TORAH IS THE SERVANT NOT THE MASTER
TORAH IS THE SERVANT NOT THE MASTER
To begin this post we’ll show what Master Yeshua taught as the purpose for the Torah. In this passage from the Book of John, shortly after Yeshua healed the 38 year infirm man on the Sabbath, Yeshua is teaching and rebuking the Jews:
John 5:31-47 HRB “If I witness concerning Myself, My witness is not true; 32it is Another that witnesses concerning Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses concerning Me is true. 33You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34But I do not receive witness from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35That one was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to delight in his light for an hour. 36But I have the greater witness than John’s, for the works which the Father has given Me, that I should finish them, the works which I do, themselves, witness concerning Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37And the Father, the One sending Me, has Himself borne witness concerning Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor have you seen His appearance. 38And His Word does not dwell in you because you do not believe in Him whom He sent. 39You search the Scriptures, for you think in them you have everlasting life. And they are the ones witnessing concerning Me.40And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41I do not receive glory from men; 42but I have known you, that you do not have the love of Yahovah in yourselves. 43I have come in the name of My Father, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive that one. 44How are you able to believe, you who receive glory from one another, and the glory which is from the only Elohim you do not seek? 45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one accusing you, Moses [a type of the Torah], in whom you have hoped. 46For if you were believing Moses [a type of the Torah], you would then believe Me; for that one [Moshe, the Torah] wrote concerning Me. 47But if you do not believe his [Moshe’s, the Torah’s] writings, how will you believe My Words?”
What do we see in the passage above? We see Yeshua describing and discussing several witnesses, all of which witness of Him, Yeshua, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. First, He discounts the authority of witnessing of Himself, on His own behalf. He also discounts the witness of John the Baptist, though it was a true witness, John was a fallen human. In verse 32, Yeshua identifies the authoritative witness of the Holy Spirit as a reliable, faithful, true witness of who Yeshua is. In verse 36, Yeshua identifies His good works as a better witness than John’s testimony. In verse 37, Yeshua identifies the Father specifically as One true witness concerning His Son, Yeshua. In verse 38, Yeshua introduces our matter for this post, the Word, the Torah, which the Jews did not believe, according to Yeshua. In verse 39, WE SEE ONE OF OUR KEY VERSES FOR THIS POST. Yeshua specifically, adamantly, even emphatically, states that the Scriptures, i.e. the Torah, witnesses of Yeshua!! He re-emphasizes this thought in verses 45-47, using Moses as a type of the Torah, or Scripture writings. Of course we all know that the only holy Scriptures available in Yeshua’s earthly days was the Old Testament, in the form of the ancient Hebrew Tanach. Friends, we need to meditate on this Scripture passage. I believe Yahovah has revealed to me a problem which causes Messianic believers to stumble. Have you not heard them declare Torah, Torah, Torah? Read it, study it, obey it, observe all 613 laws in it, etc. What is this problem? Well, who or what is more important? The one doing the witnessing, or the Object of the witness? Who is greater? The Master, or the servant? In your mind’s eye, think of this in a court room setting. The Torah is on the witness stand, testifying of Yeshua, the Eternal One on trial!!! Yeshua is the subject of the trial, not the witness!! And believe me, Yeshua is still on trial, not for His life, but for His Kingship!! Read the Book of Revelation, and you will see it. Is the Torah important? Yes. Is it all important? No. The Author of the Torah is above and more important than the Torah. The Creator is greater than the thing created, i.e. the Torah. I believe Messianic believers often place the written document above the Author of the Torah document. Brethren, these things ought not to be so. Give Yeshua the glory as you thank Him for His written Word that helps guide us.
The Apostle Paul understood these words of Yeshua, this concept of the Torah being the servant, witnessing of the Master Yeshua. Let’s go to Galatians 3 and see Paul’s understanding. You will want to read all of the Book of Galatians, and all of Galatians, chapter 3. Paul covers a lot of ground. In verse 19, Paul explains why the Law was given, Galatians 3:19 HRB “Why then the (Levitical) Law? It was placed beside (The Torah) for the sake of transgressions, until the Seed should come, to whom it had been promised, being given by promise in a mediator’s hand.” The Torah lets us know what sin is! The Hebrew word Torah means mark. To miss the mark, is to sin. Today, after the wonderful work of grace Yeshua accomplished, to use the Torah beyond this purpose, is more than likely a misuse of the Torah. Meditate on this and consider the temporary nature of the Torah’s purpose, UNTIL Messiah came.
Paul understood what Yeshua was talking about in John 5:39, the Scriptures are but a witness, a laser pointer, a flashlight, pointing to Yeshua. Look at verses 24-25, ESV “So then, the law [the Torah] was our guardian until Messiah came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” Could Paul have stated it any more clearly? Unfortunately, there appears to be no good English word equivalent for the Greek word translated here as guardian. Other translations say schoolmaster, tutor, servant, etc. The Greek word used for guardian here is Strong’s # 3807, paidagogos, meaning “a boyleader, that is, a servant whose office it was to take the children to school;” Once the children were delivered to school, the servant, the slave, the tutor, the guardian, i.e. the Torah, was DISMISSED! Do you get it? Once the child student has been delivered to the MASTER TEACHER, the servant guardian, i.e. the Torah, is DISMISSED!Messianics state that the Torah is Yahovah’s instructions, which is true, but these instructions point us to and teach us about our Master Teacher, Yeshua, our Savior and King! So, if you are this child student enrolled in the Master’s Discipleship class, His very own Yeshiva, or Sabbath School, etc., do you want to study and learn about the slave who brought you to school and was then dismissed, or do you want to learn of your MASTER TEACHER, YESHUA HAMASHIACH, YOUR SAVIOR, LORD, AND CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE?Your answer to this question will affect how you walk with Yeshua and His Word from this day forward. . .
Let’s think on this for a brief moment longer, from another perspective. Even if we consider using the poor English translations of this Greek word, and say the Torah is a schoolmaster or tutor, THE TUTOR OR SCHOOLMASTER is still NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE DISCIPLESHIP CLASS!! Think of a classroom at your child’s school today. Your child’s teacher IS NOT the subject of her classes! The Torah IS NOT THE SUBJECT of the Discipleship class, Yeshua is the subject, the object of all our study and adoration!!
Paul went over and over this matter in his writings. Let’s look at Romans 7, HRB “Do you not know, brethren, (for I speak to them who know the Torah), that the Torah has authority over a person for as long as he lives? 2Just as the married woman is bound by the Torah to the living husband; but if the husband dies, she is set free from the Law of her husband. 3So then, if the husband is living, she will be called an adulteress if she should be married to another man. But if the husband dies, she is free from the Law [Torah of marriage], so as for her not to be an adulteress by becoming another man’s wife. 4So that, my brothers, you also were made dead to the Law [Torah] through the body of Messiah, for you to become another’s, to the One raised from the dead, so that we may bear fruit to Yahovah. 5For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin were working in our members through the Law [Torah] for the bearing of fruit unto death. 6But now we have been set free from the penalty of the Torah, having died to that in which we were held, so as for us to serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter. 7What shall we say then? Is the instruction [the guardian, the tutor, the schoolmaster, the Torah] sin? Let it not be! But I did not know sin except through the Torah; for also I did not know lust except the Torah said, “You shall not lust.” (Ex. 20:17) 8But sin taking occasion through the commandment worked every lust in me; for apart from Law [Torah], sin is dead. 9And I was alive apart from the Torah once, but the commandment came, and sin came alive, and I died. 10And the commandment [Torah] which was to life, this was found to be death to me; 11for sin taking occasion through the commandment [Torah] deceived me, and through it killed me. 12So indeed the Torah is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13Did that which is good, therefore, become death to me? Far be it. But sin, that it might be seen to be sin, perfected death in me by means of that good Torah; that sin might be more condemned, by means of the commandment [Torah]. 14For we know that the Torah is spiritual, but I am fleshly, having been sold under sin. 15For I do not know what I do. For I do not do the thing that I want; But I do the thing which I hate, this is what I do. 16But if I do what I do not wish to, I agree with the Torah, that it is good. 17Now then, it is not I who do it, but the sin which dominates in me. 18For I know that it does not fully dominate me, (that is in my flesh) but as far as good is concerned, the choice is easy for me to make, but to do it is difficult for me. 19For it is not the good that I desire to do, that I do. But it is the evil that I do not desire, that I do. 20But if I do what I do not desire, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin which dominates me. 21I find therefore that the Torah agrees with my conscience, when I desire to do good, but evil is always near, distracting me. 22For I delight in the Torah of Yahovah according to the inward man; 23but I see another law in my members having warred against the law [Torah] of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this mortal body? 25I thank Yahovah through Yeshua Messiah our Master! So then I myself with the mind truly serve the Torah of Yahovah and with the flesh the law of sin.” No fallen human has ever walked in perfect obedience to Torah. Only Yeshua has done that. But we try, we do our best, and when we fail, we repent and turn again to our Master, Yeshua, asking for His forgiveness. He picks us up and we go again.
This concept is continued in the Book of Hebrews, no matter who the author of Hebrews was,Hebrews 1:1-2 HRB “In many ways and in various ways of old, the Divine Ones spoke to the fathers in the prophets [the authors of the Torah and Tanach]; 2in these last days He has spoken to us in the Son, whom He appointed heir of all; and by whom he made the worlds;” Do you see Yahovah’s plan? First, we were spoken to through the Old Covenant prophets who authored the Tanach. Once Yeshua was revealed on earth 2,000 years ago, the last days began, and now Yahovah speaks to us through His Son, by His Holy Spirit!! I believe Messianics elevate the Torah higher than Yahovah Himself has allowed. Yahovah’s moral and natural Law undergirds the entire universe. He reveals His moral Law to us in His Torah. But Yeshua and Paul both taught that the Law brought death, life only comes through Yeshua. Praise Yahovah for His Law, now we know what is sin, and when we sin, now we can repent and turn back to Yahovah, through the blood of His only begotten Son, Yeshua HaMashiach!! Praise His glorious name forever and ever! The Torah is important, knowing Torah is important, but it is not of ultimate importance; knowing Yeshua, and being known by Yeshua, is of ultimate importance for us lowly unprofitable servants of the King of kings! Colossians 2:16-17 HRB “Therefore do not let anyone (outside the body) judge among you about eating, or drinking, or in how you keep the feast days, or the new moon, or the Sabbath day, 17which remain shadows of coming things, but the body of Messiah.” Why settle for the shadow slave, to which Yahovah has reckoned you dead, and which Yahovah has fired, when you can have the Reality of Messiah Yeshua today and forevermore?
Gene Benjamin II
January 10, 2014 AD