Tag Archives: Commandments

So, what about the Torah?

Are we supposed to keep the commandments?

Yes, we are, if they have anything to do with love.  And Yeshua told us the two greatest commandments were to love G-d and love one another.

But there is more than just figuring out how the over 1050 statements in the Brit Chadashah that relate to how to keep the commandments in the Tanakh, particularly when they support every moral law, and all the civil ones in the Mosaic Covenant.

The cultural, Jewish customs were and are not the point, except in making outsiders seem to be adhering to the Torah as they were supposed to if they wanted to be accepted in the Jewish community as non-Pagans.  The Gentiles would always be known as non-Israelites, but would be somewhat accepted amongst them for their love of YHVH.

Even if a Gentile converted to Judaism formally, and was keeping all of the Torah blamelessly under the watchful eyes of their community, Converts were not quickly accepted, and it took many generations for marriages being approved of for descendants of Gentiles to Israelites, particularly the Levites and Cohanim.  In Temple times, not all Levitical laws that would pertain to a man or woman who was an Israelite, pertained to a Convert as they could not say certain prayers that were about the Ancestors of the Israelites, or eat of certain sacrifices, and so forth…the laws in the Mishnah are quite complex and limiting for Converts. 1

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (CJB) 
 (A:vi, S: v) “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one];
 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Love is the concept that underlies all of the commandments in the Torah.  If one loves G-d, you do what he wishes.  If you love Yeshua, you do as he commands and teaches.  If you love your neighbor, you do all those things in Torah that pertain to you in this time of the Diaspora, not being in Israel, not having a Temple, and not having all of the instructions in the Torah applying to everyone anyways.  Some of the Torah is only for the King, for the Priests, for the Levites, for Men and for Women, so there is not just one list of things to do for everyone.

Yeshua also told the Apostles, when he gave the Great Commission to make disciples of out of all the nations, which to the Jews of that time was an astonishing idea.  The Jews did not understand the idea of Gentiles becoming Talmidim to Jewish Rabbi’s, nor for those Gentiles to conform to their Rabbi Yeshua without said Gentiles first converting to Judaism through ritual circumcision, and the complete disassociation from their former life.

Gentiles were to be avoided, many Jews of the 1st Century period thought, and were considered forbidden to be in contact with for Ritual Purity reasons, so most Jews had as little contact with the Gentiles around them that their business would permit.  It wasn’t always prejudice, though there was some of that, so much as it was fear of contamination by mingling with idolaters, and thus becoming ritually unclean by even casual contact. Gentiles were but tolerated in Judea unless known to be G-d Fearers. The few G-d Fearing Gentiles in Israel in Yeshua’s time were well known to be righteous…at least as far as Gentiles were required to be in that time unless converting to Judaism.

Matthew 28:18-20 (CJB) 
18  Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh,
20  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.”


Make people from all nations into talmidim.

This must have shocked his hearers, who surely thought that the Messiah was only, or at least primarily, for Jews. Today the situation is reversed, for many Christians think it wrong to evangelize Jews. But their position is inconsistent; for if they really respect Yeshua they should obey his command to make people from all nations, including the Jewish nation, into talmidim.   Jewish New Testament Commentary.

Talmidim (plural; singular talmid), “disciples.” The English word “disciple” fails to convey the richness of the relationship between a rabbi and his talmidim in the first century C.E. Teachers, both itinerant like Yeshua and settled ones, attracted followers who wholeheartedly gave themselves over to their teachers (though not in a mindless way, as happens today in some cults). The essence of the relationship was one of trust in every area of living, and its goal was to make the talmid like his rabbi in knowledge, wisdom and ethical behavior (compare 10:24-25, and see the JNT glossary entry on talmid).  Jewish New Testament Commentary.


Christians in the West have the strange idea that they have but to assent to Yeshua as their ‘Lord’, and that from that point onward, everything is done for them by the Holy Spirit, at least in conjunction with hearing the Scriptures taught, and perhaps even reading the Scriptures themselves. Grace is considered to cover all failings and constant and continuing sin.

Yeshua wanted far more from those who would follow after him as their Rabbi that mere acceptance of his rule as Mashiach.

Matthew 28:18-20 (CJB) 
18  Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh,
20  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.”


On Rabbis and Talmidim

A few (very few) of the most outstanding (secondary school) Beth Midrash students sought permission to study with a famous rabbi often leaving home to travel with him for a lengthy period of time. These students were called talmidim (talmid, s.) in Hebrew, which is translated disciple.

There is much more to a talmid than what we call student. A student wants to know what the teacher knows for the grade, to complete the class or the degree or even out of respect for the teacher. A talmid wants to be like the teacher that is to become what the teacher is. That meant that students were passionately devoted to their rabbi and noted everything he did or said. This meant the rabbi-talmid relationship was a very intense and personal system of education. As the rabbi lived and taught his understanding of the Scripture his students (talmidim) listened and watched and imitated so as to become like him. Eventually they would become teachers passing on a lifestyle to their talmidim. …

 The Disciples as Talmidim

The decision to follow a rabbi as a talmid meant total commitment in the first century as it does today. Since a talmid was totally devoted to becoming like the rabbi he would have spent his entire time listening and observing the teacher to know how to understand the Scripture and how to put it into practice. Jesus describes his relationship to his disciples in exactly this way (Matt. 10:24-25; Luke 6:40)   He chose them to be with him (Mark 3:13-19) so they could be like him (John 13:15).

Most students sought out the rabbis they wished to follow. This happened to Jesus on occasion (Mark 5:19; Luke 9:57). There were a few exceptional rabbis who were famous for seeking out their own students. If a student wanted to study with a rabbi he would ask if he might “follow” the rabbi. The rabbi would consider the students potential to become like him and whether he would make the commitment necessary. It is likely most students were turned away.

Some of course were invited to “follow me”. This indicated the rabbi believed the potential talmid had the ability and commitment to become like him. It would be a remarkable affirmation of the confidence the teacher had in the student. In that light, consider whether the disciples of Jesus were talmidim as understood by the people of his time. They were to be “with” him Mark 3:13-19; to follow him Mark 1:16-20; to live by his teaching John 8:31; were to imitate his actions John 13:13-15; were to make everything else secondary to their learning from the rabbi Luke 14:26.

Ray Vander Laan   Rabbi and Talmidim      https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com/rabbi-and-talmidim



Trusting Yeshua as your Redeemer is only the beginning of life long change!

It is not enough to believe that Yeshua is the Son of G-d…the demons believe that.  Asking Yeshua into your life will get you saved, so long as you permit the reading of the Word and the influence of the Ruach haKodesh to change you into a G-dly person, acting as G-d would have you act.  That does not mean slavish, Orthodox Jewish adherence to manmade traditions, but it does mean honoring G-d’s will for your life, and becoming like Yeshua in all that you do.  But after that, Yeshua wants us all to pick up our own stake, and follow him.  Mostly that means not doing as the world does, and that can be very painful, if not anything near to crucifixion, but we are supposed to do that, and we do it by acting as Yeshua did.



1The Stranger within your Gates, Gary G. Porton; Chapter 2; Converts and Conversion in Mishnah, page 16,   1994 The University of Chicago Press

What Are God’s Ways?

YHVH’s ways are not our ways.  We’re human, and we don’t know very much about how to live as a human until we are out of time to learn how to do it well.  One of the consequences of living life is that we make mistakes constantly.  And as life progresses, we come to see the patterns of our life, and our mistakes, and where we could have done so much better had we only been trained properly!  But proper training requires some dedication to learning G-d’s ways, and Adonai Elohim’s ways are primarily ensconced in the teaching of YHVH to the Jews…actually, not just the Jews, but the original Israelites that came down out of Egypt into what was then and is now called Israel.

I do, however know what he has told mankind about his ways, because I have read the Torah.  Scattered throughout these writings here will always be the odd Hebrew word, for as much as it may irritate us whose first language is another language than Hebrew, that language, in its original paleo form was, as best anyone can tell, the original language of mankind.  Each Hebrew word has a core set of consonants that have extraordinary depth and numerous shades of meaning that non-Hebrew speakers cannot even get at the basis of.  Someone not raised in the language never really can absorb all the nuances of this proto language.

Torah (trh) in its simplest definition means ‘teaching’…what Adonai taught the Israelites through Moshe, and what is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, and translated with less or more accuracy into all languages.  There are a lot of shades of meaning and encoded thought, names, and ideas in the information that Adonai dictated to Moshe in what people know as the first five books of the Old Testament or the Bible.

There are a lot of commandments in the Torah meant for Israelites, and they are about how to be an Israelite. The key teachings that are meant for all mankind are the Ten Commandments that YHVH himself spoke to the Israelites in the Saudi Desert at the real Mount Sinai.  The other 603 commandments given through Moses as they became necessary were meant to shape the rag tag lot of people that came out of Egypt into a separated people…YHVH’s people.

The first five commandments are about man’s duty to G-d, and Adonai Elohim’s line of authority through a person’s parents, while the second five commandments are given to state what is not permissible behavior towards other humans.  Thus we have the following:

Exodus 20:23 (CJB)
2 “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.
3 “You are to have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:4 (CJB)
4  You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.

Exodus 20:5-6 (CJB)
5  You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6  but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.

Exodus 20:7 (CJB)
7 “You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

Exodus 20:8-11 (CJB)
8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.
9  You have six days to labor and do all your work,
10  but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.
11  For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

Exodus 20:12 (CJB)
12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.

Exodus 20:13 (CJB)
13  “Do not murder.

Exodus 20:14 (CJB)
14   “Do not commit adultery.

Exodus 20:15 (CJB)
15  “Do not steal.

Exodus 20:16 (CJB)
16  “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:17 (CJB)
17  “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


Now, having once listed those Ten Commandments, it needs to be said that all of the first five books of the Bible are the Teaching…the Torah, but when it comes to people who are not Israelites, how one lives one’s life is accomplished by following at the very least a minimalized version of the Ten Commandments, not by being an Israelite.  Acting like an Israelite is not the point.  Acting like the perfect Israelite Yeshua is.

Therefore, we are to follow what is in the Torah when it comes to how we treat other people…G-d, our parents, and one another in thought and deed.  It isn’t complicated, unless you attempt to follow everyone else’s rules about how to act…the Karaite Jews, the Reform Jews, the Conservative Jews, the Orthodox Jews, the Catholics, and the Protestants and Cults of every denomination and theoretical background have no right to tell you how to follow these rules of living laid down by Abba, and there is no need to take what others say about how to obey the commandments of YHVH to man except as a point of guidance…not a law.

As to all the other good works of behavior laid down for the Israelites in the Torah, they were established to set the Israelites apart from all other nations of man so that they might become the byword for civil behavior that they became.  The Israelites were to stand before the world as G-d’s special people, a people chosen to demonstrate how to live well before their Creator.  And the Israelites were separated to be YHVH’s special people in order to demonstrate that if you did not follow the commandments given you, Adonai would not bless you with all that he can bless you with in the here and now, nor would you have a portion in an eternal future.

This is what the point of ‘legalism’ was all about in the 1st century A.D.  It wasn’t that the Commandments of G-d were an overwhelming burden to mankind, though one cannot keep them as well as Yeshua ben Elohim did…it was the traditions of man as added to those Commandments of G-d that were the problem, and still are.

The Ten Commandments of YHVH are not laws…they are commands.  They form the basis for all civil behavior, and all of what I deem civilization is now based on them.  Those peoples who do not follow them are in my opinion doing less well than they can, in relation to G-d, to their parents, or to one another.  Following these laws is an exercise in loving Abba and loving one another.

These are G-d’s ways, and following them is not hard at all, presuming you care even a little bit about the well-being of other people, or about your own well-being.  Honoring the Creator by valuing only him as G-d by putting his desires for you and for others ahead of your desires for yourself is not hard.  Not making a 3D image of anything that Adonai has made in order to worship it is not difficult once you know that Abba dislikes that behavior.

Not speaking of YHVH or using his name lightly or to swear falsely is not difficult once you know not to do it.  Taking one day off out of seven to enjoy all that G-d has created and given you to enjoy is not difficult, and very good for you.  Treating your parents well is not difficult, even if they are difficult people, when you know that Adonai blesses you for doing so.  And refraining from hurting others by not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not swearing falsely, and not coveting what is not yours is not hard to do, once you know not to do it.

After one has these basics down, one then needs to learn to love others as G-d has loved you, and that is what Yeshua came to teach us about.  He came to not only die as a ransom for all the imperfect people who would ever live and trust in that act of redemption, but to empower us to live in a positive way that does not always look only after ourselves, but after the good of the others around us.  Loving one another is the ultimate expression of G-d, as it is what he does all the time, loving us. These are G-d’s ways…the ways he wants us to follow in.