The Law or The Torah
Being Made to Be Aware
There seems to be a lot of confusion when the Law is talked about as it pertains to the Bible. Even for myself, though, I never really “bucked” against the Law as much as I was ignorant to the Law. I knew what the Bible said by way of what I was told, and it wasn’t until I picked the Bible up and really started reading it for myself that I became aware of how truly ignorant to the Law I was.
Many disagreements, discussions, and disputes have been put forth to so many people, and no matter who says what or who does not say what, these disagreements, disputes, and dissertations still linger … all over social media and in the hearts and minds of people.
I think that people just want to hold on to what they want to hold on to for fear that they might come to realize they are actually wrong. This is pride. Pride is an abomination to יהוה- Mishle (Proverbs) 16:5 says, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to יהוה.” When one can lay aside his- or herself, and truly dig into the words that יהוה has given him or her (the Bible), ignorance leaves and knowledge comes; but, he or she has to truly dig into the words that יהוה has given him or her (the Bible). Just to go off tangent here for a moment, if I may, during our morning Bible study and devotional, we are already very well into the Parashat Vayyequel, and are reading Shemot (Exodus) 35:1-38:20; what Mosheh and the people are doing is now putting the Word [concerning the construction of the Dwelling Place and its accessories] into action (i.e.-They received the Word, then they put the Word into acton). We can do no less by learning the truth that יהוה has given us through His words.
What I have felt led to do, as I have begun to describe some foundational components to our spiritual walks, is to write out that which I myself have returned to (e.g.-getting some background information on those words that have “tripped” me up). So, for today, I will write out for you the explanatory notes from The Scriptures 2009 that I started with. I hope- hope equals expectation -so, I expect and pray that this will help someone else as much as it has helped me.
Straight from the Bible
a. In the Tanak (pre-Messianic Scriptures) …
(1) We have rendered Torah as “Torah”, rather than translating it by an English word, thereby retaining the force and flavor of the original, as it appears in its various contexts. While the closest English word is the traditional “law” (and that is the rendering given in the Greek text of the Messianic writings, from the Greek word nomos), the word Torah is far wider in meaning. It derives from the word yarah which carries the meanings “to cast”, “to lay foundations”, “to sprinkle”, “to water”, “to send out the hand”, “to show”, “to indicate”, “to teach”, “to instruct”. The word Torah is used in reference to precepts, commands, statutes, judgments, rules, whether in the singular or in groups. Understandably then, it carries the additional meaning of “body of law”, “body of instruction”, etc. and is used to refer also to the entire content of the Chumash (more widely known as the Pentateuch), the first five books of the Tanak. Indeed, when context indicates that the “law of יהוה” is being referred to, the primary reference is to the Chumash. Secondary references include for example the national law given on Mt. Sinai (Shemot (Exodus) 20-23) and its restatement on the plains of Moav (Devarim (Deuteronomy) 29:1,21).
(2) We have rendered hoq and its feminine form huqqah in most places as “law” instead of the traditional “statutes and ordinances”.
(3) We have rendered mishpat as “judgment” or as “right-ruling”, and its verb shaphat as “judge” or “rightly rule”.
(4) Expressions such as “command”, “law”, “teaching”, “Torah”, “word”, etc. are often used in an inclusive way, whether in the singular or in the plural.
(5) Much of the Torah involves commands, laws, right-rulings, statutes, etc., which relate to a properly constituted society, such as that which prevailed under Mosheh or under the sovereigns of Yisra’el. As such, laws which clearly apply within a civil or national context are not to be misapplied by individuals living in a society that is not totally subject to the Torah as its constitution and legal code. Thus for example, you may not decide to stone someone to death for violating the Sabbath. The decision would have to be made by a judge within the framework of such a Torah-based nation. Clearly then, although these laws are still applicable, since the context in which they are to be applied is lacking at present, they can only be applied when such a Torah-true nation comes into existence (for example, when Messiah returns to set up His Reign).
b. Law - In the Messianic Writings
The word “law” (Torah) occurs throughout the Messianic Writings, usually in reference to the Torah, in whole or in part. In this respect, our comments above (Law - In the Tanak) should be considered as a background to the correct understanding of the usage of those who wrote the Messianic Writings (New Testament). However, a number of other points should also be born in mind.
(1) First, the text underlying all translation made today is Greek, not Hebrew, although the original Semitic structures, and thought-patterns underlying the Greek text are frequently still discernible in the Greek text. This means that Greek words like nomos (law/Torah) may also represent expressions or ideas other than Torah from time to time in the Messianic Writings. Thus, in Romiyim (Romans) 7 and 8, the word “law” sometimes refers to the “Torah”, the Law of יהוה, the first five books of the Tanak (Old Testament), as is Romiyim (Romans) 7:14, 16, 22; 8:3, 4, 7, but other times it refers to something else such as a body of rules or a fixed system or pattern of behavior, as in Romiyim (Romans) 7:21, 23; 8:2. Both usages appear together in Romiyim (Romans) 7:25, where the “law” of sin (torah of sin), i.e. the “fixed behavior pattern” of sin (sin is “Law-breaking” - Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 3:4) is contrasted with the “Torah” of Elohim. The expression “the law of sin and death” (torah of sin and death) in Romiyim (Romans) 8:2 is not a reference to the Torah as such, but to the system of sin and death in those who are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit (Romiyim (Romans) 8:1, 2, 6, 7).
(2) There are times when nomos (law/Torah) is used to refer to a portion of the Torah such as that which applies to the Levitical Priesthood, or to the Set-apart Place (KJV “Sanctuary”), and a failure or refusal to see this could lead to the erroneous conclusion that the Torah/Law given at Sinai has been annulled, abolished, done away, or at least been changed, when in fact this is not the case at all. (Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-20). An example of this is in Ib’rim (Hebrews) 7:12. The King James Version puts it this way: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Since the “change” referred to is in reference to the “scaling down” from the heavenly original to the earthly shadow-copy (see Ib’rim (Hebrews) 8:1, 2, 5), from a system in which the High Priest is eternal to one in which the human high priest keeps dying and having to be replaced by another, it would be wrong to see this verse as a proof-text for the position that the Torah/Law given through Mosheh has been changed. A careful look at the context makes abundantly clear the fact that the order of Malkitsedeq preceded that of Levi, even as the heavenly Set-apart Place preceded that of the earthly one. The fact that יהושﬠ (Yeshua) began his High Priestly duties in the heavenly Set-apart Place after His death on Golgotha does not mean that the heavenly system only came into being at that time. The point made in Ib’rim (Hebrews) 7:12 is that the present earthly/shadow-copy/”scale model” cannot produce perfection. Perfection requires nothing less than the ministry of “such a Kohen ha Gadol” (High Priest), who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Greatness in the heavens, and who serves in the Set-apart place and of the true Tent, which יהוה set up, and not man (Ib’rim (Hebrews) 8:1, 2).
Reference: The Scriptures, 2009 Edition. (2014). Republic of South Africa: Institute for Scripture Research, South Africa.
Please Realize and Understand
I realize and understand that there is a lot of technical jargon in the above section; but, I, for me, realize and understand that there must be a complete realization and understanding of what יהוה has given us as His Word. My prayer is that all of you would consider the foundation on which you have built your belief system. What is is not always what is, and as human beings, we must be ready to accept changes as they come out of necessity; these changes in our minds concerning the Law/Torah are necessitated by truth and Truth (יהושﬠ)- Yochanan (John) 14:6 says, “יהושﬠ said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the LIfe. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” [“Ani ha-derekh ve ha’emet ve ha’chayim.”]