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Torah And The Christian


One of the most difficult tasks the apostles faced in discussions with their Jewish countrymen was to explain the difference between Torah under the Mosaic covenant and Torah under the New one. It is truly a delicate subject, and very confusing as well.

For the purposes of this discussion, Torah won't mean the Pentateuch, nor will it mean the Tanakh, nor will it mean the Mitzvot, nor will it even necessarily mean Law— although Torah encompasses all of that. Torah will just mean what it does in the Hebrew:  towrah (to-raw'); teaching and instruction. We're going to talk about four primary dispensations of teachings and instructions in this chapter: Antediluvian, Noah's, Moses', and Christ's.

There were teaching and instructions dispensed prior to the Flood, then there was more right after the Flood, and then more in Moses' day; and there is now yet more Torah in the common era. It is a huge mistake to lump all Torah together as if all of its laws and teachings were one indiscriminate code because it isn't. Each era's Torah has specific instructions, mandates, regulations, rules, and stipulations that may or may not apply to the people of other eras.

Antediluvian Torah     

Prior to the Flood, there was very little Torah. Man was given dominion over the entire planet, and encouraged to marry and multiply. He also knew somewhat about a sacrificial system of approach to God. He was forbidden only two things: eating a specific fruit, and killing Cain. Women were mandated to satisfy their libido in marriage; and subjugated to their husbands.

Other than those, Man was pretty much left up to the dictates of his own conscience and allowed to do as he pleased. Even murder, as serious a crime as that is, wasn't strictly forbidden. However, God did have some feelings about how creature Man should live; and expressed those feelings to him through early day prophets like Abel, and Enoch, and Noah. But God didn't impose those feelings upon anyone at that time. As a result of Man's freedom to do as he pleased (other than kill Cain, eat the forbidden fruit, practice sex outside of marriage, and compete with their husbands), they became so corrupt and violent that God had to exterminate practically the whole lot and start over under different circumstances.

Noah's Torah     

When the Flood ended, God made a covenant with Noah and laid down some mandatory Torah regarding murder and the death penalty and eating blood. At that time Divine teachings also revised Man's diet and encouraged him to eat meat. However, Man was not required to eat meat. He was simply given liberty to do so if he desired.

Gen 9:3 …Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

That blessing was not only for Noah, but for his entire posterity too; which of course would include every human being who has ever come into existence since the Flood because the whole human race today is genetically related to Noah and his boys.

Gen 9:8-10 …And God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "I now establish My covenant with you and your offspring to come, and with every living thing that is with you— birds, cattle, and every wild beast as well— all that have come out of the ark, every living thing on earth. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gen 9:18-19 …The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth— Ham being the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole world branched out. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Although animals were understood by Noah to be classified clean and unclean, at that time there were no Divine restrictions on which to avoid for food. Man could eat any living thing on Earth he desired without the slightest restriction: both the clean and the unclean; pork included.

Other than eating blood and living flesh, there were no other dietary laws imposed upon Man. In point of fact, Abraham prepared a meal for the Lord (Gen 18:3-8) that later would be forbidden by Kosher law as an improper mix of dairy and meat; but in his day, it was okay.

Pre-Sinai Accountability: Genesis To Exodus   

I think it is safe to infer, from two passages in Genesis regarding Abraham, that prior to the book of Exodus, people knew the *Ten* commandments.

Gen 17:1 …When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai. Walk in My ways and be blameless. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gen 26:5 …inasmuch as Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

No doubt many precepts of Moses' Teachings were well known in Abraham's day; but compliance was voluntary then; and also prior to the Flood. In Genesis 4:7, God encouraged Cain to do right. Well... if none of God's teachings were revealed until after the Flood, it would be unfair to come down on Cain for not doing right unless he had some concept of what *right* is supposed to look like. I mean, the passion of hate is normal and natural. So if God didn't tell the human race that it is wrong to hate your brother in your heart; then who would know any better?

Lev 19:17-19 …You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Lord. You shall observe My laws. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

It wasn't mandatory in Cain's day, nor in Abraham's, to "observe My laws." The mandatory part would be imposed later at Sinai; and it was also not until that time when punishments were stipulated for cognizant disobedience. So Cain, Noah, and Abraham had Divine law; but they were not really under the jurisdiction of the consequences for disobeying it. That is: they could obey if they wanted to, and they could also disobey if they wanted to; with complete immunity from the later to come Mosaic Law's stipulated retributions. That is quite an advantage; and it is the very same advantage that born-again Christians enjoy today. They aren't under the jurisdiction of Moses' Law either.

The obvious implication is that people like Noah and Abraham walked with God because they wanted to; out of choice, not out of force. That is a very high degree of personal righteousness— people serving God because they choose to, not because they have to. When God admonished Abraham to "Walk in My ways and be blameless", it was not a demand, nor was it a threat; but rather, an appeal. You can see that very same gentle urging repeated in the teachings of the New Testament.

Rom 12:1-2 ...I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJ)

Sinai Torah      

Then God created a special people through Abram (a name later changed to Abraham). With these people, God made another covenant. However, the covenant wasn't ex post facto; viz: it wasn't retroactive; which means the Sinai covenant didn't reach back and obligate Abraham himself. Its jurisdiction didn't actually begin until after Abraham's posterity came out of Egypt with Moses.

Deut 5:1-3 …Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them faithfully! The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, the living, every one of us who is here today. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Moses' covenant includes a very large body of teachings that is well known in modern Judaism as the Mitzvot; and commonly referred to as Moses' Law among Christians. Although the teachings of Moses' covenant overrule the teachings of Noah's covenant in many respects; it doesn't cancel Noah's covenant. The Torah of Moses' covenant only overrules portions of Noah's covenant for the people of Israel, not for everybody on the whole planet.

The laws and rules in Moses' covenant take priority for Jews. For instance, the laws of Noah's covenant permit eating any and all types of meat and and it doesn't matter if the creatures are clean or not. The laws of Moses' covenant do not permit Jews to eat any and all animals; only certain ones designated as clean. In matters regarding Hebrew diet, the teachings of Moses' covenant overrule the teachings of Noah's covenant.

The people of Israel were prohibited, through Moses' Teaching, from eating animals like pigs, birds of prey, and lobsters and clams. The new diet wasn't imposed on the whole world, just on those particular people. However, whoever converts to their religion, automatically loses the liberty they once enjoyed under Noah's covenant, and becomes accountable to the terms and conditions of Moses' covenant. That is very serious because Moses' covenant has teeth. It stipulates retribution for offenders, such as whipping, fines, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burning for burning, banishment, stoning, hanging, life for life, restitution, and compensation.

The early nation of Israel obligated itself of its own free will to the teachings of Moses' covenant. It wasn't forced upon them in any way.

Ex 19:3-8 ...and Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Me. Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.” Moses came and summoned the elders of the people and put before them all that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered as one, saying, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” (1985 JPS Tanakh)

But modern Jews— that is: all the people of Israel today who are Abraham's kin by either birth or conversion— are obligated to comply with Moses' Teaching whether they want it or not because Moses' covenant was imposed upon them without their consent by their ancestors many years ago. So today's Hebrews actually have no choice in the matter.

Deut 29:9-13 …You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God— your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to waterdrawer— to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions; to the end that He may establish you this day as His people and be your God, as He promised you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I make this covenant, with its sanctions, not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here this day. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

[A second people group was put under obligation that day to comply with Moses Law: "even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to waterdrawer". Those strangers were neither Hebrew, nor Jew. They were Gentiles who lived among Moses' people either as slaves, resident aliens, or citizens.

Lev 19:33-34..."When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the Lord am your God." 

Lev 24:22..."You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike: for I the Lord am your God."

Num 15:15-16..."There shall be one law for you and for the resident stranger; it shall be a law for all time throughout the ages. You and the stranger shall be alike before the Lord; the same ritual and the same rule shall apply to you and to the stranger who resides among you.]

The teachings, laws, and rules God gave to Moses at Sinai were enacted very soon after the people (which were actually an amalgam of Jews and Gentiles) came out of Egypt. But the giving of Moses' Teachings didn't stop there. During the next forty years God enacted more laws and rules, which were ultimately all gathered together in one folder at Moab just before the people crossed over Jordan to conquer Canaan under Joshua's command.

Deut 28:69 …These are the terms of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to conclude with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which He had made with them at Horeb. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

So the main folder of the Mosaic covenant is actually composed of two sub folders: the covenant at Sinai, and the covenant at Moab.

Additional Sinai Teachings                         

The people of Israel (composed of Hebrews, Jews, and Gentile resident aliens and citizens) are subject to another body of laws and teachings in addition to the Mosaic covenant. Their primary teaching is stipulated in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The additional teachings are a collection of rulings known as Halacha; a code of law supplementing the Scriptural law and forming the legal part of the Talmud.

Halacha is a very serious code and not one to be taken lightly. Although it is basically man-made, God gave it teeth by commissioning elders in Israel as a sort of Supreme Court to rule in matters not specifically spelled out in Scriptural law; and made it a death offense for any person of Israel who refuses to comply with their decisions.

Deut 17:8-13 ...If a case is too baffling for you to decide, be it a controversy over homicide, civil law, or assault— matters of dispute in your courts— you shall promptly repair to the place that the Lord your God will have chosen, and appear before the levitical priests, or the magistrate in charge at the time, and present your problem. When they have announced to you the verdict in the case, you shall carry out the verdict that is announced to you from that place that the Lord chose, observing scrupulously all their instructions to you.

...You shall act in accordance with the instructions given you and the ruling handed down to you; you must not deviate from the verdict that they announce to you either to the right or to the left. Should a man act presumptuously and disregard the priest charged with serving there the Lord your God, or the magistrate, that man shall die. Thus you will sweep out evil from Israel: all the people will hear and be afraid and will not act presumptuously again. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Halacha is to the people of Israel what civil law is to the Christian. And no Christian has any right to disobey civil law. If they do, then they must be prepared to suffer some consequences.

Rom 13:1-5 ...Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

...For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. (NIV)

1Pet 2:11-16 ...Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. (NKJ)

[So; what does that say about traffic laws? It means that Christians, out of sacred duty to God, should always obey the speed limits; put a lid on road rage, always bring their cars to a complete halt at stop signs; and never J-walk nor park illegally. In short, they should be exemplary drivers rather than bad examples.]

Jesus and his Pharisaic countrymen often locked horns over yet another body of Jewish teachings called the Oral Law. The Oral Law reputedly includes traditions, teachings, rules, and procedures that Moses learned from God by heart, which he did not write down, but transmitted orally to his successors. Jesus felt the Oral Law goes too far— in effect taking priority over the Scriptural law in some matters and also in making the Jewish way of life more strict than it should be. His complaint in Matt 15 and Mark 7 was that his countrymen were careful to observe the Oral Law, but the meanwhile neglecting their covenanted obligation to observe Scriptural law; even sometimes using the mandates of the Oral Law as justification to release themselves from even Scriptural obligations to honor their parents.

It was his contention that Scriptural law should always hold the highest priority in Jewish life over and above the authority of all other secondary bodies of law. In other words: Scriptural laws were to be used as precedents to guide the rulings of the elders; but in now way authorized them to write laws that go beyond the covenanted laws nor to have the effect of releasing Jews from their obligation to obey Scriptural teachings. Jesus called the Oral Law *your* law and the Scriptural law *God's* law, because he himself did not believe the Oral Law came from God at all; but is a rabbinical invention.

Man-made codes of religious law like the Oral Law are not really de facto bad codes in and of themselves so long as they don't overrule Scriptural law, nor distract Jews from their covenanted obligations. Although Jesus was chafed by the Oral Law, he didn't actually condemn it; but according to both Luke and Matthew, Jesus in fact encouraged his fellow Jews to obey both the man-made laws and the Scriptural laws.

Matt 23:23 ...Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices— mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (NIV)

Luke 11:42 ...Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. (NIV)

Matt 23:1-3 ...Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. (NIV)

Objection: Now wait a minute! Christianity preaches cancellation of Jewish Law; but there's the Xtian's Jesus himself encouraging his countrymen to obey it. Do you have two kinds of Christianity, one by Jesus and one by Paul?

Paul didn't teach cancellation of Jewish Law (a.k.a. Ten Commandment law, Moses' Law, the Mitzvot, Halacha, Oral Law, and The Teachings.)

Rom 3:31 …Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. (NIV)

Jewish Law remains very much in force for those who choose to live by it; and Christianity takes advantage of that to encourage the Law's offenders to look to Christ's crucifixion for forgiveness of the kinds of sins that can neither be forgiven nor atoned for under the jurisdiction of Jewish Law.

Acts 13:38-40 …Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. (NIV)

There are many kinds of unpardonable sins within the jurisdiction of Jewish Law, but not everyone commits them. However, there is one category of sin which all who are trained in Jewish Law eventually fall into; and that is cognizant disobedience; viz: the offender knows very well that what he is doing violates The Teachings but goes ahead and does it anyway. Jewish Law permits neither forgiveness nor atonement within that category of offenses.

Num 15:30-31 ...But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the Lord; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the Lord and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off— he bears his guilt. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Heb 10:26-28 ...If we [Jews] deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NIV)

Objection: But your Jesus said; "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." (Matt 5:19)

The key to being called great in the kingdom of heaven in regards to Jewish Law is that you not only have to teach the Commandments; but you also have to *do* them. Thus, all who teach the Commandments; yet do things that they know full well violate them, are disqualified.

Objection: Those who teach the religion of Paul do not follow the religion of Jesus. He preached obedience to the commandments.

Yes, Jesus preached that obedience to The Commandments merits eternal life.

Luke 10:25-28 …One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question; "Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?" The man answered; "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. and, love your neighbor as yourself." "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"

Again; we're back to the word *do*. When people who know they are supposed to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind; and to love their neighbor as themselves, and neglect to do so, they're dead in the water and the game is over. They fall into the category of cognizant, unpardonable sinners who know what's right, but did what's wrong instead.

Objection: Jesus would say that Christians shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven because they not only don't obey Jewish Law, but they don't teach others to obey it either.

You are least in the kingdom yourself, because although you may teach the Law, you do not faithfully *do* the Law. No, you break it quite often. Don't even think about telling me you never violate The Teachings because I wouldn't like being forced to call you a liar. Thus, Jewish Law, which has the potential to earn you a ticket to eternal life, instead totally condemns you to eternal guilt for cognizant non compliance.

For example: You know from The Teachings that it is wrong to lie. Yet you continue to lie on occasion anyway, don't you? Yes, you do. In so doing; of your own free will you've been disregarding The Teachings whenever you lie; and thus fall into the category of unpardonable sinners; who are ranked least in the kingdom right along with the Xtians you so despise.

Objection: I would be rated *least* in the kingdom only if I tried to get other people to stop obeying the law.

According to the New Testament's Jesus, you cannot qualify as great if all you do is mouth the commandments while failing to *do* them.

"but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:19)

Objection: I certainly don't presume to be great. I'm probably somewhere in the pack with most of us.

There's no middle ground in Matt 5:19. You're either least or great; nothing in between.

Pharisees were in-betweeners; and of them the New Testament's Jesus said that unless your degree of righteousness exceeds theirs; you shall in no case enter the kingdom (Matt 5:20)

Objection: Paul consistently talks about the "old" lawthe law of Moses as being extinct, dead, kaput, outtahere, abolished, gone.

According to the New Testament's Paul, The Law is still very much in force for those who chose to remain under its jurisdiction.

Rom 2:12-14 …For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law— for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; (NKJV)

Gal 3:24-25 …Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (KJV)

Since you are quite obviously faithless— as evidenced by your lack of belief in the New Testament —you are still under a schoolmaster; viz: you are still under the Mitzvot's jurisdiction: and according to Rom 2:12-14; you shall be judged by it; and thus bear eternal guilt for your cognizant sins.

Num 15:30-31 ...But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the Lord; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the Lord and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off— he bears his guilt. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Objection: Didn't Paul write this? "He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances..." (Eph 2:15)

Before answering that, I wish to remind you that the Paul who wrote Eph 2:15 is the very same Paul who wrote the following:

Rom 2:12-14 …For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law— for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; (NKJV)

Gal 3:24-25 …Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (KJV)

Let me begin by making it very clear the epistles were not written to people like you. They were written to people like me; believers. Thus, the Law has not been abolished in your case; it is still very much in force: it is your schoolmaster, and you shall be judged by it for rebelling against its efforts to lead you to salvation by faith in Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

Your version of Eph 2:15 left out an extremely crucial detail. Here's that passage from some better versions.

Eph 2:15 …Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (KJV)

Eph 2:15-16 …having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (NKJV)

Eph 2:14-16 …by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (NAS)

Eph 2:14-15 …by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. (NIV)

The crucial detail your version omitted was *in his flesh* viz: it is only via Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection that the Law can be abolished for anybody. Thus, people who have not yet taken advantage of his passion (people such as yourself) are still under the Law's jurisdiction; and unless their degree of personal righteousness exceeds the personal righteousness of the Pharisees, they will not enter the kingdom.

To make matters only worse, Jewish Law permits neither atonement nor pardon for cognizant sins.

Num 15:30-31 ...But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the Lord; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the Lord and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off— he bears his guilt. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Every time you neglect to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind; and to love their neighbor as yourself; you violate Torah, and full well know it too. Thus, you are condemned by the Law as a deliberate violator for whom there is neither forgiveness nor atonement within its jurisdiction.

However, justice has to be satisfied first before the Law's offenders can be freed from it's clutches. Well.. that's pretty easy. Just give the Law have its pound of flesh in a proxy, so offenders can afterwards move on to better things (Rom 7:1-6).

So; the Law hasn't actually been abolished for everyone; only for people like the Ephesians, who are counted crucified with Jesus on his cross. Via Jesus' crucified body, the Law is satisfied— it got its pound of flesh for my willful sins; and now the Law no longer has any jurisdiction over people in my status because by being counted as dying with Jesus, I have been removed from its jurisdiction.

Objection: Your Paul says the Law is impossible to obey; yet Moses taught that it was not difficult. "For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach." (Deut 30:11)

The problem is not with the Law's difficulty. No, not at all. The problem arises in Man's *willingness* to comply with the Law's requirements (Rom 7:7-25, Rom 8:3, Heb 8:7).

In your opinion, why did the New Testament's Jesus say that a new birth is a *must* in order to enter the kingdom?

John 3:7-8 …So don't be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. (NLT)

Duh! That one shouldn't be too hard to figure out. It's because Man, in his current condition, just naturally resists compliance with God's Law.

Gen 8:21 …And the Lord was pleased with the sacrifice and said to himself, "I will never again curse the earth, destroying all living things, even though people's thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood." (NLT)

That condition, *bent towards evil from childhood* has got to be remedied somehow if God and Man expect any real future together at all.

Objection: You say that Man, in his current condition, just naturally resists compliance with God's Law? Just how does the New Testament resolve this problem any better than the Old Testament?

Please Click Here and we'll show you.

I want to say something, and I hope I am very clear on this so you get it on the first try.

The Gospel advertises the New Testament's Jesus to the general public; most especially to his fellow Jewish countrymen. In that respect, the Gospel is there for everyone and anyone who cares to read it. But the epistles are something else again; they're internal; viz: the epistles are personal letters whose contents were custom crafted to address specific issues, and sent to an exclusive people group who were past the Gospel— specifically to people who believed the Gospel is true.

When outsiders and unbelievers such as yourself begin probing into the epistles, they're tampering with other people's mail. The epistles contain insider information that can be properly understood only by the kinds of people to whom those letters were written (e.g. Rom 1:7, Jas 1:1, 1Pet 1:1-3, 1John 2:1, Jude 1:1-2, and Rev 1:4).

People like you can't be expected to get the epistles right. All people like you ever succeed in doing is perverting them; just like you've been doing all along.

2Pet 3:14-16 …and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (NAS)

Christian Torah        

Since the people of Israel have never been able to live up to The Teachings, God decided to make another covenant with them. It is a whole new package, and not like the first covenant in any way at all.

Jer 31:31-34 …See, a time is coming— declares the Lord— when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, though I espoused them— declares the Lord. But such is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after these days— declares the Lord: I will put My Teaching into their inmost being and inscribe it upon their hearts. Then I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No longer will they need to teach one another and say to one another, "Heed the Lord"; for all of them, from the least of them to the greatest, shall heed Me— declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Under the terms and conditions of Moses' covenant, God doesn't forget sins. Every year a special day called Yom Kippur is set aside to atone yet one more time for the entire past year's sins. However, without a Temple, Yom Kippur is currently a dead issue. And anyway, its ritual can't atone for knowing, willful, deliberate sin, nor for many capitol offenses like murder, rape, incest, adultery, insulting a parent, blaspheme, contempt of court, perjury, breaking the sabbath, bestiality, and necromancy. For those sins, there is neither atonement nor forgiveness within the terms and conditions of the Torah of the Mosaic covenant— the offenders must die or be banished.

But the Torah of the New covenant doesn't mandate annual offerings for sins. That was done once and for all when its benefactor was crucified.

Heb 10:11-18 ...Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 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."  Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. (NIV)

Some feel that the New covenant won't become an official Israeli policy until Messiah returns to set up his kingdom and restore Israel to its former glory. I believe that's true. However, the New covenant has already been ratified— the Restoration itself will occur later.

1Cor 11:23-25 …For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (NAS)

Acts 3:18-21 …But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (NAS)

Individual Jews and Gentiles, who accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, and believe he died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead, are sheltered under the new covenant and in no danger whatsoever of the punishments and retributions stipulated in Moses' covenant. But does that mean they are completely lawless? No. There are teachings and rules for Christians to follow. Jesus said his yoke was easy— he didn't say it was non existent.

Matt 11:30 ...For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

John 14:15 …If you love me, you will obey what I command. (NIV)

Like Noah and Abraham, Christians are free from *mandated* law and don't actually have to comply with any law at all; not even God's. That is: they can obey if they want to, and they can also disobey if they want to; with immunity. Christ leaves it up to the individual. If they love him, they will do as he says; even as Abraham and Noah loved God and did what He said. That is quite an advantage over Moses' Law.

Just as neither Noah nor Abraham were obligated to the Torah of Moses' covenant, but dealt with God under a different set of conditions, in the same way Christ's followers are not obligated to the teachings of Moses' covenant either; but are disciplined by different Torah in a different covenant that bestows benefits that are far and away superior to the curses and punishments mandated by the Torah of Moses' covenant.

Christian Torah is similar to Noah's Torah in that there are few restrictions regarding diet. Because of that, Christian Jews are free to eat whatever they want as long as it doesn't bother their conscience. If they feel guilty about eating unclean items, then they are of course under no obligation to eat them— and shouldn't.

Rom 14:14 …As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. (NIV)

Feasts, Festivals, And Holy Days     

It should be noted that the feasts and festivals stipulated in Moses' covenant aren't carried over in the new covenant; nor are any of the Aaronic rituals. Feasts and festivals are in fact entirely optional. Some people feel it is okay now to go so far as to desecrate feasts such as Passover and eat leavened bread with their Pesach. As far as eating chametz with Pesach, I think that is disgraceful and insults the spirit of the feast. If people don't want to observe an important feast like Passover correctly, then I think they should just forget it and leave it alone. It would be far more appropriate for them to go on over to McDonalds or Wendy's that night. Moses' law mandates death for Passover disrespect. That's something to think about.

Legal Difficulties           

Natural-born Hebrews can't just up and switch over to the new covenant if they feel like it because they are permanently and inherently obligated to comply with Moses' covenant. The same thing is true of converts to Judaism because they are regarded just as much a Hebrew as any genetic Hebrew, and thus equally obligated. When Jews convert to other faiths (Buddhism, Christianity, etc) they remain under the jurisdiction of the covenant at Sinai. Jesus encouraged his Jewish countrymen to faithfully observe Moses' Law. Jews can't just walk away from Moses' covenant with impunity.

Deut 27:26 ...Cursed be he who will not uphold the terms of this Teaching and observe them.— And all the people shall say, Amen. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Mal 4:4 . .Be mindful of the Law of My servant Moses, whom I charged at Horeb with laws and rules for all Israel.

Matt 23:1-3 ...Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. (NIV)

Matt 5:18-19 ...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. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)

However, there is a way out of their covenanted obligations.

New Testament Christianity is a lethal religion. It literally executes its adherents. What I mean is this: when Jesus was crucified, it was all the same as every one of his followers going to their deaths with him. The Romans thought they were getting rid of just one more malefactor, but actually, unknown to them, Jesus was dying in a class-action execution for people  guilty of breaking Moses' Law. So that everyone who follows Jesus are accredited as suffering Divine punishment themselves for violating Moses' Law. Just as Adam's sin made his descendants die, so Jesus' crucifixion makes his followers die.

Once a person has been executed for violating Moses' Law, they have fulfilled the Law's criminal justice system, and they can never be prosecuted for violating it ever again because their entire life was nailed up there with Jesus. It is impossible for a true New Testament Christian to ever commit a sin for which Jesus didn't die for already.

In point of fact, genuine New Testament Christianity renders Jesus' Jewish followers quite dead; and the death they died was a retribution for breaking the entire scenario of Jewish Law. A dead Jew is no longer under the jurisdiction of Moses' law, nor of Halacha, nor of the Oral Law, nor of anyone who sits in Moses' seat.

Rom 6:3-11 ...Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

...For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sinbecause anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Col 3:2-4 ...For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (NIV)

When a Jew agrees to allow Christ to be their atonement, they are not just offering another pound of flesh like the usual Aaronic sin offering; but they themselves become nailed up on his cross just as if it were themselves being executed for their sins. It is a proxy kind of thing and quite painless. They are not only reckoned dead by it— they become extinct by it. No joke. That is how powerful that atonement is. It is an act of God that not only deletes the sinner's sins, it deletes the sinner. And once a Jewish sinner is executed, and deleted, they are removed from the jurisdiction of Moses' Law and free to take up another religion.

Rom 7:1-4 ...Do you not know, brothers— for I am speaking to men who know the law— that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (NIV)

However, although Jesus' (dead) Jewish followers are no longer under the legal jurisdiction of Moses' law; nor subject to any of its penalties and punishments, they are not lawless. Another law— Christ's Law —is imposed upon them, and contains many of Moses' old rules.

1Cor 9:21 …though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law. (NIV)

It is still sin for Christians to commit murder, to lie, to steal, to blaspheme, to commit adultery, to abuse animals, to hate kin in your heart, to eat flesh while it is still alive, to eat blood, to curse a ruler, and to sleep with a close relative. There's lots of other ones too but I don't want to use up space naming all of them. Christians who revile Christ's Law, and who willfully disobey it, are very bad Christians and most definitely walking on the wrong side of the tracks.

1John 5:3 ...This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, (NIV)

1John ...Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (NIV)

1John 1:5-6 ...This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. (NIV)

Objection: When Christ's followers knowingly and willingly disobey his commands and teachings; aren't they committing unpardonable sins?

No, they aren't. That's the beauty of the new covenant. There are no unpardonable sins within its jurisdiction. There are sins unto physical death, yes; but none unto Hell (John 5:24, John 10:27-28, Rom 5:6-10, Rom 6:3-11, Rom 8:33-39).

Objection: If Christ's Law contains many of Moses' rules, then why can't Jewish Christians stay with the Mitzvot?

The Mitzot has teeth. It mandates severe penalties and punishments for violators; one of which is death; not to mention banishment, whipping, burning, imprisonment, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. The New Covenant imposes no criminal death penalties, and on the whole is actually very lenient; treating offenders more as naughty children than as felony criminals. If Jewish Christians were forced to remain under the jurisdiction of the Mitzvot, they would be in great jeopardy, and their future would be very grim indeed.

Rom 2:11-13 ...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. (NIV)

And besides, human sacrifice is totally illegal under the terms and conditions of the Mitzvot; so that Christian Jews would create a severe conflict of interest by attempting to follow the Mitzvot while at the same time embracing Christianity's atonement system.

Summary               

Moses and the Prophets didn't view Divine Teachings and Law as one massive, all encompassing body of rules and instructions having jurisdiction over everybody and everything from Genesis to Revelation. They understood Torah like you would think of the laws of countries. American law doesn't have jurisdiction over the citizens of Russia and Belgium; nor does Australian law have jurisdiction over the citizens of Malaysia and Viet Nam. Bible Torah is just like that; and it is often bundled with specific covenants that have been made with specific peoples.

You could also think of Bible Torah as a directory similar to the hard drive on your computer. On the c: drive are individual folders typically containing specific programs for specific applications. In the same way; Noah's covenant, Moses' covenant, and the New covenant are Divine folders with programs that execute only in designated applications.
 


Related References

Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus
by Michael L. Brown
Volume 1 ISBN 0-8010-6063-X
Volume 2 ISBN 0-8010-6334-5
Volume 3 ISBN 0-8010-6423-6

 

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