Due to the institution of religion, Torah has gained different meanings and purposes over the span of humankind, but when trying to find the true purpose behind any text coming from the Bible, we should look at the ancient Hebrew. The Hebrew word actually not differently pronounced, and is still translated as “Torah” or “Tora”. The meaning is simply “instruction” or “law”, and that is what it should still mean to us today. Torah consist of the first five books of the bible. Although the whole bible is important, everything vital we need to know is in the first five books (Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). These books set up the foundation and instruction for life, and the preceding books found over time just support what is already established in the Torah.
Should we be following Laws Today?
Short answer, yes! We have come to gain a dislike towards the mention of the word “law” in relation to the bible. Some religions claim that Jesus died for our sins and lifted us from the old law of The Old Testament. Although Yeshua(Jesus) was a blood sacrifice for the past sins of ourselves and our forefathers, and gave us a opportunity to be lifted from the “curses” of the law, he did not allow us to not live by any holy laws(which are specific). Yeshua himself followed Torah, so I believe it is safe to say he should as well. In Matthew 5:17-20, Yeshua states “ Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven”. This is very important to look at piece by piece. Let’s look below
Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.
So right there, he states he did not come to do away with the “original law” or the say anything different than what was said by the prophets before him. (Abraham,Jacob, Moses,Isaiah, Jeremiah , Daniel, etc.). He ends with he has to “fulfill”. To fulfill something, we complete or achieve something. When we fulfill a day of work, that does not mean the job does not have to be completed again tomorrow. Yeshua just showed us how to do it properly.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.
So he verifies with us that we understand that until is earth is destroyed again, we are to continually do the things prescribed in the Book of the Law.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Here, it tells us that ALL commandments must be obeyed, and by disobeying at least one, and telling your fellow believer that it is Ok to do so, that may very well get you a spot out of heaven. Many people use Matthew 22:34-40 to combat this when he states “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. “. He is not claiming that these are the only two commands you should follow, but if we “wholeheartedly” obey these commands, every other command and scripture will follow. It is like stating the motor and gas are the life of the car, but it does not mean it does need windows, starter, plugs , belts, lights, etc in order to functionally operate.
For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven
Our faith and obedience must exceed the false teachers that are among us. The are many people, churches, and institutions that are teaching the incorrect meaning of the Bible. We must not look at their life and understanding, but confirm the truth by reading the Bible and correcting ourselves. The Bible repeatedly warns us about false prophets, and to beware of them. In the current times, we have never seen such a mixing of religion and worldly views. We must use God’s law to decipher what is false and what is truth.
Do we follow every single law from the first five books?
Short Answer, no. See, there are laws concerning everyday life, agriculture/land, and Levitical Priesthood laws. These often get mixed up and confused. See, Yeshua did lift the laws regarding Levitical sacrifices as he was the perfect sacrifice. There are also laws regarding the actual land of Jerusalem and the Temple that was built at the time. Since most of us are no longer in land and there is no temple, it would be silly to think we could obey those. Now, there are laws for us in relation to diet,hygiene, relationships, worship, gender roles and Holy days.
From Exodus 20-24, you will find laws that pertain to personal injury, social responsibility, Holy Festivals, Sabbath and worship laws.
From Leviticus 11-20, you will find laws pertaining to hygiene, diet, sexual relations, and various other laws.
Now there are other areas that still have laws that are valid today, but those are two large bodies of text to help you get a general idea of what is required.
The True Benefit of Torah.
Now if we wanted to assemble a bookshelf, a instruction manual would be most helpful,and more important, starting from page one. We should take the same approach towards life. From the beginning with Genesis, God sets up foundations of life that helps getting a better understanding of today. Torah is often referred to as “water” as it refreshes your life and cleans away the iniquity. Torah is not a “Jewish” thing but necessary for a complete and purposeful life. It not a simple story of Adam and Eve, or the story of Moses parting the sea, but important true biblical accounts with instruction on how to go about this thing called “life”. Forget anything you have ever heard about God or religion and dive it, you will be refreshed!