Torah, Jews & Israel: For Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: In a recent discussion, I stated that Torah stands forever. The response I received was that the word “forever” in Hebrew is “olam” and means “to the horizon” or “to the vanishing point” and therefore does not mean forever, but only for the foreseeable future…until one “reaches the horizon” and further instruction is given. And olam comes from the root “alam” which means to conceal or veil from sight. Therefore the law was not forever.
I do not speak Hebrew; can you elucidate on this? Does Torah exist forever—olam—or just until it is changed?
Rabbi: The verse “Hashem yimloch l’ OLAM va’ed”; God will reign king forever” (Exod 15:18) cannot mean God is king “temporarily,” God forbid. This shows that the translation you were given is wrong. “L’olam” means forever.
Regarding Torah’s permanence, God knows the future, therefore a “new plan” to update or replace Torah is heretic. Other religions suggest this baseless notion as they cannot accept the Jews as God’s eternally chosen nation; they wish to rise above the Jew to become God’s favorite. But that doesn’t resolve anything, as they must then in turn accept yet a third religions’ jealousy of their own new lead, forcing them to step down based on their very own principle that God’s plan can be revised. You realize, this position that, “plans can be revised” leads to and endless cycle of one religion replacing the other! No one ever remains as the “chosen one,” in their view. But ask the other religions if once they are chosen, if they would step down, I would guess they would not, thereby exposing their contradiction. These religions succumb to sibling rivalry, instead of following a mature and honest acceptance of God’s Bible, and reason.
Let’s consider the following. God demonstrated His absolute knowledge of the future by designing creations that exist in time and rely on either food, air, water or conditions to sustain themselves. As God designed everything, and therefore, knows their future needs, this proves beyond any doubt God’s knowledge of the future. Furthermore, God created time itself. So He isn’t bound by time: He has no future. His knowledge of our future is known by Him equally as He knows our present and past. To then say that “God needs to change His plan” and renew the Bible (Torah) with a new system, suggests God didn’t see sufficiently far in to the future to forge a plan at the outset that could sustain itself. It means He is ignorant, and that He erred, which is the epitome of heresy. God’s command not to alter the Bible (Deut. 13:1) means it was perfect from the outset. God knew that His Torah was made perfectly, with no need for any alteration throughout time, as He knows all generations. No new, unseen consideration was hidden from God. Torah never needs to change, as man never changes. So the religions that suggest God will change His chosen people or His Torah, speak nonsense.
The Jew too will eternally remain God’s chosen people. God defines the members of His covenant as the seed of Isaac, not Ishmael:
“God said [to Abraham], “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will maintain My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring to come” (Gen. 17:19).
“Ishmael shall be the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation. But My covenant I will maintain with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you” (Gen. 17:20,21).
“For it is through Isaac that offspring shall be continued for you” (Gen. 21:12).
The selection of Isaac’s seed does not exclude others from joining Israel through conversion and equally enjoying God’s blessings. But Isaac’s seed is with whom God sustains His eternal covenant. God was not ignorant of the future, as other religions maintain when they suggest God will replace the Jew with another. Again, such heretic claims malign God as unable to plan properly the first time around.
Israel too will remain the Jews’ eternal land
“I will maintain My covenant between Me and you, and your offspring to come, as an everlasting covenant throughout the ages, to be God to you and to your offspring to come. I assign the land you sojourn in to you and your offspring to come, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting holding. I will be their God” (Gen. 17:7,8).