Torah, the Teachings of God

Thus saith the LORD: For three transgressions of Judah, yea, for four, I will not reverse it: because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept His statutes, and their lies have caused them to err, after which their fathers did walk.

Amos 2:4 (JPS)

Law – The law was not replaced by grace. Yeshua supports this, Paul supports this. It aligns with their Hebraic worldview. But it doesn’t fit so well with our Greek worldview does it? 

I think the problem is that we translate the word “torah” as “law.”  When this happens it becomes much easier to say things like “We’re no longer under the law.” or “The law has been done away with through the death of Jesus.” But what if I told you the true translation of “torah”?

The better translation for torah is “teachings or instructions.” So let’s replace that word in those two common sentences that we hear so often. “We’re no longer under the teachings of God.” or “The instructions of God have been done away with through the death of Jesus.” That really changes things doesn’t it?

The reason torah is translated as “law” is because Israel regarded the teachings of God as if they were law. Everything that came from God was true, holy, and required complete observance. Even more so, the Torah was considered freedom! When God imparts upon Israel the law after they flee from Egypt, the Israelites become the first nation to truly know what God wants. This was freedom from uncertainty, freedom from anxiety. They finally knew how to serve the Creator.

The Greek/Hellenistic view is quite the opposite. Christian doctrine will teach that Jesus’ death did away with the law. It’s our faith (how we think) that now matters. They promote lawlessness and values based on our own sovereignty.

This is unfortunate. The teachings of God are never to pass away. And those who reject them believe in lies as the prophet Amos suggests. We need to stop reading the New Testament as a westernized 21st century Christian, and start reading it as a 1st century Jew with a Hebraic understanding.

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