I just completed “Yokhanan Markos” for our Web Bible, “HaDavar“, “The Word”. It is traditionally called, of course, “The Gospel of Mark.” Most just forget that “Mark’s” Jewish name was Yokhanan, or John. Jews who lived in foreign lands or among gentiles often had/have their given Jewish name, and a name to match the local vernacular. Paul did too. His given name was Sha’ul, and his ‘local’ name was Paul, among gentiles. That is seen clearly in the book of Acts.
But, as I did the web pages for the chapters of Mark’s gospel, I crossed through chapter 12. Yeshua is having a conversation with a Scribe, who asks Him, “Which is the first [most important] mitzvah of all?” A mitzvah is a command given by God in the Torah. Yeshua answers him and says,
“The first of all the mitzvot is, ‘Shema, Yisra’el, יהוה Eloheinu, יהוה Ekhad! [Hear O Yisra’el, יהוה is our Elohim, 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 nefesh.’ There is no other mitzvah greater than these two.”
There is a great amount to be learned from those two commandments. But, I am going to point out two very obvious things. First, Those two commands are ‘important’, preeminent commands. God is ONE, and His name is יהוה . Very important to Yeshua, it seems. We must love Him with all our being and actions, and we must also love those around us. But, what is glaringly absent is an abrogation of any command. Yet people misinterpret Yeshua, who added this comment to the above commentary, according to another witness of the event, or that of a similar event:
40On these two mitzvot hang the Torah and the Nevi’im.” ~ Mat 22
What Yeshua is describing here, is that all the other commands ‘depend’ on the first two. One can see that easily in looking at a slightly larger summary of the Torah. These are the “Ten D’varim”, the ‘Ten Matters’, most call them the “Ten Commandments”. I have bolded the summary of each matter:
- 2“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.
- 3You 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; 4you will not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I, יהוה your Elohim, am El Kanah, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; 5and showing compassion unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My Mitzvot.
- 6You will not take the Name of יהוה your Elohim in vain; for יהוה will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.
- 7Remember Yom HaShabbat, 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, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; 10for in six days יהוה made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore יהוה blessed Yom HaShabbat, and hallowed it.
- 11Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which יהוה your Elohim gives you.
- 12You will not murder.
- You will not commit adultery.
- You will not steal.
- You will not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- 13You will not covet your neighbor’s house; you will not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
Looking at these, one can immediately see that the first five ‘roll out of’ the most important one according to Yeshua: “Hear O Yisra’el, יהוה is our Elohim, יהוה is One. And 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.” The first five of the Ten Commandments explain to us exactly HOW to love God. People who go around spouting “Love god and love your neighbor, that’s all you have to do,” are right. But, they rarely understand HOW to do that. To love God, we must adhere to all of the first five, and the OTHER commandments that further derive from these!
To love our neighbor, as Yeshua said, ‘You must love your neighbor as your own nefesh,’ where Yeshua is actually quoting the book of Leviticus to give us that command, we have a summary of how to do it in the last five commands above: do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie about neighbors, do not covet what is not yours. That is the beginning of how to love one’s neighbors.
The Torah further explains the “Sabbath”, and how to keep that, in other parts. Out of the Sabbath roll all the other days and ways that we are to worship Him. Which Yeshua Himself demonstrated for 3 and 1/2 years! The Torah also further explains how to love our neighbors! Through the rest of the Torah, the word ‘neighbor’ appears at least another 25 times, four other times in Leviticus 19 from where Yeshua quoted. That means that there are close to 30 principles to consider in how to love our neighbor, not to mention the psalms and proverbs that further ponder those things.
Yeshua summarizing the Torah on two commands in no way abrogates the whole Torah. That logic is ludicrous, but that is how most theologians teach it. When He taught the “Sermon on the Mount,” He elucidated many specific commands about being neighborly, and showed us how very serious God was in giving those commands! When Sha’ul wrote to the Galatians and said, “For the whole Torah is fulfilled in one saying, that is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” he was not abrogating Torah in saying so; he was affirming it! To be fulfilled does not mean to be nullified. In this context, it actually means to be ‘confirmed’ or ‘affirmed’, or to have the conditions of it met.
We have never once taught anyone that they are saved or justified or made any better than anyone by keeping the commands of the Torah. What we have said, and assert again, is that we glorify our Master Yeshua by seeking to walk this life the way He did, and do as He taught according to the Torah, in EVERY aspect of our lives. NOT just in the way we treat people, but ALSO in the way we treat God. We have respect unto God when He says, ‘Remember my Sabbath,’ and ‘This is my Name forever’, and ‘Keep my celebrations’. While at the same time, we STILL believe we should not commit adultery, murder, steal, nor put a stumbling block before the blind.
So, when Yeshua was asked what the most important commandment was, He cited two commands that sum up the 10, and the 10 sum up the other 603, many of which we cannot even concern ourselves with because we are not in Israel and there is no Temple, like, let’s say, the TITHE! Those commands are inapplicable to us. His Sabbath is FOREVER. His Torah is FOREVER, and every man will be judged according to The Torah, by Yeshua, on Judgment Day.
11For He who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” said also, “You shall not kill.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you kill, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. 12Therefore, speak, and therefore, act as men who are to be judged by the Torah of liberty. ~ James 2
“I will RUN in the path of our commandments, for you have SET MY HEART FREE.” ~Ps 119:32
Many people think Paul abrogated the Torah, and that he called it “the law of sin.” They do not understand that “Sin” is a law of “lawlessness” unto itself, and that law is the one that destroys us, and one is ‘under the Torah’ by living in ‘sin’, or ‘lawlessness’.
21I find therefore that the Torah agrees with my conscience when I wish to do good, but evil is always near, distracting me. 22For I delight in the Torah of Elohim after the inward man; 23but I see another ‘law’ in my members, warring against the Torah in my mind, and it makes me a captive to the impetus of sin which is in my members. ~ Rom 7
“Is the Torah sin? What profanity!” ~ Rom 7:7
Think about it, and understand the Word more fully. Sha’ul contrasts the Torah against ‘sin’. Sin is being outside of the Torah [ 1 Jo 3:4], or being in it and yet breaking it with intent. Yeshua indeed forgives us of all our sins, but He also compels us to become more like Him, the one who kept ALL of it perfectly.