Perhaps the most obvious, and frequently-asked, of all questions concerning the idea of what it means to “come out of” the world — and of the ‘Church’ of Babylon, or Egypt, or Washington, DC — has to do with what is DIFFERENT about following Him as a “Torah-Observant Believer”. Isn’t it more than food, or keeping His Sabbath? Are the differences significant ENOUGH that we might even refer to II Cor. 11:4 and suggest that some of those churches even preach “another ‘Jesus’, whom we have not preached“?*
Certainly we can suggest to people that our faith in YHVH must be built on the Rock that He has always said constitutes the foundation: His instruction, aka “torah,” and the fact that He, without question or failure, always and absolutely keeps His Covenants. Every bit of His teaching and instruction, literally from “Bereshiet (Genesis) to Maps,” tells an utterly consistent story. But when it comes to any number of the ‘doctrines of men’, most ‘Sunday churches’ still generally teach tradition rather than Scripture. So to explain to a skeptical Christian what is different about following Him in obedience (and walking according to His commandments) ‘as Written‘ can be anything but a brief undertaking.
Is it possible to explain all of those differences in a short teaching? Of course! And the answer is amazingly simple.
Start the way He did! The teaching known popularly as the “Sermon on the Mount”, contained in Matthew chapters 5 to 7, is a perfect introduction to what He did — because the Messiah Himself tells us what He came to do, as well as what He did NOT! And it is easy to find, and remember, because it is essentially the very first major teaching He gave.
And remember who He was talking to! For the most part, they were people who had some understanding of the Scriptures, but who had been deceived by teachers who had not been doing their jobs. He would later call many of such unfaithful servants and blind guides things like “hypocrites” — and worse — for exactly that reason!
These were people, however, who arguably had a better understanding of ‘the Torah’ than many in today’s churches do. But, like those who have been deceived by the modern Pharisees, many in His audience had been misled to believe that their own, often pagan, tradition was what Scripture actually SAID (they may have even claimed it was ‘law’).
Yahushua started with things they knew, at least in part, because Scripture promises blessings for obedience to YHVH. These include things like the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 28, and culminate in the ultimate directive to “choose life!” of chapter 30, verse 19. His introduction, therefore, is a reprise of the blessings YHVH bestows upon His children. The first time He speaks directly of Himself and what He has come to do, however, it is about ‘torah’. After all, He is the “Word Made Flesh”, and makes VERY clear right up front that He has NOT come to ‘destroy the torah‘ but to “fulfill”…literally to “fill up” His instruction, and the testimony of prophets who spoke of Him, with meaning that had not, until that time unfolded, been clear:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (MatitYahu 5:17)
Furthermore, we can see that “heaven and earth” still exist. And since even most children understand** simple logic, the meaning of His next statement is undeniable — even if it conflicts with much doctrine of ‘the Church’:
“For assuredly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will by any means pass from the [torah] until all is fulfilled. (v. 18)
Having established that He did not come to change His own Word, and warning against “teaching men so” besides, He proceeds to give just about the best point-by-point refutation of the ‘doctrine of the Pharisees’ — both of that time, and those that followed — that a new Believer will find. It was His choice of repeated verbal ‘template’ and imagery that is so profound — and so VITAL for us to recognize! Time and again, He makes the same point: “You have heard it said…“ illustrated by some example of a Biblical-sounding doctrine with a bit of a twist, followed by His own correction, “...but I TELL YOU.“ In every single case, what they had “heard it said” was wrong, as He patiently explained, and what He told them was EXACTLY WHAT WAS WRITTEN. Why, because He was the “Word Made Flesh”, of course!
And what better introduction to the differences between what each of us has “heard it said” that He taught, or — well, SHOULD have taught, if only He understood whatever traditions and doctrines of fallen men are being promoted at the time — and what is actually Written than His very first sermon! Yahushua, as opposed to “another ‘Jesus’ — who came to change His own instruction and thus make Himself out to be some type of false prophet,” makes perfectly clear the difference between what it means to BELIEVE Him, as opposed to merely believing IN Him.
No wonder the summary of that teaching ends with the observation that those who heard it “were astounded!”
“For he taught them as [one] having Authority.” And why that is should be obvious!
The best way for us to explain the difference between the real Yahushua, who didn’t change the smallest part of His teaching and instruction, and “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,” is to be able to do so exactly as He did: What you have “heard it said” is NOT necessarily what “is Written!”
* II Cor. 11:4
** Case in point: When a father tells his son that — if he expects to earn some desired reward — but not “until you clean this room” and wait “until after supper”, it means BOTH conditions must be met. Those with seminary degrees who claim that the “law (meaning His Torah) is done away with” because “all” has somehow been fulfilled need to understand simple logic as well as a child.