I think we all know which commandments Yeshua said are the most important, right? Isn’t it from Matthew 22:37-40?
Well, if that is so, then why does he give a totally different set of commandments in three separate gospels when asked what does someone have to do to be saved?
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Let’s start in Matthew 22, when Yeshua is asked which is the most important commandment of all? He replies (CJB):
‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
So here Yeshua is telling us that to love God and each other is paramount. Now, traditional Christian teaching tells us that this is all we need to do. Love God and love each other, the message of Christ is to love- and that’s it! Nothing else is required. Love God, love each other, and you’re in!
They interpret this verse to mean these are the only two commandments we need to do.
But that’s not right, is it? Yeshua never said these are the only commandments, just that they are the most important ones. And, when he added that all the others pivot on these two, that means he expects that we will follow all the other commandments BECAUSE we love God and each other.
But if these are the most important, then why did he tell the rich man who asked what he needed to do to enter God’s kingdom (Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:17, and Luke 18:19) something different?
In all three Gospels, Yeshua’s answer to the man includes these commandments:
Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t give false witness, honor your mother and father, (this additional one was only in Matthew) and love your neighbor as yourself.
So, nu? If Yeshua said that to love God and each other are the most important commandments, which all the others will pivot on, why tell the rich man something different? In fact, these commandments are straight from the Big Ten, whereas the ones Yeshua said were most important were from the Torah, but not listed in the Big Ten.
Hmmm…now we have to ask ourselves “What do we do?” Which are the commandments we are to really need to strive to obey?
It seems that we should love God, then love each other, then come the Big Ten. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
But wait a minute! Didn’t James say if we break one commandment, we break them all (James 2:10)? So, even loving God, loving each other, and obeying the ones Yeshua quoted from the Big Ten isn’t enough?
Shaul (Paul) tells the Romans that no one can be saved by the law (Romans 3:23), which he knew from his vast knowledge of the Tanakh, for there are numerous places where we are told, over and over by different people that everyone sins, and no one is without sin.
I mean, there are some 613 commandments in the Torah! We can’t do the ones involving the temple service, which is about 1/3 of them, and some are just for women and some just for men, some just for the Cohen Hagadol (High Priest), which leaves less than a hundred or so for us simple folk.
Oy! That’s still a lot to do, so once again we ask, “What do we do?”
There is no longer a temple in Jerusalem where we can be forgiven under the sacrificial system, which (according to the Torah) was the only place we could bring our sacrifice to receive forgiveness (thank God for sending Yeshua, who replaced that requirement, making forgiveness available to everyone, everywhere, at any time.)
The answer, I suppose, is that we do the best we can to obey all the commandments that God gave in the Torah that apply to us. You see, the Torah is the only place in the entire Bible (this includes the New Covenant) where God tells us what he wants us to do. We can be secure in the knowledge that if we accept Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send, repent of the sins we commit and ask forgiveness by means of Yeshua’s blood, which was shed for us, then we can be forgiven of that sin.
Yeshua only repeats what God said, and Shaul only wrote to Gentiles what they needed to do initially, expecting (as did the Elders who wrote the letter in Acts 15) that the Gentiles would learn the rest of what God wants them to do as they grew more knowledgeable in the Word and more spiritually mature.
Christianity has taught the opposite of what Yeshua and Shaul taught; Yeshua and Shaul taught the people to obey God, but Christianity has taught the people to ignore what God said and, instead, follow the tenets, rituals, and holidays that men have created.
It is up to you to decide what you will do: you can either worship God by obeying his commandments as best as you can, knowing he will forgive you (through Yeshua) when you screw up, or worship a Christian rebranding of the true Messiah, kneeling before graven images, praying to people instead of God, and ignoring nearly everything God told about how he wanted you to live, choosing to obey man-made tenets, celebrate man-made holidays, and perform man-made rituals.
Your choice, but if you ask me, I will have to say it is probably safer to do as God says then to do as people say.
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Thats it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!