The two most asked questions that come up are What is Torah? and What does it mean to live a Torah Pursuant lifestyle? – and rightfully so! If you’re like me, you were born and raised in “the church,” which most likely came with its own denomination and doctrine attached to it. And in most cases, you never heard the word Torah, let alone that it is a blessing to pursue it.
What is Torah?
In short, Torah is the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). When translated, it simply means teachings or instructions. Together, these books are what I like to call YHVH’s blueprint of how life should be lived according to His will.
If you’ve ever done a quick search on Torah, it is usually paired with Orthodox Judaism. This is mostly because Torah is what the Jews live by in addition to other books and writings known as the Talmud. And this, my friends, is where things get wishy-washy for the present-day Torah Observant believer.
And it’s not only the Orthodox Jews who make it difficult… There are also groups who claim Torah but also live differently than what Torah calls for. In addition to both of these, you also have the hundreds of man-made denominations that teach and preach against the Torah (sometimes without even realizing it). From this stems many questions:
Did the Messiah revise the Torah?
I remember being taught that “Jesus” is all we need and if I believed in Him, I was saved. All things pointed to His death, burial, and resurrection. And because of His grace, I was good. Going from Church of Christ to Baptist and then Pentecostal – they each had their own take on it. One after the other, they basically ignored the true purpose of the Messiah and instead teach a doctrine that throws out the Torah completely.
So to answer the question – no. Matthew 5 is the perfect chapter to read to understand what part of the Messiah’s role was. In verse 17, He plainly says, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Nebi’im. I did not come to destroy but to complete.”
A few more verses down He even breaks down the Father’s instructions in a more practical way. They were used to hearing/seeing, “You should not murder.” However, the Messiah wanted to show them where murder started – the mind and thoughts. This is the essence of the Torah. Not a bunch of do this – do that laws that aren’t doable… but a way of life that brings abundant blessings.
Did the apostles revise it as well?
As we read in the New Testament, it looks like all the apostles were on some new grace doctrine. And that’s surely what we were taught in church. The law is done away with, let grace abound! Wrong!
It clicked for me when I realized that all the apostles had was the Torah, the prophets, and the letters of the Old Testament. They didn’t have any new doctrine and were taught by The Master Himself; therefore, they wouldn’t have been teaching anything contrary to the Torah.
In fact, in all the popular books (and verses) that like to be quoted by mainstream Christianity, the apostles were only practilizing the Torah. At this point, it had started going through its own doctrinal differences due to man putting their own spin on it.
Did the Messiah keep the Torah?
A question that isn’t often explored, unless you’ve started a Torah Pursuant journey… The answer is yes. In Luke 2, we see that He was circumcised on the 8th day and given His Name (verse 21). From then to about verse 39 we can read that, “And when they had accomplished all according to the Torah of YHVH, they returned to Galil, to their city Natsareth.”
Of course one could argue that the Messiah had not yet died and rose again, so that’s why they were following so much Torah. But that’s just it, there are still things from Torah that did not get “nailed to the cross.” I’m going to put together a resource post, especially if you are new to Torah and looking for guidance on unlearning the lies. With this in mind, let’s look at what it means to live a Torah Pursuant lifestyle.
What does it mean to live a Torah Pursuant lifestyle?
Accept that Torah is applicable for today.
One cannot truly grasp the milk and meat of the Torah without first accepting that it is applicable for today. Within this understanding is knowing that it doesn’t replace the Messiah but only sheds more light on His divinity and sole purpose in our lives.
Start the journey of unlearning the lies.
I must say that those of us that spent majority of our lives in the church have it the hardest in this area. We’ve been embedded with different types of doctrine, all of which typically points away from the Torah. Even if you didn’t spend a lot of time in church, there are still lies to unlearn that may have been subsconsciouly embedded.
Becaues of this, it’s wise to stay in a position of being comfortable with unlearning any lies, even those inherited while pursuing Torah (there are tons of those too).
Take your time learning what to pursue.
In other words, you’ll hear about there being 613 laws and they must all be kept. That’s totally not true. There are instructions for women, men, farmers, slave owners, etc. You need only try to keep the ones that are applicable to you. The “beginner” ones that every new-to-Torah Pursuant person typically starts with are:
- Changing your diet according to Leviticus 11.
- Replacing today’s holidays for YHVH’s appointed times/days (Sabbath, New Moons, Feast Days, etc.).
- Wearing tzitzits according to Numbers 15:37-39.
Stay focused on the main things.
Becoming Torah Pursuant doesn’t mean you’ve arrived or that you won’t continue to encounter hardships. In fact, you’ll most likely navigate all kinds of things that will blindside you and cause you to almost get off track.
Hence why I strongly suggest staying focused on the main things. You’ll encounter people who will say you need to use this name or else, wear something this way, or else, and so on. When you stay focused on the main things, it will be much harder to be tossed by the waves or persuaded to one way or the other.
Although this isn’t an exhausted answer to the questions what is Torah and how to live a Torah Pursuant lifestyle but it’s a start! As I mentioned before, I’m going to make a post that will help provide you with resources, especially if you are new to this walk. There are many great ones out there that we personally start with and highly recommend.
If you have any questions, feel free to put them below!
Read my most popular post, 5 Things Torah Observant Believers Wished Others Would Stop Saying to Them