Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Torah Pointed To Jesus Christ

As I was studying from one of my new favorite books called, Beloved Bridegroom by Donna B. Nielsen, I was struck by a description of the Torah she gave as she quoted Ariel Berkowitz from his book, Torah Rediscovered.

“The word Torah in Hebrew does not only mean ‘law’, it also means ‘teaching’. Moreover, the root for ‘Torah’ can be traced to the Hebrew word meaning ‘to shoot an arrow,’ or ‘to hit the mark.’ Thus, the word ‘Torah’ means literally, ‘teaching,’ whether it is the wise man instructing his son, or God instructing Israel. Hence, we can say that ‘Torah’ is God’s teaching, hitting the mark of man’s needs including his need to know who God is and what His righteousness looks like.”

The Torah is also known as the Pentateuch or the first five books of Moses. For the Christian world these can be recognized as the first five books in the Old Testament. The Torah was a record written on scrolls that was to be read aloud to the congregation in the synagogue.

According to Alfred Edersheim in his book, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ, the main objective of the synagogue was the teaching of the people. He states, “At present the Pentateuch is for this purpose arranged into fifty-four sections, of which one is read on each successive Sabbath of the year, beginning immediately after the feast of Tabernacles. But anciently the lectionary, at least in Palestine, seems to have been differently arranged, and the Pentateuch so divided that its reading occupied three, or, according to some, three and a-half years.”

In the Gospel of Luke we read about this very experience concerning Jesus as he read in the synagogue.

Luke 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

16 ¶ And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

This “law” or “instruction” given to Moses was simply a pattern for what was to come, a witness to bear testimony of the “Law of the Gospel” which was the “good news” of Jesus Christ. Christ himself bore witness that He was the law.

D&C 88: 13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

The Torah or “arrow hitting the Mark” took three and a-half years to read starting right after the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast was celebrated in the Fall. It is interesting to note that many believe that the ministry of Christ began in the Fall of AD 26 and continued until the Spring of AD 30, exactly three and a-half years. In my opinion, the Torah was simply another testimony of Jesus Christ or the Mark.

Jacob 4:14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.

We know that all things point to Christ. With that understanding, as we worship today, we need to take special precautions so that we do not make the same mistake of looking beyond the Mark.

No comments: