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Weekly Drash - Behukotai

Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
reprinted by permission of FFOZ

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Bechukotai - בחקתי : “In My Statutes”
Torah : Leviticus 26:3–27:34
Haftarah : Jeremiah 16:19–17:14
Gospel : Luke 23–24

Thought for the Week:
(An excerpt from Torah Club)

“I will establish my covenant with you,” [means] a new covenant, unlike the first covenant which you annulled [broke] at the sin of the Golden Calf, but a new covenant, which will not be annulled, as it says, “And I will enter into a New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah…” (Rashi quoting Leviticus 26:9, Jeremiah 31:30–31)

Redeemed from the Curse of the Torah
(Based on Torah Club)

It is tempting to suppose that all of the curses of the law have been removed in Messiah. It is common teaching, based on Galatians that, “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah.” (Galatians 3:13). This seems to indicate that the Torah has lost its teeth, so to speak. In Messiah, the curses are removed, but the blessings remain. But is this really true?

On closer examination, it becomes obvious that “the curse of the law” spoken of in Galatians 3:13 is not the curses for disobedience listed out in Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28. Instead, the curse of the law is death—not mortal death—but eternal separation from God. According to Paul, "The curse of the Torah" is condemnation in the eternal court of judgment.[1] It is the curse of condemnation and death that was unleashed upon Messiah. It is this condemnation from which we have been redeemed. It is this condemnation which has been nailed to His cross.

In one of his oft misunderstood passages, the Apostle Paul speaks of a written document of condemnation which is nailed to the cross. (Colossians 2:14) Too often this document is misinterpreted as the Torah. It is not at all uncommon for well meaning brothers and sisters to triumphantly declare that Messiah nailed the Torah to the cross. (God forbid.) Translations like the NIV encourage this kind of interpretation by translating the thing nailed as “the written code,” a term which seems to imply a law code, namely the Torah. It is not the Torah which has been nailed to the cross. It is a written verdict of condemnation, like the type delivered by a Roman court of law.

Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of dogma against us, which was hostile to us; He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14)

The “certificate of debt” which has been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross is condemnation. Condemnation (i.e. death) is the ultimate curse of the Torah. It is this curse which Messiah took upon Himself when He became “a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13)

Therefore it is incorrect to suppose that there are no longer any consequences for sin. The ultimate consequence of condemnation has been removed—nailed to the cross. But the laws of cause and effect are still very much at work. Sin still reaps punishment. Obedience to God still results in blessing. Disobedience to God still results in consequences dire.

1. Eg. Romans 4:15, 5:18–20, 7:25–8:1, 1 Corinthians 3:9

Shavuah Tov!
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FFOZ's Weekly e-Drash is based on our popular Torah Study Program,
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