Law and Lawlessness
Nomos (Strongs 3551) is the Greek word translated "law" in the Brit Chadasha (new testament). Nomos has many definitions -- it can mean law of the land, any codified law/set of laws, a basic principle, and of course, it can mean Torah. There was no specific Greek word for "legalism" and often nomos is used when Sha'ul is referring to legalism -- since legalism itself is also a set of laws, nomos fits well there too.
Having defined law, it's time to define 'lawlessness.' In Greek, it is anomos -- that is, anti-law. Christians tend to assume that every single instance of 'law' in the Scriptures can only mean Torah (I've shown above that is not true in all cases -- its a broad word); yet few stop to think of the ramifications. If 'law' can only mean Torah --- then what does "lawless' mean? Anti-Torah? In the case of lawlessness, I happen to agree that Torah is indeed meant -- that the sign of the end times would be "Torah-lessness." Christians often brag that they are "free from law" not realizing that's just a seemingly nice way of saying "without law" or "having no law." See note on "Law of Christ"
The argument is made by Christians (with straight faces no less!) that Torah was only given to show man how sinful he was, to show he could not keep Torah and that he needed a Saviour. A few problems here. In the first place, Torah wasn't given to show us how sinful we were but how Holy G-d is. G-d said He gave Torah to show man how to live as a mikra 'called out' people (note, "church" is modern english translation of Greek word ekklesia-- which also means mikra, that is, "called out ones"). Torah was a lifestyle document. Christians would have you believe G-d gave Torah to His Chosen People so that He could later introduce "Grace" and then condemn His original Chosen People in favour of other nations. What? If that was how G-d treated His Chosen Ones -- how much better will He treat His non-Chosen Ones? Would a G-d of love deliberately give people a document they could not obey, and then condemn for their expected failure? Yeshua came 1500 years after Torah was given --- that's 1500 years of fruitless efforts to obey? No way!
When YHVH gave Torah, He promised blessings for obedience, punishments for disobedience. Israel did stray from Torah and received many punishments -- right up to being taken into captivity. If Torah wasn't keepable, if it was given only as a trick to show it couldn't be kept -- that would make G-d a sadist for punishing people for failing to do an impossible task He set for them!
Torah was not given to show man couldn't keep it. To the contrary, G-d Himself declared the Torah was keepable! G-d says in Deuteronomy 30:11-14:
"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it."
Torah is keepable --- and there is no other. He has given it all here --- there is no other Torah up in heaven or in the sea --- this is it! And it is keepable -- it is "not too hard for thee." Now if G-d says it is keepable, no man-made doctrine to the contrary should be accepted. There is not a single command given in Torah that was impossible to keep. Man chooses to disobey -- but the fault lies within man, not Torah.
Was Torah a temporary document until Messiah came?
Torah NEVER states that its end will come or that it will be changed later. Did G-d not foresee He would send Messiah? Indeed He did -- and realizing the lawless beliefs that would later come, G-d added a special clause to Torah:
Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
Deuteronmony 12:32 "32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
Following this passage to not add to or take away from Torah, is a warning against false prophets (Deuteronomy 13). A false prophet is *anyone* who comes teaching the people to disregard G-d's Torah! G-d warns these false prophets will test the people's faithfulness to G-d -- His people will instead "walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him." (Deuteronomy 13:4) At the time of Yeshua, the only way to test those who claimed to be prophets of G-d was to compare what they taught to the teachings of Torah. Period. There was no other test. So when Torah is cast aside as irrelevent -- so is the foundation that proved Yeshua *was* Messiah.
Yeshua never taught against Torah --- if he had, he would be considered a false prophet! Yeshua and Torah cannot be contrary to each other -- each must validate the other. Be wary of manmade church doctrines espousing a "Jesus" loosely based on life of Yeshua HaMashiach -- a "Jesus" who is credited with turning the people away from Torah. The real Yeshua came "*not* to destroy the law, or the prophets: but to fulfil." (Matthew 5:17) Fulfill means to do exactly as written -- not to abolish or change! Anyone teaching to 'take away' from Torah is a false teacher and anyone adding to Torah is a false teacher. Think about the arguments between Christianity and Judaism.... Ironically, for two-thousand years now, G-d has had these two sets of people: Torah rejecting believers; and Yeshua-rejectors who add manmade writings to Torah. Does either group please G-d?
Is Torah Forever?
Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations."
Torah declares itself to be everlasting -- forever. It's Yom Kippur for atonement; its priesthood, it's Shabbat, its Passover/unleavened bread --- all were appointed forever -- NOT just until Messiah came!
Leviticus 16:34 "And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses."
Exodus 31:16 "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant."
Leviticus 24:8 "Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant."
Numbers 25:13 "And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel."
Exodus 12:17 "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. "
What I hope readers of this article will do is study the Brit Chadasha differently. All Scripture must be tested against Torah for accuracy. If you hold a doctrine that contradicts Torah --- your doctrine is wrong --- and you are guilty of lawlessness. Torah is the foundation. Misunderstanding this fact will lead to incorrect doctrines and a skewed mistaken view of Scripture. As Sha'ul says "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12
The sign of the end times is lawlessness ... are you a part of the apostasy or the Truth? Don't be lawless.
End Note: But Doesn't "Law of Christ" replace Torah?
Oddly, In the same breath Christians claim Yeshua *was* G-d, they manage to say the "Law of Christ" is not the same as "Law of G-d" (that is, Torah). Many Christians claim the "Law of Christ" is "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30,31.
However, these commands are not new, they are found in Torah:
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might"
Leviticus 19:18 "Do not make attempts to get equal with one who has done you wrong, or keep hard feelings against the children of your people, but have love for your neighbour as for yourself: I am the Lord."
Further, Yeshua quoted these *after* quoting the Shema, a quintessential text of Judaism from Deuteronomy 6:4, "HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE."
Yeshua's Law *is* G-d's Law. Where the Law of Messiah differs isn't in regard to G-d's Law, but man's. Yeshua came to correctly interpret Torah. Man had added to G-d's Law in an attempt to fence and protect G-d's Law, and in the process, parts of G-d's Law had been misunderstood. Yeshua helped define what the Law was really teaching (Matthew 5's "Sermon on the Mount" is an excellent example of Yeshua clarifying Torah). When Yeshua summed up the Law into these two commands, he was conveying essential principles -- love G-d and love your neighbour. But how does G-d want us to love Him? How does He want us to love our neighbor? We're back to Torah -- we need Torah to define "how" to love G-d and our neighbour.
Pro-Torah Observant Verses In Brit Chadasha (New Testament):
Luke 16:16,17 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."
Luke 1:6 "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Acts 24:14 "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets."
Romans 2:13 "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified)."
Romans 3:31 "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."
Romans 7:12 "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."
Romans 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."
Romans 7:22 "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Yeshua Messiah."
Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yeshua."
1 Yochanan 2:3-6 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
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