Yeshua and Torah

Many times we are asked why we focus so much on studying and teaching the Torah alongside the teachings of Yeshua. The answer to that is quite simple. Yeshua was a Torah teacher. He was a first century rabbi, expounding upon the concepts of Torah and sharing his interpretations and rulings for the practical applications of Torah with his disciples. Many people do not approach the teachings of Yeshua from this perspective, simply because they do not realize his focus was upon bringing the hearts of his followers closer to the Torah. His ultimate goal was the re-establishment of the Kingdom. He continually proclaimed his gospel message, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” This Kingdom, however, would not come until the people of God would repent — that is, until they turned their hearts back to His ways, the commandments found within the Torah. He will one day come as King and rule over the nations from Jerusalem, as is written, “A Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression” (Isaiah 59:20).

What is so great about the Torah? Here’s a short list of reminders: It is considered the glorious gift that would distinguish Israel from the nations (Deuteronomy 4:8). It will bring prosperity and success if one continually studies and obeys it (Joshua 1:8). It is the daily delight and meditation of the righteous (Psalm 1:2). It is perfect and can both restore the soul and make one wise (Psalm 19:7). The blameless are those who walk in its ways (Psalm 119:1; Luke 1:6). We should ask that our eyes be opened to see “wondrous things” within it (Psalm 119:18). It distances us from falsehood (Psalm 119:29). The wicked are those who forsake it (Psalm 119:53). By keeping it we “remember” the name of the LORD (Psalm 119:55). It keeps us from praising the deeds of the wicked (Proverbs 28:4). If one turns from hearing (i.e. obeying) it, even his prayers are an abomination (Proverbs 28:9). It will one day be written upon our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). It is the final reminder of Malachi — the last of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures — to the children of Israel (Malachi 4:4). When Yeshua teaches, he makes it clear that he has not come to change or abolish it, but blesses those who walk in its ways (Matthew 5:17–20). Yeshua taught the eternal nature of the Torah (Matthew 5:18). It was delivered by angels (Acts 7:53). Submitting to the Torah produces righteousness (Romans 2:13). When Gentiles submit to the standards of the Torah, even without knowing, it is considered as righteousness (Romans 2:14). When Jews disobey the Torah they blaspheme the name of God (Romans 2:17–24). Submission to the Torah shows a circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:25–29). If we strive to keep the Torah it reveals that we truly know God and his son, Yeshua (1 John 2:3–6).

Are you studying along with the weekly Torah readings? If not, we encourage you to do so, because it is our responsibility as disciples of Yeshua to both imitate his practices and understand his teachings to the best of our ability. Learning the weekly Torah portion is a critical step in understanding the teachings of our Master. This week (December 11, 2014) we are studying the life of Joseph in Genesis 37:1–40:23. Will you join us and study along? Do it for the Master.