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How I became a Christian that desires to follow Torah while reading the New Testament.

Updated on October 16, 2012
Hebrew is read from right to left unlike English which is read from left to right.
Hebrew is read from right to left unlike English which is read from left to right. | Source

Some definitions before I begin.

YHWH= the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Yeshua= the Messiah that walked the Earth about 2000 years ago born of a virgin, chose 12 disciples that walked with Him, one of which betrayed Him, He was crucified, rose from the dead then was taken up to be the right hand of YHWH, and therefore fulfilling the first part of the prophecies outlined in multiple books of the Old Testament

Torah= Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

Seeing the New Testament through my own eyes.

My husband and I came to the desire to follow YHWH’s commands as outlined by Moses after going through the books of Matthew and Acts in the New Testament. During a verse by verse Bible study with friends we began to see the words in the book of Matthew in a whole new light. Most of us in the study had read through Matthew many times before and we had no idea what this study would eventually lead too. As we read, the group as a whole, decided to stick to one portion in Matthew until we all agreed on what was being said. This sometimes meant weeks on the same few verses. We all believed that there was one truth and we should do our best to find it. We cross-referenced New and Old Testament books, did Greek and Hebrew word studies, but most importantly we didn’t quit when we disagreed. We all did a lot of re-evaluating of our previous biblical concepts as we completed Matthew. Below is a summary of my thought process as I read this first book of the New Testament and saw a Messiah who agreed with and supported His Father.

Source

What Law?

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Does He really mean the Law will not pass away until all is accomplished and we should not even “relax” (“shall break” in KJV) them before that time? Our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law? The church I was raised in taught me that there were only three commands… love God, love others, and go share the gospel. Are these the commands He is speaking of?

So I started again in Matthew to see if the commands taught by the church were said by Him before making this statement. They are not. So I checked the other four gospels. None of them contain the quote from Matt: 5 17-20. So I searched the phrase ‘abolish the law’ in the KJV and found it only in

Ephesians 2:15-‘ by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,’

This verse, however, when you read the entire chapter, seems to be speaking of an ordinance that separated the gentiles from Israel, the covenant, and its promises.

Eph 2:12 ‘remember that you were at that time separated from Christ,alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers tothe covenants of promise,having no hope and without God in the world.’

I don’t think this can be considered definitive proof the Law/Torah/Commandments are abolished.

These verses all include mention of the Law but I can’t find a place where Yeshua says that the Law is gone. So I keep reading.

Matthew 19:16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

So far I haven’t found where Yeshua says the Law no longer should be followed and now he is telling this person to keep the commandments.

Up to this point Yeshua has pointed continually to Torah and the Prophets. His mention of specific laws included an intensification of those laws in their understanding not a relaxing or abolishing of them.

I have to ask myself, should we be following the Law?

Yeshua is then asked ‘which ones’ and he begins to list the commandments from the Law. I note the He does not list all of them. Why? Is it because they are the only ones that need to be followed? Or... Is it because it is simply a means to the end of the conversation where the man is revealed for being more in love with his things than YHWH?

All the way to the end of Matthew...

Mathew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Here it is, right? These are the commands the church taught me replaced the old Law but I had to keep reading…

Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ;

All the Law and Prophets... Well this isn’t it. Yeshua is still speaking of all the Law.

Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,;2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat,;3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you- but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

I am now at the end of the book of Matthew and still no mention of the old Law being gone. Even after the resurrection. So now what?

Read acts

Acts is the story of what happened with the early church. Guess what I found? The early church obeyed the Law. The men who walked with Yeshua still kept the Law. Why, if they weren’t supposed to? The church taught me it was wrong to try to keep the Law because it was like me saying Yeshua’s sacrifice wasn’t enough. Did the apostles believe Yeshua wasn’t enough? In Matthew He is quoted telling them to do as the Pharisees say. I guess they were just obeying Him. Wait! They were obeying Him by following the Law. I think I have discovered the problem. The churches I have been attending and pastors I have been listening to are wrong.


Celebrating the Biblical feasts is how YHWH wants us to teach our children about Him.
Celebrating the Biblical feasts is how YHWH wants us to teach our children about Him. | Source

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    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Dreamjar,

      Thanks for clarification and I appreciate the dialogue. While I may disagree with you on some points, it is not my intention to be disrespectful. I believe that you are sincere in what you believe. I can only weigh and test within the context of what I believe Scripture says.

      Point 1.

      Abraham is the father of Israel and received the promises of God without the Law. Although the Law came through the mediation of Moses, God’s promises were by grace through faith. God made the Law for a purpose, which resolved into Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

      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 in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the *fulfilling of the law.* - Roman 13:9-19

      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: *against such there is no law.* - Galatians 5:22-23

      If you are convinced in faith concerning dietary regulations and festivals for the glory of Jesus Christ, I will not judge you for it. All I can do is point to Scripture and use the evidence within it to say that the old covenant has been fulfilled.

      The reason for dietary provision of the Law had nothing to do with diet, but marked Israel as separate nation sanctified to God. The seeds of Abraham are cleansed and made righteous by faith, not through rituals, or works.

      Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men? - Colossians 2:16-22

      Point 2.

      Yes, there were rules when you went to school, but they no longer apply to you because you are no longer under that obligation. It would be bondage applying the same school rules within your household when they don’t really apply in that particular setting, or purpose.

      The question I would ask you is what was the intent of those rules in school? Did they bring about its purpose? In the same way, Jesus Christ fulfilled the purpose, or intention of the Law.

      Point 3.

      I agree with you.

      Point 4.

      (" I find it hard to believe He set His chosen people up for failure by telling them to honor these things forever knowing when he sent the Messiah that He expected them to stop.")

      "The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers... I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts." – Jeremiah 31:31-33

      "This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds." – Hebrews 10:16

      The prophecy was fulfilled. The Law was brought into fulfillment. To “fulfill” does not mean to “obey”, but to bring about God’s original intent who is Jesus Christ. The “Law of Love” removes the legal bonds of the Law through Jesus Christ.

      "Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them." – Hebrews 10:1

      (“The men who walked with Yeshua still kept the Law. Why, if they weren’t supposed to?”)

      The context of Scripture reveals that those men did not completely understand the significance of all that Jesus Christ did. The new covenant replaced the old one. Several decades after Jesus' death many still had a hard time understanding this. Additionally, these customs were things that were ingrained in the people and their culture. It was not wrong to do them, but it wrong to think that they are a requirement for all Christians.

      Finally, I am not a part of the people who follow the Torah and their customs and traditions. The evidence is clear in Scripture that Law of Jesus Christ does not require me to do so, and it is not a requirement for my salvation.

      And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. - 1 Corinthians 9:20-21

      God bless!

    • Dreamjar profile image
      Author

      Dreamjar 5 years ago from Florida

      Don't worry about repitition. I will address a little at a time.

      1) I do not believe the gospel should be separated from the law. Not because we can't be saved without perfect obedience to the law but because YHVH (God) told us the way we should live in the law. Accepting Yeshua as the sacrifice called for in the law, means that to continue to sacrifice as outlined in the Old Testament as though His sacrifice was not enough IS wrong. Following the other laws that teach us what kinds of food are good for eating, how we should handle those who continue to sin, what holy days we should honor and what they should be for, I believe, is still desired by YHVH

      2) I don't believe have rules to follow is bondage. I went to school, there were rules, I followed them. I got a job, there were rules, I followed them. I was a teacher, I made rules for my students to follow, they followed them or there was consequence. I became a parent, I made rules for my kids to follow, they follow them or their are consequences.

      3) I do believe the Holy Spirit is a gift left for us after Yeshua that allows for conviction from the inside when we sin which is a blessing.

      4)The biblical calander (without additional pharisetical additions) points directly to Jeshua and teaches what is still to come. (sorry about spelling) Take a look at what the Bible claims as holy feasts not the current Jewish religion. These feasts were set in place to help us learn and teach our children about the nature of YHVH and His plans. He also taught that these should be observed forever, not until the Messiah comes. I find it hard to believe He set His chosen people up for failure by telling them to honor these things forever knowing when he sent the Messiah that He expected them to stop.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Sorry about some of the repetition that I did not edit out.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Dreamjar,

      What it boils down to is what is central to your belief system. Is it the Law, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

      There is the release from the Law where are service to God is by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant, which is not the adherence to the old way of the written code.

      It is bondage to go through life checking off the boxes of the Law to please God. The Law can tells us what sin is, but does not convict, or bring about obedience. The history of the Israelites can attest to this.

      Is it the written code that convicts true Christians of sin, or is it the Holy Spirit?

      But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. - Romans 13:14

      You can either put the heavy burden of the Law on, or Jesus Christ, which is the New Covenant.

      For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:30

      The New Covenant does not concern itself with keeping the specifics of the Law, but concerns itself with the Holy Spirit that glorifies Jesus Christ in our lives by His grace.

      For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy *in the Holy Ghost.* - Roman 14:17

      The audience Paul was speaking to were both Jew and Gentile; he does not differentiate individually to the combined audience. The new "Law of Love" is about relationship and unity in the Body of Christ.

      The Great Commission is to go out in the world and make disciples of all the nations, not to be separate from the nations. That is what the Law of Moses does. A kosher food chart and events calendar does not pave the way to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the "Law of Love" does.

      The Mosaic Law was given only to the people of Israel as part of the old covenant. The rest of mankind was not part of this. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law for both Jew and Gentile; the new covenant applies to everyone. The Gospel is designed for the vastly different peoples of this world to be grounded in Christ through His love and grace.

      There is the release from the law; we serve God through sanctification by the working of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant, not the adherence to the old way of the written code.

      Again, you can go through life checking off the boxes of the Law, which is a works based sanctification. The New Covenant is by the works of the Holy Spirit.

      The Great Commission is to go out in the world and make disciples of all the nations, not to be separate from the nations which the Law of Moses did. Romans 14 sets free the believer through Jesus Christ. A Kosher food chart does not pave the way to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the "Law of Love" does.

      The Mosaic Law was given to the people of Israel as part of the covenant. The rest of mankind was never to be put under this covenant. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law for both Jew and Gentile; the Gospel can go anywhere in the world. The Gospel is designed for many different peoples to be grounded in Christ through His love and grace.

      The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a works based salvation, but a grace based salvation.

      ("Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.")

      This verse from Romans 3:31, is about morality. The plan of salvation is justification and the power of the Holy Spirit to be obedient to God's law. The established law is fulfilled through the power of Jesus Christ by His moral influence in a person's life.

      ("If Torah is not necessary then what standards should we follow?")

      The standards are in the Bible, but it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that sanctifies us and makes us holy and acceptable to God; the law does make us blameless before God or help us live up to Biblical standard; if it did, it would be the “ Saviour” instead of Jesus Christ.

      I myself choose the Gospel of Jesus Christ that fulfils the Law by the grace that we receive through the Holy Spirit who renews and transforms our minds and washes our sin by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for *all* of mankind. It is by His grace that makes us want and desire to be more like Him. The law focuses on our sin and what we are not doing right, but the Gospel focuses on the sanctification that only comes through the blood of Jesus Christ. That is the distinction between the Law and the Gospel.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Without a long explanation, it would seem to me that we are to worship Christ out of love, not out of necessity. If we don't worship willingly, our worship amounts to nothing. God looks on the heart, and Jesus tells us to keep the commandments (John 14:15). Again in Exodus 20:6 and Deuteronomy 5:10 there seems to be a direct link between our love for the Lord and our obedience to Him.

    • Dreamjar profile image
      Author

      Dreamjar 5 years ago from Florida

      Actually if you read Yeshua's (Jesus's) words His problem with the Parisees was that 1) they spoke well but did not do as they said and 2) they added to the original Law and its intent. If you noticed, I did search for statements about abolishing the law and only found the one I mentioned. (BTW I have studied all of the books at one point or another but I always consider myself still learning.)

      If Torah is not necessary then what standards should we follow?

      If the 4 Gospels are correct then the words attributed to Yeshua are His. If He says to follow the commands and the only commands the people know are those of the Torah then wasn't He telling the people to follow them? To hold themselves to those standards? What ever you subsequently read in Paul's writing should line-up with Yeshua's words not vice versa. If the Torah is the word of YHWH (God) and the Gospels record Yeshua's words then we seem to have a fairly stable base on which to figure out what YHWH wants of us.

    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Dreamjar,

      Did you read the rest of the Bible, or was this solely a study on Matthew. There are 4 Gospels for a reason, as well as the writings of Paul. I honestly think that if you read everything together and in context, you will find that, while Christians can choose to follow the Torah, its not needed and in many cases can even be detrimental (that's basically Jesus' problem with the Pharisees).

    • ro-jo-yo profile image

      ro-jo-yo 5 years ago

      First I would like to say that yes, we should keep the commandments.

      The main lie that the churches have done is the use of incorrect names. And with their lie they have a lot of people worshiping Jesus Christ.

      29 And YEHOWSHUWA answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear , O Israel; YEHOWAH our God is one YEHOWAH: 30 And thou shalt love YEHOWAH thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this , Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

      These two commandments basically describe the Ten commmandments, but you have to insert the Almighty's name instead of the word LORD. The Messiah was quoting the Deut 6:4 of the Old Testament which had his Fathers name in it. So to love YEHOWAH with all your heart you will keep the ten commandments because that is what he want us to do. Like keeping the Sabbath as stated in the fourth commandment.

      Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV

      Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

      Romans 3:31 KJV

      Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid : yea, we establish the law.

      I would also like to mention that Yehowshuwa was the promised Messiah-Messias in Greek, and Mashiyach in Hebrew. The word Christ is and incorrect introduction by the Greeks when they wrote the Septuagint.

      See John 1:41 KJV He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is , being interpreted , the Christ.

      See how they subtle tell us it is being interpreted as the Christ.

    • Dreamjar profile image
      Author

      Dreamjar 5 years ago from Florida

      I understand but the Torah position on salvation requires sacrifice. There are sacrifices outlined for intentional and unintentional sin. This is where I believe Yeshua comes in.

    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota

      It can be if it leads you to believe that the Law is our salvation and not the sacrifice of Christ and his redemption of us

    • Dreamjar profile image
      Author

      Dreamjar 5 years ago from Florida

      I appreciate your honesty and your comments. I like the idea of open discussion and I believe YHWH is pleased when we study His word. As far as the verse you referenced I have to wonder if these concessions were given to help the non-Israelites transition and prevent them from being judged harshly by those who had been trained up their whole lives knowing the laws. Just as YHWH gave concession for divorce, not because He approved it but because he knew how our hearts could harden and cause more damage than the divorce.

      My idea of following the Laws is more about the concept that following them is pleasing to YHWH and can benefit our lives here on Earth. Since we essentially live in captivity we cannot follow certain Laws. I do believe the need to sacrifice is gone due to Yeshua’s sacrifice but can doing things like honoring the Biblical feasts, Sabbath, and following the dietary laws really be wrong?

    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota

      The early Jew's who kept the law were allowed to because they were Jews. What about the part in Acts/Galatians where the disciples meet and together decide that gentile's don't have to keep the Law of the Torah?

      You're right, the law has not been abolished, it has been fulfilled in Christ who has made a new covenant with us that we may not live by the law which once condemned us, but live the knew law of love which he has written on our hearts with the Holy Spirit.

      Good article, and I'll vote it up. But I disagree.