Jesus the Living Torah??

Jesus the Living Torah??

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’, says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’.”(Revelation 1:8)

Disclaimer:
There isn’t one identifiable practice that I desire for believers to be centered around because I believe that undermines Gods creative and unique redemption process. I say that because in this article, it may appear that I am creating a controversy over simple terminology. I have been reluctant to write this article because of that, but after debating someone on this topic and doing the proper research, I believe there is just cause in writing it. The last thing I want to do is destroy someone’s joy in the Lord and childlike faith so please understand that while reading this.

“In the beginning was the Word(logos) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

For those that may not be familiar with this passage in John, his gospel was originally written in Greek using the Greek word [ logos ] or [ lexis ] ,which is translated to us as [ Word ]. This is where we say that “Jesus is the Word of God”, but this phrase has been replaced by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement to say “Jesus is Torah”, or “Jesus is the Torah of God”.

Well, is Jesus the Torah of God?

How About, The Living Torah?

I guess it all depends on the intention and definition.

The phrase, “Jesus is Torah”, may seem benign or harmless, or even quite praiseworthy, but it is not a scriptural metaphor for Christ, so that raises the question as to what validity it has.

While there may be those who apply this phrase in a positive and productive manner for their life, I do believe their is a good deal of deception in the origin of this phrase.
It’s not my intention to criticize someone’s love and perception of Christ through the use of extra-Biblical metaphors and allegories especially if it is beneficial in their walk with God. However, the HRM is notorious for reconstructing scripture and phrases in order to conform them to their standard of all things “Hebraic” which they seem to believe is authentic and imperative.

THE LOGOS-
First of all, the Hebrew-torah is not equivalent to the Greek-logos. There is no basis to think that John used logos for the lack of a better term. He wrote his gospel in Greek and torah is not used to describe Jesus in any of the the original manuscripts.
There are three Greek words that can be used in conjunction with John’s gospel.
-lexis
-logos
-rhema
The Hebrew equivalent for word/logos is dabar. But the HRM does not use dabar because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
If they were to be truthful and adhere to Hebrew, the phrase should read:
“Jesus/Yeshua is the dabar, or living dabar.”

Although rabbinical scholars do not simplify torah to mean “law”, other scholars consider the Hebrew-torah equivalent to the Greek-nomos, meaning “law”, not logos.

Around the turn of the millennium from B.C to A.D, the definition of the Greek ‘logos’ was simplified to “word, discussion or reason”, but before this, its definition was more broad and meant:
-a ground
-a plea
-an opinion
-an expectation
-reasoned discourse
-the argument
and many more.
These definitions varied because the philosophers used ‘logos’ when talking about issues of both the universe, the affairs of man, and the divine.

Presently, the rabbinical understanding of torah is:
-Instruction
-Teachings
-Guide
Torah is in relation to the first 5 books of Moses, or Pentateuch. If there is one relation between logos and torah, it would be based on the rabbinical position that the Pentateuch existed before creation and was used as a blueprint for creation just as John’s logos existed in the beginning. But I don’t know if this was a rabbinical position held at the time of John whereas the idea of a cosmic logos did in fact exist before and during John’s time. The difference is that John’s logos was personified whereas the rabbinical position still holds to the idea that torah is not personified, but literal in textual form prior to creation.

There is no literal or historical basis to suppose that John meant anything else than what he said by using logos. He used it on purpose. To suppose that God would have preferred a Hebrew version would be pure conjecture. The Hebrew word dabar, or torah does not live up to what we see in Christ as the logos. The HRM fails to realize that to swap torah, for logos is no different than the oral traditions of the Pharisees. The text and the history speak for themselves. Leave it alone.

THE LOGOS BECAME FLESH-
The use of the phrase “Jesus is torah” appears to be an attempt at slapping on a Hebrew word to what was never originally in Hebrew in hopes to conform this metaphor of Jesus to the HRM view of Hebrew and Old Testament studies and instruction. If you spend any short amount of time around the HRM, you will find out that torah is one of the more important words in their vocabulary. We all study and the Christian world is full of resources, literature, Bible colleges and seminaries, but the HRM version of instruction is not necessarily what we know of as Bible study.
The idea of “torah” is more about a rabbinical idea that a person’s life should be devoted to studies and instruction that is centered around the first five books of Moses.The Torah definition of “instruction” can be used very subtly to somehow describe all of Gods teachings as torah, and therefore include the Law as general instruction or torah also, and thereby making the Law just as mandatory as any other instruction or torah. Please remember this because sooner or later you will see this notion proposed. This idea has slipped its way into the Christian world through the HRM and messianic groups that lump the person of Jesus in with the academia and academic process of torah.
This can put torah academia as the precedent and therefore the life and words of Jesus are relegated or reduced to this notion. This really dismisses the redeeming aspect of Jesus Himself and puts Him along the lines of a teacher who instructs us in the ways of God apart from the redeeming substance of Himself. Yes, Jesus is the Word of God and He does instruct us, but His instruction does not consist in knowledge and information.
There is no doubt or question that studying has its spiritual applications. Psalm 119 is a wonderful example of this. But without the nurturing of the what God has worked in us by faith, studying only becomes academic.

To be instructed in the Law can remain only academic. They are words.
To be instructed in Christ is experiential. He is a person.
Jesus does not instruct men on how to be Holy, He crushes them under the standard of the Law and Himself, and make us Holy through our identity with Him and the work on the Cross.
All scripture has now become instruction unto the revelation of this redemptive work of the Cross that has already been accomplished in us.
Holiness cannot be taught because this would rely on intellect.
Holiness cannot be studied because this would rely on discipline.
Holiness cannot be learned because this would rely on memory.
No one can be taught to eat the bread of life which is Christ.
No one can be taught to drink of His blood and eat of His flesh.
Can a man be taught how to be crucified with Christ?
These things cannot be comprehended, they must be apprehended, by faith. They are not doctrines, they are experiences.
These things are not instructed into our lives by torah, they are spoken into our lives through the logos of God.
We don’t study to learn, we study to hear, and to see.

There are a millions of wonderful things to “learn” about the Bible and how it “instructs” us, but the only practical working of God’s will in our life comes by the life of Jesus Christ being formed within us. All the academia in the world cannot make this real! Our lives are conformed to His image by abiding in His presence and the Bible speaks to us concerning this work.

“The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord…though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down..”
(Psalms 37:23)

“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light…”
(Matt. 10:27)

There are universal commands and descriptions throughout the Bible that let us know how to order our lives, but there are many examples where God calls upon people without them having any foreknowledge of what to expect. All the studying in the world provides nothing in these moments but only sheer faith and it is not until we walk in that faith, do we see what God’s intention was all along. This is the faith of Abraham.

More often than not, it is the flesh that wishes to see, and to know and to learn, but more often than not, the life of faith is what puts a person in the dark. How often does it seem that even though God made a covenant and promise to Abraham, he was still in the dark concerning his future? It was only through Abraham’s experience with God that he could come to the place of confidence and say to Isaac:

“My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”(Gen. 22:8)

Christians who have walked with God for many years will testify that He has made them into His image through the experiences of life and the paths that He has put before them. Many of these testimonies cannot be formatted into instruction or advice other than the advice to trust and glorify God. A person has the liberty to view Jesus Christ according to whatever metaphor or analogy they wish, but God is only bringing sons into Glory through the redemptive work of His Son that has been worked in us by the Holy Spirit. A thousand lifetimes of study cannot complete this work.

10 thoughts on “Jesus the Living Torah??

  1. Have you thought about putting up an RSS feed so people can subscribe to new posts if they want?

    I’d like to know when you publish a new article, they’re quite edifying.

    I just happened by today and found this one (that I hadn’t read before). Wouldn’t have known otherwise.

    1. That’s funny because I just published it a few minutes before you commented. As far as an RSS feed, I will definitely do it if I can. I am a novice to WordPress but I have a family member that is pretty familiar with it so I will look into as quickly as possible and get it set up. If you will do me one favor and let me know if you are receiving my responses to you. I missed quite a few of your comments because I am not getting the email notifications like I should so I am trying to solve the issue. Thanks for the comments by the way, and I do apologize for the error. If I cannot get the RSS feed up and going right away, I should have two more articles by the end of the week. One called Dead to the Law, and The Words of a Prophet.

    2. Hal, my first response to you was sent through the blog itself. This is a re-send using only email so please ignore this if you received the first one. Sorry for the mix-up. Here is the original: That’s funny because I just published it a few minutes before you commented. As far as an RSS feed, I will definitely do it if I can. I am a novice to WordPress but I have a family member that is pretty familiar with it so I will look into as quickly as possible and get it set up. If you will do me one favor and let me know if you are receiving my responses to you. I missed quite a few of your comments because I am not getting the email notifications like I should so I am trying to solve the issue. Thanks for the comments by the way, and I do apologize for the error. If I cannot get the RSS feed up and going right away, I should have two more articles by the end of the week. One called Dead to the Law, and The Words of a Prophet.

  2. Wow. There is so much that can be said at this point.

    Someone a lot more savvy than I made the observation that the modern Messianic movement was founded with the objective of providing a framework for easing Jews who have found the Messiah into the Christian world, but instead has become a path for converting Gentiles into Jews through obedience to the Mosaic law. In other words, the Messianic movement creates proselytes.

    Having never seen this personally, this was a bit academic to me until observing some of the HRM people posting to the Richard Rives forum, over a period of months. One in particular (I won’t name) goes to great lengths to use all the HRM approved Hebrew transliterations, quotes from the Sacred Name translations, and greets the other HRM people with Hebrew phrases. I naturally assumed he was Jewish and came to faith in the Messiah but this assumption turned out to be wrong–he later revealed that he is (was) a Gentile. So this revelation put all the HRM teachings into a harsher light for me, that people do fall for all the false premisses, and the Messianic movement turns Gentiles into Jews, keeping the barriers up and denying the new creation.

    Of these, perhaps none is more subtle than “Jesus is Torah” or “Jesus is Living Torah”. You discussed the meaning of the word “torah” in a previous article, including the definition the HRM hangs their hat on–“teaching” or “instruction”. Interestingly enough, the same person who made the observation above, who is Jewish and was studying hard to become an Orthodox rabbi before the Lord revealed Himself, is quite adamant that “torah” means “law” only. It is only a two-letter word, and the verse in Deut. 28 in Hebrew bears this out, where is says to be careful to observe all of the law.

    Thus unknowingly, the main tenant of the HRM is in fact “Jesus is Law”. But this points to what is the real heresy of the HRM, from which flows all the other bad teaching. This heresy is often seen in Richard Rives’ videos when he puts the picture of the stone tablets up. They deify the law. This happens to varying degrees, of course, but some actually put the law over the Spirit or the Messiah, and place their faith in the law.

    Thus, the HRM worship the torah. This is especially evident in the way they carefully capitalize the word. Here in Denver, there is a Messianic congregation large enough to support two HDTV channels, on which they broadcast videos of services and sermons, called “TorahTV”. One time while randomly flipping channels, I happened to see one that was quite astounding. They were celebrating something for a woman in the congregation, who was brought up onto stage. The “rabbi” took her over to this gigantic torah scroll, five or six feet wide, and proceeded to unroll the scroll while wrapping it around this woman, all while the rest of the congregation cheered. Who or what were they honoring here?

    This is why anyone who points out that they really don’t obey the law as it is written, or who tries to explain that Jesus has set us free from the law, is treated with disdain, derision, and even anger. The truth is a threat to their god.

    1. That’s funny you say that because I saw a clip of that same episode on YouTube where they wrap that scroll around the woman. I used to live in Denver/Westminster around 84th & Federal. I still have alot of family there and one of my cousins married into the family of Gentile Messianic family named Wiedaman. They’re not Jewish, but her father in law pastored Beth-Israel church in Denver for a while but I think they run a ministry out of Greeley now. I never met the man, but my father did, and from what he told me, it seems he was the syerotypical HR type. Her dad/my uncle got heavily involved in the whole HR stuff with the Weidamans but he has since left the group.

      As you say, there is a great deal of torah worship in the HR/messianic groups. It seems difficult for them to really look at Jesus Christ alone because the Law offers so many visible and physical aspects to hold on to and judge things by. I watched the video link you posted on lawofliberty-forums and noticed that he had some other videos especially one about the Sabbath. It’s 3 hours long if I remember right. I plan on watching it soon but I’ve had to work some really long hours at work, plus, I’m not really a very good writer so my articles have taken a really long time to complete.
      Also, I noticed that Willem recommends the book “Desire of the Ages” for you. I’ll let you make up your own mind about it but I wanted to give you a quote from it to understand the seduction people use about the Sabbath:

      “Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.”

      You cam find more of this at this link: http://www.whiteestate.org/message/sabbath.asp

      I don’t really get into much debate about the Sabbath and I don’t dismiss it, but what you will notice in the excerpt at that link is a lot of presumption and supposition that the Bible never really says. The quote from the book sounds very spiritual but you will notice that it still places the person of Jesus Christ as secondary to the Sabbath and many of the things that are said are just simply not found in the Bible. I’ll let you decide, but in my opinion, its alot of spiritual seduction and twisting. Anyway, thanks for checking out my articles. I know I may differ on some of my points with alot of people so don’t ever feel reluctant to disagree. Its just my approach to confronting what I see about the HRM from my perspective and opinion. Take care.

      1. Aaron has made a huge difference for my faith, and it started when I heard his explanation of salvation and the Spirit, and his teachings about the Sermon on the Mount. It set me free from being regularly beaten with those bits of the Sermon that many preachers use to instill guilt with great effect. His audio messages are the bulk of his work, and he gives all 400+ half-hour radio programs away for free. You can literally spend years going through them all, and still not find the ends. He teaches things you won’t hear anywhere else, like his history of Hanukkah and the Maccabean Wars.

        What is really interesting about Aaron is that his background before he was saved was in true Orthodox Judaism, and that he spent years studying the language under true rabbis, much more that what is normally required of rabbis. As a result, he knows the law a whole lot better than most people, and he knows how empty the life pursuing repentance and obedience really is. In this respect he has much in common with Paul, who had a head start on the rest of the apostles by virtue of his position as a Pharisee.

  3. When I saw that on TorahTV, my eyes got really big and I remember thinking: “What are they doing?!??”

    I’m on page 47 out 700+ of the White book; so far it has been mostly her rephrasing the gospel accounts. There hasn’t been any hard-core sabbath yet, but I’ve noticed her knowledge of rabbinic Judaism was lacking in places. And no, I haven’t had to run for the Kleenex box yet.

    The first sentence on the whitestate.org link is wrong when it claims: “The Sabbath was hallowed at creation.” This is the SDA/HR theology that the sabbath has been a law since the Garden of Eden (even though they didn’t have to do any work at all in the Garden to survive). Another White quote: “The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai.” is simply wrong, and it is borne out by Moses in Deut. 5. This is why I was trying to get Willem to read Fruchtenbaum, who is rabbi and who also has a doctorate in theology from DTS. He states quite clearly that the eternal sabbath law is wrong, and real Jewish rabbis have never taught this.

    Coincidently, today there is an article in the Times of Israel about the sabbath that perfectly illustrates (unknowingly of course) the weakness in the law:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/app-lets-jewish-kids-text-on-sabbath-and-stay-in-the-fold/

    As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of all the HR people typing away on their keyboards on the sabbath day.

    1. The texting article really seems to almost make a mockery of the whole issue. I believe I have only read a little of Fruchtenbaum’s work when I was looking into some of the end time’s stuff that you pointed out a while back. Just as you where sending this comment, I was listening to a message on the radio called “Salvation a fulfillment of the Sabbath” by a guy named Mike Fabaraz? He didn’t simply state that we weren’t under that obligation but he went through some of most intriguing explanations of different Sabbaths and the succession of Sabbaths leading to Christ’s coming. Fascinating stuff but I didn’t get to hear the conclusion. I’ve found that many people who understand freedom in Christ are able to actually look at what the Laws says and means to a much greater degree when they don’t live in fear of it. That may sound bigoted but it seems to become that way more and more. Instead of spending money and resources on a sabbath texting app for fear of breaking it, maybe they should spend time reading the Bible and what it has to say about it?

      1. I know exactly what you mean; when people say they keep the feast of tabernacles “in the spirit”, I can’t help but wonder if they have ever read the laws about tabernacles for themselves. From what I can tell, they don’t even bother to go camping for a week, let alone make a tent from the correct plants. A few days ago I heard the rabbinic “solution” to this problem is to make a “wand” (for lack of a better word) from a palm branch that is wrapped with other plants, and then wave it in the four cardinal directions. It is a complete fantasy that has no connection with the biblical feast at all.

        Going back to Aaron Budjen, the bulk of his work are the audio recordings, but he also has some written Q-and-As you might find interesting. A number of them deal directly with issues in the HR:

        http://livinggodministries.net/name_of_jesus.html
        http://livinggodministries.net/fulfill_the_law.html
        http://livinggodministries.net/feast_of_tabernacles.html
        http://livinggodministries.net/under_law.html
        http://livinggodministries.net/jewish_new_testament.html

        Especially this one:

        http://livinggodministries.net/messianic_judaism.html

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