The New Testament Believer and the Commandments of God

By James King of

 

HalleluYah Messianic Fellowship

 

Revised August 10, 2017

 

In this study, the actual name of God in the Old Testament ( יהוה or hwhy), incorrectly translated in most English Bibles as "the LORD", is restored; the original Hebrew letters correspond to the letters YHWH or YHUH. Commonly interpreted as Jehovah, Yahweh, or Yehovah, many believe that His actual name is Yahuah; Psalm 68:4 has Yah as a short form. Also, the name of the Messiah (commonly known as Jesus) is restored as Yahusha, His actual name in the original Hebrew language; it literally means, "Yah is salvation." Using these actual, true names, while not essential for salvation, is more accurate and shows more love, honor, and respect. Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version with the names of the Father and the Son corrected and ("the LORD" = Yahuah, "Jesus" = Yahusha). Also, "Christ" is restored to "Messiah."

 

What does the Bible say about the relationship between believers in Yahusha (Jesus) and God's commandments in the Old Testament? Most of these commandments are found in the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These five books are called the Torah, a Hebrew word that means "instructions." It is usually translated in English Bibles as "law," which is a bit misleading. The Torah does contain laws but it also contains much more.

Believers are responsible to study and understand the Scriptures and to handle them appropriately:

2 Timothy 2:15  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Before we go any further I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I do not believe or teach that salvation can be earned by obeying God's commandments in the Torah. The Bible plainly states that we cannot do that (cf. Psalms 84:10-12, Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, 3:21, 2 Peter 1:1). The idea that a person can earn salvation by obeying God's laws and commandments is just as wrong as it could be.

On the other hand, the idea that a person can be in a good, right relationship with our Father in heaven and totally disregard His commandments is equally wrong. There are numerous Scriptures that teach us the importance of obeying His commandments, and I will show you some of them. Here is one example:

Proverbs 28:9  One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is abomination.

The original Hebrew word for "law" in this verse is Torah; an "abomination" is something that is hated and detestable. We must understand that in the Hebraic way of thinking, the word "hear" includes the idea of obedience; "hear" and "obey" are both expressed by the same word in Hebrew – shema. Proverbs 28:9 is saying that if we are not at least trying to obey God's commandments in the Torah, then our prayer is an abomination to Him.[1] We should not ignore God's law and expect our prayers to be answered.

And this does not mean just the "Ten Commandments" in Exodus 20; it means any and all of Yahuah's commandments that we have the ability to obey today. Some commandments could only be carried out in the Temple and some were strictly for the Temple priests. But it is estimated that there are between 150-200 commandments that believers can and should obey today no matter where in the world we live. Not for salvation, but because we are saved already and have entered into a covenant with the God of Israel. His commandments in the Torah are the terms of the covenant; He expects all of His people to obey them.

This article presumes the authority of Scripture over everything else. Some Christians place the ultimate authority with their church leaders while others base their beliefs primarily on their religious traditions. But the truth is the only objective, totally trustworthy authority for our faith and spiritual life is the Word of God, the Scriptures, the Holy Bible. So let's see what the Bible says about God's commandments.

God's Word, Covenants, Law, Commandments, and Statutes Are Everlasting, Eternal

Psalm 89:34  My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.

Psalms 111:4-8  4 He has made his wonderful works to be remembered: Yahuah is gracious and full of compassion. 5 He has given food to those who fear Him: He will ever be mindful of His covenant. 6 He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations. 7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All his precepts are sure. 8 They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.

Psalms 119:151-152  151 You are near, O Yahuah, and all your commandments are truth.
152
Concernin
g your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

Psalms 119:160  The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Isaiah 40:8  The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

1 Chronicles 16:14-17  14 He is Yahuah our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 15 Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, 16 The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac; 17 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant.

Some people teach that God's laws and commandments were abolished when Yahusha died on the cross (later I will show you what Yahusha said about that idea). Let's first see that long after His death and resurrection, New Testament verses were written that clearly indicate that God's law is still in effect:

James 2:9-12  9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said," DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

James says that we can still become a transgressor of the law and can be convicted by it. How can anyone become a transgressor and be convicted by the law if it has been abolished? The apostle Paul who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament says in Romans 4:15 that "where there is no law, there is no transgression." If the laws and commandments of God had been abolished, it would now be impossible to break or disobey them because they wouldn't be in effect now; it would be as if they no longer exist.

The apostle Peter confirms the eternal nature of God's Word as he quotes Isaiah 40:8:

1 Peter 1:25a  BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.

Remember that the entire "word of the Lord" to the first century believers was the Hebrew Scriptures, what is known today as the "Old Testament." That's the only Bible that existed at the time. Here in the New Testament, Peter says God's word still endures forever, including God's Law and commandments.

We must correctly understand what sin is. The Bible teaches us exactly what sin is:

1 John 3:4  Whoever commits sin commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

The apostle John says here that sin is lawlessness or breaking the law, referring of course to God's law in the Torah; sin is disobeying God's commandments. We shouldn't sin, so we shouldn't break God's law. Simple enough, isn't it? Think about that for a moment – sin is breaking or disobeying the law of God in the Torah. If His law and commandments had been abolished when Yahusha died, then we could no longer be guilty of breaking it because we can't break a law that doesn't exist or has been abolished. If God's law has been abolished, no one can be guilty of sin by breaking it; there could be no sin or sinners now! And if there were no sin or sinners now, then no one would need forgiveness. If this were true, then Yahusha didn't for your sins or mine but only for the sins of the people who lived before God's law was abolished. However, these absurd notions completely contradict the teaching of the "New Testament:"

1 John 1:8-10  8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say
that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Contrary to popular opinion, the "New Testament" does not replace the "Old Testament;" instead it is a continuation, like Part 2 of the same story. The designations "New Testament" and "Old Testament" that wrongly divide the Bible are not part of the original, holy words of Scripture; they were added by men and are very misleading. Our Creator doesn't change, and neither does His word nor His Son:

Psalm 89:34  My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.

Malachi 3:6  "For I am Yahuah, I change not."

1 Peter 1:25a  BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.

Hebrews 13:8  Yahusha the Messiah is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Yahusha Teaches That Believers Should Obey the Commandments of God

Matthew 4:4  But he answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"

Yahusha did not say that man should live just by the words of the New Testament, "but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." That includes the all of the Hebrew Scriptures, what is called the "Old Testament," especially God's commandments in the Torah that were given to teach us how to live.

Yahusha taught that obeying God's commandments in the Torah is how to have a deeper, closer relationship with Him. He taught that if we love Him, we will keep (obey) the commandments. He says that loving God is the greatest (most important) commandment of all, and He and John both say that obeying the commandments is how we demonstrate and show that we love Him.

Matthew 22:36-38  36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Yahusha said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 This is the first and great commandment."

Yahusha says that the greatest and most important commandment is for us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And how do we do that? The Bible tells us:

John 14:15  "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

John 14:21  "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

John 14:23  Yahusha answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him."

John 15:10  "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

John 15:14  "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."

1 John 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Scripture clearly states that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and the way we do that is by obeying His commandments which are found in the Torah! When Yahusha made these statements, the New Testament had not even been written yet; the only commandments of God that existed were those in the Torah. These are the commandments Yahusha was talking about; He did not have His own set of commandments that were different from those in the Torah. His commandments are the same commandments that were given to Moses at Mt. Sinai.

If we believe the Bible's statement that Yahusha was "God with us,"[2] it would be self-contradictory and totally inconsistent with the unity of the Father and Son for them to have different commandments; their teaching, their words, and their commandments must all be exactly the same.

John 10:30  "I and My Father are one."

John 12:49-50  49 "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

John 7:16  Yahusha answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me."

John 14:24  "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me."

The commandments and words and teaching of Yahusha simply cannot be different from the commandments of the Father which are found in the Torah. Yahusha teaches His followers (including us) to keep the same commandments that were given to Moses in the Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament").

Another reason for us to obey the commandments of God is found in the words of Moses in the Torah:

Deuteronomy 11:26-28  26 "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse; 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of Yahuah your God which I command you today: 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Yahuah your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known."

We have now seen two Scriptural reasons for believers to obey God's commandments: to show Him that we love Him and to put ourselves in position to experience and enjoy His blessings and rewards.

Now consider these words spoken by Yahusha:

John 10:27  "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

Many people think they have trouble hearing His voice, but they misunderstand His words here. From the Hebraic perspective, the phrase "hear my voice" means "obey my teaching." Learning this one fact changes the meaning of this verse; He was saying that His sheep (His followers) should obey Him.

Please consider this serious question: where do you place a higher priority – on the commandments of God or on your religious traditions? I ask you this because some churches and denominations teach the tradition that we don't need to be concerned with God's commandments in the "Old Testament" because they don't apply to believers today. Is that what the Bible says? Yahusha once asked a similar question:

Matthew 15:3  But he answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"

Mark 7:8-9  8 "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men – the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." 9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition."

Yahusha also says:

Luke 6:46  "But why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?"

Matthew 7:21-23  21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!' "

Notice that in verse 21, Yahusha says that only those who do the will of His Father in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven. What is the will of the Father? What does Yahuah want from us? The Bible says over and over that He wants us to obey His commandments!

Deuteronomy 11:1  Therefore you shall love Yahuah your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.

Deuteronomy 13:4  You shall walk after Yahuah your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve him and hold fast to Him.

Deuteronomy 26:18  Also today Yahuah has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all his commandments.

Deuteronomy 27:10  Therefore you shall obey the voice of Yahuah your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day.

Joshua 22:5  But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of Yahuah commanded you, to love Yahuah your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

1 Kings 8:61  Let your heart therefore be loyal to Yahuah our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.

The "New Testament" also supports this principle:

1 John 2:3-6  3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 3:22  And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

1 John 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

2 John 1:6  this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Let's look again at what Yahusha says in Matthew 7:

Matthew 7:21-23  21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

The original Greek word for "lawlessness" in verse 23 is anomia which means violation or transgression of the law; we have already seen that lawlessness is the Bible's definition of sin.[3] Yahusha is saying here that He will tell those who routinely sin by disobeying or breaking God's Law to depart from Him! He will tell those who make a practice of disobeying Yahuah's commandments in the Torah to depart from Him and that He never knew them! And please realize that, according to the Bible, sin is not only doing what you shouldn't do; it is also not doing what you should do:

James 4:17    Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

It is a serious mistake to believe the common teaching that believers in Yahusha are free to ignore God's commandments in God's Law (Torah). Yahusha Himself warned against making this mistake:   

 

Matthew 5:17-19   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 these least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Yahusha said He came to fulfill the Law (the Torah); some people mistakenly think that He fulfilled the law in the sense of fulfilling a contract, thus ending it and making it a thing of the past. They say, "See, it's fulfilled, it's complete, it's over, it's done, it's finished, abolished." But if you read the entire passage carefully, Yahusha specifically said that He did not come to destroy the Law and that nothing would pass from it "till heaven and earth pass." Heaven and earth have not passed; they are still here, so nothing has passed from the Law (Torah). He did not abolish God's Law and commandments! He met the requirements of God's Law but that doesn't mean that they no longer apply to us; they are eternal.

It is helpful to understand that in Bible times, the Sages and rabbis used the same idioms (figures of speech) that Yahusha uses in verse 17. If they were listening to a student's teaching of Scripture and considered it to be correctly interpreted, they would say that the student had "fulfilled" the Torah. When Yahusha says that He came to fulfill the Law (the Torah), He means that He came to correctly interpret it. He says in verse 19 that it will be better for those who obey the commandments and teach others to do so; He clearly teaches in this passage that believers should obey and teach the commandments of God.

Moses instructed the people of God to not add to or subtract from the Torah:

Deuteronomy 4:2   You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahuah your God which I command you.

According to this foundational principle, anyone who would add to or take away from the word of Moses violates this commandment, and this would apply to the apostle Paul or even to Yahusha. Therefore, in order to be obedient to Yahuah and consistent with His word, both Paul and Yahusha had to obey this commandment. Neither Paul nor Yahusha could have changed the word of God by teaching that believers no longer need to obey God's instructions in the Torah without violating this commandment; to do so would have been considered false teaching. No one is to change or add to or take away from God's Word and His commandments, and anyone who does so is to be considered a false teacher.

This is so serious to Yahuah that His Torah states that any prophet or teacher who tries to persuade His people to abandon His commandments should be considered evil and should be put to death!

Deuteronomy 13:1-5  1 If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods,' – which you have not known – 'and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for Yahuah your God is testing you to know whether you love Yahuah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after Yahuah your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from Yahuah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which Yahuah your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

 

Even though this passage speaks about being enticed to pursue the worship of other gods, it teaches us a very important principle: anyone – even a prophet who performs signs, wonders, and miracles – who tries to turn us away from Yahuah or away from His commandments is evil and should be put to death.

This warning from Scripture applies to anyone and everyone, even to the apostle Paul. If Paul had ever taught anything contradictory to the commandments of Yahuah in the Torah, he would have been considered an evil, false prophet and would have been put to death for it.

Note that even someone who performs signs and wonders is included in this warning and condemnation. This means that even if Yahusha, the greatest miracle worker of all time, had taught that His followers were free to ignore God's commandments, then He would have been an evil, false prophet! And an evil, false prophet could not have been the Messiah. Teaching that Yahusha abolished the Law (Torah) is actually teaching that Yahusha was an evil, false prophet who could not have been the Messiah!

Here's a question for you: do you think that it too difficult to understand and obey Yahuah's commandments in the Torah? If you believe that, then you are in disagreement with Scripture! Here is how Moses put it, referring to all of God's commandments and statutes that are written in the Torah:

Deuteronomy 30:11   For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.

The original Hebrew word for "mysterious" (pala) also means "difficult, hard." Yahuah's commandments are not hard to understand or difficult to obey. The "New Testament" agrees:

1 John 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

The Bible says that Yahuah's commandments are not a burden. Will you believe what Scripture says?

The Apostle John Says That Believers Should Obey the Commandments of God

1 John 2:3-6  3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 3:4  Whoever commits sin commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:22  And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

1 John 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

2 John 1:6  this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Revelation 14:12   Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yahusha.

Revelation 22:14  Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Apostle Paul Says That Believers Should Obey the Commandments of God

The Apostle Paul is perhaps the most misunderstood writer in all of Scripture. It is mistakenly thought by many that Paul teaches against obeying the Torah (at least to Gentiles) and that he teaches non-Jewish believers in Yahusha that they do not need to be concerned with God's commandments. But the opposite is true; Paul makes statements in the book of Romans showing that he supports obedience to the Torah.

Romans 3:31   Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Romans 6:15   What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not!

Paul says we should not sin just because we're under grace. I'll deal with what "not under the law but under grace" means later in this article, but for now, remember the Bible's definition of sin:

1 John 3:4  Whoever commits sin commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Put these thoughts together – even though we're under grace, the Law (Torah) is not abolished, and we should not sin by disobeying God's commandments. Being under grace does not mean we have the right to keep on sinning, to keep on disobeying the law and commandments of Yahuah in the Torah.

Romans 7:12   Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Romans 7:22   For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Romans 15:4   For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

In a discussion about circumcision, Paul makes a very important statement:

1 Corinthians 7:19   Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

Paul sometimes uses the word "circumcision" to refer to Jewish and Israelite people because circumcision is the sign of the covenant between Yahuah and Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 17:9-14) and because getting circumcised is part of the process of a Gentile converting to Judaism. Paul is saying here that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (in other words, being Jewish nor not being Jewish) matters; for living righteously, what does matter is keeping the commandments of God.

Some people think that Paul knowingly taught something different from what Yahusha taught – that Paul's teaching was different from Yahusha's teaching. But consider what Paul said to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 11:1   Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.

Think about it – could Paul have been a true, authentic follower of Yahusha if he taught something different from what Yahusha taught? Of course not!

Read what Paul wrote to Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:3-4a   3 If anyone teaches otherwise, and does not consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Yahusha the Messiah, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing...

All correct, biblical teaching MUST agree with the teaching of Yahusha. Yahusha teaches His followers to obey God's commandments, so all correct teaching must agree with that! For Paul's teaching to agree with the teaching of Yahusha, he must also support obedience of God's commandments just as Yahusha does. Notice again in 1 Timothy 6:3-4 (above) that Paul also says that anyone who teaches otherwise and does not agree with Yahusha's words is proud, knowing nothing.

To reinforce this point, here is an exercise in logic and clear thinking:

  • Fact #1:  Yahusha teaches that His followers should keep the commandments of God.
  • Fact #2:  Paul supports obeying the commandments and says that if anyone teaches something different from what Yahusha teaches (obedience), that person knows nothing (is a false teacher).
  • Conclusion:  the teaching that believers are not expected to obey God's commandments is false!

Think about this – even if Paul had taught that believers no longer need to obey Yahuah's teaching and commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament," the Torah), by doing so, he would have put himself in direct contradiction with both John and Yahusha! Even if Paul had done that, who would you believe – Yahusha, who taught the same obedience that had been taught ever since the commandments were given or someone who all of a sudden started teaching that obedience to Yahuah's commandments is no longer important? It should be unsettling or even frightening to side with someone who teaches the opposite of what Yahusha teaches. It is dangerous to use Paul as an excuse for disobedience. Sadly, many people aren't even aware of the alleged (but non-existent) difference in their teachings. People think Paul taught something different from what Yahusha taught because they misunderstand or misinterpret his words, resulting in a perverted theology that supposedly makes becoming a disciple of Yahusha easier somehow. But the truth is that Paul did not teach anything contradictory to what Yahusha and Moses taught.

Paul wrote to Timothy:

1 Timothy 1:8   But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully;

How would someone not use it lawfully? By approaching it with a legalistic mindset – in other words, by thinking that it is the obedience that saves us rather than our repentance and our faith in Yahusha.

Paul also wrote to Timothy about the role of the house of God in relation to the "truth":

1 Timothy 3:14-15   14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Paul says here the church is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth. What is the truth?

Psalm 119:142   Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is the truth.

Psalm 119:151   You are near, O Yahuah; And all Your commandments are truth.

John 17:17   (spoken by Yahusha) "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."   

That's pretty clear, isn't it? The truth is God's law (Torah), His commandments, and His word. The church is supposed to be the pillar of the truth, but how can it support the truth if it teaches that it Yahuah's truth (Torah and His commandments) is no longer relevant or applicable or needed? It's impossible! His Word is the only thing that is true! His Torah and truth are everlasting; God's people should support it, not say that it has been abolished or doesn't apply to them. That's one big reason that Jewish people don't accept Yahusha as Messiah; most Christian teachers say that God's everlasting word in the Torah with His laws and commandments has been abolished, but the Jewish people know better; they know that all of God's word is eternal and everlasting, including His commandments in the Torah; it can't be abolished.

Paul says that all scripture is relevant to believers:

2 Timothy 3:16-17   16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

At the time Paul wrote this, the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament") were the only Scriptures in existence! The New Testament did not exist yet; it was not compiled and assembled into a single book until many, many years later. And even if the "New Testament" had been completed when Paul wrote this verse, he says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness – not just the "New Testament." In these verses, Paul was primarily talking about what is called today the "Old Testament," which were the only Scriptures that existed at the time.

In Acts 17, the Bible discusses Paul teaching the Thessalonians:

Acts 17:2-3   2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three sabbath reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Yahusha whom I preach to you is the Messiah."

So Paul used the Scriptures to teach them about Yahusha. What Scriptures did he use? He could only have used the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament"), the only Scriptures that existed at that time!

Now let's see what the Bible says about some people who were known as the Bereans:

Acts 17:11   These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

These people of Berea compared Paul's words with the Scriptures to see if what he said was true. What Scriptures did they search? All they had was the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament"); remember, the New Testament had not yet been completed and assembled. The Bereans checked Paul's teaching to make sure it agreed with the Torah, and they found that it did agree because many of them became believers. Paul absolutely supported the observance of Torah and taught believers in Messiah to live in obedience.

In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the disciples there because some Jews had been spreading the false teaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised and obey the Torah before they could be saved and added to the church. At that meeting, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas all spoke of how God was doing miracles and wonders among the Gentiles and how God made it clear that they should hear the Gospel and believe. After they presented their case, James declared the verdict of the council:

Acts 15:19-21   19 "Therefore I judge that we trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

Verse 21 indicates that the council expected the new believers to go to the congregation in whatever city they lived in or near each Sabbath to hear the words of Moses (the Torah). They were not expected to be living in complete obedience to the Torah before they could join God's family, but it certainly was expected that they would attend a synagogue "every Sabbath" (seventh day of the week, not the first) to hear the reading and preaching of Moses' words in the Torah and to start learning how to live in obedience to God's principles for His people as expressed in the teaching and instructions of Moses in the Torah.

The writer of Hebrews made an interesting statement about the law and anyone who rejects it:

Hebrews 10:28   Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Now let's get back to the concept of being "not under law but under grace." This comes from Romans 6:

Romans 6:14   For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.

This is commonly misunderstood to mean that because of God's grace, we are no longer expected to even try to obey His commandments. This is not what Paul was saying at all! In the very next verse, he says:

Romans 6:15   What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not!

Remember that the Bible's definition of sin is lawlessness, breaking or disobeying God's law; therefore, "Shall we sin?" means "Shall we break God's Law" or "Shall we disobey God's commandments?" And Paul's answer is NO – "Certainly not!" Please realize that the word "law" doesn't always mean exactly the same thing; sometimes it refers to all the commandments in the Torah but sometimes it refers to just one law in particular. In this case, the word "law" refers to "the law of sin and death," meaning the law that sin results in death as punishment.

Romans 6:23a   For the wages of sin is death…

Romans 8:2   For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yahusha has made me free from the law of sin and death.

It is this law of sin and death – punishment prescribed in Torah for our past sins – that believers no longer under. This means that we are no longer under the condemnation and punishment of the law for our past sins if we have repented of our sins (disobedience) and if we have come to faith in Yahusha as the Messiah who died for our sins. But this does not give us license to continue to sin by continuing to break the law by disobeying God's commandments, violating or transgressing the Torah. That's what made us guilty sinners in the first place!

 

The Book of James Says That Believers Should Obey the Word of God

James 1:22   But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Some of Yahuah's Commandments that New Testament Believers Typically Disregard

·        The biblical Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday), not the first day (Sunday)

Exodus 20:8-11   8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahuah your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days Yahuah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahuah blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

Leviticus 23:1-3   1 And Yahuah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, 'The feasts of Yahuah, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of Yahuah in all your dwellings.

Yahusha always attended the synagogue on the Sabbath (the seventh day, not the first day):

Luke 4:16   So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

The apostle Paul also went to the synagogue every Sabbath:

Acts 18:4   And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

·        Biblical holidays ("Feasts" or "Festivals"):

PASSOVER (Pesach) and FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (Hag HaMatzot)

Leviticus 23:4-8   4 "These are the feasts of Yahuah, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is Yahuah's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahuah: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work on it."

FEAST OF WEEKS or PENTECOST (Shavuot)

Leviticus 23:15-16, 21   15 "And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed. 16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to Yahuah … 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."

FEAST OF TRUMPETS (Yom Teruah) (also known by some as Rosh Hashanah)

Leviticus 23:23-25   23 Then Yahuah spoke to Moses, saying, 24 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah.' "

DAY OF ATONEMENT (Yom Kippur) 

Leviticus 23:26-32   26 And Yahuah spoke to Moses, saying: 27 Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before Yahuah your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."

FEAST OF TABERNACLES (Sukkot)

Leviticus 23:33-44   33 Then Yahuah spoke to Moses, saying: 34 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to Yahuah.
 35 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. 36 For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. 37 These are the feasts of Yahuah which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to Yahuah, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day – 38 besides the Sabbaths of Yahuah, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to Yahuah. 39 Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of Yahuah
seven days; on the first day shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. 40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahuah your God for seven days. 41 You shall keep it a feast to Yahuah for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites born shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yahuah your God.'" 44 So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of Yahuah.

·         Diet

NO PORK OR RABBIT MEAT

Leviticus 11:1-8   1 Now Yahuah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:
3 Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud, that you may eat. 4 Nevertheless these shall you not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves:  the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 5 the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud, but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you. 6 the hare, because it chews the cud, but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 7 the swine, though it divides the hoof, havings cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. 8 Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.' "

 

SEAFOOD AND FISH – eat only if it has fins and scales (no catfish, shrimp, lobster, clams, etc.)

Leviticus 11:9-12   9 These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, that you may eat. 10 But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. 11 They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination. 12 Whatever in the water does not have fins nor scales – that shall be an abomination to you.

 

How the Christian Church Came to Believe the Torah Has Been Abolished

The people of Israel have been hated by other nations from the beginning, and over time, anything Jewish came to be hated as well. Non-Jewish people frequently didn't want anything to do with Jewish people (some still don't). Early non-Jewish Church leaders tried to distance the Gentile churches from the Jewish people and their culture, even going as far as labeling them as heretics and labeling their religious practices, including their obedience of Yahuah's commandments, as heresy. For example, here is a quote from Ignatius, an early Church leader who was Bishop of Antioch in the second century:

"To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity. The Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity...."   (Magnesians 10)

These anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic attitudes and mindset grew over time and eventually led to the persecution of Jewish people beginning in the first century A.D. and continuing in the Crusades (1095-1270), the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1808), and the Holocaust (1933-1945). Sadly, anti-Semitism continues today.

This also led to the development of "Replacement Theology" in the Church. This theology teaches that the Christian Church has replaced Israel as Yahuah's chosen people. But the Bible teaches that rather than replacing Israel, Christians actually become part of it! This isn't the nation in the Mid-East today as much as it is a spiritual entity I call biblical Israel. (See "All Believers Are Part of Israel" on page 14.)

This anti-Semitic thinking has even influenced most English Bible translations. Scripture has been translated in many instances with an anti-Semitic bias because Jewish people were hated so much and the translators and Church leaders wanted to distance themselves from them as much as possible. The growth of the early Church occurred primarily through the conversion of Gentiles who did not want to associate with Jewish people or be associated with them by others. To accomplish this separation, they chose to avoid Jewish ways of worship; this contributed to the change from worshipping on the biblical Sabbath (the seventh day) to Sunday, a custom which was made official and binding by the Roman emperor and the early Roman church in the fourth century. By the time Scripture was translated into English, the anti-Semitism was prevalent in much of the world, and it is evident even in the translation of our Bibles.

For example, think about how the proper names of specific people are usually transliterated rather than translated; they sound virtually identical in most languages. But as the Bible was translated into other languages, many personal names were changed from the original Hebrew or Aramaic names to Gentile or English variations that sound very different. For example, Yahusha became "Jesus," Yosef became "Joseph," Miryam became "Mary," Ya'akov became "James," Kepha became "Peter," and Yochanon became "John." The names of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures (incorrectly called the "Old Testament") were also changed. At the time of England's King James (1600's), Gentiles were actually forbidden by law to use Jewish names and Jewish people were not allowed to give Gentile names to their children. This was one of the reasons for tension between the English authorities and the Puritans who were very devout believers of that time who loved Jewish names and wanted to use them.

One of the rules that the King James Version Bible translators were instructed to follow was that "good" people were given Gentile names while "bad" people could be called by their Jewish names. They didn't want to give the impression that a Jewish man could be a "good guy" so they tried to separate him from his Jewishness. In other European languages, the name Ya'akov was translated into a recognizable variation of that name (like Jacob), but "James" is nothing like the original name Ya'akov. Most major English versions follow the pattern of names used in the KJV; The NIV, NASB, NKJV, ESV, NLT, etc. all follow the traditional pattern of name changing, and by doing so, they deny some of the Hebraic elements in the original text. Exceptions include various Messianic, Hebrew Roots, and Sacred Name versions. (Note: God's name Yahuah became "the LORD" but that was due to the Jewish custom of not pronouncing His actual name out of reverence and fear that it might be misused or taken "in vain.")

In addition to changing names, they changed the word Torah to "law."  This change is confusing and misleading sometimes; it's not totally incorrect, as the rabbis who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek Septuagint around 200 B.C. also used the Greek word for "law" (nomos), but to our modern, Western mindset, it suggests a very different and possibly negative idea from what the word "Torah" originally meant to the Israelites; to them it was simply Yahuah's "instructions" for how to live His way according to the terms of the covenant expressed as His commandments, laws, and statutes.

Eventually the early Gentile churches started teaching that believers have no reason to obey the Torah, an idea which totally contradicts Scripture. Church leaders gave themselves authority over the Word of God and changed basic doctrines to further set them and their churches apart from Jewish culture. The common folks didn't know any better; no one had their own Bible to check what the leaders said. Besides changing the biblical Sabbath to Sunday (which the Roman Catholic Church openly admits doing and accepts total responsibility for), observance of the other biblical holidays (feasts or festivals) and dietary laws in the Torah were also abandoned. Eventually most of the Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament") came to be regarded primarily as a history lesson along with some prophecy and devotional passages.

These changes in theology, reinforced by biased translations of Scripture, have resulted in the majority of Christians today being taught to relate to our Creator in a very different way from what He intended, according to what the Bible says. And this perverted teaching has been promoted so heavily for so long and is accepted so much by so many that now some of the truth of God's word is not even recognized by many believers; teaching obedience to God's instructions is now commonly rejected as false teaching!

All Believers Are Part of Israel (VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND!)

There is a misconception that God's commandments in the "Old Testament" were only for Jewish people.

The prophet Moses told the Israelites that Yahuah declared them to be His special, chosen people:

Deuteronomy 26:18   Also today Yahuah has proclaimed you to be his special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments;

People usually think of the Church as being non-Jewish or non-Israelite and they usually think of Israel as being only the Jews. First, a clarification is in order. The original nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms – Israel in the north with ten tribes and Judah in the south with two tribes (the tribe of Levi lived in both). People from Judah were called Jews. We could say that all Jewish people are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jewish. It's like saying that all Oklahomans are Americans, but not all Americans are Oklahomans. Many Israelites in the Northern Kingdom came from other tribes and were not Jewish, although in today's world, the words "Israelis" and "Israelites" and "Jews" have come to be used interchangeably. But it is actally possible for a person to be of Israelite descent without being Jewish.

More importantly, the Bible speaks of "the Israel of God."[4] The Israel of God is not limited to native-born Israelites and Jewish people and their descendants, nor is it exactly the same as the nation of Israel that exists in the Mid-East today (whose citizens generally are not religious at all). The Bible also says that not all native-born Israelites (and Jewish people) are included in the Israel of God;[5] there is a spiritual requirement to be included in what I call biblical Israel. True, biblical Israel is a commonwealth that includes people from all nations who repent from sin (disobedience of Torah) and who believe in Yahusha as the Messiah.[6] It is extremely important to grasp this principle that all believers, whether Jewish or not, become part of biblical Israel, the Israel of God.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that the Gentile who joined himself to the people of God from other nations should not be considered as separate from Yahuah's people, the people of Israel:

Isaiah 56:3a   Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to Yahuah Speak, saying, "Yahuah has utterly separated me from His people."

Yahusha says that if a believer falls into sin (disobedience) and refuses to repent, then the status of that believer changes to that of a Gentile (a non-Israelite):

Matthew 18:15-17  15 "Moreover if you brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more that 'BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY WORD MAY BE ESTABLISHED.' 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen man and a tax collector.

So, according to Yahusha, if a believer falls into sin (disobedience of God's commandments in the Torah) and refuses to repent, then he loses his status as an Israelite and becomes as a heathen, a Gentile. The other side of that coin is that if a believer is faithful to Torah and repents whenever he or she sins, that believer retains his status as a faithful Israelite and remains part of biblical Israel, the Israel of God.

Yahusha also made another statement indicating that two groups of "sheep" would be combined to form one flock:

John 10:16   "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there shall be one flock, and one shepherd."

He was speaking to Jews, so the "other sheep" – the ones that are "not of this fold – are not Jewish. He brings those other sheep from the tribes of the Northern Kingdom who known collectively as the House of Israel or Ephraim or Joseph, along with any non-Israelite Gentiles who are adopted into God's family called Israel; all of them (Jews, Israelites, and non-Israelite Gentiles who repent and come to faith in Yahusha) are combined together to become one fold or flock. That one fold or flock is biblical Israel - the Israel of God.

So the non-Israelite Gentiles who repent of their sin (disobedience) and believe in Yahusha, as they are adopted into God's family Israel, actually become part of Israel and are no longer Gentiles! In Romans 11:17-21 Paul clearly tells us that the Gentile who becomes a believer is like a wild olive branch that is grafted in among the natural branches of an olive tree which throughout Scripture symbolizes Israel:

Romans 11:17-21   17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them become a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear: 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

In Ephesians 2:11-13, the Bible says that Gentiles were previously excluded from citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel, but now through Messiah, they have been brought near and are now included:

Ephesians 2:11-13   11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh – who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands – 12 that at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Messiah Yahusha you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.

In Ephesians 2:19 and 3:6, we read that a Gentile (non-Jew) who becomes a believer becomes a fellow citizen and a fellow heir with the faithful Israelites, and becomes a member of the household of God:

Ephesians 2:19   Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Ephesians 3:6   that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Messiah through the gospel…

Paul says that believers are in the family of Abraham:

Galatians 3:7   Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham.

The designation "sons of Abraham" includes former Gentiles who become believers in Messiah and part of Israel. Galatians 3:29 confirms that those who belong to Messiah are Abraham's descendants:

Galatians 3:29   And if you are Messiah's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

In John's vision of the future in the book of Revelation, he describes the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven, the city where Yahusha and His bride will live together, and John describes its gates:

Revelation 21:10-12   10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Notice that these twelve gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel. There is no gate named "Christians" or "Gentiles" or non-Jews" or "non-Israelites." To enter into the Kingdom of God, we must repent of sin (disobedience) and come to faith in Yahusha as the Messiah; when we do that, we become part of the Israel of God and then we are expected to obey His commandments. That's how we are to live out our salvation and walk in its fullness, and our obedience gives us the right to the tree of life and to enter into the gates of the eternal holy city of new Jerusalem:

Revelation 22:14  Blessed are they who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Many Gentiles who become believers are taught that they now live under a new covenant that somehow eliminates the need to obey God's law (Torah) and His commandments. The new covenant is described in Jeremiah 31. Notice who this covenant is for and what it says about Yahuah's law (Torah):

Jeremiah 31:31-33   31" Behold, the days are coming, says Yahuah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah – 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says Yahuah. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahuah: I will put My law in their mnds, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

This is repeated in the "New Testament" in Hebrews 8:8-10. This passage clearly shows that the new covenant is "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Nothing is said about Gentiles; to participate in the new covenant, one needs to belong to one of those houses, Israel or Judah. And Yahuah says that when He makes this new covenant, He will write His law (the original Hebrew says Torah) on people's hearts; His people will know the Torah and will obey it.

All repentant believers in Yahusha are part of biblical Israel, "the Israel of God."[7] Therefore, any commandments in Scripture that were given to Israel, Yahuah's chosen people, apply to all believers. It does not make any difference whether we are Jewish or Israelite or a former Gentile, because in Messiah, it doesn't matter – we are all one.

Galatians 3:28   There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yahusha.

Yahuah makes it very clear in numerous passages of Scripture that He wants His people (biblical Israel) to obey His commandments in the Torah. Here are two examples:

Deuteronomy 5:1   And Moses called all Israel, and said to them:" Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them."

Deuteronomy 6:1-3a   1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which Yahuah your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 that you might fear Yahuah your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. 3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it; that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as Yahuah God of your fathers has promised you...

Another important point is that even if believers were not considered to be part of Israel, the word of God states that there is one law for all of God's people, whether Israelite or "stragner" (foreigner):

Exodus 12:49  One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.

Leviticus 24:22   You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am Yahuah your God.

Numbers 9:14b  …you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.

Numbers 15:15-16   15 One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before Yahuah. 16 One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.

Ecclesiastes 12:13   Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.

Here's what Yahusha says about it:

Matthew 28:19-20   19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

This passage is commonly known as "The Great Commission." These words were among Yahusha's final words before ascending to Heaven. We would expect His final instructions to include the most important things He wanted His followers to do. Obeying and teaching His instructions is our mission. As we teach people about salvation, we also must also teach them to obey Yahuah's commandments. Gaining eternal life through genuine repentance and faith in Yahusha is just the beginning of what Yahuah wants for us. It is through our obedience that we are conformed to the image of His Son.

Finally, let us never forget Yahusha's answer when He was asked how we can have eternal life:

Matthew 19:16-17  16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" 17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

 

HalleluYah Messianic Fellowship

Leaders Jim and Connie King

223 E. 117th Street, Jenks, OK 74037   

(918) 640-4989, email: jamesdking@cox.net

www.halleluyahfellowship.net

Watch Jim's teaching videos online at: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZfyjYQpeOF79r0T5frQLMg

Worship and Bible study each Sabbath (Saturday) at 1:00 P.M.

 

Come join us for passionate praise and worship and study of the Hebrew roots of Christianity
in the Bible to learn how biblical faith was intended to be understood and practiced!

 

 

 



[1] This would not apply to a sinner's genuine, sincere prayer of repentance, seeking forgiveness and salvation.

[2] Matthew 1:23

[3] 1 John 3:4

[4] Galatians 6:16

[5] Romans 9:6-8, Revelation 2:9, 3:9

[6] Ephesians 2:11-13

[7] Galatians 6:16