Objections to Keeping Torah


Torah is a Hebrew word that means "instruction" or "law", depending on the context. It refers to the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), also commonly known as the Pentateuch. When Yeshua (aka Jesus) spoke of "the Law and the Prophets", he was referring to the Torah and the rest of the Old Testament. 

You might also hear of the "oral Torah", which refers to a semi-mythical tradition that was passed down to the ancient rabbis from Moses by word of mouth, as opposed to the written Torah referenced above. Those rabbis debated and discussed them, and the records of those discussions are recorded in the various Talmuds. I don't think there can be any doubt that Moses gave oral instructions that were never written down, because there is much in the written Torah that can't be fully understood otherwise. However, I don't think those instructions survived intact for the rabbis to discuss them. Clearly the religious leaders of Yeshua's day had a very confused understanding of the Torah, so it seems very unlikely that they had straightened it all out a few hundred years later. It's much more likely that they had gone even further astray.

That's not to say that the Talmud and rabbinic traditions are worthless. If you understand that it contains a record of debates, not just a straightforward recounting of oral tradition, then you can look past some of the more offensive and blasphemous contents to find some really profound and insightful bits. It's not divinely inspired Scripture, but it is useful for historical context and perspective.

The written Torah, however, most certainly is divinely inspired, parts of it originally written directly by the hand of God himself. It is the foundation for all later revelation. None of the books of history, poetry, and prophecy, the Gospels, and the Epistles can be understood without a solid foundation in the Torah.

The Torah Movement

At this very moment, there is a spontaneous, global movement of people who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to study the Torah and apply its instructions to their real lives. There is no leader, no central committee, no parent organization, and no headquarters of this movement. There isn't even a commonly accepted name. People in this movement call themselves Christians, Messianic Jews, Messianic Believers, Torah-Keepers, Hebrew Roots, Pronomians, Nazarene Israelites, and numerous other labels.

I don't particularly care for any of those labels, but I've used several of them for myself at times.

Regardless of the labels, they all have two things in common:

  1. Yeshua is the Son of God, Messiah, and King of Israel.
  2. The Torah still applies today to followers of Yeshua.
Beyond that, there is an almost infinite variation in their interpretations of Scripture. 

There is also a lot of controversy within the rest of the Body of Christ as to what to do with these upstart Obeyers of God's Commandments. Some even deny that we are a part of the Body of Christ at all, claiming that we have rejected God's grace in favor of earning our salvation. (I'm sure they're right about a very small minority.) Some radicals say that any willful attempt to obey any of God's commandments is a rejection of grace. Fortunately, most Christians reject those people in turn.

The Controversy

Of course, all of this means I've put together quite a few words on the subject of whether a follower of Yeshua--or Jesus, if you prefer...it's the same man--ought to obey the full Law of God or not.

A point of clarification on "the Law of God"... Some people make a distinction between the Law of God and the Law of Moses. The distinction is mostly artificial. The instructions that God gave through Moses at Sinai are a written expression of the Law of God. The Law of Moses is the Law of God as it was conveyed in a specific time and space, to a specific people as part of a specific covenant.

Below, I have attempted to catalog all of my online teachings on Torah-keeping, organized by sub-topic, but not in any other kind of order. There's a lot of overlap, and I'm sure to forget some articles or videos, so please search American Torah, Soil from Stone, Rumble, YouTube, and other sites for more from myself and many other fine teachers.

A caveat if you do search for other defenses or refutations of Torah-keeping, though: There is a vast spectrum of quality in the content you will find. Unless you are very thoroughly versed in the Scriptures and confident in your beliefs, I recommend that you set aside the teachings of anyone who denies the divinity of Yeshua or who denies that God has any objective standards of morality for his people.

Salvation by Faith

Does the Law Apply to Christians?

Under the Law

The Weekly Sabbath

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