I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday during a conversation with Tim Terry, about following God’s law, or Torah. I have been asked many questions, and been in my share of arguments over the topic of Torah Observance. The usual statement that I hear is “Jesus did away with the Law” or, “Isn’t that Legalistic?” or, “Those things are for the Jews – that was given to the Jews.” Tim has had his share of these same conversations, and is currently in an online dialog with a Pastor who used these same arguments.
Let’s tackle the first one, “Jesus did away with the Law”. In answering this statement, it only takes one passage; Mat 5:17 says “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” That seems pretty self explanatory, but people tend to think that what He was really saying is “I didn’t come to destroy them, but as soon as I have fulfilled them, you are under no obligation to do any of them ever again.” That is not what He said.
And the Second one; “Isn’t that Legalistic?” Jews in the first century had no concept of Legalistic. Their entire lives were encompassed by the rules of Torah. Of course it was Legalistic – But, that same word that is used for “Law” is the same word for Torah. Consequently, we (like Paul, Timothy, John, James, Peter, Jesus, and any other follower of Jesus in the first century) are “Torahistic”. I refuse to stop doing what God tells me to do based on misinformation handed down by the mainstream church. The Law is Gods instructions. Somehow, this has turned into a condemnable offence to Christians as a whole, because of faulty teaching concerning God's Instructions.
And lastly, lets look at “Those things are for the Jews – that was given to the Jews.”
For starters, Paul said that “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Rom 10:12.
If that wasn't clear enough, the book of James is written to the “twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” James 1:1 -That is not us. This book is a favorite among Christians because it speaks of grace, yet it is clearly written to Jews.
Here is where the epiphany comes in; in Leviticus 19:3, “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I [am] the LORD yvour God.”
Did you notice that these two Commandments are in the same sentence? If the Sabbath was for Jews, and the parent-obeying was for all, don’t you think that God would have mentioned it? He did not. He did not, because both Commandments are His Teaching, and because they are both His instruction, they hold equal ground.