We were talking earlier about Antiochus Epiphanes IV and how he forbid the reading of the Torah, the keeping of the Sabbath and festivals and shut down the Temple. Where do the leaders of today get the idea that Jews must give up the land and that Jews must give up the Temple Mount? They say that these things are not important and that Israel must be like other nations. The Elders in Jerusalem did not teach these things and they wrote the New Testament. They stood in the gates and taught that they should believe in Yeshua and follow the Torah.
There is an erroneous teaching in Christianity called “Dispensationalism.” This teaches that there was an “age of law” and now we are in the “age of grace.” We totally disagree with this, but it is taught all over. It is off track and shows little understanding of biblical eschatology. The English translation of Torah is “law” but it actually means “teaching, instruction and guidance.” Instruction (Torah) began in Eden and it continues, so does grace. When did grace begin? With the first sin, also in Eden. Torah and grace go hand in hand and they are not opposed to each other. Rom 10.4 is translated in English, “Christ is the end of the law” and some use that to say, “See, the law is over.” But the word “end” is “telos” in Greek (where “teloscope” comes from) and it means the “target, the goal.” In other words it says, “Messiah is the goal, the target of the instruction.” This goes along with other verses such as Psa 40.7 and John 5.39-47. That changes how we see that verse. Deut 4.5-8 says that the Torah was given to Israel to “keep and do”, and when the nations see their wisdom and understanding they will say that Israel is a great nation with a wise and understanding people. Antiochus was against “the covenant” (Dan 11.30). If they did the opposite of Deut 4.5-9 and disregarded the Torah, he favored them. It is the same today. Decide to follow the Torah and see how you get treated. People will be offended because you don’t follow their holidays, eat what they eat and believe like they do. Decide to be like them, and you will all get along and be friends.
This attitude affects the politics regarding Israel. They says, “Give up the land” but God said not to. They say, “Give up the Temple Mount” when God said not to. This is the same thing Antiochus did and said. They “love Israel” as long as they don’t have to deal with the Torah. 1 Tim 4.1-4 says that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith (the body of doctrinal truth contained in the Torah) and their minds will be seared. Paul is talking about people in the last days who will abstain from clean foods acceptable in the Torah, for it is “sanctified (has a kedusha) by means of the word of God (what to eat is found in the Torah-Lev 11; Deut 14) and prayer (the b’rachah-blessings before and after eating).” But we must transform our minds in order to read these verses in the way they were intended. Let’s look at the Temple. It was the throne of God on earth. But in Christianity, they teach that the Temple is no longer valid and that a believer in the First Century did not attend the Temple, with all the ceremonies and korbanot (sacrifices), but they did. There is a concept in Christianity that says the sacrifices took away sin, but they didn’t. There is no word in English that describes “korbanot” which means “to draw near” but it is translated as “sacrifices” but that is not quite right. The korbanot were ceremonies, not sacrifices.
Immersion, or “baptism”, is another ceremony. Now, do you gain righteousness by doing an immersion? No, because righteousness comes by faith. Faith means “confidence” and the Hebrew word is “Emunah” which is related to the word “Amen” which means “I agree, let it be done as you have said, truly.” Biblical “emunah” is made up of three things, and if you are missing any of these it is not emunah. First, you must have “Mitzvot”, or commandments. God has told you something to do or not do. Then you must have “Da’at” or knowledge. The third thing is “Ahav” or love, the right attitude.
We saw in Acts 21 that Paul offered korbanot, or “animal sacrifices” coming out of a Nazarite vow (Num 6). Why was Paul offering animal sacrifices (korbanot) 28 years after Yeshua if all these things were “done away with in Christ?” Some erroneously teach that the “middle wall of partition” in Eph 2.11-22 is the Torah. But how can that be if Paul is still Torah observant? It contradicts because their theology contradicts. How can a Jew or a non-Jew eat together if there weren’t eating and food standards? Some say this “middle wall” was the Soreg around the Temple to keep the unclean and the non-Jew from going any further. Signs warning this very thing have been found. But is that the “middle wall?”
Rabban Gamaliel (Rabban is a title for the Nasi or “president” of the Sanhedrin) was the grandson of Hillel the Great, and Paul’s teacher. There were two main groups of Pharisee’s. Beit Hillel had a separate halakah from the other groups. Beit Shammai was the other group and they came out with the “18 Edicts.” These edicts, or measures, were designed to keep the Jew and the non-Jew separated from each other. We don’t have a list of them anymore because they were cast out of Jewish halakah between 55 and 70 AD because they conflicted with the Torah. But, they were in place and enforced when the New Testament was written. We will go into more detail about these edicts, the meeting that was held when they were passed and much more later in this teaching when we talk about the Yeshua, the Pharisee’s, the Zealots and the Sadducee’s. One of the edicts said that a Jew cannot have a non-Jew in his house, or even eat with them. We see some of these edicts mentioned in Scripture, such as Acts 11.1-3 and Matt 8.8 for example. What the “middle wall” in Eph 2.14 is are the 18 Edicts passed by Beit Shammai in 20 BC. These are man-made ordinances and commandments that were designed to separate Jew from non-Jew.
The Temple was a delight to the people. Our series on Temple 201 on this site brought this out in many ways. The priests “ran” to do their duties. One priest broke his leg racing another priest to get to his duty. The Temple courts were jammed with people before sunrise. The korbanot were ceremonies where one is instructed that they never took away sin. Did Yeshua ever offer a korban? Will he offer one in the future. The answer to both questions is “Yes.” Was Yeshua ever ritually unclean? Did he ever touch the dead? The answer is “yes”, so he was sprinkled with the ashes of the Red Heifer (a sin offering). Remember, these ceremonies were from God, not man. We have mentioned before how the false messiah will try and change the seasons and the laws (Dan 7.25). 2 Thes 2.1-3 says that the false messiah is the “man of lawlessness” which means “without the Torah.” The false messiah will lead those who are against the Torah and don’t think it applies anymore. Matt 7.21-23 says the same thing. There will be people alive when the Lord returns who have ministered “in my name” and Yeshua says “I never knew you.” Then he says they “practice lawlessness” (they were without the Torah).
Laban the Aramean is seen as a villain, worse than Pharaoh. Why? He was subtle and wanted assimilation. At least Pharaoh was upfront about it, but Laban was crafty and dangerous, not easy to spot. In Gen 31.1-42, Jacob decides to leave Paddan-Aram. Laban’s son’s accuse him of stealing and their attitudes were not friendly towards him anymore. Jacob will be a picture of Israel in the last days in this story. From Gen 31.1 to 33.17, his story will be very eschatological. Jacob has worked 20 years and has been out of the land, just like Israel has been out of the land for 200 years in the Diaspora. Now, what has been the greatest danger to Israel during this time? Is it their enemies? No, the Hitlers are easy to spot, but not the Laban’s.
People want to be like Laban. He said “be with us, serve us” but all the time the attitude was “they will steal from us.” What does Laban want? He wants the family to be with him, up there in Paddan-Aram. He wants them close, to adopt his ways, his customs and gods, be an Aramean. Deut 28.1-14 lists the blessings that will come upon Israel if they follow the Torah. The rest of the chapter is what happens if they don’t and turn away. Laban wanted them to assimilate. If they did, how would this play out? They would not live in the land, they would not keep the Torah, they would have no Temple, they would eat whatever they wanted. That is what God’s enemies want. The Shema in Deut 6.4-9 says that Israel is to love the lord and keep his commandments. But people say, “We love the Jews and want them to be saved.” But, then they tell them to “drop the Jewish stuff like Torah.” But that is what the words of Laban were, “Be a part of my house.” But love is the motive to follow the Lord.
Psa 119 is in 22 sections, with each section having eight verses beginning with the Hebrew alphabet, from Aleph to Tav. The object of Psa 119 is the Torah because every verse talks of the Torah. The Torah is the very nature of God, but some say they don’t need the commandments. But Deut 28 15-68 says that if the Jewish people don’t follow the commandments they will be cursed. Therefore, by saying that “We love the Jews” and “We support Israel” but then want the Jews to quit being Torah observant, stop keeping the Sabbath and eating kosher and come to church with us, they are actually trying to subtly curse them, making war on them. This is ant-semitism and being a subtle Laban. The only difference between Hitler (overt anti-semitism) and Laban (subtle anti-semitism) is Hitler was in a hurry.
In Part 3, we will pick up here and develop our topic of the Torah and New Testament Foundations.