The Torah - Pentateuch

The first five books of Moses are called the Torah. These five books of the Old Testament stand in a special class and are called collectively the Pentateuch, meaning the five books. These are the books which the Jews called the Law and regarded as the most sacred part of the Bible. The five books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. For a Jew of the first century, religious education meant study of the Torah. This word is not accurately translated by "law." It refers to the sum of divine teaching. The Torah was not only a system of rules but, more importantly, a whole way of life that had to be learned through close connection with a teacher. "Religious observances" would be a better, though still not complete, translation. The word was derived from a Hebrew verb meaning "to teach" or "to instruct."

Part of the Torah included all the laws in regard to ethical behavior found in the Bible, beginning with the 10 commandments. These were continually brought up to date by being applied to new situations through the oral instruction of Jewish teachers.

According to the Rabbis the written Law, or torah, contained 613 concepts, 248 of which were commandments while 365 were prohibitions. Both commands and prohibitions were divided into two groups, the "light" and the "heavy," according to their importance. Now there must have been some kind of hierarchy among all these commandments. And that is what that particular Scribe wanted to know from Jesus. "You art not far from the kingdom of God."

The Christians made the "son of Man" equal to God, whereas it was the Jews who followed John's injunction and made "the Word," that is, the Rhema of the Torah, equal to God. It is to the Jews that "the Word is God." The Mosaic Law assumed in the minds of Talmudists the place of God himself, and by the Law they meant not morals but Rabbinism, not the Decalogue, but the Halacha, Rabbis, who arrogantly usurped the exclusive name of Hachakamim, or "the Wise." They represented God Himself a student of the Torah. Attitude of the Old Testament, the supreme authority in Judaism. The inferiority of the Torah to the gospel is emphasized in the prologue, (Matthew). The law (Torah) was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Yet the Scriptures have their authority, and they testify to Him.
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