Did Jesus Add Grace and Subtract Torah?
One of the fundamental teachings of Torah, the Instructions in the Way, Truth and Life, is the prohibition of Adding to, or Subtracting from, YHVH’s Instructions; YHVH is the Eternal Name of our Creator:
This stipulation creates a crucial issue for those who believe Grace abolished, nullified, replaced or set us free from our Creator’s Living, Perfect and Complete Instructions.
There is a church age doctrine called Dispensationalism. It divides Biblical history into periods of time. The Torah is referred to as the age of the “Law,” which is now “Old” because the “New” age of “Grace” was dispensed with the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost.
This belief conflicted with what I’d been studying in the Torah so I began to compile and study the New Testament verses people were using to support it and I discovered two things:
First, and most importantly, when a teaching doesn’t match up to our Creator’s Word of Truth, that is how we know it’s not true. Jesus (Yehushua) Is the Word, John 1:1 and He Is the Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever, Hebrews 13:8
Second, there are ambiguous translations for the words “Law,” “Grace” and “Faith” that do not match up to their original ancient Hebrew meanings.
Aside from being called Truth and Life, Perfect and Complete, it is also called Pure, Blameless, Flawless, Purified Seven Times, Everlasting, Spiritual, Light, Wisdom, Justice, Righteousness: Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalm 19:7; Nehemiah 9:13; Psalm 12:6, Psalm 18:30; Psalm 78:5; Psalm 119:98;Psalm 119:130; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 6:23; Proverbs 10:17.
Our English word “Grace” doesn’t match the Greek word “Charis,” meaning “Favor,” or the original Hebrew word “Chen,” meaning “Favor.” Grace has become known as God’s gift of “Unmerited Favor,” whereas the original meaning of “Favor” is merited.
“Faith” also has a different meaning in English. The Greek word “Pistis” means Fidelity or Faithfulness which matches the Hebrew word “Emunah.” There is no separation between professing ones “belief” in God and their actions of Fidelity or Faithfulness.
Viewing Scripture Through the Hebrew Torah
Here in the first verse of my study, the apostle Paul writes about “the debt ascribed to us in the decrees,” which I’ve heard people confuse with meaning, the Torah:
- “having blotted out the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross!” Colossians 2:14
What was “blotted out?” What “stood against us?” Let’s look at the original Greek words; “Debt ascribed,” or Handwritten, (Cheirographon #5498) and “Decrees,” (Dogma #1378).
What Jesus blotted out was the Handwritten Debt of mankind’s Sin, as defined in Torah. Sin and death, which is Lawlessness or Torahlessness, is what stood against us:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your loving devotion; according to Your great compassion, blot out my Transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
“Repent, then, and turn back, so that your Sins may be wiped away,” Acts 3:19
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all Unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Torah tells us the Way of Righteousness Is Life and Unrighteousness as death. We bore our sin and death, Leviticus 24:15, until Yehushua (Jesus) bore mankind’s sin and death. Does that mean we throw our Torah? No, so that we might now Live to Righteousness:
In the second verse Paul uses the same word, “Decrees,” the Greek word Dogma #1378, which is now attached to the phrase “Nomos #3551 Etole” #1785 “the Law of commandments:”
2. “by abolishing in His flesh the Law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new (Renewed) man out of the two, thus making peace,” Ephesians 2:15
What was abolished? “The Law of Commandments and Decrees.” If it had been translated, “the Injunction of Charges and Decrees,“ it may not have been confused with the Torah in the first place.
Torah Will Never Be Abolished
Yehushua (Jesus) made sure no one would misunderstand this, He said He did Not come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets, but to fulfill them:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
Verse number three is Paul saying no one is justified by “works of the law,” and then he goes on to says they are “justified by Faith.”
Paul is referring to what King David said:
“And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for no man living is justified in Your sight.” Psalm 143:2
So the question remains, what did Paul mean when he said, “a man is justified by faith:”
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” Romans 3:28
At first glance it appears we are justified by our belief apart from Torah, but then he goes on to say that is not what he’s saying:
“Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Certainly not! Instead, we uphold the Law.” Romans 3:31
Is Paul double talking or is he talking about two different Laws; maybe a Physical and a Spiritual?
As I explained earlier, the Hebrew word Faith, “Emunah,” is a “Belief” that is not separate from our actions.
Paul continues to make a distinction between those who boast in their physical “works” or “actions” and those who are credited with Spiritual “Faithfulness” or “Fidelity.”
“If Abraham was indeed justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham Believed God, and it was credited to him as Righteousness.” Romans 4:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 2:9; Jeremiah 9:24
This is a great example of Paul referencing Genesis 15:6 so we can compare the Greek to the original Hebrew. I find most of my reference verses at https://biblehub.com:
“Abram Believed, (Aman #539) the LORD (YHVH #3068) and it was credited to him as Righteousness.” Genesis 15:6
“Aman #539” is the Hebrew verb meaning to be firm, secure, established, supported and unwavering; like an immovable tent-peg. It’s where we get our English word, Amen.
The noun, “Enumah #530” means Faithfulness. It was Abram’s loyal, steadfast Faithfulness to YHVH that was credited to him as Righteousness.
For more understanding of the concrete thinking of the Ancient Hebrews click this link: https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/articles_aman.html
“Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Certainly not! Instead, we uphold the Law.” Romans 3:31
The Spiritual Circumcision of the Heart
“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing (it was a physical). Keeping God’s commandments is what matters (Spiritual).” 1 Corinthians 7:19
Imagine Paul trying to describe this Spiritual mystery to those who may not have understood that Yehushua (Jesus) Is YHVH’s Word, the Spiritual reality of our Righteousness: John 1:1 John 1:2; John 1:3; John 1:14
“…And this is His Name by which He will be called:
The LORD (YHVH #3068) Our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16
“It is because of Him that you are in Christ/Messiah Jesus/Yehushua, having become for us Wisdom from God/YHVH: Our Righteousness, Holiness, and Redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30
Click Here to read; Is Jesus God?
“A man is not a Jew (Israel) because he is one outwardly, nor is circumcision only outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew (Israel) because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code (gramma #1121). Such a man’s praise (approval) does not come from men, but from God.” Romans 2:28; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 9:24, 25
Physical Circumcision foreshadowed YHVH’s Circumcision of our hearts, so we would love Him…how do we love Him? By keeping His Instructions, so we may Live:
“The LORD (YHVH) your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live,” Deuteronomy 30:6
Does number four say, works of the Torah are under a curse?
4. “For as many as are from works of the Law are under a curse. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Galatians 3:10
What “Works of the Law put are under a curse?” It’s obviously not referring to the Torah because Paul goes on to quote the Torah:
“And it is clear that no one is justified before God by the Law because, “The Righteous will live by Faithfulness.” 12 The Law, however, is not based on faith; on the contrary, for “The man who does these things will live by them.” Galatians 3:11, 12; Romans 10:5
“Keep My statutes and My judgments, for the man who does these things will live by them. I Am
the LORD YHVH,” Leviticus 18:5
Messiah redeemed us from the Curse, not the Torah:
“Christ/Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13
“…because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse…” Deuteronomy 21:23
The cursed are those who stray from YHVH’s Commandments:
“You rebuke the arrogant–the cursed who stray from Your commandments.” Psalm 119:21
Number #4 uses the same wording as verse #3. The “works of the Law” is not referring to the Torah because it is clearly those who stray from the Torah who are under a curse.
We cannot justify ourselves, we are Righteous because we Live by Faithfulness:
Look at the proud one; His soul is not upright–But the Righteous will Live by Faithfulness (אֱמוּנָה emunah #530)—Habakkuk 2:4
As we can see in Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Good News has not changed. From start to finish, The Righteous (as defined by Torah) will live by Faithfulness (fidelity to Torah):
For the Good News reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
“He follows My statutes and faithfully keeps My ordinances; he is righteous; surely he will live,’ declares the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 18:9
The Torah defines the Blessing of Life and the Curse of Death, (separation from YHVH):
“There will be Blessing (בְּרָכָה Berakah #1293) if you obey the commandments of the LORD (YHVH #3068) your God that I am giving you today, but a Curse (קלָלָה Qelalah #7045) if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD (YHVH) your God and turn aside from the path…” Deuteronomy 11:27, 28; Chapter 28; 30:19
The Blessing defines everything good; a renewed connection with Life; to know and emulate the Merciful loving kindness of our Creator.
“…All that matters is Faithfulness, expressed through Love.” Galatians 5:6
This expression of love is what James (Ya’acob) so brilliantly writes about in James Chapter 2. If you see someone in need of clothing and food and all you do is say, “stay warm and well fed,” you’ve faithfulness is dead:
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without action is dead.” James 2:26
All The Torah and Prophets Hang on Love
What is Love? When Jesus was asked, what is the Greatest commandment? He answered by saying the Shema (Hear and Do):
When we Love YHVH wholeheartedly, and Love one another as ourselves, we fulfill all the Instructions defining Righteousness:
Number five says we are not under Law but under Grace:
5. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
Then two verses later Paul goes on to say:
16 Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to Righteousness?
Sin does not rule over us when we walk in the Righteousness of Torah:
“Establish my steps through Your promise; let no sin rule over me.“ Psalm 119:133
The sixth verse says we are released from the “Law” (Nomos #3551) and again we need to ask, which law? What bound us? Lets take a look at what Paul means by “the old way of the Letter:”
6. “But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the Law, so that we serve in the new (renewed) way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the Letter, (gramma #1121).” Romans 7:6
It is the record of our sin that has us bound, entrapped, entangled and enslaved. So having died to “the Old way of the Letter” we are able to serve the “Renewed” way of the Spirit:
“The iniquities of a wicked man entrap him; the cords of his own sin entangle him.” Proverbs 5:22
“Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” John 8:34
Paul continues by clarifying any misunderstandings:
What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! Indeed, I would not have been mindful of sin if not for the Law. For I would not have been aware of coveting if the Law had not said, “Do not covet.” Romans 7:7
Then he make sure we don’t think he’s referring to the Holy, Righteous and Good Torah:
“So then, the Law is holy, and the Commandment is Holy, Righteous, and Good.” Romans 7:12
Paul clearly understood that Jesus freed us from the Law of the curse of sin and death. He also knew Jesus bore that curse, so in Him we might become the Righteousness of YHVH:
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the Righteousness of God,” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Moving on to verse number seven, I want to point out another obscure translation that makes it appear “Grace” is “New,” and the “Torah” is “Old.” We can even see this inferred in the naming of the “New” Testament and the “Old” Testament:
7. “And He has qualified us as ministers of a New Covenant, not of the Letter (gramma #1121) but of the Spirit; for the Letter (gramma #1121) kills, but the Spirit gives Life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6
Now we know the Letter is referring to the record of our sin, so let’s look at the Hebrew word translated “New.” Chodesh #2320 means the “New Moon.” Now obviously the moon isn’t “New” each moth, it’s “Renewed” by the light of the sun.
Each month is determined by the sighting of a sliver, or crescent of light, on the right side of the dark moon.
The physical covenants found in Torah were “Renewed” by the Light of the Spiritual Covenant:
“In Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of men.” John 1:4
First the Physical Then The Spiritual
The Bible contains physical Examples and Covenants that reveal the Spiritual. We are told that Moses was shown the Spiritual and he was instructed to make physical copies:
“So it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23
These were only patterns, or copies of the heavenly realities and also referred to as “the Law.” They were a “Shadow” of the good to come, not the Spiritual Realities:
“The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship,” Hebrews 10:1
Paul revealed the physical, or natural came first, and then the Spiritual:
“The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and then the spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:46
He also said, “We know the Torah is Spiritual:”
“We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am not spiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” Romans 7:14
Notice the Law is called both a “Shadow” and “Spiritual.” What did the physical copies foreshadow? From beginning to end, our Creator’s Word is about the Good News of mankind’s Spiritual Salvation, which is the end of death.
Click the link for; What is the Good News?
The eight verse will make more sense as we view the Torah with Spiritual eyes. The physical priesthood was a Copy of the Spiritual, set in place by Moses.
In verse eight we will see how the physical priesthood “changed” when Yehushua (Jesus) became our Spiritual High Priest:
8. “For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed as well.” Hebrews 7:12
This does not mean the “Law” was changed to “Grace.” “Law” here is referring to the physical priesthood changing to what it foreshadowed; the Spiritual priesthood.
Verse nine is another example of the word “Law” referring to legalism or self-justification.
In context, Paul is scolding Peter for his hypocrisy and falling back into the religious “Legalism” of the Jews:
9. “I do not set aside the Grace (Favor) of God. For if Righteousness comes through the law, (what man does) Christ/Messiah died for nothing.” Galatians 2:21
Does today’s understanding of Grace line up with the original Hebrew? Grace and Favor are used interchangeably, but as I mentioned previously the Hebrew word Favor is not “unmerited.”
To learn more about the Ancient Hebrew meaning of Favor click the link below: https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/articles_grace.html
Righteousness means doing what YHVH says is Right:
“Look at the proud one; his soul is not upright— but the Righteous will live by his Faithfulness—Habakkuk 2:4
Righteousness is Everlasting and Torah Is True
“Your Righteousness is an Everlasting Righteousness, and Your Law (Torah #8451) is True/Faithfulness (Aman #571).” Psalm 119:142
“So too, Faithfulness by itself, without any action, is dead.” James 2:17
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so Faithfulness without deeds is dead.” James 2:26
There is also confusion over exactly what keeping Torah means. After Jesus fulfilled the physical representations of Himself, escalated with the flood of gentiles/the nations or non-Jews, who now bear YHVH’s Name; Acts 15:17
Between the added legalism of the Jews, and the gentiles who had no knowledge of Torah, It became necessary to hold a Council at Jerusalem in order to define the essential requirements of Torah. We read about their conclusion in Acts 15:29:
“You must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
Reading Acts chapter 15 in context Peter, Paul and Barnabas make the point that the gentiles were given the Spirit just as they were. YHVH made no distinction when He cleansed their hearts. He knows the heart and He gave them Favor because of their Faithfulness.
“For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Acts 15:21
James made the judgement because the Torah and Prophets were read in every city from ancient times; every Sabbath, in the synagogues. It was possible for anyone to hear a complete cycle of reading within a year of listening to the weekly portions.
The Lawless Means The Torahless
Peter points out that parts of Paul’s letters are hard to understand and some had already distorted his words, like ignorant people do to the rest of the Scriptures:
“He writes this way in all his letters, speaking in them about such matters. Some parts of his letters are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16
Then he warns us to be on our guard so we won’t be carried away by the error of the “Lawless,” meaning Torahless:
“Therefore, beloved, since you already know these things, be on your guard so that you will not be carried away by the error of the Lawless and fall from your steadfastness…” 2 Peter 3:17
The Way of Truth Is the Only Source of Eternal Life
“He follows My statutes and faithfully keeps My ordinances; he is Righteous; surely he will Live,’ declares the Lord GOD…” Ezekiel 18:9
“But if the wicked man turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is Just and Right, he will surely Live; he will not die. 22 None of the transgressions he has committed will be held against him. Because of the Righteousness he has practiced, he will Live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Lord GOD. Would I not prefer he turn from his ways and Live?” Ezekiel 18:27,28,30
“but Israel, who pursued a law of Righteousness, has not attained it.” Romans 9:31
So Torah contains the words of Life, and it defines Righteousness, which it says is, the Way of Life, yet even after Jesus revealed it was speaking about Himself, they did not faithfully come when He called them:
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was written in all the Scriptures about Himself.” Luke 24:27
Number Ten is my final verse and the only one that does not come from one of Paul’s letters. Here John appears to be saying the “Law” came through Moses, “Grace” and Truth came through Jesus:
10. “For the Law was given through Moses; Grace/Favor and Truth came through Jesus Christ/Messiah” John 1:17
The physical copies of the Spiritual were given through Moses; the reality of Grace/Favor and Truth came to be, or exist, through Messiah.
The word “Came” is the Greek verb “Ginomai #1096.” it can also be translated “came to be, or became” The word Through is the Greek preposition Dia #1223 meaning the channel of an act.
If you have questions about any other verses, test them to the unchanging Torah and the original Hebrew word meanings.
The Torah Still Stands
In conclusion, the Torah has been misunderstood, by people like me, who lacked the Spiritual insight to see the physical examples of Torah that revealed our Creator’s Salvation.
The Salvation, Righteousness, Favor and Faithfulness of those who walk in the Way of Truth and Life are how we know Spiritual Life and Spiritual Life knows us. YHVH’s commandments only went from being inscribed on stone to Live in our hearts and mind:
“Now this is eternal Life, that they may KNOW You, the only TRUE God,
and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3
“By this we can be sure that we have come to KNOW Him: if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3
“If anyone says, “I Know Him,” but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4
“No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning, (sin is defined by Torah). No one who continues to sin has seen Him or KNOWN Him.” 1 John 3:6
Those who keep His Commandments Know their Creator, those who don’t will be told to “Depart from Me, I never Knew you,”
“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of Lawlessness (Torahlessness)!” Matthew 7:23
“And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the very commandment you have heard from the beginning, that you must walk in love.” 2 John 1:6
“But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him:” 1 John 2:5, 6, 7
“and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.” 1 John 3:22
“Whoever keeps His commandments remains in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He remains in us: by the Spirit He has given us.” 1 John 3:24
“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:2
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome,” 1 John 5:3
“And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God, holding to the testimony of Jesus. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.” Revelation 12:17 (and 22:14)
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.’ Luke 16:29
“If you want to enter Life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17
But whoever looks into the perfect Law of liberty, (Torah) and continues to do so, he being not a forgetful hearer, but does what it says, this man shall be blessed in all he does. James 1:25