We now enter into the Book of Leviticus.
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In this book are many of the laws, commandments, regulations, and ordinances that God gave to us through Moses, which define how we are to worship God and treat each other.
These laws have been split into two categories: ceremonial and moral. As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter how we wish to categorize them but only that they are what God said we should do. That’s enough for me.
Instead of going through the different types of sacrifices and regulations for each, which are contained in this parashah, I would like to talk, in general, about these instructions from God.
Christianity has spent two millennia trying to separate itself from the Jewish roots from which it sprouted, and has been very successful at doing that. It has managed to grow into any number of different religions and sects, none of which seem to have anything in common with the others other than they profess to worship God and that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.
Oh, wait a minute….they also have this in common: they teach that the Son of God said whoever accepts him as their Savior doesn’t have to obey the commandments that God gave in the Torah.
Actually, they can’t reject all of them, of course: the “moral” commandments still are valid, such as don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, and don’t worship or bow down and pray to any graven image (the Roman Catholics still have a problem with this one.)
But what did Yeshua say, really?
In Matthew 5:17 (a favorite Christian verse to proclaim the Torah is null and void), Yeshua says he has come to fulfill the law, which (as I mentioned) Christianity loves to quote as their justification that having fulfilled it, he did away with it. But they ignore the first part of that sentence, where Yeshua says he did NOT come to change the law.
Now, at that time in history, the usage of the word “fulfill” with regard to the Torah did not mean to perform but to interpret. Matthew 5:17 should really say that Yeshua came not to change the law but to interpret it correctly. This is confirmed with the Sermon on the Mount, where Yeshua “fulfilled the law” by teaching the deeper, spiritual meaning of it (called the Remes). He starts with “You have heard it said…” then tells the people the literal meaning of the law (called the P’shat), which was all the Pharisees had ever taught. And then he goes further, saying “But I tell you…” teaching them the deeper, spiritual meaning.
For instance, he said that we have been told not to murder, but if we hate in our heart, we have already committed murder. He taught that we have been told not to commit adultery, but if we lust in our heart, we already have. Can you see? He fulfilled the law because he taught us the spiritual meaning of it, which is why so often in the Gospels we read how people said that he taught as no one ever had before.
Christianity has also misinterpreted the statement made by a man, they call Paul, who told the Messianic congregation he started in Colussus that our sins were nailed to the cross with Yeshua. Within Christian teachings, they say that this means the law (Torah) was nailed to the cross, but that is just plain wrong. Read Colossians 2:13-14: Paul never said the law was nailed to the cross, only the sins we had committed.
The ongoing and (I believe) never-ending argument about are Christians subject to the laws in the Torah will never be settled until Messiah rules the world, at which time everyone will be forced to acknowledge that whatever Yeshua says we should do, we had better do.
But I would like to ask those who have been taught the Torah is only for Jews to consider the following:
- If Yeshua is the Son of God; and
- If disobedience to the laws in the Torah were, at the time Yeshua lived, a sin; and
- If Yeshua taught people to disobey his father and obey only him …
Then wouldn’t that make Yeshua a traitorous son and a disobedient, sinful Messiah?
Where else in the Bible does a son, a prince, try to overthrow his father’s kingdom and replace him as king? (I really shouldn’t have to tell you, should I?)
If Yeshua taught anything that was against the laws God had given to the people, then he would be in sin and a traitor to his own father. He would not have ever been an acceptable sacrifice, but since we know he WAS an acceptable sacrifice, then he (obviously) never did anything against his father or break the law, nor did he ever teach anyone else to break the law.
The only justification that Christianity has used to show where multiple times someone has taught that the Torah is not valid or necessary for Christians is from the letters of Paul to his congregations throughout the Middle East and Asia.
Paul was not a prophet, he was never contacted by God telling him, as God did with Moses or the Prophets of the Tanakh, to tell anyone anything. He was a missionary who said and did whatever he needed to in order to get people to listen to the Good News of the Messiah. He never converted to Christianity, he never changed his name from Shaul to Paul, and he never went exclusively to the Gentiles. In fact, he always went to teach in the synagogues first, then he went to the Gentiles.
And he never said that we could ignore the Torah, only that within the Gentile congregations who were having issues with their faith, that they should learn the Torah and obey it a little at a time and not have to become converts to Judaism all at once.
Just the same way that Isaiah told the people in the Northern tribes of Israel, who were constantly at odds with their faith, that they are so spiritually weak they need to learn God’s ways little by little and line by line (Isaiah 28:10.)
I don’t want to get into an argument about whether or not Shaul’s letters should be included in the Bible, or whether or not you have to obey the Torah- these are decisions that you have to make for yourself because no matter why you decide how you worship, when you meet God you will be held accountable for what you do or don’t do.
My advice to everyone is that you best make sure whichever way you chose to live your life and worship God be an informed decision based on your own research because, as I said, you WILL be held accountable for that choice.
If a cop wants to give you a speeding ticket and you say you didn’t know what the speed limit was, he will tell you that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I believe God will have the same attitude.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!