Tonight, I want to examine as my key verse,
Mattityahu 5:19 Therefore, whoever annuls one of the least of these mitzvot (divine commandments given by HaShem to Moshe Rebbenu) and so teaches B’nei Adam (children of mankind), shall be called katon (least) in the Malchut HaShomayim (Kingdom of Heaven); but whoever practices and teaches them, this one will be called Gadol (great) in the Malchut HaShomayim.
Christianity adroitly teaches a subtle antinomianism when addressing this verse. J. Vernon McGee, a noted Christian commentator, says in his commentary and I quote: “You cannot break the commandments and get by with it. But you cannot keep them in your own strength. The only way you can keep them is to come to Jesus Christ for salvation, power, and strength. The commandments are not a way of salvation but a means to show you the way to salvation through the acceptance of the work of Jesus Christ.”
If we examine this statement carefully we see that McGee suggests that G-d’s Torah is irrelevant post Yahshua, but he grudgingly gives approval to the fact that we shall be held accountable for ‘breaking the commandments” of Torah, and he even affirms that we need to be empowered, albeit he does not mention the Ruach (Holy Spirit) as the source of that power instead he masterfully inserts the doctrine of salvation through profession. He infers that the remedy to the “breaking of the commandments,” is the “profession and acceptance of Yahshua’s “work,” which brings about atonement, and of course that is true, but he does not point out that in Romans 3:25 and in 2 Peter 1: 9 we are informed that our acceptance of the atoning work of Yahshua provides us only with forgiveness of past sins. The scenario painted here and subsequently that of most of Christianity is that acceptance of the atoning work of Yahshua is all that is required for eternal salvation regardless of subsequent sinful acts by the professed. Let me read Romans 3:25 and 2 Peter 1:9 from the KJV version and invite you to decide:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (KJV)
2 Pet 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (KJV)
If you understand this verse as I do, Sha’ul plainly states here that those coming to trust in the faithfulness of Yahshua are forgiven for PAST SINS and NOT FUTURE ONES. Sha’ul does not here address future sins.
Orthodox Christianity readily believes and teaches that we cannot live a Torah Observant life so why try. The concept associated with this idea is that because we cannot live such a life our salvation is dependent only on accepting Yahshua as the source of our salvation, and “works,” Torah Observance, obedience to G-d’s Word has no part in it. This leads to other errors such as “once saved always saved” or “eternal security.” This doctrine infers that no matter what sin a professed believer engages in he/she cannot fall from grace. Christians by and large because of such statements do not see a need nor in fact believe it is necessary or even desirable to live a Torah Observant life. In fact they call such a person who engages in or teaches the Torah Observant lifestyle as practicing “salvation by works.” They think being obedient to G-d’s Torah as disparaging the atonement provided by trust in Yahshua’s work. In order to believe this way they extrapolate the atonement to include and cover all sins past and future contrary to what is so plainly stated in Romans 3:25. This is unbiblical and I will give you just a few confirming verses out of many to state my case.
In Revelation where there are at least seven verses relating to the definition of a True Believer can be found Yochanan (John) under the unction of the Ruach HaKodesh writes:
Kings James Version:
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Rev 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Rev 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Here we see over comers representing the Law (Torah) by the Song of Moshe and trust in Yahshua by the Song of the Lamb.
Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Here again we see triumphant believers representing the Word, Law, Commandments, which are all interchangeable English words for G-d’s Torah, and testimony representing Yahshua’s faithfulness as the two essentials necessary for salvation.
In all these verses salvation is linked to not only trust in the faithfulness of Yahshua but also in obedience to G-d’s Torah. We are reconciled by our trust in Yahshua’s faithfulness but sealed by our obedience to YHVH’s Torah.
Many seem to overlook or ignore that Yahshua Himself said we must obey His voice and be obedient to G-d’s Torah. They do not recognize or seem to appreciate that He was the living manifestation of G-d’s word the Torah. The Sages have told us that the Messiah would come and show us how to interpret and live the Torah of G-d by His example. The Scriptures reveal His life as the living out of G-d’s Torah, as a pattern for those that place their trust in Him for reconciliation (atonement) to G-d the Father.
To deny this denigrates HaShem’s Torah and by association Yahshua HaMashiach who in the Bosom of His Father was the Torah, and was begotten as the Living Manifested Torah. In fact we are told by G-d that being Torah Observant contrary to Christian doctrine is not too hard for us.
To prove this assertion let me begin reading from Deu 30:10 where we are summoned to hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul…G-d had promised in preceding verses to make our lives fruitful.
Then in the next verse we are advised…that this commandment, which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
Before going on to the next verse we need to examine this English word translated is this verse as “hidden.” It is the Hebrew word “niphlaith.” The etymology or development of this Hebrew word implies that Torah is not too wonderful for you to comprehend or to perform; but easily to be acquainted with, and understood, because it is clearly revealed: neither is it afar off; it was proclaimed in your ears from mount Sinai, and is now proclaimed in the sanctuary: it is not in heaven; for it has been already revealed: neither is it beyond the sea; that you need travel for instruction, as the ancient philosophers did, or seek instruction from men, at immense labor and expense; but the word is very nigh to thee; brought to thy very doors; in thy mouth, and in thy heart; made so familiar as to afford a topic of common discourse, that it might be laid up in the memory and reduced to practice.
A corresponding scripture found in Isa. 45:19 tells us that YHVH has not spoken in secret, or a dark place of the earth as to His torah: He reaffirms that He said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Further on in Deuteronomy G-d assures us we can live a Torah Observant life for we read in: Deu 30:13, 14, 15 these words: “Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Deu 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
G-d has given us His standards and through trust in Yahshua’s faithfulness He has provided a path to reconciliation to Him, and by His Ruach (HS) he has given us the means to obey His word.
We are constantly summoned by Scripture to lead an obedient life set to the standards of G-d’s Torah. Christian doctrine would deny this by insisting we are under a different dispensation that invalidates Torah instead of biblical revelation that confirms and establishes it.
In my closing remarks I will endeavor to demonstrate to you that there is not difference between YHVH Elohim’s methodologies in Ancient Israel than there is today post advent of Yahshua.
Christians will tell you that the Law was a means to Yahshua, but after He came it was done away with. The Torah does point to Yahshua but I beg to differ that it is now obsolete for the following reasons. In ancient Israel no Christian institution will deny that Torah was commanded, but they forget that alongside Torah was the Temple Sacrificial system. They existed side by side with each other, two components necessary for the definition of and for the forgiveness of sin. Obviously, Torah then and now shows us G-d’s righteousness, and if we fail to meet that righteousness we need a way to be reconciled to G-d, and in ancient Israel that was through the sacrificial system instituted by G-d in the Temple. We should recognize that the Temple sacrificial system was a foreshadowing of the true sacrifice, the fulfillment of the typology by Yahshua and as such was temporary until He came. Hebrews points this out when it refers to a “better covenant” in Hebrew 8:6, which refers to the Temple sacrificial cult only. It does not refer to G-d’s Torah for that would be a contradiction of G-d’s own word. Careful reading reveals that the subject here is the Temple cult and a New High Priest administering the new priestly order after the Order of Melchizedeck superceding the Levitical system, which was only temporary until He to whom the High Priest’s Office belonged came. Unfortunately, Christians suppose this to mean that the Covenant of Torah is also obsolete.
For my purposes here, we need to know that then and now we are saved in the same way, and the standard by which we are judged is the Torah. If we fail, we need to be reconciled through sacrifice that of necessity is preceded by repentance. The only difference is that in ancient Israel the sacrifices were temporary until the coming of Yahshua our High Priest. Today we are judged by Torah and when recognizing the sinful condition of our live in relationship to G-d we find reconciliation by means of trusting in Yahshua’s faithfulness and sacrifice for our atonement. Afterwards in our new relationship of right standing to G-d, a true believer seeks to obey and please Him. If we fail, repentance is required and precedes sacrifice as it did in Ancient Israel. The only difference is that Yahshua’s sacrifice is a once and for all event that covers subsequent sins if we are truly repentant. Yet, we are warned that highhanded sin will not be forgiven, which amplifies the centrality of Torah in our lives, for if obedience to Torah meant nothing to us as believers then why would G-d warn us of the potential of losing our standing with Him through willful disobedience of His Torah.
In short the process to G-d and the components necessary to maintain a right relationship with him is no different today than it was then: faith or trust and obedience. The only difference is the efficacy of Yahshua’s Sacrifice as a perpetual covering of sins while the Levitical system only provided a temporary covering until Yahshua came. Profession alone means nothing. Remember in James 2:14, he says: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? May we not only be hearers but doers as well for the Torah reflects G-d’s holiness, Goodness and righteousness. In Ya’acov (James 1:22-25), he likens the person who does not follow the Word of G-d (Torah) to someone who looks in a mirror, walks away, and forgets what he looks like. When the natural man looks into a literal mirror, he sees a reflection of his physical being. When a new creation in Messiah looks into the perfect Torah (Ya’acov’s language), he sees in it laws, decrees, commandments, judgments, and teachings a reflection of his new created self.
So we see that in Matthew 5: 19 the Messiah is not a founder of a new religion Christianity, but see Him as the anchor of true Orthodox Judaism.
Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai,
Rabbi Davis (R. Milcha ben David)