Reasons Why Christians Don't Have To Obey Torah

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


When I talk to Christians about obeying or observing Torah, I receive many reasons why Torah does not apply to them. I will discuss their reasons and why those reasons can't stand the light of Torah.

 

A.        The Law was only for the Jews!

 

To answer this question, I think it is essential to prove that the Torah, or Law, preceded the Jews. I use Jews in it's commonly accepted usage as applying to the descendants of Jacob. First let's examine the sacrifice of Cain and Abel:[1]

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 4:3-5 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to HaShem. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. HaShem looked with favor on Abel and his offering, But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

 

So, my first question is: How did they know to bring a sacrifice? How could HaShem not accept Cain's offering unless Cain had known the proper way? I propose that HaShem had taught their parents (Adam and Chava) when they walked together in the Garden of Eden.

 

Let's look at Avraham's sacrifice:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 22:9-13 When they reached the place God had told him about, Avraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of HaShem called out to him from heaven, "Avraham! Avraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Avraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

 

How did Avraham know what a burnt offering was? How did he know to offer such a thing? HaShem must have taught him directly or through godly teachers. This sacrifice is nearly four hundred years before Torah was given on Sinai!

 

Let's look at Jacob's tithe:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 28:16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely HaShem is in this place, and I was not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear. So that I return safely to my father's house, then HaShem will be my God. And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."

 

How did Jacob know that HaShem would be please if he anointed a rock? How did Jacob know that HaShem would be please with a tenth of what HaShem gave to Jacob? I propose that he learned from his father Isaac, 300 years before Sinai.

 

Now let's look at Tamar's marriage:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 38:6-11 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in HaShem's sight; so HaShem put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in HaShem's sight; so he put him to death also. Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." For he thought, "He may die too, just like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house.

 

How could it be Onan's duty to lie with his brother's wife? This part of Torah will be spelled out in about 300 years. The only way it could be his duty is if HaShem had already clearly taught this to men. I propose that Adam passed it down to Judah through Avraham, Noach, and Methusalah.

 

Let's see who was at the foot of Sinai to receive the Torah:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.

 

Here we can see that "many other people", who were not Israelites, went out from Egypt with the Israelites. I propose that these folks journeyed to Sinai with the Israelites. Gentiles, those who were not Israelites, received the Torah at Sinai along with the Israelites. The Jewish Sages understood that all of the seventy nations were at Sinai and each man heard the Torah in his own language!

 

Who went into the promised land?

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 14:30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 32:12 Not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed HaShem wholeheartedly.'

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 15:17-22 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day HaShem made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-- The land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

 

Caleb is clearly identified as the biological son of Yefuneh. He is called "the Kenizzite" because Othniel was his stepbrother.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:6 From the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Yefuneh.

 

So clearly Torah says Caleb was the son of Yefuneh who was of the tribe of Judah. This is repeated in Joshua:

 

Yehoshua (Joshua) 15:13 And to Caleb the son of Yefuneh he gave a part among the children of Judah. . .17. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb. . .

 

Numbers 13:6 Caleb is the SON (biological) of Yefuneh.

 

Joshua 15:13 Caleb is the SON (biological) of Yefuneh.

 

Joshua 15:17 His (half) brother Othniel was the son of Kenaz.

 

Since Caleb can't have two papas and he is identified as the son of Yefuneh, of the tribe of Judah, then ipso facto his mother married Kenaz after his father died (or divorced her) giving him a half brother and identifying to some extent with his step-father.

 

Remember that tribal affiliation can only be passed by a blood relation, not by adoption.

 

* * *

 

A study of the word “inheritance”, in the Nazarean Codicil[2], will reveal that our inheritance is a part of the land of Israel. This inheritance was promised to the Jews and also to Gentiles:

 

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Avraham through a promise.

 

Ephesians 1:12-14 In order that we, who were the first to hope in Mashiach, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Mashiach when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

 

Ephesians 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Mashiach and of God.

 

Colosians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

 

Since the word “inheritance” always applies to land in the Kingdom of Heaven which is coming down out of heaven, to the Earth, we can be assured that Gentiles and Jews will both share in the land. Paul, in his writings to the gentiles, makes it very clear that the Gentiles have an inheritance in the land even as Ezekiel indicated that the gentile has an inheritance in the land IF he obeys Torah:

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 47:21-23 "You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign HaShem.

 

Let's look at the folks that Paul encouraged to celebrate the Feast of Passover:

 

I Corinthians 5:6-8 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Mashiach, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

 

We can see that Paul is encouraging the Corinthians, who are Gentiles, to celebrate Passover. He is giving explicit instructions in the proper attitude to celebrate this feast. Those who believe that Paul is merely showing the Corinthians what leaven represented, need to notice that Paul said to “keep the feast” this command would be meaningless if they did not understand how Passover was kept, as is true with most Christians today. Further, it is a command regardless of what the leaven represented. Those who spiritualize this command are ignoring the clear command to “keep the feast”. There is a spiritual aspect and a physical aspect. One must not ignore either aspect.

 

It is important that we understand what HaShem, in the Torah, said, concerning HIS festivals, that they are to last forever:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:11-14 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is HaShem's Passover. "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am HaShem. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to HaShem--a lasting ordinance.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 31:16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29-34 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work--whether native-born or an alien living among you-- Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before HaShem, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments And make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community. "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites." And it was done, as HaShem commanded Moses.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:15-21 "'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to HaShem. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to HaShem. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to HaShem, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings--an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to HaShem. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before HaShem as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to HaShem for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:39-43 "'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to HaShem for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before HaShem your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to HaShem for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths So your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am HaShem your God.'"

 

So how do we get off trying to say that we do not have to observe HIS festivals and Sabbaths if they are supposed to be observed FOREVER? I was unable to find ANY hint in the Nazarean Codicil to indicate that we have reached the end of forever and could therefore quit observing the festivals. Imagine Paul trying to convince the Bereans that they no longer had to observe these lasting ordinances!

 

Some have proposed that a lasting ordinance can come to an end. Those who propose this must reexamine scripture to find some place where HaShem, directly, commanded them to stop. I was unable to find any such command. Mashiach celebrated the festivals. Paul celebrated the festivals. Shouldn’t we imitate them?

 

Hebrews chapter 9 and 10 are often used to prove that we no longer need to obey Torah. So, lets carefully examine this passage to see if it is so.

 

Hebrews chapter 9 begins by describing the first tabernacle and the sacrifices in it. The conclusion is found in:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 9:9-10 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

 

Notice that the writer applies the illustration to “the present time”. The new order had not yet begun. When does the new order begin? I suggest that it will begin when the new Jerusalem comes down to Earth. The goal of the opening verses is in:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 9:15 For this reason Mashiach is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

 

The goal of these verses is to set us free from sin, not to set us free from Torah. Chapter 9 concludes by reiterating that sin is the issue, not Torah:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 9:28 So Mashiach was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

 

As chapter 9 concludes we can deduce that the theme of the chapter is salvation from sin and not an abolition of the sacrifices, the Torah, or even the Temple. Lets now examine chapter 10:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 10:9-10 Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Yeshua Mashiach once for all.

 

Many folks use the above passage to indicate that the Torah of Sinai has been set aside. To figure this one out requires an understanding of the “second” or “new” covenant. Hebrews chapter 10 gives us this understanding:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 10:15-16 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

 

Here, the writer is showing us that the second or new covenant is when HaShem writes the Torah on our hearts and minds. This does not sound like He is abolishing Torah, does it? We can confirm that He is not abolishing or changing Torah by examining Yirimiyahu (Jeremiah) 31:31ff.

 

Yirimiyahu (Jeremiah) 31:31-34 "The time is coming," declares HaShem, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares HaShem. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares HaShem. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know HaShem,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares HaShem. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

 

The Jeremiah passage indicates that the only thing wrong with the first covenant was the fact that the people did not obey it. So, I would suggest that the new or second covenant will be obeyed, that is what distinguishes it from the first covenant.

 

Many see the sacrifices as ending with the death of Mashiach. They use the following verse to prove their point:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 10:18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

 

When we are in the kingdom, there will no longer be death and therefore no animal sacrifices. The sacrifices continued in the Temple for forty years after Mashiach’s death. Ezekiel chapters 40ff indicate that there will be sacrifices in a future Temple that will be brought by the Prince. The sacrifices had some value to Moses, David, Solomon, and Paul. What ever value it had for them, surely the same sacrifices would have the same value for us. Specifically, our verse applies to sacrifice for sin and not to Torah.

 

Hebrews chapter 10 comes to one very interesting conclusion:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

 

If we understand sin as Tzefet (Peter) did, then we would realize that sinning merely means not obeying Torah. In the above passage, the writer is indicating that we ought not to deliberately keep on disobeying Torah!

 

I think that I have made my point. Hebrews chapter 9 and 10 have nothing to do with abolishing Torah.

 

Who are the "sons of God"?

 

Hoshea (Hosea) 1:10 "Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'

 

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Mashiach Yeshua,

 

If both Gentiles (who convert) and Israelites can be called the sons of God, then it stands to reason that HaShem would have the same rules for both sons, and so it is:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:49 The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you."

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before HaShem:

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 24:22 You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am HaShem your God.'"

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:29 One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien.

 

One of the most interesting of HaShem’s commands at Sinai was the observation of Sabbath. When He commanded this observance He indicated that it was a memorial of creation:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 20:9-11 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to HaShem your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days HaShem made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore HaShem blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 

So, the reason that we observe the Sabbath is because of what HaShem did at creation! This command, then, should be incumbent on all of HaShem’s people; from Adam even until our own generation.

 

The Torah does not clearly list HaShem’s commands until after Sinai. Never the less, it is clear that HaShem’s people practiced HaShem’s commands before Sinai. Those who practiced HaShem’s commands were blessed by HaShem in many ways. Some even made it to the “Book of Hebrews” faith chapter. HaShem was obviously pleased when men followed Him by faith, as evidenced by their obedience. I submit that, today, men will still find HaShem pleased when they obey His commands.

 

B.        Some say that the Torah (law) was abolished.

 

Yeshua did not abolish the Torah by His own words:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:17-18 "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. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

 

Obviously the Torah is not yet fulfilled, therefore the Torah ought to be obeyed. Yeshua, in fact, commanded us to imitate Him, and He followed the Torah completely:

 

Ephesians 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

 

When asked how we might have eternal life, look at what Yeshua said:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 19:16-17 Now a man came up to Yeshua and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Yeshua replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

 

Luqas (Luke) 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Yeshua. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Yeshua replied. "Do this and you will live."

 

What a perfect opportunity to tell folks that He was changing the Torah! Too bad He blew these opportunities. Instead, He let each man read the Torah and follow the commands there.

 

Notice also that Yeshua had a habit of attending the synagogue on the Sabbath:

 

Luqas (Luke) 4:14-16 Yeshua returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.

 

So, why doesn't He abandon Sabbath and do Sunday? Why doesn't he ever do Sunday like a "good Christian"? Clearly He is not changing anything about Torah.

 

Paul did not abolish the law:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 21:18-24 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, So do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.

 

II Luqas (Acts) 28:16-17 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

 

Now, please notice that the Bereans were known for checking things out and making sure that they lined up with scripture:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

 

Can you imagine Paul telling the Bereans that he had a vision from HaShem and the Torah no longer needed to be obeyed? Imagine them searching the TaNaK (the old testament), which was all that had been written at that time, to find proof that they could eat pork, for example. Try using the TaNaK to prove every doctrine that you think was changed by Yeshua or by the Apostles, including Paul.

 

Some think that passages in Galatians or Romans indicate that Paul has changed the Torah. Can you imagine a Mormon coming to your door and telling you that he had a vision from HaShem that you no longer have to be faithful to your wife? How would you prove the Mormon to be wrong? Imagine that the Bereans would have had a very difficult time proving that Paul was not a nut if they could not prove it from the TaNaK!

 

We would imitate the Bereans if a Mormon were to come to our door and declare that they had a vision that indicates that there was a whole different set of rules. We would search the scripture to see if it was true. If we could not justify it from the Bible, we would tell the Mormons to "take a hike". This is exactly what the Bereans would have done to Paul if he had come to them to tell them that ANY part of the law had been abolished or changed!

 

I was unable to find any examples of Paul eating non-kosher meals, failing to keep the Sabbath holy, not celebrating the Lord's festivals, or any other violation of Torah. Can you find any examples?

 

Paul is a very difficult person to understand, according to Tzefet (Peter):

 

II Tzefet (Peter) 3:15-16 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

 

Paul also had a very non-Christian habit:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 17:1-2 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

 

You would think that we would find Paul in a church on Sunday, wouldn't you? Why is it that scripture NEVER shows Paul in a church on Sunday, if he was changing the Torah?

 

Paul also indicated that the Torah had value:

 

Romans 10:4 Mashiach is the goal of the Torah so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

 

Galatians 3:24-25 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Mashiach that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

 

Paul is telling us that if we don't obey Torah we will not find Mashiach, or be faithfully obedient to Him. It is equally obvious that Paul is not telling us the Torah is abolished because then it would be alright to be unfaithful to your wife and to commit murder. Every major commentator agrees that the Book of Galatians is talking about justification from the beginning of the book till the end. The Torah can not save us because we refuse to obey it.

 

Many folks believe that Paul told us that we do not have to obey the law anymore. This is NOT true! Paul commanded us to obey the law (Torah):

 

Romans 2:12-13 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

 

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

 

Since we sin whenever we disobey the law (Torah), then we know that we MUST obey the Torah or we will be sinning which Paul emphatically commands us not to do.

 

Some say that the council at Jerusalem abolished the law. So, let's examine this event carefully. First, what was the reason for the council:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 15:1-2 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

 

So, the question is: Do we have to be circumcised to be saved. Now let's look at the answer to this question:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 15:19-21 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

 

The answer to: Do we have to be circumcised to be saved, is: "... abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood".

 

What kind of an answer is this? Do we have to be circumcised to be saved? Obviously the answer is no. So, what ought our conduct to be if we are saved by grace through faithful obedience, and we desire to follow Mashiach, though we have never learned anything of Mashiach before? The answer is to begin with those four (a pars pro toto for the seven Noachide) commands and then go to the synagogue on Sabbath to learn the rest. We must obey Torah, but it is impossible to obey what we do not know, so let's go to the synagogue to learn, not to the "church". Notice synagogue, not church.

 

It is also important to understand that these four things are NOT the only things that the followers of Mashiach have to obey! This command does not include loving HaShem. It does not include murder!

 

C.        Tzefet (Peter) told us that we could eat non-kosher meals:

 

Let's first see "what" Tzefet (Peter) actually ate:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 10:9-28 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Tzefet (Peter) went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?" The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say." Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself." Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.

 

Notice that Tzefet (Peter) did not actually eat anything. He had a vision. This is an intangible thing that cannot be eaten. It is also worth noting that Peter did NOT understand that this vision was to alert him to the fact that he could now eat non-kosher food. Peter understood that this vision had NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD. Peter said that the vision was to teach him that, "... HaShem has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean".

 

Some have said that Mashiach made anything we eat, clean, in:

 

Marqos (Mark) 7:19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Yeshua declared all foods "clean.")

 

The trouble with the above argument is that we have never studied what HaShem called “food”. A careful study will show that it was kosher, or HaShem did not call it food. Food, by definition, includes plants, animals who split the hoof and chew the cud, sea creatures which have fins and scales, and certain birds. If it was not one of these items, then HaShem never called it food.

 

D.        Many folks have said that the Torah (law) is a "yoke of bondage".

 

What is sin? Let's see what Yochanan (John) called sin:

 

I Yochanan (John) 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

 

John said that if you do not obey the law, you are "lawless". If you are "lawless" then you are a sinner. Sin is defined as disobeying the law (Torah).

 

Let's see what Paul called sin:

 

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

 

Paul says that the law defines sin. No law; no sin. So, if you admit that we all still sin, then you have to admit that we sin because we break the law (Torah).

 

Ok, so let's see what HaShem calls "bondage":

 

Galatians 5:1-4 It is for freedom that Mashiach has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Mashiach will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Mashiach; you have fallen away from grace.

 

Paul indicates that if you submit to circumcision in order to be justified, you are "obligated" to obey the whole law in order to be justified. If you fail to obey the whole law you will be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. The yoke of slavery is sin.

 

In case the above is too difficult to understand, consider the following passage:

 

Romans 6:12-16 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

 

Paul tells us that we ought not to disobey Torah and thereby sin. We ought to obey the Torah and thereby demonstrate that we are slaves to Mashiach and NOT to sin!

 

E. Who should we imitate?

 

Paul commanded us to imitate him:

 

I Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

 

If we are going to imitate Paul, we need to search the scriptures for all of his ACTIONS in order to imitate those actions. I can not find a single example of Paul, Yeshua, or any of the disciples ever violating Torah. Paul commanded us to imitate God:

 

Ephesians 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

 

For a little fun, try proving that HaShem does not eat kosher or that He does not observe the Sabbaths or festivals. I dare say that this would be tough to do.

 

 

This study was written by Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 



[1] The midrash Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer (ch.21) relates: Kayin enjoyed working the ground and Hevel enjoyed shepherding sheep. This one gave the fruits of his labor to the other one to eat, and the other one gave the fruits of his labor to the first one to eat. When the night of Pesach arrived, Adam said to his sons, “On this night Israel is destined to offer Pesach offerings. You, too, should offer offerings before your Creator.” Kayin brought the leftovers of his meal--flax seed, while Hevel brought the best of his flocks--lambs which had never been shorn. Kayin’s gift was despised by HaShem and Kayin’s gift was found to be desirable, as is written (verse 4), “HaShem turned to Hevel and to his offering.”

[2] The New Testament