What is Torah Study?
I believe the Tribe of Judah has kept the Words of God, as is their purpose, and we as Believers in their Messiah, should understand what the basis of our Messiah’s teachings are. This understanding is only found in the Torah.
By Torah I mean the Teachings of Righteousness.
The Law has been a misused phrase in Christianity, and one I think will cease to be negative if understood in its full context. Torah is a word which points to the Teachings within the first five books of the Bible. These first five books are what spawned every other Scripture.
Without our Greek logic telling us that we are masters of our own truth, we will cling to the Torah as the life preserve we need. If Jesus is truly the Living Torah as John proclaims him to be, then why do we not embrace the Torah, not because it gives us righteousness.
Paul explained that righteousness is faith in the Messiah, not following what to do, but within the Torah we can find the proper way to follow, rather than building on sinking sand, we will have solid foundations.
Without these five books of teaching there could be no other ones. It just makes sense to study these books how the people who know them the best study them. I do not believe that by studying Torah anyone becomes super Christians, or do I believe Judaism is better than Christianity.
I do believe, without understanding Torah Principles, our life of Discipleship is not as strong as it should be and we short-change our children in respect to a legacy of truth. I know that understanding the Torah better, helps us to be better followers of Jesus.
Academic learning is only one part however, heart understanding and doing is the other. To have this true understanding, requires us to know the foundations Jesus took for granted.
Most of the Sages, Torah Scholars, and those who studied the Torah in depth, are from the Tribe of Judah. Now in Israel there is no tribal distinction the Jews believe mostly, that the lost ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel are within Israel now. Most Jews do not want to believe there are actual lost tribes who will eventually be returned by God to Israel.
I believe however, this is a key for Gentiles to see as we study the Torah. The Torah was specifically to the Nation of Israel not just one tribe, but the all 12 Tribes, it is within this context you study Torah properly.
Some messianic groups say the Torah Commands are for the Gentiles, I think this misses much of the mark. This also misses the Sages teachings about Gentiles.
The Gentile Nations rejected the Torah at MT. Sinai; therefore they will never be able to properly fulfill the commandments because for the most part the commandments are physical commands not just ethical one. The Nation of Israel said they will do, and they will obey, we as Gentiles never said that.
Following Torah did not constitute Salvation when Moses came down with it in his hands and it does not constitute salvation now. Belief in the Torah (Jesus is the Word of God right), and submitting to its (or His) commands is what brings salvation, Jesus made this clear in his admonition to His Disciples, and Paul explained what belief and proclamation does in respect to salvation too (John 14:12-17, 15:5-25, Romans 10:9-10, and Eph. 2:8-9).
In principle, the written Torah contains God's definitions of morality, how to love, how to work, how to act, how to be in this World, but its commands are largely only to the Israelite. This is the sticky part of Studying the Torah.
Not everything in the Bible is to specific people or groups, but everything is for all of us, its understanding everything in context which is why we as Believers in Jesus need to understand Torah Principles.
The Torah is not the Law, when we look through Greek glasses and think in a linear manner, which means thinking in a straight line it makes scriptures contradict each other. I do realize that you can compartmentalize Scripture and make everything into a dispensation, or systematize it, but in my opinion that detracts from the richness of Scripture.
Let’s look at Galatians Chapter 3:1-10 the one verse the Linear Church uses to say the Torah is bad to follow.
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
This in context, like the whole book, has little to do with saying the Torah is evil as the Church of Linear thought would say, and more to do with what real righteousness does in our hearts. It says, in my paraphrase, that do we instead believe we can do laws in order to enter into a relationship with the Lord or like Abraham, believe and then be brought into this relationship.
In my reading this clearly has nothing to do with the Torah being evil, it has to do with our evil, and desire to believe what we do supersedes what God has done for us.
To be free is to realize that our righteousness was paid by Christ, not by works we can do. Just like Israel was brought out of Egypt by God, we also as Gentiles are brought out of our old fleshly lives by the Holy Spirit (or Ruach Ha Kodesh). The Torah principle in this teaching is the very first Abraham learned, this being that everything hinges on faith.
This then generates the question, what is righteousness; how do we need to follow Christ after attaining salvation? I think Paul explains this in the very next Scriptures of this book of Galatians 3:11-14
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
To live by the Law means we live by our own strength, it doesn't mean the Torah is evil, to say the Torah is evil and of the flesh is to say that Jesus as the Living Torah is evil. The Torah is perfect, but we cannot be perfect. We can live, believe, and follow as best as we can. To think we bring ourselves close to God is to think we are better than God. This can never be. Torah Study is what shows us why we need faith to be near God. Without Torah we have no standard to realize we are not God.