The word Torah means ‘Law’ or ‘Instruction’ given by God to Israel within the Tanakh.
It contained then the instructions for the sacrificial, ceremonial, judicial, civil and moral parts of the Law as a whole for the nation of Israel to obey. The Sabbath and the Law were therefore given to Israel. We should note that of the 10 Commandments nine are repeated in the New Testament, the exception being the keeping of the Sabbath. No where within the New Testament are believers instructed to keep the Sabbath. However, under or within the dispensation of grace we have the liberty of Romans 14:4-6 and the two sided interpretation of Colossians 2:16-17. No one is therefore to bring judgement upon anyone else regarding what day they worship on.
Our Lord Y’shua states that He came to fulfil the Law, that is to satisfy its conditions through His atoning death. This is why we have His words in John 8:24 that state:
“If you do not believe I AM you will die in your sins.” This then is the most important factor, the salvation of precious souls.
If the Law was still in force then Jews could be saved through it but there is no Temple, no Levitical Priesthood and therefore no sacrificial or ceremonial system in operation. On top of this there is no Mosaic Law as a judicial and civil court system available. Of the 613 laws, 187 of them appertain to the Temple which is not in existence and there are still a number of others which cannot be fully kept. They, like us then are under the ‘moral law’ of the Lord and the law of the land in which we live!
Israel through her Messiah has a better covenant now in force but they have resisted this through their leaders and rejected the New Covenant promised. Romans 10:2-4.
The Law was not given as a means of salvation – Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20a; Galatians 2:16,21 and 3:11. It was designed to show people their sinfulness Romans 3:20b; 5:20; 7:7; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 3:19 and then to bring them to God for His gracious salvation through Y’shua. But within the Law there are moral principles which are valid for people in every age, see Romans 2:14-15. However, the Law had attached to it the penalty of death, see Galatians 3:10 and so to break one part of it was to break all of it – James 2:10.
The Gospel then does not overthrow the Law, it upholds the Law and shows how the Law’s demands have been fully satisfied by our Messiah’s redemptive work.
So the Messianic Believer – Jew or Gentile who trusts in Moshiach/Messiah is no longer under the Law but under Grace – Romans 6:14. We are dead to the Law through Him. Our Lord Y’shua (Jesus) paid the price once and for all and so in this sense the Law has faded away, see 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. While then we are not under the Law and have liberty we are not to be lawless. We are under a stronger chain called the Law of Messiah or Christ, see 1 Corinthians 9:21.
The ministry of the law has not finished for the unsaved as 1 Timothy 1:8 states. Here we are taught its lawful use is to produce the knowledge of sin. It is a tutor as Paul writes, and after being saved we no longer need a tutor as stated in Galatians 3:24-25. It is then in 1 Timothy 1:9 that we are taught that the Law is not made for a righteous person but for sinners. We on the other hand have been made righteous by our Saviour. Believers do not walk according to the flesh but according to the ways of the Spirit – Romans 8:4.
Finally, we should realise that the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount taught a higher law than “do not murder” but “do not even hate!” So we can say that this sermon upholds the Law and the Prophets in that it amplifies them and develops their deeper implications.
In this way we can now understand the words of our Messiah towards Jews and Gentiles in Matthew 5:17-18.
“Think not that I come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you. Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Our behaviour then is not moulded by fear of the Law’s punishment but by a loving desire to obey our Lord and Saviour. He has become our rule of life and by His grace we are saved not by the works of the Law. Our relation to the Law is that certain principles of it are of lasting relevance – it is always wrong to steal, to covet, to murder.
Entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven then is by faith in Y’shua/Jesus. A person’s position within the Kingdom of Heaven comes through obedience and faithfulness. Amen.
Date : 30/11/-0001