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What is Torah Really?

Yahweh is following a methodical plan to restore fallen mankind. The first step was to find a man who would obey His voice and save his family from a flood. The next step was to find a man who was willing to leave his home and his kin, and sojourn in a land that he had not known.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 12:1-3
1 Now Yahweh had said to Avram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Avram’s descendants went down into Egypt, where they were afflicted by Pharaoh; but this affliction served to unify them as a people. Then, after Israel’s national identity was formed, Yahweh sent Moshe (Moses) to lead them out of Egypt, and give them a centralized government. Thus they were a nation under governance, even though they only had a promise of a land to call home.

In addition to a civil government, Yahweh gave Israel an organized priesthood to serve as their spiritual government. However, Israel did not realize that the goal was to hear and obey Yahweh’s voice; so just like Adam and Havvah (Eve) who had disobeyed Yahweh’s voice before them, the Israelites had to be sent out of Yahweh’s land.
Ephraim went into spiritual captivity in Assyria, and Judah went into spiritual exile in Babylon; and although 10 percent of Judah came back to the land of Israel in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the rabbis kept them in spiritual oppression with their false version of Torah.

Messiah the Prince was sent to dispel this chaos. He declared spiritual war against the rabbis for misleading His people. Having received the anointing of the Spirit, He established a new priesthood based on the order of Melchizedek, so that His people would have clean leadership when they came to the truth.

Just as Avram had left his home and his father’s house, Yeshua’s priests would also leave their homes and their father’s houses, and go into every nation on earth, to lands that Yahweh would show them by His Spirit. There they would make still more disciples to serve as a worldwide officer corps of His spiritual army, teaching them to do everything that Yeshua had told them.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:18-20
18 And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name*,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.

[*For why we immerse only in Yeshua’s name, please see “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Only,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume Three.]

Some people believe the goal of our faith is simply to learn about Yeshua. This is a mistake. In fact, the goal of our faith is to become Yeshua’s bride—and a bride is described as a helper. If we don’t know that Yeshua was sent as a warrior Prince on a mission to raise a spiritual army and establish a literal kingdom here on earth (with the goal of subduing the earth), then we can never realize how to help Him, or please Him. All of our efforts will be in vain.

Yeshua was sent to take the spiritual war to the world, releasing the spiritual captives in every country. As it was in the days of Avraham, and as it was in the days of Moshe, the disciples would be a nation without a physical land to call home—and yet they still needed some form of unified spiritual government. Without such unified spiritual government, the movement would soon become leaderless and disoriented, which would make them easy prey for the enemy. This need to unify and operate as a single fighting force is why the spiritual temple is described as being built together on a single foundation of apostles and prophets (who serve as its leadership core).

Ephesim (Ephesians) 2:19-22
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Elohim,
20 having been built on the [single] foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a [single] set apart temple in Yahweh,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of Elohim in the Spirit.

We already saw how Catholicism spread much faster outside the land of Israel than the Nazarene faith did, seeing as it promised eternal life without having to keep the Torah of Moshe. However, this issue of what it truly means to “keep Torah” is greatly misunderstood today. Since we cannot “keep” the Torah unless we understand what it means, let us spend some time exploring this topic in detail.

As we saw earlier, the term Torah is often translated as law, because the instructions of our Creator carry the weight of law. However, this word translates directly as instruction. We also saw that there are three separate priesthoods mentioned in the Torah of Moshe (the first five books of Moses), and each of them has their own unique set of operating instructions (torah):

  1. The Melchizedekian priesthood
  2. The priesthood of the firstborn
  3. The Levitical priesthood

Inside the Torah of Moshe are three separate operating torot (plural of torah). That is, when we are obeying the Torah of Moshe, we must be supporting either the Melchizedekian priesthood (which operates according to the Melchizedekian torah), the priesthood of the firstborn (which operates according to its torah), or the Levitical priesthood (which operates according to the Levitical torah). So long as we are supporting the active priesthood (which operates according to its own unique set of instructions), then we are obeying the Torah of Moshe.

We need to understand that the rules for operating inside of the land of Israel are very different from the rules for operating outside the land of Israel. Inside the land of Israel, the Levitical priesthood will likely be active, and the active torah will call us to bring animal sacrifices up to the temple three times a year. Outside the land of Israel, however, there is no such temple, and therefore no need to gather at it, since our primary mission is not to bring the family together for family reunions (i.e., festivals) three times a year. Our primary mission is to take the Good News to the lost and scattered children of Avraham and Israel, and bring them together as one in Yeshua Messiah.

In the last chapter we saw how Yeshua went to Yochanan HaMatbil (John the Immerser) in order to be ritually cleansed, so He could receive His anointing as the King and High Priest of the order of Melchizedek. At that time, the anointing passed from the rabbinical order to Yeshua’s renewed order of Melchizedek. What we need to realize is that the instructions (torah) also changed at that time, because Yeshua’s priesthood had a different mission than the Levitical order had. That is why Hebrews 7:12 tells us when the priesthood was changed, there was also (of necessity) a change in the active duty set of instructions (torah).

Ivrim (Hebrews) 7:12
12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the torah.

The rabbis have caused a lot of confusion by defining the Torah of Moshe as a checklist of 613 laws. This makes it sound like Yahweh gave Israel a checklist of 613 do’s and don’ts, and as long as Israel did not violate any of those 613 laws, they would automatically be part of His bride. However, as we saw earlier, the rabbis gloss over the requirement to hear and obey Yahweh’s still small spiritual voice (in favor of teaching the people to obey their majority opinion).

Contrary to what the rabbis teach, “keeping Torah” does not call for rigid obedience to a fixed checklist of laws. Rather, “keeping Torah” is a heart condition in which we eagerly seek to please our Husband by following His instructions. This may sound like a fine point of distinction, but it is critical that we understand it.

When a bride decides to come under her husband’s covering, she makes a conscious decision to obey him. If her husband gives her one set of instructions today, and then he gives her a different set of instructions tomorrow (perhaps because the situation changes), she is not “keeping his instructions” if she insists on doing what he said to do yesterday. Rather, she only remains under her husband’s covering if she accepts his new instructions (today).

When we submit to Yahweh, and accept His covering, this implies that we will obey His voice, both today and tomorrow (no matter where it leads, and no matter if our instructions change). If we insist on doing what He said to do in Egypt, but don’t accept new direction in the Sinai, that is not keeping Torah.

Yahweh told the Israelites to dwell in the land He would give them. However, when Judah disobeyed Yahweh, Yahweh sent word through Jeremiah that they should go into Babylon, dwell there, and have children there.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 29:4-7
4 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohim of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit.
6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters — that you may be increased there, and not diminished.
7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to Yahweh for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”

Yahweh never told Israel to seek the peace of Babylon in the first five books of Moshe—and yet this was His instruction (torah). Yet, some people are so dull, and so hard of hearing that they refuse to believe Yahweh said this, because it goes against what Yahweh said to do in the first five books of Moshe. They cannot seem to get beyond the concept that the first five books of Moshe are only a record of what Yahweh spoke unto Israel in the wilderness—and that what Yahweh really wants is for us to listen attentively to His voice at all times—for that is when we are truly under His instruction.

What gets confusing is that some of the instructions Yahweh gave at Mount Sinai were given as standing orders, and some were not. For example, when we live in the land, we are told to go up to Jerusalem three times a year. However, these standing orders do not apply when we live outside the land of Israel, or when we hear Yahweh’s voice directing otherwise. The instructions can change, depending on the situation. To see what we mean by that, let us consider the example of traffic laws, and the traffic cop.

Today we have traffic laws—yet if a traffic cop directs us to go against the normal flow of traffic, we are still obeying the law, even if we are breaking the letter of it. This is a perfect analogy of how Yahweh’s Spirit can order us to do something that is against the normal set of standing orders. For example, Yahweh commanded Eliyahu (Elijah) to hide in the Wadi Qerith for a year. Even though the Wadi Qerith is inside the land of Israel, Eliyahu did not go up to Jerusalem for the feasts (because he was told to hide).

Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 17:1-3
1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As Yahweh Elohim of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
2 Then the word of Yahweh came to him, saying,
3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Qerith, which flows into the Jordan.”

Any army has standing rules. For example, you may have a standing order to assemble at 06:00 hours; but if your commander says to do something else, you don’t argue with him. Moreover, if your commander decides to give you a completely new and different set of standing orders because the war is moving into a new phase of operations, you don’t argue—you just obey. This is what happened in the first century.

Among other reasons, Yahweh had commanded the people to come up to Jerusalem three times a year because He knew it would serve as a common experience that would unify the people. However, after Yeshua came, it was no longer time for the people to gather around a temple. Yeshua was not a Levite, and He had no authority over a renewed Levitical priesthood. Further, the Levitical lineages were lost, and Yeshua made no effort to re-establish them. Moreover, a Levitical priesthood needs a temple, and there would be no physical temple in the next phase of Yeshua’s spiritual war campaign.

A physical temple helps to teach the people the need to obey the letter of Torah (and that the wages of sin is death). However, a physical temple can only serve a limited geographical area, and now it was time to go into all nations, making disciples in Yeshua’s name, beginning to gather the lost and scattered children of Avraham and Israel out of the nations. This was a new and different phase of the spiritual war campaign, and it called for a new and different way of organizing. As difficult as it might be to understand, it called for a new and different set of operating instructions (a new torah).

Just as the Levitical priesthood had to be organized to operate as a single priesthood with peak efficiency, Yeshua’s priests would have to be organized to operate efficiently. Thus, the same principles would govern the order of Melchizedek, as have operated all throughout Israel’s history.

In the last chapter we saw that Elohim has carefully led Israel through a series of learning and growth steps. At just the right time He has given them separate offices for the king, the priest, and the prophet. There is also the office of the anointed judge, which is a special combination of all three.

  1. The king (physical army)
  2. The priest (spiritual army)
  3. The prophet (communication with Yahweh)
  4. The anointed judge (a combination of all three)

In Torah Government we also explain that apostles are basically anointed judges for Renewed Covenant (New Testament) times. However, since there are numerous apostles, but they are all supposed to work together, there must be a means of providing order, so that there will be unity, and efficiency. This system of order is called the fivefold ministry, and it is a discipline which all fivefold ministers are required to obey.

In Ephesians 2:19-22 we are told that Yeshua’s spiritual temple (i.e., His body) is to be built upon one foundation of apostles and prophets. This means they are all required to work together, as part of the same organization (and there is no option otherwise). To operate independently (as so many ministers do) is to break Scripture.

Ephesim (Ephesians) 2:19-22
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Elohim,
20 having been built on the [single] foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a [one] set apart temple in Yahweh,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of Elohim in the Spirit.

To put it in simple terms, there is no such thing as a “Bible believing independent assembly,” or a “Bible believing independent minister.” Ephesians 2:19-22 requires all ministers to operate together on one single doctrinal foundation of apostles and prophets—and to do otherwise is to fly in the face of Ephesians 2:19-22.

These principles of organization and unified leadership are as essential today as they were in the day when Yahweh called Israel out of Egypt. It is by virtue of these immutable principles that Israel is able to operate as a unified fighting force. To break these principles is to break the glue that holds Elohim’s army together, which is why it is so astounding that so many ministers (who say they work for Yahweh) are actually furthering Satan’s agenda by operating independently, as rogues, rather than operating in unity.

In the next chapter we will see how the apostles also operated on this unified foundation when a question of doctrine arose in Acts 15

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