “Buffet Believers” is from Mattityahu (Matthew). It’s when Yeshua tells His Talmudim that He came to fulfill the law.
I have heard Christian teachings interpret this statement that having fulfilled the law meant it has been completed, thereby doing away with it. This misinterpretation is then confirmed, incorrectly, with Shaul’s writings in Romans, where he is writing to justify the validity of Torah but it has constantly and historically been used as a polemic against Torah, instead of the apologetic it was designed to be. They also use statements taken out of context in other Epistles. They uniformly forget the statements that remind us we are still to obey God’s commandments, such as some found in Timothy and throughout Shaul’s letters.
The truth is that the commandments in the Torah (all 613 of them) are just as valid today as they were when Moshe brought them to the people. There is no statute of limitations on God’s commandments. They are “throughout your generations.” That is pretty clearly another way of saying forever. And anyone who teaches that the laws found in Torah are only for Jews and not for Christians is teaching you a lie from the pit of Sheol. And, by the way, Yeshua warned that those who transgress the law and teach others to do so will be least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
There’s a lot in that one statement to think about; for me, mainly, it seems to imply that even if I sin and teach others to sin, I can still be in the Kingdom of Heaven. Can that be true? Maybe we can discuss that another time.
The true interpretation of what Yeshua said about fulfilling the law can only be realized within the proper context; in this case, a cultural and linguistic context. In First Century “Rabbi-speak” to fulfill the law meant to interpret it correctly. To transgress the law, or trespass against it, meant to misinterpret it. Funny how people like to say, “Yeshua said He fulfilled the law, so since He completed it we are now saved by His sacrifice and not by Torah. We are Born Again! We don’t need Torah.”
OK. So, if Torah is not needed anymore, can I sleep with your wife? If you don’t like that, can I kill you so you’re out of the way? If I like your car, can I steal it? What? No? Am I crazy? All those things are a sin? But you just said the Torah was done away with! Oh- not all the Torah. I see, we are only subject to the moral laws, but not the ceremonial ones (that’s another wrong teaching.) I see….so, nu? Who can tell me which is a moral law and which is ceremonial?
Usually the moral laws are the ones that we have to follow because they are civil laws, too, but anything dealing with what we don’t want to do, like give up shrimp cocktails before our ham dinner, well, that’s a ceremonial law.
I wonder why God, in all His wisdom, didn’t mention that when He told us how to live? As I recall, all God said was do this and don’t do that. No separation of moral, civil, ceremonial, or whatever; it’s His way or the hell-way. That’s it.
Did you ever think about this: if God said the commandments are valid forever, and Yeshua taught that they are no longer valid, doesn’t that mean Yeshua called God a liar? That Yeshua, the Son of God, sinned by not respecting his Father because He taught us to do things that the Father said not to do. And, if Yeshua was a sinner, His death could not be an acceptable sacrifice, so our promise of salvation is unfounded and we are not saved!
Not a very pleasant thought, is it? But, if you want to go around saying that Yeshua fulfilled the law and did away with Torah, that Believers are not subject to the laws God gave us, that you are under the blood and not under the law…well, I hope you have a high tolerance to heat.
That’s why I call those people Buffet Believers- they pick what they like and leave what they don’t like. I feel bad for them, because they are being taught incorrectly, and like innocent sheep just enjoying the grass, they are eating their way right into the wolf’s den.
It’s really quite simple- God gave us rules, regulations, mitzvot, and commandments: none of which are subject to choice. He said do these and we will be blessed, don’t do them and we will suffer curses. And these laws are for us to follow throughout our generations (look it up- check me out and make sure I am stating this accurately), which doesn’t mean until Yeshua comes.
It’s true that Torah cannot justify us: not because Torah is invalid or done away with, but because we can’t live up to Torah. Even though there is nothing too difficult for us to do in Torah, because we can’t overcome our sinful nature we can’t live Torah correctly. As Shaul said, Torah was a guardian, and it defined for us the difference between sin and holiness. Yeshua died because we couldn’t live under Torah correctly. He didn’t do away with Torah, He lived Torah correctly. He was an example to follow, he showed us the way- you don’t show how to do something so that no one ever does it, do you? If I showed you the safe passage in a mine field, would you then feel that you can walk anywhere in that field you wanted to? BOOM!!!
Look, when you find the passage I am referencing in Mattiyahu, check out the very next statement Yeshua makes. After He says He came to fulfill the law, He continues to say that not one single stroke, i.e. letter, of the Torah is changed. Duh!! Yeshua said He didn’t come to change Torah, and He also said nothing will change in Torah until the Acharit Hayamim (End Days) are done.
If you are waiting to be “released” from the Torah, you will need to wait a while longer. The only Torah commandments we don’t perform are the 1/3 or so of them that deal with the sacrificial system because, for one, the Temple where the sacrifice was to be made is gone (so we can’t perform the commandment) and, two, because the ultimate and final sacrifice was made through Yeshua’s death. Those are the only Torah commandments we are exempt from following today- everything else is valid. Sorry- too bad. No more pork rinds watching basketball, Shabbat starts Friday night, Christmas and Easter are out for the remainder of the game.
If you want to please God, if you want to receive His blessings, if you want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then do so. Read the Torah, follow the Torah, stop pretending you’re at some restaurant buffet table and realize that you are an honored guest at God’s table. Yeshua told His Talmudim, when He sent them out to the surrounding cities and towns, that when they are in someone’s house they should eat what they are given. God’s table is set with all types of food (commandments), and we are to eat what He provides.
It’s impolite to tell God, “No thanks- I don’t like that.”