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Ryan wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If the Messiah of prophecy was foretold to usher in an era of Torah observance, why is the Church largely dismissive of teaching Torah?

While the New Testament is obviously paramount to Catholicism, I don't understand how it can ultimately overshadow the original law that the Messiah was supposed to defend.


  { If the Messiah of prophecy was foretold to usher an era of Torah observance, why be dismissive? }

John replied:

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your question, however, the supposition is incorrect. The Messiah came to save mankind and to fulfill the Torah (the Law) and the Prophets.

The Law can be divided in to two parts.

  1. One is the moral law which can be summarized in the Ten Commandments.
  2. The other part is ceremonial law which served as a teacher and a mirror.

For instance, the Hebrews were told to sacrifice animals in atonement for their sins. They had to sacrifice lambs with no blemish. Well, this was to teach them that the sin causes death, both spiritual and eventually physical. The lamb had to be perfect, without blemish. This was a foreshadow of Jesus who is the Lamb of God.

These sacrifices didn't actually atone for sin, but they pointed to Christ and Calvary. Jesus was without sin and therefore was able to take on the sins of all mankind and paid with His life, the wage, the price, and the consequence for our sins. Therefore it is no longer necessary for us to sacrifice animals. In fact in 70 A.D. the Temple was destroyed (as Jesus foretold) because there was no more need for it.

Likewise other laws in Leviticus that have to do with diet or certain other matters were temporary provisions given to Israel for teaching purposes. While in Egypt, Israel had adopted many of the Idolatrous and pagan practices of the Egyptians. So many of those laws were meant to break those habits.

As Catholics, we keep the moral law but the provisional laws, the ceremonial laws, are no longer in effect. Jesus Himself said that all the Law and the Prophets can be reduced to two commandments.

  1. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your being.
  2. And the second is like it — Love your neighbor as yourself.

The Old Testament must be interpreted in and through Jesus Christ and His Teachings. Those Teachings are found in the Gospels and the Epistles written by His followers. His Teachings are also found in the Sacred Tradition handed down through the ages in the Church Christ established. The Torah and the Prophets all point to Jesus Christ.

We fulfill and obey the Torah, by obeying Jesus and His Teachings.

I hope this helps,

John DiMascio

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