The first five Books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy - are the books of Moses and are called the 'Pentateuch' or in Hebrew 'Torah'. The word Torah occurs over two hundred times in the Hebrew Scriptures and its equivalent word in the Greek – nomos - occurs also over two hundred times in the 'New Testament'. In most English translations of the Bible, translators have tended to mistranslate the words 'Torah' and 'Nomos' as 'law'. However, Torah is derived from the verb yarah which means 'to teach' or 'to instruct'. Hence Torah means the 'Teaching or Instructions of God'. It is an archery term that means 'to hit the mark'. So the picture employed is of an archery target with the Torah forming the bulls-eye with the arrow hitting the bulls-eye representing the keeping of the Torah. Unsurprisingly then, the Hebrew word for sin - 'chatah' – means to fall short, that is, to miss the mark, the bull's-eye. It is only with much practice that we are able to hit the bulls-eye with the help of the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh. More on this in the next newsletter.
The picture can also be used to come to a better understanding of the place of the Torah in Scripture. The Torah forms the centre of the Bible and in the diagram is pictured in yellow with the red and the blue concentric circles representing the Prophets (Nevi'im) and Writings (K'tuvim) respectively making up the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanach. Finally the 'B'rit Hadashah', the New Testament forms the outer circle to the complete Bible.
Hebrew is one of the few languages that is not only phonetic, but numerical and pictorial. The four letters תורה that spell Torah represent the numbers 5+200+6+400=611! Now traditionally there are 613 commandments that are contained in the Torah, so what about the two missing commandments. As recorded in Matthew 22:36, Yeshua was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Torah and the Prophets and He states 'to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself on these two commandments depend all the (611) commandments'. For as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:1 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." The commandments of Torah hang on these two commandments of love. Hence love is the way for Torah to be written on our hearts! It is not about salvation but about righteousness and holiness.
To bring about the One New Man the Jewish people need to accept their Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach and return to Torah to be sanctified. While the Gentiles, once they have accepted the Jewish Messiah need to start walking in the truth of the Torah in preparation for the return of Messiah who is the living Torah (Word made flesh).
Psa 119:29 Keep me from being deceitful, and be kind enough to teach me your Torah.
Articles on Torah