November 2018 Newsletter - "The Torah" by Nathan Padilla

In today’s church for the most part, the Torah or Law is taught that it was done away with when Jesus died on the cross and that Jesus came to do away with the Torah and now we are under grace. However, this was not taught by the earliest Christians; in fact, they taught that without the Torah there was no salvation. The importance of the Torah is vital to salvation to anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ. The Torah is not an instructional on does and don’ts; it’s really revealing the character of Yah.

Let us start by understanding the difference between the law of the Spirit and the law of the letter. What is the difference and where did the Apostle Paul attain this revelation of the two types of Torah? Barnabas explains the difference. He refers to Moses when on Mt. Sinai he had received the commandments. Generally, what is often mostly overlooked is that there were actually two sets of commandments that were given. The first set was written by the finger of God [Deu_9:10]. God is Spirit [Joh_4:24] and if God is Spirit and He wrote them, subsequently He intended for us to understand His Torah spiritually. Nevertheless, due to worship of the golden calf, they were not found worth of the law of the Spirit and were given a second set of commandments written by the hands of Moses, man [Exo_24:4]. Barnabas expounds on this:

Yes [it is even so]; but let us inquire if the Lord has really given that testament which He swore to the fathers that He would give to the people. He did give it; but they were not worthy to receive it, on account of their sins. Moses then received it, but they proved themselves unworthy. Learn now how we have received it. Moses, as a servant, (Comp. Heb_3:5) received it; but the Lord himself, having suffered in our behalf, hath given it to us, that we should be the people of inheritance. But He was manifested, in order that they might be perfected in their iniquities, and that we, being constituted heirs through Him, might receive the testament of the Lord Jesus, who was prepared for this end, that by His personal manifestation, redeeming our hearts (which were already wasted by death, and given over to the iniquity of error) from darkness, He might by His word enter into a covenant with us. [1]

Barnabas explains that Yahushua/Jesus suffered for us on the cross so that we can receive that spiritual Torah/Law that the Israelites refused. So, by saying “we’re not under the law” or “it’s been done away with,” you are indeed denying the cross. If that may seem to be an outlandish statement, here are some other Ante Nicene fathers who characterized those who did not believe in the Torah as heretics.

If anyone makes light of the law or the prophets, which Christ fulfilled at His coming, let him be to thee as antichrist. If anyone says that the Lord is a mere man, he is a Jew, a murderer of Christ. [2]

All then are good together, the law, the prophets, the apostles, and the whole company [of others] that have believed through them: only if we love one another. [3]

If anyone does not observe the Decalogue (Commandments), he has no salvation. [4]

For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and everyone who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption. [5]

Now all these had one and the same design of atheism, to blaspheme Almighty God, to spread their doctrine that He is an unknown being, and not the Father of Christ, nor the Creator of the world; but one who cannot be spoken of, ineffable, not to be named, and begotten by Himself; that we are not to make use of the law and the prophets; [6]

That is a stark contrast to the church today. The reason people have misunderstood this is because they have taken scriptures out of context. They have done the same with the writings of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul actually tells the church that he is a steward of the mysteries of the Torah. In 1 Corinthians 4, the Apostle Paul speaks of his stewardship. The word steward in the Greek is oikonomos οἰκονόμος, and his word is a combination of two words. The first word oikos οἶκος, speaks of the tabernacle. The second word is nomos νόμος, which is the word for Torah/Law. So, if the Apostle Paul was taught that the Torah was done away with, then why did he say he was a steward of it? Why did he teach from it in Acts 28? Why did Yahushua/Jesus teach it after he resurrected [Luk_24:27]?

To the Earliest Christians, the Torah wasn’t a book of instructions on what we can’t taste or touch, it was God. It is God. In Hermas the Shepherd, an angel is explaining this to Hermas in his vision of the Tree.

I said to him, “Sir, explain to me what this tree means, for I am perplexed about it, because, after so many branches have been cut off, it continues sound, and nothing appears to have been cut away from it. By this, now, I am perplexed.” “Listen,” he said: “This great tree (Mat_13:32) that casts its shadow over plains, and mountains, and all the earth, is the law of God that was given to the whole world; and this law is the Son of God, [7]

Even Clement of Alexandria pronounces “Wherefore let us regard the Word as law, and His commands and counsels as the short and straight paths to immortality;” [8]

This is why they said that those who did not believe in the Torah did not, in reality, believe in Jesus Christ because He is the Word. I will leave you with Origen disclosing to us how Paul came to teach the church to read the Torah correctly. There in lies the problem as to why the church does not read the Torah or see the significance of it due to their misunderstanding and misinterpreting of the Apostle Paul’s epistles. When you come to see the beauty hidden in the Torah, you come to find that it is not about how many steps you take on a Sabbath; it is about the character of God being imparted into our heart mind and soul.

The Apostle Paul, “teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth" taught the Church which he gathered from the Gentiles how it ought to interpret the books of the Law. These books were received from others and were formerly unknown to the Gentiles and were very strange. He feared that the Church, receiving foreign instructions and not knowing the principle of the instructions, would be in a state of confusion about the foreign document. For that reason, he gives some examples of interpretation that we also might note similar things in other passages, lest we believe that by imitation of the text and document of the Jews we be made disciples. He wishes, therefore, to distinguish disciples of Christ from disciples of the Synagogue by the way they understand the Law. The Jews, by misunderstanding it, rejected Christ. We, by understanding the Law spiritually, show that it was justly given for the instruction of the Church. [9]

References:

  1. Barnabas-Epistle Pt. 2 Ch. XIV, ANF Vol. 1
  2. Ignatius (Disciple of Apostle John)-Epistle to the Tarsians Ch. II, ANF Vol. 1
  3. Ignatius (Disciple of Apostle John)-Epistle to the Philippians Ch. IX, ANF Vol. 1
  4. Irenaeus- Against Heresies Bk. 4 Ch. XV, ANF Vol. 1
  5. Theophilus-To Autolycus Ch. XXVII, ANF Vol. 2
  6. Constitution of the Apostles Book 6 part 1 Ch. X, ANF Vol. 7
  7. Hermas-The Shepherd Book 3 Pt. 2 Ch. III, ANF Vol. 2
  8. Clement of Alexandria-Instructor Bk. 1 Ch. III, ANF Vol. 2
  9. Origen-Homilies on Exodus, Homily V
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