People often misunderstand Romans 10:4 to mean that Christ ended the Torah. In the Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul said, “Messiah is the end of the Torah,” (Romans 10:4), and in his epistle to the Galatians he wrote, “The Torah was put in charge to lead us to Messiah” (Galatians 3:24). In this sense, Messiah is the goal of the Torah. He is the destination at which the journey of Torah arrives. Is Messiah to be understood as the ending of the Torah then? No. He is the end, but not the ending. The Greek word used for “end” in Romans 10:4 implies that he is the goal of the Torah but not the termination of it. In fact, He Himself has said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah …” (Matthew 5:17).
In what sense is Yeshua the goal and “ending” of the Torah? He lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life. He perfectly lived out the Torah. Therefore, he is the end for which the Torah aimed.
FFOZ has a mixed staff of Jewish and Gentile believers. We believe that Jews are still the unique, chosen people of God. We reject the idea that Israel has been replaced by the church. For thousands of years, God has preserved the identity of the Jewish people. As Paul says, “What advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect!” (Romans 3:1-2) At First Fruits of Zion we teach the unity of Jew and Gentile in Messiah. We assert that Gentile believers are grafted into Israel as Paul says in Romans 11, forming “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15) and that in Messiah, “there is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28). However, none of that diminishes the unique and precious distinction of ethnic/halachic Jewish identity.
While it is true that we teach equality in Messiah, we must also remember to preserve and cherish the unique place of ethnic Jews among us and be wary of doing anything that might displace their unique, historic connection with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Paul said “there is neither Jew nor Greek,” but he also said in the same verse, “there is neither male nor female.” Obviously he did not mean that we should obliterate the lines of distinction between genders. Neither then should we obliterate the lines of distinction between Jew and Gentile.
The Bible fully obligates Jews to keep the Torah. Acts 21:20-25 makes it clear that the apostles expected Jewish believers to remain steadfast in the Torah after coming to faith in Messiah. Therefore, at FFOZ, we encourage Jewish believers to demonstrate their Jewishness through faithful observance of God’s commandments.
The Torah was given to the Jewish people as a sacred covenant. Nevertheless, Gentiles are included in the Torah, and Gentile believers are obligated to keep many of the Torah's commandments.
The Torah assumes a basic level of ethical monotheism from Gentiles. For example, the story of Noah tells about God punishing Gentiles for robbery, violence, and sexual decadence, and in that story, God gives specific commandments to Noah and his sons about food, murder, and justice. Judaism refers to these laws as the seven laws of Noah:
Do not worship idols or other gods.
Do not blaspheme God's name.
Do not murder.
Do not commit sexual immorality.
Do not steal.
Do not eat things while they are still alive (i.e., meat with blood).
Establish courts of justice.
The apostles taught that, in addition to the basic laws of ethical monotheism, Gentile believers in Yeshua should also keep the commandments that applied to a stranger sojourning among Israel by keeping the Torah's prohibitions on ingesting blood, improperly slaughtered meat, things contaminated by contact with idolatry, and by adopting the Torah's definitions of sexual immorality and observing those prohibitions (See Acts 15; Leviticus 17-18). In addition to this, the apostles taught that Gentile believers in Yeshua should keep all the commandments of the Torah that pertain to loving one's fellow:
For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Torah." (Romans 13:9-10)
The apostles did not require Gentile believers to adopt the specific Torah practices unique to the Jewish people (such as circumcision, Sabbath, holy days, levitical rituals, etc.) but neither did they discourage Gentiles from participating along with them in the Sabbath, holy days, and Jewish life. When a Gentile becomes a believer, he receives a divine mandate to keep the laws that apply to him as a Gentile and a divine invitation to celebrate with the Jewish people the laws that apply to the Jewish people.
God commands his people regarding what they are to eat. He forbids them to eat certain animals (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14), blood and meat not properly bled (Leviticus 17:11-12; Deuteronomy 12:15-16; Acts 15:20), and food contaminated by idols (Exodus 34:15; Acts 15:19-20). These laws constitute the biblical dietary regulations.
For food to be regarded as “kosher” (proper) by traditional Jewish standards, meat and dairy must also be kept separate (Deuteronomy 14:21) and the meat must be slaughtered according to traditional methods under rabbinic supervision. The biblical food laws were never rescinded in the New Testament.
Yeshua is the Hebrew name of Jesus. The apostles testify that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Davidic Messiah, the Son of God, the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14), “in whom the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).