But Didn’t Moses Teach An Eternal Torah?

Despite the straightforward and unambiguous way in which we have presented a positive case for a finite Law of Moses, those devoted to Orthodox doctrine will undoubtedly ask the following question:

But didn’t Moses teach an eternal Torah?

And they will point to these words:

Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 13:1)

The argument we have made for a finite Torah also quotes from Moses, so in this debate the words of Moses are being set against the words of Moses. Since it is impossible for Moses to contradict himself, because his words are from G-d, we can only conclude that someone is misinterpreting his words in support of their position.

How then do we who advocate for a finite Torah harmonize the words of Moses, which declare the Law should not be added to or subtracted from, with our argument, which has shown that 43% of the positive commands of Torah will be irrelevant in the Messianic Age? To put it simply – we believe that the Law is contextual, not acontextual. Deuteronomy 13:1 only applies in a context where the Law of Moses is the governing body of law. And the Mosaic Law only governs the Age of Moses. The 613 commandments do not govern the Messianic Age. This concept of a contextual Torah command is found just a little bit after Deuteronomy 13:1.

It shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever.

When Moses writes that the servant will belong to the master forever, does Moses mean that even after the Resurrection of the Dead and the start of the Messianic Age, that man will remain a servant? No, certainly not. Rather, the servant is a servant “forever”, meaning for the rest of his life in this age.

What is the conclusion then?

Rabbis beg the question when they quote Deuteronomy 13:1 to support an eternal Torah. Because they presuppose an eternal Torah, they presuppose 13:1 has an eternal and acontextual interpretation. But we have just demonstrated those words can have a finite and contextual interpretation. In fact, a finite and contextual interpretation is demanded by Tanakh, when considering all the data we have already put forth regarding finite commands – commands that are relevant in the Age of Moses but irrelevant in the Messianic Age. If 43% of the positive commands are irrelevant in the Messianic Age, there is simply no way to conclude that the Law of Moses is eternal, and there is no basis at all for believing when Moses wrote the words of Deuteronomy 13:1 he was making a truly perpetual declaration.


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