TORAH – YHWH’S INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS PEOPLE
What is Torah?
Most Christians are not able to answer this question. Many Christians may know that they are the first five books in the Old Testament, but regard them as being Jewish or believe they have been superseded by the New Covenant. This is due largely to Replacement Theology or Dispensationalism, doctrines from the pit of hell. When the Torah was given to Moses, the whole House of Jacob was assembled at the base of Mt. Sinai. The Torah was given to them as instructions by which they might live righteous, healthy and prosperous lives before their Elohim. It was also a type of Kethuba or Marriage Contract. The contract was between YHWH and Israel, His intended bride. His desire was that Israel would be an example to the whole world of what it means to walk in righteousness and receive the blessings promised by YHWH. In order to be blessed, one must walk in obedience. The Book of Deuteronomy (Shefer Devarim) describes the principles of blessings and curses. It is simple: Obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings curses.
It is unfortunate that the Christian church teaches that the Torah is the Jewish “Law” and that it does not apply to Christians. We can say this of the Talmud, but not the Torah. This came about because of a poor translation of the Scriptures into the Greek and Latin. The Greek, “nomos”, was used to translate the word, Torah. Nomos means law, but the correct translation of the Hebrew word Torah is “instructions.” The intent of our Creator was to give His people (Israel) a guide or instructions on how to live a life pleasing to Elohim and to walk in righteousness and receive the blessings of heaven. It was given to the entire Nation of Israel, centuries before there was ever a “Jew”. Therefore, it is not a “Jewish thing”, but is intended for the whole of Israel. Until the “Christian Church” realizes that Israel is the intended bride of Messiah, they will continue in this separatist type of thinking. Israel consists of both the House of Ephraim and the House of Judah. The smaller house, Judah, consists of only two of the twelve tribes of Jacob (Israel) and is only one percent (1%) of the size of the House of Ephraim. The fact that Judah is the only recognizable part of Israel at this point in time does not mean that the House of Ephraim is excluded. Scripture tells us that both houses will soon be reunited to form one body. The Torah is for both houses because it was given to both houses. Anyone who gives their life to YHWH and His Messiah becomes grafted into the Olive Tree which is Israel. But first, a segue:
So, who is this House of Ephraim?
If you remember, after the death of King Solomon, Son of David, Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The Southern Kingdom consisted of the tribes and area around Jerusalem. These tribes were Judah and Benjamin and were called the House of Judah. The remaining ten tribes formed the Northern Kingdom and were called the House of Ephraim (or the House of Israel). Rehoboam ruled the Southern Kingdom and Jeroboam ruled the Northern Kingdom. This division came about because of the disobedience of Solomon (by engaging in the worship of pagan Babylonian sun-god deities), but for the sake if King David, the split did not occur until after the death of Solomon. There was much friction between the two houses and Rehoboam plotted to kill Jeroboam but was warned by Elohim through Shemayah not to go up against Jeroboam. There was animosity between the two and Jeroboam, afraid that if the people of his kingdom were to continue to go up to Jerusalem at the appointed times (the feasts), they would be influenced by the House of Judah and Jeroboam would lose control over his kingdom. Therefore, he set up his own gods and holidays, forbidding his subjects to go to Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom soon became utterly pagan, following after the Babylonian gods of old.
Elohim gave a warning to the House of Ephraim not to continue in their adulteries by following after the pagan gods. However, they did not take heed and continued to worship false gods. Therefore, YHWH sent the prophet Hosea to warn them saying that if they did not repent, they would be cut off. He instructed Hosea to take for himself a whore and he took Gomer who conceived and bore him a son. YHWH instructed Hosea to name the son Yizre‘el, saying, “For in a little while, I shall revenge the bloodshed of Yizre‘el on the house of Yehu, and put an end to the reign of the House of Yisra‘el (Ephraim). And Gomer again conceived and bore Hosea a daughter. YHWH instructed Hosea to name her Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “without compassion” for He would not have compassion on the House of Israel. Then as Gomer weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she again conceived and gave birth to another son. YHWH instructed Hosea to name him Lo-Ammi, which means “not a people”, thus declaring that the northern kingdom was to be dispersed and scattered and assimilated so that they would no longer be recognizable as a people and no longer be His people and He their Elohim. They were to be completely cut off for a time. And Ephraim went deeper into Baal worship, forsaking Torah completely.
Eventually, around 722 B.C.E., the northern kingdom was captured by the Assyrian Empire and carried off where they were transplanted into other cultures and nations. This went on until they were completely assimilated into the nations of the world and were no longer recognizable as a “people” or nationality. They were now “Lo-Ammi” and not a recognizable part of the tribes of Jacob. Only YHWH knew who they were. Remember, YHWH had already promised that in “The Day of the Lord”, the two houses would be reunited and would eventually become one in the hand of the Messiah.
Fast forward now into the time of the Gospels. We see in Matthew 10:6-7: “but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el. And as you go, proclaim, saying, ‘The reign of the heavens has drawn near.’”
Again in Matthew 15:24: “And He answering, said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.’”
It was time to cast the nets to gather in the House of Israel (Ephraim). The net in this case was the Gospel messsage of the kingdom of heaven that would penetrate their hearts. Now, let’s ask again, So, who is this House of Ephraim? You might start by asking who have been gathered in through the Gospel of the Kingdom? The House of Ephraim is still “lost” and is called by its religious name, the Christian Church. Scripture tells us that when the two Houses are gathered together, the House of Israel will be 100 times the size of the House of Judah. At present, there are about 20 million Jews in the world. The latest estimates of the number of “Christians” in the world is 2 Billion (100 times the size of the House of Judah). But before our Messiah can return, things must be restored. Presently, the “Christian Church” is still very pagan, thanks to Constantine, and the protestant denominations are nothing more than “RC Lite” – Roman Catholic Lite. Sure, they have done away with Rome and the papacy and most of them have done away with the elaborate pagan Liturgy, but they have inherited lies from their fathers.
Jeremiah 16:14-21 “Therefore see, the days are coming,” declares hwhy, “when it is no longer said, ‘hwhy lives who brought up the children if Yisra’el from the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt),’ but ‘hwhy lives who brought up the children of Yisra’el from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I shall bring them back into their land I gave to their fathers. See, I am sending for many fishermen,” declares hwhy, “and they shall fish them. And after that, I shall send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them down from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For My eyes are on all their ways; they have not been hidden from My face, nor has their crookedness been hidden from My eyes. And first I shall repay double for their crookedness and their sin, because they have defiled My land with the dead bodies of their disgusting matters, and have filled My inheritance with their abominations.”
Oh, YHWH, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.” Would a man make mighty ones for himself, which are not mighty ones? “Therefore see, I am causing them to know, this time I cause them to know My hand and My might. And they shall know that my name is YHWH!”
Does this mean that all “Christians” are descendents of the House of Ephraim?
The quick answer is NO. There have always been foreigners and sojourners who have walked with Israel. As long as they declared the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their God and obeyed His commandments (Torah), they were considered part of Israel, not second class citizens, but really part of Israel. Likewise, there are those of us who are probably descended from Jacob and there are some who nevertheless received the message and took the gospel to heart and received Yahushua as their savior. The House of Ephraim looks very, very different from the House of Judah. Most of the time, it is not that difficult to identify a member of the House of Judah, a Jew. The House of Israel, on the other hand, is made up of peoples and races from all of the nations of the world. The most important thing to know is that you are part of Israel and are meant to follow and be obedient to His instructions contained in the Torah.
Put away all the junk you have been taught through Dispensationalism. The Torah is for YOU! Learn it and follow it. But do not get caught in the same religious trap that the Jews are caught up in. Messiah got into the faces of the Pharisees because they were adding their own laws on top of the Scripture. In fact, they added thousands of rules and laws to the point that the Jews were heavily burdened. These extra burdens, called the Takanot, governed just about every aspect of the Jew’s life The Torah, as written, is not difficult to keep, especially now that you have the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) to help you. The Messiah said to the Jews, “Come to me all who are heavily laden and I will give you rest.” He further stated that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. It was all the extra “fence laws” heaped upon the Torah by the Pharisees that made it a heavy burden. This religion of the Pharisees is alive today and is known as Rabbinic Judahism.
Now back to the Torah
What is Torah?
The Torah, consisting of the five Books of Moses, are: Beresheet, meaning “in the beginning.” (Genesis), Shemot, meaning “names” (Exodus), Wayiqra, (Leviticus), Bemidbar (Numbers) and Debarim (Deuteronomy).
At the time Torah was given to Israel through Moses, it was meant to be a marriage contract between YHWH and Israel, His beloved. The Torah was given to them as a codified set of instructions on how to live a life set-apart and pleasing to the Creator of the universe. It is also the standard by which we will be judged. Thus, by having a nation who walked in righteousness and obedience to Elohim, they would be a light, an example, unto the rest of the world. YHWH’s plan was to ultimately have an entire world living in obedience and fellowship with their Maker through Israel’s example. Israel, however, had difficulties maintaining their commitment to their vows at Mt. Sinai. The primary cause was adultery. Not the physical adultery we know as common to man, but a spiritual adultery wherein Israel turned from their invisible Elohim and lusted after the gods of the pagans.
Numbers 15:15-16: ‘One law is for you of the assembly and for the stranger who sojourns with you – a law forever throughout your generations. As you are, so is the stranger before YHWH. One Torah and one right-ruling is for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.
Israel, after the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, entered the land promised to Abraham, but not without some obstacles. The land was filled with pagan sun-god worshipping tribes, still practicing the religion of Babylon. The first task given to Israel was to rid the land of the pagans. Throughout the Tanak, we see examples of the continual riddance of the articles of paganism. They were instructed to tear down the high places, the Asheroth poles, etc. This they did initially, but they were also instructed not to marry the women of the pagan tribes, lest they follow them and learn to worship their gods. This is exactly what they ended up doing and the Scripture is fraught with examples of this disobedience.
They early followers of Yahushua Messiah were definitely Torah observant, both those of the House of Judah and those who were from other nations (Gentiles). When one becomes a follower of the God of Creation and His Messiah, they become a part of the community if Israel and are expected to follow the instructions set forth by their Creator. Messiah said, “If you love me, follow my commandments.” What commandments do you think He was talking about? The only Scriptures at that time were those known as the Tanak or ‘Old Testament’. The commandments were set forth in these Scriptures, in the first five ‘Books’ of Moses.
History books reveal that by the end of the first century A.D., there were more Gentile believers than Jewish believers. Ultimately, because some gentile believers has little understanding of the Hebrew roots of their faith and the eternal covenant Elohim had with Israel, they began to spin off a separate religion that began a process of de-Judaizing which departed from Yahushua’s original teachings. Messiah did not come to start a new religion.
Eventually, when gentile ‘Christianity’ emerged as the dominant faith in “Jesus,” it became taboo for Jews to believe in the Torah-observant Messiah Yahushua. In order to “believe,” they had to convert to the Torah-less ‘Christian’ religion. The time came when these believing Jews were killed for it. Is there any wonder why today’s Jews want no part of Him? They have been driven away by the paganism that man has incorporated into their Creator’s teachings.
Even today, Christians still admonish Jews that if they don’t stop “being under the law” and start “believing in Jesus,” they are going to hell. Never mind that Torah-observant Jews already have a close relationship with YHWH that puts to shame any other religious denomination.
It is important to understand that Elohim has already given us the keys to blessing and prosperity. They are stated in His Word, in Deuteronomy 28.
Deuteronomy 28:1-9 And it shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim, to guard to do all His commands, which I command you today, that YHWH your Elohim shall set you high above all nations lf the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim: Blessed are you in the city, and blessed are you in the field. Blessed is the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your livestock – the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed is your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed are you when you come in, and blessed are you when you go out. YHWH caused your enemies who rise against you to be smitten befoe your face – they come against you one way and flee before you seven ways. YHWH commands the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and shall bless you in the land which YHWH your Elohim is giving you. YHWH does establish you as a set-apart people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you guard the commands of YHWH your Elohim and walk in His ways.
Read Deuteronomy 28:15-68 for the numerous curses prescribed for not obeying the Torah.
The message is simple: Torah-obedience brings blessings and Torah-disobedience brings curses.
Modern ‘Christianity’ preaches an entirely different message regarding blessings and prosperity. It is self-serving, greedy and Nicolaitan. Instead of ministering to the needy (the widow, the orphan and the poor among you), the message of the TV charlatan is to send him or her your money and let them spend it for you, instead of doing your ministry like it says to do in the Scriptures. This is usually accompanied by a promise to send you a ‘prayer cloth’ or some other gimmick used to fleece you of your tithe. Scripture says we are to set aside a tenth of our harvest and use it to feed the widow, the orphan, the poor and the Levites living among you. Well, we don’t have any more identifiable Levites living among us, but we do have widows, orphans and poor. I’m sure YHWH would be much more pleased that you used your tithe as He instructed, rather than finance some TV preacher’s new Mercedes or Rolex watch.
In the final Book, the Revelation of our Messiah, He tells us to “come out of her.” To what is He referring? Religion. Messiah didn’t come to start a new religion! We must be restored to the pure word of Elohim and forego all the religious games.
So, how do we get started?
Just as Peter set forth a simple minimum requirement for new gentile converts who had not yet been schooled in the Torah (Acts 15), I suggest the following as the first and immediate steps to be taken on a journey of personal restoration to Torah obedience.
1. Immediate cessation of the practice of celebrating the pagan holidays which we inherited from the Roman Catholic church (Christmas, Easter, New Years, Valentines Day, Halloween).
2. Honor and keep the Sabbath day, which is the seventh day of the week (Saturday). You will be blessed if you do. The Sabbath is the sign, the ONLY sign, that you are a child of YHWH.
3. Learn and keep the “Feasts of the Lord” as described in Leviticus 23. Learn to know the difference between what the Scriptures say about the holidays and what is practiced by Judaism. Do not fall in the trap of “over shooting the mark” and fall into another religious burden.
4. Learn the Master’s dietary rules as set forth in Leviticus 11. No more bacon, ham, clams, crab, lobster and the like. These are detestable to YHWH and should be to you also. It’s not that difficult to keep and you will be healthier for it, and blessed.
5. In the past 4 millenia, there is no record of anybody being born in Israel with the name of “Jesus.” It is not the Messiah’s name. His name is Yahushua (like Joshua). The Father’s name is Yahuwah. It’s not Adonai, LORD, or any of the other nicknames given him by religions. Learn to know Him by His proper name.
Once you are practicing to walk in His word and keeping His commandments, you will learn to see things in a new light. There is a real “renewing of the mind” that takes place.
There will be times when this may become awkward for you. The whole world has become so steeped in Babylonian paganism that it is not even aware that anything is wrong, especially around Christmas time when everyone is celebrating is some way or another. If you have been raised in the American tradition of lavish gift-giving on the day of Tammuz's birthday and your children have come to expect great gifts that day under a pagan decorated Nimrod phallus, you must take the time to explain to them the history of this celebration and why our heavenly Father finds this an abomination.
There is an alternative celebration available at this same time of year: Hanukkah, the Feast of Re-Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is the celebration of the destruction of the Greeks religious abominations (sun-god worship) and the purging of the Temple to prepare for the coming of the true Messiah. The worshippers of the One True God - the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - celebrate Hanukkah on the 25th day of the ninth Hebrew month - just as Yahshua did. Hannukuh commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, and may occur from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar.
After learning to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, Messiah's real birthday, and to find the real beauty in this precious gift from above, giving up the pagan rituals at the winter solstice won't be such a big deal.
Learning about YHWH's dietary instructions and why they are so very important for a healthy and righteous life will bring a new dimension to your life. Perhaps you've become really fond of your BLT for lunch, for example. There are alternative products readily available at your supermarket. Turkey bacon or Hebrew National's all beef bacon will be a tasty replacement.
Learning to see the "sea cockroach" (lobster) for what it is, along with the crab and shrimp, will ease the yen for these supposed delicasies. These were not created to be eaten, but to be scavengers and janitors to keep the sea clean for the designated edible creatures that are found there. The fact is that anatomically, the lobster and the cockroach are practically identical. The shrimp is a close second. If you've ever wondered why there are so many reports of the sea life becoming contaminated, think about the thousands of tons of "janitors" being hauled out of the sea every year to be consumed in a pagan frenzy.
The following bibliography lists some of the books that were distilled into this synopsis of the Restoration under way at this time.