Suppose someone were to say to you, “There is no need for New Testament Believers to keep the the Old Testament ‘Law’ (Torah), because nowhere in the New Testament are we commanded to obey the Torah.”
How would you respond — Would you agree or disagree?
As we will see in this short series, there are literally hundreds of calls for Yahuweh’s redeemed, New Covenant people to obey the commandments of Torah, but in our blindness we have not seen or understood them. Our eyes have been held closed, as it were, as happened to the Disciples on the road to Emmaus. These Torah commandments have been there all along, “hidden in plain sight” within the New Testament writings.
In order that we may easily see these Torah Commandments hidden in plain view in the New Testament, we must first remove the blinders that have prevented us from seeing them.
We have all inherited a faulty understanding (‘paradigm’) of the New Covenant. Most have simply accepted what they have heard, but very few have sought out on their own what the Scriptures actually say. Our partly-man-made Doctrines have blinded us from seeing some of the New Covenant Truths.
For this reason these New Testament Torah commandments are ‘hidden’ to some, yet visible to others. In this introduction we will review certain features of Torah in the New Covenant.
Torah Commandments Hidden in the New Testament
Let’s look at how the Commandments of Torah are intended to figure in to the New Covenant. For background the Reader might want to review The New Covenant: According to the Scriptures. As Yahuweh’s dealings with Israel are for our example today, we will look at first at Israel’s instruction.
Notice the instruction Yahuweh gave to all of His people through Moses, just as they were nearing the time for them to enter the Promised Land:
Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law (“Torah”): And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (Deuteronomy 31:12-13)
This instruction to hear, and to learn and do all the words of Torah, and to fear Yahuweh, was given to all of Yahuweh’s people, as part of his Covenant with them. But how does Yahuweh’s Torah relate to Believers today, under the New Covenant? In this introduction, we will look at a few highlights of New Testament Torah.
Under the Old Covenant, obedience to Yahuweh’s Word was required, and obedience was enforced through fear of death. Under the New Covenant, however, obedience is no longer to be done from a motive of fear of death, but only out of love, by one’s own free-will choice.
One of many ‘new’ features of this New and Everlasting Covenant, is that obedience to the Torah is a matter of choice, and Believers are under no compulsion to obey. Yahushua knew this, as did all the early disciples. The apostles Peter and Paul, James and John, all wrote extensively from this basis — and together they portray a many-faceted picture of New Covenant Torah.
There are many New and Better things listed in Scripture, that define the surpassing Glory of the New Covenant over that of the Old. However, in matters of Torah and its relationship to the New Covenant, we might summarise in this way:
- The curse proclaimed by the Torah (the penalty of death pronounced on those who fail to meet the obligations and requirements of Torah) is cancelled by one’s Redemption by the Blood of the Lamb (2Cor 3:8-9; Gal 3:13; Heb 9:14-15).
- Yet the mirror or measuring stick of the Torah (John 12:48; Rom 3:20; James 1:23), and the fulfilling of the Torah (our obedience to the Torah enabled by the Grace of Yahushua-in-us) remain for us today, as part of the New and Everlasting Covenant (Mt 5:17; Rom 2:27, Rom 8:3-4; Gal 6:2; James 2:8-9).
These same truths can be seen extensively throughout the Old and New Testament writings, and are summarised for us in Psalms 105:8-10 and Heb 13:20.
Things New and Old Hidden for My Beloved
There is one very important New Covenant feature that some have not yet seen. All of Yahuweh’s Covenants for His people are progressive in nature, just as His revelation is progressive, and continues to grow.
The sum of all Yahuweh’s progressive covenants made until Yahushua’s day are what many call the ‘Old’ Covenant. Let’s recall one token or sign of the covenant Yahuweh made between Himself and Noah, and all living creatures on the earth — the token or sign of the Rainbow. Yahuweh tells us the Rainbow was a sign of the ‘Everlasting Covenant’ (Gen 9:12-17).
The Noahic Covenant, along with its token or sign of the Rainbow, was a part of Yahushua’s Everlasting Covenant made prior to Yahushua’s day. When someone saw a Rainbow, they were seeing a sign that the Noahic Covenant (part of the ‘Old’ Covenant) was still in force.
Now let’s ask several questions.
Has the Rainbow been done away with, or nullified?
Have you ever seen a Rainbow?
If you have, then you know the Rainbow — as part of the ‘Old’ Covenant — still remains today as part of Yahuweh’s Everlasting Covenant.
If the Rainbow is still an active part of the Everlasting Covenant, then we know the other parts of the Everlasting Covenant are still in force also!
Just as new stones are added to a stack of older stones, to become a progressively taller and greater stack, so the New and Everlasting Covenant in Yahushua’s Blood is a much higher and greater Covenant.
This New and Everlasting Covenant has a much Greater Glory — but is based on the lower foundation and Lesser Glory of Yahuweh’s previous Covenants.
Most teachers teach the earlier Covenants as if the earlier (‘Old’) stack of stones is demolished, and a completely different (‘New’) stack is built from scratch to take its place. This notion is not supported by Scripture.
Yahushua tells us clearly and plainly that the Torah will remain as long as heaven and earth remain. Just as there is still only one stack of stones, so Yahuweh still has only one Everlasting Covenant, as we saw in Psalms 105:8-10 and Heb 13:20.
It is within the Book of Hebrews that we learn that all the Torah of the Old Covenant, considering its changes and additions, is still in force under the New and Everlasting Covenant — for it was Yahushua Himself who gave the Torah to Moses, and to the Prophets.
For this reason Yahushua calls the writings of Torah and the Prophets ‘MY’ Commandments! His call to obey the Torah Commandments, however, is only to those who love Him, and abide in Him. This truth can be seen reflected throughout all the books of the New Testament writings.
We must pause momentarily, to be reminded that our Redemption is only by the shed Blood of Yahushua.
By Blood Alone
When the Israelites were separated from Egypt, they were redeemed, and delivered from death, by the Blood of the Passover Lamb. From the Israelites’ example, we too understand that our Redemption is only by the Blood of the Lamb. Redemption and justification under Yahuweh’s Covenant always has been, and still is, strictly by the shedding of blood of an acceptable sacrifice.
As new Believers, we all begin by being Born-Again, as a spiritual baby:
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. (1John 2:12)
As children, we then begin to feed upon the milk of the word — the ‘Forgiveness of sins.’ It is only later, as we grow and mature, that we begin to take the meat of the word:
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:13-14)
Notice that the ‘meat’ of the word is skillfulness in the ‘Word of Righteousness,’ which is the Scriptural teaching of how works are to figure into the New Covenant. The meat is for the mature. The new Believers, however, must become grounded and established in their Redemption, which is by Grace through Faith in the Shed Blood of Yahushua alone.
It is for this reason therefore that the apostles Paul and John are careful not to impose any commandments or other works on the new converts. They apparently reasoned that the new Believers might become ‘troubled’ by not understanding that their Redemption is only by the Blood of Yahushua. This fact is restated to the Council in Jerusalem, seen in Acts Chapter 15:
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: … 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. (Acts 15:24, 28-29)
Instead, the new Believers are given exhortation (from the Torah) of things to avoid that are harmful to them spiritually and physically, until such time as they can grow, while hearing Moses taught every Sabbath (Acts 15:20-21).
It is only as the new Believers grow, moving on from being Children, to young men, and to Fathers, that they begin to see and understand what Father delights in, and how Father desires to see obedience developed in them as children.
Let’s look now at why the Commandments of Torah are ‘hidden’ in the New Testament.
Why Are the Torah Commandments ‘Hidden’ in the New Testament?
Yahuweh, in His mercy, has hidden these Torah commandments from the new Converts, so that the Faith of our Redemption would be on the same basis as the Faith of Abraham — only by our believing Yahuweh, and not by our works.
After we have been Redeemed by His Blood, Father then desires that we would mature, and would delight to walk in His Torah, by Yahushua’s Grace in the inward man, just as the apostle Paul did (Rom 7:22). As we mature and seek His face, and take baby-steps to walk in obedience to His Word, Yahuweh then opens our eyes a little more, and shows us more of Father’s ‘delight.’
Purpose of the Commandments: Testing and Separation
One of Yahuweh’s purposes is to accomplish the separation and the testing of His people. First He brings His Truth, in order to bring separation (the definition of ‘sanctify’ and ‘holy’). Then Yahuweh continually builds, and then tests what He has built within His people.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see Yahuweh making many separations — the good fish from the bad fish; the wheat from the tares; the sheep from the goats, the wise virgins from the foolish, and so on. We also see in Scripture that Yahuweh tests His people, so that He, and they, can see where they stand in The Faith, and can observe the progress of their growth and maturity.
One goal of these separations and testings is so that He might bring us in to the Promised Land.
As the Israelites in the wilderness are for our example, we can understand how Yahuweh’s goals for the Israelites’ testing, and their entrance into the Promised Land, is the same goal He has for His Redeemed people today:
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove (test) them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. (Exodus 16:4)
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (test) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
“…he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 105:43-45)
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)
To summarise the above passages, we might say that the ultimate goal of all Yahuweh’s separations and testings, is that His Eternal Covenant people might enter in to His kingdom, and then continue to observe his statutes, and keep his Torah.
(As a side note, notice that modern Bibles based on corrupted Greek manuscripts have removed the warning of keeping Commandments from the above passage in Revelation 22:14. Satan does NOT want Yahuweh’s people to enter in!)
Scriptures reveal that it is the keeping of the Commandments of Torah that will be the basis of the Bride’s many siftings and separations, to reveal those who have the heart to walk in obedience, and are thus ready to enter.
All who have been Born-Again are Bride-Candidates, or ‘Virgins’ if you will. Of these, there will be some who “just don’t see it,” and will not take hold of Yahuweh’s intended separation. They will not respond to these calls by the Spirit and the Bride to arise, and come forth, to walk in obedience to the Torah. These are among the Virgins, but they are not yet ready.
Others will desire, and will separate themselves to Yahuweh (Prov 18:1), and will begin to walk in obedience to Torah. As a result their eyes will be opened. Their understanding will blossom, and they will begin to ‘know’ Him, even as the Disciples on the road to Emmaus knew Him later, when their eyes were opened while breaking bread with Messiah. It is in this way that even the ‘Little Children’ may know the Father!
As we discover the many Torah passages in the New Testament, and all the warnings based on Torah, let us remember that these are intended to bring about our separation (sanctification) unto obedience to Messiah (1Pet 1:2), and our testing (1Pet 4:12) of that obedience.
In this short series, we will show a random sampling of a few of the many New Testament Scriptures calling forth Messiah’s Bride-Company to walk in obedience to Torah.
Next: The Torah Hidden in the New Testament — Part 2 – Little Children Keep Yourselves from Idols