Torah & The Believer In Messiah, Part 2
By Sam Nadler
Last month we took a look at how New Covenant believers in Yeshua are to
live with respect to the Torah, or Law of Moses. We learned that at one
time we were in effect "married" to the Law, and under its
jurisdiction. We then discussed certain aspects of Torah's authority
that are now nullified. In Romans 7:2,6, Paul uses a Greek word katargeo
to describe a marriage relationship that ends with death of a spouse. In
this passage katargeo is translated "released". Paul
goes on to say that in Messiah we died to the Law that we might be
joined, or spiritually "married" to Yeshua (Rom. 7:4). Thus we
are "released" from the Law's authority and under the
authority of our new Husband, Messiah!
The Law's Glory is Nullified
In 2 Corinthians 3:4-14, we see Paul's midrash (comments and
teaching) on Exodus 34:29-35, where he again uses the word katargeo.
In verses 7 and 8, Paul says that the Torah/Law came with a certain
glory, or splendor, but that this glory had limitations:
But if the ministry of death, in letters
engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could
not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face,
fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even
more with glory?
Here Paul says that the glory Moses received in
the Law was "fading away" (katargeo), but the New
Covenant glory exceeds and surpasses the fading glory of the Law.
Condemnation, the very result of the Law, demonstrated the limited glory
that could be obtained by the Law:
For if the ministry of condemnation has glory,
much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed
what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that
surpasses it. For that which fades away was with glory, much more
that which remains is in glory (2 Cor. 3:9-11).
Therefore the Torah's glory was to "fade
away" (be nullified), but the New Covenant's glory is to remain.
The Light Shines in Darkness
In light of the surpassing glory that we have in
the New Covenant, we are to be bold in our ministry. Unlike Moses who
had to hide his fading glory, we proclaim the truth openly "without
Therefore having such a hope, we use great
boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil
over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the
end of what was fading away. (2 Cor. 3:12,13).
At first Moses wore the veil in order to prevent those around him from
being blinded by God's glory (see Ex. 34:29-35), but as time passed the
veil hid the fact that the glory Moses had received when God gave him
the Torah was fading away. This glory began to fade as soon as Moses
left the Lord's presence.
Hardened Through Unbelief
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of
the Old Covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed
in Messiah (2 Cor. 3:14). As Moses veil prevented the Israelis from
seeing the end of the fading glory of Torah, so also the "hardness"
is like a veil over their minds at the reading of Torah, that they might
not see that Messiah is the goal of the Law (Rom. 10:4).
But, this hardness upon Israel is in part, or partial (Rom. 11:25), even
as a hardness is also upon the Gentiles, (Eph. 4:18). In fact, just as
Moses removed the veil when he came before the Lord (Ex. 34:34) the veil
of hardness is actually removed (katargeo) when one comes to
faith in Messiah Yeshua. Through Him the veil over our minds is replaced
with the greater, lasting glory of the New Covenant.
Toward Mature Faith
Please note that the one replaces the other. Those trying to gain honor,
glory or self-confidence through keeping the Law are not enjoying the
greater glory we find in Messiah. They soon find that the Law's fading
glory merely reveals where they fall short of the glory of God (Romans
3:23). But if we look to Yeshua and receive His cleansing and assurance
of salvation, we can live open and honest lives, "without
veils". We do not gain our glory, honor and sense of self worth
from the Law, but through the ministry of righteousness by the Spirit
from the finished work of Messiah: He is "The Lord our
Righteousness". In Messiah we have the certainty of His glory, even
as we have liberty in regard to the Law's authority. We therefore can
develop a second principle from this section: Mature faith does not
glory in the Law of Moses, but has confidence in Messiah's New Covenant.
Our boast is in Yeshua alone (1 Cor. 1:30, 31).
The Law's Hostility is Nullified by Faith
As we think of what our faith has brought to us, we cannot overlook the
final application of the word katargeo in Ephesians 2:14-16:
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke
down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the
enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so
that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus
establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God
through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
Outside the Temple courts in Jerusalem there was a partition wall,
called the Soreg. This was a barrier that restricted access for
"heathens", or Gentiles, when approaching the Temple area, and
it contained an inscription forbidding a Gentile from going beyond it on
pain of death (see Talmud, [Middoth 2:3; Yoma 16a]; Josephus, Ant. VIII.
3, 2, Wars, v. 5, 2). In Acts 21:28-31 Paul was falsely accused of
taking Trophimus (a Gentile believer) beyond the Soreg. Because of this
"enmity", or hostility, an riot ensued .
The Soreg, which symbolized the enmity, existed to maintain the purity
of God's worship and Law from defiling pagan elements. The Law
instructed Israel to despise the sinful practices of paganism, and
directed them to live in such a way that they would be separate in
lifestyle and beliefs from the nations and their pagan, sinful customs
(Lev. 26:30). However, once Yeshua died for sins, the cause of enmity
was no longer there: the enmity had been "abolished" (katargeo).
Thus the Soreg is no longer needed, for Jew and Gentile believers are
made one in Messiah.
From this section we see that the enmity produced by the Law is
nullified in regards to believers. We therefore can develop our third
principle: Mature faith does not segregate or exclude other believers
on the basis of the Law, but establishes unity with all believers in
There are no second class believers in Yeshua. Since we have been
accepted by grace, we are to accept one another with grace as well.
To summarize, the Law's authority, glory and enmity for believers
are in fact nullified, and we see three principles from these truths for
those of mature faith:
1. Mature faith does not submit to the Torah (Law), but enjoys liberty
by submitting to Messiah. We are not Lawless, but we are under the
authority of the Messianic "Torah", Messiah Yeshua! (Matt.
11:28,29; 1 Cor. 9:20,21).
2. Mature faith does not glory in Torah, but has confidence in Messiah.
Our boast is in Him alone (1 Cor. 1:30, 31).
3. Mature faith does not segregate by the Torah, but establishes unity
with all believers in Messiah (Rom. 15:7).
Therefore, let us accept one another as Yeshua has accepted each of us,
and keep growing in faith which not only establishes the Law, but also
enjoys the liberty, certainty and unity provided graciously in our
Many other fine articles can be found in the "Word from the
Word" section of The Word of Messiah Ministries web site: http://www.wordofmessiah.org/.
Used with the gracious permission of Sam Nadler. Thanks, Sam !!