Love God, Love People… HOW?

בִּשְׁתֵּי הַמִּצְוֹת הָאֵלֶּה תְּלוּיָה כָּל הַתּוֹרָה וְהַנְּבִיאִים

Yes, Yeshua did say that loving God and loving people was critical. “On these two mitzvot hang all the Torah and the Nevi’im.” Mat 22:40 What two ‘commandments’?

The first of the two He cited was: “Shema! [Hear and respond] O Yisra’el! יהוה is our God! יהוה is ONE, and you shall LOVE יהוה Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” It comes to us through Yeshua from Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

The second one, Yeshua said is like the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It comes to us through Yeshua from Leviticus 19:18 : “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am  יהוה  ‘.” 

Yeshua the Messiah is Jewish. His ministry was exclusively to Jewish people. The first century was rife with Messianic electricity, as the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah, because the book of Daniel had put the coming of Messiah squarely at that time, and they all knew it. The Sadducees were a smaller but significant sect of religious Jews. Their one issue against Yeshua was that He believed in the resurrection. The Sadducees kept the Pesakh at the same time as Yeshua and His Talmidim, while the Pharisees had moved it to the night of the 15th. Our Jewish people today follow the Pharisees, but many, like the Sadducees, have stopped believing in a resurrection. The Pharisees thought one of them could ‘become’ the Messiah if they could be righteous enough. They had been teaching the Jewish people since just after the time of the Maccabees, and they had gone into error themselves as teachers. They had taught that righteousness was obtained by obeying the Rabbis, most of whom were Pharisees. After putting the Sadducees in their place about the resurrection, Yeshua then answered a challenge from the Pharisees, “Which is the greatest of the Mitzvot?” The Mitzvot are the commandments given by the Creator in the Torah; some people call it the Pentateuch, because it is the first five books of Scripture. The Torah is the FOUNDATION of The Word. It is Yeshua’s DNA.

When Yeshua answered the question, He was actually AGREEING WITH THE PHARISEES. He was NOT teaching a NEW thing!

Yokhanan Markos [Mark, who is also named John] records the same encounter as Matai, but he gives a little more detail. After answering the Sadducees about the resurrection, a SCRIBE, Mark tells us, is the one who asks about the GREATEST MITZVAH. Why? Because the Pharisees ALREADY TAUGHT that the greatest command was to love God. So much did they think it, they NAMED the command: “The Shema”. In English: “The HEAR AND DO Command”.

Here is Mark’s rendering of the encounter:

28And one of the Sofrim [Scribes] came near and heard them debating, and he saw that He gave them a good answer. So he asked Him, “Which is the first mitzvah of all?”  29Yeshua said to him, “The first of all the mitzvot is, 

‘Shema, Yisra’el,  יהוה  Eloheinu,  יהוה  Ekhad! [Hear O Yisra’el,  יהוה  is our God,  יהוה  is One].  30And you must love  יהוה  your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your might;’ this is the first mitzvah.  31And the second is like unto it, ‘You must love your neighbor as your own soul.’  There is no other mitzvah greater than these two.”  

32The Sofer said to Him, “Well said, Rabbi, you have said the truth, that He is One, and there is no other besides Him; 33and that a man should love Him with all the heart and with all the mind and with all the soul and with all the might, and love his neighbor as his own soul; this is far more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  34When Yeshua saw that he replied wisely, He answered, saying to him, “You are not far from Malkhut HaElohim. [The Kingdom of God] ” And no man dared again to question Him.

Yeshua was SO in agreement with the Pharisees, that He also inserted their explanation of the ‘soul’ : The Torah only says heart, soul, and might. Yeshua added ‘sikhlekha’, or ‘understanding’, which means ‘mind’. This was a Pharisee teaching of the first century! The Scribe affirms this with his response.

In both accounts, Yeshua then challenges the Pharisees, which included the Scribes, as to who the Messiah is. His point was that Messiah was the SON OF GOD. They could not answer against Him in that matter. But, in the Matai account, Yeshua then turns around and addresses the crowd in this manner:

 “The Sofrim [Scribes] and the P’rushim [Pharisees] sit on the Seat of Moshe3Therefore, whatever they tell you to obey, obey and do it, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not.”

Most people do not know or realize that Yeshua was being VERY LITERAL here. The crowd were torn between whom to follow, to whom to listen regarding “Halakha”, or “How to WALK the Torah.” Many Jewish people WANTED to be saved, to do good, to be right with God. They were, however, just like today, being torn apart by doctrine, and led down some glistening paths that ‘looked right’. Yeshua actually came to straighten up the mess.

When He said, LISTEN TO THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, He was telling the Jewish people something very very particular! “FOR THEY SIT IN THE SEAT OF MOSES”.

In 1st century Synagogues, where ALL Jewish people worship, on Shabbat, there was a chair. It was in the center of the Synagogue on the wall that was nearest Jerusalem. The chair was called “Kiseh Moshe”, the seat of Moses, because the person who would read the Torah on the Sabbath would sit in THAT CHAIR.

Kiseh Moshe, “The Seat of Moses”

Above is a typical Kiseh Moshe from around the time of Messiah, found in Israel.

When Yeshua said, “for they SAY, and DO NOT,” it was because the Scribes and Pharisees would read the WORDS of the Torah every Shabbat, thus SAYING them. But, their ACTIONS were far different. They did not DO the Torah. They SAID the great command was to LOVE GOD, but they did NOT LOVE HIM. Because they did NOT DO the Torah. Yeshua had this very discussion with Pharisees about their NOT KEEPING THE TORAH:

1Then there gathered to Him P’rushim and Sofrim who had come from Yerushalayim.  2And they saw some of His Talmidim eating bread with their hands unwashed, and they reproached them.  3For all the Y’hudim [religious followers of Pharisees] and the P’rushim [Pharisees], unless their hands were washed carefully, would not eat, because they strictly observed the tradition of the elders

[Let’s make this ABUNDANTLY clear: the notion that one MUST wash hands before eating is NOT IN THE TORAH. Unlike the Shema, you will NOT find a command in Genesis to Deuteronomy that says NOT to eat without washing your hands.]

4Even the things from the market, if they were not washed, they would not eat. And there are a great many other things which they have accepted to obey, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper utensils, and the beddings of dead men.  5And the Sofrim and P’rushim asked Him, “Why do your Talmidim not walk according to the traditions of the elders, but eat bread with their hands unwashed?” 

[Notice they did NOT say ‘according to the Torah’].

6He said to them, “The Navi Yesha-Yahu [Prophet Isaiah] well prophesied about you, O hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.  7And they worship me in vain when they teach as doctrines the commandments of men.’  8For you have ignored the mitzvah of Elohim, and you observe the tradition of men, such as the washing of cups and pots and a great many other things like these.”  9He said to them, “You certainly do injustice to the mitzvah of Elohim so as to sustain your own tradition10For Moshe said, ‘Honor your father and your mother;’ and, ‘he who curses father or mother, let him die the death.’ 

[Yeshua was QUOTING THE TORAH, when He said “Moshe said”; Moshe’s hand authored the Torah, taking DICTATION FROM GOD’S VERY OWN MOUTH on Mt. Sinai]

11But you say a man may say to his father or his mother, ‘What is left over is Karbani;’

[ karbani is ‘my offering’; basically, they taught that if they brought their tithe, their money, to the synagogue, then they didn’t have to support their elderly parents; this is an EGREGIOUS violation of God’s LAW. ]

12and yet you do not let him do anything for his father or mother13So you dishonor the D’var HaElohim [The WORD of GOD] for the sake of the tradition which you have established; and you do a great many other things like these.” 

And so do most people today. Notice how Yeshua calls the commandments, the Torah, “Moshe”, the WORD OF GOD!?

Yeshua did NOT say that The Shema and Ahavta was His only commands. He DID say that ALL the Torah and the Prophets HANG on, or DEPEND on those two commands. You can’t say that you are doing them, if you are not in fact loving God and ACTUALLY doing them, both in how you treat God, AND how you treat people.

Because the commands teach us HOW to LOVE God, AND, HOW to love people. Most believers actually ‘say’ they follow the “Nine Commandments”. There is debate today about posting the Nine Commandments AGAIN in our Schools and public places. Christians everywhere argue that the Nine Commandments should be preeminent in our lives. My point is, they UNDERSTAND that these are GOOD IDEAS! They actually help to create a society where people can walk safely without OFFENSE. Leftists today are so ‘worried’ about offending everyone’s sensibilities, but their version of sensible living is BEREFT of God! The Nine Commandments are a summation of the whole Torah. They TEACH US HOW to LOVE GOD, and HOW to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR. These are a SUMMARY of the Torah. And guess what, SO ARE THE TWO that Yeshua gave us!

Here are the Nine Commandments as they were given on Mt. Sinai, but also a little summarized for brevity’s sake, which EVERY STONE MONUMENT in the country does:

Mitzvah 1 : “I am  יהוה  your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitzrayim, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. 

Mitzvah 2 : You will not make unto you a graven image, nor any manner of 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; you will not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I,  יהוה  your Elohim, am El Kanah….”

Mitzvah 3 : You will not take the Name of  יהוה  your Elohim in vain; for  יהוה  will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

Remember Yom HaShabbat [The Sabbath Day], to keep it kadosh. 8Six days will you labor, and do all your work; 9but the seventh day is a Shabbat unto  יהוה  your Elohim, in it you will not do any manner of work.”

Mitzvah 4 : Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which  יהוה  your Elohim gives you.

Mitzvah 5 : You will not murder.   

Mitzvah 6 : You will not commit adultery.   

Mitzvah 7 : You will not steal.   

Mitzvah 8 : You will not bear false witness against your neighbor.   

Mitzvah 9 : You will not covet……

You might be thinking, ‘but wait, you didn’t number one of them?’

Yup. That FOURTH command. Either they ALL apply to us today, OR NONE OF THEM DO! You cannot have it both ways!

There are indeed TEN!

And, the first FIVE teach us HOW to love GOD!

The LAST Five teach us HOW to love others.

And christians who go around teaching that Yeshua only gave us the two, and those are the ONLY ones we have to ‘worry about’, do NOT endeavor to learn HOW to love God! Did you know that the Torah tells a man to take a YEAR OFF from traveling, and from going to war, to LEARN HOW to MAKE HIS WIFE HAPPY? IT DOES! If you want to LEARN HOW to LOVE GOD, listen to those summative commands.

When number FOUR says to KEEP THE SABBATH, He, GOD, is telling us WHEN He wants us to ASSEMBLE! Because the book of Leviticus tells us that we are to ASSEMBLE on the SEVENTH DAY! Yes, Christian, you can absolutely ‘worship’ God EVERY DAY, and you should. I DO! I pray three times daily, and acknowledge Him in my thoughts and actions ALL DAY LONG. But, I ASSEMBLE on the SEVENTH DAY! As did Yeshua regularly! Luke 4:16

THAT IS part of LOVING GOD.

PAGANS assembled on Sun – day, to worship the SUN. The man who CHANGED the CHRISTIAN day of worship FROM The SABBATH to ‘sun-day’, said, “Let us NO LONGER worship as those odious people, the Jews, but let us HENCEFORTH assemble on that day of “SOL INVICTUS””. He was a SUN worshipper, for the REST of his life, and he MOVED the Sabbath of God. It is NOT sun day. It never has been, and it never will be.

6He said to them, “The Navi Yesha-Yahu [Prophet Isaiah] well prophesied about you, O hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.  7And they worship me in vain when they teach as doctrines the commandments of men.’  8For you have ignored the mitzvah of Elohim, and you observe the tradition of men, such as the washing of cups and pots and a great many other things like these.”  9He said to them, “You certainly do injustice to the mitzvah of Elohim so as to sustain your own tradition10For Moshe said, ‘Honor your father and your mother;’ and, ‘he who curses father or mother, let him die the death.’ 

“You SAY, and DO NOT.”

If one studies the Torah and the prophets, the ONLY SCRIPTURES around when Paul said, “STUDY THE SCRIPTURES”, one will find that the Torah has a LOT to say about how we treat other people, summarized in the last five commandments of the TEN. In fact, where Yeshua quoted Leviticus saying “Love your neighbor as yourself”, the verses around it reflect MORE DETAIL on HOW to do that!

15You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; you shall not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the rich; but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your people; neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor: I am  יהוה . You17 shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am  יהוה  ‘.” 

And, He reaffirms that He is יהוה , the only God. We LOVE God ONLY when we actually LOVE people. I have been harmed many times in my life; but, the most “hurt” and disregard for my person has come from RELIGIOUS PEOPLE who SAY they know Yeshua! “You SAY, and DO not.”

These two commandments are NOT ‘new’. They are not “Jesus’ Only Commands.” Yeshua was AFFIRMING one of the few things the Pharisees had right.

Yeshua said it VERY plainly, but people IGNORE HIM, just like they ignore HIS Torah. The WHOLE TORAH belongs to Messiah Yeshua. IT IS HIS TORAH. The TORAH is the “Torah of Messiah,” what many think is “the law of Christ.” Yeshua IS the WORD in flesh. He is THE TORAH. He didn’t just ‘quote’ it. The Torah is the expression of God to His people on HOW to LOVE HIM and HOW to love PEOPLE. There is SO MUCH RICHNESS in building CHARACTER in the words of the Torah! There is SO MUCH JOY in doing worship the way HE SAID He wanted His people to, JEW AND GENTILE!

Yeshua said plainly that he did NOT come to abrogate the Torah, to ‘do away with it’, to ABOLISH it. NO! He came to TEACH IT!

17“Do not expect that I have come to nullify the Torah or the Nevi’im; I have not come to nullify it, but to confirm it.  18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one yod, nor a stroke [of the pen] shall pass away from the Torah until everything comes to pass.  19Whoever therefore tries to nullify even one of these smallest mitzvot [commandments], and teaches men so, he shall be regarded as small in The Kingdom of Heaven; but anyone who observes and teaches them, he shall be regarded as great in The Kingdom of Heaven.  20For I say to you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Sofrim and P’rushim, you shall not enter The Kingdom of Heaven.”

Your righteousness CANNOT exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees if you are doing the SAME THING they did: ABROGATE THE TORAH and do the TRADITIONS OF MEN.

People THINK that Paul taught against the Torah too. They accused Stephen of it, whom Paul helped to murder. Then, they turn around and accuse Paul of it. But, Paul defended himself in FOUR COURTROOMS against the accusation of NULLIFYING TORAH, breaking it, and leaving His Jewish faith behind. He stood before FOUR COURTROOM BENCHES and testified that he NEVER BROKE THE TORAH. Yes, at times he SEEMS to some to have taught against it. But BE VERY CAREFUL about that conclusion:

Peter wrote:

14Therefore, my beloved, while you look for these things, be diligent that you may be found by Him in shalom, without spot, and blameless. 15And consider that the longsuffering of Adoneinu is for Salvation; even as our beloved brother Pavlos [Paul] also, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16as also in all his letters he speaks concerning these matters, in which there are certain things so hard to be understood that those who are ignorant and unstable twist their meaning, as they do also the other SCRIPTURES, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, my beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware, lest you follow the error of those without Torah, and fall from your own steadfastness.  18But grow in compassion and in the knowledge of Adoneinu and Moshi’einu, [Master and Savior] Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and of God the Father.” 2 Peter 3

Want to LOVE Yeshua, walk His walk. His ‘halakha’, our only Rabbi.

4He who says “I know Him” and does not keep His mitzvot is a liar, and the truth is not in him5But whoever keeps His WORD, in Him truly is the love of Elohim perfected.  Hereby we know that we are in Him:  6he who says “I am in Him” ought himself also to walk His halakha. 1 John 2

The WORD at that time was ONLY Genesis through Malakhi! And the few letters of the apostles that had been written at that time. The SCRIPTURES they studied were GENESIS TO MALAKHI.

The problem today is that people are reading the Bible backwards. They read from the end, and ignore the FOUNDATION. They forget that THE WORD existed in WRITTEN form LONG before Yeshua, THE LIVING WORD, became a man. Yeshua EMBODIES the commandments in HOW HE LIVED HIS LIFE. Which included keeping God His Father’s SABBATH, HIS feasts, as WELL as LOVING people. And He LOVED the Pharisees by provoking them AWAY from THEIR TRADITIONS to GOD’s TRUTH. Only a few ‘heard’ Him, and LOVED Him.

14For the whole Torah is fulfilled in one saying, that is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  15But if you harm and plunder one another, take heed lest you be consumed one by another.  16This I say then: walk in HaRu’akh [The BREATH/LIFE of GOD], and you shall never submit to the lust of the flesh17For the flesh craves that which is harmful to HaRu’akh, and HaRu’akh opposes the things of the flesh; and the two are contrary to one another, so that you are unable to do whatever you please.  18But if you are led by HaRu’akh, you are not under the Torah

One is UNDER a law when one BREAKS IT. One follows his FLESH when he abrogates Torah. He puts himself under the Torah. The FLESH wants things the Torah says NOT TO DO.

19For the works of the flesh are well known, which are these: adultery, impurity, and lasciviousness, 20idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, seditions, heresies, 21envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and all such things; those who practice these things, as I have told you before and I say to you now, shall not inherit The Kingdom of God.  22But the fruits of HaRu’akh are love, joy, shalom, patience of spirit, gentleness, goodness of heart, absolute trust, 23meekness, enduring tolerance;  there is no instruction against these.

There is NOTHING in the Torah that teaches us NOT to love our fellow man. NOTHING. In fact, the Torah is RIFE with BEAUTIFUL PRINCIPLES about HOW to love our neighbor! AND with BEAUTIFUL, CLEAR directions on HOW to LOVE GOD by ASSEMBLING with one another! The same times Yeshua did in His halakha, His TORAH WALK.

You read a JEWISH book. Written to Jews, by Jews. You are invited into a Jewish covenant. EVERY man who took the cup of His Renewed covenant that night was JEWISH. And they REMAINED Jewish and worshipped God as Yeshua did, for the rest of their lives. So did Paul. You are ABSOLUTELY saved by your TRUST in the blood of Yeshua to cleanse you of your sins, Torah infractions [1 John 3:4] , and that ALONE. But, You will be rewarded in the judgment according to how well you keep His Word. And how well you teach it, if you presume to teach it.

The wicked will be punished according to their EVERY TORAH VIOLATION, and suffer in the knowledge of it for ETERNITY.

The saved will barely get in, some of them, having the smell of smoke on their garments; and their reward will not be great.

The TWO commandments that Yeshua cited were NOT exclusive of all the others. They were SUMMATIVE and INCLUSIVE. He said so Himself:

19Whoever therefore tries to nullify even one of these smallest mitzvot [commandments], and teaches men so, he shall be regarded as small in The Kingdom of Heaven; but anyone who observes and teaches them, he shall be regarded as great in The Kingdom of Heaven. 

One is NOT ‘lost’ who abrogates the Torah and ignores ALL of His commands. But, his reward is lacking, because he limits the power of His Kingdom by ignoring the beauty of the Torah, which Yeshua LIVED and taught.

Published by danielperek

See my about page! I'm a Messianic Jewish writer, and teacher of the Torah as Messiah Yeshua taught it. I'm a husband, father, and grandfather. A musician, singer, and composer. Most importantly, a servant of the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua HaNatzri!

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