7 Don’t delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of G-d! A person reaps what he sows.
8 Those who keep sowing in the field of their old nature, in order to meet its demands, will eventually reap ruin; but those who keep sowing in the field of the Spirit will reap from the Spirit everlasting life.
9 So let us not grow weary of doing what is good; for if we don’t give up, we will in due time reap the harvest.
10 Therefore, as the opportunity arises, let us do what is good to everyone, and especially to the family of those who are trustingly faithful.
The law of the harvest is not only that a person reaps what he sows, whether good or bad, but that the harvest is always greater than the planting—“thirty, sixty or a hundred times as much” (Mt 13:8, 23). As Yahshua interprets Torah love for our neighbors He adds love for our enemies and the unlovable as well. Yahshua enjoins his followers “to love one another” as “I have loved you.” Only believers can give and receive this kind of love, since it grows out of having the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
In order to fully expound on this week’s portion we have to examine what preceded it, and explore some of the thinking that has evolved from the study of these scriptures. Not only do we have to start with the traditional Christian view that Yahshua abrogated the supposedly legalistic Torah of Moshe, inaugurating in its place, a “Law of Love,” but we have to address the doctrine of the immutability of Torah in traditional Judaism.
Yahshua during His first event did exactly as He was expected to do according to traditional Jewish thought of that time. Judaism taught that when the Messiah appeared He would correctly interpret Torah and counsel us on the proper way of being obedient to it. However, since traditional Judaism does not recognize Him as the Messiah and dismisses the B’rit Chadasha they do not His “changes within the sameness of Torah.” That may startle you for Torah was changed within its sameness but not abrogated, as we shall see. The sages taught that only the Messiah would be truly capable of explaining the Torah to us, and as I have earlier taught, the Sermon on the Mount precisely accomplished that. Within those scriptures we find that Yahshua interprets and teaches us the spiritual element of Torah, which not only incorporates proper material obedience, but also includes understanding Torah through the transforming of our minds, which includes our motives and intent as well.
In Gal 6:2 we find this phrase: “Bear one another’s burdens”—part “b” of this verse should be translated, “in this way you will be fulfilling the TorahÕs true meaning, which the Messiah upholds.” In Greek, The Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds, is ton nomon tou Christou, “the law of the Messiah,” a phrase found only once in the B’rit Chadasha (New Testament.)
What is interesting is that this same phrase appears in the Midrash Rabbah on Ecclesiastes 11:8:
“The Torah which a person learns in this world is ‘vanity’ in comparison with the Torah of the Messiah.”
And it’s meaning is essentially the same as in this verse: the Torah as it will be taught by the Messiah himself, the Torah as upheld by the Messiah.
The question might arise from those that believe the Torah is done away with is whether Yahshua instituted a new Torah different from the Torah given at Mount Sinai. In other words, is fulfilling “the law of the Messiah” different from fulfilling the Law of Moshe? Instead of Torah as given to Moshe has it been condensed to instituting a “Law of Love,” with all that is misunderstood about love. This view comes into direct conflict with one of the most firmly held tenets of Orthodox Judaism, the eternity or non-abrogability of the Torah. Each morning Orthodox Jews repeat in their prayers the Yigdal hymn, which affirms that
“G-d gave the Torah of truth to his people through his prophet, who was ‘faithful in his house’
“G-d will not alter his eternal Law Or exchange it for another.”
The “prophet … faithful in his house” referred to here is Moshe (Numbers 12:7) but there is a midrash on it in Hebrews 3:1–6, where Yahshua is presented as the greater prophet of G-d superceding Moshe. Moshe himself made such a prediction. Starting from this premise, Yahshua would have every legal right to change Torah, as His authority is superior to that of Moshe.
Nevertheless, so often ignored because it is contrary to antinomian thinking is that Yahshua himself reassured his hearers that he had not come to abolish the Torah (Mt 5:17). He also said, that not one jot or tittle shall pass from it until there is a new heaven and earth. As of this minute I have not seen a new heaven or earth come into being. On the other hand we have to realize that the eternity of the Torah does allow for changes in its historical manifestation and application to society; indeed Judaism itself provides numerous examples. Torah is as living today as it was in ancient Israel. We are compelled to find new applications of Torah principles instead of literal applications because of the society we live in, but Torah is just as viable now as then. Moreover, Jewish tradition includes a significant strand of expecting that when the Messiah comes, there will be a transformation of Torah. We see this addressed in Hebrews, (MJ 7:12) where it deals with a new priestly order after the order of Malki-Tzedek. It is “change within sameness,” but not abolishment of Torah.
Change within sameness is a problem Messianic Jews must face, not only with Christians, but also with traditional Jews. Christians maintain that Torah is abrogated and Jews maintain the eternity and immutability of Torah. As we study the citation given in the Book of Hebrews we see that the Levitical order is supplanted by the order of Malki-Tzedek, who preceded the Levites. The Midrash is that since Abraham gave offerings to Malki-Tzedek, a priest of G-d on High, the Levites, still in Abraham’s lions paid tithes to Malki-Tzedek through Abraham. Thus showing the superiority of the Malki-Tzedek priesthood to the Levitical priesthood. So there is “change within sameness.”
In the Encyclopedia Judaica’s article on “Torah” (Volume 15, pp. 1244–1246). It points out,
“In the [Hebrew] Bible there is no text unanimously understood to affirm explicitly the eternity or non-abrogability of the Torah; however, many laws of the Torah are accompanied by phrases such as, ‘an everlasting injunction through your generations’ (Lev. 3:17, et al.).”
The rabbis interpreted Deuteronomy 30:12 (“It [the Torah] is not in heaven”; and in Numbers 36:13 (“These are the commandments”) to imply that the whole Torah has already been given. [This would negate the B’rit Chadasha being given as Torah]. Therefore the Babylonian Talmud can say, “A prophet is henceforth not permitted to innovate anything” (T’murah 16a), although he may suspend a law temporarily (Sifre Deuteronomy 175).
Messianic Jews are not subject to Oral Torah and there is no reason why Messianic Judaism needs to accept this rabbinic impediment to change. In fact in Hebrews 8:6, we have scriptural proof that the B’rit Chadasha was given as Torah. It reads in the Jewish NT:
Hebrews 8:6 But now the work Yahshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant he mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises.
These better promises primarily relate to the Temple cult and His Sacrifice. Nevertheless, even if, the B’rit Chadasha is not accepted as Torah it still would not apply to Yahshua. For Yochanan the Immerser was already “more than a prophet” (Mt 11:14), and he called Yahshua yet “more powerful than I” (Lk 3:15); Moshe also said He was greater than I, therefore the Messiah by kal v