“But Mashiyach has redeemed us from the “curse of Torah”
by becoming accursed for us, for it is written:
“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”
Most Christians have heard it preached that Mashiyach has redeemed us from the “curse of Torah” and then assume that the entire written Torah itself is a curse. Sadly, most Christians are not taught the context of this verse. The “Curse of Torah” is specifically found in Deut. 27:15-26. The Bible mentions twelve curses, and if you took a moment to read them all, you would probably agree that anyone who breaks these Commandments is fully deserving of being disciplined, punished or cursed! On the other hand, you may think that some of these Commandments apply today and others do not and that’s because of what religion has done. Religion is in the business of selling pardons, forgiving sins, offering to get your loved ones out of “hell” for money, etc.; while Truth is in the business of Righteousness, Judgment, Mercy and Faith, which are eternal attributes of YHWH and His Mashiyach. Y’shua said; “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and you overlook the weightiestthings of Torah: Judgmentand Mercy and Faith. And these things were necessary for you to have done, and these things you should not have forgotten.” (Matthew 23:23). Y’shua Mashiyach teaches the scribes and Pharisees that the “weightiest things of Torah” are Judgment and Mercy and Faith, so how much more important is this for his own followers! All of Y’shua’s “disciples” were well disciplined in Torah and Judgment and Mercy and Faith.
The “curse of Torah” is as the “curse of Mashiyach” as Paul elucidated: “For if he who transgressed the Torah of Moshe, died without mercies at the mouth of two or three witnesses; how much more, do you think, will he receive capital punishment who has trodden upon the Son of Elohim and has accounted the blood of his covenant by which he is sanctified, as the blood of all men and has treated the Spirit of grace in an insulting manner?” ( Hebrews 10:28, 29). They are headed for disaster who continue to apply the blood of Mashiyach as an excuse to break Torah, rather than bring atonement, righteousness and sanctification into their lives. From Genesis to Revelation it is very clear that sin brings a curse and never a blessing. Torah is the Messenger of YHWH that instructs us how to live a life that is pleasing to YHWH. There is a “Y” in the road of every choice we make; one road leads to blessing, the other to a curse, and the bottom line is that it is evil to call the Messenger a curse! The fact is that the Torah is spiritual, not carnal (Romans 7:14). It is the rebellious nature of carnal man that resists Torah and seeks validation from others in order to knowingly or unknowingly continue breaking Torah.
When Y’shua haMashiyach arrived in Jerusalem he was known as The Living Torah by his followers. He observed, demonstrated and taught Torah to his followers according to the Spirit of YHWH. The intent and purpose of Torah has never changed since the very time it was revealed, but the religious establishment will not recognize either Torah or Mashiyach due to their religious traditions and political agendas, as both Matthew 15 and Yochanan 5 attest.
Originally it was Pharisaical tradition that taught that Torah is a Jews-only Covenant. Every sect of Judaism had strict conversion guidelines for Gentiles that required the adoption of copious amounts of religious tradition, if in fact Gentiles were allowed to convert. As a result, Torah had been turned into a dogmatic religious and political wedge that marginalized Gentiles! Y’shua exposed and renounced this apostasy when he said: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! For you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven before the sons of men. For you are not entering yourselves, and those who would enter you do not allow to enter.” (Matthew 23:13)
But the sad reality is that the Gentile-based church simply carried on many of the religious ideals of the Pharisees and took on the very same hierarchical cloak as the Pharisees by elevating their own oral and written traditions above Scripture. Christians, in fact, sit in judgment of Torah; and because Torah came to the Earth through the Jewish people, there is plenty of anti-Semitism and racism embedded within church authorities.
The religion of the Pharisees classifies Jews and Gentiles on two different levels, as does the Gentile Church. Pharisees believe that Jews are required to observe the Mitzvot, but Gentiles are not; the Church predominately teaches that Gentiles are not required to observe Torah, and when Jews convert to Christianity they are encouraged to break Torah, eat pig, deny Shabbat, etc. As a result, a startling argument can be made that in some cases – clearly not all – religious Jews have made large contributions toward Christian anti-Semitism by withholding Torah from Gentiles! In fact, had Judaism been accessible and more understood by Gentiles, at the very minimum Torah would have been viewed as Scripture and not invalidated as an “Old” testament. Torah is the foundation of man’s only authentic form of Justice; it is YHWH’s blueprint for moral and righteous living. Therefore, keeping Torah from the Gentiles was the largest contribution ever made to anti-Semitism, simply because it is a denial of the greatest Semitic contribution that the world has ever known next to Mashiyach himself!
A Yoke Upon the Neck
“And now, why do you test Elohim so as to place a yoke upon the neck of the disciples
that which not even our forefathers nor us were able to carry?” (Acts 15: 10)
This yoke refers to the Oral Law of the Pharisees; certainly not the Written and Spiritual Torah revealed to Moshe. Y’shua provided many examples as to where Pharisaic traditions were in violation of Torah, using the formula (no less than six times in Matthew alone), “You have heard that it was said____, but I say to you_____.”
“And it has been told them, of you, that you teach all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to depart from Moshe, by telling them not to circumcise their children, and not to observe the rites of Torah.” (Acts 21: 21)
The Pharisees made up hate and slander campaigns against Y’shua and his followers and incited animosity against them from other Jews by accusing them of departing from Torah. Many Gentiles have read this verse and adopted it as evidence that Paul departed from Moshe and taught against circumcision and Torah. Not only is this backwards thinking, but it was this loathing that the Pharisees incited against Paul that ignited broad-brushed Christian hatred against all Jews.
The previous verse to the above reads: “And when they heard (it) they glorified Elohim. And they said to him: ‘Our brother, You see how many myriads there are in Judaea who have believed: and these are all zealous for Torah!’” (Acts 21:20)
This, of course, means their belief in Y’shua and their zeal for Torah were critical components of the original Faith! Furthermore, the Ruach haKodesh writes Torah upon the heart of Y’shua’s followers and it is very important to note that Ya’akov (James) and all the elders in the Assembly in Jerusalem were present at this meeting with Paul.
There was no faction between Ya’akov and Paul; however, the hatred against Paul by the Pharisee elite was so deep-seated that even when he made a sacrifice in the Temple to show that he honored Torah, they beat him with intent to kill; their wickedness against him was precipitated by an allegation that he brought a Gentile into the Temple. Christians are guilty of supporting the charges of the Pharisees when they also indict Paul as being a Torah breaker. The remarkable fact is, though, that even after Paul’s conversion, he still called himself a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee, in the present tense (Acts 23:6)!
Another anti-Torah hybrid “New Testament” passage that is used for anti-Semitic/Torah Christian justification is found in Titus: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels pertaining to the law (nomikos–nomikov), because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:9-11 NIV) The Greek word nomikos is derived from nomos, and certainly translates as “pertaining to the Torah.” However, Aramaic very clearly exposes a Hellenistic redaction here:
“But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions, and the theological arguments of the scribes, for they are unprofitable and vain. After you have admonished the heretic once or twice, shun him, knowing he as such is corrupt; he sins and condemns himself.” (Titus 3:9-11 Lamsa)
The word sapra, clearly designates “scribe” as opposed to Torah (nomikos, namusa). Here again is a prime example of how blockquoteing a small faction of heretics was misapplied to Torah and the entire Jewish people! The “scribes” that Paul mentions are two groups. There are “the scribes and the Pharisees” frequently mentioned in the Gospels, who denied Y’shua’s claims outright. These scribes are also rebuked in Galatians 3 and 4 for putting fences around Torah.
But another type of “scribe” that clearly fits this rebuke includes the Evyonim or Ebionites. These were Pharisees who accepted Y’shua as Mashiyach but ultimately rejected all divine claims about him. Their dispute began with the famous circumcision controversy in Acts 15, where they ended up losing the debate. Twenty years later, the Evyonim broke off from the mainstream Netzarim movement and disposed all of the early books of the Renewed Covenant Writings except for a mutilated version of the Gospel of Matthew, which was heavily edited.
Baruch ben Daniel
|“The Torah which a man learns in this world is but vanity compared to the Torah of Messiah.”Midrash Qohelet 11:8|