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To: heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org
From: James Trimm <jstrimm@home.com>
Subject: Truth about Torah

THE TRUTH ABOUT TORAH (Part 1-3 of 5)

Shalom all,

This will be the first installment in a series I am writing about a most misunderstood subject: the Torah.

There is a lot of talk these days about getting back to the "New Testament Church." But the real truth is, there are two things the "New Testament Church" did not have: A "New Testament" and a "Church". The believers of the "New Testament Church" met in synagogues (Acts 15:21; James 1:1; 2:2) and had no book known as the "New Testament" because it had not been written and compiled yet. Thus when a believer from the "New Testament Church" refered to "The Scriptures" he was speaking of the Tanak ("Old Testament") for they were the only Scriptures he had. Thus when Paul wrote to Timothy:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished to all good works. (2Tim. 3:16-17)

Paul was refering to the Tanak, the only Scriptures they had. Moreover when Paul spoke to the Bereans in Acts 17:11 we are told of them:

These were more noble than those at Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Paul was saying that the Bereans were noble because they did not believe what Paul said simply on the authority of Paul. They were looking to see if what Paul was teaching could be found in the Scriptures. Remeber, they were looking in the Tanak, the only Scriptures they had at the time. Paul said that it was noble of them to only accept his teaching if it lined up with the Tanak. That means that whenever we study the New Testament we should ask ourselves this question: "Can you get here from there?" (There being the Tanak). If you think you understand something in the New Testament in such a way that it contradicts the Tanak, then you need to realize that you are misunderstanding it.

As we read the NT we should be a noble Berean. We should look in the Tanak to see if what Paul and the other New Testament writers teach is found there. We should seek to understand what the New Testament says in light of what the Tanak says.

The word "TORAH" is commonly translated in our Bibles as "Law", but is that really a good translation of the word Torah? The Hebrew word "TORAH" (Strong's Heb. #8451) means guidance or instruction. TORAH comes from the Hebrew root verb YARAH (Strong's 3384) meaning "to instruct". YARAH was also an archery term refering to shooting an arrow and as a term meaning "to lay a foundation." Torah therefore is guidance, like the straight path of an arrow to its target. Torah is our foundation. It is important to understand the real meaning of the Hebrew word Torah. Because while some might say "God's Torah is not for today" no one would say that "God's instruction and guidance are not for today."

The Torah is God's guidance for us. Torah is about laying foundation and about setting ourselves on target like an arrow. The Torah gives us aim, direction, foundation and a target.

The Greek word for TORAH used in the Septuagent (Greek "Old Testament") and the Greek New Testament is NOMOS. This parallels the Aramaic Bible (the Peshitta) which has NAMOSA from the Semitic root NIMMES meaning "to civilize" and from which we also get the modern Hebrew word NIMOS or NIMUS meaning "politeness." At the core of TORAH are the precepts of civilisation. From God's perspective, without Torah we are uncivilized.

FOR ALL OF YOUR GENERATIONS FOREVER

Now we have already shown that in studying the New Testament we must ask ourselves "can you get here from there?" ("there" being the Tanak (Old Testament)). If we understand something in the New Testament in such a way that it contradicts the Tanak, then we must be misunderstanding it. Now there are many who understand many New Testament passages in such a way as to believe and teach that the Torah has been abolished. Let us be like noble Bereans and let us look in the Tanak to see if this is so (Acts 17:11). After all Paul tells us that the Tanak is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, [and] for instruction" (2Tim. 3:16). So what does the Tanak say? Was the Torah to be for all generations, forever? or would it one day be abolished? If the Torah would one day be abolished, then we should be able to find this taught in the Tanak. As Noble Bereans we should be checking to see if the things we have been taught can be found in the Tanak. By contrast, if the Torah would not be abolished, but would be for all generations forever, then we should be able to find that information in the Torah as well. Since the Tanak is profitable for doctrine and corection, perhaps we can seek the truth on this issue from the Tanak:

...it shall be a statute forever to their generations.... (Ex. 27:21)

...it shall be a statute forever to him and his seed after him. (Ex. 28:43)

...a statute forever... (Ex. 29:28)

...it shall be a statute forever to them, to him and to his seed throughout their generations. (Ex. 30:21)

It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever. (Ex. 31:17)

There is no shortage of passages in the Torah which specify that the Torah will not be abolished but will be for all generations forever. (For more see: Lev. 6:18, 22; 7:34, 36; 10:9, 15; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8; 15:15; 18:8, 11, 19, 23; 19:10 and Deut. 5:29)

Moreover the Psalmist writes:

Your word is truth from the beginning: and every one of your righteous judgements endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)

Furthermore the Tanak tells us that the Torah is not to be changed or taken away from:

You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish a thing from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your God which I command you. (Deut 4:2)

Whatever thing I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deut. 12:32)

So if we are "Noble Bereans" we will find that the Tanak teaches that the Torah will not be abolished but will endure for all generations forever. This teaching from the Tanak is profitable to us for doctrine, for reproval and for correction.

The Messiah echos this teaching:

Do not think that I have come to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one yud or one mark will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, he will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 5:17-19 see also Lk. 16:17).

As does Paul:

Do we then abolish the Torah throught trust? Absolutely not! We uphold the Torah! (Rom. 3:31)

Despite the fact that David was saved by faith alone (Rom. 4:5-8) he loved the Torah and delighted in it (Ps. 119: 97, 113, 163). Paul (Paul) also delighted in the Torah (Rom. 7:22) and called it "holy, just and good." (Rom. 7:12). There is nothing wrong with the Torah that God should want to abolish or destroy it, in fact both the Tenach and the New Scriptures call the Torah "perfect" (Ps. 19:7; James 1:25).

The Torah is even called in the New Testament "the Torah of Messiah" (Gal. 6:2). To say that the Torah was not forever and is not for all generations, is to call God a liar.

Another popular teaching in the church is a teaching that God only gave the Torah to Israel to prove that they could not keep it. For example one book states:

...Israel, in blindness and pride and self-righteousness, presumed to ask for the law; and God granted their request, to show them that they could not keep his law...
(God's Plan of the Ages; Louis T. Tallbot; 1970; p. 66)

Now lets think this through for a moment. God gives Israel the Torah. He says he will place curses upon Israel if they fail to keep the Torah (Lev. 26 & Deut 28-29). He sends prophets to warn Israel of pending destruction because of their continual failure to keep Torah. Eventually God allows Babylon to invade Jerusalem and the Jews to be taken into captivity, because of their failure to keep Torah. Then he comes along and says "Nah, I was only fooling. I just gave you the Torah to prove you could not do it." What kind of God would that be? Of course as noble Bereans we can simply look in the Tanak to see if this poular teaching is true. Let us see what the Tanak says on this issue:

For this commandment which I command you this day it is not to hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say: " Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us,
and make us to hear it, that we may do it?" Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say: "Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?"
But the Word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. (Deut. 30:11-14)

The fact that the Torah can be kept is confirmed as well in the New Testament which tells us that Yeshua was tempted in all things just as we are and he did keep the Torah (Heb. 4:15).

(End Part 1 of 5)

James Trimm
Translator of the Hebraic Roots Version http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
President, SANJ http://www.nazarene.net 

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To: heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org
From: James Trimm <jstrimm@home.com>
Subject: Truth about Torah 2

THE TRUTH ABOUT TORAH (Part 2 of 5)

Shalom All,

This is the second installment in my series TRUTH ABOUT TORAH:

PAUL MISUNDERSTOOD

Paul is greatly misunderstood as having taught that the Torah is not for today. I have met a great many who feel uncomfortable with his writings. Some of these have even, like the Ebionites of anciant times, removed Paul's from their canon (Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:27:4). This belief that Yeshua may not have abolished the Torah, but that Paul did, has been propigated since ancient times. The "Toldot Yeshu" for example, an ancient hostile Rabbinic parady on the Gospels and Acts, accuses Paul of contradicting Yeshua on this very issue (Toldot Yeshu 6:16-41; 7:3-5). At least one modern Dispensationalist, Maurice Johnson, taught that the Messiah did not abolish the Torah, but that Paul did several years after the fact. He writes:

Apparently G-d allowed this system of Jewish ordinances to be practiced about thirty years after Christ fulfilled it because in His patience, G-d only gradually showed the Jews how it was
that His program was changing.... Thus it was that after G-d had slowly led the Christians out of Jewish religion He had Paul finally write these glorious, liberating truths. (Saved by "Dry" Baptism!; a pamphlet by Maurice Johnson; pp. 9-10)

Kefa warns us in the Scriptures that Paul's writings are difficult to understand. He warns us saying:

...in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2Pt. 3:15-16)

Paul knew that his teachings were being twisted, he mentions this in Romans, saying:

And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? -- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say." (Rom. 3:8)

Paul elaborates on this slanderous twist of his teachings, saying: 

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!..." (Rom. 6:1-2)

and

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the Torah but under grace? Certainly not!" (Rom. 6:15).

So then, Paul was misunderstood as teaching that because we are under grace, we need not observe the Torah.

Upon his visit to Jerusalem in Acts 21 Paul was confronted with this slanerous twist of his teachings. He was told

You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who believe, and they are all zealous for the Torah; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. (Acts 21:20-21)

In order to prove that this was nothing more than slander, Paul takes the nazarite vow and goes to make offerings (sacrifices) at the Temple (Acts 21:22-26 & Num. 6:13-21) demonstrating that he himself kept the Torah (Acts 21:24). Paul did and said many things to prove that he both kept and taught the Torah. He:

* circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:1-3)

* took the nazarite vow (Acts 18:18; 21:17-26)

* taught and observed the Jewish holy days such as:

* Passover (Acts 20:6; 1Cor. 5:6-8; 11:17-34)

* Shavuot (Pentecost) (Acts 20:16; 1Cor. 16:8)

* fasting on Yom Kippur (Acts 27:9)

* and even performed animal sacrafices in the Temple (Acts 21:17-26/Num. 6:13-21; Acts 24:17-18)

Among his more noteable statements on the subject are:

* "Neither against the Jewish Torah, nor against the Temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all." (Acts 25:8)

* "I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers." (Acts 28:17)

* "...the Torah is holy and the commandment is holy and just and good." (Rom. 7:12)

* "Do we then nullify the Torah through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we maintain the Torah." (Rom. 3:31).

Was Paul a Hypoctite?

Being confronted with the various acts and statements of Paul which support the Torah, many of the "Torah is not for today" teachers accuse Paul of being hypocritical. Charles Ryrie, for example, footnotes Acts 21:24 in his Ryrie Study Bible calling Paul a "middle of the road Christian" for performing such acts. Another writer, M.A. DeHaan wrote an entire book entitled "Five Blunders of Paul" which characterizes these acts as "blunders." "These teachers of lawlessness" credit Paul as the champion of their doctrine, and then condemn him for not teaching their doctrine. If Paul was really a hypocrite, could he honestly have condemned hypocricy so fervently (see Gal. 2:11-15). Consider some of his own words:

For do I now persuade men, or G-d? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servent of the Messiah. (Gal. 1:10)

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated in Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our G-d to speak to you the Good News of G-d in much conflict. For our exhortation did not come from deceit or uncleanness, nor was it in guile. But as we have been approved by G-d to be entrusted with the Good News, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but G-d who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness-- G-d is witness. (1Thes. 2:1-5)

If Paul was a hypocrite, he must have been one of the slickest con-men in history!

"Works of the Torah" and "Under the Torah"

Much of the confussion about Paul's teachings on the Torah involves two scripture phrases which appear in the New Testament only in Paul's writings (in Rom. Gal. & 1Cor.). These two phrases are "works of the Torah" and "under the Torah", each of which appears 10 times in the Scriptures.

The first of these phrases, "works of the Torah", is best understood through its usage in Gal. 2:16. Here Paul writes:

knowing that a man is not justified by WORKS OF THE TORAH but by faith in Yeshua the Messiah, even we have believed in Messiah Yeshua, that we might be justified by faith in Messiah and not by the WORKS OF THE TORAH; for by the WORKS OF THE TORAH no flesh shall be justified.

Paul uses this phrase to describe a false method of justification which is diametricly opposed to "faith in the Messiah". To Paul "works of the Torah" is not an obsolete Old Testament system, but a hearasy that has never been true.

The term "works of the Torah" has shown up as a technical theological term used in a document in the Dead Sea Scrolls called MMT which says:

Now we have written to you some of the WORKS OF THE TORAH, those which we determined would be beneficial for you... And it will be reckoned to you as righteousness, in that you have done what is right and good before Him... (4QMMT (4Q394-399) Section C lines 26b-31)

The second of these phrases is "under the Torah". This phrase may best be understood from its usage in Rom. 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not UNDER THE TORAH but under grace." Paul, therefore, sees "under grace" and "under the Torah" as diametricly opposed, one cannot be both. The truth is that since we have always been under grace (see Gen. 6:8; Ex. 33:12, 17; Judges 6:17f; Jer. 31:2) we have never been "under the Torah". This is because the Torah was created for man, man was not created for the Torah (see Mk. 2:27). "Under the Torah" then, is not an obsolete Old Testament system, but a false teaching which was never true.

There can be no doubt that Paul sees "works of the Torah" and "under the Torah" as catagoricly bad, yet Paul calls the Torah itself "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12), certainly Paul does not use these phrases to refer to the Torah itself.

(End Part 2 of 5)

James Trimm
Translator of the Hebraic Roots Version http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
President, SANJ http://www.nazarene.net 

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To: heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org
From: James Trimm <jstrimm@home.com>
Subject: Truth about Torah 3

THE TRUTH ABOUT TORAH (Part 3 of 5)

Shalom All,

Installment 3 in my Truth about Torah series:

THE BELT OF TRUTH

There is a spiritual battle taking place. A battle between light and darkness. A battle between truth and desception. Paul writes:

Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph. 6:11-13)

Paul goes on to describe the parts of this armour as:

* The Belt of Truth

* The Breastplate of Righteousness

* The Shoes of the Goodnews of Peace (Shalom)

* The Shield of Faith

* The Helmet of Salvation

* The Sword of the Word

Now Paul is making a play on words here. The Aramaic word for "Armour" is ZAYNA while the Aramaic word for for "whiles" is TZEN'TA.  Paul is contrasting the ZAYNA with the TZEN'TA. The four fixxed (non mobile) pieces of armour corespond to the four whiles of HaSatan which are depicted in the Tanak:

* Deception/Lies (Gen. 3) (Belt of Truth)

* Temptation/Pride (1Chron. 21:1) (Breatsplate of Righteousness)

* Oppresion (Job) (Shoes of Peace)

* Accusation (Zech. 3:1-5) (Helmet of Salvation)

Now we will not cover each of the items here, instead we will concentrate only on the belt of truth.

Now it should be understood that the armour Paul is speaking of is not Roman armour, it was not inspired by Roman Soldiers. The armour was originally inspired by the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 11:5; 52:7 and 59:17) as well as the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon (5:17-20).  Therefore the subject of this passage is ancient Hebew armour and not Roman armour at all. Now ancient Hebrews wore a skirtlike garment.  Before going into battle a Hebrew warior would gird himself with the a belt, he would gather his skirt-like garment up and tuck it up under his belt to allow free movement. This prevented him from getting tripped up in his own garment while trying to fight.

Now when he was on trial before Pilate Yeshua said:

For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37-38)

To this Pilate asked the all important question:

What is truth? (John. 18:38)

Let us look back to the Tanak to find the answer to Pilate's question:

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Torah is truth. (Psalm 119:142)

You are near, O YHWH, and all your commandments are truth. (Psalm 119:151)

This definition explains many phrases in the New Testament:

"Obey the truth" (Gal. 3:1)

"But he that does truth..." (Jn. 3:20)

And I rejoice that I found your children walking in the truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. (2Jn. 1:4)

The Tanak definition of truth gives whole new meaning to Yeshua's words:

For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37-38)

Yeshua came to bear witness of the Torah, those who hear the Torah hear his voice. This leads us to another important saying from Yeshua:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed on him, if you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
(John 8:31-32)

Paul, however, speaks of those "who changed the truth of God into a lie" (Rom. 1:25) Now if Messiah came to bear witness of the truth then what has HaSatan to bear witness to? The scriptures tell us:

He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not the truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and ther father of it. (John 8:44)

...HaSatan, who deceives the whole world... (Rev. 12:9)

When HaSatan speaks a lie, he is merely speaking his native language.

Now if the Torah is truth, then what is HaSatan's lie? His lie is that there is not a Torah, that the Torah has been done away with.  There is a Greek term for this teaching. This term is ANOMOS (Strong's Greek #459). ANOMOS is made up of the Greek prefix A- (there is not/without) with the Greek word NOMOS (Torah). ANOMOS means "without Torah" or "Torah-lessness." While Messiah came to bear witness to the Torah, HaSatan comes to bear witness of ANOMOS (Torah-lessness). Two entire books of the New Testament (2Kefa and Jude) are dedicated to combating this false ANOMOS teaching. Yeshua tells us that these teachers will be called "least" in the Kingdom (Mt. 5:19).

Now lets take a look at how the Bible uses this term ANOMOS:

...I [Yeshua] will profess to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you that work ANOMOS. (Mt. 7:23)

...and they [angels] shall gather out of his Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do ANOMOS. (Mt. 13:41)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because ANOMOS shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. (Mt. 24:11-12)

For the mystery of ANOMOS does already work... And then shall the ANOMOS one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,... whose coming is after the working of HaSatan with all power and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness... because they received not the love of truth... That they might be damned who believed not the truth...
(2Thes. 2:7-12)

Many people have been taken in by the ANOMOS teaching. In fact two of Christendom's largest theological sub-sets, Dispensationalism and Replacement Theology, submit detailed theories to explain why they teach that the Torah is not for today.

Dispensationalism is a form of Pre-Millenialism which replaces the eternal "covenants" with finite "ages". Two of these finite ages are "The Age of Torah" which basically encompases "Old Testament times", and "The Age of Grace" which basically encompasses "New Testament times". According to these Dispensationalists, during "Old Testament times" men were under Torah, but during "New Testament times" men are under grace. Some Dispensationalists, called "Ultra-Dispensationalists", even teach that men were saved by Torah in "Old Testament times," but are saved by grace in "New Testament times." As a result, Dispensationalists teach that "the Torah is not for today" or "we have no Torah."

Replacement Theologians teach that G-d has replaced Israel with the Church; Judaism with Christendom; The Old Testament with The New Testament; and Torah with grace. As a result, they too teach that "the Torah is not for today" or "we have no Torah."

Now you may be saying to yourself: "Ok, so they teach Torah-lessness, but don't the Torah-less teachers of 2Peter & Jude go so far as to teach sexual immorality? Surely the Torah-less teachers of within the church would never use their "the Torah is not for today" teaching to promote sexual immorality." Wrong! Some of Christendom's teachers have already carried the "the Torah is not for today" reasoning to its fullest and logical conclusion. A sect of Christendom known as "The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches" has published a tract which does just that. The nameless author of the tract writes:

Another Scripture verse that is used to show that the Bible condemns the gay lifestyle is found in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with a man as thou would with
a woman." Anyone who is concerned about this prohibition should read the whole chapter or the whole Book of Leviticus: No pork, no lobster, no shrimp, no oysters, no intercourse during
the menstrual period, no rare meats, no eating blood, no inter-breeding of cattle, and a whole host of other laws, including the law to kill all divorced people who remarry.

As Christians, our Law is from Christ. St. Paul clearly taught that Christians are no longer under the Old Law (for example in Galatians 3:23-24); that the Old Law is brought to an end in Christ (Romans 10:4); and its fulfillment is in love (Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14). The New Law of Christ is the Law of Love. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any of the New Testament Scriptures implies that Christians are held to the cultic or ethical laws of the Mosaic Law. (Homosexuality; What the Bible Does and Does not Say; Universal Fellowship press, 1984, p. 3)

Thus Christendom's teaching that "the Torah is not for today" is already being used to "turn the grace of our God into perversion." (Jude 1:4; see also 2Pt. 2:18-21)

There is indeed a spiritual battle taking place. It is a battle between the truth and a lie. It is a battle between light and darkness. It is a battle led by the one who came to bear witness to the Torah, and the one who comes to bear witness to Torah-lessness.  The Torah is truth. The belt of truth is the belt of Torah. Gird yourselves with the belt of Torah that you may withstand the Torah-less one.

(End Part 3 of 5)

James Trimm
Translator of the Hebraic Roots Version http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
President, SANJ http://www.nazarene.net 

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