The Law is abolished! Really? Part 4
Friday, September 16, 2011 at 4:07PM
Shema Yisrael in Acts, Ephesians, Gentile, Jew, Law, Mark, Oral Law, Replacement Theology, Torah, Torah Abolished, anti-nominism, interpretation, translation

In the previous blog, we explained how the Oral Law created enmity, or hatred between Jews and Gentiles.

Yeshua criticized the Oral Law and its value over the Torah during an encounter with the Pharisees and Torah teachers (Mark 7:5):

The P’rushim (Pharisees) and the Torah-teachers asked him, “Why don’t your talmidim (disciples) live in accordance with the Tradition of the Elders, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?”

Yeshua answered them, “Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites — as it is written, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’

“You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition.

Indeed,” he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!

“There is nothing outside a person which, by going into him, can make him unclean. Rather, it is the things that come out of a person which make a person unclean!”

Before the Jewish people could take the salvation message to the Gentiles, the enmity between the two peoples needed to be broken.  Yeshua’s death and resurrection brought the final blood atonement that removed all of man’s sin, making those who put their trust in the Messiah spiritually pure. This broke the enmity. All men were now clean, as Adonai explained to Peter when he wanted him to take the salvation message to a God-fearing Roman soldier (Acts 10:28).

So we can see that Yeshua upheld and even added to the Torah, but not the Oral Law. The early spiritual leaders of the Messianic Body, including Paul, confirmed, lived and taught the Written Law, but declared the Oral Law unnecessary to keep as a Believer in Messiah. Putting Eph. 2:15 into this Biblical and Jewish cultural context, we begin to understand that what was abolished was the provisions of the Oral Law that created enmity between Jews and Gentiles. The difference between the Torah and Oral Law was so obvious during Paul’s time, he expected readers to understand that was the context in which he was writing. He never would have expected readers or translators to interpret the verse as Yeshua abolishing G-d’s Law.

Article originally appeared on Congregation Shema Yisrael - Rochester NY (
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