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“If you love me, keep my Commandments”  Page 2.


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The Oral Law

Some ‘enlightened’ church goers and believers in Yahshua say that they don’t need to read, teach, or keep all the laws of Yahweh? No, they don't, not in self effort, as even the Israelites who had Moses with them found them too difficult to keep, but now there is a greater One, the holy Spirit to empower believers, and the indwelling of the Father and Son to strengthen them. Oh yes, New Covenant (Testament) believers have a greater advantage than they. To whom much is given, much is expected. This is most poignant within this context.
While all the fullness of a walk of sanctification is available through Calvary, once we are delivered from our sins, and we acknowledge Him as our Saviour, Messiah, Redeemer, then there is more, oh, so much more for us to walk in, explore and enjoy. Let us not confuse the Jewish traditions taught by the Pharisees and later the Rabbinic scholars with what is expected of us in Yahweh's Law.
We love the faithful Rabbi's who have gone before us. We know we owe so very much to them. We understand they are the ‘apple of His eye’ the faithful keepers of Torah (the Law, the Scriptures as we see them). The ones who kept the Sabbath sacred, who taught and still teach us many things, but…….. in their great, sacrificial effort (and so many thousands paid for this with their lives…) to keep the Law sacred, they put a great hedge of teachings around it called the Oral Law. These 'extra' laws became burdensome, and it was to those who taught these extras to whom Yahshua spoke when He talked about burdening the people with 'things too heavy to bear.' In Matthew 23:1-8 and Luke 11:46 we read "...The scribes and the Pharisees....they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders...call no man 'Rabbi'..." These verses are most enlightening, please read them for yourself. These religious leaders took away from the true Law given through Moses by adding others, which became heavy weights for the people to bear. One such law speaks of 'A Sabbath day's journey' restricting travel. There is no such law designating distance in Moses. Many of these laws, or similar ones, (reviewed and changed over the centuries by various rabbis) are in existence today, and are included in the now much expanded teachings of the: Halachot, Takanot, Ma’asim and Minhagim. If you desire to understand this more, then Wikepdia has a brilliant section explaining the sources of this Law. A short quote: "According to modern scholarship, the traditions embodied in what later became known as the "Oral Torah" developed over generations among the inhabitants of Judea and were passed down through various modes of cultural transmission, including but not restricted to oral transmission." This is a massive subject and impossible to cover here. Some rabbis believe that Moses received the Oral Law on Sinai, others believe they have been more or less added from various other sources, from scholars and Rabbis from different societies and generations.

This hedge of teachings, called the Oral Law, kept them from breaking the Commandments, and to keep the law from being damaged. But it has, it is sad to say, sometimes become a stumbling block, so that people have thought more of the hedge which involves thousands of additional rules, regulations and laws such as washings, ceremonies, ways of doing things and not doing them, more than the precious thing within it, the Law of YHWH, the Torah itself. Yahshua had a problem with this. He was quite scathing in His comments regarding these laws of men. He criticised those teaching this hedge of laws, and said that they had lost sight of the actual truth and were teaching others their laws rather than Moses’ law, the law that Yahshua came to establish. He said (and he was quoting Isaiah) 'Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the Commandments of YHWH, ye hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Full well you reject the commandment of YHWH, that you may keep your own tradition…' Mark 7:7-8. The Pharisees did not understand Yahshua and watched him closely, and resented the things He said and did. Yahshua’s disciples followed His teachings, and later, Paul's. Paul spoke and taught in Aramaic, and his letters were translated into Greek later. The word 'law' many times referred not to Mosaic law, but the oral law, the law written about in Galatians, which was in all probability the Oral Law, the one criticised by Yahshua, taught by the Pharisees.

What 'Law' then, are we to keep?

How easy it is for us to say "We are no longer under the law, but under grace" from Romans 6:14, thus freeing ourselves from the obligation of keeping the Law of Yahweh which is within Torah.
We fail to realise that when we forget to give something back, we are stealing, and when we feel jealous of someone it could be envy, or when we ignore our parents or work on Saturdays we could be breaking the true law, the law of Yahweh! How about the laws on restitution? Did you replace that item you broke or damaged? Love your neighbour as yourself, does it still not apply to us? Do we consider ourselves 'above' making restitution as Torah teaches? Yahshua went out of His way to remind us of them! 'We are no longer under the law but under grace' Romans 6:14 is only true within its context! We are only 'free from the law' in as much as we should be living it, from our hearts full of love for the Almighty! Once we have the life of Messiah within us, we, both Jew and those from the nations in Messiah are able to conform to all that the law requires, through the holy Spirit. “Not the hearers of the law are just before YHWH, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when those believers from the nations, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law…Romans 2:13-14 This means that we should spend time reading and studying what the law requires, and as the holy Spirit illuminates and emphasises the true meaning, walk in that revelation. This brings about Sanctification.

Excuses!
Some ‘favourite’ scriptures which believers from the nations use as excuses and quote in order to ignore the Old Testament (Covenant) requirements are:
The First Excuse Galatians 3:13 reads, 'But Messiah has redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming accursed for us, for it is written; “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'.
So many of us invalidate the law by quoting this scripture wholly out of context. Yahshua came to remove the curse which we were under for the breaking of the law, He was not saying that the Law was a curse! He is talking about the curses included in the law for not obeying it, not talking about the law itself. Yahweh never gave mankind a curse to follow!

The curse of the Law
Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD...
Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother...
Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark...
Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way...
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow...
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt...
Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast...
Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother...
Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law...
Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly...
Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person...

Deu 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Yahshua took this curse of the Law, because He was the One who hung on a tree taking our punishment, the curse, upon Himself.

The Second Excuse: Galatians 4:10 'Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.' This gives the average ‘christian’ the ‘proof’ he thinks he has found that means he does not have to observe the Biblical Feasts as found in Leviticus 23. Thank Yahweh He is a merciful Elohim (God). This scripture regarding the times and days being observed is referring to the observances of special days and months related to former pagan beliefs and practises, pagan feasts once practised by the people and has nothing to do with the Feasts of Yahweh at all.
When reading a passage, we must read the context of the words we are studying in order to make sense of it. Verses 8-10 need to be read together to make sense of the meaning. In verse 8 Paul talks about their former 'slavery' to 'gods that were no gods' and verse 9 suggests that in this pagan worship specific days, months and years were observed. He emphatically states 'you desire again to be in bondage,' obviously suggesting practises of their past pagan observances. You could never accuse Gentiles for returning again to the Feasts of Yahweh!
As we are mentioning Galatians 4, if you read this closely, from verse 19 to verse 31 Paul is discussing the difference between following the fleshly rules and regulations of men (i.e. the hedge of Rabbinic doctrines and rules) and the freedom of serving the laws of Yahweh in and through the holy Spirit. He says the difference can be likened to the self effort of Abraham producing his son Ishmael through Hagar before waiting for the child of the promise, the child Yahweh promised him through his wife, Sarah. The works of the flesh being the rules and regulations of the Scribes, Pharisees and Rabbis.

The Third Excuse Galatians 5:18 'But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.' This is a favourite of the law-less people of the nations who insist on doing their own thing. John 16:13-16 states When he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: …for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you. Yahshua is stating here that the things He taught are simply the things of the Father, i.e. the Old Covenant scriptures. He states that when the holy Spirit comes into our lives, he will lead us into all these truths. We are not, in fact, 'under' the law, but fulfilling it through Yahshua, who, as we read it will place the principles of it in our hearts, it is 'written' on our hearts, as the holy Spirit illuminates the full meaning of it to our spirit and mind, and gives us the power to keep it.

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