Torah & Law

Torah in English Scriptures is invariably translated as "law". Mentally and emotionally it's also treated as "law". However, this makes a rigid concept out of a Hebrew term that has far more meaning than "law.

Law means, according to Webster's Dictionary, "all the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community or other group." There are other aspects given tat are related to this, but this is the primary understanding. 

The key concepts, which are well accepted, are rules and enforcement by the authority. As such, "laws" are viewed as rigid and inflexible. "Obedience" to them is required, and enforced. Everything centers around the idea of "you must". Freedom of choice is largely taken out of the equation under the threat of the consequences for violating a "law". 

Because of what tradition has taught us "law" has become our fundamental understanding of torah. "The Law" of Scripture, often referred to as "The Law of Moses" is equated to torah. Obedience is mandated. Punishment is certain when there is a violation. Death was often the punishment for violation. It was sersious business. 

There are very serious problems with this view of torah. This is not how the Hebrews viewed torah at its inception, nor is it how it is viewed today. The Hebrew text of the Scripture does not speak of a "commandment". The literal translation of the text is "the ten words". There is absolutely no reference to commandment in the text. That's only inserted into our English texts by improper "translation" of what's there. 

Here's the meaning of the word dabar from Strong's Concordance which is "translated" as 'commandments' in this instance in the King James Bible text:
1697.
rDb;∂d dabar, daw-baw´; from 1696; a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause:
     —act, advice, affair, answer, x any such (thing), because of, book, business, care, case, cause, certain rate, + chronicles,
     
commandment, x commune(-ication), + concern(-ing), + confer, counsel, + dearth, decree, deed, x disease, due, duty, effect,
     + eloquent, errand, (evil favoured-)ness, + glory, + harm, hurt, + iniquity, + judgment, language, + lying, manner, matter,
     message, (no) thing, oracle, x ought, x parts, + pertaining, + please, portion, + power, promise, provision, purpose, question,
     rate, reason, report, request, x (as hast) said, sake, saying, sentence, + sign, + so, some (uncleanness), somewhat to say, +
     song, speech, x spoken, talk, task, + that, x there done, thing (concerning), thought, + thus, tidings, what(-soever), +
     herewith, which, word, work.
1696. rAb;∂d dabar, daw-bar´; a primitive root; perhaps properly, to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely
(in a destructive sense) to subdue: 
       —answer, appoint, bid, command, commune, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, rehearse, say, speak, be
       spokesman, subdue, talk, teach, tell, think, use (entreaties), utter, x well, x work.

NOTE: What occurs after the (:--) are the words used in the King James Bible to "translate" the Hebrew word. They are not part of the definition of the term. The multiplicity of "translated words" is unconscionable. It dilutes any reasonably clear sense of what the Hebrew word means. 

The definition plainly shows that the term means a word, from a root meaning to arrange, to speak. Since the early Hebrew culture was founded on oral communication and not written communication these terms take on powerful significance. This comes across very powerfully when you see in the text itself that YAHWEH spoke the ten words out loud to The Children of Yisrael. They heard them! They did not see them in writing. The writing came after the initial encounter with The Living God. 

Words are not automatically laws. They are, first and foremost, instruction, or direction - education. They are the instruments and means of learning of every kind. By the use of words ideas are communicated to another. Without words learning is significantly restricted. Yet learning is the precise concept that forms the foundation of torah. Here's the definition:
H8451. h∂rwø;t  towrah, to-raw´; or h∂r;Ot  torah, to-raw´; from 3384; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch:
        —law. 
H3384. h∂rÎy  yarah, yaw-raw´; or (2 Chr. 26:15) a∂rÎy  yara, yaw-raw´; a primitive root; properly, to flow as water (i.e. to rain); transitively, to lay or throw (especially an arrow, i.e. to shoot); figuratively, to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach            —(+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach(-er,-ing), through.

NOTE: Oral or written instruction, direction, or teaching - a precept (principle). The term, "statute", is an after-the-fact addition to the concept, which attempts to reflect the written nature of torah after it was put into written form.  

After the first five books were written they became known as The Torah in the Yisraelite community. Yet the original "instruction" was only "The Ten Words". It was the only part the Children of Yisrael heard for themselves from YAHWEH Himself. And those "Ten Words" form the entire core of whats traditionally referred to as The Torah. The details which came later merely added to the fundamental instructions. 

Torah is instruction. Torah is direction.
It's also connected specifically to the concept of sin. Sin is understood as missing the mark. That concept comes from the root word for torah. It carries the concept of aiming at a target, "the mark", but missing it. You miss it because the arrow has gone off its correct and proper path. Thus, missing the mark, sinning, is going off the path. The path is "The Way of
YAHWEH." It is His instructions, His Torah

Those instructions, understood from this perspective, are not a legalistic "demand" that must be obeyed. Instead, they are instructions given in order that one may understand what YAHWEH desires of His people. There is no rigid requirement that one "must obey them". As with every aspect of Scripture, we are invited to participate willingly in doing what He desires - after He has instructed us concerning what He desires. If you respect the "teacher" and His instruction you willingly follow the instruction. You do as you are taught without any compulsion, but instead with a "willing heart.  

This is the foundational essence of every aspect of Scripture. Nowhere is one forced to comply. 

YAHWEH seeks those who desire to do as He teaches them. He longs to have a relationship with His created beings. While there is no "demand" placed upon anyone, there are consequences provided for those who agree to follow Him, but then fail to do so. This is due to the realization that if you agree to follow His instructions you enter into a contract with Him, a Covenant. It then becomes binding upon both sides. He will do His part and we will do out part. Any failures void the contract. 

Scripture is filled with illustrations of how YAHWEH views one's responses. More than once He threatened to wipe His Covenant people off the face of the planet when they refused to do as they had willingly agreed to do. Indeed, this is where the "requirement" comes in. If you enter into a contract with Him you become obligated to live accordiingly - by your own words and actions. The obligation is not forced upon anyone. Its either accepted or rejected by each person according to their personal choice. Therefore, there is no "law" other than the principle (precept) of personal accountability for one's actions. 

'Law', in general, is a problem for most people. In fact, as time progresses, fewer and fewer want to "follow the law", whether it's man's laws or YAHWEH's 'Law'. Law is demanding. It's rigid and inflexible. It's restricting. It requires obedience. Each of these aspects mitigate against any "law" being well-received by human beings. We rebel against the very idea of being told we must do something. Just sit near an intersection with a stop sign or traffic lights for 2-4 hours some day and watch how people deal with the law of a traffic stop. There's little respect for "the law". 

This is perhaps even more true in the 'religious realm'. Many today are refusing to even consider "The Law" of YAHWEH seriously, let alone seeking to follow it. This is due in part to the absence of proper teaching about what "The Law", Scripture, really is and its purpose. 

New Covenant "believers" ("Christians" or "Messianics") want little or nothing to do with The Old Covenant. They see it as "Law", and only as "Law". After all, for them, "Jesus" (not His real name) got rid of "The Law of Moses." Now we're under 'grace". But do you understand, oh foolish human being, that you've missed a major portion of Scripture by taking this perspective? You've thrown out the foundation of your entire professed "faith" in a Hebrew Messiah. The view that The Old Covenant has been "replaced" by The New Covenant is foolishness. It does not agree with Scripture. Some new things have happened, indeed. But they have not removed the essential understandings of "The Ten Words". 

The Messiah stated during His earthly ministry that He had come to fulfill The Torah (Law), not abolish it. (He would most certainly have used the term Torah, not "Law". See Matt 5.17-18, Luke 24.44) And the concept of fulfilling it means completing our proper understanding of what the teachings were and how they were to be applied to our daily living - among other things. He also fulfilled many of its "prophecies". Remember, He said, "I am The Way!" 

The concept of "law" is further confused by the terminology that's used in our "translations" of Scripture. In many instances they're not clear, or even proper. In some cases they're not even correct. Consider the terms commandment, statute, ordinance, charge. What do they mean? Have you ever attempted to look up their definitions? The definition of one typically leads you right to the others.

Look these up in your dictionary:
            - command
            - watch/charge
            - statute
            - ordinance
Each of them refers to the following: order, direction, rule, directive, decree, custom, etc. 

All of these are a form of instruction, teaching, or direction. Scripturally speaking these all point in the same direction - setting forth a way of life for you, a path to follow. Once this is understood you can discover what the focus of Scripture really is:
                          Teaching you how to live in a manner that is pleasing to
YAHWEH. 

He's the One who created you, gave you life, gave you every part of your body, gave you everything that exists within this creation. Every aspect of life is a gift! Not one part of it, when properly understood, is the result of what you've done or even can do.
          “I am the vine, you
are the branches.
          He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.
          Indeed, without Me you can do nothing."  John 15:5

There are many things that could be cited to support this understanding of Scripture and The Law, Torah. All of them point in one direction - instruction in the Way of YAHWEH. That instruction is accompanied by an "invitation". There is no "forced compliance". You must choose, of your own free will, whether you will comply with YAHWEH's desires or whether you will not. It's entirely up to you to decide. 

If it's a willing choice made on the basis of a solid, well-grounded understanding of what's involved you're promised many very special blessings. But if it's an ill-informed decision, or if you're doing these things because you must - it is meaningless! You're still "lost in your sin"! Your so-called "faith", or "belief", is empty - hollow - worthless! 

Also, if you're still following your desires instead of YAHWEH's desires you have not placed your entire life under His authority. You are not trusting Him! The only way you'll ever participate in His promises is through surrender to His will - your desires surrendered to His desires. Once that happens you've begun to fulfill the entire purpose of Torah.

You now have a better understanding of the relationship between Torah and Law. You can see why there needs to be a distinction made between the two concepts if youre going to properly understand The Scriptures. What follows is provided to enable you to confirm this for yourself.

Original Words For Your Review:

Listed below are some of the original language terms used in Scripture that are connected to torah. Both "word" and "law" are included under these terms. You're encouraged to study these carefully so you can discover the Truth about torah. Yes, it takes a little personal effort to review these. But the difficult part's been done for you. You don't have to do the research to find these terms and their meanings on your own. That's already been done for you. May you be blessed by what you learn as you review these things. 

H = Hebrew terms. They're presented first since everything concerning torah depends on these terms. Following this list you'll find the connection between the Hebrew terms and the Greek terms used in The New Covenant. G = Greek terms. 

H1696. rAb;∂d dabar, daw-bar´; a primitive root; perhaps properly, to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue:
     —answer, appoint, bid,
command, commune, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, rehearse, say, speak, be
    spokesman, subdue, talk, teach,
tell, think, use (entreaties), utter, x well, x work.

Note: This is the word that means "word" in "The Ten Words", but is translated as "commandment" in many English texts. You''ll note there is no reference to "commandment" in the definition, only in the words used to "translate" the Hebrew term. There are different Hebrew terms used specifically for "command" or "commandment.

H2706. qOj choq, khoke; from 2710; an enactment; hence, an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage):
            —appointed, bound, commandment, convenient,
custom, decree(-d), due, law, measure, x necessary, ordinance(-nary),
            portion, set time,
statute, task.
                      H2710. qAqDj chaqaq, khaw-kak´; a primitive root; properly, to hack, i.e. engrave (Judges 5:14, to be a scribe
                      simply); by implication, to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (gen.) prescribe:
                              —appoint, decree, governor, grave, lawgiver, note, portray, print, set

H2708. h;∂qUj chuqqah, khook-kaw´; feminine of 2706, and meaning substantially the same:
            —appointed, custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute.
Note: A statute = written instruction/direction.

H4687. hDwVxIm mitsvah, mits-vaw´; from 6680; a command, whether human or divine (collectively, the Law):     
             —(which was) commanded(-ment), law, ordinance,
precept.

H6680. hDwDx tsavah, tsaw-vaw´; a primitive root; (intensively) to constitute, enjoin: [charge, command
            —appoint, (for-)bid, (give a) charge, (give a, give in, send with) command(-er, -ment),
            send a messenger, put, (set) in order.
Note: A command or precept - verbal instruction/direction.

H4931. t®rRm◊vIm mishmereth, mish-mer´-reth; fem. of 4929; watch, i.e. the act (custody), or (concr.) the sentry, the post; obj. preservation, or (concr.) safe; fig. observance, i.e. (abstr.) duty or (obj.) a usage or party:
            —charge, keep, or to be kept, office, ordinance, safeguard, ward, watch.

H4929. rDm◊vIm mishmar, mish-mawr´; from 8104; a guard (the man, the post or the prison); a deposit (fig.); also (as observed) a usage (abstr.), or an example (concr.):
            —diligence, guard, office, prison, ward, watch.

8104. rAmÎv shamar, shaw-mar´; a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.:
            —beward, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep(-er, self), mark, look  narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve,
            save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch(-man).

Note: Guard by keeping watch over something. It is one's 'duty' or responsibility for what's been placed in their keeping. Typically, a verbal instruction/direction.
            - Often translated as charge, this is not properly understood. 

HEBREW-GREEK EQUIVALENTS 

The following comparisons are based upon the usage of the Greek terms in the Septuagint paralleled with The King James Bible and other Old Covenant texts. As will be noted in looking at these, there are overlaps in usage and "translation". This is a source of confusion for many, since it does not leave clear distinctions between terms. These are listed in order of their Hebrew Strong's numbers. 

These are presented so you have something by which to compare similar concepts in The New Covenant with those found in The Old Covenant. 

H1696 = G4929, G3056, G4487

H1696. rAb;∂d dabar, daw-bar´; a primitive root; perhaps properly, to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue:

—answer, appoint, bid, command, commune, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, rehearse, say, speak, be spokesman, subdue, talk, teach, tell, think, use (entreaties), utter, x well, x work.

=          G3056. lo/goß logos, log´-os; from 3004; something said (including the thought); by implication, a
            topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a
            computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ):
                    — account, cause,
communication, x concerning, doctrine, fame, x have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching,
                    question, reason, + reckon, remove,
say(-ing), shew, x speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move
                    me, tidings, treatise, utterance,
word, work.
                            3004. le÷gw lego, leg´-o; a primary verb; properly, to “lay” forth, i.e. (figuratively) relate (in words - usually of
                            systematic or set discourse; whereas 2036 and 5346 generally refer to an individual expression or speech
                            respectively; while 4483 is properly to break silence merely, and 2980 means an extended or random
                            harangue); by implication, to mean:
                                      — ask, bid, boast, call, describe, give out, name, put forth, say(-ing, on), shew, speak, tell, utter. 

=         G4487. rJhvma rhema, hray´-mah; from 4483; an utterance (individually, collectively or specially),; by implication, a matter
           or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever:
                — + evil, + nothing, saying, word.
                          4483.
rJe÷w rheo, hreh´-o, for certain tenses of which a prolonged form  ejre÷w ereo, er-eh´-o is used; and both as
                          alternate for 2036 perhaps akin (or identical) with 4482 (through the idea of pouring forth); to utter, i.e. speak or
                          say: 
                                       — command, make, say, speak (of). Compare 3004. 

=          G4929. sunta¿ssw suntasso, soon-tas-so; from 4862 and 5021; to arrange jointly, i.e. (figuratively) to direct: 
                       — appoint. 

H2706 = G1345, G3545, G3551, G4367

H2706. qOj choq, khoke; from 2710; an enactment; hence, an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage):  
Written instructions.
            —appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree(-d), due, law, measure, x     necessary, ordinance
            (-nary), portion, set time,
statute, task.
            2710. qAqDj chaqaq, khaw-kak´; a primitive root; properly, to hack, i.e. engrave (Judges 5:14, to be a scribe simply); by
            implication, to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (gen.) prescribe: 
                      —appoint, decree, governor, grave, lawgiver, note, portray, print, set

=          G1345. dikai÷wma dikaioma, dik-ah´-yo-mah; from 1344; an equitable deed; by implication, a  statute or decision:
                       — judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness. 

=          G3545. nomi÷mwß nomimos, nom-im´-oce; adverb from a derivative of 3551; legitimately (specially, agreeably to the
             rules of the lists): 
                       — lawfully.

=          G3551. no/moß nomos, nom´-os; from a primary ne÷mw nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law
            (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), 
specially, (of Moses (including the volume); also of the
            Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): 
                      —
law.

=          G4367. prosta¿ssw prostasso, pros-tas´-so; from 4314 and 5021; to arrange towards, i.e. (figuratively) enjoin
                      — bid, command. 

H4687 = G1785

H4687. hDwVxIm  mitsvah, mits-vaw´; from 6680; a command, whether human or divine (collectively, the Law):
            —(which was) commanded(-ment), law, ordinance, precept. 

=          G1785. ejntolh/ entole, en-tol-ay´; from 1781; injunction, i.e. an authoritative prescription:
                     —
commandment, precept

H4931 = G1301, G4367

H4931. t®rRm◊vIm  mishmereth, mish-mer´-reth; fem. of 4929; watch, i.e. the act (custody), or (concr.) the sentry, the post; obj. preservation, or (concr.) safe; fig. observance, i.e. (abstr.) duty or (obj.) a usage or party:
            —charge, keep, or to be kept, office, ordinance, safeguard, ward, watch.
             H4929. rDm◊vIm  mishmar, mish-mawr´; from 8104; a guard (the man, the post or the prison); a deposit (fig.); also (as
            observed) a usage (abstr.), or an example (concr.):
                     —diligence, guard, office, prison, ward, watch.
                     8104. rAmÎv shamar, shaw-mar´; a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to
                     protect
 attend to, etc.: 
                             —beward, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep(-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard,
                            reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch(-man).

=          G1301. diathre÷w diatereo, dee-at-ay-reh´-o; from 1223 and 5083; to watch thoroughly, i.e. (positively and
            transitively) to observe strictly, or (negatively and reflexively) to avoid wholly: 
                          — keep.
=          G4367. prosta¿ssw prostasso, pros-tas´-so; from 4314 and 5021; to arrange towards, i.e. (figuratively) enjoin
                           — bid, command.           

H6310 = G4929

H6310. hÚRp  peh, peh; from 6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literal or figurative (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to:
            —accord(-ing as, -ing to), after, appointment, assent, collar, command(-ment), x eat, edge, end, entry, + file, hole, x in,
            mind, mouth, part, portion, x (should) say(-ing), sentence, skirt, sound, speech, x spoken, talk, tenor, x to, + two-edged,
            wish, word.
=          G4929. sunta¿ssw suntasso, soon-tas-so; from 4862 and 5021; to arrange jointly, i.e. (figuratively) to direct:
                        — appoint. 

H6680 = G1781

H6680. hDwDx  tsavah, tsaw-vaw´; a primitive root; (intensively) to constitute, enjoin:
             —appoint, (for-)bid, (give a) charge, (give a, give in, send with) command(-er, -ment), send a messenger, put, (set) in  
             order. 

=          G1781. ejnte÷llomai  entellomai, en-tel´-lom-ahee; from 1722 and the base of 5056; to enjoin:
                      — (give)
charge, (give) command(-ments), injoin. 

H8451 = G3545, G3551

H8451. h∂rwø;t towrah, to-raw´; or h∂r;Ot torah, to-raw´; from 3384; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch:
             —
law.

=          G3545. nomi÷mwß  nomimos, nom-im´-oce; adverb from a derivative of 3551; legitimately (specially, agreeably to the
            rules of the lists): 
                       —
lawfully.

=          G3551. no/moß nomos, nom´-os; from a primary ne÷mw nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law
            (
through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specially, (of Moses (including the volume); also of the
            Gospel), or
figuratively (a principle):
                        —
law.

You now have the tools to more fully and properly understand what Scripture teaches.
This is often very different from what tradition teaches.
The
Truth is available to you.
But it’s
your responsibility to examine what you’re taught to see if it is indeed truth instead of some fabricated lie.


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May YAHWEH speak to your heart and bless you with understanding as you explore His Word.