The word “Torah” in Hebrew is derived from the root ירה which in the hifil (classification) conjugation means “to guide/teach” (see. Lev. 10:11). The meaning of the word is therefore “teaching,” “doctrine,” or “instruction”; the commonly accepted word “law” gives a wrong impression. [Rabinowitz, Louis Isaac and Harvey, Warren. “Torah.” Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. Vol. 20. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. pp 39–46.]
We see that Torah has been translated as ‘instruction’, ‘direction’ and ‘law’. In 2 Kings 14:6 we see it can refer to the Mosaic law as the word here is being used to refer to the Laws of Moses and is translated as such. Still the same biblical writer in 2 Kings 17:37 delineates the different types of laws in support of the above definition of Torah by the Jews themselves.
Torah has Different Definitions
When the author of 2 Kings calls them ordinances, laws and commandments, separating the items out with different words, calling them by their respective names choq, Torah, and Mitsvah; the 2 Kings author implies they are not all the same thing. There are so many scriptures that support this, that one can naturally see why it may have been a mistake for English translations to always translate this word Torah as law. It was Moses’ responsibility to bring the law into written form within the Torah, and only Moses would have seen the Torah in its entirety. Since Moses is the most likely writer of the first five books of the Bible then he wrote about many things that had already happened where for the other Patriarchs only knew a foreshadowing or in part. Since so much of the first five books contain other writings such as history, poetry, prophecy, promises; we can see why the Torah must be viewed as more than just law, but as instruction.
Again we see different words, different functions and roles from the words Mashiach and Torah in the Old Testament scriptures just like we did in the New Testament. What we see is that Messiah (Mashiach) will bring with him a different Era, a return to Eden type conditions (see Isaiah 11) than what existed in the time of the Mosaic law. He will suffer, and die it says in the books of Isaiah and Psalms. He will be the sacrifice as well as the priest. He will fulfill the roles of prophet, priest and king. And with Him comes a new everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). All these can be found in the Old Testament in reference to Jesus as the Messiah. He will teach, heal, and shepherd His people. The Torah only seems to point to and foreshadows these promises while being unable to deliver it fully itself (Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 10:1). Jesus carries out in power what the Torah only promises.
The words that Messiah speaks come directly from God (Deut 18:18, John 8:28, John 8:38, John 12:49); Jesus spoke prophetically as well as a teacher who expounded on the law. Explaining that even to think of acts of murder and adultery were as unclean an action to God, as the actual act itself. So while the Torah contains the Law, Jesus explained the Law. This means that Jesus accomplished what was written about Him in Deuteronomy 18:18, He did more than just quote the Mosaic Laws, he expounded upon them. And since God placed the words in Him, we see that the word was in Jesus already, which is why the people probably saw him differently than a teacher of the Law. (See Mark 1:22, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the Law.”) In Luke 5:17 we see that Jesus had the power to heal the people while the Law explained what to do in case of disease.
It is clear from the Scripture that the Torah and Jesus are not identical in function one describes or prescribes the other is or does.
|Torah (instruction)||Mashiach (Messiah)|
|Written by God on stone tablets||versus||Words placed in the mouth of the Messiah|
|Prescribes the sacrifices||versus||Is the sacrifice (and it isn’t an animal)|
|Describes the prophet||versus||Is the Prophet|
|Establishes the priesthood||versus||Is the High Priest|
|Prescribes rituals and what to do to receive healing||versus||He is our healing|
|Points to the Lord||versus||Is the Lord (Adonai)|
We have a noticeable difference between the works of Jesus and the works of the law that must be addressed by those who suggest that Jesus is Torah (the Law). If the intent (points to versus I am what you are looking for) is different, then are these two identical things? Is a device manual the same as the device itself? Reason would suggest no, a remote control is still a remote control and the directions handbook to that remote something different even though it describes in detail the remote and its functions.
Looking at some Hebrew Words:
…”because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements (H4931), my commands (H4687), my decrees (H2708) and my laws (H8451).” Genesis 26:5, NIV
Requirement is the Hebrew word “mishmereth” (H4931), and it means “a guard, watch, charge, function”. Mitsvah (H4687) is “commandment” which can refer to the Ten Commandments. Chuqqah (H2708) means “something prescribed, an enactment, statute.” Then there is “choq” (H2706) which also means “statutes”.
Torah תּוֹרָה (H8451) means “direction, instruction, and law”. It comes from the root word “yarah” יָרָה which means to teach.
Torah תּוֹרַת, H8452 is only used in the scripture in one place and that is in 2 Samuel 7:19 and it means “law, a custom – manner”, while 8451 is used 219 times.
The Hebrew word “dabar” דָּבָר (H1697) could be seen as best translated as “word”. This root word is used in the Hebrew word “had•də•ḇā•rîm” הַדְּבָרִ֣ים which has been translated as commandments found in Exodus 34:28, but it is not “dabar” it is “haddabarim”. This verse also has the Hebrew word “aseret” (‘ă•śe•reṯ) which means ten. There are 1441 uses of this word in the Old testament and it does not always translate as Ten Commandments.
Conclusion for the Questions so Far:
What is Torah? It is the divine inspired word of God written by Moses. Torah is the first five books of the Bible written by Moses and it means instructions. It consists of historical accounts, poetry, prophecy, logistical data, ancestral information and laws.
Who is Torah? Torah is not a who, it is a what. This premise can be considered a logical fallacy in that you are giving an inanimate object, the written code, characteristics of a live being. The Torah is instructions, law, a divine plan.
Since Jesus is Lord, He is the promise, He is creator, everything was made by Him, that includes the Torah. If Jesus made the Torah then He must supersede the Torah. His glory is greater than the Torah, He brings redemption and mercy that the written code lacks. He is capable of mercy where the law is pre-determined. We are heirs to the promise, the seed of Abraham not heirs to the law of Moses. Therefore, even the statement “Jesus = ‘word’ and Torah = ‘word’ therefore Jesus = Torah” is the logical fallacy called faulty analogy where there is an inaccurate or inconsequential comparison between objects of concepts.