What I wish I understood when I was young.
It has been said that Yahusha (Jesus) came to “do away” or “abolish” the Torah (The Law). I have been inspired to share a few things on this. I pray that if you are genuinely curious on this topic, you read the entirety of what I have prepared, for only in its entirety are all points made clearly.
As I proceed, I will be utilizing Hebrew and Greek.
We gain a better understanding of the linguistic precedent which was set for the New Testament writers by looking at the Old Testament as translated into Greek - using the Septuagint.
We personally own a copy of the (English) Septuagint and it has been so helpful in correctly translating and understanding Scripture.
Let’s begin with the first reference in scripture in which the Hebrew word tôrâ is used:
- Genesis 26:5 “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws (tôrâ/nomos).”
The Hebrew word for ‘law’ is tôrâ which means:
Instruction, direction, body of prophetic teaching, the Law.
The Greek word from the Septuagint for ‘law’ is nomos, which means:
A custom, a law, a command, a teaching, a direction or rule which is approved by God
Abraham obeyed God’s voice around 400 years before the Torah would be documented in written form, yet God says Abraham obeyed His 1)charge, 2)commandments, 3)statutes, 4)tôrâ/nomos
Let’s back up a bit to the time of God instructing Noah regarding the ark, 400 years prior to Abraham:
We all remember “the animals entered the ark two by two” right?
Here’s something I didn’t learn in Sunday school:
In the written Torah, there are ordinances regarding ceremonially clean animals (see Leviticus 11).
- Genesis 7:2 - “Of every clean beast you shall take in by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.”
The Hebrew word used for ‘clean’ is ṭâôr, which means:
Ceremonially clean, pure.
So already we have two separate Biblical accounts spanning 800 years prior to the Torah being written, where God’s children are aware of and abiding by His tôrâ/nomos (established teaching, direction, commandments, law; given and approved by God).
This in itself should be cause for us to pause and question:
did Yahusha (Jesus) come to abolish the “law of Moses”?
Is it truly Moses’ law or God’s Law?
Who is God’s Law for, anyway?
Let’s go back even further - the VERY beginning:
- Genesis 3:3 “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
Here is the very first glimpse of instruction, teaching, direction to be passed down and established; which was given from God to mankind, for the sake of preserving their life and keeping them from harm. (tôrâ/nomos)
We all know what happened when they chose sin/lawlessness over abiding by His Law (tôrâ/nomos).
What is sin/lawlessness?
- 1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the Law. (nomos)”
According to John’s epistle, sin is the act of transgressing the tôrâ/nomos (established teaching, direction, commandments, law; given and approved by God)
Coming out of the garden, we see that even Cain and Abel were following the tôrâ/nomos; both unsuccessfully with Cain, and successfully with Abel - as shown:
- Genesis 4:3-4 “ In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering,”
Abel knew what was pleasing to The Lord as he offered to Him according to what would one day become written in Leviticus 4. He had abided by a tôrâ/nomos (established teaching, direction, commandments, law; given and approved by God) which had been communicated to him outside of our Scriptural accounts regarding how to offer up a pleasing sacrifice to God.
Cain was lawless, for he did offer unto God, but he didn’t offer according to the direction and teaching, thus making him tôrâ-less/nomos-less/sinful. Refer again to 1 John 3:4.
Cain is rebuked accordingly for his transgression of God’s direction/teaching (sin):
- Genesis 4:6-7 “The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.””
This Greek word used in the Septuagint for ‘sin’ is hamartanō which means:
to wander from the law (tôrâ/nomos) of God, violate God's law (tôrâ/nomos), sin; to miss the mark, to be without share in.
This Greek word hamartanō is the same word used in:
- John 5:14 “Afterward Yahusha (Jesus) findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”
- John 8:11 “And Yahusha (Jesus) said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
- 1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahusha (Jesus) Christ the righteous”
- 1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
By now I pray that you are beginning to see that the directions and instructions of God (tôrâ/nomos) have persisted since the garden; continued upon expulsion, continued up to the flood, continued to Abraham’s promise, & continued to Moses and finally took written form on Mt Sinai. Yahusha (Jesus) Himself followed this tôrâ/nomos and instructed others to do the same. John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The Greek word for ‘way’ is hodos, which means:
a course of conduct; a manner of thinking, feeling, deciding
This is the same ‘hodos’ used in the Greek Septuagint to describe the lifestyle (hodos) of the victims of God’s flood:
- Genesis 6:12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
It is also the same ‘hodos’ used to refer to how God commanded Abraham to live and teach the generations:
- Genesis 18:19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
- Exodus 4:28 - And Moses told Aaron the word of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.
The Greek word the Septuagint uses here for ‘word’ is logos, which means:
A word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate, order; teaching, direction.
This is the same ‘logos’ which John uses:
- John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
It is also the same ‘logos’ as when Yahusha (Jesus) is praying to His Father:
- John 17:17 “ Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
It appears Yahusha (Jesus) may have been reciting Scriptural poetry as He was praying in John 17:17, as we read:
- Psalm 119:142 “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law (tôrâ/nomos) is the truth.”
The Hebrew word used for ‘truth’ is ĕmeṯ means:
truth; as spoken, of divine instruction, true doctrine
[‘doctrine’ also means teaching and direction]
The Greek word used in the New Testament and in the Septuagint for ‘truth’ is alētheia
what is true in things pertaining to God and the duties of man.
We see through searching out the Scripture above that Yahusha (Jesus) utilizes hodos (Way), alētheia (Truth), & logos (Word) synonymously with tôrâ/nomos (Law).
As we combine the message from above we get a glimpse of the heart of God:
Your righteousness, O’ God, has no beginning or end.
Your Torah exemplified by the Way Yahusha (Jesus) lived is Truth.
He showed us how to live, not according to the world, but according to the Truth.
We become set apart and sanctified as we walk in the Way of Yahusha (Jesus).
As we follow your Teaching and Direction, like Abraham, we enter into Your promises.
Your desire is that we teach our children to follow Your Truth, Your Way, Your Word, Your Law; so that they prosper in all which you lead them to and can put on the righteousness of Yahusha (Jesus).
I’ve heard (and even said myself) the following phrase:
“The 613 Levitical laws were SO impossible to follow, that God had to send His Son to do it for us so that we wouldn’t have to.”
However, this would be a contradiction to God’s word - as we read:
- Deuteronomy 30:10-11 ““[you will be blessed greatly] if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the Law (tôrâ/nomos), if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.””
Fun fact: Yahusha (Jesus) didn’t keep ‘every’ levitical law. He couldn’t have, because:
- He was a virgin
- He was a man
- He wasn’t a farmer
- He wasn’t a parent
- He wasn’t a publican
- He wasn’t a Levite
- And so on..
There are directions and teachings pertaining to specific instances and individuals, so Yahusha (Jesus) gave us the example of following that which is applicable to us, and understanding what is applicable to us through seeking the Word/Truth/Law for ourselves with His Spirit as our guide.
Your initial reaction may be “we are not under the Law” to which I pray you are beginning to reconsider by now.
The law of sin and death is that which we are now free from:
You could be thinking “But the Law was fulfilled according to Matthew 5:17-19”
Let’s take a deeper look at those passages (buckle up):
- Matthew 5:17-19 ““Do not think that I have come to abolish (katalyō) the Law (tôrâ/nomos) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish (katalyō) them but to fulfill (plēroō) them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away (parerchomai), not an iota, not a dot, will pass (parerchomai) from the Law (tôrâ/nomos) until all is accomplished (ginomai). Therefore whoever relaxes one (lyō) of the least of these commandments (entolē) and teaches others (didaskō) to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them (poieō) and teaches (didaskō) them will be called great (megas) in the kingdom of heaven.”
•katalyō means: to overthrow i.e. render vain, deprive of success, bring to naught, to subvert
•plēroō means: to bring to realisation - fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the Torah) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment
•parerchomai means: pass away, perish, pass by/over, transgress
•ginomai means: in reference to events; to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
•lyō means: to loosen, undo, dissolve, to overthrow, to do away with
•entolē means: a commandment - ethically used of the commandments in the Law
•didaskō means : to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them
•poieō means: to celebrate, make ready, keep; to act rightly, do well
•megas means: predicated of rank, eminent for ability, virtue, authority, power
Analyzing the context given through studying these passages using the Greek, we can determine that Yahusha (Jesus) is saying:
“I have not come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets, but to obey them as they should be, and bring Torah to its fullness, because it was not complete without me. Listen, until Heaven and earth perish, not even the smallest syllable will perish from Torah. Because of all this, anyone who does away with the smallest commandment and instructs others to do the same will be called the smallest in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever keeps Torah, celebrates the righteousness brought by doing so rightly and instructs others to do the same; he will be called virtuous and capable in the Kingdom of Heaven; to him will be given authority.”
Perhaps you are thinking “But Yahusha (Jesus) said there are only two commandments to follow, and Paul said the law was fulfilled in loving your neighbor”
- Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law is fulfilled (followed as it should be - plēroō) in one word (logos): “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.””
- Matthew 22:37-40 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Both Yahusha (Jesus) and Paul are saying the same thing here: The Law (tôrâ/nomos) is all about love; agapaō love (divine, heavenly love). The entirety of the Law and Prophets is founded and reliant upon this love.
This is more than just obeying a law because you are commanded to, this is obeying The Law because you know it is GOOD direction, GOOD teaching from God Himself, which helps you agapaō your God and your neighbor when you could only phileō (fleshly love) in the past; but now through the Holy Spirit and His Word (tôrâ/nomos/logos/alētheia) you are empowered to live as Yahusha (Jesus) lived, with the grace which fills the gaps where you stumble! HalleluYAH!
Perhaps as you are seeing the case Scripture is making, your reaction instead is “This all may be true, but now we have the New Covenant”.
Okay, what’s the New Covenant? Before you read on, truly think about that question, ponder it as though your success in life depends on your clear understanding of what the New Covenant is. When you feel satisfied in your understanding, please continue reading.
The New Covenant comes from the Old Testament (ironic?). It is described in Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,”
Did you know that the New Covenant is for ‘Israel and the house of Judah’? No Gentiles are mentioned in this introduction to the New Covenant (yikes!). It’s okay though, according to Scripture - to enter into this covenant is to “adopt the name Israel” as your own, as it is written:
- Isaiah 44:5 “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord's,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord's,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.”
So, what is the New Covenant?
- Jeremiah 31:33 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law (tôrâ/nomos) within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin (lawlessness, transgression of tôrâ/nomos) no more.””
The Greek phrase the Septuagint uses for ‘New Covenant’ is kainos diathēkē which means:
of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of; contract, covenant, testament.
In Luke 22:20 Yahusha (Jesus) says “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant (kainos diathēkē) in my blood.”
We know that Yahusha (Jesus) wasn’t saying “drinking wine is The New, unprecedented, unheard of Covenant”.
He was calling us all to always remember His sacrifice, which would bring the adulterous Israel (anyone who calls themselves a child of God, Romans 8:14) BACK into a place of cleanliness, worthy for Covenant since the Old had fallen away through our whoring after other Gods.
THIS was unheard of.
THIS was unprecedented.
THIS was New (kainos).
The New Covenant, according to Scripture, is God’s tôrâ/nomos written on the hearts of all His children (Israel) and lived out through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit. We will not need to teach or convince one another in the body to “Know God” for we will all “know” Him.
Yahusha (Jesus) said:
- John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Yahusha Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ) whom you have sent.”
Paul summarizes the New Covenant beautifully:
- Romans 8:3-5 “For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled (plēroō) in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
The direction, teaching and instruction (tôrâ/nomos) of God could not bring eternal salvation, nor could it renew our Covenant with God. By sending Yahusha (Jesus) to conquer over all transgression of His Father’s direction,teaching, and instruction (tôrâ/nomos) - God showed that sin had no power over His children. The righteous requirement of the Law is ‘followed as it should be’ (plēroō) in us.
All this so that we could begin to walk in his direction, teaching, and instruction (tôrâ/nomos) by following the example of God Himself through Yahusha (Jesus). This is what it means to live according to the Spirit, for we know that sin grieves God’s Spirit, and sin is transgression of His direction (tôrâ/nomos). We have been set free from blindly following the oral traditions of man (Judaism, Talmudism, Zionism, Catholicism, & Religion itself), and through Yahusha’s example, can now confidently enter into a Spirit-led life of abiding to the direction, teaching, and instruction of Yah (tôrâ/nomos).
There is no contradiction in YHWH. Living in the flesh is perpetually transgressing His direction, teaching, and instruction (tôrâ/nomos). By Yahusha (Jesus) abiding by every will and direction of His Father, He became the only eligible sacrifice to both cover all of humanity’s transgressions of tôrâ/nomos (sin, lawlessness) and be the bridegroom of a New Covenant.
In dying He gave us eternal salvation because our transgressions of His tôrâ/nomos are washed away.
In resurrection He gave us the New Covenant because He became the bridegroom which we enter into Covenant with.
As we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, we live according to His tôrâ/nomos so as to not ‘take in vain’ His name or His sacrifice which He bled out for our sake.
This is the Good News, my friends.
Remember the words of Peter:
- 2 Peter 3:16-17 “as [Paul] does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”
Clearly Paul’s intricate writing style and heavy use of intellectual & metaphorical language was being twisted to encourage “lawlessness (tôrâ-less/nomos-less)” in some congregations. When in doubt, always refer to what Yahusha (Jesus) said.
Identifying that The Old Testament (The Old Covenant) is not “A Jewish Book”, nor is The Torah “for the Jews” changes everything. Considering Jews are from the tribe of Judah alone, Adam and Eve could never have been Jews, nor could Abel, nor could Noah, nor could Abraham, nor could Moses.
Knowing that the WHOLE BIBLE is for all children of God means that we get to partake in all the blessings found in Deuteronomy! HalleluYAH!!
In closing, I leave you with some more more evidence that Yahusha (Jesus) came to uphold, not abolish:
- John 5:19 “So Yahusha (Jesus) said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
- John 5:30 ““I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
- John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
- John 4:34 “Yahusha (Jesus) said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
- 1 John 2:7 “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.”
Yahusha (Jesus) did not come to “do away” with that which was established since the beginning. He came to bring it into fullness (plēroō) through His example, sacrifice, and pouring out of His Spirit into all who were willing to become ‘born again’ (dying to your old life of lawlessness - repenting from living without his tôrâ/nomos). Yahusha (Jesus) is the teaching, direction, instruction made flesh and dwelling among us (logos). He would not abolish Himself or throw out the word of His Father whom He obeyed completely.
I thank you for the time you spent reading this, there is always more to learning God’s word, and I pray that you have learned something here.