A new pamphlet is on sale on Amazon by OneforIsrael ministries which presents a new approach to an old problem. The old problem is how to fit a square peg into a round hole or in other words how to make the ‘Old’ Testament fit the ‘New’ Testament. In what areas might there be questions? From their own advertising blurb:
- Are we under the law?
- Should we follow Rabbinic traditions?
- Should we keep the Torah? How?
- What is the purpose of the law?
- Did Messiah come to point us back to the law?
- Why did God give the Torah in the first place?
Much to the disgust and dismay of one of the authors I did the unspeakable yet again; read the book and make a comment about it.
The pamphlet Torah’s Goal is an example of a theological agenda projected onto the Jewish Scriptures and Judaism. The theological agenda is a seriously flawed agenda which is emphasized right from the beginning of the book in the ‘definitions’ section. The definition section refers to the “Oral Law” as the “rabbinic traditions”.
By default Christians peddling the pamphlet will say that “2000 years ago there were various forms of Judaism and the rabbis “changed” Judaism so it is not really “true Judaism.” The rabbis changed everything”. Besides Galatians tells us we are free from the law anyway!!
Consequently the reader is immediately forced into ignoring the context of the Torah which is the custom and practice of the Jewish people and how they applied their book hundreds centuries way before the New Testament.
You see how the Jews have applied their book, the book of the ‘Old’ Testament hundreds centuries way before the New Testament in the book itself. Included in the book are the details of how Jews accommodated at least one exile and one destruction of the first temple. A common question and the ‘trump’ card of Christians is how do Jews get atonement when there is now no temple in reference to the second temple and its destruction. The common question of course ignores what did Jews do for atonement after the destruction of the first temple. If Jeremiah is considered, the issue of sacrifices and the Exodus from Egypt is NOT focused on a sacrificial system as being the be all and end all of Jews and Judaism:
22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
So troubling is the above to Christian theology, that the New International Version (NIV) of Jer 7:22, 23, adds an extra word to the translation which the Hebrew does not support:
22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.
The extra word ‘just’, parachuted into the NIV translation of verse 22 gives the reverse idea that G-d did command the Israelites to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings for sins in stark contrast to the man initiated sacrifices found in the Torah (prior to Sinai) without reference to sin! Moreover, the ‘but’ of verse 23 renders verse 22 in the NIV illogical!
However, I digress, what about the definition of the book that the “Oral Law” is the “rabbinic traditions”?
Rabbis are mentioned in the Torah (just not by that term) – they are the judges and the teachers (just as they are today). They were the men Moses told you to listen to! The system of justice (rabbis are judges), then as now, follows the mitzvot (the “do” and “do not” rules) in the Torah — this includes how courts are established and how they “operate.” The Jewish system of judges began under Moses. Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18:
“But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men – men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 18:22 ‘Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.’” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.
From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice. Every single generation from Moses to today had judges / teachers who have maintained the Torah and Jewish law. There has never been a break in that chain. That is right, “Rabbinical Judaism” has been handed down לדור ודור / l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).
The Torah’s Goal from the Torah itself:
12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10
What the Torah says about itself is what peeves the missionaries the most!!