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yeshua and THE Commandments

Rabbi Steven Bernstein

August 2017

In the annual reading cycle of Torah, we are now deep into the book of Devarim, the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is an extremely important book in Scripture. It is Moses says recap of the experiences of the children of Israel on their way to the land of the promise. In Devarim Moses speaks repeatedly about the commandments of Hashem.

4:40

You shall keep therefore, his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day that it may go well with you and with your children after, and that you may prolong your days upon the land, which the Lord your G-d gives you forever.

5:26

O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them and their children forever!

12:28

Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you forever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the L-rd your G-d.

Moses is very clearly explaining to us that the commandments of Hashem are forever. Moses is not saying that some of the commandments are for, Moses is not saying most of the commandments are for, Moses saying all of Hashem’s commandments are forever. Devarim is very clear that the 613 commandments of Hashem are forever, throughout our generations, the everlasting covenant of Hashem.

When Yeshua gave us the commandments at Sinai, he gave them to us forever. All of them. As Americans living in the 21st century we may not understand all 613 of G-d’s commandments. We may not be able to identify with all 613 of G-d’s commandments. We may consider some of G-d’s commandments to be politically incorrect, even barbaric. But, our understanding and categorizing of the 613 commandments is not relevant to G-d’s purpose. The 613 commandments are forever. Yeshua said if you love me follow my commandments. The disciples understood this to mean follow the 613 commandments of Hashem. Yeshua did not say follow the commandments that you understand them like. Yeshua did not say disregard some of the commandments because you don’t get. In Matthew chapter 5 Yeshua was even more clear about this when he said that if you don’t follow the commandments, you will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. You don’t teach these commandments be called least in the kingdom of heaven. In Romans chapter 7, Paul explains that the purpose of the Torah is to define sin. We are not to sin, therefore, we are to follow the commandments of Torah. In first John chapter 3, John writes, sin is the violation of Torah. Again, Torah is defining sin; the commandments of G-d define sin. We are not to sin. Therefore, we are to follow the commandments of Hashem.

The idea that we can simply throw out some of the commandments because we don’t like them, indicates that we do not take Scripture seriously. Moses consult Hashem. When two are caught gathering firewood on Shabbat. Hashem tells him that they are to be put to death. This seems like an extremely harsh penalty for “just violating Shabbat.” In our society today, not following Shabbat is commonplace, it is the cultural norm. That’s the reason we think that this penalty is harsh. Clearly Hashem thinks differently. As 21st century Americans we pay almost no attention to Hashem’s ideas of ritual purity and impurity, of ritual contamination and decontamination. What Yeshua tells us is that we should pay attention to these things, not that we should try to find a way that is not scriptural to be able to ease our consciences when we ignore them. Yeshua is Hashem is Yeshua. His commandments are forever.

Scripture also indicates to us that Yeshua did not invent a radically different method of understanding G-d’s commandments. The Sanhedrin had had agents following Yeshua around throughout his entire ministry. Mark 14:55 tells us, “now the ruling Kohayns, and all the Sanhedrin were trying to get evidence against Yeshua, so that they could put him to death, but they weren’t finding any.” At his mock trial, though they try, they could find absolutely no reason, theologically, to kill Yeshua. In the end, the only evidence they could come up with against Yeshua was his declaration of being the Messiah. They could find no theological reasons that conflicted with the ideas of the Sanhedrin. If Yeshua’s ideas of following Shabbat were radically different than those of the Sanhedrin, they would have convicted him. If Yeshua’s ideas of ritual washing varied with the Sanhedrin’s ideas, they would have convicted him. If Yeshua’s ideas of healing on Shabbat varied with that of the Sanhedrin, they would have convicted him. They did not. When Yeshua tells us if we love him, we should follow his commandments, we should listen.

The concept that Yeshua altered and changed the commandments of Hashem is the foundation of replacement theology. This concept is the basis of Christian anti-Semitism and has been for the last 2000 years. As Messianics, we must stand up and cry out from the wilderness that the commandments of Hashem are alive and well, and that Yeshua the Messiah instructed us to follow them. He did not tell us to take a new interpretation. He did not tell us to leave out the commandments that we don’t like. He did not tell us to reject commandments that are politically incorrect. Yeshua the Messiah instructed us in Matthew 28, “go therefore and make students of all nations, immersing them in the name of the father, the son, and the Ruach HaKodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded. Yeshua is Hashem is Yeshua.

Fri, December 4 2020 18 Kislev 5781