John 5:39-40 You keep examining (searching) the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me, (40) but you won’t come to me in order to have life! CJB
Apparently from G2046 (through the idea of inquiry); to seek, that is, (figuratively) to investigate:
This word that John uses, “search” is ereuano in Greek, and means, “to seek and investigate into. The equivalent Hebrew word is “Chaqar” BDB # H2713. It means to search out a matter, to seek diligently, to examine thoroughly.
This word was used by Homer in “The Odyssey,” to give us a picture in our minds of a dog tracking it’s prey, as to have it’s nose to the ground while never losing it’s scent.
Symbolically, it can also be used to give us a picture of one searching out for a hidden treasure, as in gold, gems in the ground while sifting every grain of dirt as to not miss one nugget or stone. They do this as well with the words of Scripture, to sift and shake each and every word, trying to decipher the meaning of each passage, that they might be able to understand the meaning, thus bringing them closer to reaching their goal of eternal life.
Yeshua is saying a few things here in these verses. He is saying that these people will search out each and every minute detail hidden within the text, but they will refuse to submit and come to Him. They will not humble themselves and change their ways, because they are stuck in their own blindness and cannot see Yeshua right there in front of them, within the very text of what they are reading. They will not humble themselves and change enough to find true eternal life, because true life in not found in the “letter of the Law,” but rather through the “spirit of the Law.”
He tells them that He is everywhere in the Scriptures from Genesis through out all the Prophets and Writings as well.
Heb 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. KJV
Do you think this same thing could possibly happen to us today? Can we get so wrapped up with only trying to live our lives by the letter of the law? Of course it can! We see things in our lives all the time that His Ruach (Holy Spirit,) reveals to us all the time about changing, but a lot of times we just procrastinate and put it off until another day. This is what Yeshua is trying to show us by giving us the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14:
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican (tax-collector). 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. KJV
The Pharisee in the parable probably knew a lot more of the Holy Scriptures than did the tax collector. But in the end, all the Pharisee’s head knowledge did him little good because he was all puffed up in his knowledge, and thought he was doing just fine with his actions. The tax collector, on the other hand, realized that he was a sinner in need of a Messiah, so he humbled himself and repented. This is why God tells us that as far as He is concerned, it is better to obey than sacrifice. (1Sam 15:22)
This is also why Yeshua told his believers that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes (Torah teachers) and Pharisees:
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The problem was that the scribes and Pharisees were great at trying to obey the letter of the law—so much so, that they neglected to see and obey the spiritual aspect of the law. This is why Messiah came; it was to teach us fully the spiritual aspect of the law. Yeshua didn’t come to do away with the law; He came to fulfill it, which means to teach us the spiritual application to the written letter of the law.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. One of the meanings of this word is to fully preach.
The word fulfill in this verse is pleroo in the Greek.
fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
Paul uses this same word, pleroo, in his writing, but it is for some reason translated differently than the instance in Matthew 5:20.
Rom 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached [fulfill-Pleroo] the gospel of Christ.
So Paul is using this same Greek word “Pleroo,” that Yeshua used when He said “I didn’t come to do away with the law, but to fulfill…” Now, if this word fulfill means to do away with, then Yeshua would have been telling the people, “I didn’t come to do away with the Law but I came to do away with the Law.”
Does this make any sense to you? I would hope not. He is telling us He came to fully preach and teach us the spiritual aspects of the Law. Doesn’t this make a lot more sense, especially when we read the next two verses and keep it all in context.
Matthew 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Now ask yourself a question. Has heaven and earth passed away yet? If you say no, then Yeshua said not one letter of the Law has been done away with. Then if that is not enough, the very next verse describes at what level you will make it into the Kingdom of God:
Matthew 5:19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Now do you want to be considered one of the least in the Kingdom? Do you want to be one of the woodcutters or the water carriers? There are different levels in the Army of God, just as there are in a real Army. You have privates that do all the grunt work, and then you have all the higher levels of rank all the way to the Generals.
Now, I might not be a general when I cross over to the other side of eternity, but I can tell you one thing for certain, I will do my best to make sure I don’t arrive as a Private, the one who has to empty out the latrines, carry the water and chop all the wood.
It is up to us on this side to determine what we want to be on the other side…the least or one Yeshua calls great. It is up to us, we have to make a choice now; tomorrow could be too late. All we have to do is to humble ourselves, and chose to obey Him. Not to call His Torah, (His Law) a strange thing, but to delight in it as David did.
Psa 119:92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.
Let me give you an example of the difference between the “letter of the Law,” and the “spirit of the Law.”
Yeshua was telling the crowd during the Sermon on the Mount, which was really just a commentary on the Torah, the Law, that the letter of the Law tells us not to commit adultery, but that the spiritual intent of the law was about more than just physically committing the act of adultery:
Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Now as I have said many times before, does this look like Yeshua came to do away with His very own Law that He gave to His bride at Mt. Sinai? Or did He come to make it even harder than before? Well, He really didn’t make it harder, He just explained what it had meant the whole time, even though we chose not to see it and obey it through the Spirit.
The Kingdom of God is Spiritual and those that want to worship Him, must do so in Spirit and in Truth (Torah).
Psa 119:142 Your righteousness is eternal righteousness, and your Torah is truth.
Truth = Torah