Torah in the New Testament

Introduction

John and Sue Wyatt  (lambs.servant@gmail.com)

open BibleIn this series of articles, we will look at each book of the New Testament, [1]  discussing those passages that pertain to Torah-observance.    The articles are found in the category: “Torah in the New Testament.”

We will consider the passages from the Hebraic perspective of the first believers, which, when Y’shua appeared on the scene, was this mind-set:

Righteousness and sin are identified and defined by Torah alone, since Torah is the Father’s only communication to Man regarding those topics.

For many people in Y’shua’s day, this mindset had been corrupted by rabbinic doctrines and traditions which had become accepted as ‘Torah’, so we will find that at times the apostles themselves had to learn the difference between scriptural Torah and man’s teachings.

The Epistles

When first written and shared amongst the believing community, the Epistles may not have been considered to be ‘scripture’ themselves (though within a generation or less, they began to carry that kind of weight). They were, however, always received with great respect, as having been written by men who had been taught by The Master, or who were (like Shaul/Saul/Paul) acknowledged by the original apostles as acceptable teachers.

Tanakh 2

When the Epistles refer to ‘scripture,’ they are referring to the Tanakh – what we call the Old Testament, and which Y’shua called the Law of Moshe (Moses), the Prophets and the Psalms. (Luke 24:44) [2]  Y’shua Himself exhorts us to examine all teachings in light of the Tanakh: Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matt 22:29)  Therefore, we must always use the OT as our point of departure for considering the NT teachings.

The NT authors were very aware of and sensitive to the prevailing Greek and Hebraic mindsets, so they were careful to point out when they were teaching something new to those perspectives. If the NT passage does not specifically state that there is a new understanding of the topic being taught, we, the reader, must assume that the prevailing Hebraic (OT) mindset is required in order to understand the passage correctly.

septuagintBecause the apostles and other NT writers were concerned to be understood accurately, they were careful about their word choices.  Scholars have determined through sophisticated means that the NT documents use a Greek vocabulary that was established almost 300 years earlier by the Septuagint.  (The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Tanakh that had been written by rabbis long before Y’shua’s day, for the use of non-Hebrew-speaking Jews in other lands.)  Thus, unless we are specifically told otherwise, verses quoted from the Septuagint and theological words derived from the Septuagint (love, grace, salvation, righteousness, sin, forgiveness, etc.) should be assigned the same meanings they have in the Septuagint.

We must also remind ourselves that our  understanding of any passage must conform to the principles taught in the OT. If our understanding of a NT passage does not appear to correspond with OT principles, we need to take a much closer look at our understanding of the passage.   This is a good indicator that we are misunderstanding something.

Since the OT came from YHVH, and since YHVH does not change (Malachi 3:6), we will find that when the NT is read from an OT perspective, the entire Bible fits together like an ingenious and inspired puzzle, or like a hand in a glove.  All those questions that once nagged at us when we read OT passages from a Greco-Roman ‘Christian’ perspective suddenly are resolved, and those things which didn’t make a lot of sense or seemed contradictory in the NT suddenly have clear and profound meaning! [3]

CovenantWe will also discover that YHVH has never departed from the original Covenant terms He made with Abraham and his descendants, and which He swore to uphold for ever, no matter how the descendants behaved. Here are only two of many such promises:

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee [Israel], neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith YHVH that hath mercy on thee.  Isa 54:10

It is YHVH who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is YHVH of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says: “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!” This is what YHVH says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, YHVH, have spoken!   Jer 31:35-37 (NLT)

The study for each epistle has been broken up into sections for the reader’s convenience, and may be accessed through the following links.  (If a link appears in black print, that portion has not yet been posted to the blog.)

THE BOOK OF ACTSIntroduction * Chapters 1-5 * Chapters 6-10 * Chapters 11-12 * Chapter 13 (Part 1) * Chapter 13 (Part 2)Chapters 14-15 * Chapter 16 * Chapters 17-18 * Chapters 19-20Chapters 21-26 * Chapters 27-28


© John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2014.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


FOOTNOTES

[1]  We will not discuss the Gospels in this series, since they have been pretty well covered in our article Y’SHUA TAUGHT US TO WALK IN TORAH (not yet published, but available upon request).

[2]  There is strong indication that, in Y’shua’s day, additional books were included in the Prophets and the “Psalms”, such as the Book of Enoch. Several concepts that are found only in Enoch are mentioned by Y’shua Himself, and are referred to in several epistles. Y’shua’s brother Jude even quotes the Book of Enoch. (Jude 1:14-15) Enoch was considered ‘canonical’ for many centuries. The book speaks very clearly about the enemy, his plan and his purpose: no doubt the enemy fought hard to make sure that this particular book did not get included in our much more recently determined modern biblical canon….

[3] As ‘traditional’ Christians, we found that we often did not understand particular passages in the New Testament, but that when we came across such passages, without even realizing what we were doing, we would essentially pass right over them and ‘understand’ them according to what we had been taught. We must now acknowledge that this is not acceptable to YHVH. Now when we come across puzzling passages, we look up the original words, consider OT principles, consider the surrounding material (and other NT books), and pray through until we have a good understanding of the passage. Almost without fail it has been these passages that have turned out to contradict traditional Christian doctrine! If it was just one or two times that this happened, we would suspect our study methods and our own comprehension; but the constant pattern and the consistent agreement of scripture with scripture tells us that it is the traditional doctrine that is in error – not our understanding of scripture.

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8 thoughts on “Torah in the New Testament”

  1. Hope you guys are doing well in Jordan. I’d not been back to your site in some time, and then I realized you’d made the BIG move. Hope everthing is going well!
    I’m heading to Israel in January for an ICEJ tour.
    Shalom from the States!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think they’ve got us locked into a pretty tight tour and seminar schedule, but I appreciate the offer. Although I’ve no ordination, this will be a pastors confrence that a local Church arranged for me to go on, so I’m very appreciative for the opportunity.
    I’d probably not been able to do this alone, but some friends came forward with money and encouragement for me to make the trip.
    All Blessings are His!
    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Praising Yah with you!! You will have a fabulous and life-changing time, I’m sure. And my guess is that we will get to meet you at one of the feasts before long – blessings, brother!

      Like

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