Pharisees chose legalism over the grace of God
Torah observance is an Old Testament phenomenon, linked to Jewish Law and the Temple in Jerusalem. It is still practiced, after a fashion, by many Jewish groups. Since that horrific day in AD 70 when Emperor Titus and his Roman Army ransacked and destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the place Jehovah authorized for offering sacrifices no longer exists.
Jews and Christians rightly honor the Torah because it is G-d's holy word but it's time to be honest about Torah Observance. You and I cannot even name all 613 commands in the Jewish Law unless we open the Torah and read them. And even if we could name them and keep all of them, doing so would not save us. G-d doesn't tell us to be a good person to get saved or to keep the law to get saved. If we can't name or keep all of G-d's commands, how can we live a life that pleases God?
Scripture uses limiting language to describe the Law of Moses. This limiting language indicates that the Law Covenant or Mosaic Covenant was a temporary covenant which would eventually be replaced by a better covenant, called the New Covenant.
The Law had a definite ending point.
Jesus said: "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." Matthew 11:13.
Ancient Jewish Scroll
"Until" means up to and including John. "Until" indicates that John the Baptist marks the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new covenant.
"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator." Galatians 3:19.
Scripture tells us the Law is "till" the seed should come. The seed is Jesus Christ, our Messiah. The Law of Moses was a temporary institution whose purpose was to point people to Christ. It was not intended to be an everlasting covenant.
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Romans 10:4.
"End" means both fulfillment and termination.
"For if that which is done away [the Old Covenant of Law] was glorious, much more that which remaineth [the New Covenant] is glorious." 2 Corinthians 3:11.
Paul contrasts law and grace, old covenant and new covenant and says the old covenant was "done away." Think about it. If Torah Observance is a requirement for Christians, why does Paul describe the law as "done away?"
“And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished" [the law]. 2 Corinthians 3:13.
If Torah Observance is still a requirement for Christians today, why does Paul say the law was "abolished?" Paul describes the Law as "abolished" because Christians no longer have to keep the Law, Romans 6:14, 10:4, to be right with God. Jesus kept the Law AND appeased the wrath of God, Romans 3:25, by offering Himself as God's Ultimate Sacrifice, by the offering of Himself once for all. There is no further need of Old Testament blood sacrifices of bulls and goats, which could never take away sin.
A beautiful old Torah scroll. God gave Moses
the Law after Israel left Egypt, around 1450 BC
Scripture contrasts the old covenant
and the new covenant.
The New Testament never commands Torah keeping and never says that Torah Observance is required to get saved, to stay saved or to be right with God. Instead, the Bible contrasts the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The New Covenant is described as "everlasting" while the Old Covenant is described as "done away with" and "abolished."
The New Covenant Is Everlasting.
1. "And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant." Psalm 105:10.
Here the Psalmist speaks of the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant.
2. "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." Isaiah 24:5.
Here Isaiah speaks of the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant.
3. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant..." Hebrews 13:20.
The Lord Jesus Christ coming to earth as our Messiah was the grand fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, God's promised seed to bless all nations of the earth.
Are Christians Under The Law?
No - scripture is clear that Christians are not under law and therefore Torah Observance is not required for Christians. Keeping Torah is an Old Testament command for Jews living in Israel under the Law of Moses.
The Cross of Calvary is God's great dividing point. Jesus died on the cross to appease the wrath of God against our sins. God accepted Jesus' death and His shed blood as the perfect payment for our sins. Now, when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are saved with a perfect salvation AND we are also given the perfect righteousness of Christ as a free gift of God's amazing grace.
the Law required us to keep ALL its precepts and we are incapable of doing that. So, Jesus perfectly kept the Law for us, in our place. When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, God imputes (applies the righteousness of Christ to our account as a free gift).
It's as if we had never sinned and instead, had led as perfect a life as Jesus led, always keeping the Law and always pleasing God, as Jesus did. Can you get your mind around what a stunning gift God wants to give us?
Remember that Jesus kept the Law perfectly for us and when we get saved, God freely gives us the righteousness of Christ as a FREE gift of His grace. This truth is called Justification by faith.
This much loved Leipzig Torah scroll, survived the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Torah is read from right to left.
Can anyone keep all 613 commandments in the Law? If you cannot, then according to James 2:10, you are defeated before you begin.
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10
"Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)" Romans 2:15
If you mess up your Torah observance one time, if you fail to keep even one of the 613 commands in the Law, it's as if you’ve broken all of them. Think about it. If we are still required to keep the Law, what happens when we inevitably break the Law? There are no Levitical priests offering blood sacrifices in the Jewish Temple. The Jewish Temple was destroyed when Titus the Roman Emperor sacked Jerusalem in AD 70.
Apart from the sacrifice of Jesus our Messiah, which paid for all our sins forever, Hebrews 10:1-16, if we are still under the Law, we're in deep trouble.
We have no way to atone for our sins under the Law. Since there is no Levitical priesthood offering blood sacrifices and no Temple in Jerusalem in which to offer sacrifices, there is no way, under the Law, to deal with our sins. Torah observance does not work when there's no Tabernacle, no Temple and no Levitical priesthood to offer sacrifices.
instead of Torah Observance, you'll be just fine. Jesus was God's passover Lamb. The blood payment for sins which Jesus made on the Cross, as our Substitute, was accepted by God the Father. God the Father was perfectly pleased with the blood sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. Now if you want to get saved, you must be satisfied with the payment for your sins that Jesus made. Jesus' payment satisfied God. Does Jesus' payment for your sins satisfy you?
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29
"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." 1Corinthians 5:7b
Jesus died and shed His sinless blood to pay for our sins. The blood Jesus shed appeased the wrath of God against our sins. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can have eternal life when we trust Jesus as our sin payment, as our Savior.
If you try to keep the Law but refuse to trust Jesus, what do you do with your sins? There's no way to get rid of your sins apart from Jesus, God's sacrifice for sins. It's easier and safer to trust Jesus alone and it's the right thing to do.
Some modern Pharisees want to pick and choose which parts of the Law others must keep. They believe that Torah Observance is a requirement for gay Christians. They insist that gay Christians must comply with their unscriptural interpretation of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.
Scripture is clear that picking and choosing to keep only some parts of the Law is not acceptable to God. Paul shot down the picking and choosing argument in his letter to the Galatians.
"Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Galatians 3:10
If you want to be justified by law, then you've got to keep ALL of the law. The only thing God will accept is 100%, total compliance with His Law. Anything less than 100% perfect law-keeping puts you under a curse, according to Galatians 3:10.
So please, do NOT try to keep Torah Law at home or anyplace else! Simply trust Jesus - no muss, no fuss, no bother and you get salvation as a FREE gift from God.
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This page updated February 8, 2017