Going in the wrong direction in seeking Torah obedience – according Sir Anthony Buzzard

Looking at Words and a metaphorical Tree of Life

This weekend we think about our special connection with the Torah, our Etz Ha Chayim. We shall look at Isaiah who lived during the exile of the Israelites in Babylon, after the destruction of the First Temple. His writings are reflective of the problems that went on in previous times and his poem that is Haftarat Eikev consists of vivid, expressive, and long-winded metaphors expressing the relationship between God and the Israelites. one of the matters spoken about is God’s Word. Parashat Eikev tells of the blessings of obedience to God, the dangers of forgetting God, and directions for taking the Land of Israel. Isaiah describes how being a prophet has made him suffer because his listeners do not always appreciate his message (“I did not hide my face from insult and spittle” [50:6]), but Isaiah is confident that God is on his side (“Lo, the Lord God will help me!” [50:9]).

Isaiah and many other prophets show us that God never abandoned those willing to listen to Him. He has provided His Word to be followed by those who want to be near Him.

Sir Anthony Buzzard

Sir Anthony Buzzard, who has done a lot of biblical research and deserves well of all Messianics for his work on the Trinity and the Incarnation, did an excellent job in showing that the God the Bible teaches is One Person, not the multipersonal Being of Christian orthodoxy, and that Jesus was a faithful Jew who wholeheartedly subscribed to the Jewish creed:

Hear, O Israel, HaShem is our G’d, HaShem is One (Dt. 6:4).

Strangely enough one would expect that he also would recognise the importance of the Torah. While teaching, however, that we should adopt the biblical faith of Jesus, Buzzard at the same takes great efforts in teaching us that we should not follow Jesus’ practice of a biblical, Torah obedient lifestyle.

Jesus a serious Torah-observant Jew

Historical facts show us that Jesus is Jeshua ben Josef, born in an Essene family, keeping strictly to the Jewish laws. One would expect that followers of that Nazarene man would follow his way of life and would try to live according to his teachings. For that reason, one would expect a “follower of Jeshua” or a “Jeshuaist” and those who call themselves “Christian” to follow the rules and regulations of Jeshua and his disciples.

Seeking Torah obedience or a life of shadows

In Buzzard’s eyes, Christians would go in the wrong direction in seeking Torah obedience. This would result in a life of shadows. In an article entitled: “Resting in Christ as More Than a Weekly Sabbath”, of the July 2012 issue of his magazine, he exclaims:

“Why live in the shadows when the light has come?”{Focus on the Kingdom, Vol 14, No. 10, July 2012, p. 3.}

When we read such ideas Buzzard bringsx forwards it looks like he wants people to

Believe in the One G’d of Israel, like Jesus did, but don’t follow his Torah.

Though, Jeshua or Jesus knew very well the Torah and strictly followed it. There it looks like Buzzard is forgetting or losing the Jewishness of Jeshua, the Christ, and falls in the main false teachings of several Christian churches, who present Jesus as the founder of a new religion, what he was not!

A Messiah who doesn’t teach Torah is a false Messiah

All from the beginning of times, already in the Gan Eden, the Elohim spoke about someone to come to bring an end to the curse of death. The Bore not wanting man would eat from the Etz HaChayyim in the Gan, avoided them coming close to it and taking fruit of it, by banishing them from the Royal Garden. From their expulsion onwards they could follow that Word of God to hold on. This Dvar Hashem was later written down by Moshe and other selected people.

Throughout the ages, that Word of God accompanied the faithful of God. They could count on that Word and valued it highly. As such the scrolls were taken very seriously as the best guide and guardian to go by.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

The sent one from God, some two millanennia ago, very well knew the importance of those scrolls and told the people around him, that he had not come to destroy these words.

Mat 5:17-19 OJB Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Neviim. I did not come to abolish but to complete.
(18) For, omein, truly I say to you, until Shomayim and haaretz pass away, not one yod, not one tag (ornamental flourish), will pass from the Torah until everything is accomplished. (19) Therefore, whoever annuls one of the least of these mitzvot (divine commandments given by Hashem to Moshe Rebbenu) and so teaches Bnei Adam, shall be called katon (least) in the Malchut HaShomayim; but whoever practices and teaches them, this one will be called gadol (great) in the Malchut HaShomayim.

Yes, the Nazarene warned

Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one titte shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled.

We even learn that the Messiah is the target or goal for righteousness to everyone that believes.

Rom 10:4 OJB For Moshiach is the goal of the Torah as a means to being YITZDAK IM HASHEM, for all who have emunah.

Jesus requests his followers Not to break one of these least commandments he also taught. For him, it was also clear that whosoever shall do and teach those mitzvot, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Also from the Ketuvim bet or Messianic Scriptures, the HaBrit haHadash or New Testament we learn that Jesus was fulfilling the Torah and prophets and demanded it from us as well. The fulfilment of Torah includes practising it. Even the the least commandment is important. Any ‘focus on the Kingdom’ of heaven will be empty and void if it doesn’t include doing and teaching Torah. How can we focus on the Kingdom at all, if we deny it by our lifestyle and do not follow the Royal Torah? (Cf. Jas 2:8-10). The words Jesus spoke on the mount after his resurrection make it all the more clear that his Kingdom includes the rule and reign of the Torah (Mt. 28:19-20):

Mat 28:19-20 OJB Go, therefore, make talmidim for Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach of all the nations, giving them a tevilah in a mikveh mayim in Hashem, in the Name of HaAv, and HaBen, and HaRuach Hakodesh, (20) Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And hinei! I [Moshiach] am with you always, even unto the Ketz HaOlam Hazeh.

We have to observe all things whatsoever Jesus has commanded us.

Imitators of rebbe Jeshua Melech HaMoshiach

When one thinks about the consequences of Buzzard’s viewpoint, one can only wonder whether he would be prepared to affirm that Jesus himself lived in the shadows during his earthly days and followed a pattern of behaviour of an altogether lower nature than the life of freedom from the commandments now supposedly enjoyed by so many Christians. If Buzzard would dare to affirm and uphold that, essentially, Messiah’s own lifestyle was less spiritual than the so-called ‘Christian’ lifestyle of today, then the question arises how he can take serious Paul’s injunction to the Corinthians:

1Co 11:1-2 OJB Become imitators of me as I also am an imitator of Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. (2) Now, I commend you that in all things you have remembered me and you hold fast to the masoret torat haShlichim just as I transmitted and handed them over to you.

The talmidim and Saul of Tarsus followed the Torah and teachings of Christ, which did not go in against the Torah teaching. As a Torah observant Jew Saul defended himself:

Act 25:8 OJB Rav Sha’ul defended himself, saying, “Neither keneged the Torah nor keneged the Beis Hamikdash nor keneged Caesar have I done anything wrong.”

Having first persecuted the followers of Jeshua, he acted as a defender of their faith which was according to God’s Laws.

Imitatio Christi

How can any call to lead a life of following Messiah — imitatio Christi in the terminology of traditional Christianity — be taken serious if the Jewish and Torah obedient lifestyle of Messiah is perceived as belonging to an altogether lower order of things than the Christian believer is thought to be part of?

One also can only wonder about what kind of Kingdom Buzzard is expecting if it is not the Kingdom of the universal rule of the Torah announced by the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 2:2-3 OJB And it shall come to pass in the acharit hayamim, that the Har Beis Hashem shall be established as the rosh of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all the Goyim shall flow unto it. (3) And amim rabbim (many peoples) shall come and say, Come ye, and let us go up to Har Hashem, to the Beis Elohei Ya’akov; and He will teach us of His Derakhim, and we will walk in His Orakhot; for out of Tziyon shall go forth the torah, and the Devar Hashem from Yerushalayim.

If these words are literally true and if the rule of the Torah is the rule of HaShem’s Kingdom, then what excuse do we have for not obeying the Torah and its commandments, since in them we anticipate and foretaste the reality of the Kingdom? Like the Jews all followers of Jeshua shall have to walk in the paths of the Dvar Elohim for out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem.

A Kingdom on earth

Buzzard has repeatedly admitted that the Kingdom of God is a real physical Kingdom to be expected here on earth, having its centre in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. And yet he seems to conceive this Kingdom as a secular reality without the Torah and without a restored Temple.

Buzzard deplores that

“a giant muddle has been introduced by a failure to grasp basic distinctions between the two covenant arrangements provided by G’d. The Old must not be confused with the New” {Focus on the Kingdom, Vol. 14, No. 10, July 2012, p. 3.}

But where is the muddle, and who is causing all that confusion?

God Himself declared that He will put His Torah in His People inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and He will be their God, and they shall be His people.

Jer 31:33 OJB (32) But this shall be the Brit that I will cut with Bais Yisroel [T.N. OJBC is Jewish]; After those days, saith Hashem, I will set My Torah in them inwardly, and I will write ketuvim on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My People.

All those who want to belong to the People of God should have that Torah written in their heart.

The same commandments and ordinances in Old and New Testament

The New Covenant has the same commandments and ordinances, which is only logical as it is the renewal of the Sinai Covenant.It is in the scrolls that we can find the Words of the Most Highest Who can carry us above the average. With the coming of the Messiah the path is opened also for goyim to enter the Kingdom of God. But those non-Jews shall then have to accept the Only One True God and believe in His sent one, Jeshua the Messiah.

In the Kingdom Age we shall find the Torah and/or this content of the Words of God written in the heart of HaShem’s people. The circumcision of the heart was always the deepest intention of the Torah. This can be deduced from the Shema itself, which concentrates on the obedience of the heart, and from many other texts, among them Deuteronomy 10:12-16:

Deu 10:12-16 OJB And now, Yisroel, what doth Hashem Eloheicha require of thee, but to fear Hashem Eloheicha, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Hashem Eloheicha with all thy lev and with all thy nefesh, (13) To be shomer over the mitzvot Hashem, and His chukkot, which I command thee today for thy good? (14) Behold, the Shomayim and Shomei HaShomayim (the Highest Heaven) belongs to Hashem Eloheicha; Ha’Aretz also, with all that therein is. (15) Yet Hashem had a delight in Avoteicha to love them, and He chose their zera after them, even you above kol ha’amim, as it is yom hazeh. (16) Circumcise therefore the arlat (foreskin) of your lev, and be no more stiffnecked.

It will be realised when all Israel is brought back to HaShem and his Torah, and the full effects of Messiah’s sacrifice will be revealed.

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1 Comment

Filed under History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

One response to “Going in the wrong direction in seeking Torah obedience – according Sir Anthony Buzzard

  1. “For too long we have read scripture with nineteenth-century eyes and sixteenth-century questions. It’s time to get back to reading with first-century eyes and twenty-first century questions.” – N.T. Wright (Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision p. 21)

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