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Note 1

A note from Laura--

I stand as a "Torah-observant Believer."  Or, "Messianic Believer." What a mouthful.  And what does that mean?  What is "Torah-observant" anyway?  For me, this simply means that I keep the commandments of YHWH and believe in Yeshuah (aka "Jesus") as the promised Messiah for all people.  (Revelation 1:9; 3:8; 14:12; 20:4)

Some might say, "Well, if you keep the commandments then you're rejecting the grace of Elohim and trying to earn salvation by works--you're being legalistic."  This conclusion isn't accurate.  I--WE-- are saved by His grace; not by any works of our own.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  The promises are given to those who put their faith--their trust--in Elohim.  (Romans 3:21)  That is how we are considered righteous before Him.  (Romans 4:3) There is salvation only under no other name than that of our Savior.  (Acts 4:12)  YHWH is our Salvation.  (Exodus 15:2)  That is what Yeshuah's name means:  Yahweh (YHWH)  is Salvation, or, Yahweh Saves.  Just as Gabriel said to Joseph, "You will call His name Yeshuah, because He will save His people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:20-25)  

"I do not set aside the grace of Elohim; for if righteousness comes through the <works of> Torah, then Messiah died in vain."  --Galatians 2:21

Grace and Truth are realized through Messiah.  And Messiah is the Word made flesh.  This thing we call "the Word," though, needs further definition.

When we ask what "the Word" is, we commonly hear, "It's 'Jesus'."  "It's our Sword of the Spirit."  "It is Elohim."  "It's the Bible."  Though these are types of definitions, they still don't define where we get the English "WORD" from and what it completely entails.  And one can get the feeling that some of these answers are coming from people who might be a little unsure of themselves.  It sort of dances around the subject, because most of us know that "Jesus" is the Word, the Sword of the Spirit is the Word, and that Elohim is the Word.  All of these are defined by the Word, but we still haven't really defined the Word itself.

We can reach beyond the English translation, finding that "Word" was translated from the Greek "logos" (the divine expression, something spoken or written...), and "logos" from the Hebrew "Torah."  Now it becomes more clear.  Now we can read John 1 as "In the beginning was Torah.  And the Torah was with Elohim and Elohim was the Torah."  We realize that "Jesus"--Yeshuah--is Torah in the flesh.  John, in his testimony, connected the Torah with the Father and the Son.  They are inseparable.  Now, we all know that we don't worship the books of Torah, written in black and white.  That's just silly.  But those five books are an expression of the character of Elohim and they show us what He wants.  It is a revelation of Himself to us in a way that we can actually learn throughout time.  His character, as shown by all the "Law," as well as the books of the prophets, is Love, Mercy, and Grace.  He saves people from darkness, brings them into the light and then people are given a choice when He asks, "Will you love me, too?"  He wants relationship.  And He wants us to love each other.  That is what Torah is all about.

Let's go a little deeper now.  The Hebrew alphabet--each letter--is made of pictures.  And so words also form a picture.  The picture word for Torah shows us "what comes from the head/highest person nailed to the covenant/seal/sign (some say cross)."  When Yeshuah said that Moses wrote about Him, He wasn't kidding.

After looking into the English translation "Word," and finding that Holy Scripture is the Word in text, we find more characteristics of the "Word" (again, translated from Torah) throughout both what we refer to as the "Old" and "New" Testaments.  To summarize in a list (but not exhaustively):

The Word is:

Present in the Beginning
Yeshuah ("Jesus")
Holy Scripture
Law, or Righteous Teachings (Torah)
To be received as it is
Active within those who believe in Yeshuah
Blessing (as opposed to a curse)
A delight
To be written on our hearts
To be written in our minds
To be obeyed--our active love toward Elohim
A Lamp
The Way

 You can find this list in the following verses:  John 17:17; Hebrews 4:12; John 1:1-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 6:5; Romans 7:12; Romans 7:14; Romans 7:22; Hebrews 8:10 & Jeremiah 31:31-34; Deuteronomy 6:5,6; Colossians 3:16; 1 John 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:2-18; John 1:45; John 7:37-38.
These are only a few passages which give a better glimpse of "the Word."  Many of them are from the "New Testament," referring back to the "Old Testament."  We know from the Bible--and experience--that the Word is active throughout our history, that Messiah is revealed in the "Old Testament," and that believers need to beware of those who are without the Word--"lawless men."

"Everyone who sins breaks the Torah; in fact, sin is lawlessness (or transgression of the Torah in some translations).  But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins.  And in Him is no sin.  No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him."  (1 John 3:4-6)

Now we know what the Word is.  We keep in mind that a book full of text is not Elohim and so it can't be worshiped (that would be idolatry).  But the Word in text reveals Elohim to us and what He wants of His finest creation.  We see that the Word (text) is so connected with THE WORD (Elohim); we cannot ignore any of it and must embrace it wholly.  Every letter of text must be there and in the right order for the reason that Elohim has it that way, and He must be trusted in His method.  We cannot believe that the "Old Testament" is obsolete or "done away with."  For that would make Yeshuah obsolete and done away with--because He is the Word made flesh.  At this point, one passage comes to mind:

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled.  Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5:17-19)

There are a couple of things we learn when looking at the word "fulfill."  First, to fulfill the Torah (in the mind of a Hebrew--and it was a Hebrew that wrote Matthew), means to correctly interpret, to confirm or establish and to carry it out.  Obviously, fulfill can't mean to abolish or destroy, as Yeshuah explained at the beginning of His statement.  Second, Yeshuah fulfilling scripture also seems to have connection with being the sin & atonement offerings for us, once for all.  Dying on the cross can't be what the "accomplishment" is here, as the Torah is in place until heaven and earth both disappear.  From the Master's own mouth, we hear that the Law--Torah--is to be observed.

"But he who looks into the perfect Torah of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."  (James 1:25)

"And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'  He said to him, 'What is written in the Torah?  What is your reading of it?'  So he answered and said, 'You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'  And He said to him, 'You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.'"  (Luke 10:25-28, quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & Leviticus 19:18)

Works:  defined as how we live.  For us, it is how we live according to the Word of Elohim.  These we were created to do, as His people (interestingly, the word "Jew" comes from the Hebrew "Yehudim," meaning The people of YHWH.  "If My people, who are called by My name, would humble themselves and seek My face..."  You recall the passage?  Yehu is a shortened form of Yahuweh, and dim is plural, meaning "people," or "the ones."  So, if one asks me if I am "Jewish," I could say yes on the one hand, because I belong to Him--or rather am grafted in as a part of Israel (see Romans 11).  On the other hand, however, I would have to say no if someone is asking me if I am converting to a different religion that is known by man-made traditions.  I remain as one who keeps to / guards the commandments of YHWH and to the testimony of Yeshuah the Messiah).  We walk according to His Torah because we belong to Him--because we are saved.  On another note, "Jewish" also has to do with the tribe of Judah ("Yehudah," which gives us the picture:  what comes from the door of YHWH.  Remember that Yeshuah is from the tribe of Judah, AND he is "the door," which was a term used for the Torah).

"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.  For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.'  Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.  What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.'  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  (James 2:8-17)

Our works define our faith.  People see who we are and Who we belong to by what we do.  They see that we are different--set apart.  And if we have faith without works, then our faith is dead.  Just as Yeshuah said, salt that loses it's saltiness is worthless.  It is thrown out and trampled under foot.  That saltiness is the Word of Elohim being worked out in our lives.  Our faith outside of Torah is worthless.

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of Elohim is perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him... Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning.  The old commandment is the work which you heard from  the beginning."  (1 John 2:3-7)

"This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it."  (2 John 6)

"For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.  But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says YHWH; I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.'  Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yahoshuah, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of Elohim, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.  Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of Elohim under foot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?  (Hebrews 10:14-29)

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.  For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Savior Yeshuah the Messiah, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the  holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'A dog returns to his own vomit,' and , 'a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'"  (2 Peter 2:19-22)

"Was anyone circumcised?  Let him not become uncircumcised.  Was anyone called while uncircumcised?  Let him not be circumcised.  Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of Elohim is what matters."  (1 Corinthians 7:18-19)
(NOTE:  The "uncircumcision" are the people who were previously gentiles and attached themselves to the Elohim of Abraham and His covenant through faith in Yeshuah.  They did not go through any conversion process, which was demanded by many Jewish believers.  In comparison, today one might be required to complete a membership class to be counted as a member of a particular congregation/denomination.  The "circumcision" are the people who were already Jewish, who went through the conversion process and came to faith in Yeshuah.  This passage is not dealing with the commandment to have all males circumcised.  If it was, then the last part of this passage renders the whole point meaningless.  A hint here is in the beginning--how can one, who is already physically circumcised, become uncircumcised?  Once the deed is done, it's too late.  This is a passage that is commonly, yet erroneously, used to show that the Torah is no longer relevant.  In order to do this, the last half of verse 19, "keeping the commandments ...is what matters," must be left out.)

SIN:  the transgression of Torah.  We have heard it taught that sin is "missing the mark."  So what is the mark--the target--that we keep missing?  It's His unchanging Word--the Torah (what we have loosely translated as "Law").  Yeshuah didn't come to save us from the "Law."  The "Law" remains in place.  He saved us from our transgression of the "Law," that we might be made new, living according to His Torah through faith in Him.  The Torah, when we are born again, is written on our hearts.  We carry it out for the sake of Love.  And YHWH is Love.

"Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.  The Scripture foresaw that Elohim would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.'  So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."  (Galatians 3:7-9)

'..but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.  For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  As it is written:  'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."  (Romans 9:31-33)

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law...  Do we then make void the law through faith?  Certainly not!  On the contrary, we establish [uphold / confirm ] the law.  (Romans 3:28-31)

Here is what we have so far:

The Word is Elohim (and Yeshuah is Elohim).  The written Word reveals Elohim and what He wants of us (a right relationship with Him, as defined by Him).  Elohim wants us to obey His Word.  But He doesn't want us to try to reach Him through obedience.  He reaches to us out of Love and we obey out of Love.  It is important to Him that we obey His commandments.  But it is most important that we have faith in Him.  so we must obey out of Love, in faith, through His son, Yeshuah.  It is a fact that we have all become transgressors of the Word.  Yeshuah came to set us free from those transgressions.  From time to time we will fall, but there is mercy because of our faith in Him (this is concerning unintentional sin).  The Word still stands.  It is eternal.  It does not change.  Part of a right relationship with Elohim means being slaves to righteousness and not to sin.  As we are grafted in to His family, we are given the blessing of the Torah of liberty--that "Law" of righteousness.  We obtain this law by faith in Yeshuah and it becomes written on our hearts and in our minds.  Therefore, we uphold the Word--living and active inside of us.  We do not abolish or void it out.

"Yes, all who desire to live godly in Messiah Yeshuah will suffer persecution.  But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation thru faith which is in Messiah Yeshuah.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  I charge you therefore before Elohim and the Master Yeshuah the Messiah, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the Word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."  (2 Timothy 3:12-4:4)

"and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Yeshuah the Messiah."  (Revelation 12:17)

"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshuah."  (Revelation 14:12)