The world contains two types of people: those who believe and trust in the Creator of the Universe and those who do not. The choice to follow His guidance is up to us. He has given us His Torah, His Commandments, and His Covenants, but He doesn’t force us to obey Him. Of course, the consequences also belong to us. At conception, God endowed us with two gifts: the gift of emunah (faith) and the gift of Bechirah Chofshit (Free Will). With these we have the power within to make the right choices. The Torah teaches that we alone are responsible for our behaviour, our actions and that no one else can pay for our misdeeds. We are fallible, imperfect beings and what we need to do when we fail, is to acknowledge it, make it right and turn to God who helps us to begin again.
The Creator formed the people of Israel and allowed them to go through many trials before they stood before Him at Mount Sinai where they received the Ten Commandments and later the Torah both at the hand of Moshe (Moses). The basic foundation for all the rest of biblical revelation is the Written Torah, from Genesis to Deuteronomy. ANY spiritual writings must be viewed in light of this plumbline, including the other Books in the Prophets and Writings, the sheveh al Pet, The Rabbinic Writings, and the unedited writings of the followers of Rabbi Yeshua at the time of the Roman occupation of Israel. The moral values and life’s principles of Torah alone have stood the test of time.
In Mattityahu 5:17-20, Yeshua was speaking to the crowds as a rabbi and a prophet clearly who desperately wanted our people to return to the Torah. He even fought with the Ultra- Orthodox of day who he said honoured God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him and in vain, they teach doctrines and commandments of men.
I say with kindness that Yeshua was not speaking to the Gentiles but was dealing specifically with Israel because our Creator gave them the sacred calling of bringing the commandments, the Torah to the rest of the nations.
What does it mean to be obedient to God? Many people think that it is by following a religion, but God sees the Kavanah, the intention of our hearts, our willingness to do what is right. The Torah teaches us that there is no difference between the native-born of the land and the foreigner among us.
Both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity agree that the Torah is not for the Gentiles. Each religion accuses the others of being better than the other. The Creator doesn’t care about how dedicated we are to following the letter of the “law” ( a gross misnomer); He is interested in the state of our hearts ( how we think), and how we treat others every day of our lives. He is always present in our lives. Yeshua said that the Torah (the Ten Commandments) is summed up with “love God with all your heart, soul and moedecha (your more) and love your neighbor as you love yourself”. It is so exciting to know that at this time in history we do not need to be attached to human doctrines but to simply have a relationship with God by doing good for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the community in which we live. Will we continue to follow man or God – religious instructions or the Torah?