The Torah

The Jewish people do not use the Greek term Pentateuch when referring to the first five books of the Old Testament. Instead, they use the Hebrew word Torah, or “law,” since the law of God given to Moses is contained in this collection of books. Law is the theme throughout these five books, but it is not the same as modern day civil law. For the Jews, obeying the law is the best and the most complete way to show their love for God. Keeping the law means keeping the covenant. If you kept the covenant, you would live and be happy–disobey it, and risk death and misery.

Keeping the Law

Long before the Temple of Jerusalem was built and long after it had been destroyed, the Jews had one sure way to worship and show their love of God and that was by keeping the law and thus fulfilling the covenant between them and the Lord. The faithfulness in keeping the law and the covenant is the one thing that can never be taken away from them.

The theme of service is prominent in the Bible. Obeying God's law was the best way of serving Him. The Bible also tells of what happens when people rebel, disobey, and break His law.

The Hebrew notion of obedience to the law as fulfillment of the covenant is rooted in the sense of fidelity to the will of God. The things of the world–from the mountains to the rivers, to the rocks and the plains–must comply with the same laws of nature, be it gravity or other laws of physics and chemistry. When human beings follow the law of God, they do so, however, not out of instinct (as with animals), nor out of design (as with inanimate matter), but out of free, deliberate, and conscious choice. The Hebrew notion of law is to be faithful to the most Faithful One: to obey the will of the One who deserves our obedience.

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