Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Greatest Commandments

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?” And יהושע (Y’hoshua) said to him, “You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and great command. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”” (Matthew 22:36-40)

When Y’hoshua the Messiah was approached by a Pharisee who was learned in the Torah, the Pharisee tried to test Y’hoshua by asking Him which is the great command of the Torah.

Now Y’hoshua who understood that the Torah is the Perfect Word of His Father and knew exactly what the Word really teaches.

Y’hoshua then summed up the entire Torah and prophets by saying that the two greatest commands is to love the Almighty with everything that we have and also to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Now the question is, does that mean that all the other commands are not important or even not necessary any more? Well, in order to know this, we need to understand what the Torah teaches. The best place to start looking is at the Ten Commandments.

Now the Ten Commandments were written down on two separate tablets of stone by the hand of the Almighty Himself. On the first tablet of stone were written the first five Commandments and that stone referred to loving the Almighty. The second stone which had the remaining five commandments on it, referred to loving your neighbor.

So, how then do we love the Almighty?

First Commandment (how to love the Almighty)
I am יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.

Second Commandment (how to love the Almighty)
You have no other mighty ones against My face. You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth, you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.

Third Commandment (how to love the Almighty)
You do not bring the Name of יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim to naught, for יהוה (YHWH) does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to naught

Fourth Commandment (how to love the Almighty)
Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim. You do not do any 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. For in six days יהוה (YHWH) made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה (YHWH) blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.

Fifth Commandment (how to love the Almighty)
Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the soil which יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim is giving you.

We have now seen what the Almighty requires from us in order to love Him. But what about our neighbors? Well, let us have a look at the Second Tablet of the Commandments.

Sixth Commandment (how to love your neighbor)
You do not murder

Seventh Commandment (how to love your neighbor)
You do not commit adultery

Eighth Commandment (how to love your neighbor)
You do not steal

Ninth Commandment (how to love your neighbor)
You do not bear false witness against your neighbour

Tenth Commandment (how to love your neighbor)
You do not covet your neighbour’s house, you do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour

Now we know how to love the Almighty and our neighbor too. But do these Ten Commandments teach us in detail how to keep them? Some of them seem to be basic in understanding, like, “do not commit adultery,” but what is adultery?

In order to understand all these Ten Commandments, we need to learn the rest of the Torah which teaches us how to keep these Commandments.

So when Y’hoshua the Messiah taught that the Greatest of the Commandments is to love the Almighty with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself, He was teaching that the ENTIRE Torah is important and is summed up by these two commands. If you violate any of the Commands of the Torah, then you directly violate these two commands.

But what about the Prophets? Well, the role of a prophet was to bring the people to repentance, which is turning back to the Instruction of the Almighty, which is the Torah. So the prophets also hang on the entire Torah.

So as you can see, the Messiah taught that the entire Torah is necessary to keep. If one does not keep all the Torah, then that person does not love the Almighty. Only by following His Instruction (Torah) can we receive favor.