The Torah of Moses
A Closer Look at the Law of Moses
Deuteronomy 1:5; 4:5-8
Most tend to view the Bible more as a book of independent truths or facts – a rulebook consulted for the appropriate answer. While the Bible certainly does have rules, its message is designed to be understood as a complete, connected, holistic revelation concerning God, His will, and His plan. With this in mind, we will have a look at some “connect-the-dots” understandings relative to the Torah of Moses.
It is the “Torah,” not the “Pentateuch”
- “Torah” is the proper Hebrew word for this section of Hebrew Scripture.
- The Torah of Moses refers to the first five books of the Old Covenant.
- The word “torah” should be defined as “instruction” or “teaching” rather than“law.”
The Torah of Moses served as the law library for Israel.
- Priests taught and made decisions based on its teachings (Lev. 10:8-11; Deut. 17:8-10; 31:24-36)
- Kings, likewise, were to know Torah and rule under its authority (Deut.
17:19-20; II Kgs. 22:8-13; 23:1-3).
- Prophets were Torah-centered covenant lawyers (Jer. 6:16).
- The people of Israel were to affirm and live by Torah (Deut. 30:15-16; cf. I I Kgs. 23:1-3; Neh. 8:1-8).
- Wisdom Literature is based on its principles.
- Biblical narratives in the Old Covenant illustrate Torah as it is lived out
among the people.
- The Writing Prophets present God’s Torah cases and speak of His fidelity to covenant and ultimate Torah promises.
- Genesis 1-11, Universal Beginnings.
- Genesis 12-50, Israel’s Beginnings.
- Exodus 1-14, Release from Egyptian Slavery.
- Exodus 15- Leviticus, Laws for the Nation
- Numbers, The Wilderness Wandering.
- Deuteronomy, Making Things Clear.
Levels of Torah Instruction
- Management of the nation by civil law (note Gal. 3:24; 4:1-2).
- Religious “types” for Israel and pointing to Jesus (Heb. 8:4-6; 10:1- 2).
- Principles grounded in God’s nature (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:4-8).
o Faith was always the key (Deut. 30:11-14).
o Law alone led to death (Rom. 5:20-21; Jas. 2:10).
o Paul put the pieces together (Rom. 10:5-8; Rom. 2:28-29).
Torah and Atonement
- There were limitations.
o An altar 7 1/2 by 7 ½ in surface area (Ex. 27:1).
o The blood of the altar could not remove sin (Heb. 10:4).
o There was only one acceptable place for the Bronze Altar (Deut. 12:5, 11; I Kgs. 8:27-30).
- Nevertheless, there were additional factors to consider.
o The Day of Atonement for the nation (Lev. 16).
o Praying toward Jerusalem (I Kgs.8:27-30; cf. Dan. 6:10).
o A Covenant People (Gen. 17:17; II Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51; remember the thief on the cross, Lk. 23:39-43).
o Forgiveness was promised by God in the Old Covenant (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35;5:10, 13, 16, 18).
o Paul, again, explains (Rom. 3:21-31).
- Interesting Considerations
o Aliens had a place at the Bronze Altar (Lev. 17:8-9).
o Women could also approach the Bronze Altar (Lev. 12:1-8; 15:25-30; Lk. 2:21-38).
o Jesus’ cleansing the temple reacted to the Jews creation of a Court of the Gentiles, not found in the Old
Covenant, to keep them distant from the temple and then corrupting that area with merchandising (Mk. 1 1:17-18; Isa. 56:6-8; Jer. 7:11; Eph. 2:11-22).
- A Special role (29;1).
- Less than 50% of previous legislation.
- A “key” to understanding the focus and implementation of the law (1:5).
- A greater emphasis on love, faith, and the heart.
- Emphasis and Function.
o Israel’s Potential (4:5-8; cf. Rom. 2:24).
o Israel’s Loyalty (6:4-9, 20-25)
o Israel’s Holiness (7:6; 14:2; I Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:48).
The Torah of Moses is an amazing testimony to God’s holiness, wisdom, and love. The Torah managed rebellious Israel as a civil state, constructed their religion to point forward to the fullness of Christ, and gave a holy model of spiritual conduct as high and unchangeable as God Himself!