I was 44 years old and a "baby Christian" in a Baptist church, reading my way through the Bible for the first time ever, when I figured out that "something felt off" – partly, because my pastor kept sending me to the writings of Paul whenever I had questions. As you know, Paul seems to negate what God commanded and what Yeshua taught - even though, in all honesty, he NEVER negated anything; as a mere man, he didn’t have the right….
Anyway, everything changed for me the day I “happened upon” Romans 3:31. My pastor had recommended the NIV, and it was there I saw this … see if you can pick up on what it was that caught my eye:
Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
“We establish the Law.” We ESTABLISH the law! Did we nullify it? NO! May it never be!
It was right there, before my very eyes: God's "law" (which I eventually learned were His Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living, 1 John 3:4) still stands – and it pertains to everyone (EVERYONE!) who accepts YHWH as their God!
Well, so I asked my pastor, if it’s true that if the law was “established”, then why weren’t WE doing the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Feasts? His answer, as always: “That was only for the Jews. Everything changed after Jesus died.”
“Everything changed after Jesus died?” Why would God’s Divine Instructions to mankind be changed? Were they BAD instructions? Hmmm, they must have been because the pastor reminded me that that the law was a curse (Galatians 3:10)….
NO! SOMETHING WAS WRONG with the church teachings!
There I was, less than a year in a church, plagued by the gnawing feeling that “something was wrong – but what?” I clearly wasn’t going to find the answer by asking my pastor with his endless "Paul said" ideas, and so I decided to do my own research. What I found was, no matter which Bible version I checked, they ALL said that Torah (erroneously translated as "law") was NEVER nullified, negated, or abolished....
Romans 3: 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid*: yea, we establish the law. (KJV)
Romans 3: 31 Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah. (CJB)
Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah. (ISR)
So - we ESTABLISH, CONFIRM Torah! Yet, somehow, my pastor and everyone I knew back then, believed Torah didn’t pertain to them; never mind that “God never changes” (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17) and that He has the same rules for ALL who accept Him (Numbers 15:13-16).
Through diligent study I learned that Torah was never meant to be “just for the Jews”; it was never something we were to "read" or "know" about and simply ignore as we made our way through the Bible. Its reason for existing has always been for ALL God's people to do what? To sh'ma - hear AND do; and to pass His Divine Instructions along to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Numbers 15:13-16)!
Therefore, I surmised while I was still a “baby Christian,” that the death of Jesus could NOT have abolished Torah! His death abolished the need for mankind to kill innocent animals to atone for sin, period! (See Leviticus 17:11; 1 Peter2:24; and Revelation 5:12. And for those who insist “God never demanded human sacrifice,” note that Yeshua wasn’t “sacrificed”; he martyred himself, against which there is law. In biblical times, the Levite Priests atoned for sins: Exodus 28:36-38; Leviticus 6:25-27; and Leviticus 10:16-17.)
The pshat (plain meaning) along with simple Bible hermeneutics reveal that Torah rules have always been for ANYONE who accepts YHWH as their ELOHIM! Think about it: Adam and Eve weren’t Jews, and neither were Cain and Abel who made offerings to YHWH in Genesis 4. Noah wasn’t a Jew, and neither were our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There were no Jews until Jacob had a son named Yehudah (Judah, where the term “Jew” originated), whose offspring became the Tribe of Judah….
Yes, God commissioned the Tribe of Judah to safeguard and preserve the Torah when the tribes were scattered into the nations for their endless disobedience (Genesis 49:10, Micah 4:2); but “safeguarding” His Torah never meant that it was “just for the Jews!” And, let's not forget that YHWH caused Yeshua, His Divine Messiah – the Word, the living Torah, the branch, the arm (John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 11:1, 10; Isaiah 53:1-1; Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15; Zecheriah 3:8, 6:12) - to be born into the Tribe of Judah!
So … it was a really GOOD thing that I had a brain; a brain that told me “something was wrong” with my church’s teachings, which caused me to dig into Scripture like never before. Still, it took three and a half years before I found the answers to ALL my questions. This happened when YHWH caused me to end up in a Messianic Torah study where I discovered that what was missing in church was Torah – the “law” that the church had misunderstood to be a “curse” (which I will turn into a whole ‘nuther teaching)….
I didn’t mean to make this so long, but having said the above, I leave you with this passage to ponder, not through “Greek church eyes” but through Yeshua’s Hebrew mindset:
Romans 10: 4. For Mashiyach is the goal of Torah for righteousness to everyone that believes in him. 5. For Moshe describes the righteousness which is by Torah, this way: Whoever will do these things will live by them. 6. But the righteousness which is by faith, says thus: You will not say in your heart, Who ascends to heaven and brings Mashiyach down? 7. Or, Who descends to the abyss of Sheol and brings up Mashiyach from the house of the dead?
8. But what says it? The thing is near to your mouth and to your heart: that is, the Word of Faith which we declare. 9. And if you will confess with your mouth our Master Y’shua, and will believe with your heart that Elohim has raised him from the dead, you will live. 10. For the heart that believes in him is made righteous; and the mouth that confess him is restored to life.
11. For the Scripture says: Everyone that believes in him will not be ashamed. 12. And in this, it discriminates neither Jews nor Gentiles. For there is one, Master YHWH, over them all, who is abundantly generous towards every one that calls on him. 13. For everyone that will call on the name of Master YHWH, will have life. 14. How then will they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or, how will they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? Or, how will they hear without a preacher? (AENT)