The Torah *is* the Gospel

The Torah is the Gospel
By
James Scott Trimm

I saw a Facebook post today saying that Messianic Jews “needed to get back to the Gospel.” I have a surprise for you. The Torah is the Gospel! Now before you all grab pitchforks and torches and gather around my home tonight, please hear me out.

Yeshua’s Primary Message

We read at least fifteen times in the Gospels that Yeshua was traversing the Holy Land teaching the “Gospel” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; 24:24; 26:13; Mk. 1:14-15; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Lk. 4:18; 7:22; 9:6; 20:1).

A Great Light in Galilee

In Matthew 4:12-23 we read that Yeshua was in Galil (Galilee) teaching the “Gospel of the Kingdom:

12 And after Yeshua had heard that Yochanan was imprisoned, He went to Galil.
13 And leaving Natzaret, He left and dwelt in K’far Nachum (which is a city by the sea, on the border of Z’vulun and Naftali),
14 To establish what was spoken by the mouth of Yesha’yahu the prophet, who said,
15 Land of Z’vulun, and land of Naftali, the way of the sea beyond Yarden, Galil of the Goyim.
16 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; the inhabitants of the land of the shadow of death, a light has shined upon them.

17 And then began Yeshua to cry, saying: Turn you! Turn you, in repentance: for the Kingdom of Heaven is offered.
18 And when Yeshua was walking by the seashore of Galil, He saw two brothers: Shim’on who was called Kefa, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.
19 And He said to them: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.
21 And when He departed from there, He saw two other brothers: Ya’akov Ben Zavdai, and Yochanan his brother, in a boat with Zavdai their father, mending their nets, and He called them.
22 And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23 And Yeshua went about all Galil, teaching in their synagogues, and announcing the Good News [Gospel] of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and pain among the people.
(Matthew 4:12-23 HRV)

Matthew tells us that Yeshua was teaching the Gospel in Galilee to fulfil the prophecy about light coming upon these people in Isaiah 9:1-4 (8:23-9:3 in Jewish versions):

8:23 (9:1) For is there no gloom to her that was steadfast? Now the former has lightly afflicted the land of Z’vulun, and the land of Naftali, but the latter has dealt a more grievous blow by the way of the sea, beyond the Yarden, in the district of the nations.
9:1 (9:2) The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.
9:2 (9:3) You have multiplied the nation [Gentiles], You have increased their joy; they joy before You according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
9:3 (9:4) For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder; the rod of his oppressor, You have broken as in the day of Midian.
(Isaiah 8:23-9:3 (9:1-4) HRV)

What is this “great light”? If we look to the previous verses for context we can see the answer:

19 And because they shall say unto you: ‘Seek unto the mediums and to the wizards, of whisperings and mutterings; should not a people seek unto their Elohim? [not] about the living to the dead.
20 For Torah and for testimony? If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.
21 And they shall pass this way that are sore bestead and hungry; and it shall come to pass that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their Elohim, and, when they turn their faces upward,
22 or look unto the earth, behold distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, and outspread thick darkness.
(Isaiah 8:19-22 HRV)

So from Isaiah 8:20 we can see that the “great light” that comes upon Galilee in Isaiah 9:1-4 is the Torah!

Thus when Yeshua fulfills this prophecy by teaching “The Gospel of the Kingdom” in Galille in Matthew 4: 12-23, we are to understand this to mean that the “Gospel” that Yeshua taught in Galilee, was that Torah!

The Poor Have the Gospel Taught to Them

In Luke 4:16-22 Yeshua delivers a haftorah reading:

16 And He came to Natzaret, where He had been raised. And He entered the synagogue, on the day of the Sabbath, as He was accustomed.
17 And the scroll of Yeshayahu the prophet was given to Him, and He stood up to read. And Yeshua opened the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of YHWH is upon Me, and because of this, He has anointed Me to proclaim to the poor, and has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, and to proclaim to the captives forgiveness, and to the blind, sight, and to send away the broken (hearted) with forgiveness,
19 And to proclaim the acceptable year of YHWH.(Is. 61:1-2; 58:6).

20 And He rolled up the scroll and gave it to the shammash, and went and sat down: and all of those in the synagogue had their eyes fixed, on Him.
21 And He began to speak to them: Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.
22 And all were witnessing about Him, and were amazed at the words of blessing that proceeded from His mouth: and they were saying, Is not this man Bar Yosef?
(Luke 4:16-22 HRV)

Here Yeshua is reading from Isaiah 61:1-2a:

1 The spirit of the Adonai YHWH is upon me; because YHWH has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble, He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes to them that are bound:
2 To proclaim the year of YHWH’s good pleasure…
(Isaiah 61:1-2a)

The Hebrew word for “to bring good tidings” in Isaiah 61:1 is לְבַשֵּׂ֣ר which can also be translated “to bring a gospel.” (The Greek and KJV have “gospel” in Luke 4:18 here.)

This is also referenced in Matthew 11:5 = Luke 7:22 where also the “poor have the Good news proclaimed to them”

But how do we know that this is the Torah? Because of another passage in Isaiah that runs parallel to Isaiah 61:1-2 and also correlates with Matthew 11:5=Luke 7:22:

1 Behold My servant, whom I uphold; My chosen, in whom My soul delights: I have put My spirit upon him; he shall make the right to go forth to the nations.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the dimly burning wick shall he not
quench: he shall make the right to go forth according to the truth.
4 He shall not fail nor be crushed, till he has set the right in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his Torah.
5 Thus says El YHWH, He that created the heavens and stretched them forth, He that spread forth the earth and that which comes out of it, He that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I YHWH have called you in righteousness, and have taken hold of your hand, and kept you, and set you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations.
7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
8 I am YHWH, that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.
9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.
(Is. 42:1-9 HRV)

In the original Hebrew of the Goodnews according the Matthew (as we have it in the HRV from the DuTillet and Munster texts) we read:

15 But when Yeshua knew, He withdrew from there: and many multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all,
16 And commanded them that they should not make Him known,
17 In order that it might be established which was spoken by Yesha’yahu the prophet, who said,

18 Behold My servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen, in whom My nefesh delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will make righteousness to go out to the Goyim.
19 He will not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
20 A bruised reed will He not break,
and the dimly burning wick will He not quench.
He will make the right go out according to the truth;
21 He will not fail nor be discouraged.
Until He has set right in the earth,
and the isles shall wait for His Torah.
(Matthew 12:15-21 HRV)

Verses 18-21 are quoting the Book of Isaiah 42 1-4 which is a Messianic prophecy.  Of course we are all familiar with the suffering servant portion of Isaiah 53 however there are actually four Servant portions in Isaiah (Is. 42:1-9;  49:1-12; 50:4-11 & Is. 52:7-53:12).  The Targum to this passage clearly identifies this as a prophecy of Messiah and the MEMERA (Word):

1 Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring,
my chosen in whom one delights:
as for my Word [MEMRA], I will put my Holy Spirit upon Him;
He shall reveal my judgment unto the nations.
2 He shall not cry aloud, nor raise a clamor,
 and He shall not lift up His voice in the street.
3 The meek who are like a bruised reed He shall not break,
and the poor who are as a glimmering wick with Him, He will not quench:
He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not faint nor be weary,
till He have established judgment in the earth;
and the isles shall wait for His Torah.
(Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 42:1-4)

However the Greek version of Matthew reads quite differently in Matthew 12:21, as we read in the KJV:

15  But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
16  And charged them that they should not make him known:
17  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

18  Behold my servant, whom I have chosen;
my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased:
I will put my spirit upon him,
and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19  He shall not strive, nor cry;
neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20  A bruised reed shall he not break,
and smoking flax shall he not quench,
till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
(Matthew 12:15-21 KJV)

Both Hebrew and Greek Matthew follow the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 42:1-3 but Greek Matthew replaced Isaiah 42:4 with just one phrase: “And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”

This is not because Greek Matthew follows the Greek Septuagint in these verses, because Isaiah 42:1-3 read very differently in the Greek LXX:

1 Jacob is my servant, I will help him:
Israel is my chosen, my soul has accepted him;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up [his voice],
nor shall his voice be heard without.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break,
and smoking flax shall he not quench;
but he shall bring forth judgment to truth.
4 He shall shine out, and shall not be discouraged,
until he have set judgment on the earth:
and in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
(Isaiah 42:1-4 LXX)

Suddenly in verse 4 Greek Matthew abandons the wording of the Masoretic Text of Isaiah and replaces verse 4 with the phrase “And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” extracted from the Greek Septuagint.

Two things about this replacement are very suspicious:

1. Greek Matthew does not follow the very different reading of the Greek Septuagint of Isaiah 42:1-3, which actually identifies the servant as “Jacob” or “Israel” rather than the Messiah as it is understood in the Targum and in Matthew.  Instead it follows the Masoretic Text in these three verses and switches suddenly to the Septuagint in verse 4!

2. Not all of verse 4 is transplanted from the Septuagint, but instead only one phrase from it awkwardly replaces an entire verse and the first two phrases of the verse are omitted entirely.

Clearly a later hand altered Matthew 12:21 as it appears in the Greek (and Aramaic) of Matthew 12:21 and removed the reference to Torah from the verse!

The Hebrew of Isaiah 42:1-9 paints  picture of the nations waiting for the Torah, brought to them as a light, through the Messiah!  But the early Gentile Christian Church could not stand for a passage that said that Yeshua was bringing the message of Torah to the nations!  So the monks had to monkey with the text and make this very clumsy change to the Scripture!

The true reading is fortunately preserved for us by the original Hebrew text of Matthew which was preserved among the Jews (in the DuTillet and Munster texts):

15 But when Yeshua knew, He withdrew from there: and many multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all,
16 And commanded them that they should not make Him known,
17 In order that it might be established which was spoken by Yesha’yahu the prophet, who said,

18 Behold My servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen, in whom My nefesh delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will make righteousness to go out to the Goyim.
19 He will not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
20 A bruised reed will He not break,
and the dimly burning wick will He not quench.
He will make the right go out according to the truth;
21 He will not fail nor be discouraged.
Until He has set right in the earth,
and the isles shall wait for His Torah.
(Matthew 12:15-21 HRV)

These verses are telling us that the Messiah was fulfilling prophecy by teaching Torah!  And this truth has been removed from this verse by Greek Matthew but has been preserved to us in the original Hebrew of Matthew!

Yeshua’s primary message was the Torah! The Gentile Christain church has gone to great lengths to hide this fact, including outright changing the text of Matthew 12:15-21! The Torah is the Gospel because the Torah was Yeshua’s primary message to the world!

The Gospel of Repentance

There is further evidence to support the contention that the Torah is the Gospel. In the co-called “New Testament” the Gospel is associated with “repentance”:

14 And after Yochanan was delivered up, Yeshua came to Galil, and was proclaiming the Good News [Gospel] of the Eloah.
15 And He said, The time is complete: the Kingdom of Eloah has approached. Repent, and believe in His Good News [Gospel].
(Mark 1:14-15 HRV)

17 And then began Yeshua to cry, saying: Turn you! Turn you, in repentance: for the Kingdom of Heaven is offered.
18 And when Yeshua was walking by the seashore of Galil, He saw two brothers: Shim’on who was called Kefa, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.
19 And He said to them: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.
21 And when He departed from there, He saw two other brothers: Ya’akov Ben Zavdai, and Yochanan his brother, in a boat with Zavdai their father, mending their nets, and He called them.
22 And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23 And Yeshua went about all Galil, teaching in their synagogues, and announcing the Good News [Gospel] of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and pain among the people.
(Matthew 4:12-23 HRV)

This echos many passages from the Tanak dealing with Israel repenting and turning back to Torah (Deut. 30:1-8; Is. 55:7; Jer. 8:4-6;Ezek. 18:21-23; Zech. 1:1-6; Mal. 3:7 Dan. 9:9-11; 2Chron. 7:14; Neh. 1:8-9; 9:16-26).

What does one repent from? Obviously one repents from sin. And what is sin? Sin is “transgression of the Torah (1Jn. 3:4).

So the Gospel was the message of returning to the Torah!

Israel in the Wilderness and the Gospel

Paul writes in Hebrews:

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
(Hebrews 4:2 KJV)

Who is “them” in this verse? If we read the passage in context (Hebrews 3:12-4:9 we find that “them” here refers to the children of Israel who came up out of Egypt with Moses and spent forty years in the wilderness! The “Gospel” is the same message which they had proclaimed to them, because the Gospel is the Torah!

The Gospel is Something you Obey

Several passages in the so-called New Testament refer to the “Gospel” as something that is to be “obeyed”:

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! [Isaiah 52:15]
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias [Isaiah] saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
(Rom. 10:15-16 KJV)

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(2Thes. 1:8 KJV)

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
(1Peter 4:17 KJV)

The Gospel was Yeshua’s primary message, it was a message of repentance and turning back from sin, a message of turning back from transgression of the Torah, and a message to be either obeyed or disobeyed. The Gospel is the Torah!

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