There is a lot of debate going on between Messianic Jewish and Gentile believers and Christians. The issue with the debate, however, is that it presupposes that one group keeps the Torah, and the other does not.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
The Torah contains in it a short summary of itself in Shemot [Exodus] 20, and everyone who professes faith in Messiah agrees that this summary is applicable to their own group, regardless of how they interpret that summary. This summary is the “Ten D’varim,” which most outside of Judaism know as the “Ten Commandments.”
These Ten D’varim are an extension of the Two Mitzvot that, when asked what was the greatest Mitzvah, Yeshua said, “‘Shema Yisra’el, יהוה Eloheinu, יהוה Ekhad, and you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all of your heart, and with all of your mind, and with all of your soul, and with all of your might’, and the second one [Mitzvah] is like unto it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as your own nefesh’.”
ALL of us agree that these two commandments DO apply to us today! And, all of us agree that the Ten D’varim apply to us today!
THESE ARE THE FOUNDATION OF THE TORAH!
Where we differ, perhaps, is on the interpretation of the FOURTH Command:
“Remember the Sabbath Day, to set it apart.”
Jewish believers know and understand that the Sabbath day is the SEVENTH DAY of the week, the ‘gregorian’ / Roman ‘Saturday.’ Scripture says this day begins in the evening, so it actually starts on Fri. at evening. The rest of the believing community turns a blind eye to this, and instead says, “The Lord’s Day” is the day that they should worship, when the largest and most powerful ‘denomination’ of Christians says THEY moved it to Sunday, because they have authority OVER the Word of G-d.
But, even so, this still makes them “Torah Keepers.” IF, in the depth of their hearts, they believe these 12 commands, ten that roll out of two, are applicable today. There is no sane believer who would say that the two GREAT commands and the nine undebated commands do not apply to their lives.
So, why is it that they get SO UPSET when we, Messianic Jews and Gentiles, tell them that keeping the Torah is a GOOD THING?
Again, they presuppose that they do NOT keep Torah, because of the twisting of Sha’ul’s [Paul’s] words concerning the ‘law of sin.’
Most Christians think that the ‘law of Sin’ IS the Torah!
Even though Sha’ul plainly states, “Is the Torah sin? WHAT PROFANITY!” [Halilah in Hebrew].
The ‘law of sin’ is the ‘passion’ that burns within our members to innately do things contrary to the Torah of Elohim. Sha’ul said so! “For I DELIGHT in the Torah of Elohim [G-d] in the inward man, but I see ANOTHER ‘law’ in my members [body] warring against the Torah [Of G-d] in my mind, and it [the law of sin, the impetus to sin] makes me a captive to the impetus of sin which is in my members [body].” “To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and shalom, because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim; for it is not subject to the Torah of Elohim, because it cannot be.” (Rom 8, emphasis mine)
Yeshua said that He did NOT come to abolish the Torah! He also said that anyone who teaches people to break the commandments will be called LEAST in His Kingdom, but anyone who teaches the Mitzvot [Commandments of the Torah] AND DOES THEM will be called GREAT in His Kingdom. (Matti 5:19).
These verses are pretty crystal clear, and context establishes that Yeshua is clearly talking about the Torah, the Mitzvot, the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy.
Teachers who teach people to BREAK COMMANDMENTS, like the FOURTH command, are not ‘lost’ necessarily. We do not say so. But, Yeshua said that they are the LEAST IN HIS KINGDOM. The funny thing is, is that they think they are the greatest in His kingdom, even his ‘vicar’ on earth, and that they have authority to CHANGE the will of G-d on earth! Or, that their interpretation of ONE VERY SIMPLE and UNDENIABLE SENTENCE is better than that of the Custodians of the Torah: the Jewish People. [Rom 3:2] “Remember YOM HA SHABBAT”, the SABBATH DAY, “to set it apart.” Yom HaShabbat is the ONLY day in scripture that has a name. “The Sabbath Day,” the “Day of Ceasing”. We ‘set it apart’ by ceasing from all OUR ‘building’ [of our own kingdoms/wealth] just as Abba did when He created us. He gave the Sabbath to MANKIND in the very beginning. And people today ‘think’ that it is the “Jewish Sabbath.” NO. It is the Sabbath of יהוה . A Gift to mankind.
Even so, the fourth command appeals to all of Christendom, and they all take a day to ‘worship.’ Barely more than a generation ago their “Lord’s Day” was also considered a day of rest! Why? Because for real believers in Messiah, there is a deep desire to obey Him. They are, at heart, TORAH KEEPERS!
They simply are not being taught HOW to keep it fully, and how to do so properly, according to the will of G-d.
Most of the rest of the Torah is made up of commandments that show us our moral obligations to G-d and to one another. But, some of the rest of it, a much smaller portion, is made up of G-d’s expression of how and when He desires His people to worship Him. That part of the Torah is really the only major deviation there is between most believers in Messiah who are Jewish or walking with the Jewish people, and those who are Christians. Messianic people choose to obey G-d not only morally, but also in regard to how and when to worship, because He took so much time and care to tell us how and when to do so! The seven ‘feasts’ that He tells us to keep ‘roll out of’ the ten commandments, as each of these feasts contains other Sabbaths. And, He put the Sabbath in stone with the other commandments that summarize our moral obligations. How can those apply, and not this one? And by extension, how can other moral commands apply, and not the ones that tell us how and when to worship? [Lev 23]
So, all TRUE believers in Messiah are indeed Torah keepers. Some just keep more of it than others. And that is perfectly fine. We will all answer to Yeshua face to face with what we did with His Word. But, for us who follow His Word alone, we are simply striving to Obey our Master, יהוה Yeshua HaMashiakh, by teaching AND doing the Mitzvot of the Torah that He said He did NOT come to abolish.
“Now, therefore, in my mind I AM a servant of the Torah of Elohim!” ~HaShali’akh Sha’ul, Rom 7:25