Title Post: Rethinking Torah
I am summarizing and bringing our study to a close by making three points that seek to address the question, What does the feast of Pentecost—biblically understood—mean to you and me today? I suggest that we must rethink,
the whole paradigm of salvation (see part five)
the significance of the Torah
the issue of idolatry in our lives
2. We must rethink the significance of the Torah
Said another way, we must take on the attitude of our Lord Jesus towards God's Word.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law [Torah] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:17-19
How did Jesus know the will of his Father in heaven?
Was he walking around with a microphone in his ear, tuned to the heavenly Jerusalem station? No! He had eaten the scroll. He had ingested the Word of God. The words of his Father in Heaven (Yahweh) literally shaped his worldview, even his very identity. His software was programmed by the Torah (to use a modern computing metaphor). Jesus could not think a thought or speak a word without it coming out in biblical language from a biblical worldview.
If you want a window into Jesus' mind and his attitude towards Torah and Israel, read the Psalms. Here is a sampling:
Ps 1 – Your Torah is my delight; it nourishes me and bears fruit in my life, making me like a tree planted by streams of water.
Ps 19:7 – Your Torah is perfect, it restores my life.
Ps 119:967 – I love your Torah! It is my meditation day and night.
vs. 142 – I venerate your Torah because it is true.
vs. 165 – Your Torah is a means of peace and stability.
Here is something intriguing. Israel does not have a vast vocabulary by word count, but it has an enormously rich vocabulary to describe the Law. By way of analogy, Eskimos have eleven different words for snow because it is a reality they are familiar with and live with day by day.
Go back to Psalm 119, and let me highlight some of the English translations of different Hebrew words for the Law. I'm using the English Standard Version if you are reading along with me. Other translations will differ slightly, which reinforces my point.
Oh, how I love your,
law - vs. 1 (torah, which foundationally means teaching)
testimonies - vs. 2
precepts - vs. 4
statutes - vs. 5
judgments or decrees - vs. 7
commandments - vs. 10
words - vs. 28
ways - vs. 37
These are different modes of expressing the divine guidance, direction, and instruction found in God's Law, his Word.
Biblical truth and values infused the mind of Jesus. If you want to see a perfect example of the Father's Law, look at his Son.
Do you want to know what a person would be like who took on the Torah in spirit and truth? Look to Jesus because that is what he did. He is the embodiment of God's Word. Said another way, Yeshua is the Word made flesh. His very identity comes from the Torah.
What did Jesus do when tempted by Satan in the wilderness? He quoted three verses from Deuteronomy. Why? Because he understood that the Word is inspired, which means inspirited. It has the Spirit because it brings forth the Spirit, and the Spirit is life.
Paul makes it very clear that the inspiration of Scripture is not some abstract theoretical issue. It is profitable for guidance, direction, teaching, and instruction to prepare you for the good works that your salvation summons you to.
Will you change your attitude and your relationship to the Torah? I use the term here in the extended sense of the entire revelation of God in what we call the Old Testament. You see, Pentecost is the festival of giving—the Law at Mt. Sinai and the fullness of the Spirit on Mt. Zion.
The receiving of the Law only occurs when you submit to and obey him.
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.
Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.