Is the Torah the ministry of death that is passing away?

2 Corinthians 3

2 Corinthians 3:2–15, Overview of the Letter Vs. the Spirit of the Torah

In this passage, Paul isn’t teaching against the validity or replacement of the Torah with something else. There is nothing wrong with Torah. How could there be? It is the Word, mind, will and heart of Elohim. Torah shows us how to love Elohim and our neighbor. It shows us how to be blessed, defines sin, shows us how to walk in the paths of righteousness, leads us to Messiah and the shows us our need for him because of our sin and inability to live up to its high standards of holiness and righteousness. 

These are just a few of the wonderful benefits of Torah, and I’ve discussed this at length many times elsewhere. The problem with Torah, if you will, is not with Torah itself, but with what sinful and misguided people do with it. Torah itself, like money alcohol or guns, is neutral. It’s the misuse of these things by sinful people that is evil. For example, money isn’t evil; however, the love of it is.

The problem with many people in our day who are returning to a more Hebraic and Torah-centric orientation in their spiritual walk is balance or the lack thereof. Too many people go hog-wild over Torah because the mainstream church system from which they have come has deprived them of it, and when they learn about it, they run to Torah like a flock of starving and half-crazed sheep stampeding from a desert into verdant, lush pasture of grass. They gorge themselves and then get the runs and get all messy. (I know because I grew up on a sheep farm!) Too many people forget about Yeshua and the fact that they can’t even do Torah without him and his Spirit in working in them. Sadly, people forget that we’re “under/subject to the law toward Messiah” as Paul was (1 Cor 9:21). Without Messiah, it’s the dead letter, and as you’ve stated, all you have is a bunch of people trying to earn their own righteousness through their own will power. Can’t be done. The Israelites failed at this and most perished in the wilderness. Why do we think we can do any better? 

Please keep this mind, in 2 Corinthians 3, Paul here is largely talking about covenants—both the old and new, which he refers to in verses 6 and in 7 as “the ministration of death,” and which is passing away (v. 11). The Torah itself which remains is still glorious (v. 11). The Torah was merely the terms of the “Old Covenant”, not the covenant itself. Never forget that the “Old Covenant” never promised a person eternal life or ultimate salvation from sin; the New Covenant does. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with the Torah itself, for with it comes many benefits and blessings (if obeyed) and many curses including guilt, shame, condemnation and death (if disobeyed). The problem with a totally Torah-centric orientation, as you’ve correctly identified, is that it overlooks the necessary power of the Spirit of Elohim at work in a person’s life through a relationship with Yeshua. The problem is the rebelliousness of human nature and hard human heart which refuses to be subject to the laws of Elohim (Heb 8:7–8; Rom 8:7; Jer 17:9). 

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New Video: The Old & New Covenants Compared—The Letter & Spirit of the Law Explained

YHVH Elohim is calling His saints to be spiritual mountain climbers. In their spiritual journey upward, His people started at sea level in Egypt, then He called them to meet Him at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, then to come up closer to Him at Mount Zion, then higher still to receive the Set-Apart Spirit and the Torah-law written on their hearts on the Day of Pentecost, and higher still to the New Jerusalem from above, which is coming to the earth soon at the second coming of the Messiah.

The study notes to this teaching are available at


Happy Shavuot 2017—Sunday, June 4! Enjoy this fresh manna from heaven!

Attaining Spiritual Maturity in the New Covenant—On Being a Spiritual Mountain Climber

(This manna from heaven was revealed and downloaded to Natan in the back country of Alaska while sitting, Bible in hand, prayerfully, overlooking Little Port Walter on Baronov Island (75 miles SE of Sitka), and while on a boat in the Pacific Ocean in the Chatham Straights between Baronov and Admiralty islands.)

On Being Spiritual Mountain Climbers

From the time that YHVH revealed himself to the children of Israel while they were enslaved in Egypt, he has been calling his people to be spiritual mountain climbers. He first called the Israelites out of Egypt and up to Mount Sinai, and then up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He then called his people to come even higher yet to the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and he is now calling his people to come up even higher to the New Jerusalem that is above us and is the mother of us all. This highest mountain of YHVH is the ultimate source of our spiritual sustenance, the source of the river of life along which the trees of life are situated. From this spiritual wellspring comes all divine revelation and ultimately immortal life as children of the Most High.

The beginning of the upward spiritual journey of YHVH’s people is memorialized in the counting of the omer, which starts on First Fruits Day occurring during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and culminates fifty days later with the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot; Lev 23:4–16). Each new step in this journey is a stepping stone or a launch pad to the next. For the Israelites, the journey started at sea level in the flat-land river delta of Egypt (a metaphor for this world, Satan and death) and then continues climbing higher and higher until it reaches heaven itself—the abode of Elohim.

The problem is that most people only climb so far in their spiritual journey and then stop, or they grow weary along the way or become comfortably complacent at the level they have thus far attained and never move past that spot. This is dangerous!

To not move forward spiritually is to stagnate and to die. YHVH wants a people that are on the move, who will obediently follow him wherever he leads, and not stop and park along the way only to construct their religious monuments with their fossilized customs, rituals and traditions. Heaven is a long way above the earthly plane, and YHVH wants children who will seek him no matter what, who have a heart to follow him no matter where, and no matter the cost. Although eternal life is a free gift from heaven, it won’t be given easily. It costs nothing, but, at the same time, it costs everything! Man must be willing to sacrifice his all—to lose his earthly life—to gain eternal life. YHVH refuses to give out his priceless gift of eternal life willy-nilly to anyone and everyone! YHVH requires that his saints be determined, tough and gritty mountain climbers who refuse to give up until that summit is reached. He has no pleasure in those who turn back, or refuse to go on. Only those who doggedly overcome the world, the flesh and the devil remaining lovingly loyal and obedient to him will receive the highest reward he has to offer.

The Spirit Versus the a Letter of the Law—the Two Covenants

Let’s now explore what it is to climb the mountains that YHVH has placed before us to ascertain where we are at on the journey and how far we have to go to reach the ultimate summit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:1–18 we read,

1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of the Messiah, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through the Messiah toward Elohim. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from Elohim, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away [brought to an end, ESV; Gr. katargeo], 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away [Gr. katargeo] was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech­ — 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away [Gr. katargeo]. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in the Messiah. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Let’s now explain this passage to understand better the transition between the “old” and “new” covenants and the differences between the two.

Verse 7, Was passing away [NKJV]/brought to and end [ESV], This phrase is the Greek word katargeo meaning “to render idle or useless, to vanish, to abolish, to put away, Continue reading


New Video: Is the Torah the Ministry of Death & the Letter That Kills?

Many in the mainstream church have been led to believe that the Torah or law of Moses is the ministry of death and the letter that kills, and now that we’re under grace, we are free from haveing to obey the letter of the law as 2 Corinthians 3:7–17 would seem to suggest. Is this a correct understanding of these verses? What is the truth? This video explains this difficult Bible passage.