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Dear Refiner's Fire...

I have a few questions and comments, so please bear with me. To start off, some Christians attempt to use Hebrews 8:13 to show that Torah is no longer valid. Is this true?

Our Response...

No, it's not. Here is an answer, straight from a footnote in the Aramaic English New Testament:

Hebrews 8: 13. In that he said a Renewed (Covenant), he made the first old; and that which is old and decaying, is near to disappearing.

Footnote:

The context is Jeremiah 31:31-34, what is "near to disappearing" is the sinful nature of man that breaks Torah, not the standard of Torah. Remember that we broke Torah, not YHWH. YHWH did not drop the standard of Torah because Israel chose disobedience; rather, He installed a Renewed Covenant to write Torah upon the heart through the work of the Ruach haKodesh, according to Mashiyach.

The fact of the matter is that in Mashiyach, YHWH raised the bar; He magnified Torah; see Isaiah 42:21. Because mankind broke Covenant, YHWH requires complete renovation on our part, not YHWH's part of the Covenant. This verse in its twisted form, became one of the "crown jewels" of Torahless Christianity which teaches that Torah is decaying and is near to disappearing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. See 2 Peter 3:16.

QUESTION: Does the book of Hebrews say that the Old Covenant of Moses is taken away?

Hebrews 10: 8 In saying first, "You neither willed nor were pleased with animal sacrifices, meal offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings," things which are offered in accordance with the Torah; 9 and then, "Look, I have come to do your will"; he takes away the first system in order to set up the second.

ANSWER: No. Through Yeshua it is transformed. The Covenant animal sacrifices are no longer necessary because of the New Covenant SIN sacrifice of Yeshua. But the demands of a blood covenant in Torah were not taken away - which means, the Law of the former Covenant was not "done away with".

Also, in the same general passage we see in verse 16, "'This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days,' says ADONAI: 'I will put my Torah on their hearts, and write it on their minds,'"

QUESTION: Does 2 Corinthians 3:13 show that the Law of Moses was fading away?

2 Corinthians 3:13 - unlike Moshe, who put a veil over his face, so that the people of Isra'el would not see the fading brightness come to and end.

ANSWER: No. There was nothing for Isra'el to gain by staring at Moses' "shining face" because their hearts were hardened.

In the verses following, Rav Sha'ul declares that Isra'el could not fully understand what the Tanakh ("old testament") said because of the spiritual veil over their hearts. He says that when one comes to know Messiah they then can better understand the Tanakh. His lesson has nothing to do with the Law (Torah) being taken away.

QUESTION: Does Ephesians 2:15-16 show that Yeshua abolished the Law of Commandments?

Ephesians 2: 15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus killing in himself that enmity.

ANSWER: No. When Yeshua was here in physical form, he made useless the antagonism between the two groups caused by the opinions of men concerning the Law of Commandments, and through him "one new man" was made from the two. Yeshua came to put away that enmity and bring into existence "one new man" that agreed through Him on the Commandments of YHWH.

QUESTION: Did Rav Sha'ul say we are not to obey the Old Testament commandments anymore?

Colossians 2: 20 If, along with the Messiah, you died to the elemental spirits of the world, then why, as if you still belonged to the world, are you letting yourselves be bothered by its rules? - 21 "Don't touch this!" "Don't eat that!" "Don't handle the other!"

ANSWER: No. Rav Sha'ul is talking about dogma, the opinions of men. He is NOT talking about God's Word which has always been holy and good!

In Colossians 2:23, Paul shows the intent of his instruction, which is to head off the invention of more man made opinion about how we should act: They do indeed have the outward appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed religious observances, false humility and ascetiscism; but they have no value at all in restraining people from indulging their old nature.

QUESTION: Didn't Rav Sha'ul say that we could eat whatever we want, meaning there is no more "Kosher"?

1 Timothy 4: 1 The Spirit expressly states that in the acharit-hayamim some people will apostatize from the faith by paying attention to deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come from the hypocrisy of liars whose own consciences have been burned, as if with a red-hot branding iron. 3 They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods which God created to be eaten with thanksgiving by those who have come to trust and to know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing received with thanksgiving needs to be rejected, 5 because the word of God and prayer make it holy.

ANSWER: No. First of all we have to remember that Paul was talking to the Jews - who ate only KOSHER. They wouldn't dream of going against what God said in Leviticus about what He considered to be food. Kosher Law is still God's Law, and Paul is actually confirming this.

Here, he warns against doctrines of demons, which say you can't have certain foods which God has said is good to eat. Every creature is good and not to be refused IF it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer (thanksgiving). The Word of God in Leviticus tells us what is holy and not holy. That is what Kosher means, because it comes from the same root as kodesh, meaning holy.

QUESTION: Does Hebrews Chapter 8 (basically THE favorite proof text of the "No-Torah" subscribers) teach that Torah is obsolete and fading away?

ANSWER: Nope! The "No Torah" crowd will usually cite verse 13:

Hebrews 8: 13 "In that he saith, A new "covenant", he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."

Most of these people are not aware the word "covenant" is nowhere to be read in Hebrews 8:7 and Hebrews 8:13 in the original Aramaic or Greek Texts!

Below are some more favorite Christian "proof texts" that Torah is obsolete:

Hebrews 8: 6. But now, Y'shua the Mashiyach has received a ministry which is better than that: as also the covenant of which he is made the Mediator is better, and is given with better promises than the former. 7. For, if the first (covenant) had been faultless, there would have been no place for this second (one).

8. For he rebukes them and says: Behold the days come, says Master YHWH, when I will complete with the family of the house of Israel and with the family of the house of Yehuda, a renewed covenant;[1] 9. not like the covenant which I gave to their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; (and) because they continued not in my covenant, I also rejected them, says Master YHWH.

10. But this is the covenant which I will give to the family of the house of Israel after those days, says Master YHWH: I will put my Torah in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts; and I will be to them a Elohim, and they will be to me a people. 11. And one will not teach his son of the city[2] nor his brother, nor say: You shall know your Master YHWH: because they will all know me, from the youngest of them to the oldest. 12. And I will forgive them their iniquity; and their sins will I remember no more. 13. In that he said a Renewed (Covenant), he made the first old; and that which is old and decaying, is near to disappearing.[3] (AENT)

Quick question: In Hebrews 8:10 why would YHWH write a decaying and vanishing covenant on our hearts? Hebrews 8 is definitely not informing us that the Torah is obsolete! If you read all of Chapter 8 in context, you'll see the author was implying the Levitical priesthood is being replaced by the Messiah....

Footnotes from the AENT:

[1] Most Christians seem to forget that without the first covenant, the second one is impossible! In very short order Rav Shaul will quote Jeremiah 31:31-34, indicating that the Renewed Covenant is a contingency triggered by, and deriving authority from, the first covenant. YHWH declared that the Ancient Covenant He made with Israel was good; it was to bring life, but the people of Israel chose to willfully break this Covenant and treat it as a vain thing. See Deuteronomy 32:46, 47.

[2] The phrase in Aramaic is bar medintheh, which literally means "son of his city" but idiomatically carries the meaning of "fellow citizen, neighbor" and most definitely a metaphor Greek does not have. This fact puts Peshitta well before the end of the Second Century when the mistranslated Greek texts were done. It is also important to note that this is the last book of the Eastern canon. As a result, the entire collection must have circulated prior to this very early date.

[3] The context is Jeremiah 31:31-34, what is "near to disappearing" is the sinful nature of man that breaks Torah, not the standard of Torah. Remember that we broke Torah, not YHWH! YHWH did not drop the standard of Torah because Israel chose disobedience; rather, He installed a Renewed Covenant to write Torah upon the heart through the work of the Ruach haKodesh, according to Mashiyach. The fact of the matter is that in Mashiyach, YHWH raised the bar; He magnified Torah; see Isaiah 42:21. Because mankind broke Covenant, YHWH requires complete renovation on our part, not YHWH's part of the Covenant. This verse in its twisted form, became one of the "crown jewels" of Torahless Christianity which teaches that Torah is decaying and is near to disappearing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. See 2 Peter 3:16

Hebrews 8 refers back to Jeremiah 31:31-34:

Jeremiah 31: 31 "Here, the days are coming," says ADONAI, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them," says ADONAI. 33 "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says ADONAI: "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, 'Know ADONAI'; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and remember their sins no more."