What is the "Torah?"


The Torah (translated "law" in most English Bibles) is normally referred to in our discussions as the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). It means to "hit the mark" or to attain the goal; it also means "instruction," or to teach.

The "legalistic" attitude towards the instructions of our God (Elohim/YHWH/Yahweh) is an improper emphasis; remember it is Yeshua who was crucified for us (for our sins, fully willing, while knowing we were sinners, and it was an act of love and His Grace). John 1:1-14 tells us that He (Yeshua/Jesus) was the Word of God that became flesh and walked among us as "son of man." He, Yeshua (and this is very important) is God/YHWH. He is the Godhead; fully God and fully man. It is very important to understand that the "Word" of God in the flesh is the same Torah Word that was written on the stone Tablets that He gave Moses at Mt. Sinai.  

The entire Old Testament is the foundational dictionary for context and establishment of "principals" of God's thinking and nature... given to us for our perfecting of our lifestyles. Yeshua is the "living example" of how we are to walk out the Torah in our lives. The Torah and the New Testament are NOT in conflict. The problem exist when people try to read "church doctrine" into the Bible instead of allowing the Bible to reveal the context from the beginning (if one reads the Torah first and learns its principals and teachings, the following chapters of the Old and New Testaments will not seem to have conflicting messages). Yeshua said, "man must live by "every word" that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Mat 4:4). When He said this, the New Testament was not even in existence.  

It is the misunderstanding that many have that the Torah was "for the Jews," which is true, but it was God Himself who said there were not to be any separation of classes of persons as regarding the People equally keeping the Torah in their lifestyles. (Ex 12:49; Num 15:15-16).There was to be one Torah for all native born and the stranger that had enjoined themselves to their community. It was Yeshua who said:  

Matt 5:17-19

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. KJV  

Yeshua alone has the authority to define the validity of His Word. When we understand that there will be rewards for obedience and losses for disobedience, we will better appreciate the seriousness of accepting our place among the faithful.

The Torah is a "closed system;" as it says in two places in Deuteronomy that we are to neither add to or take from the Torah as it is written... (Deut 4:2 and Deut 12:32)

The observance of the Torah prescribed lifestyle is a safety net for us for our own good. The Torah instructions are not burdensome, as they are the detailed concepts of how God wants us to think, act, and view the world around us. When we truly love God and what Yeshua has done for us through his death and suffering that we may be redeemed, it is a response of thankfulness and love on our part to follow His instructions and become the "holy" people he wants to lift up His Great Name and witness His Glory to the nations. That is what God originally intended for Israel to be and what Israel will become in the end of days. Our salvation comes only by "grace through faith in Yeshua." However, as the Torah is our "school master," leading us to the real Messiah, it is also the avenue by which God's blessings come (by faithful obedience to the Torah); likewise, our disdain and disobedience to the Torah is the avenue through which comes curses (Deut chapters 28 & 29). The Torah can not save us by our keeping it, as only faith in Yeshua can save us; however, God intends for believers to follow the principals of the Torah as a lifestyle forever... God made it a "choice" issue:  

Deut 30:19

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: KJV  

Again, the Torah, for believers, is forever; it says in Proverbs 28:9 that when a man turns his ear away from hearing (with agreeable response) the Torah, that his prayer will be an abomination. That is a serious issue. It also says in Isaiah:  

Isa 8:20

To the law (Torah) and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. KJV  

The Book of Revelation is specific about the seriousness of the commandments of God (The Torah and the Commandments are one and the same):  

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. KJV  

In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, the devil was there to try to separate man from the Word (Commandments of God/Torah principles)... he has always been doing the same thing, and in the end he will wage violent war against the people of faith with the same intentions. Yes, the Torah Word is for all believers to learn and hold fast to... it will be our lifeline of defense against the wrath of the devil and the anti-christ and his deceptions that will cause much affliction on God's people in the last days. The Torah is also the only document that defines both the identity of the real Messiah and the Bride of Messiah. Yeshua (the real Yeshua/Jesus) warned about impostors and unless one studies both the Torah and the lifestyle of Yeshua in the Gospels (Mat, Mrk, Luk, and John), they can be deceived by impostors proposing teachings and performing even miracles, tempting people to follow them; and this "instead of" Messiah/Jesus is what the scriptures call "another Jesus." Further, only the person who embraces the "Bride description" in the Torah can live the like-minded lifestyle that identifies them as the real Bride of Messiah. These are some of the main reasons God said the New Covenant would be written in our hearts and in our minds. Having the Torah truth in our minds and hearts, and the real lifestyle of the genuine Yeshua in our hearts, will keep us from being deceived by a "lying spirit" or a false prophet that is trying to deceive us. God clearly says He will test our faithfulness in this matter (Deut 13:1-5). The Word of God never changes... it is forever settled in Heaven (Ps 119:89). It is what the prophet Malachi closed the last book in the Old Testament with:  

Mal 4:1-6

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. KJV  

The "Law of Moses" in verse 4 above, is the Torah. Yeshua walked the Torah in His earthly walk, as did his Disciples and the early Church believers. Let us love our Messiah Yeshua enough that we want to be like Him, walk as He and the first Century Disciples walked and be diligent and faithful to "keep" his commandments for our own good... and for the privilege noted in Rev 22:14:  

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. KJV  

The Torah is said to be the "Tree of Life." May it nourish your life and guide your ways... The Holy Spirit is faithful and always leads us the Torah way; any spirit we think we hear telling us otherwise is a lying spirit; and any "prophet" or teacher or preacher disputing the Torah is also a person we must avoid listening to... we must use the Torah to confirm all teaching to see if they are speaking the truth or men's doctrines.

For more on this vital issue of understanding living the Torah principles, see these two articles:

How Do I "Keep the Torah" (or "Observe the Torah")?

Why Do We Study the Torah?

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