How to Discern if a Doctrine is True Part 2: Was the Law Nailed to the Cross?
“The Road to hell is paved with good intentions” (anonymous).
One of the main concerns most traditional church groups have is the focus on the ceremonial laws that cannot be practiced today. These so-called “ceremonial laws” are those relating to sacrifice and the temple itself. The Bible does state why these are no longer applicable today, not because they have been fulfilled, since only half of these symbolic events have been fulfilled by Yeshua’s (Jesus’) death, but because we are now the temple of Elohim (God) and there is no longer a physical temple to which the Law is applicable. However, the temple laws are only a small portion of the Torah, only 189 of 613, the other 424 speak to laws concerning how to love man and Elohim. Yeshua confirmed this that all of the Torah hang on these two (great) Laws (Matthew 22:37-40, emphasis mine).
The purpose of the Law is to teach us how to love. The word Torah means “teaching”. It is an instruction manual on knowledge on what is love and how to apply it. How can a set of instructions on how to love, in the way that Elohim intended, be a burden or worse done away with? This law is necessary, because we were all created to be nurtured by a love that Elohim created. The Law does not simply give commands that we are to blindly obey. The Law says do not covet, do not steal, do not kill – so we must not covet, steal or kill. Not so, instead the Law is telling us that the proper way to love someone is by not coveting what they have (we should not put so much value on material things, instead we should focus on the person), not to steal from them (as we would not like others to steal from us) and certainly we do not kill people who we love. The Law is teaching us how to love and showing us what love looks like; to do the opposite is to hate.
The Law also tells us how to love Elohim properly. Most of us think that we can love Him in our own way, and it does not matter how we treat Him or His Laws. Another popular way this idea is generally put is that God accepts our unique way of worship, He understands. Is this true? This way of thinking does not hold true even in our own human relationships. Take for example, our spouse, we do not treat him/her any way and we want and expect that he/she would simply accept it. On the contrary, if we did that we would not have long-lasting relationships. All of us must be treated in a way that nurtures us and shows us the respect we expect. Our wishes are not to be trifled with, they are the laws of how we expect others to treat us if they love us. Why do we believe that Elohim is different, that He does not have needs and wishes on how He expects to be treated by us? The Scriptures tell us that we are made in his image, in his likeness.
We are a lot like him in personality, as well as mental and physical attributes, and we endeavour to have His character. So why do we think that He does not have the same emotional needs that we have and that He interacts with us and accepts love from us on our terms, disregarding His? His laws demonstrate how we should love Him. We love Him by not blaspheming His name, by not worshipping other Gods (that is, being unfaithful to Him), by guarding the Sabbath day and keeping it holy (that is, to rest with Him and spend quality time with him). His laws show us how He wants to be loved, and He did demonstrate as much when he made it clear to the Israelites that they were not to worship Him in the same manner they had worshipped the pagan gods (Exodus 32).
But we are saved by Grace and Paul said in Galatians 5:1 that we should not return to the burden under the law? Is this what Paul meant when he said, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage”? Then how could he say in Romans 3:31 that “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (emphasis mine)? He continues to say, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!...But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 6:15; 7:23-25, KJV). Paul is telling us that we must choose a side. If we go on default mode, you will do what comes natural to you – sin or serve the Devil.
Most of us have been taught that the Law is bondage, is this true. However, David says in Psalms 119:
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (V.18).
“But I delight in Your law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver” (v. 103-104).
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v. 105).
“Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful” (v. 138).
“Your word is very pure” (v. 140).
“How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (v. 103-104).
The Characteristics of the Law
It is good: Romans 7:12, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”
It is spiritual, not of the flesh (our default mode): Romans 7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
The Law is a delight, Romans 7:22, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.”
The law is liberty, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25; see also James 2:12).
The Law is light, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light” (Proverbs 6:23)
The Law is life, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2, KJV, emphasis mine).
The law is righteous, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4, KJV, emphasis mine), and “For Christ is the end (the goal - Strong’s G5056) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
The Law is just, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12, KJV, emphasis mine).
Violation of the Law is wickedness. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4, KJV).
To be lawless is to be wicked (lost), “Indignation has taken hold of me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law” (Psalms 119:53).
To be without the Law is ignorance of the Law and is wickedness. The wicked and the Gentiles are without the Law and they are lost (wicked). “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).
The wicked are not only people who commit atrocities, they are also people who are lost from the path (those that are ignorant of the Law or those who blaspheme, that is, to disregard the Law). On the other hand, righteousness is obedience to the law. “Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3, NLT).
The Law is easy to keep, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV, emphasis mine).
The Purpose of the Law
The Hebrew word Torah is translated law in English, however, the word actually means “teaching” or “a set of instructions” as in those given from parent to child. It is a guide on how to live. Often it is translated in the Bible simply as “way”. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways (Torah) and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12, NKJV, emphasis mine). On the other hand, the word law means “a set of rules from a government and binding on a community”. A law is binding and breaking the law leads to punishment, but a teaching is a principle that when followed benefits the individual who expects no punishment for failure. The Torah should not be enforced as law. Observe the following verses:
“My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law (torah) of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8).
“My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands” (Proverbs 3:1).
“Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law” (Psalms 94:12).
“But he who looks into the perfect law (way or teaching) of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
Hold on, aren’t there passages that called the law a burden and even Jesus spoke against
these? Yes. In Judaism there are two laws, on is the law written by Moses that is contained in the first five books of the Bible (the Torah) and there is the oral law, the traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Talmud. Paul and Jesus spoke against the Talmud, calling it a burden and a yoke over the people (Acts 15:10, Galatians 5:1)
The Torah is a way of life. It teaches us how to live a life of love in dedication to God as well as our community and personal well-being. We are to live a life of continuous perfectionism. “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). It’s not about knowing stuff life prophecy, but to live a life that is oriented towards the Torah daily. “The Torah is not meant to be a drudgery of requirements, as the word law implies, but a joy and a delight to the people” (Benner).
The Torah is a delight, and it leads to personal fulfilment and joy. It is only a burden to the wicked, since they do not keep the Torah from a place of love, but from a place of obligation. However, one shows love for God and his neighbour when he obeys the instructions of the Torah.
“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:22-25).
“Love and Torah (Law) are inseparable. If one keeps and obeys the Torah, he is showing his love to God. If one loves God he will keep and obey His Torah. We can see this concept in many passages if we understand Hebrew parallelism. Hebrew parallelism is a form of Hebrew poetry which is saying the same thing in two or more different ways. As an example let us look at Deuteronomy 11:1;"Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, decrees, laws and commands always." When we read this as a Westerner of the 20th century we see two completely different statements. The first is "Love the LORD your God" and the second is "keep his requirements, decrees, laws and commands always." These are not two different ideas, but rather the same thing” (Benner).
Western culture looks at love as an emotion; however, in Hebrew love is always a verb. It is an act which is why you cannot love God and others without works (actions). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). The bible tells us how to love God, we love Him by obeying his commandments (by walking in His Torah).
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).
“If you love Me, keep My commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:15, 21, 23).
A Note on Blasphemy
What is blasphemy? We are taught that Blasphemy is the rejection of the Holy Spirit and that it is the only sin that Elohim cannot forgive. However, the Webster’s Dictionary defines blaspheme as “to speak profanely of or to God or of sacred things.” Blasphemy is “to curse, or to blaspheme”. Profane means “not connected with religion (unsacred), irreverent or contempt to debase or defile, showing disrespect, of contempt for sacred things.” The Law is sacred and holy (Romans 7:12). Proverbs 3:1 warns us to not to trample on the Law (to forsake it), but instead to keep it, as in to guard it (Strong’s H5341), as the apple of your eye (as a valuable possession). Therefore, to blaspheme is not simply a rejection of the Holy Spirit, it is a disrespect or disregard for Elohim and those things that are considered holy by Him. One of the Ten Commandments tells us not to call the name of the Lord your God in vain. This is also blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit comes from Elohim, and is Elohim. To disregard the law is blasphemy. It truly is an unforgiveable sin, for indeed one cannot be a saint of Elohim and practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:23).
Religious hypocrisy is also blasphemy, Romans 2:21-22, “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonour God through breaking the law?” It is important that your words match your actions. Faith must be accompanied by works (actions).
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
“For not the hearers of the law (Torah) are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Romans 2:13).
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:2, ESV).
Importance of Judging Doctrine
Paul demonstrates that the Scriptures are necessary for righteousness.
In Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” So, you cannot separate the Law from the rest of the Scriptures, all Scripture hangs on the Law and it is to be used for reproof, correction, for doctrine (what we believe and what we teach other people) and for instruction in perfection.
Romans 8:6-7, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
We must discern the messages of the prophets that we encounter. These are not the great men of Scriptures, these are average men, like you and I, who have in depth knowledge of the Scriptures and are mature in their relationship with Elohim. We must judge their statements of beliefs and how they are teaching us to apply them. This is prophesying. They are prophets and the majority of them will be false prophets. However, as I implore you to judge their message, I would advise not to judge them personally. We are all sinners, and the Almighty can use sinners to pass a message to you (1 Samuel 10:10, 1 Samuel 19:20). Instead deal gently with one another, “[I] beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
We must judge if our doctrines, our statements of beliefs, are true. Our doctrine needs to add up to everything we believe one hundred percent of the time. It must stand up to logic. My job is not here to tell you what to believe or to convince you of anything. My job is to give you objective information, for you to decide if it is righteous or not. After that you decide what actions you must take based on your own convictions.
1. Benner, J. The Torah of Righteousness. Retrieved on October 20, 2021 from https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-nt/the-torah-of-righteousness.htm
2. The Holy Bible (all verses are taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise specified).