Study Notes and Slides
Reclaiming the Original Faith
Part 3- Torah Revival
We have recently discovered how the journey that the Torah of YHWH had undertaken was an extremely harrowing path. When the people of Yahudah (Judah) were taken into captivity Yisrael suffered by subtle means whereby the people were indoctrinated into a new culture and were reluctant after 70 years to leave Babylon. Thankfully we saw how the young men brought up under intense Torah observance had developed such a love for YHWH and the Torah that they inspired their Nation. One notable truth however is that while Yahudah was in Captivity they developed a real hunger for the things of YHWH and even in much later years Babylon became a centre for Torah learning. During this time it is worthy of noting that the Modern Hebrew Aleph-Bet was developed and the Hebrew Calendar that is still used today was also adopted.
Following the Captivity we saw this small Nation gradually being revived and observant to the Torah until the Greek empire under Antiochus ruled Yisrael and through great evil began the horrific destruction of all Torah observance and Covenant faithfulness with the purpose of purging every aspect of Judaism from the Nation and replacing their Religion with the Greek Religion. We discovered that this period in Israel’s history saw much blood spilt to keep the Nation of Yisrael faithful to YHWH.
It was during this time that we saw the Great battles of the Maccabean wars which saw great heroes emerging being inspired by a love for YHWH and his Torah with the result that finally the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) and the National faith in the Torah known today as Judaism restored, with the Feast of Chanukah (Hanukah) being the Feast of the dedication of the Temple observed yearly in remembrance of this difficult but victorious time in Yisrael’s history.
The Treaty of Friendship with Rome:
A notable truth that emerges in the Book of the Maccabees is found in the following:
1 Maccabees 8: 17- 21 Judas accordingly chose Eupolemus son of John and Jason son of Eleazar and sent them to Rome to conclude a treaty of friendship and alliance so that the Romans might rid them of tyranny for it was clear that the Greek empire was reducing Yisrael to slavery.
What we can conclude from all this is that Rome became an ally of Yisrael and due to the successes against the Seleucid rulers Yisrael finally gained autonomy and at the collapse of the Seleucid (Greek) Kingdom the Yahudim gained independence.
This however only lasted about 80 years due to corruption within the Hasmonean family that produced infighting which eventually resulted in Roman rule being established.
Rome then appointed Herod King of Yahudah (Judea) who also appointed his own man as the High Priest though often this was achieved through bribes paid to Herod.
King Herod did however enlarge and beautify the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) as well as build Fort Antonio on the Temple Mount.
In accordance with the will of YHWH and his promises through the Prophets we come to a time when Yisrael had all the fundamental tenants of the faith of the Fathers, making it ripe for the coming of the Promised Moshiach (Messiah) so it is to this time and the coming of Yahshua that we turn to establish the significance of the Torah.
Now that Yisrael was ruled by Rome its Religion is once again able to function since Rome was more tolerant and allowed Judaism to flourish with the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) performing all the functions it was designed for and the Nation as a whole able to be Torah observant.
In this Religious climate we find King Herod appointing the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) who was often not even of the line of Aaron or the tribe of Levi. The group known as the Sadducees were Priests but even these were often political appointees. The other Major group was the Perushim (the Pharisees) whose name means separated ones and though they were more favoured by the people because of their religiousness they also burdened the people with their many added rules & regulations called “takanot”:
Yisrael & the Torah:
Since we are on this journey of reclaiming the Original faith we need to begin firstly to observe the significance of Torah in the life of Yisrael, Yahshua and the Talmidim (Disciples). It is our endeavour to establish what the faith of the earliest Kehilot (Assemblies) was before the rise of compromise that came with Ignatius of Antioch in about (98 CE) and finally the emergence of the Roman Assembly under Pontifex Maximus or Emperor Constantine who solidified all the changes to separate Christianity from the forms of the early Hebraic Nazarene Assemblies.
It is only by the restoration of the faith of the forefathers that sees Yisrael fulfilling its call to establish YHWH as their Elohim and the restoration of all the Torah that makes sense of the coming of Yahshua for without Torah he would come to a grossly Pagan Nation and be unable to fulfil his divine purpose as this promise reveals:
Yochanan (John) 1:17 For the Torah was given by Mosheh (Moses) prophesying favour (grace) and truth to come to fulfilment through Yahshua the Messiah. (Hidden Truths Hebraic Scrolls N.T.)
However at the time of Yahshua the faith of the Torah had been greatly distorted so we see Yahshua doing many things contrary to the customs of the Elders as it is often called but we know he was making a point to reveal the true Torah which was never as burdensome as the many regulations the Perushim (The Pharisees) implemented.
e.g. The Perushim (Pharisees) enacted over 500 laws concerning the keeping of the Sabbath including what was work, how far one could walk etc;
Talmud Shabbat 108b:19-25 details the prohibition of putting saliva on one’s eye on the Shabbat.
It was because the Pharisees so misrepresented Torah that Yahshua also warned his followers to be wary of “the Leaven of the Pharisees.” Matt 16:6
This can be often a great challenge for us as well that in our passion we impose many of the “Halachah” which have great merit as though they are Torah much like the Perushim (Pharisees) with their “Takanot.”
One particular example that caused a confrontation Yahshua had with the Scribes & Pharisees was over the washing of hands which he does not address but Yahshua’s rebuke goes far deeper to show how the Pharisees were overruling the true Torah which Yahshua was always in his ministry reviving:
MattithYahu Matthew 15: 3-6 But Yahshua answered & said to them, why do you also transgress the commandment of Elohim by your tradition? 4 For Elohim said respect your father and mother and he that curses father or mother let him be put to death ( Sh’mot 21:17). 5 But you say whosoever shall say to his Father or Mother, it is a gift to Elohim by whatever you might have been helped by me 6 and does not respect his father he shall be free. Thus have you made the word of Elohim of no effect by your tradition.
To those however who disregard the Mitzvot (Commandments) there is a grave reminder to establish the truth of obedience to the Commands since scripture details those who are the Set-apart believers in:
Hitgalut (Revelations) 14:12 Here is the steadfast endurance of the Kedoshim (the set-apart saints); here are they that guard and keep the commandments of Elohim (G_d) and the faith of Yahshua.
This verse shows that Yochanan (John) clearly reveals that the true set-apart Saints or believers are those who display the evidence of Keeping the Mitzvot (Commandments) of Elohim as well as having the faith of Yahshua but even more thought provoking is this next verse:
Hitgalut (Revelations) 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Yahshua & the Torah:
To fully grasp the significance of Torah we need to look at the life of Yahshua and understand some truths that are clearly revealed in his Ministry that demonstrate his desire to restore the Torah in many ways since the Torah had by then been grossly mishandled.
- The Torah as Defence
We read that Yahshua was led by the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) into the wilderness to be tempted by Ha Satan and he reveals that he used Scripture to defeat Ha Satan as we should also:
Matthew 4:2- 4 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of Elohim, command that these stones become Lekhem (bread).” 4 And Yahshua answered and said, it is written; Man shall not live by Lechem (bread) alone but by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of YHWH.
It is interesting that Yahshua did not use experience as his defence when Ha Satan questioned his identity since we know that forty days earlier a voice from heaven verified that he was the son of Elohim at his Mikveh (immersion). In this confrontation we see Yahshua quoting directly from Devarim (Deuteronomy) two times and Tehillim (psalms) once showing that the word that proceed out of the Mouth of YHWH to all Yisrael was the Torah and the writings as written by Mosheh and the Neviim (Prophets). This teaches us that we like Yahshua should use the Torah in defence of the onslaught of the enemy.
- The Misunderstood Statements of Yahshua:
Now we come to the statements that Yahshua made which have so often been misunderstood in order to impose a meaning that they were not intended to bring. One particular verse that many today fall over is the following:
MattithYahu (Matthew) 5:17 Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah (Law) or the Prophets: I have not come to destroy but to reveal its full intended meaning. (Hidden Truths N.T.)
Many versions use the term Fulfil or complete which has brought much misunderstanding to this verse. This verse needs to be understood as an Idiom. To destroy from a Rabbinical point of view meant to misinterpret or misrepresent the Torah while to fulfil would mean to correctly interpret or represent the Torah. The language of Yahshua indicates that he was well versed with 1st Century Judaism and the Rabbinic ways of saying things. Yahshua in speaking to the Multitudes was saying that nothing would change until all the prophecies of Torah would come to fulfilment meaning until the last day “hoshanna Rabbah” the Great day also called Shemini Atzeret or Simcha Torah (the Joy of Torah).
To fully appreciate Yahshua’s meaning we read further a word with regards keeping of the Commandments (the Mitzvot):
MattithYahu (Matthew) 5: 19 Whoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments and shall teach men to do so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of the heavens and whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of the heavens.
We know that the entire ministry of Yahshua was meant to culminate in him taking the sins of the whole World upon himself which was only necessary, in compliance with Torah that mankind could have relationship with YHWH renewed but he also spent much of his ministry correcting and opposing the “Takanot” or added commandments of the Pharisees that would often override and smother the True Torah which was truly quite liberating. In so doing Yahshua was bringing the true understanding of Torah and in no way casting it aside.
What we find of Yahshua is a perfect picture of complete obedience to the Torah through obedience to all aspects of the Feasts, the Shabbat and through his preaching which was in perfect accordance to the Torah so the verses in the Letter of Yochanan (John) truly demonstrates the importance of Torah Keeping for every believer:
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 2:4-6 He that says I know him and does not guard his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. 5. But whoever guards his word, the love of Elohim is made whole in him; this is how we know that we are in him.
6. He that says he abides in him ought also to walk just as he walked.
The Hebrew word for guard is “shomer”which is like a Soldier guarding his post in time of War. According to Yochanan (John) the true measure of a person that is saved is whether he guards his Word the Torah to the best of his ability and walks in Torah as Yahshua did.
Another challenging Scripture that Yahshua spoke is found in:
MattithYahu (Matthew) 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in the Heavens. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name and done mighty works in your name? And then I will say to them openly I never knew you; depart from me you who act wickedly [disregarding My Commands].” (Amplified Bible)
Who then are those that the Master does not know! We find here that the ones the Master rejects are defined by their action of lawlessness or as the Torah would say walking in Torahlessness. What particular people today can be seen doing mighty works in his name without the obedience of Torah?
Many also will tell you that there are only two Commandments that are needed and this understanding comes from the following:
MattithYahu (Matthew) 22:36- 40 Rebbe (Teacher) which is the great commandment in the Torah (Law)? 37 Yahshua said to him “Shema Yisrael YHWH Eloheinu YHWH echad” And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Torah & the Prophets.
From this has come much teaching that all that one needs to obey is these two yet Yahshua is simply quoting Torah and not making anything New and then revealing that the love of YHWH and one’s neighbour is the foundations that the Torah & Prophets are built on. Torah without love becomes legalism and love without obedience is disobedience and selfishness. Nothing Yahshua ever said ever negated the Torah so we always come back to these words of Truth:
Yahuchanan (John) 14:15 “If you love me, keep my Commandments (Mitzvot).”
Yahuchanan Aleph (1 John) 5:3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we guard his Mitzvot (Commandments) and his commandments are not burdensome.
In this Journey that the faith of YHWH has taken we now have discovered that if we view the many miracles and confrontations that Yahshua had, there is a thread that pervades them all. In truth he was often confronting the Takanot (added commandments) of the Pharisees in order to reveal the truth of Torah which had so often been hidden to make the commands of men superior. In so doing he was revealing the heart of the Father which was compassionate thereby establishing Torah as a blessing and not a burden. The Torah was always meant to bring us to understand that we need Yahshua who is the perfect sacrifice for sin as Shaul (Paul) puts it but even this has been grossly misunderstood by making it sound as though the Torah has ended:
Romi’Yah (Romans) 10:4 For Messiah is the goal of the Torah for everyone that believes.
In the Greek it is “telos nomou Chrestus” which has a more accurate meaning of to reach a desired place or goal. When we reach Moshiach (Messiah) we do not stop doing Torah but rather we learn to do it afresh and from a heart filled with gratitude. To the gentiles it was the entry point into the Covenant that would prevent contention over who was better since Shaul (Paul) also says:
Romi’Yah (Romans) 3:9-10 What then? Are we better than they? No in no wise: for we have before proved that both Yahudim and Greeks are under transgression.
10 As it is written “there is none right ruling (Righteous) no not one.
Quoted from Tehillim (Psalms) 14:3 & 53:3
The aim of this discussion is simply to establish one of the central purposes for Yahshua’s Ministry. We find apart from acknowledging that his Purpose was to give his life for the World he also came for the purpose of revealing the True Kingdom of Elohim:
Luke 4:43 He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of Elohim to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
What then was he teaching? Was it that he would die so all might live free of the Torah. If this was his teaching why did none of his disciples understand when he was crucified! Was he teaching however the understanding of true Torah that revealed a true love of Elohim and by so doing was he revealing the True heart of the Father whose words were given to Mosheh and the Neviim (Prophets) to bring liberty and cause Mankind to know true freedom!
It was in fact a “New Heart” that Mankind needed and not a watered down law and so by Yahshua’s sacrifice Man through faith in him received a change in heart that his Torah could be written on the heart.
The Truth of the Matter
- The Torah of YHWH has undergone many hard fought challenges to come to us.
- With the Revival of the Beyth Ha Mikdash (The Temple) and the faith of Yisrael restored the coming of Yahshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah) was fully prepared.
- Yahshua did not come to destroy the Torah but to see it fully revealed.
- To say we know Him we must also walk as he walked.
- The goal of Torah was to bring us to Moshiach (Messiah).
- If we believe the Torah is good we need to be uncompromising and zealous to see his truth revealed.
- Finally based on all we have seen we can now truthfully investigate what the early Kehilot the Assemblies believed and how they walked out their Faith.