Here is a question for the believer that becomes ever more relevant. There appears to be some kind of war between believers in MASHIACH concerning whether or not we are “under the law” or “under grace” and what that means. It is time to take a look at the expectation of YAHAUH as to what we should be doing (or not doing). Is there any expectation at all? Or can we walk in the way of the heathen and the pagan, doing as we so desire, and still be assured of our salvation?
Let’s see if we can answer the following questions:
- Is it okay for me to celebrate Christmas, with a Christmas tree, gift-giving, trappings, wreaths and all the rest?
- Is it okay for me to celebrate Easter, with an Easter egg hunt, eating an Easter ham, celebrating with rabbits and so on?
- Is it okay for me to select my own day of rest? Or even if I actually desire to take a day of rest, and how I should go about such rest?
Before we answer those questions, let’s see if we can get an answer to the first question here: What is the Torah? We begin here:
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 11:28-30
Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The yoke of MASHIACH is an easy yoke, and the burden is a light burden. How do the 613 mitsvoth of the OT and the 1080 mitsvoth of the NT comport with this idea of an easy yoke and a light burden?
Take a look at:
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 7:21-24
Thus says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH, the ELOHIYM of Yisra’el; Put your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22 For I spoke not את eth-unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But את eth-this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your ELOHIYM, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined את eth-their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
This passage says that Yisra’el went backwards in the imagination of their evil heart. How did they go backward? The beginning of the paragraph tells you so. They put burnt offerings to their sacrifices and ate the flesh. So, exactly what did YAHUAH say to Yisra’el when he brought them out of Mitsrayim? Take a look at Deuteronomy 5
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 5:6-22
I am YAHUAH ELOHAYKA, which brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, from the house of bondage. 7 You shall have no other elohiym before me. 8 You shall not make you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: 9 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I YAHUAH ELOHAYKA am a jealous EL, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, 10 And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me and guard my commandments. 11 You shall not take את eth-the name of YAHUAH ELOHAYKA in vain: את eth for YAHUAH will not hold him guiltless that takes את eth-his name in vain. 12 Guard את eth-the day of the holy Shabbath, as YAHUAH ELOHAYKA has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labour, and do all your work: 14 But the seventh day is the Shabbath of YAHUAH ELOHAYKA: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your ass, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a servant in the land of Mitsrayim, and that YAHUAH ELOHAYKA brought you out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore YAHUAH ELOHAYKA commanded you to observe את eth-the day of Shabbath.
16 Honour את eth-your father and את eth-your mother, as YAHUAH ELOHAYKA has commanded you; that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which YAHUAH ELOHAYKA gives you. 17 You shall not kill. 18 Neither shall you break wedlock. 19 Neither shall you steal. 20 Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour. 21 Neither shall you desire your neighbour's woman, neither shall you covet your neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbour's.
22 את eth-These words YAHUAH spoke to all your assembly in the Mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them on two sapphire stones, and delivered them to me.
Do you see anything in there about burnt offerings? Neither do I. So what happened? Let’s first establish the context:
Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 20:19-20
I am YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM; walk in my statutes, and guard את eth-my judgments, and do them; 20 And hallow את eth-my Shabbathoth; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM.
This cannot be more clear. Walk in the statutes and guard the judgments . . . and do them. And, equally important, you are to hallow the Sabbaths (yes, it is plural). Is there more than one Sabbath? Of course. Beside the seventh day Sabbath, there is also a seven year Sabbath (Sabbatical or Shemitah), and a fiftieth-year Sabbath (Yovheliy or Jubilee). The first day of Matstsah is called a Sabbath, as is the last day, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:6-8. Shavu’oth is called a Sabbath, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:21. Yom Teru`ah (Trumpets) is a Sabbath, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:23-25. Yom Kippuriym (Atonements) is a Sabbath, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:26-32. The first and last day of Cukkoth are called Sabbaths, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:35-36. It is the keeping of the Shabbathoth (the Sabbaths, plural, with an “s” on the end), that shall be a sign between you and YAHUAH.
Ask the question: how can we know in this deceptive world who has the sign of YAHUAH and who does not?
Chizayon (Revelation) 7:2-3
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living YAH: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our YAH in their foreheads.
How then are the servants of YAH sealed? With the Shabbathoth. Can you see it?
Chizayon (Revelation) 13:6
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against YAHUAH, to blaspheme his name, and his Tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him to make war with the qodeshiym, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the cepher of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Yahuchanon, reciting the chizayon (revelation) of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH, tells us that those who are not sealed with the sign of YAHUAH, i.e., the Shabbathoth, will worship the beast who rises from the sea, and will accept the mark of eternal damnation. If any man has an ear, let him hear!
So what happened to Yisra’el? Where did these laws of burnt offerings come from?
Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 20:21-26
Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither guarded את eth-my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted את eth-my Shabbathoth: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless I withdrew את eth-my hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. 23 I lifted up את eth-my hand to them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; 24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted את eth-my Shabbathoth, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. 25 Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; 26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that opens the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am YAHUAH.
This passage begs the question, doesn’t it? Which statutes were not good? The answer is (in part) those statutes which gave us burnt offerings of flesh.
Husha (Hosea) 6:6-7
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of ELOHIYM more than burnt offerings. 7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
We see here also in this passage that Yisra’el – like men – transgressed the covenant. Again, what is the covenant?
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 4:13
And he declared to you את eth-his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Devariym; and he wrote them upon two sapphire stones.
Again, we have this affirmation that the Ten Devariym – the ten words – are the covenant which he commanded Yisra’el to perform. Such is the essence of the Torah, . . . and he added nothing further! There is further insight to be had in this passage. Consider Mosheh’s words:
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 4:5
Behold, I have taught you commandments and judgments, even as YAHUAH ELOHAI commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Guard therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, . . .
Guarding the covenant – hearing and doing the commandments set forth in the Ten Devariym – is declared to be both wisdom and understanding, yet Husha tells us that it is also desired to have knowledge of ELOHIYM. Hence, with both we reach the realization of the Rosh – knowledge (da’ath), wisdom (chokmah), and understanding (biynah).
Reflect then on the rhetorical questions: what is understanding? What is wisdom? What is knowledge? And we find a divine answer: guarding the commandments and seeking the knowledge of ELOHIYM.
That the Ten Devariym (ten words, also called the Decalogue) are the covenant between YAHUAH and his children, consider Mosheh’s words further:
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 9:9-11
When I was gone up into the Mount to receive the sapphire stones, even the sapphires of the covenant which YAHUAH made with you, then I abode in the Mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: 10 And YAHUAH delivered unto me two sapphire stones written with the finger of ELOHIYM; and on them was written according to all the words, which YAHUAH spoke with you in the Mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that YAHUAH gave me the two sapphire stones, even the sapphires of the covenant.
We begin to see that the statutes given beyond these commandments were given because the people were rebellious, longing to return to the pagan practices of Mitsrayim (Egypt). Yet, MASHIACH iterates the desire of the Father twice in the Besorah Mattithyahu:
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 9:10-13
And it came to pass, as YAHUSHA sat to eat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his Talmidiym. 11 And when the Parashiym saw it, they said to his Talmidiym, Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners? 12 But when YAHUSHA heard that, he said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 12:1-8
AT that time YAHUSHA went on the Shabbath through the fields; and his Talmidiym were hungry, and began to pluck the heads of grain, and to eat. 2 But when the Parashiym saw it, they said to him, Behold, your Talmidiym do that את eth which is not Lawful to do upon the Shabbath. 3 But he said to them, Have ye not read את eth what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of YAHUAH, and did eat the showbread of YAHUAH, which was not Lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the Torah, how that on the Shabbath the priests in the Temple profane the Shabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the Temple. 7 But if ye had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned את eth the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Adam is ADONAI even of the Shabbath.
Consider also that the covenant is given to all people – even eunuchs and the stranger.
Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 56:1-8
THUS says YAHUAH, Guard ye judgment, and do justice: for my yeshu`ah is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of Adam that lays hold on it; that guards the Shabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. 3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to EL-YAHUAH, speak, saying, YAHUAH has utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 4 For thus says YAHUAH to the eunuchs that guard את eth-my Shabbathoth, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YAHUAH, to serve him, and to love את eth-the name of YAHUAH, to be his servants, everyone that guards the Shabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. 8 ADONAI YAHUAH which gathers the outcasts of Yisra’el says, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
So, let us see what is the Torah:
Marqus (Mark) 12:28-33
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And YAHUSHA answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Yisra’el; YAHUAH ELOHAYNU, YAHUAH is one: 30 And you shall love את eth YAHUAH ELOHAYKA with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, you have said the Truth: for there is one ELOHIYM; and there is none other but he: 33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
A little graphic, for a better understanding:
So, there are two statutes, and Ten Devariym (Words, Commandments). There are also duties:
Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 58:4-7
Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to YAHUAH? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?
Ezra Reviy`iy (4 Ezra) 2:20-23
Do right to the widow, judge for the fatherless, give to the poor, defend the orphan, clothe the naked, 21 Heal the broken and the weak, laugh not a lame man to scorn, defend the maimed, and let the blind man come into the sight of my clearness. 22 Keep the old and young within your walls. 23 Wherever you find the dead, take them and bury them, and I will give you the first place in my resurrection.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 25:34-40
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, ADONAI, when did we see you hungry, and feed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger, and take you in? or naked, and clothe you? 39 Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come unto you? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Amein I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Such, then, is the Torah of YAHUAH.