To the non-redeemed, the Torah is of no value. But for the redeemed, the Torah should be of extreme value. It didn’t matter who you were. The redemption is meant to restore, to bring us back into compliance with the ways of God. How can one know what sin is without the Torah because it is the instruction, so that we can understand what God calls sin. Somewhere things got “messed up.” Judaism messed it up and Christianity messed it up. Until we put all of this back into the right perspective, there is no way to understand the New Testament. The Book of Romans is going to deal with “grace” and “Torah” and we have to understand these fundamentals, and that is why in book after book you will read about Paul and what he said, and you will see how he has been misunderstood because people do not understand grace and Torah. That is a terrible state to be in. That is why you have leaders and denominations who don’t understand grace and Torah. But, they will put people on all sorts of guilt trips about grace and Torah.
Let’s go back to Rom 1.5 again. We have the phrase “obedience of the faith” and that refers to the Torah, and that is “among all the gentiles.” When Paul wrote this, the “Judaisms” of his day must have had a collective gasp, except the School of Hillel. The School of Shammai explicitly taught that gentiles had no place in the Kingdom of God unless they became Jews through ritual circumcision. The phrase “for his name’s sake” means Paul did this to honor the Father. Now, let’s move to 1 Cor 1.1. Again, Paul identifies himself as a “sh’liach” (sent one with a purpose) by the “will of God.” This is an important concept because it was the Lord who called him, it was not the will of Paul. In 1 Cor 1.2, English translations use the word “church” but in Hebrew he would have used “kehilat” and this would be in the framework of the synagogue. We prefer to use “kehilat” rather than “church” in order to destroy the Hellenistic view of what the church was, and is. Paul’s “kehilat (plural of “kahal”) has little in common with today’s “churches.” The word “saints” used there is the Hebrew “tzaddikim” and Paul says these tzaddikim were called. You don’t achieve this status before God after you become a believer. The second you become a believer you are as righteous as you ever will be, there is no more that you can attain. Some translations have “called to be saints” but that conveys a wrong concept. Who has more righteousness, you or Yeshua? You have the same righteousness because his righteousness was given to us. You will notice in 1 Cor 1.3 that “grace” and “peace” come from the Father and Yeshua. That would be a blasphemous statement if Yeshua was not God himself.
We have already defined the terms in 2 Cor 1.1-2, but you will notice that he says that this letter is written to the kehilat in Corinth with “all the tzaddikim who are throughout Archaia. This means that this letter is to be passed around because it was written to the kehilat in the area.
In Gal 1.1, we learn that Paul’s authority comes from God and written to the “kehilat of Galatia” which means there were many congregations and this letter was to be passed around also. Gal 1.3 touches on things already discussed. Gal 1.4 says that Yeshua “gave himself up for our sins” and this is an important concept. There is a teaching that the Messiah gave himself for our sins, and he did. But, there is an assumption that is made in Christianity on this phrase that is different than what is understood in Jewish thought (more on this later). He did this in order to “deliver us out of this present evil age.” This “present evil age” is known as the Olam Ha Zeh (this present age). There was not a concept at the time that a man would, or even could, pay for the sins of another, or be sacrificed for the sins of another. There was not a concept that said one could “sacrifice” another person, in order to accomplish this. God did not allow this practice in Lev 18.21, 20.1-5; Judge 11.29-40. There is a false concept in Christianity that God “sacrificed” Yeshua for the sins of another. The Scriptures say that “He bore our sins” but what does that mean (Isa 53.12). Yeshua’s blood was for the “remission” (meaning to “cancel a debt”-Col 2.14) of sin. Here are some terms to know so that you can better understand what is going on. Reconciliation means to remove or satisfy; expiation means to make amends for, atone; imputation means to credit; propitiation means acquittal; justification means to vindicate and make just; faith is action, confidence; salvation means to be preserved from evil and distress, sanctified means to be set apart (kedusha). By Yeshua’s suffering comes healing and salvation. To “bear” means to “lift up” and can mean “to forgive.”
He “bore” our sins in his heart. He was perfect (Rom 4.25, 5.9) and he gave what we could not, a perfect life. He bore in his flesh and heart our sins. Yeshua showed how much God loved us. Yeshua suffered not because he was punished by God, that was the impression his persecutor’s wanted people to think (Isa 53.4). Yeshua allowed himself to be taken because it was for our own good, and the will of the Father. This action would heal us of sin because he offered his perfect life/blood, and life is in the blood. He was denied true justice by men (1 Pet 2.19-24; Acts 5.30 (“whom YOU put to death”). He was far from the embodiment of sin (which is what Satan wanted people to think). Yeshua brought peace without a blemish of sin because he never broke the Torah. He was not made guilty of our sins, that is not justice or right. You can’t blame someone else for the sins of another. He was righteous and in him we live (Hab 2.4). The word “bore” is the Hebrew “Nasa” which means “to lift or forgive.” He “lifted” their heavy loads (of sin). He healed the sick, he cared for them. He was like Aaron who “bore the iniquity of the holy things” in Exo 28.38. That doesn’t mean Aaron became sin. Yeshua “bore” their demon possession and illnesses in Matt 8.16-17 and that was before the cross. Yeshua’s trial was the justice of corrupt men. God overturned the verdict of an earthly court by raising Yeshua from the dead by the justice of God to prove they killed the wrong man, the Messiah (Acts 2.23, 5.30; 1 Pet 2.19). His punishment was not from God. Peter likened it to murder (Acts 5.30) and also in the case of Stephen (Acts 7.54).
One of the problems Jews have with Paul and what the “church” teaches is that for God to “sacrifice” his son was a violation of the Torah, but that is because Christianity does not understand what Paul taught, or what the Scriptures teach for that matter. Yeshua laid his life down for his friends. How all this came about needs to change, moving away from the Hellenistic, anomianism (no Torah), Marcionic way of thinking that is so prevalent in Christianity. The Father did not “sacrifice” Yeshua, Yeshua gave himself up (John 10.18). He didn’t do this for for the “Jews only”, He did it for his “elect, his friends, the little flock, his sheep, his Kahal” (Matt 20.28) and for the ransom of “many” (not all). The “many” are the the one’s that were ordained for eternal life before the world was created (Eph 1.4). The “many” is the “our” of Gal 1.4, the “kahal” of Eph 5.26-27 and the “us” in Titus 2.14.
Now, the “present evil age” of Gal.1.4 needs to be understood within the scheme of Jewish eschatology and needs to be defined. It is not talking about the “Age of Law” or the “Age of Grace” but he is making a direct reference to Jewish eschatology and the 7000 year plan of God. Since Creation, the world will continue for 6000 years, called the Olma Ha Zeh, this present age. The next period is a 1000 year period called the Atid Lavo (the Future Age/Coming). It also is called the “Day of the Lord”, “Lord’s Day” or the Messianic Kingdom. After the 7000 years, everything will be redeemed and restored, and that period is called the Olam Haba (the World to Come). Paul is simply referring to the Olam Ha Zeh and that we are delivered out of the judgment of this age, and in reality, are seated with the Lord in heavenly places, which is the Olam Haba (Eph 2.6). All of this is “according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal 1.4)) and so it is God’s will that we be delivered. Eph 1.1-2 have some of the same concepts we have gone over.
In Part 8, we will pick up with Paul’s introduction in Phil 1.1.