This study on the "Law", Torah, has gotten me thinking about something. Be patient with me while I ramble a bit, please. (For biblical reference you must have read the study!)
The study indicates the extreme importance of FAITH. Adam, Noah, Abraham , Moses, The Prophets, Yochanan ben Zechariah, Peter, Paul, et al, had much FAITH. It makes no difference if you're referring to "Old Testament" times or "New". Besides which, there is no old or new; it's all the same.
Even with the differences in Priesthood, Melchizedek vs. Aaronic, and the temporary suspension of certain aspects of the Priesthood as it relates to Torah, FAITH is still required.
Concerning our one and only High Priest and one and only Rabbi, Yeshua, we fully accept His propitiation for us; His free gift.
We are hopefully called, then, by the FATHER, through Yeshua, which is the only way to reach the FATHER at this point in priestly history. (one could argue it's always been this way - Yeshua's fingerprints are all over the Tanakh)
As further indicated in the study, this FAITH stirs us to have Love and Respect for the FATHER, which leads us to the totality of Obedience to Him and the "refining works" of His Torah (as much as we can).
We know this obedience to Torah does not infer Salvation and never has. Salvation comes purely through FAITH.
The act of circumcision and practicing observances laid out in Torah makes us a member of the Commonwealth of Israel. To repeat, we do this out of love, not for Salvation.
Now ... here's the rub ...
All of this mentioned above does not necessarily make us one of the Chosen, or a Saint, or a member of the Elect! (Chosen, Saint, Elect are synonyms)
... for, "many are called, but few are chosen". (Matt. 22)
We know that our love and obedience to Him must be with a circumcised heart of flesh, not an uncircumcised heart of stone.
Who is the JUDGE then? Who decides if we have been chosen? Yeshua does ! Thankfully, it is not for us to judge. Heaven knows, we have to make judgments enough in our daily lives.
But here is the point in all this. What about the ones who never have the above understanding? What about the Christians that go to church every Wednesday night and twice on Sunday who have never been called by the FATHER and does not even recognize the validity of Torah? What about those who celebrate the pagan feast days and ignore the appointed times (moedim)? What about the Jewish brothers and sisters who diligently follow Talmud and all the instructions given to them by their human Rabbi? It may surprise you but most Jews do not follow Torah, they follow man's instruction instead! Most Jewish folk believe that Salvation comes from following man's "fence of instruction" surrounding Torah. Even Karaite Jews, who famously proclaim they follow Torah instead of man, believe that Salvation comes from following Torah. It does not! It comes from FAITH. (their are exceptions in all groups, of course)
The road to destruction is broad indeed, and the narrow gate and path is very narrow. No wonder we should work out our Salvation with great FEAR and TREMBLING!
... continuing with the "Law" ... but first, a reminder ...
Num 15:29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. Num 15:30 'But the person who does anything [sin] defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Num 15:31 'Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.'"
Many Christians, and non-Christians, believe Torah is a demanding, rigid, difficult, and "impossible to keep" set of laws. It is not! It is a set of life instructions given to us by a loving Father.
Here in Numbers we have the very definition of sinning without intent and sinning with intent. We all sin. A person doing his best to be sinless will eventually sin unintentionally. It's human nature. The Torah condemns those who sin defiantly!
Most Christians (and Jews) will ignore the continuous theme of Scripture which connects all believers into the Commonwealth of Israel. These few verses remind us that we Gentiles and the "Jews" are not separate, but are brothers and sisters. Any Christian or any Jew who thinks otherwise is in DEFIANCE! We do not "sojourn" in the desert anymore, but we sojourn in this world and are of the same faith. The same faith Abraham had!
Gal 3:2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? ... Gal 3:5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
[Note: Please remember the context of chapters 1 & 2. It was about circumcision and the act of circumcision giving one Salvation, which is not true, of course. Churchy types will claim that the N.T. shows in these verses that we are separate from Torah and are a new spiritual creation based purely in Faith. Actually, Paul is simply repeating what was true of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and all the "Fathers of old". Faith always comes first. Faith then leads to obedience - Torah.] Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM." Gal 3:11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Gal 3:12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM." Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"--
[Note: Ahhhh! My favorite part! Churchy folks throw this one around as if they understand it entirely! Unfortunately, they do not! I will approach this one plainly, but then go in deeper, so I ask for your patience.
Based purely on the NASB text, as presented, and knowing the context of Galatians to this point, one cannot say Torah has been done away with. Look at verse 10. Those who "are of the works of the Law" are under a curse. This is true, as stated in Deuteronomy. Now, what does the verse say is the approach given to Torah here? Works! All of the Old Testament testifies that "works" of the Torah is not enough. The context here is plainly speaking of one who uses Torah as a means for Salvation. Verse 11 continues this theme and says; "no one is justified by the law before God", and, "THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.", as was true with Abraham. Verse 12 continues the idea and verse 13 states truly that Yeshua redeemed us from the curse of following the law for Salvation's sake. Why do I read it this way"
Let's look at how another translation (ESV) renders these verses:
Gal 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Gal 3:11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." Gal 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—
The NASB is an "idea" or "intent" translation; a "thought for thought" translation. It presents concept. The ESV is more of a "word for word" translation, and it presents a more reliable, actual word translation. Translation from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek to English is not a precise science! The context of Galatians is obviously speaking of people who rely on the works of Torah to achieve Salvation. Chapters 1 & 2 of Galatians, and their context, have to be completely ignored to see it any other way!
OK, that's the plain approach. Let's look deeper! The way a linguist might!
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."
Here is a Greek rendition of the verse. The word used for "of" is the Greek, "ex" or sometimes spelled "ek". The Greeks loved to explain everything with geometry! The word ex or ek is described in this way:
Imagine a circle with a center point - starting at that center now draw an arrow outside of the circle to the right until it leaves the circle. That is "ex". I have heard linguists render this verse as follows:
Gal 3:10 For as many as are outside the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."
Interesting, huh? Both renderings are correct. Why? Because as Deuteronomy states; if one is attempting to follow Torah and makes mistakes (sins), he is under a curse and will not receive blessings. In the same way, if one is attempting to follow Torah and does so successfully, then he receives blessings! This is simply additional proof that the context of Galatians, Chapters 1, 2, and 3 concerns one who is attempting to use Torah for Salvation! Fun stuff! : ) ] Gal 3:17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Gal 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Gal 3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
[Note: What lovely verses! They establish and sum up everything that has been said, so far! Abraham received the promise, through faith, not by Torah. Of course, he was known for following the instructions after faith! Torah was written down later, by Moshe the Mediator, until the promised seed, Yeshua! Perhaps you've heard of the New Covenant to come? Is the Torah contrary to the promises and the advent of the Messiah? May it never be! Faith has ALWAYS been required for Salvation. The Torah has become our Tutor!
People will tell me that Torah didn't exist before Moshe, so none of this is true! These people have apparently never read John, Ch. 1! In the beginning was the Torah! Yes, do a word study! : ) ]