Not long ago I posted a discovery I had made that shed light on Romans Chapter 10.
Recently I have made a further discovery concerning this passage. This further discovery reinforces the correctness of the previous discovery and adds to it evidence that Paul's argument in Romans 10 is drawn in part from the apocryphal book of Baruch (which he clearly therefore used).
To best understand this new insight, it is best to incorporate it into the whole of that light which has already been shed on this section of Romans. So for some of you this entire article will be revolutionary, however even for those who have studied with us for many years will find a new nugget of insight in this article.
Let us begin with Romans 10:4. This is a passage which is so misunderstood. It appears in the KJV to say that "Christ is the end of the law". The Aramaic word used for "end" here is SAKA. Back in 1893 when James Murdock S.T.D. (A Christian) translated the Aramaic Peshitta into English for the first time, he translated this word as "aim". He noted the original Aramaic word in the margin and further defined it "end, scope, summary". This Aramaic word is used in the Rabbinic literature to mean "number" "sum" or "total". In the Babylonian Talmud this word is used as follows "…the SUM of pupils for a teacher in the primary class is twenty five" (b.Bat. 21a) The root verb for this Aramaic noun means "to calculate, count, sum up" or "to look out for, to hope for".
With this Aramaic word, Paul is saying, not that the Messiah is the TERMINATION of the Torah, but that Messiah is the aim, goal, scope, summary, number, total and sum of the Torah! Paul is saying that the Messiah *IS* the Torah. Messiah is the SUM of the Torah.
Rom 10:5 then continues with:
"For Moses thus wrote of the righteousness that is by the Torah that `he who does these will live by them.'(Lev. 18:5)"
Remember now, Paul has just said that the Messiah is the sum of the Torah, and now he is quoting the Torah to prove that "life" comes from the Torah.
Then in Rom. 10:6-8 Paul continues:
"And of the righteousness that is by trust, he thus says: `Do not say in your heart: who has ascended to heaven' (Deut. 30:12) and brought down the Messiah? `And who has descended' to the depth of She'ol `and brought up' (Deut. 13:13) the Messiah from among the dead? But what does it say? `The answer is near to you, to your mouth and to your heart,' (Deut. 30:14) which is the word of trust that we proclaim"
Now Christian commentators have taken Paul to be contrasting "the righteousness that is by the Torah" (Rom. 10:5) with "the righteousness that is by faith" (Rom. 10:6) to prove that Messiah is the "end"/"termination" of the Law as stated in Rom. 10:4.
There are several problems with this interpretation.
To begin with, we have already shown that Paul's point in Rom. 10:4 is not that Messiah is the termination of the law, but that Messiah is the goal and sum of the Torah.
Secondly Rom. 10:5 and Rom 10:6f both quote passages from the Torah to prove their points.
Thirdly, these commentators totally mangle the point Paul is making in Rom. 10:6-8.
When Paul was teaching the Bereans in Acts 17, we are told that they checked "the Scriptures" to see if what Paul said could be found there, and Paul said they were more noble than others he had toaght, for doing this. Now the only Scriptures they had at the time were those of the Tanak ("Old Testament") so Paul would look to the passages he cites from the Tanak to see that we are applying his words accurately as they are in the Tanak.
So lets be good Bereans and look at the portion of Torah Paul actually quotes in Rom. 10:6-8, see what it actually says in context, and see how Paul is using it. Paul is quoting from Deut. 30:12-14. To get some context we will begin in verse 9 and take the quote through verse 16:
9 And YHWH your Elohim will make you over-abundant in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good; for YHWH will again rejoice over you for good, as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 If you shall hearken to the voice of YHWH your Elohim, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Torah; if you turn unto HYWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul. 11 For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say: `Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should says: `Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 14 But the word if very near unto you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil, 16 In that I command you this day to love YHWH your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statues and His ordinances; then you shall live and multiply, and YHWH your Elohim shall bless you in the land where you go in to possess it. (Deut. 30:9-16)
Now the first and most important point is that in Deut. 30:12-13 it is the Torah that we do not have to have brought down to us, but in Paul's citations in Rom. 10:6-7 it is the "Messiah" who does not have to be brought down to us. Paul is applying his logic that Messiah is the sum of the Torah from Rom. 10:4 (thus reaffirming that we are correct in our understanding of SAKA in Rom. 10:4).
Paul here is being influenced by the Apocryphal book of Baruch which paraphrases Deut. 30:12-13 saying:
29 Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her [wisdom] and brought her down from the clouds? 30 Who has gone over the sea, and found her, and will buy her for pure gold? (Baruch 3:29-30)
Then a few lines later Baruch writes:
37 Afterward she appeared upon earth and lived among men. 4:1 She is the book of the commandments of Elohim, and the Torah that endures forever. All who hold fast will live, and those who forsake her fast will die. (Baruch 3:29-30)
In Baruch that which is brought down from heaven in Deut. 30:12-13 is personified Wisdom (compare 1Cor. 1:24 ) which is identified with an incarnation of the Torah itself having come down to earth to dwell with men.
Moreover, when Paul says "the answer is near to you, to your mouth, and to your heart, which is the word of trust that we proclaim" (Rom. 10:8) Deut. Says "But the WORD is very near unto you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it" (Deut. 30:14). So the "answer" and the "word of trust/faith" in Rom. 10:8 is the "word" in Deut. 30:14, but in Deut. 30:14 that "word" is CLEARLY the Torah! In other words Rom. 10:8 might be understood "the TORAH is near to you, to your mouth, and to your heart, which is the TORAH of trust/faith that we proclaim".
Fourth, we find that Deut. 30:15-16 parallel the meaning of Lev. 18:5 so that we can see that Paul is citing these two passages together, not because he is contrasting them, but because they teach the same thing!
Finally if we look back to Rom. 10:6 which is quoting Deut. 30:12 and we look closely at the phrase Paul quotes "who shall go up for us to heaven" in the original Hebrew of Deut. 30:12, and if we take the first letter of each word to from a new word (this is a technique known as "Notarikon") then we spell the Hebrew word MILAH (which can mean "word" or "circumcision") and if we take the last letter of each word we find the name YHWH, so hidden and imbedded in this Hebrew phrase is the phrase "Word of YHWH". Paul's point is that both the Messiah and the Torah are the "Word of YHWH".
Now as Romans continues we read:
9 And if you confess with your mouth our Adon Yeshua, and you believe in your heart that Eloah raised him from the dead, you will have life. 10 For the heart that believes in him is made righteousness, and the mouth that confesses him has life. 11 For the scripture has said that anyone who believes in him will not be humiliated (Is. 28:16). 12 And in this it does not discriminate, either against Jews or against Aramaeans, for YHWH of all of them is one who is rich with all who call on him. 13 For all who will call on the name of YHWH have life (Joel 3:5 (2:32)).
Note the progression of thought:
Point 1: The Messiah is the sum of the Torah (Rom. 10:4)
Point 2: The Torah brings life. (Rom. 10:5-8
"For Moses thus wrote of the righteousness that is by the Torah that `he who does these will LIVE by them.'(Lev. 18:5)" (Rom. 10:5)
"…I have set before you this day LIFE and good… in that I have commanded you this day to love YHWH your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances: then you shall LIVE…" (Deut. 30:15-16) (pointed to in that Rom. 10:6-8 quotes Deut. 30:12-14)
Point 3: The Messiah brings life (Rom. 10:9-10)
9 And if you confess with your mouth our Adon Yeshua, and you believe in your heart that Eloah raised him from the dead, you will have LIFE. 10 For the heart that believes in him is made righteousness, and the mouth that confesses him has LIFE. (Rom. 10:9-10)
Point 4: The "name of YHWH" brings life (Rom. 10:13)
13 For all who will call on the name of YHWH have LIFE (Joel 3:5 (2:32)). (Rom. 10:13)
(At this point I should add that Paul is clearly writing this letter in Aramaic. In Aramaic "life" and "salvation" are the same ambiguous word, but in both Hebrew and Greek "life" and "salvation" are different words.)
Here there is a clear equivalence being made between:
The Torah and:
"our Adon Yeshua"
"the name of YHWH"
According to the Tanak, the Torah is the "Word of YHWH" (Is. 1:10; 2:3) and according to Yochanan Messiah is the Word of YHWH (Jn. 1:1-3, 14-18; Rev. 19:13).
Jewish tradition teaches that the entire Torah, from the first letter to the last letter, is one of the names of YHWH.
The Targums were authoritative Aramaic paraphrases of the books of the Tanak which were read in the synagogues along with the Hebrew of the Torah and Haftorah readings. Often when the Targums come to passages where YHWH is anthropomorphisised or seen, or where two or more YHWHs are indicated by the text, the Targums will substitute "The Word [Memra] of YHWH" for YHWH.
For example in Gen. 19:24 the Tanak has:
And YHVH rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, from YHVH, from the heavens.
The Hebrew grammar here indicates that one YHWH rains fire from another YHWH) But Targum Jonathan substitutes "The Word of YHWH/the L-RD" for the first of the two YHWHs as follows:
And the Word of the YHWH caused to descend upon the peoples of Sodom and Gommorah, brimstone and fire from the YHWH in heaven.
In another example the Torah has:
Ex. 24:1a (YHWH is the speaker, see Ex. 20:1-2) Now He [YHWH] said to Moses, "come up to YHWH..."
But Targum Jonathan paraphrases the speaker in Ex. 20:1 with the substitution "the Word [Memra] of YHWH" in place of "YHWH."
And the Word of the Lord spoke all these glorious words...
So it would seem that one of these entities called "YHWH" in these Torah passages was actually understood by the Targumists as being the "Word of YHWH." It was, according to Targum Onkelos, this Word of YHWH that Abraham trusted in:
And Abraham trusted in the Word [Memra] of YHWH, and He counted it to him for righteousness. (Targum Onkelos Gen. 15:6)
Moreover Abraham prayed in the name of the Word of YHWH:
And Abraham worshipped and prayed in the name of the Word [Memra] of YHWH, and said, "You are YHWH who does see, but You cannot be seen." (Jerusalem Targum Gen. 22:14)
Note that here Abraham prays "in the name of the Word of YHWH" to the YHWH who "cannot be seen." Here two YHWHs are very apparent. Abraham is praying in the name of the Word of YHWH but is praying to the YHWH who cannot be seen. This idea is reinforced elsewhere as follows:
And Hagar praised and prayed in the name of the Word [Memra] Of YHWH who had revealed Himself to herS (Jerusalem Targum Gen. 16:3)
It was this Word of YHWH that Jacob also trusted in:
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, "If the Word [Memra] of YHWH will be my support, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Word [Memra]of YHWH be my Elohim. (Targum Onkelos on Gen. 28:20-21)
King David also urged Israel to trust in the Word of Yah as the Targum of Psalm 62 reads:
Trust in the Word of Yah at all times, O people of the house of Israel! Pour out before Him the sighings of your heart; Say, Elohim is our trust forever. (Targum on Psalm 62:9)
This "Word of YHWH" was, according to Targum Jonathan, the Creator:
And the Word [Memra] of YHWH created man in his likeness, in the likeness of YHWH, YHWH created, male and female created He them. (Targ. Jonathan Gen. 1:27)
This idea is also put forward in the Jerusalem Targum:
And the Word [Memra] of YHWH said to Moses: "I am He who said unto the world 'Be!' and it was: and who in the future shall say to it 'Be!' and it shall be." And He said: "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'I Am' has sent me to you." (Jerusalem Targum Ex. 3:14)
The Fragmentary Targum of the Torah also expresses that the Word of YHWH was the Creator:
The first night, when the "Word of YHWH" was revealed to the world in order to create it, the world was desolate and void, and darkness spread over the face of the abyss and the "Word of the Lord" was bright and illuminating and He called it the first night. (Fragmentary Targum Ex. 12:42)
That the Word of YHWH was the Creator can also be seen in the Tenach itself:
By the Word of YHWH were the heavens made, And all the hosts of them by the Spirit of His mouth. (Ps. 33:6)
The Word was also the covenant maker. For example the Noachdic covenant was between the Word and all mankind:
And YHWH said to Noah, "This is the token of the covenant which I have established between My Word [Memra] and between all flesh that is upon the earth. (Targum Onkelos Gen. 9:17)
The Word also made the Abrahamic covenant as Targum Onkelos also paraphrases:
And I will establish my covenant between My Word [Memra] and between youS (Targum Onkelos Gen. 17:7)
The Word of YHWH was also the giver of the Mosaic Covenant and the Torah as the Jerusalem Targum (as quoted above) makes the Torah giver "the Word of YHWH" in Ex. 20:1. It was to the Word that Jacob turned to for salvation:
Our father Jacob said: "My soul does not wait for salvation such as that wrought by Gideon, the son of Joash, for that was but temporal; neither for a salvation like that of Samson, which was only transitory; but for that salvation which You have promised to come, through Your Word unto Your people, the children of Israel; for your salvation my soul hopes." (Targum Jonathan Gen. 49:18)
That the Word of YHWH is the savior is expressed elsewhere:
But Israel shall be saved by the Word of YHWH with an everlasting salvationS By the Word of YHWH shall all the seed of Israel be justifiedS (Targum Jonathan Is. 45:17, 25)
But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Word of YHWH, their Elohim. (Targum Jonathan Hosea 1:7)
All of this is in keeping with the argument Paul is making in Romans chapter 10:
1. The Messiah is the sum of the Torah 2. The Torah gives life 3. The Messiah gives life/salvation 4. The name of YHWH gives life/salvation
The true teaching of Romans 10 is that Messiah is the Word of YHWH, the living Torah incarnate, and as such is the source of life/salvation (not apart from the Torah, but through his role as the Torah) and is therefore the very "name of YHWH" which saves us when we call upon it.
I want to thank you all for your support. This community has showed a determination to get more serious about financial support for this work.
This is a testimony to your willingness to support an overlord free community that endeavors to keep the unity of the spirit rather than divide the community.
Of course there is much work to do and this is only a start, it is a good start and a good sign that this community is willing to support the work of bringing Torah and Messiah to the lost, milk to new believers and nice juicy steaks for the mature believers.
Now is not a time to become complacent.
Thank you for your help in allowing us (all of us together) to do our Father’s business, may YHWH bless you in every way.
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Now is time to step up to the plate!