By Gene Triesch
I have been trying to get a grip on this for a long time and have been researching, especially since around 2008 or 2009. I am by no means a scholar. The more I learn, the more I come to know how much there is to learn. My initial questions have centered on why there seems to be a conflict between Paul’s teaching on the Law (Torah) and that of Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) words in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
If we have one God and I think we can attest to that, then the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One. We are told God does not change (Malachi 3:6) and Jesus/Yeshua is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8.) I have questioned why would God have one set of instructions for Israel and another for Gentiles when Scripture clearly says, “You have one law, both for the stranger and the native of the land (Numbers 9:14).” This makes me think that maybe we don’t really understand what Paul is teaching.
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:15-17 that some things in Paul’s letters are hard to understand and that unstable people twist his writings. He is cautioning his readers not to be carried away with the error of lawless (Torahless) men.
Could it be that Paul is not talking about Torah but about all the laws that the Pharisees and Sadducees had been adding to the Law (Torah), consequently, making it a burden for the people? Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees, so he would certainly have been familiar with these “additional” laws. This would fit in and explain what Jesus meant in Matthew 23:2-3, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.” It is my understanding that even today synagogues have what is called a “Moses’ seat” and rabbis, or whoever is called upon to sit there are only allowed to read the Torah verbatim. They are not allowed to add to or discuss it.
I do agree that believers need to be careful about falling into “legalism.” The Law was not meant to be our salvation! And there is no way we can earn a right standing with God. We are saved only and completely through faith by the Grace of God! LaVada and I do the best we can in keeping the Commandments out of our love for what Jesus/Yeshua did at the cross. He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). ” John also tells us in 1 John 2:3, “And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
We study and listen to many teachers comparing their teaching against the Scriptures and trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide us in what is true. We once heard a teaching that perhaps shed a new light on Romans 10:4. “Christ is the end of the law.” The teacher pointed out that the word “end” is a translation of the Greek word, “telos,” which according to Strong’s concordance means “end, aim or purpose.” It comes from the root word “tello,” which means to set out for a definite point or goal. In our football lingo, it would mean to cross the goal line to reach the end zone!
Our aim or purpose should be to become like Yeshua who fulfilled the Law perfectly. Paul kept the Law, according to Acts 24:14. There may be variations in translations of Colossians 2:1-1, but mine, the RSV, says, “And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having cancelled the bond that stood against us with its legal demands; this He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” So, my understanding of this translation would be that it is our sins… the bond, or our debt, that stands against us….that is what was nailed to the cross! The Law (Torah) was not nailed to the cross, for without the Law there is no debt!
I am still working on gathering scripture and still trying to come to a greater understanding on all this. One of the teachers we listen to pointed out Isaiah, Chapter 42, which seems to be a prophetic word for the Church today, especially these verses… “Behold my servant [Yeshua], whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him, He will bring forth justice to the nations (Verse 1.) And, “He will not fail or be discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for His Law [Torah] (Verse 4).” And then, “Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come? Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose Law they would not obey (Verse 23, 24)?”
LaVada and I believe we are living in “that time to come.” Perhaps this gives a little insight on where we are in our walk. We’re still looking to learn something new every day!
Blessings and shalom,