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Passover and Pentecost: Brings Us In (part 6)

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,

  1. the whole paradigm of salvation (see part five)

  2. the significance of the Torah

  3. 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

  • judgment​s 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.

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