Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Torah is our way to holiness!

We at The Refiner's Fire encounter many Christians spending a lot of time finding ways to deny any obligation to Torah.  The "Law", they say, "...no longer applies."  "I just don't see the sense in all those 'rules'."  "Jesus paid it all so we don't have to." "That was just for the Jews." "We are under grace."  "We have Torah written on our hearts."  The excuses go on and on and on.

But I have to wonder if those saying these things ever bothered to find out just what "Torah" is, and what it means?

If you aren't already turned off by these first two paragraphs, here's something that may stun you:  No one is permitted to come before God unless they are "clean" in mind, spirit, and body.  If you do not live by Torah, then you are not "clean", and I'm sorry, but when the time comes, be that in life, death, or rapture, you cannot be in the presence of God.

Ouch!

Yes...OUCH!  That statement hurts doesn't it? If you are not "holy" then you cannot be in His presence!  I'm sorry, but this is not my rule, this is God's rule!  Here it is in blue and white:

"For I am Adonai your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy..." (Leviticus 11:44, CJB)

"...you are to be holy, because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:45, CJB)

"...you people are to be holy for me; because I, Adonai, am holy; and I have set you apart from the other peoples, so that you can belong to me." (Leviticus 20:26, CJB)

You see, God commanded us to "be holy" so we could be in His presence and He could dwell with us.  "In this way you will separate the people of Isra'el from their uncleanness, so that they will not die in a state of uncleanness for defiling my tabernacle which is there with them." (Leviticus 15:31, CJB)

"The person who remains unclean and does not purify himself will be cut off from the community because he has defiled the sanctuary of Adonai." (Numbers 19:20 CJB)

And lest you think this is just "Old Testament" stuff, look at the situation in the end, when the old earth has passed away and God and Jesus are sitting on the throne and the whole world is the "city" where He dwells:  "Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."  (Revelation 21:27, CJB)

So how can one "be holy" so one can be in His presence?   By being Torah observant!  "But" you object, "that's Old Testament stuff; it doesn't apply to us today."  Really?  The command for us to "be holy" somehow would not apply to us today?

Jesus said "If you love me, you will keep my commands."  Most all of Christianity accepts/believes that Jesus is God, so if Jesus is God, and Torah comes from God, wouldn't Jesus' commands be Torah?  Even Peter, who valiantly tried to teach us who the Messiah was and what He did for us, said "...following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, 'You are to be holy because I am holy.' " (1 Peter 1:15-16 CJB).  Was Peter talking about some other way to be "holy"?

NO!  Torah is our way to be holy.  Torah teaches us how to behave.  Torah teaches us how to have a relationship with God.

So instead of spending time trying to justify that Torah does not apply to you, how about spending some time finding out what it is?  It will surprise you (I guarantee it!) how wonderful Torah is. Stop looking at Torah as "rules", and try to see it as a "way" of life.  (Please check out our article on what Torah rules still apply to us today.) You can begin your journey by studying the many articles on The Refiner's Fire .  And if you are truly new, you can begin at the beginning with the inexpensive book "Should Christians be Torah Observant?" by Carmen Welker, on Amazon.com. 

16 comments:

  1. This is a great site! My comment is that Christians should study the TORAH to learn. There always is a new nugget of knowledge to be found. The blood of anamals was a picture of CHRIST's sacrifice for us, so GOD accepts us through the blood shed by HIS Son.

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    1. Amein. Thanks for taking the time to post!

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  2. What I find is that most Christians that I know seem to have an idea that the Torah equals to the Jewish traditions, added to the Torah. And that exactly IS what Yeshua preached against. If Christians just would bother to read the Torah for themselves, they would see that it is not an endless list of meaningless, impossible to comply with rules. Instead, the Torah is very clear, very straightforward, sensible and righteous moral code that our loving Creator gave us to live by.

    The only things are the Feasts, Shabbat and other customs that we who turn to YHWH from paganism find at first a bit odd and difficult to adjust to. And that is simply because we have spent a lifetime following the pagan customs of Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Sunday church and the like, which have felt familiar and sensible to us simply because we were taught to observe those from the moment we were born into this world. It takes some time to adopt new customs and abandon old ones, but I personally work hard to make that shift and turn to YHWH to become obedient to HIS customs, instead of the old pagan ones.

    Yes, Christmas has always felt very dear to me and still brings some warm and comfy memories to me when I think about it. Ever since I was born I have celebrated Christmas, got a pile of presents each year, gathered together with friends and family, enjoyed the beautiful lights and candles, the decorated tree and everything sparkly. Who wouldn't have warm and fuzzy feelings about it?

    But now I have abandoned it because I know my Creator doesn't approve the celebration of it. And instead, I am alone, like now during Sukkot, adjusting to celebrate the appointed Feasts of YHWH, simply out of love and desire to obey Him, instead of following the pagan traditions of men. Yes, it feels a bit uncomfortable and sad to be so alone, having nobody to celebrate this occasion with me and having no Christmas celebration to look forward to. So far I know of no other Netzari/Messianic believers in my area to gather together to celebrate these appointed Feasts together with.

    But I still gladly do this, because I love my Creator and I want to obey Him. May He bless me with joining me together with some sisters and brothers in the future, if it is His will for my life.

    And in the meanwhile, I uphold the Torah among my Christian friends, if I could turn even one of them to the Truth of YHWH. Blessed be His Name forever. Amein.

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    1. Amein to everything you wrote! The way our world is going right now is proof that man's way has been completely wrong, and we are reaping the consequences.

      There would be nothing wrong with Christmas and Easter IF they didn't masquerade as "Holy Days." While originally designed to commemorate the birth and resurrection, man allowed paganism and tradition to creep in - and both of those "holy days" are lies. Y'shua was NOT born on Dec. 25th, and He wasn't resurrected "on Easter Sunday!" MYTHS! LIES...and lying is a sin....

      Unfortunately, many don't care.

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    2. Thank you for your testimony. We, too, recognize that many raised in the Christian myths can't or don't want to give them up. Those who will listen often will agree, but then say "... God knows my heart". (Yes, He does!)

      We, too, have found that learning to live one's life in obedience, the obedience He asked of us, leads to a lonely life. But honestly, I have found absolute joy in the Feasts and doing my best to be the holy person God asked of us - as in the scriptures cited above. I, for one, get joy in turning down a pork offering at a restaurant! I do! Am I trying to "look more righteous" than others? No. Am I trying to "earn" my way into the Kingdom? No. God said (actually many times): "You are to follow the entire way which Adonai your God has ordered you; so that you will live, things will go well with you..." (this example from Deuteronomy 5:33(30)). Who wouldn't want things to go well with them? Yet most spend so much time denying any responsibility to obey, and then get mad at God when things don't go well.

      You gotta wonder about that.

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  3. I pray that people obey Torah instead of the man-made garbage and cursed behavior (false gospels, racism, homosexuality, etc.) that plagues the world today. I truly believe in what Yermeyah 16:19 says about people from all nations coming YHWH asking for deliverance from curses, lies and shame inherited from previous generations.

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  4. Are you saying Torah is not written on our hearts? (Paragraph 1). Maybe you could expound on the 'excuse' - "We have Torah written on our hearts" and how that is a misuse of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8-13 as an excuse to not follow Torah. Being new to Torah I am clinging to those verses. Thanks.

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  5. Well, PDL, I have to answer "yes and no" to your question! Yes, "Torah written on our hearts" is AVAILABLE to anyone, but no, that does not mean it is simply "automatic". If it were automatic, the excuse "We have Torah written on our hearts" (which is to deny obligation to know Torah) would not be necessary, because people who HAVE Torah written on their hearts WANT to be obedient to YHWH!

    There are MANY components to Jeremiah 31:31-34 referenced in Hebrews 8:8-13!

    Notice why YHWH said He'd do this, i.e., write Torah on their hearts? Because THE PEOPLE broke the 1st covenant! They had all this good instruction to live by, yet they kept breaking it. The "process" YHWH set up was not working - because the people were simply using the "process" to "get around" their bad behavior. What did YHWH say he'd do? He'd "...put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts" (ISR). People only read "write it on their hearts" and miss that "in their inward parts" phrase. But together, the scripture means that if Torah is "in" you, then your actions and behaviors will be BY Torah, and because it is in your heart (if you have allowed it), then you will WANT to be obedient.

    Further notice that the "new covenant" is not with the Gentile, the "Christian Church". It is with the "house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah". Don't get me wrong, when we gentiles accept YHWH as our God, then we become part of the house of Isra'el, but that only obligates us to actually commit to being His children, and living to obey Him. YHWH said multiple times in Numbers 15:14-16 that ALL who have Him as their God shall do the same as His people.

    Also, Jeremiah 31 goes on. Verse 36: "'If these laws leave my presence,' says Adonai, 'then the offspring of Isra'el will stop being a nation in my presence forever.'" Torah never goes away! (So the other excuses that "Torah was done away with", "Torah was only for the Jews", etc., are simply nonsense - weak excuses to NOT obey.)

    Hebrews 8 echoes this. If we have Torah "written on our hearts" then our sinful predisposition that breaks Torah is what is decaying and "fading away" in Hebrews 8:13 - Torah can't be "fading away"! (Many read Hebrews 8:13 in error thinking it says Torah is "decaying" and "fading away".)

    Thus, if anyone has Torah written on their heart they become willing and eager to live a life without sin. We live without sin when we live by Torah because Torah defines sin. (1 John 3:4). And, worse, those who continue to sin insult what the Messiah did for us! Yeshua died for your sins - those sins up to the point you sank to your knees and accepted what He did for you. After that, you become obligated to live sin free as best you can! Hebrews 10:26: "For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins". (CJB)

    (That "knowledge of the truth" in Hebrews 10:26 is that Yeshua died for you ONE time, so you could have eternal life - unobtainable by repeated animal sacrifices of old.)

    Unfortunately, many think the phrase "Jesus died for our sins" means they are simply continuously "forgiven" for repeated sinning! Those who say "We have Torah written on our hearts" yet simply go through life sinning, thinking they are "under grace", will one day learn they were very, very wrong.

    Hope this helps.

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  6. It does help. Thanks. I like your explanation and appreciate you taking the time to address my question. I identify with your statement "people who HAVE Torah written on their hearts WANT to be obedient to YHWH!" So, in a way, the 'process' is still 'broken' if one follows or obeys Torah without Y'shua haMashiyach and without the Ruach haKodesh or thinks they are obeying Y'shua without considering Torah life as the very definition of that obedience He requires? My basis of that question and thinking is a note in the AENT that reads something to the affect: 'Torah without Y'shua haMashiyach is a dead letter; Y'shua haMashiyach without Torah is sloppy Agape!'

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    1. Yes, I agree. The process is still broken as you identified, if you have Torah but not the Messiah or you have Messiah, but not Torah. The AENT's footnote on Hebrews 2:9 helps make my point and yours. Yeshua's gift was for everyone "apart from Elohim" and that is both Jew and Gentile who are apart from YHWH. James echoes the idea that desire to live Torah comes with one's Faith and that Torah without faith is dead, while one of true Faith shows his faith through Torah. (James 2:14-26). See the footnote in the AENT for James 2:24.

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  7. In my mind, the most difficult statement above to grasp or process or accept for the Greek-Western Christian is "Yeshua died for your sins - those sins up to the point you sank to your knees and accepted what He did for you. After that, you become obligated to live sin free as best you can!" That is almost word for word what a friend said to me years ago about Mormonism after he came out from under it's spell. I would like to testify though to the power of YHWH and the freedom not to sin... as much! Although I feel fully capable of falling right back into from where I came. it's tough.

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    1. Well, even the Mormons have read scripture. The problem is they also added significantly to it. Everything said in the statement: "Yeshua died for your sins - those sins up to the point you sank to your knees and accepted what He did for you. After that, you become obligated to live sin free as best you can" are my own words but completely from scripture. The statement does not mean we have to be perfect. The statement also does not mean we MUST do as some authority says in some organized religion such as Mormonism, or Methodist, or Baptist, or Judaism. Obedience is to YHWH, not some doctrine.

      When my wife and I pray before our weekly Torah study, part of our prayer goes: "...may we all, together, know Your Name and study Your Torah for the sake of fulfilling Your desire." That is the point of my saying "you become obligated to live sin free as best you can" - you are trying to live your life for the sake of fulfilling His desire. It's because we love Him, not because we are trying to live by a fixed set of rules.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.

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  8. I just read First Yochanan (John). He agrees with you:-) Thanks for adding to my understanding of a tough topic. A topic that most stumble over and all I think must wrestle with who desire to walk, live, kadosh as we are required to do if we are to have fellowship with YHWH and then one another. I apprecaite the attidude you share you and your wife approach your Torah study with.

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    1. Thank you, PDL

      ...I think maybe it's I agree with Yochanon?

      It is a tough topic. Christianity is mired in "grace" and "forgiveness" and few ever come to the realization that "grace" happens only when you fail, grace is not "automatic" when you don't even try.

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  9. And Christianity is full of confusion because they have rejected the Torah. All the Christian bookstores are full of titles like "how to please God", "how to be holy", "what is sin", "how to know what love is", "what is the will of God".... And each of those authors have a different idea about those things. If JUST they would accept the Torah, they would have a uniform and reliable answer to all of those questions and there would be no more confusion!

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    1. You are sooo right! This is actually the gist of what Paul was always trying to teach, as well....Keep Torah and do it because you love YHWH and His Rules that amply reveal who He is and what He expects of you....

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