The Torah of God, sometimes incorrectly translated as “Law”, actually means “God’s teachings and instructions”. Many of us drive, and it is a smart car owner who studies the owner’s manual; it gives us important information on the operation and maintenance of the car. The teachings of God are like our owner’s manual; we would be wise to consult the manual which was written by the one who created the vehicle (our bodies, souls, and spirits).
What is the greatest commandment?
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
I can imagine plenty of people would have some heartburn with “You shall love God”, but who would deny that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is a wise and beautiful rule to live life by?
Taking it to higher level – Murder begins with anger
Jesus not only endorsed the sixth commandment, but he taught that it was a sin to even be angry without cause, in Matthew 5:21-22.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of @#!*% fire.
Taking it to a higher level – Adultery begins with lust
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
These do not sound like the words of a man who is ready to throw out the law of the old testament – rather, these words take the commandments of God to a higher, and wiser, level, because if we can nip those negative states of mind in the bud, we will end up with a lot less strife, heartbreak, murder, and adultery.
Think, for a minute, what kind of world we would live in if people thought twice before they became angry with one another, or lusted after each others spouses. Before you condemn these teachings as old-fashioned and backwards, consider the potential consequences when someone gets angry with you, or begins to lust after your spouse. God’s laws are there for our protection.
Heaven and Earth have not passed away
For those who think Jesus was against the law of Moses, consider Matthew 5:17-5:19.
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The last time I checked, heaven and earth had not passed away. This means not one bit of the law has passed away. Some have argued that Jesus’ death on the cross caused ‘all to be fulfilled’, but if that were the case, why would he also say that whoever keeps and teaches these commandments would be called great in the kingdom of heaven? I submit to you that the writings of Paul have been complex and misunderstood on this issue.
Can we keep, let alone understand, all the teachings of God? Well, let me suggest that it is a process; we are saved by grace, but the teachings of God give us a structure as to how we should live – without which we are merely guessing.
Who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus
There are two places in the book of Revelation that describe end-times tribulations, and make it clear that there is a particular group of people who the adversary is enraged with. The first is Revelation 12:13-17.
13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The second place this occurs is in Revelation 14:12.
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
If the commandments of God are no longer important, why do we find them so resoundingly in the book of Revelation, the last book in the new testament ever written?
Last warning before 300 years of silence – Remember the Law of Moses
So we have looked at the last book in the new testament, and we have heard from the first book in the new testament (Matthew), so how about we take a look at the last book in the old testament, before over 300 years of silence. Could we find a clue there as to what importance we should attach to the teachings of God? Malachi 4:4.
4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
Remember the law of Moses; the law of Moses, correctly translated, would mean the “torah of Moses”, or we could even say, the teachings and instructions of God. Here, before three hundred years of silence, in the final three verses of Malachi, we get this message. Could it perhaps imply that there would be some doubt about the torah, and thus serve as a warning and reminder not to disregard God’s teachings and instructions, even if some confused theologians misunderstood the apostle Paul?
This is too big a subject to fully cover at this time, but hopefully I’ve written enough to get some few readers curious about the subject and willing to take an objective look on their own.