Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

The Ten Words of God

After a long journey, the chosen people – the Children of Israel as well as a mixed multitude who had left Egypt(Exo 12:38) behind them, were finally at the foot of Sinai to listen to God speak. Through the Thunder, Lightning, thick cloud, Trumpet noises, smoke, fire and earthquakes God would descend onto Mount Sinai to make Himself heard to His people for the first time(Exo 19:16-20). Traditionally we have come to know what proceeded from the Mouth of God as “The Ten Commandments”. The foundation of the Mosaic Covenant as well as the New Covenant. But the Ten Commandments are known in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts by a different term. The Word for Commandment in Hebrew is Mitsvah (H4687 – מצוה – BDB Definition: commandment) while a different Hebrew word is used in conjunction with “Ten” when the Scriptures speak of the “Ten Commandments”.

Exo 34:28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments(H1697-Dabar).
Deu 4:13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments(H1697-Dabar); and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Deu 10:4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments(H1697-Dabar), which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.

H1697 – דּבר – dâbâr – BDB Definition:
1) speech, word, speaking, thing
1a) speech
1b) saying, utterance
1c) word, words
1d) business, occupation, acts, matter, case, something, manner

The above verses literally say “Ten Words/Matters/Sayings” and not “Ten Commandments. This fact can be clearly seen by comparing the above to the introduction of the Ten Words in Exo 20:

Exo 20:1 And God spake all these words(H1697-Dabar), saying,

The reason this is significant is because there was no impulsion for anyone to do what He uttered. God was not forcing the people to Obey Him. A “Commandment” had the connotation of force, but God simply declared these Ten Matters as what really was important in His eyes. His people were given a choice to walk in the upright path, and He was showing the way. Before He came down to Sinai, God had already told Moses that He would show what He requires from His people.

Exo 19:5-9 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words(H1697-Dabar) which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak(H1696-Dabar) with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

But does this mean the “Ten Words” are any less important? Not at all. These are the words God chose to declare first and foremost to His people. They encapsulated His Heart and what He expects from a Godly people. He would have continued and spoken the entirety of His instructions(Torah) known to us traditionally as the Law, stopping and delivering the rest to Moses only because the people were afraid.

Exo 20:19-22 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

Now the importance of the Ten Commandments – rather the “Ten Words” of God, has been discussed before in “Is Love, all that matters? – Was the Ten old Commandments overuled by Two new Commandments?” and about the connection of the Ten Words to the rest of the instructions in “Law of God & Law of Moses – 2 Laws or 1?

These Ten Words are the “Word of God” which proceeded straight out of the Mouth of God in the ears of all the people at the foot of Sinai. It is the Word that keeps us alive according to:

Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

And we see Yeshua (Jesus’ true name) equating “the Word of God” to the “Ten Words” and the Instructions(Torah) given through Moses.

Mar 7:9-13 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

In the above passage Christ compares the Word of God and the Traditions of the elders. He is very clearly saying that The Commandments of God are equated to the Word of God. And that Exo 20:12, Exo 21:17 & Lev 20:9 is emphatically the Word of God.

And again Yeshua equates the Law (Torah) to the Word of God.

Joh 10:34,35 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

He reiterates that the Word of God can neither be broken as well, calling the Law, “Scripture” in this instance.

So in Conclusion, we see that the Ten Commandments as it is traditionally known should ideally be called the “Ten Words/Sayings/Matters” of God and the same along with the rest of the Law/Instructions(Torah) was without a doubt known and proclaimed as the “Word of God” by Messiah Yeshua. Let us remember that these “Ten Words” were what God picked to share with His people first, showcasing the importance of abiding by them if we are in Covenant with our Creator.

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Can the Old Covenant be abolished if the Ten Commandments are not?

Most Christians view the Old Covenant as an archaic agreement which was done away in Christ. Even though there are many issues with this theological interpretation, it has become the understanding of the majority and is not even given a second thought in Christian circles. However many still agree that the Ten Commandments still holds validity over their lives. There are some who question the legitimacy of the Ten Commandments, and may even suggest that the Golden Law replaced the Ten Commands, even though the evidence suggests otherwise.

arkIf we do agree that the Ten Commandments have not come to an end, then we are met with a crisis in our theology. How can the Old Covenant be abolished if the Ten Commands are still valid over our lives? Some may say that the Ten Commandments supersede or are unrelated to the Old Covenant. The Scriptures say otherwise:

Exo 34:28  And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 

Deu 4:13  And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 

Deu 9:9-11 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.

Deu 9:15 So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.

Heb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

The above verses prove that which was written on the Tablets of Stone, were indeed the Covenant. It is a well known fact that the Ten Commandments were written on these tablets of stone with the Finger of God. If what was written on the Tablets are also called the Covenant, how is it that the Covenant is done away?

Conclusion
The Ten Commandments are obviously valid in our lives to this day. This is yet another reason for us to perceive that God’s Covenant done through Moses still stands to this day. The Ten Commandments are part and parcel of the Mosaic Covenant and we cannot have one without the other.

Further Reading
Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part I
Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part II – Does the Book of Hebrews prove that the Old Covenant is no more
Is Love, all that matters? – Was the Ten old Commandments overuled by Two new Commandments?
Can God, His Word or His Covenants change?
Law of God & Law of Moses – 2 Laws or 1?

 

Law of God & Law of Moses – 2 Laws or 1?

As more and more Christians become exposed to God’s Word which contains His Commandments/Law, and the fact that it can never be done away or abolished, some believers have resorted to explain their beliefs by compartmentalizing the 10 Commandments and rest of the Law as separate entities. The question is whether the usual reference of God’s Law, only consists of the Ten Commandments given on tablets of Stone, and whether it is different and separate to the Law of Moses (Law given through Moses), or whether all of it is one. The objective of this post is to search whether they are separate or one, by examining how it is referred to in Scripture. We will inspect both the Old Testament and the New Testament to see whether there is proof to say that the Law of Moses is called the Law of God, by its many writers – or whether they are referred to being separate Laws.

ezraTo anyone who is not familiar with the details, when God made the Covenant with the children of Israel at Sinai, He handed two tablets of stone with the ten Commandments written with the finger of God to Moses and asked him to record all the statutes and judgments which went with it in a Book. Some assume that God’s Word is only the two tablets of stone, which will last forever – while the rest of the Law which was written on a book, called the Law of Moses, has been done away. While many scriptures and theories are put forward to differentiate the two, I believe there is a lack of looking at the plethora of verses that explain them to be one and the same.

What is the Covenant?
According to the verse below, it is very clear that the Covenant made with the Children of Israel was the 10 Commandments written on the two tablets of stone.

Exo 34:28  And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
Deu 4:13  And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
2Ch 6:11  And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.

Who made the covenant with the Children of Israel?
Everyone agrees that the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth made this covenant directly with the children of Israel.

Deu 5:2  The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
Deu 4:23  Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

The Tables of the Covenant
The two tables given to Moses by God contained the 10 commandments which were spoken at Horeb and written with the finger of God and brought down by Moses. These were called the “Tables of the Covenant”, as they were two tablets that contained the conditions the Covenant was based on.

Deu 9:9-11 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
Heb 9:4  Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 

Note: The “Ten Commandments” as we call it, appear in 3 places, namely Exo 34:28, Deut 4:13, Deut 10:4 and is better phrased as the “Ten words” or “Ten matters” as the Hebrew word used in the Original manuscripts is “dabar” which means “saying”/”matter”/”word” – (H1697 – דּבר – dâbâr – Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Definition: 1) speech, word, speaking, thing / 1a) speech / 1b) saying, utterance / 1c) word, words / 1d) business, occupation, acts, matter, case, something, manner). The Hebrew word translated as Commandment elsewhere in our English translations is “Mitsvah”(H4687). 

What is the Law of Moses?
The Law of Moses or the Law that was communicated through Moses contained “Statutes”, “Judgements” and “Commandments”. The word translated as Law in our English Translations is “Torah” in Hebrew and means “Direction”/”Instruction” (H8451 – Torah). The easiest way to understand the connection between The “Ten Commandments” and “Torah”(Law of Moses), is to look at The Ten Commandments as God’s Constitution for Israel, while the “Torah” is the “Common Law” or the Law of the Land that governs Israel. The “Common Law”(Torah aka Law of Moses) explained how the Children of Israel should live, worship and obey God, so that they would not be breaking the “Constitution”(Ten Commandments) on which it was built. Similar to the body of Law in countries of the present world, “Torah” contains judgements, statutes and commandments. One who broke the Torah was breaking the Ten commandments which it was based on – they were breaking God’s Covenant.

1Ki 2:3  And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
Deu 8:11  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
Deu 11:1  Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
Lev 26:15  And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

Who gave the Law of Moses(Torah) to the Children of Israel?
Some mistakenly believe that the Law of Moses was created by Moses. But the Scriptures are clear that it was directly handed over to Moses by God – which was then written down by Moses and communicated to the Children of Israel.

Exo 34:27,32 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments…. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
Mal 4:4  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Dan 9:10-13 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
Neh 10:29  They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
Neh 8:1  And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
Neh 8:13-14 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
Ezr 7:6  This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.
2Ch 33:8  Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
2Ki 14:6  But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
1Ki 2:3  And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
Num 31:21  And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses;

Why was it given through Moses?
The fact that it is called the Law of Moses has made people belittle the “Torah”. But the fact remains that God only communicated His Statutes, Judgements and commandments through Moses because of the plea of the people that Moses ascend the mountain and bring the Law to them. He would have spoken the whole “Torah” from the mountain top if not for the dread that had taken hold of the Children of Israel. God in fact was pleased that they were afraid, saying “if only they had such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always”.

Deu 5:24-31 And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
Exo 20:18-22 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

Law of Moses is called the Law of God

Neh 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
Neh 8:18  Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
Neh 9:3  And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
2Ch 17:9  And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
Neh 10:29  They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
Ezr 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
2Ch 31:3  He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.
1Ch 22:12,13 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
1Ch 16:40  To offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which he commanded Israel;
Deu 30:8-10 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Jos 24:26  And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

Law of Moses is called the Book of the Covenant

Exo 24:7  And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
2Ki 23:2  And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
2Ki 23:21  And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
2Ch 34:31  And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.

Two Laws or One?
To any who believe that the Law of Moses is not the Law of God, there is even more evidence even in the New Testament writings making it absolutely certain that they are in fact the same.

Luk 2:22-24,39 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons…. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

The Royal Law
One other interesting points to highlight is the “Royal Law” or the essence of God’s Commandments – the essence of the Covenant. Many know that “Loving God” & “Loving our Neighbor” is the Royal Law, but do not know that it is written in the Law of Moses(Lev 19:18, Deut 6:5). These were quoted word for word by Christ Himself in Mar 12:29-31 and was said to be the two greatest Commandments which the rest hanged on(Mat 22:40).

Mat 22:36-39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Mar 12:28-31 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Luk 10:25-28 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Deu 6:4,5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Lev 19:18  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

So, if the Royal Law is part of the Law of Moses, how can it be from a different source or inferior to the Ten Commandments? This is solid proof that both the Law given by Moses and the Ten Commands were all from the same Author – the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Why was the Tables of the Covenant kept inside the Ark while the Book of the Covenant kept on the side?
Some resort to point at the placement of the two documents to signify a difference of importance saying that the Ten Commandments were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant as it was the Law of God, while the Book of Law (Law of Moses) was kept on a side of the Ark – showing it was not that significant. So why was the Book kept outside while the Tables were kept inside?

Exo 40:20  And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:
Deu 31:25,26 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

It must be pointed out that what was contained on the Tables of the Covenant was also written down on the Book of the Covenant. And there are several reasons why the book was kept outside the Ark which was never opened after Moses put the Tables of the Covenant, the manna and Aaron’s Rod into the Ark.

Reason 01 – The Levites were asked to teach the people using the Book
Deu 31:10-12 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Reason 02 – The King had to make a copy for himself using the Book
Deu 17:18,19 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
Reason 03 – Levites traveled the land teaching from the Book
2Ch 17:8,9 And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.

Conclusion
It must be pointed out that the Book of the Covenant cannot be separated from the Tables of the Covenant. While the Tables are meant to be an eternal Testimony, the Book is used to teach the statutes, Judgments and Commandments of the Covenant to the people in Covenant with God Almighty. Even though the Book is known as the Law of Moses, it was given directly by God, as was the understanding of authors such as Luke, who calls the Law of Moses – the Law of the Lord, as well as multiple instances in the Scriptures as shown above. As children in Covenant with Him, let us read and understand his “Torah” (Instructions) and the statutes, Judgments and Commandments written in it so that we can obey His Covenant that He may see us as a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

Defining the terms “Sin”, “Law” & “Grace”

Some people rush to say that “whoever that keeps God’s Law is fallen from Grace” quoting such verses as Gal 5:4 or that “we are not under Law, but Grace” quoting Rom 6:14. Before we can make assumptions such as “the Law is against Grace”, shouldn’t we fully understand the meaning of these terms? Today, we will look into the Greek words that these English terms originate from, and try to understand the true meaning behind these and the connection between these 3 terms.

Definition of Sin
Sin can be a very subjective thing. Some can think a little lie is not a Sin, while there could be criminals who justify even horrendous crimes as not sin in their minds. Sin according to the Scriptures and God is a completely different story. In 1 John 3:4, Sin is defined very clearly.
According to this verse, John says: Sin = Transgression or Violation of Law.

The Old Testament also agrees with this definition (1Sam 15:24, Exo 32:31, Dan 9:5, Neh 9:29, Lev 5:17)

The Greek word used for “Transgression of the Law” is
Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Concordance:
G458 – ἀνομία – anomia – an-om-ee’-ah – illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: – iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.

This is the same word used by Yeshua in Mat 7:22,23, to those who say to Him, “have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” He says to them “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Again in Mat 13:41, The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

G458 – anomia –
is translated as iniquity in Mat 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, 24:12, Rom 4:7, 6:19, 2Thes 2:7, Heb 1:9, 8:12, 10:17
is translated as Transgression of the Law in 1John 3:4
is translated as Unrighteousness in 2Cor 6:14

Definition of Law
Law! Even hearing the word, makes you feel threatened. The Word Law sounds like a School Teacher who is out to punish you. Or a Policeman trying to slap handcuffs on you. What a harsh word. But what does the word translated as “Law” in our English Bibles, actually mean in the original Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts?

Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Concordance:
H8451 – תּרה    תּור – tôrâh – to-raw’ – From the word ירה yaw-raw’ ( to flow as water (that is, to rain); transitively to lay or throw (especially an arrow, that is, to shoot); figuratively to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach: –  (+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach (-er, -ing), through.) ; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue(Ten Commandments) or Pentateuch(Genesis to Deutronomy – The 5 Books of Moses): – law.

G3551 – νόμος – nomos – nom’-os – From a primary word νέμω nemō (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), generally (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): – law

The word which is translated in English as “Law”, according to the Original Hebrew and Greek words(to-raw’ & nom’-os) mean to “point out”, “to parcel out”, “to teach”, “precept”,  “statute”, “regulation”, the Ten Commandments” or “the 5 books of Moses”.

From ancient days, the First 5 books of the Bible written by Moses, (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deutronomy) which includes all the Commandments, has generally been known as “The Law” (Torah in Hebrew), as the “Old Testament” has always been generally broken into 3 parts and it is still used in this way by mainly the Jewish Community. Given below is how it has been divided:

  1. The Torah (“Teaching” or “Law”, also known as the Five Books of Moses/Law of Moses)
  2. Nevi’im (“Prophets“)
  3. Ketuvim (“Psalms/Writings”)

This is not a Jewish idea or an alien thing to Christianity, as it is even seen in the New Testament. In Luke 24:44, Yeshua said “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. This verse clearly shows the 3 parts, the Scriptures were broken into and that this division was even there in Yeshua’s time. (See also the Tanakh)

The word Law is used to speak of the 5 books throughout the NT. (Mat 5:17, 7:12, 11:13, 22:40, Luk 16:16, 24:44, Joh 1:45, Acts 13:15, 24:14, 28:23, Rom 3:21)

The Commandments were part of the Law. (Mat 5:18,19, 22:36,40, Rom 7:9,12, Heb 7:5, 9:19)

The “Law/Commandments of God” could do only 3 Things : 1. Bless who keep it (Deut 11:26,27) 2. Curse who break it (Deut 11:26,28) 3. Let us know what sin is (Rom 3:20, 7:7)

The Connection between Sin and Law:
Sin is breaking of the Law. You could also say that “If there was no Law, there would be no Sin”, as no one will know what Sin is. But because God has shown us right from wrong by giving us the Commandments/Law, we cannot say that we do not know what Sin is.

To put it in a different way, if driving on a Red Light wasn’t Illegal, you cannot be fined for it, as it’s not breaking the Law. But if you are told that driving on a red light is Illegal, then breaking that law makes you a Law offender and you can be fined. As long as there is no Law, you are not an offender of the Law. The moment the Law is introduced, you become an offender if you break it.

Just like the Law of a country, helps you know what is right/legal & what is wrong/illegal, and if you break the Law, you get fined or if you keep the Law, you get concessions – God’s Law helps us know what Sin is. And it Curses people who sins, while blessing people who do not. (This is the curse that Yeshua took upon Himself)

Definition of Grace
The word Grace is one of the most Misunderstood words in Christianity. It is one of those words that is thrown around by people without defining it properly according to the Bible. Let us see the real meaning behind this word and the application of it, to get to a better understanding of it.

Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Concordance:
G5485 – χάρις – charis – khar’-ece – graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

Throughout the English translation of the Bible, G5485 – Charis is generally translated as “Grace”. Here are a few other applications. The words in bold have been translated from G5485 – Charis

Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Luke 6:32,33,34 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Acts 7:10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
2Co 1:15  And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2Co 8:4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
2Co 8:16  But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
2Co 9:15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Phm 1:7  For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
1Pe 2:19,20  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

Grace is not exclusive to the New Testament.
Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Concordance:
H2580 – חן – chên – khane – graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or objectively (beauty): – favour, grace (-ious), pleasant, precious, [well-] favoured.

Here are a few places in the Old Testament where God shows His Grace towards people (Gen 6:8, Gen 39:21, Exo 3:21, 33:17, Psa 84:11)

Looking at both words of the original Hebrew and Greek Manuscripts in the Old Testament and the New, we can come to the conclusion that “Grace” mentioned in the Scriptures is a kind of special “Favour” shown by God to His people. We could say that Grace is like being in the good books with God.

The connection between Law and Grace
This is the tricky subject. Most of the Confusion regarding God’s Law/Commandments exist around these two terms. Let’s look at the dynamics of these two terms to see how they connect and interact.

Law, as we know is God’s Commandments. Breaking the Law is Sin. And the Law can do only 3 things (Bless, Curse and let us know what Sin is). Can we attain righteousness by keeping the Law? Can we be justified in front of God by keeping the Law? Can we attain righteousness with our strength? This is what Paul addresses in Gal 5:4. If anyone seeks to be justified by the Law, that person has lost God’s favor, as he or she is putting faith in him/herself rather than in Yeshua, who was the atoning sacrifice for us. If Righteousness could have been attained by each of us through keeping the Law, Christs death is in vain (Gal 2:21). Yeshua died for all of our Sin. Because of His death, Sin has no more dominion over us. When Yeshua died for our sin, we moved from being under God’s Commandments and the penalty of breaking it, which is death, to being under His favour (Rom 6:14).  But, just because we have God’s Favour, and because we are no more under the penalty, can we Sin(Break God’s Law)?  No we cannot. (Rom 6:15)

This is what Paul was trying to say in his letters. We have God’s special favor because of Yeshua. But that is not a free ticket for us to go on sinning. (Remember Sin = Transgression or Violation of Law). Grace is not a free ticket for us to go on Breaking God’s Law.

But isn’t the Law a Curse?
Gal 3:10&13 are used by many to say that God’s Law is a curse. As we discussed before, The Law can do 3 things. 1. Bless us if we keep it (Deut 11:26,27) 2. Curse us if we don’t (Deut 11:26,28) 3. Let us know what sin is (Rom 3:20, 7:7)

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

In Gal 3:10-13, Paul eludes to Deut 27:26 which says whoever does not keep God’s Commandments are cursed. Then he goes on to say, that no one is justified through the Law. We are to live a righteous life in the faith of Messiah Yeshua, who was made an atonement sacrifice for us. The Law/Commandments does not have anything to do with Faith. It cannot help you in any way other than to direct you how to live a sinless life. Christ has redeemed us from the Curse of the Law.

So according to Paul, whoever puts faith in Yeshua is not redeemed from the Curse which is The Law.(The Law is not the Curse) He/She is redeemed from the Curse which comes through breaking the Law (Deut 11:26,28).

Sin, Law & Grace
Grace does not abolish Law. Grace only helps us keep the Law to the best of our ability. Not so that we will be justified by the Law. But, because keeping The Law is living without Sin. Even if we fall short when living this way, we still have Grace, as the Curse of the Law(which should have dominion over us, when we break God’s Law) is no more in Christ.

I hope this study has given you a glimpse into 3 of the most used terms in the Bible. And I hope that how you view these terms will change your walk with God, placing you in alignment with His Word.

Is Love, all that matters? – Was the Ten old Commandments overuled by Two new Commandments?

Every Christian has heard the phrase “Love is all that matters”. Some even go to the extent of saying, “We don’t need to keep the Commandments. We need to only Love God and one another”. Was the Ten Commandments given by God himself, through Moses, replaced by 2 New Commandments given by Yeshua(Jesus’ True Hebrew name)? Today, we will look into God’s 10 Commandments as well as the 2 great Commandments uttered by Yeshua, and the connections between these two sets of Commandments and Love.

In Joh 14:15, Yeshua said an interesting thing. He said “If you love me, keep my commandments”. The question is which is His Commandments? Is it the 10 Old Commandments? Or is it the 2 New Commandments that some claim have overruled the 10? We will check this claim that some make, of Yeshua giving 2 new Commandments, before we move onto see the connection between the 10 Commandments and the 2 Great Commandments.

Let us turn to Luke 10:25-28. (Yeshua’s words marked in red)
According to Luke, a Lawyer(an expert in Law) asks a question from Yeshua, trying to tempt Him. Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? To which Yeshua asks the Lawyer What is written in the law? how readest thou? The Lawyer answers saying Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. To which Yeshua answers saying Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

According to this verse, Yeshua did not even tell the “expert in Law” about the 2 New Commandments. How did this man know these Commandments when Yeshua did not even mention them? The reason is, that these were not 2 New Commandments, but a summarized version of the 10 Commandments. These 2 Summaries were specifically quoted from Deut 6:5, 10:12(Love God) & Lev 19:18, 34(Love neighbor). We can then safely say that Yeshua did not come teaching a new doctrine, but was trying to give a proper understanding of God’s Word. And that according to Joh 14:15 If we are to love Him, we must keep His Commandments, which are not His own(Joh 14:24), but what Father God told Israel long ago.

So how are these 2 Great Commandments connected to the 10 Commandments? And what does it all got to do with Love? To answer these questions we must go back to where God spoke these Commandments. Let’s read Exodus 20.

And God spake all these words, saying,

  1. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

In Exodus 20, God speaks out His Laws for all to hear, in front of all Israel(Exo 20:18,19) and gave it to Moses in the format of two tablets of Stone written by God Himself(Exo 31:18, Deut 4:13, 9:10). Have you ever thought why God gave 2 tablets of Stone? Couldn’t He have written it in 1 Tablet? For that fact, He could have written it on a grain of sand. Examining the 10 Commandments further shows us an interesting fact. We can divide the 10 Commandments into 2 parts. Namely, “Commandments pertaining to God” & “Commandments pertaining to man”. Some say that the first 4 Commandments are about God & the other 6 about man. I, on the other hand, believe that the 10 are divided equally, as follows.

  1. Do not worship other gods
  2. Do not make idols, and worship them
  3. Do not take God’s name in vain
  4. Keep the sabbath day holy
  5. Honour your father & mother
  1. Do not commit murder.
  2. Do not commit adultery.
  3. Do not steal.
  4. Do not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  5. Do not covet your neighbour’s belongings.

Some could say, “Honouring your father & mother” does not belong as part of Commandments about Loving God. The reason for placing this Commandment as part of Loving God, is that, the only thing you cannot decide for yourself, in life, is your parents and who you descend from. You have the freewill to choose everything but your parents, which is chosen for you, by God Almighty. I also believe, that when God says “Father” & “Mother”, it means our parents, our grand parents and the family we descend from. Remember that all of us descend from Noah, who descends from Adam, who descends from God. Making God our ultimate Father. Whether it is broken down 5 & 5 or 4 & 6, there is a clear distinction and division in the 10 Commandments. One part is about Loving God. And the other part, about Loving your neighbour.

The expert in Law, who spoke to Yeshua in Luke 10:25-28, obviously knew that the Old Testament had summarized the Ten Commandments in this way, long before Yeshua ever spoke it out.

Further Proof
If you are still skeptical about the connection between the 10 Commandments and the 2 Great Commandments, please turn with me to Mar 12:28-33. Here Yeshua is questioned by a Scribe, for which Yeshua answers by quoting directly from Deut 6:4,5 & Lev 19:18.

Paul agrees with this connection in Rom 13:9 saying, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

James writes in James 2:8, If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well”. (At the time when James was alive there was no New Testament. The New Testament as we have it today, was compiled only around 400AD. So the Scripture James could be talking of, can be only one thing. “The Old Testament”. And the Royal Law was from the Old Testament.)

1 John 3:11 says, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another”. 2 John 1:5,6 says, “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it”. (In this verse John proclaims that this Commandment of loving your neighbour is not a new Commandment, but one that was there from the beginning.)

Isn’t Love what matters most? Absolutely! But what is Love. If you take 100 people, they will have their own definitions of Love. As Christians, we cannot stick to our definitions of Love. Instead, we need to understand what is Love that God speaks of, in His Word. The Old Testament as well as the New Testament testifies that Keeping God’s Commandments is Love. Here are a few examples:-

Exo 20:6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Deu 5:10  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
Deu 7:9  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
Deu 11:1  Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
Deu 11:13-15  And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
Deu 30:16  See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deu 30:20  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Jos 22:5  But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Neh 1:5  And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
Dan 9:4  And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
Isa 56:6,7  Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

2Jn 1:5,6 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
1Jn 5:2,3  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Joh 14:23,24  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Love is all that matters!
But not our own definitions and ideas of Love. God’s definition of Love is His Commandments. Whoever keeps His Commandments will automatically abide in His love. His Commandments can be broken into 2 parts. That we Love Him and our neighbor. Love is the common factor. God Almighty could have put His Commandments in 1 Tablet of Stone, but He chose to put it into 2 tablets, signifying the 2 main parts of His Commandments. Yeshua spoke this message out, delivering The Father’s teaching. Do not be misled by people who say that the Commandments of God are no more. The “Love” that the Scriptures portray contain all of God’s Commandments. The full extent of Love, is fulfilling His Commandments. Whether it be Ten separate Laws or Two summarized Laws, none of His Commandments have been abolished. As Yeshua said, Not one Jot or Tittle(Jots & Tittles are small parts and edges of Hebrew letters) will pass from the Law till all is Fulfilled(All is not fulfilled, as there are hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament yet to be fulfilled).

The question of Law vs. Grace and living through Spirit
Even though this is a study in itself, I would like to touch upon this, as it is a highly misunderstood subject. (We will do this study in the near future, God willing). Some presume quoting verses such as Gal 5:4, that the Law is against Grace & the Spirit. They would stick to the theory, that whoever is obedient to God’s Commandments have fallen from Grace. Is this what Paul is saying?

What Paul is saying is that righteousness is not attained by Law(Gal 2:21). That whoever wants to be justified by the Law has fallen from Grace. Nowhere in the Scriptures is it said that you can be justified and attain righteousness on your own, by keeping God’s Commandments. Not even in the Old Testament. I do not believe or state that anyone can be justified or attain righteousness by keeping God’s Commandments/Laws. We are Justified and made righteous only by the death & resurrection of Yeshua(Rom 3:22-24).

Then why keep God’s Commandments? To answer this question, we must answer what is Sin. Sin, in simple terms, is breaking God’s Commandments (1John 3:4). Just because we have forgiveness from Sin through Yeshua, being seen righteous before God, because of Him, can we continue in Sin? God Forbid! We must strive to obey Him. How do you obey God? By doing His Commandments(Deut 27:10). As Christians, we are called to obey our Father, and walk in His ways. Not to be justified and attain righteousness through it, but because we Love Him.

In conclusion, I hope you have clearly seen that God’s Commandments stand to this day. They were not abolished by Yeshua, as He did not teach new Laws, but what was already written in the Scriptures. This Great Commandment or Royal Law as James put it(2:8), originates from the “Old Testament” and is based in Love. If you Love, the way God has said to Love, you would be automatically keeping all of His Commandments. Do not think for one moment, that keeping His Commandments will in anyway cause you to fall out of His Grace. Keeping the Commandments to attain Righteousness, by your own power, on the other hand, is a completely wrong doctrine. No man, even if they try, can attain righteousness on their own. Righteousness is a free gift given only by Yeshua. After we receive of that Righteousness, do not take the blood that He spilled lightly(Heb 10:28-31). We must make an effort not to Sin. We must make an effort to keep His Commandments. As He said, If we truly Love Him, we will keep His Commandments. May you grow in His Love!

Who were the Pharisees?

One of the recurring main characters throughout the New testament is the group called “Pharisees“. Common misconceptions regarding this sect of Judaism has led to a lot of confusion in Christianity.  The so called “Vipers” or “Hypocrites” according to Yeshua (Hebrew name of Jesus), represent the Old Testament and God’s “so-called” archaic Laws in lots of Christian minds. If you believe that the Pharisees were the ones who kept God’s Commandments perfectly, and Yeshua came and loosened these archaic Laws, I would like to showcase some “irrefutable evidence” from the Word of God to suggest otherwise.

Let’s start by asking a few questions about the pharisees? Who were they? Were they the ones who obeyed God’s Commandments & Laws in Yeshua’s time? Did Yeshua really condemn them because they were keeping God’s Commandments? Was Yeshua getting rid of the Commandments of God along with the Pharisees who kept them?

Let’s review some facts about the pharisees first, using the Bible as our guide

  • The Pharisees were a sect of Judaism – Acts 26:5
  • The Romans had given them the power and place/authority that they held – John 11:48
  • They had power over the Synagogues – John 12:42
  • They had their own officers and guard – John 7:32; 18:3 / Mat 26:65,66
  • Some pharisees wanted to protect Yeshua – Luke 13:31
  • Some pharisees were waiting to accuse Yeshua – Luke 11:53,54
  • They had disciples of their own – Mark 2:18
  • They traveled to make disciples  – Mat 23:15
  • They did not keep God’s total Law – Mat 23:23
  • They had their own law/doctrine/teaching – Mat 16:12, Mar 7:8, John 7:51
  • Their disciples had power to cast out evil spirits – Mat 12:27
  • They had many customs/traditions like washing of hands – Mark 7:3,5, Luke 11:38
  • Paul was a pharisee – Philip 3:5, Acts 23:6; 26:5
  • There was a division amongst them about Yeshua being righteous or sinful – John 9:16
  • The 1st century church contained believers who were from this sect – Acts 15:5

Looking at the above scriptures, a few things should become clear to you:

  1. Not all Pharisees were hypocrites. Some even believed Yeshua was Messiah(Acts 15:5)
  2. Pharisees obeyed something other than God’s Law/Commandments, often called “Traditions of the elders” or “Traditions of men” (Mat 15:2,3,6/ Mar 7:3,5,8,9,13/ Gal 1:14/ 1Pet 1:18)

What proof is there to say that they did not keep God’s Commandments?
Let’s read Mat 15:1-20. The pharisees questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not eat with washed hands(Mat 15:1,2). Jesus replied by how they were breaking GOD’S LAW, by keeping the TRADITIONS OF MEN(Mat 15:3) and adding to God’s Law. This whole event revolved around the washing of Hands, and whether or not it makes you unclean(Mat 15:20). Mar 7 talks about the same event. The Pharisees asked why Jesus’ disciple are not keeping the “traditions of the elders“(Mar 7:5). They laid aside the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD to keep the TRADITIONS OF MEN(Mar 7:8,9). They broke GOD’S COMMANDMENTS because of their TRADITIONS(Mar 7:13). Paul kept these traditions before he beleived in Yeshua(Gal 1:14)

The Pharisees believed in another Law, other than the written Law of Moses, called the “Oral Law”. They believed that the “Oral Law” was passed down from Moses to Joshua, and to the Judges after them, and that the Pharisees were the keepers of this extra Law. This “Oral Law” is what was called “The Tradition of the elders” at that time, mainly because each Rabbi/Teacher of the Sect of Pharisees would teach the Oral Law to his students “Orally”, and these Teachers of the Law could add to this Law. This “Oral Law” has now been written down, and is available as a book called the “Talmud”. You can read more about the “Talmud” in any Encyclopedia. The Orthodox Jews, who you see clad in black with hats and beards, live by this “Oral Law” additionally to the “Written Law of Moses”. Even today, they do not eat unless they keep the tradition of washing the hands.(The “washing of the hands” is not in the Old Testament. It is not part of God’s Law). And their are many traditions like this, that I will not go into. If you want to learn more about the Pharisees and their traditions, I recommend that you watch this video. The Orthodox Jews could be called the Pharisees of the modern era, because they are keeping the same traditions. A Rabbi or teacher of the sect of the pharisees could make a law that would be added onto the “Oral Law”, making it a tradition or what they would call a “Law”. They believed that they had the authority to make and change Laws as they pleased, and that not even God or Prophets like Elijah could stand up against them. (I highly recommend that you watch the video linked above, to understand more about this Oral Law and who the Pharisees really were).

Did they really teach something different or in addition to God’s Commandments?
They taught doctrines of men INSTEAD OF the commandments of God (Mat 15:6,9, Mar 7:7)

But did they break and teach to break God’s Commandments?
Let us go back to Matthew 15 to see how they added to God’s Commandments.
In Mat 15:3-6 and Mar 7:10-13  Yeshua asked the Pharisees, Why do you disobey the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses his father or mother, let him die. But you say, Whoever that says to his father or his mother, It is a gift/Corban(Meaning an Offering), by which you profit, he does not have to honor his father or his mother, he is free. In this way, you have made the commandment of God “of none effect by” your tradition. What was Yeshua trying to explain here? He said that God’s Commandment was clear. We have to honor our parents. How do you honor your parents? By taking care of them and bringing honor to them by who you are. But what were the Pharisees tradition saying? A person could tell their parents, that whatever he uses to take care of the parents, is a gift/offering to God, and not have to take care of his parents. Has God ever said that we should give offerings to Him while our parents suffer? Does giving to God free us of taking care of our parents? The Pharisees had said that the offering was more important than taking care of your own parents. This is how they broke God’s Law. By adding to it and taking away from it. Which God specifically said not to do(Deut 4:2, 12:32, Prov 30:6). This is how they made God’s Commandments “of none effect” or worthless. By putting “Traditions of Men” above “God’s Commandments”.

The main thing to understand, is that the teachings of the Pharisees, was not the Commandments of God.

Yeshua taught to obey God’s Commandments.(Mat 5:19, 19:17, Joh 12:50). He also taught His disciples to beware of the Doctrines/teachings of the Pharisees.(Mat 16:11,12)

Some think that the “Washing of hands” is in the Old Testament. And Yeshua is abolishing those Old Laws. I would ask such a person to find exactly where the “Washing of hands” is mentioned in the Old Testament before you make up your mind.

Note:
I have purposely kept the argument between Yeshua and the Pharisees about the Sabbath (Luke 6, Mat 12, Mar 2:23), out of this study. (This will be covered in a Study that is done solely on the Sabbath, in the near future) Though, I would like to point out, that just like the “washing of hands”, another one of the Laws written in the “Talmud”, the “Oral Law” of the Pharisees, is specifically how one should not even pluck corn on the Sabbath Day.

In conclusion, I hope you have adequately understood the following:
The pharisees did not adhere to God’s Commandments.
They did not represent the Old Testament or God’s Laws.
Yeshua’s arguments with the pharisees does not mean He was going against Gods’ Law.
The pharisees had a Law of their own.
They broke God’s Commandments through keeping their own Laws

Even though the objective of today’s study is not to find answers to whether Yeshua freed us from the Old Testament Laws or whether He upheld God’s Law, I would note, learning who The Pharisees were, is one of the keys to getting rid of a lot of misunderstandings about Yeshua, His Teachings & God’s Commandments.

God’s Commandments, Laws & Statutes. Before or After Moses?

Many Christians tend to believe that God’s Commandments were not there(not available, not adhered to, not instituted) before Moses and the Covenant God made at Sinai. This is what I also used to believe, as this was what was taught to me, all my life.

Reading the Bible though, gives a completely different picture to this story. There are so many instances, we see the patriarchs keeping God’s Commandments, way before it was ever written down and passed down through Moses.

Today, we will try to get to the bottom of this subject and iron out some of the misconceptions it carries.

Cain & Abel
When did God require sacrificial offerings? Apparently, Long before Moses, Both Cain & Abel brought offerings to God Almighty. And it is a known fact that Cain’s offering was rejected while Abel’s offering was accepted. This story teaches us two important things. Firstly, There are offerings that are accepted and there are offerings that are rejected. And secondly, why was Abel’s offering accepted while Cain’s rejected? The reason “most probably” was that even though The commandments were not written down, Abel’s offering was in accordance with the Offering written down in chapter 3 in the Book of Leviticus by Moses and later adhered to, by all(1King 8:63,64). The Commandment was to offer the animal and it’s “Fat”.

Noah
We have all been taught that Noah took Animals of each kind into the Ark, two by two. Most people teach this to their kids, We even sing songs to that extent in our gatherings. But what is the truth? I would have read this passage a dozen times, but I never noticed this fact, till recently. In Gen 7:2 God tells Noah, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female”. When I first “saw” this verse, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had read this chapter a dozen times, but I failed to see that God’s classification of “Clean” and “Unclean” animals, written down in Leviticus 11 had been there even at Noah’s time.

Furthermore, what’s interesting is that, in Gen 8:20,21, Noah built an altar an offered “Clean” animals to God. Again, where was it ever commanded to offer animal sacrifices to God before it was communicated through Moses?

Abraham
Gen 26:5, Highlights an amazing point. God promises Isaac to multiply his seed, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws”. For Abraham to know God’s Ordinances, Commandments, Customs and Precepts, someone would have had to teach it to him. He did not only know them, this verse says Abraham kept all of it, a long time before Moses.

Abraham, in Gen 14:20, also gave tithes of all he had to Melchizedek, the priest of God Almighty. This was also long before Moses wrote down the laws of tithing.

In Gen 22, Abraham is asked to offer a Burnt Sacrifice by God, as well.

Jacob
In Gen 28:22, Jacob also makes a promise to God, to give a tenth of all that God gives him.

Walking with God, and being Perfect
In Gen 5:22, 24, It is said that Enoch walked with God. And similarly, in Gen 17:1, Abraham was asked to Walk before God and be Perfect. In Gen 6:9, Noah was called a just and Perfect person. Might there be a connection between obeying God(His Commandments, His Words) and Walking with Him and being perfect? (This is a study for another day)

So what does all of this mean?
Looking at the evidence in Genesis and the fact that God and His Word does not change
(Mal 3:6, Isa 44:6, Heb 13:8, Luke 16:17) Could it be, that the patriarchs kept God’s Commandments, His statutes & His Laws, even though it is not specifically mentioned? We know that Abraham definitely did. As Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) said in John 10:35, If something is written in the Bible, “the Scripture cannot be broken”. In reference to Gen 26:5, no one can say that Abraham did not keep God’s Commandments, proving that Commandments were there long before Moses was even born.

I believe the Commandments would have been passed down from Father to Son. From Adam to Seth, and so on. God did instruct people to teach His words to their sons and the sons of their sons(Deut 4:9)

In conclusion, I believe, according to what we have read, what God did at Sinai through Moses, was to write down the Commandments, Statutes & Laws – The Word of God – so no one could say, that we do not know the ways of God Almighty. (Deut 30:11-13) His ways have always been known by His children from Creation.