The Torah of God

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The word Torah has a depth of meaning besides law. Basically, without defining the word here, Torah refers to the first five books of the Bible; and, generally, according to Jewish suppositions, the Torah was the written word as well as its oral traditions revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Torah is a thus saith the Lord in the Pentateuch. The Torah seems like the firm foundation of the entire Bible as everything proceeds out it.

Each Book of the Pentateuch has a meaning: Genesis means in the beginning; Exodus means these are the names; Leviticus means He called; Numbers means in the Wilderness; and Deuteronomy means these are the words. 

In general, Genesis reveals the creation, the disobedience, Noah’s obedience, Abraham’s faith and the events leading up to Israel’s captivity in Egypt. Exodus shows how Israel left Egypt, received God’s Word in the Ten Commandments and struggled to live under God’s Commandments in the wilderness for forty years. Leviticus shows the rituals Israel, and others, were involved in worshipping God. Numbers examines the people of Israel. And Deuteronomy summarizes God’s Word, the forty years and how God’s Words leads to life and disobedience to them leads to death.

Most consider that the Torah means the Law of God given to Moses who wrote it down for the children of Israel first, and for all who would read it. According to Strong’s, law is part of the meaning and a usual translation, but Torah also means direction and instruction.

Let us look at the some definitions.

The dictionary says direction means a course along which someone or something moves: she set off in the opposite direction; the storm was expected to take a more northwesterly direction.
• The course that must be taken in order to reach a destination: he had a terrible sense of direction.
• A point to or from which a person or thing moves or faces: a house with views in all directions; figurative support came from an unexpected direction.
• A general way in which someone or something is developing: new directions in painting and architecture; any dialogue between them is a step in the right direction; it is time to change direction and find a new job.
• General aim or purpose: the campaign's lack of direction.

2 the management or guidance of someone or something: under his direction, the college has developed an international reputation.
• The work of supervising and controlling the actors and other staff in a movie, play, or other production.
• (Directions) instructions on how to reach a destination or about how to do something: Preston gave him directions to a restaurant, directions for making puff pastry.
• An authoritative order or command: to suggest that members of Congress would take direction on how to vote is an affront.

There is a close relationship with direction and law. There may be only one route to a place, which a person must take. That route has the sense of law being that one must do it or else (he will not get there or be safe from the penalty of breaking a law.) When the person in charge gives a direction, those under him must do it as following a route or law.

Torah means instruction, which the dictionary defines:

1 (Often instructions) a direction or order: he issued instructions to the sheriff | he was acting on my instructions.
• (Instructions) Law directions to a lawyer or to a jury.
• Computing a code or sequence in a computer program that defines an operation and puts it into effect.

2 (instructions) detailed information telling how something should be done, operated, or assembled: always study the instructions supplied.

3 teaching; education: the school offers personalized instruction in a variety of skills.

Torah is translated law 200 times and instruction about a dozen times. Instruction has the impact of law in the sense that someone has the authority to instruct people what to do.

Furthermore, since the commandments, the Law, are imbedded in the creation, the Laws are immutable, keep the laws and the Law and a person will live, break them and death ensues, sooner or later. Break the law of gravity by stepping off a ledge or high balcony, the person’s speed will accelerate at 32 feet per second, per second and the end result will be a terrific impact, probably killing the person. The same would be true of eating poisons or breathing poisonous gasses. Obviously, breaking some laws of nature may take time for an ultimate penalty like exposure to small amount of radiation over time.

Now God gives instructions to people about His Law; so people would know what the Law is and its implications, and ignorance of the Law is no excuse. Yet, God can wait patiently for a person to accede to the Law through, yes, ignorance or misunderstanding, but the end results are immutable. Understanding or not, the Law is the Law. God wrote them in stone. “You shall not murder,” is not an instruction but a Commandment or part of the Law of God.

Ex. 31:18 ¶ When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

NAS95S and Strong’s define Torah as follows:

8451. h∂rwø;t torah [435d]; from 3384; direction, instruction, law.

8451. h∂rwø;t towrah, to-raw´; or h∂r;Ot torah, to-raw´; from 3384; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch:—law.

Each of the meanings is interrelated, as noted above, and gives a full English translation of the Hebrew. Remember no translation can ever be fully accurate because a word has a meaning intrinsic to its native language. However, we can get a sense of the meaning from context and redundancy (how a word is used in various contexts). So, the law gives a person direction: do not murder. Now, most translations say kill instead of murder, but the redundancy shows the killing is premeditated, thus murder. Furthermore, the whole of the Torah provides, first and foremost, the basic Law written in stone, gives directions (how to) and instructions (a fuller explanation with examples) to keeping the Law.

The Torah concept below shows Abraham’s faith (mentioned else where) led to his obedience of God’s obligations (His instructions), commandments, statutes (the break down of the commandments) and His Torah.

Gen. 26:5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”

Implicit, as previously noted, is the commandments must be given by teaching or instruction; otherwise, how would one know what they are.

Matt. 5:19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

There are levels of meaning within a definition of a word. One cannot keep commandments or instructions without being taught. Obviously, then, one must be learn and understand what God tells people what to do, how and why.

Ex. 16:28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?

Job notes that the instructions God gave in the Torah must be listened to, so that they would imbedded in the heart (mind).

Job 22:22   “Please receive instruction from His mouth
            And establish His words in your heart.

A root sound of Torah is yarah:

3384. h∂rÎy yarah, yaw-raw´; or (2 Chr. 26:15) a∂rÎy yara, yaw-raw´; a primitive root; properly, to flow as water (i.e. to rain); transitively, to lay or throw (especially an arrow, i.e. to shoot); figuratively, to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach:

Yarah has the sense of pointing at or pointing out something to aim at or for. The Torah should cover a person like rain, with the connotation of flowing toward a goal. The rain and flow also gives sense of the flood, the cleansing of sin, later in baptism. All of this leading to the goal of Torah, which is becoming sons and daughters of God, eventually, in the Kingdom of God.

Gen. 46:28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.

Here yarah is translated like Torah, direction, thus, linking the two root sounds together. The land of Goshen is likened to being directed to the Kingdom of God, in some sense.

Ex. 4:12 “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”
Ex. 4:15 “You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.

Being taught by the Torah has a powerful meaning. It makes the Torah more than just ‘do as I say.’

God’s teachings in the Torah shot forth to the future and gave powerful impetus to gain understanding of God and His instructions shown by the following verses.

Job 27:11 “I will instruct you in the power of God;
            What is with the Almighty I will not conceal.

Psa. 25:12  Who is the man who fears the LORD?
            He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Psa. 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Yarad is another root sound connected to Torah.

3381. dArÎy yarad, yaw-rad´; a primitive root; to descend (literally, to go downwards; or conventionally to a lower region, as the shore, a boundary, the enemy, etc.; or figuratively, to fall); causatively, to bring down (in all the above applications).

Yarad presents the awesome aspect of the Supreme Being that He would deign to come down from His heavenly throne to observe and instruct those made in His image. This shows an important aspect of God. See ahab below.

Gen. 11:5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

God interacts with and attends to His people.

Gen. 46:4 “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.”

Ex. 19:11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

The following verse combines the majesty of God and His concern for His people. This was the point at which God writes His Torah on stone for His people, and for the few who would apprehend it.

Ex. 19:18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.

Towr is a deeper root sound of Torah.

8447. rwø;t towr, tore; or r;Ot tor, tore; from 8446; a succession, i.e. a string or (abstractly) order:

8446. r…w;t tuwr, toor; a primitive root; to meander (causatively, guide) about, especially for trade or reconnoitring:

Ezek. 20:6 on that day I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.

God continues the aspect of the Torah’s root sounds by showing how God selected Canaan, a physical example of the Kingdom of God, and thus giving people a sense of selecting places and things that adhere to His teaching, instruction and law, the Torah. Aim for the good land.

Torah’s root sound, tuwshiyah, suggests an irresistible result of Torah’s influence on and ability to gain understanding.

8454. h¥Îˆyv…w;t tuwshiyah, too-shee-yaw´; or h¥Îˆyv;Ut tushiyah, too-shee-yaw´; from an unused root probably meaning to substantiate; support or (by implication) ability, i.e. (direct) help, (in purpose) an undertaking, (intellectual) understanding.

Those who substantiate the Torah by regarding the creation as Abraham did when he discerned the greatness of the stars in the heavens to gain understanding. Those who use the Torah to support their understanding increase their ability to do the Torah. God, who gave people the Torah, also helps them in need, confusion and assault. When those deign to undertake the Words and Way of the Torah increase more than understanding; they advance to higher wisdom.

Mic. 6:9 The voice of the LORD will call to the city—
            And it is sound wisdom to fear Your name:
            “Hear, O tribe. Who has appointed its time?

Prov. 2:7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
            He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,

Job 11:6 And show you the secrets of wisdom!
            For sound wisdom has two sides.
            Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity.

Is. 28:29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts,
            Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.

This leads to the root sound, towrah.

8452. h∂rwø;t towrah, to-raw´; probably feminine of 8448; a custom:

8448. rwø;t towr, tore; probably the same as 8447; a manner (as a sort of turn):—estate.

A powerful part of language is custom. The dictionary says this about custom:

“A traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time.”

Those people who have been instructed and led by God into a way of life based on the Torah, become accustomed to this. All their activities, Sabbath keeping, for example, become their customary behavior, a kind of body language and verbal interaction based on this custom. In linguistic we learned that there are different languages a person knows and uses: one’s personal language, the family’s language, the neighborhood’s language, the regional language, the national language and a formal language. All these languages are embodied in customs.

History tells us that the language and customs of a people control their behavior. Many examples exist. Russia customarily wants to create and maintain an empire and have only succeeded for short periods of time. Their customs overpower them. Syria, in the same way, has conquered many times in their history and has been dangerous to neighbors.

God’s people develop the custom of keeping God’s Torah, a powerful draw through out history, even for non-Israelites who come in contact with Torah. Those with Torah are destined to rule because Torah prepares them to live accustomed to God’s Way.

1Chr. 17:17  “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O LORD God!

Towshab further increases one’s understanding of Torah’s influence.

8453. bÎvwø;t towshab, to-shawb´; or bÎv;Ot toshab (1 Kings 17:1), to-shawb´; from 3427; a dweller (but not outlandish (5237)); especially (as distinguished from a native citizen (active participle of 3427) and a temporary inmate (1616) or mere lodger (3885)) resident alien.

Even the Torah’s root sound of towshab prophesies the inclusion of non-Israelites into the world of Torah from its teachings to its customs. People can be engrafted onto the tree of life that the Torah furnishes.

Lev. 25:6 ‘All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you.
Lev. 25:23 ¶ ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
Lev. 25:35 ¶ ‘Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.

Ah in Torah is associated to the root sound of ahab: 158. bAhAa ahab [13b]; from 157; love (noun):


Ab in towsahab: 1. bDa ab [3a]; from an unused word; father:

Our Father in heaven formed, begot in an original way, His children, made in His Image. His lovingkindness created a world with all His children could need or want. Then, above all else, He instructed them how to live to their greatest potential as being made in His Image. All of this, aside from a possible oral law, He had His people transcribe His Law, embodying His directions and instructions for doing the Law, the Torah.

Most left the guidance, protection and love of the Father. However, the tiny few who learned of Him received all the great promises He planned for His beloved, now and forever. For all who fail to accept the Torah, their will be the second resurrection.

Torah is about God’s promises of life and life more abundantly, about learning God’s Word and agreeing to His covenant of life. Adam and Eve did not agree, but Noah did as did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and others.

How did they agree? Adam and Eve did not by eating the forbidden fruit; Noah did by building an ark; Israel did by putting blood on the doorframes….

God did not just give His Law to people, but showed them the meaning and importance of keeping His instructions by showing them how and why. He did not just say, just do it and ask no questions.


One final root sound, the ar, brings the whole together. Phonetically, the ar sound both in debar to speak, and Torah, law and understanding, are the same (almost, except for the diacritical mark under the ar in Torah). Therefore, God’s speaking creates and brings the Good life into being. The Torah represents those words of life from “light” in Genesis to Deuteronomy and, ultimately, to the Kingdom of God revealed in Revelation.


Gil Kovacs, Pastor

Sabbath Christian Church