Matthew 5:17-19 – “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
In this famous passage, Yeshua ties the Law and the Prophets (the Torah) to the kingdom of God. The essence of the kingdom is being obedient to and maintaining the Torah or instruction of God.
For those of us brought up with Christian theology, this sounds contradictory to our modern ears. We have been taught that the Law was all about works and has passed away because now we are relating to God on the basis of his grace and mercy towards us. Therefore (according to what we have been taught) the Law is done away with, and we no longer need to keep it. Yet Yeshua said he did not come to abolish the Law, and we should never think that he did. In fact, he tied Torah obedience and teaching of Torah to the kingdom, so this cannot be true, that is, if we want to follow Yeshua’s instruction on this topic.
When we review what the Law and the Prophets says about itself, we find that the Torah of God is his instruction, his guidance that is intended for all of mankind. God first revealed it to Israel, and then it would be revealed to the world.
Israel was prophesied to have their hearts changed and to obey the Law from the heart:
Jeremiah 31:33 – “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” – the LORD’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 – “I will give them integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, “so that they will follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
Beyond the remnant of Israel coming back to the Torah of the heart, the nations would also stream to the instruction of God.
Jeremiah 3:17 – “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
The nations would no longer to walk in the stubbornness of their heart because they would also desire to learn of God’s Torah.
Micah 4:1-2 – And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law [Torah], Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
According to Micah, this was prophesied to come about in the last days of the nation of Israel. Yeshua, as he spoke to two disciples in one of his resurrected appearances, revealed that this prophetic occurrence was unfolding before their eyes, that they were witnessing these things in the first century.
Luke 24:45-48 – Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
If Yeshua, post-resurrection, was attesting to the fulfillment of the Torah of God going forth from Jerusalem to all the nations, then there is no contradiction of his earlier statement that “whoever does and teaches these commands (i.e., Torah) will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
This is why the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount go together as the core of the Bible message. The Ten Commandments are the core of the Law and the Prophets, and the Sermon on the Mount is the core of Yeshua’s New Covenant teaching on the Law. Yeshua taught that although heaven and earth would constantly be passing away, his words would never pass away because they were based on the eternal Torah of God.
Daniel 2:44 – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.
If the kingdom of God is an eternal kingdom, then it makes sense that an eternal kingdom requires an eternal charter, an eternal set of guidelines. Taking Yeshua at his word and seeing how the prophets spoke of all of this coming to pass at the passing of the nation of Israel, we should take a closer look at what we have been brought up to believe about the kingdom and the Torah of God. If we are followers of Messiah, we should take him at his word that Torah, the instruction for his kingdom, would never pass away.
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