Was Yeshua Against the Torah and the Temple?

The plain, simple answer to this in “No.” That would have made him a false teacher. But we do know that false witnesses claimed that Stephen was against these things in Acts 6.13-14, and he was killed because of his testimony about Yeshua. These false witnesses accused him of teaching against the Torah and the Temple. They accused him of saying that Yeshua came to alter the customs of Moses. The key part of this is they are false witnesses. Stephen was a Hellenistic Jew who was Torah observant (Acts 6.1-5). To say otherwise is a false statement. To bring a false accusation against Stephen that he was against the Torah and the Temple means that he was in compliance with these things. This is a strange testimony for the first “Christian” martyr! The fact is, any teacher that tells you that Yeshua came to “do away with the Torah and the Temple” and he instructed his followers to do the same is a false witness. They are no different than those who rose up against Stephen. If one listens to or attends an assembly that teaches this, they are a part of a false witness against the Messiah. John had strong words against this when he said in 1 John 2.3-4, “And by this, we know that we have come to know him (in a redemptive way), if we keep his commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know him (in a redemptive way)’ and does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Then there are some who will say, “Didn’t Paul keep the Torah just to win people to Christ?” Well, that would make Paul a hypocrite and he rebuked Peter for that in Gal 2.11-14. Paul kept the Torah and taught it to others because that was what he was supposed to do, as his reasonable service to Yehovah. He kept the Sabbath, went to the festivals, performed animal sacrifices, and even had a Nazarite Vow (Acts 18.18, 21.15-26). He taught the Torah to non-Jews who believed in Yeshua, not just to Jewish people (1 Cor 11.1-2; Acts 16.21; 2 Thes 2.15, 3.6). There was a rumor about Paul started by false witnesses that he was not keeping the Torah, but it was shown to be a false rumor (Acts 21.15-26, 24.14-17).

There are also some who teach that the unclean animals in Lev 11 and Deut 14 can be eaten now, but that is because they misunderstand some of the Scriptures, like Acts 10, for instance. Peter sees a vision which showed him that the non-Jews were not to be considered unclean, and that is the conclusion Peter came to in Acts 10.28. The purpose of the vision was about bringing the Basar to the non-Jews, which was contrary to the 18 Edicts of Beit Shammai, which first-century Jews followed for the most part. These edicts were passed about 50 years earlier to separate Jews from non-Jews, but these edicts did not come from Yehovah and were totally done away with sometime before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by Beit Hillel who took control of the Sanhedrin. This vision was not about food, but about people.

Mark 7 describes an incident with Yeshua and his talmidim. The issue there was not about eating kosher food, but about a rabbinical ordinance that said if you ate kosher food (they would not have eaten anything else) without going through a ceremonial hand-washing ritual ordained by the Pharisees of Beit Shammai, the food they ate was unclean. Yeshua said that eating food without a ritual hand-washing ceremony did not make the food unclean, thus the kosher foods they ate remained clean. This was a ritual question that put him at odds against some Pharisees from Beit Shammai and their man-made doctrines of the time.

Yeshua said that he did not come to do away with the Torah or the Prophets in Matt 5.17-19, and that statement alone should do away with this whole question. Now, if you think that Yeshua did come to do away with the Torah, you better not study prophecy either because he did away with that, too, according to these verses. Obviously, prophecy has not been done away with, and neither has the Torah. To teach otherwise is putting yourself in direct conflict with the Messiah.

Another misunderstood Scripture can be found in 1 Tim 4.1-5. False teachers will say that all food, including the unpermitted foods in Lev 11 and Deut 14, can be eaten now if it is eaten in gratitude. But is that what it is saying? The answer to this can be found in verse 5 where it says, “for it (the food) is set apart by means of the word of God (the clean foods set aside to eat in Lev 11 and Deut 14) and prayer (the blessings before and after it is eaten-Matt 14.19; Deut 8.10). This has nothing to do with eating food like pork, shrimp, catfish, or anything that is forbidden in those chapters.

We know that Yeshua was without sin, and the knowledge of what sin is found in the Torah, and sin is the transgression of the Torah (Rom 3.20; 1 John 3.4). So, therefore, Yeshua did not sin because he was Torah observant and would not have been against the Torah or the Temple.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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