“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the Torah of the LORD, and on his Torah he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Ps 1:1–3)
Except for the creation account and some of the other famous stories in Genesis, the first five books are often the part of the Bible that Christians are least familiar with. Yet it is the foundation upon which the entire biblical revelation is built. “The LORD spoke to Moses” is the most common phrase in the entire Bible.
The Bible is ultimately one book with the same author from Genesis to Revelation, namely the Holy Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” (2 Ti 3:16) Nothing is old or new because every word is the eternal, incorruptible word of God that abides forever. And it is with the Bible like every other book, if you do not understand the beginning of the book you will not fully understand the end either.
The Law of Moses is called Torah in Hebrew. Torah, does not mean “law” in the modern sense of this word, but rather “teaching” or “instruction.” Here are ten reasons why every Christian needs to study the “Teaching of the LORD”—the Torah.
1. In order to understand the message of the Bible.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Lk 24:27) The Bible is all about the Messiah. When He explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus what is written about Him in all the Scriptures, He began with Moses. We must do the same. Just like any other book, you need to start in the beginning, in order to fully understand the rest.
2. In order to understand who Jesus is.
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44) If we do not know what Moses has written, we do not fully understand who Jesus is and what He has fulfilled. The disciples said, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn 1:45)
3. In order to understand the words of Jesus.
“If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (Jn 5:47) We do not believe in Jesus instead of Moses, but because of Moses. All of the Apostles knew the entire Torah by heart from childhood. In order to understand Jesus correctly, we must first know what Moses wrote. This is absolutely crucial according to Jesus.
The Torah is the frame of reference through which we must understand the message Jesus brought to the world. Unfortunately, many Christians are bound to misunderstand his words because they lack the knowledge of what Moses said, a foundation which all the people that first heard the Master’s words had.
4. In order to be on fire for God.
“They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” (Lk 24:32) The Word of God is like fire. It is written about the Torah, “From His right hand came a fiery law for them.” (De 33:2) The disciples on the road to Emmaus said that their hearts burned within them, when Jesus explained the Scriptures to them beginning with Moses. The same happens to us today when the Holy Spirit reveals the Torah to us. It sets our hearts on fire.
Jesus warned us, “And because lawlessness [lack of Torah] will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Mt 24:12) And he told the church in Laodicea, “Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15–16) We need the fire of the Torah in our lives in these end times!
5. In order to understand the prophetic word.
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done,” (Isa 46:10) God declares the end from the beginning. Only when we understand the Torah, will we also be able to understand the Book of Revelation. Peter said about Jesus, “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Ac 3:21) This is specifically referring to Moses. Moses is the greatest of all the prophets in the old covenant. “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” (De 34:10)
The book of Hebrews tells us, “Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later.” (Heb 3:5) We must study the Torah if we want to understand the prophetic word about the end times.
6. In order to avoid the apostasy in the end times.
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” (2 Th 2:3)
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law.” (Mt 5:17) The antichrist is called “the lawless one” (2 Th 2:8). The Greek word for “lawless” is anomos, which means “1. destitute of (the Mosaic) law, 2. departing from the law.” The antichrist is “the one without the Law” or “the one departing from the Law.” He is the one who abolishes the Law, not Jesus!
The word in Greek for apostasy is apostasia. It occurs only twice in the New Testament. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and in Acts 21:20. In both cases the context is a rebellion against the Law of Moses. Christians need to study the Torah in order to be able to expose the deceptions of the antichrist in the end times.
It is written about those who have conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, that, “they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” (Rev 15:3)
7. In order to be ready for the coming of Messiah.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16–17) We need to be sanctified and cleansed by the truth of all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, in order to ready as a bride for the coming of Messiah. Paul wrote,
“Husbands, love your wives, as Messiah loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:25–27)
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (Jn 17:15–17)
8. In order to understand Israel and the Jewish people.
“Moses commanded us a law, as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.” (De 33:4) The Torah is the Jewish people’s national treasure, given to them by God. Paul wrote, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom 3:1–2)
Anti-Semitism is the oldest and deepest racial hatred in the world. In order to understand the Jewish people and their destiny and calling, it is necessary to study the Torah. It is a duty for all Christians. God promised Abraham, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Ge 12:2–3) God cannot bless an anti-Semitic church.
9. In order to be connected to our roots.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (Jn 4:22) Likewise, Paul wrote to the Gentile believers in Rome,
“If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (Rom 11:16–18)
Our faith comes from the Jewish people and believers from the nations share in their nourishing root through faith in Israel’s promised Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth. God is today restoring the deep connection to the Jewish people that the first disciples had.
10. In order to know the whole council of God.
Error often creeps in from either a lack of knowledge in the Word, or from taking one truth in Scripture too far at the expense of another biblical truth. Scripture says, “The sum of your word is truth.” (Ps 119:160) By getting well versed in the whole counsel of God from its very foundations, we will be well equipped for every good work. We will not be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,” or be deceived by the world, our own flesh, or the wiles of the enemy.
For all these reasons and more, it is essential for Christians to study the Torah.
Welcome to study with Lars in his Weekly Torah commentaries.