Saturday, November 22, 2014

What did Y'shua abolish at the cross?

Did Y’shua abolish the Torah at the cross?  The answer, of course, is a resounding, “NO!”

Ephesians 2:13 But now, by Y’shua the Mashiyach, you who before were afar off, have been brought near by the blood of the Mashiyach.  14. He is himself our peace, who has made the two (become) one, and has demolished the wall[1] which stood in the midst, and the enmity, by his flesh;  15. And in his flesh (the) enmity and regulations of commands (contained) in his commandments are abolished[2] (so) that in himself (an occurrence of the divine nature, or qnoma),[3] he might make the two into one, establishing peace.  (AENT)

Footnotes:

1.   Aramaic for wall is syaga.  Ironically, this exact term was picked up by the Talmudic rabbis in Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) 1:1 that commanded, “make a fence around the Torah.”  Y’shua specifically warned against this activity in Matthew 15, rebuking the Pharisees in the process.  Later on, Y’shua said he was the “door/gate” using a synonym for syaga, known as taarea, which is a homonym “torah” and “teachers,” meaning the Pharisees.  So while the Pharisees are busy erecting their fence, Y’shua is pulling it down, allowing everyone access!


2.  The grammatical structure here fully guarantees that namusa is referring to “customs” as in the traditions of the Pharisees, not Torah itself.  Mashiyach abolishes the “enmity” (hatred or animosity) that has been brought against YHWH by religious tradition and false interpretations of Torah, which was a heavy burden that people could not bear.  Christian theologians, however, twist this verse and teach that it was YHWH’s Torah that brought the hatred and that Mashiyach did away with Torah, which is a very reckless and evil theology.  Mashiyach sent the Ruach haKodesh to write YHWH’s Torah upon the hearts of his people, not abolish it.  (See AENT's appendix: Eighteen New Testament Misconceptions #11: Commandments Nailed to the Torture Stake.)

3.  Qnoma can mean “core substance” or “occurrence.”  Although Greek reads “self” Aramaic does not; “self” leads to assumptions of “personhood” which breeds idolatry.

Theologian Skip Moen at StudyLight.Org
  explains it thusly:

Two Into One – There are a host of issues with this verse (Ephesians 2:15), none of which are easily resolved without understanding principle #3 – binyan av mikatuv echad (“building a teaching principle based on a verse”). You will notice all of the words in brackets in the NASB translation. Most English translations will have to add words to try to make sense of Sha’ul’s interpretation because there is a prior commitment to replacement theology (the idea that grace replaces the Torah) which makes it necessary to read this verse in a way that is not Jewish. But these translations ignore Sha’ul’s rabbinic exegesis. In this verse, Sha’ul is arguing from a particular verse to a larger principle. He is building on one thought in order to draw a greater conclusion. In other words, he says that same thing twice, once in particular and the second time in general.

Let’s see how he does this. First Sha’ul says Yeshua broke down the wall that separated us from peace with God (v. 14). How did He do that? He did it by bearing the enmity between God and Man in His own flesh. Now here’s the telling point. What was the enmity? Was it the Law (as the NASB translation suggests), or was it something else? Notice the introduction of the bracketed phrase [which is] actually implies that the enmity is the Torah. But this ignores the third principle. The principle suggests that Sha’ul is really repeating one idea with a larger, more general idea. So, abolishing the enmity is the same as making the two into one. Sha’ul tells us Yeshua removed the thing that separated us from God and restored peace. What separates us from God? It simply cannot be the Law.

Sha’ul himself tells us the Law is good and holy. God gives the Law in order that men might know His will for living. No; what separates us from God is our disobedience of the Law. Yeshua takes the results of this disobedience on Himself in order that the two opposing parties might be at peace. The new man is once again restored to a place where he can find peace with the Law of God because now he is able to obey it. Sha’ul argues from the single case of Yeshua taking on the punishment due sinners to the general case that we are now at peace with God. This verse has nothing at all to do with removing the Law from a believer’s life. It is about the result of sin and the relief of forgiveness found in the blood of the Lamb.

Many Christians misunderstand this verse simply because they fail to apply rabbinic interpretative principles. They treat the rabbi Sha’ul as if he were a Greek named Paul. Applying Greek exegetical categories leads us to terrible dilemmas: 1) the Law is good but somehow also bad, 2) the Law was for Jews but not for Christians, and 3) the Law was replaced by grace and now we are left with “spiritual” guidance based on our own views about love. Worst of all, we just can’t make any sense of Yeshua’s practice of Torah. We need new eyes, my friends. And God will give them to us – if we look.


4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post Sister Shali. This is one of the verse the i used to struggle but now it is clear to me. I've never heard any explanation about this verse any clearer than this.

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  2. A Messianic teacher gave this simple analogy of TORAH and sin.
    An umbrella protects one from getting wet in the rain. If you step outside of the umbrella------you get wet.
    Being a simple man I apprciated the comparison.

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  3. Excellent analogy! We have an article that shows how simple it is, too: Torah: Is it liberty, or is it bondage? http://www.therefinersfire.org/torah.htm

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