Torah and Yeshua

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I have recently heard people argue that following the Torah is the same as following Yeshua, but is that really true?

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Torah and Yeshua

by Lex Meyer

There is a saying that "all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs?" Well, that's the type of situation we are talking about today.

Some people seem to think that keeping the Torah is the goal of following Yeshua, but that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says that Yeshua is the goal of the Torah. The Torah was given to lead us to Yeshua, not the other way around.

We know it's possible for someone to follow the Torah and not be following Yeshua. This happens all the time in Judaism. So, we cannot conclude that following the Torah is the same as following Yeshua.

The apostle Paul is a great example of this. He was trained in the Torah and he followed it perfectly, yet he was fighting against Yeshua so much that Yeshua came down to meet him on the road to Damascus to stop him. Now, listen to how Paul describes his Torah keeping compared to knowing Yeshua as Lord.

"...If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
- Philippians 3:4-11

Paul said that he kept the law blamelessly and yet he considered that rubbish compared to knowing Yeshua. Many people in the Hebrew Roots and Messianic Judaism seem to think that they have reason to boast because of their Torah keeping. I hear people claiming to be Hebrews or Israelites as if that somehow matters. They seem to think that because they keep the Sabbath and eat clean that they no longer need to seek Yeshua.

Which is greater, the Sabbath or the Lord of the Sabbath? Which is greater, the Law or the Lawgiver?

Some people seem to think that keeping the Torah is the same as following Yeshua. However, this can't be true because the Torah came first to point us to Yeshua.

"Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
- Galatians 3:24

If the Torah is all we need, then there was no need for Yeshua to have ever come. Let me be clear, no amount of Torah keeping will ever save you. You are not saved by keeping the Torah, you are saved by placing your faith in Yeshua.

"I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
- Galatians 2:21
"Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law."
- Galatians 3:21
"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe."
- Romans 3:21-22

However, knowing that the Law cannot save us does not give us permission to throw out the Law. Yes, we are saved by faith in the Son of God, but we who are being saved, are expected to walk according to the Law.

"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."
- Romans 3:31

Remember, all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs. If we follow Yeshua, we will also follow His Torah, but following Torah is not equated to following Yeshua.

The Torah was written about Yeshua and was given so that we would believe in Yeshua.

"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
- John 5:46-47

Notice there is a distinction being made between the words of Moses about Yeshua and the words of Yeshua. We must believe what Moses wrote about Him, but we must also believe Yeshua's own words.

Think about it this way. If you read a biography about someone, does that mean you know that person? No. You might know a lot about that person, but you don't actually know them. The Torah helps us know about Yeshua, but it's not a substitute for knowing Him personally. We are called to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to hear His voice and follow Him.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
- John 14:6

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
- John 10:27

The Bible says if we love Him we will obey His commandments, and if we do this He will manifest Himself to us.

"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me... He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
- John 14:15-19, 21

So, obeying His commandments is extremely important because when we obey, He will manifest Himself to us, but keeping the Torah is not the goal. The goal is knowing Him and following Him. The Torah was given to bring us to Yeshua, it was not given as a substitute for knowing Him.

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