Someone asked me if I was Torah observant. As a firstfruit, that is, in YahwehShua, I cannot be Torah observant. Why?


The word Torah has several different meanings. It denotes the first five books of the Old Testament or the Pentateuch. It can also be used to refer to all the books of the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi. When others refer to the Torah, they include the oral Torah as well as the rabbinical traditions that produced the Talmud. 


In James 2:10 we are told that: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Is the Torah the whole law? Actually, the word Torah refers to instruction or teachings. The Torah contains laws, but is not the law itself. Many use the word Torah interchangeably with the word law. This is incorrect. The Torah contains laws that existed before the Sinai covenant, as well as the Levitical laws, which were enacted after the Sinai covenant. To say that you are Torah observant implies that you keep all the laws that are listed in the Torah.


Do you sacrifice animals as a sin offering? To be Torah observant you should be. Here are two examples of what the Torah teaches us about the Levitical laws: 

Exodus 29:14

“But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.” 

Leviticus 4:3

“If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish to Yahweh for a sin offering.” 


The Levitical sacrificial system of the old covenant only provided for animal sacrifices. There was no provision for a human sacrifice. Messiah’s death on the tree was a human sacrifice that provided his sinless blood to absorb all the sin of the world. (1 John 1:7)


Mankind has been reconciled by Messiah’s blood instead of animal blood. Paul confirms this in Ephesians 1:7:  “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace.”  Paul reiterates this important fact in Colossians 1:14:  “We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”


In the Levitical system, the sin offering was always an animal. But Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that Messiah was:  “made sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of Elohim in him.”  This verse is from the King James Version. However, in the Diaglott we are told that he was made a “sin offering on our behalf.”


The Levitical sacrificial system was not part of the Sinai covenant. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) were given to the Israelites on Pentecost as part of the marriage ceremony between Messiah and the Israelites. The Levitical system did not go into effect until the second year of their sojourn in the Sinai wilderness. (Numbers 1: 1; 3: 12)


When Messiah became a husband to Israel (Isaiah 54:5), the firstborn were the priests. It was the firstborn priests that were preserved during the Passover that occurred in Egypt. The Levitical priesthood was a temporary substitute that was added because of transgressions. (Galatians 3:19) The physical firstborn priests were not able to fulfill the will of Yahweh. 


The Levitical high priest was a temporary substitute for the spiritual high priest of the order of Melchizedek. The Son of Yahweh was the original high priest. He preexisted as Yahweh of the Old Testament. However, before he could perform as the actual high priest and bear the sin of the people, he had to leave the spiritual realm and become human or incarnate.  We learn in Hebrews 10:5 that a human body was prepared for the Son of Yahweh.


The Sinai covenant or old covenant was inadequate. It could not remove sin. Only Messiah’s blood could do that. Paul tells us this in Hebrews 10:9-10: “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yahshua Messiah once for all.”


When Israel’s husband died on the tree, the old marriage covenant was terminated. In 1 Corinthians 7:39, Paul explains how this was outlined in the Torah: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Master.”


All Israel was freed from that marriage and the law that was added after the marriage covenant was enacted on Sinai. The Levitical sacrificial law was no longer in effect. The 10 Commandments, which was the covenant law on Sinai, is still the heart of the new covenant. This is confirmed in James 2:8: “If ye fulfill the Royal law according to the scripture, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.”  Paul confirms this in Galatians 5:14:  “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”


Messiah’s sacrifice of himself, a human sacrifice, was not acceptable under the Levitical sacrificial system. Therefore to accept Messiah Yahshua’s sacrifice, you are not able to be Torah observant. The new covenant could only be enacted after the death of Messiah. He had to allow himself to be killed to end the marriage with Israel and pave the way for the new covenant. This new covenant had been planned since before the foundation of the world. It was even foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-32:  


“Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.  Not according to the covenant that I made with the fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt: which my covenant they break, although I was a husband unto them, saith Yahweh.”


Who was this Yahweh that proclaimed a coming new covenant? It was the Messiah! Paul reveals this in 1 Corinthians 10:4:  “that spiritual Rock that followed them: that Rock was Messiah.”


We cannot be Torah observant without denying Messiah and his sacrifice. This is why we do not continue to observe Yom Kippurim.  That day is all about the Levitical sacrificial system, and not about the sacrifice of Messiah. We cannot be part of this Levitical system and uphold our commitment to Messiah. 


Messiah was born under the law. (Galatians 4:4) He was therefore subject to the law. His marriage to physical Israel was therefore terminated upon his death. This was the law.


It was also the law that he had to have his name blotted out. He was the only human to die in sin. He therefore took all of the curses on himself. (Galatians 3:13) That curse was proclaimed in Deuteronomy 29:20:  “All the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and Yahweh shall blot out his name from under heaven.“   If you really desire to be truly Torah observant, then you have to believe that Messiah’s name was blotted out.


Messiah’s birth name, Yahshua, was blotted out upon his death. This is why he had to inherit a new name. (Hebrews 1:4) His new name was more excellent. What is that more excellent name? Psalm 148:13 declares that only the name of Yahweh is more excellent. That is why he received the name of YahwehShua. This is the name of both the Father and Son. In Revelation 14:1, we learned that this is the same name that the firstfruits had in their foreheads. This is the name we firstfruits proclaim.


The name that Peter proclaimed after the resurrection was YahwehShua. He had to use the inherited name because the birth name of Messiah had been blotted out. Peter would have known of this name change. In the book of Acts 2: 38, he is quoted as saying:  “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of YahwehShua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”  Your Bible probably says Jesus or even Yahshua. Messiah’s birthname was not removed from the scripture by order of the Levitical high priest. However, Yahweh removed his birth name from the book of life.


Being baptized in the birth name of Messiah is not being Torah observant. That is because the Torah tells us that the name of he who dies in sin is blotted out. Accepting the human sacrifice of Messiah is not Torah observant. How do we resolve this conflict? We must leave the old covenant entirely and accept the new covenant name of Messiah. We can only be obedient to the new covenant by being baptized in the name of life, YahwehShua.


Those called during this age are under judgment now. We only have a chance to be in the kingdom if we accept the new covenant. If we look back at the old covenant, we will not be in the kingdom. The firstfruits are under the new covenant and will be resurrected when Messiah returns. The rest of mankind must wait until after the 1000-year reign of Messiah.


The prophecy that we learned about in Jeremiah 31:31 is confirmed in Hebrews 8:6- 9:  


“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.  For if the first covenant that was faultless, that should no place have sought the second.  For finding fault with them, he said, the days come, saith the sovereign, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith Yahweh.”


This prophecy had two witnesses and is therefore valid according to Yahweh. (Deuteronomy 17:6)


The Yahweh of the old covenant is the same Yahweh of the new covenant. The old covenant was terminated with His death as a human being. The new covenant is a better covenant with better promises. However, to enter this covenant, you must accept his inherited name in faith. This name is not found in the Scriptures. It is the name of faith. Remember, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1) Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”


The old covenant was based on an outward show of obedience. One had to be circumcised, participate in annual sacrifices and even wear tzitzits! The new covenant is not one of appearances, but by bearing fruit. You must demonstrate your faith through baptism in the unseen name of YahwehShua; loving the brethren as well as your enemies. The first covenant was enforced externally. The new covenant is implemented with circumcision of the heart rather than the flesh.


The old covenant cannot be renewed. It was based on the Levitical sacrificial system and was only temporary. Consider what Paul tells us in Hebrews 9:9-10: “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”


Consider also what Paul tells us in Galatians 3:23-26: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of Elohim by faith in Messiah YahwehShua.”


From the Pentecost following the Messiah’s death until his return, is the age of faith. This faith is the heart of the new covenant, a better covenant. We must not return to the old covenant in any way. By doing so, we repudiate Messiah’s sacrifice and therefore deny him.


We are given a very stern warning in Proverbs 26:11:  “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” A dog is a beast that dies without hope of resurrection. Those who reject a calling to the new covenant will miss out on the opportunity to be resurrected as a firstfruit when Messiah returns.


Another stern warning we should be aware of is found in 2 Timothy 2:12:  IF WE DENY HIM, HE WILL ALSO DENY US.”


Again, in Matthew 10: 33, he issues a similar warning:  “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” If you are Torah observant, then you are denying Messiah’s death as a valid sin offering. 


There is no reward for being in the old covenant. Messiah has a reward only for those who are faithful to the new covenant. He confirms this in Revelation 22:12: “I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” The work of the old covenant does not bear fruit. It is only participation in the new covenant that produces fruit.


You will have no reward by being Torah observant. Your reward is only available through the new covenant. It is only by being faithful in the new covenant that you do not deny him. He is faithful and will not deny those who have embraced his name of faith, YahwehShua, and overcomes to the end.


You may be wondering how Messiah’s human name was acceptable to Yahweh as reconciliation for all of man’s sin. The answer is found in Genesis 9:5: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.”


When Yahweh is talking about the life of man, he is talking about man’s blood. Leviticus 17:11 helps us with this explanation:  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”  Animal blood was only used as a substitute or temporary representation for the real thing. It was only the sinless life of the Messiah that was found in his blood that would satisfy Yahweh.


Genesis 9:5 was in effect before the foundation of the world. It obviously existed before the Levitical sacrificial system. This law could not be fulfilled until Messiah came in the flesh as a sin offering. The Levitical system was an inadequate but temporary measure until the death of the incarnate Messiah. Yahweh tells us the end from the beginning.


Everything being accomplished throughout the Scripture is for Messiah, the firstfruit. Genesis 1:1 tells us this from the beginning:  “For the firstfruit Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”  Those who are becoming firstfruits through obedience to the new covenant are included in this revelation found in Genesis 1: 1. We are firstfruits because Messiah is being formed within us. (Galatians 4:19) When we are resurrected at his return we shall be like him. (1 John 3:2)


Look forward to the fulfillment of the new covenant, and not backwards to a failed, terminated old covenant.