Saturday, September 01, 2007

Torah or Pentateuch (Part 3)

Key Message/ Verse:
Torah means “counsel,” “instruction,” or “teaching” (Proverbs 1:8; Malachi 4:4). Besides law there is genealogy, poetry, and much stirring narrative or stories.

Some Jewish rabbinical scholars like Maimonedes insisted that Torah is a book of laws, encoding 613 laws in the Torah. It is rather a Story with legal material. The Torah means “teaching,” and it is a narrative first and foremost, a narrative with a thrust of prophecy of the end time. In fact, at the end of the Torah, Moses prophesies the rebellion of the whole nation of Israel.

The more law we encounter, the more sin we see in the Torah. The teaching squares with what the Rabbi and later Apostle Paul said in Romans 5-7. The law not only points out sin, it produces more sin so that no one, not even Moses (Deuteronomy 34) is justified to go into the Promised Land. No one’s works so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Further, when medieval Jewish scholars realized that the way their Bible had been taught for millennia – in a paradigm of anticipation of the Messiah – was empowering Christians learning Hebrew to point directly to Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of those prophecies, Rashi and others changed their hermeneutic to focus on law rather than looking for a Messiah, intentionally obscuring the intent of the Torah and the Hebrew Bible.

The Protestant Reformers learning Hebrew were taught that new view by the rabbis who taught them the language. Thus, Luther, Calvin, and other great Reformers learned that the OT is about law and law alone. Their study of the NT made it clear that Jesus was the focus of the NT. The OT and Israel was out -- and the NT and the Church was in. Therefore, the magisterial reformers developed the heretical teaching called Replacement Theology, that God’s work was done with the people of Israel, and that the Church replaced Israel. Everywhere Israel is mentioned in the OT, they taught that we simply replace it with the Church.

This view continues rife in mainline and conservative Reformed (Calvinist) congregations. This view even gave rise to the anti-Semitic writings of Luther later in his life which Hitler used in his German Fatherland propaganda against the Jews. Today the political idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East (which has as a core assumption that God is finished with Israel and the State of Israel has nothing to do with Biblical Israel) is traceable back to Rashi's hermeneutical shift to blind the readers of the Torah from its intended meaning -- anticipation of a Messiah.

FAILURE / PARTIAL FULFILLMENT: Instead of counting laws, the rabbis missed the message of the Torah: The Law fails to produce faith; therefore we must wait for another Moses and another covenant (Deuteronomy 18, 30, 34).

LAST DAYS: Looking for a restoration of Genesis 1. The similarities of Genesis 1 and Revelation 21-22: tree of life, Man, Bride, a river of life, no curse, no death, everlasting light. The Pentateuch is a book of prophecy. Gen 1 – Prophesies a Beginning. Genesis 49 – Prophesies an End. Numbers 24 – Prophesies an End. Deuteronomy 33 – Prophesies a Beginning. Each major prophecy of the Torah has an interest in the restoration of the past and the future (Jacob in Gen 49; Balaam in Num 24; Moses in Deut 32/33)

MISSIONARY HEART OF GOD: (Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 67; Isaiah 43:10; 45:22f; 49:6; Acts 13:47) Abrahamic Covenant: (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1ff; 22:15-18; Luke 1:73; Romans 4:13ff; Galatians 3:6-18) The blood line of Messiah: (1) Seed of woman (Gen 3:15), (2) line of Seth (Gen 4:25); descendant of Shem (Gen 9:26); family of Abraham (Gen 12:3); Seed of Isaac (Gen 26:3); son of Jacob (Gen 46:3); Tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10).