This was originally published April 19, 2010 on Facebook as a Note. But I publish it here, to help tell about my faith journey.
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There are those who have been following these notes:
Moses and Jesus
Following in Jesus’ Footsteps
and are aware that I have been asking some important questions about the origins of Christianity and her practices. Anyway, last Sunday morning I was awakened around 2:30 in the morning (that’s pretty early for me) and found that I was meditating about the New Covenant and its relationship to Torah (the Law of Moses). Here is what I put down on paper:
Torah is the Word from God, the original message; therefore Torah is the beginning of knowledge, knowing what God expects.
(As I am typing this it came to my mind that without the writings of Moses, how would God’s people know their history, or what God expected of their behavior both religious and non-religious-for example business dealings and economics, or that their would be a Messiah?)
Yeshua (Jesus) is the embodiment (the actualization, the fulfillment) of Torah; therefore Yeshua is both the beginning of understanding of Torah and the corrective mechanism for proper understanding of Torah.
(As I am typing this it came to my mind that this fulfillment is found in Matthew 5.17-20.)
The Holy Spirit leads us into the wisdom of living Torah through faith in Yeshua.
(As I am typing this it came to my mind that this is Second Timothy 3.15.)
After that I went back to bed and woke up about 730 and started preparing for worship. During that time I talked with my wife about my meditations and as we were talking part of the discussion was about how Jesus came during a time period were God’s people were arguing which interpretive method was correct.
Which group was properly interpreting and living God’s Word (Torah)? Was it the Sadducees? Was it the Pharisees? Was it the Herodians? Was it the Zealots? Was it the Essenes? The regular everyday people? Or one of the smaller sects (groups, denominations)? Every group had their stake in proving they had the correct interpretation. Interestingly, one of the only groups to really survive was the Pharisees, which are the ancestors to modern Orthodox Judaism, because both groups relied on the Oral Law as the interpretative method to understand the Written Law, anytime there was a dispute the Oral Law had supremacy over the Written Law. Anyhow, more to our point.
Arguing for proper interpretation of God’s Word is nothing new. Jesus arrived in a time period where correct interpretation seems to have meant that if your sect (denomination) was correct then God established your sect (denomination) as anointed. Interestingly this anointing falls to the Nazarene sect (as seen in Acts 24.1-6, esp 1.5, this classification of Nazarene Sect occurs when Paul was in the middle of his trial having been accused of betraying the Torah, which was not the case according to Acts 21.17-27), but as the years have moved beyond the cross Christians seem to forget that Jesus was originally set within an argument of how to interpret Moses and the remainder of their then current Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament.
If I really want to know Jesus teachings and how they apply to me today, it is imperative that I learn what his teachings meant to his time period. What did he clarify with respect to Torah? What did he correct with respect to Torah? And as a student, I need to keep in mind that there was two Torahs in Jesus day, the Written Torah, known as the Tanakh (embodying the Christian OT) and the Oral Torah (in essence is the embodying the traditions of the elders).
By the way, it is interesting that Jesus is the Word and that he was with God. Yet, we also know that God gave his Word to Moses, but it was written on stone tablets, not the heart. It is with the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31.31-34) where the Torah will be written on the heart, and to fulfill the prophecy the Torah had to become flesh (John 1.1-5, 1.14). This unity of Word and Messiah is something that Paul speaks about in First Corinthians 10.1-12 and Romans 13.8-10.
Blessings to all.