posted by roshavotJuly 24, 2010

Under Law

3 Differences Regardin "Under Law"

Before we start, we want to share three differences between obeying the Torah and being under law:

Difference #1: The Torah was given to the whole house of Israel (Exo 12:49; Lev 24:22; Num 9:14; 15:13-16,29-30; Deu 14:21; 33:4). Only certain sects of Judaism are under law (see Gal 1:13-14 below, under the paragraph heading: The Unadulterated Torah).

Difference #2: The Torah is not only holy, but wholly (Jam 2:10). David said in Psa 19:7, “The Torah of YHVH is perfect (complete; all is viable and germane) restoring an individual”. Yeshua confirms this in Matthew Chapter 5 and verses 17-19, "Think not that I am come to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets; I am not come to neglect, but to properly interpret the Torah. For verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle (see the Sidebar to the right -- the Messiah is endorsing the Hebrew scriptures; there are no jots and tittles in Greek) shall in no wise pass from the Torah, until all be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall make one of the least commandments no longer in effect, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of YHVH in Israel; but whosoever shall do and teach all of the commandments, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom". (See "Understanding the difficult words of Jesus", by Bivin and Blizzard, pg 152-155).

Difference #3: Believers and followers of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel are expected to keep the Torah: "For this is the love of YHVH that we keep His Commandments; and His Commandments are not burdensome" (1Joh 5:3). “This commandment which I command thee this day, is not too difficult for thee, neither does it get old. It is always relevant and accessible and not in the sky, that thou should say, who shall go up for us to the sky, and bring the Torah to us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is the Torah under the sea that thou should say, who shall go under the sea for us, and bring it up to us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the Torah is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou may do it (Deu 30:11-14)".

Some relevant definitions

Definition of "Oral Law"

Oral Law:
The Jewish Encyclopedia defines Oral Law as God giving "orally to Moses other laws and maxims, as well as verbal explanations of the written law, enjoining him not to record these teachings, but to deliver them to the people by word of mouth".

Josephus wrote, "What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses (and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject the many observances, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers). And concerning these things it is that great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side" (Antiquities 13.10.6).

The Sadducees (the Sons of Zadok, Eze 44:15) have been falsely accused; only a certain faction of Sadducees denied the Resurrection (Act 23:8). In Mark 8:15 we are introduced to the prevailing faction of Sadducees in the first century: the "Herodians", otherwise known as the Boethusians, who looked to Job 7:9 for their proof text (see Antiquities 15.9.3 and the article entitled "Boethusians", in the Jewish Encyclopedia).

Under Law:
If you are under law you are guided by the Oral Law.

Works of Law:
Works of law are precepts within the Oral Law.

The Torah is communal teaching and instruction. The Hebrew root word for Torah is yarah, to teach (Exo 24:12).

Torah vs. Oral Law

Torah vs. Oral Law

There are at least two problems with recognizing the Oral Law as another Torah:

1. It violates Deu 4:2 by modifying the written Torah. Oral Law not only changes the text, it changes the way the text is perceived.

2. It violates Exo 23:2 by allowing majority rule. "Do not follow a majority to do evil; neither testify in a dispute so as to incline after the majority in order to pervert justice". The Oral Law placed ultimate authority in the hands of the majority: the Pharisees. As an example, see Talmud Bavli Baba Mesi’a 59B. The Pharisees outnumbered the priests, especially after the great revolt in 70 C.E. and the last revolt in 135 C.E. and subsequently seized the Crown of the Priesthood (including the teaching responsibilities, Lev 10:11, Eze 44:15,23). The word "rabbi" means a majority member.

Isaiah admonished Israel about the creation of Oral Law: “Wherefore Adonai said, forasmuch as this People draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the commandment of men learned by rote (Isa 29:13)".

"When all is said and done, the Torah is not a 'religion' like other religions. It is a blueprint for living. The trouble is that throughout the generations wise men have covered it over with thousands of conflicting interpretations, hiding its plain simple meaning, and have thus caused the nation to err" (An excerpt from a tract by Mordecai Alfandari).

Yeshua challenged the illegitimate authority of the Pharisees in Mat 15:1-9 & Mar 7:1-23. He warned in Matthew 23: “The Talmudic teachers and the Pharisees (predecessors of contemporary Rabbis) sit in Moses' seat. All therefore whatsoever he (Moses) bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their reforms and precedents (the Oral Law), for they say, and do not. They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders" (rendered from Shem Tob’s Matthew 23:2-4. For further study on this verse, we highly recommend the book, "The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus", by Nehemia Gordon).

Paul's use of the phrase "under law"

Paul's use of the phrase "under law"

Israel will be recompensed by the Written Torah:

Rom 3:19-4:1:

Verse 19 Now we know that what the Torah saith, it saith to those who are in the Torah (those who are in the Torah are those to whom the Torah was given, and that is Israel); that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be in subjection to the justice, vengeance, and wrath of YHVH (Joel 3:1-2; Zep 3:8).

Verse 20 Therefore by the works of law (precepts within the Oral Law) there shall no flesh receive a just sentence in his sight; for by the written Torah is the knowledge of sin (Israel will be recompensed by the Torah, not by the Oral Law).

Verses 21-23 But now, apart from the Oral Law, Elohim's righteousness has been revealed--attested by the Torah and the Prophets--that is, Elohim's righteousness, available through Yeshua the Messiah's faithfulness, to all who believe, since there is no partiality. For both Judeans and the Hellenists (Rom 3:9) have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim (Deu 26:19 & Hos 8:8).

Verses 24-26 They are vindicated freely by His grace through their kinsman-redeemer, the Messiah Yeshua. Elohim presented him as a hilasterion (a Greek noun indicating the approved location where Elohim met with Israel, Exo 25:22) through faith in His blood-kinship, to demonstrate His righteousness. Because of His tolerance, Elohim disregarded sins previously committed. He presented him to demonstrate His righteousness for a limited period of amnesty, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who is of Yeshua's faith.

Verses 27-31 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a Law of Faith. For we conclude that man (Israel, Psa 90:3; Eze 34:30-31; Hos 6:7) is vindicated by faithfulness to the written Torah, apart from works of law (precepts within the Oral Law). Or is Elohim for Judeans only? Is He not also for gentiles? Yes, for gentiles too, since there is one Elohim who will vindicate the Circumcised-by-faith (the Judeans, vs.9) and the Uncircumcised-through-faith (the Hellenists, vs. 9). Do we then discard the Torah through-faith (does declaring the uncircumcised Hellenists to be righteous, diminish the Torah)? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah.

Verse 1 What are we saying then? We are saying that Abraham our father obtained righteousness, while in flesh (uncircumcised).

The Perfect Torah of Liberty:

Rom 6:14-15 For sin will not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law (not subject to the Oral Law), but under unmerited kindness (subject to the "perfect Torah of liberty", Jam 1:25). What then, shall we sin, because we are not subject to the Oral Law anymore? No!

Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, Talmudic teachers and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, dill, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Torah: judgment, unmerited kindness, and faithfulness; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave tithing undone (Deu 14:22).

Joh 1:17 The Torah was given by Moses, and its unmerited kindness and truth enlivened by Yeshua the Messiah.

The Unadulterated Torah:

1Cor 9:20-21 And to a sect of Judaism I adapted myself to that sect, that I might gain the followers of the sect; that is to say, to them that are under law, as under law, that I might gain them that are under law. And to them that are lawless, as lawless (being not lawless to YHVH, but remained within the Messiah's Torah), that I might gain them that are lawless. (The lawless are the outcasts, the House of Israel who has been estranged from the Torah, Eph 2:12).

Paul remained within the Messiah's Torah and did not convert to a man-made religion (Acts Chapter 9). Prior to Rabbi Akiba's unification of different sects, there were several versions of Judaism during Paul's ministry. (See "Rabbi Akiba's Messiah" by Daniel Gruber). Paul's testimony was his renouncement of those sects that adhered to the Oral Law:

Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that according to The Way, which they call a sect of Judaism, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Torah and in the Prophets.

Gal 1:13-14 For ye have heard of my conduct in time past in Judaism, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Congregation of Elohim (a sect that did not follow the Oral Law), and ravaged it; and excelled in Pharisaic Judaism above many of my peers (within mine own kindred), being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my elders (the Oral Law).

Phi 3:5-9 Circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews. As to how to keep Torah, a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the Congregation. Touching the righteousness which is in the oral law, blameless. But my self-delusions of obeying the Oral Law (in order to obey the Torah), those I counted loss for the Messiah of Israel. Yea doubtless, and I count all such self-delusions but loss for the supremacy of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua Adoneinu; for whom I have suffered the loss of all such self-delusions, and do count them but dung, that I may win the Messiah of Israel, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness (which is of the Oral Law) but the righteousness which is of YHVH by faith which is through the faithfulness of the Messiah of Israel.

Imprisoned Under Law:

The following commentary is based largely on the teaching of Avi ben Mordechai. We recommend his book "Galatians: A Torah-Based Commentary in First-Century Hebrew Context". It can be purchased at his website:

The word "Galatia" is from the Aramaic word galat-yah, which means the Expatriated of Yah.

Gal 3:22-29 The Scripture hath included all things (i.e. all things pertaining to the punishment of expatriation) under the heading of sin (see Isa 25:7-9 in the chapter: "Original Sin"), even though the Promise will be entrusted -- because of Yeshua the Messiah's Faith -- to the trustees. But before this Faith came, we (the trustees) were imprisoned under oral law (Mat 23:13), enclosed until this Faith, which was about to be revealed (Isa 56:1). In contrast, the written Torah was our schoolmaster, concerning the Messiah, that we might be vindicated by faithfulness to the written Torah and not to oral laws. But after the Faith came, we were no longer under tutors (the Aramaic Peshitta has the plural form of “tutor” and refers to the oral laws), for you are all school children of Elohim through faith in the Messiah Yeshua. Because, as many of you as have performed tevilah (a ritual immersion) for the Messiah of Israel are influenced by the Messiah.There is no Judean or Aramean (from the Aramaic text. The Judeans and the Arameans were kin, but lived on different sides of the Jordan River, Gen 13:11), slave or free, male or female (Paul is referring to their bigotries, see Galatians Chapter 2); for you exiles are all one in the Messiah Yeshua. And if you exiles are the Messiah's, then you are all Abraham's physical descendants (Gen 15:2-4), heirs according to the promise (see Gal 3:8 in the chapter called "Who Are the Redeemable?").

Gal 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time was come, YHVH sent forth his Son being of a woman being under law (the woman was Mary who was under a system requiring obedience to the Oral Law’s definition of an heir) to redeem them (rescue them) that are under law, that we might take again the adoption of sons (Gen 48:5). And because you are sons, YHVH sent forth the spirit (promise) of his Son into your hearts, causing you to cry "Abba" (Hos 1:10). Wherefore you are no longer a slave to the Oral Law, but a son; and if a son, then you are an heir through YHVH.

Two Laws:

Gal 4:21-31:

Verses 21-23 Tell me, ye that desire to be under law (you who really enjoy being subject to the preponderance of the Oral Law), do ye not hear the written Torah? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But Ishmael, who was of the bondwoman, was born after flesh ("born after flesh" was a phrase for any firstborn son who was supplanted by another son. The idiom can essentially be read as "an uncircumcised son"); but Isaac of the freewoman, was born through the Promise ("born through the Promise" and "born affecting spirit" are synonymous --- see vs. 29 below).

Verse 24 Which things are an allegory; for these mothers are the 2 diathekai (a Greek word that means a binding profession of action, and refers to the two "laws" mentioned in verse 21: the Oral Law and the written Torah: Isa 5:24 and Psa 105:8-10); the one mother, who is Hagar from Mount Sinai, brings forth children who are to be slaves ("Hagar" is the Oral Law, that was purportedly given to Moses at Mount Sinai. Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, in the mid-third century, taught that "all the rabbinical teachings, even those which the scholars found and promulgated later, were given to Moses on the mountain").

Verse 25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. Moreover, the bondwoman Hagar is an allegory for present-day Jerusalem, for present-day Jerusalem is in bondage with her children (imprisoned in a system requiring obedience to the Oral Law, Mat 23:4).

Verses 26-27 But Jerusalem on Mount Zion, which is always up (Psa 122; Isa 2:2-3; Mic 4:2-3), is Sarah, the freewoman, who is the mother of us all (Israel and Judah). For it is written in Isaiah 54:1, "Sing praise, O Jerusalem, which was as a barren woman that bears not; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail; for more are the children of the Forsaken One (Jerusalem, during the Babylonian captivity) than the Children of the Married Wife (Jerusalem, prior to her captivity)".

Verses 28-29 Now we brethren (Israel and Judah), as Isaac was, are the Promised Children. But as then he that was born after flesh (the supplanted) persecuted him (Gen 21:9) that was born affecting spirit (the supplanter, Gen 21:12), even so it is now (the moral of the allegory was: those who were enslaved to the oral law were disqualified, yet the majority, and persecuting the Remnant, see Gal 1:13-14 above).

Verse 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture in Gen 21:9-10? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman (followers of the Oral Law) shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman (followers of the written Torah).

Verse 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the freewoman.

The Legitimate Law:

Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under law.

If you understood the concept in the chapter “Flesh & Blood”, then you may recognize the meaning of this verse as: “If you are led by the legitimate (the Torah) then you are not led by the illegitimate (the Oral Law)".

Paul's Conclusion


"Wherefore the Torah is holy, indeed the Commandment is holy and just and good" (Rom 7:12).