When Yeshua was asked what is the most important commandment of all, His answer was simple- Love the Lord and love each other; on these two commandments pivot all the writings and the Prophets.
Notice He didn’t say , “…and all the other stuff that will be added later.”
The Christian world has historically tried to get away from Torah. They have taught (what I should say is: mis-taught) that the Torah is done away with because Yeshua lived it perfectly. Oh, yeah- that makes sense: once something is done right we never have to do it that way again? Duh!!
The Torah is everything we need to know, and all the commandments we are to follow if we want to obey God the way He said we should. Like it or not, that’s the truth. Yeshua/Jesus had to die for our sins, which were the sins outlined and defined in the Torah. There was no other Bible then.
The fact that our sins are paid for is not license to continue sinning, and not doing what God told us to do in the Torah is still a sin. We still need to be forgiven, and if we don’t really want to stop and we don’t really care about what God said to do (as Christianity often teaches) then we are sinners that the blood of Messiah won’t clean.
That’s right- the Grace of God can cover any sin, but it will not cover a sin that is done over and over because the sinner doesn’t care about what God says.
Our human legal system is all screwed up when you consider that a criminal, one who acts outside the legal system and doesn’t care about what the laws are, often has more protection under those laws than the victim. We protect the guilty with the very laws the guilty reject.
Not so with God. His laws are for everyone, and when we reject His laws we are rejecting Him. He loves us and wants us to live, but He is also our Judge, Jury and Executioner so if we choose to ignore and reject His laws (thereby rejecting Him), those laws will not protect us. Reject God and you will be rejected- the Bible is clear on that point.
The Torah tells us 2 things: how to worship God and how to treat each other. Torah is just the first 5 books- the ones that Moshe wrote in accordance with what God told him to write- and all the books that come after the Torah are commentary. They show us how the Torah was used, and misused, by the people throughout the centuries. When the people did T’Shuvah and cried out to God, and meant it, He provided them with a judge or a king that could protect them from their enemies. When they were sitting pretty, they went back to ignoring and rejecting God.
It is a cycle of rejection, suffering, coming to their senses and repenting, salvation, happiness, boredom, rejection, suffering, ….over and over. And here’s the kicker: after all the mistakes the Jewish people made between 1500 BCE and the time of Yeshua, since then the Christian world has not only made all the same mistakes, but they have brought it to a much higher level of rejection by making Yeshua their God and “the Father’ nothing more than a secondary thought. And teaching that the Torah, the very word of God and the Word that became the Flesh we know as Jesus, was done away with.
Consider this: if Jesus is the Word become flesh, and He said to do away with the Word, then isn’t He saying to ignore Him? Isn’t that a form of spiritual suicide? Does that make sense at all?
If the Torah was all Yeshua needed to teach about the Kingdom of God and the only set of laws and commandments He needed to follow to be an acceptable sacrifice, why do we need anything else? The New Covenant writings are comprised of the Gospels and the Epistles. The Gospels are historical in nature and the Epistles are clearly informative, outlining the details of how to live and treat each other and the proper way in which to worship God. If you read and interpret them carefully you will see that there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant writings- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Saul- they all wrote to the new Believers, a combination of Jewish people and pagans who were converting to Judaism, about how to live in accordance with the Torah.
Romans is a very misunderstood book. Shaul writes in it about the Torah and how it is to be reconciled with Yeshua’s teachings. The problem is that Shaul can’t say something straight out- too much education. He beats around the bush and talks in ways that are convoluted to the biblically uneducated. The result is that Romans has been historically quoted as a polemic against the Torah when it is, in fact, an apologetic. Shaul is talking in reverse- arguing about what he is trying to point out as wrong, and making a short, almost invisible statement at the end of a long argument that says, essentially, “NOT!” Read it, slowly and carefully, and you will see what I mean. In nearly every chapter he talks about how Yeshua overcame sin and how the Torah is fading away and how we are forgiven, and ends up with asking if that means the Torah is no longer valid, then says “God forbid!”
The Torah is God’s word. Moshe wrote down what God told Him to write down, which is all we need to know in order to properly worship God. That’s it. Das ist alles! Der ain’t no mo!!
Everything after the book of Deuteronomy is for us to read and understand as commentary, as “I have told you what you need to know and all the rest is to show you how lousy a job you have done with it.” Love God and love each other: the Son of God told us that is all we need to do. If we do that, the rest falls into place all on it’s own.
BUT…you still need to read and know the entire Bible so we can learn from the mistakes of others, and that way we won’t make the same mistakes (yeah- like that’s going to happen! Good luck with that!)
At the end of Deuteronomy we are commanded not to add to or take away from anything in the book. The Torah is one book, with 5 separate sections. Even though we call them “books”, in the Torah the separation between chapters is almost invisible, and the separation between books is little more than extra space between the lines of writing. It is, when you look at it, a complete, harmonious, and homogenous writing. It is the singular and definitive methodology for worshipping God and for treating each other. It is, as I like to say, the ultimate Users Manual.
It is what God commands anyone and everyone who professes to worship Him how to worship Him and how to treat each other. It tells us we do not need anything else, and commands us to not require anything else. The Torah is complete: we need do no more than what is there, and no less than what it says.
In the end, we all need Yeshua’s sacrifice to atone for us because the one thing I think everyone will agree on is this: we are sinners. We sin, we have sinned, we can’t stop sinning, and we will continue to do so. Individually and collectively. Yeshua died to give us a chance to escape the fate we all deserve and have earned for ourselves. The Grace of God is shown in His compassion and mercy, which is embodied by Messiah Yeshua. Those of us who have accepted (first) our own sinfulness and inability to stop committing sin, which has led us (next) to repentance and accepting the Grace of God through the sacrificial death of Yeshua, who we (finally) accept as the Messiah God promised, are saved from the judgement Torah requires.
That doesn’t mean the Torah is dead or meaningless. Being saved from our sins doesn’t give us license to continue sinning, and a sin is, by definition, doing something God says we shouldn’t do. It’s really quite simple: God says, “Do as I say because that is as I do. Be thou holy because I am holy.” He provided Yeshua because we can’t do as He says and we will never be as holy as He is.
God is the designer of the game; The Torah are the rules of the game.; Yeshua is our Get Out of Jail Free card.
Decide if you are going to play by the rules or not, and don’t let anyone else tell you what the rules are. Read them for yourself.