from haRold Smith
based in Jerusalem, Israel
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 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. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Matthew 23:23-24
"�making the Word of God (John 1:14) of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." Mark 7:13
Most living under Westernized Christianity, have been taught that "the law" is something that has been "done away with" and that Yeshua came to "set us free from the law" so that we don't have to do it anymore. Yet, nowhere in the recorded words that came from the lips of Yeshua is it even once chronicled that He ever said, encouraged or even remotely hinted to anyone not to keep the law. In fact, according to His words recorded in Matthew 5:17-20 (above), He said just the opposite - anyone who does NOT keep them and teaches others to NOT keep the law will be considered the LEAST of any in the Kingdom. The way these words are phrased would lead one to believe that it is possible to exist in the Kingdom without keeping the law - just without much distinction. And He didn't say the Pharisees were NOT righteous - just that, if we are to enter the Kingdom of YHVH's Presence (Romans 14:17, see the Glory click on highlighted verse to see scripture), our righteousness would need to EXCEED the manner they were exhibiting in handling the law. In His chastening of the Pharisees, He said that justice, mercy and FAITH were of the law! These were the most important - but the other should be done as well. Hum-m-m.
How can this be so? The reason this might sound foreign to some is because we have placed ourselves under and listened to teachers who approach the Life of Yeshua (and, thus the Father) beginning from the vantage point of the writings of Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) and the epistles. That is, they start with the epistles and work backwards to try to understand Yeshua and the Father Yeshua spoke of - instead of starting with the Essence of YHVH (His Righteousness which never changes) and looking through what Yeshua taught about the Father into the writings of the apostles, who got what they wrote about from Him. People that take this first approach usually begin with the apostle Sha'ul in an attempt to mitigate (to render of none effect) Yeshua's words so as to justify what they want to do - making them "blind guides", unable to see for themselves and leading others astray as well (Proverbs 21:2). By taking this approach, they declare Yeshua to be the deliverer of a new religion apart and separate from the Jewish laws and commandments when nothing could be farther from the Truth of what is written. Let us not forget that all these guys who wrote all these books contained in Brit Chadashah (the New Testament) were Jewish, speaking from a Hebrew mindset the things they were instructed in by their Jewish Rabbi (Yeshua) who taught them from the same Hebrew culture they all lived in and understood (Torah).
What, then, are we supposed to do with these words given to us from the mouth of Yeshua Who never changes, never wavers from the Essence of the Father - that is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)? Ignore them? Throw them away? Spiritualize them? Try to discount them as meaning something other than what He said? Coming from the lips of the One Who said, "�let your yea be yea and your nay be nay" how is that done in a clear conscience? (Matthew 5:37). By "cherry picking" only those scriptures that lend themselves to what they have already chosen to believe, people who take this approach become themselves the very keepers of their own traditions, falling in league with those of Matthew 15:1-9 who SPEAK of righteousness but have not grasped the Essence of that righteousness - they don't KNOW Him (John 17:3). Those who advocate such contradict the words of Sha'ul in Romans 3:31 who tells us the very FAITH we embrace establishes (upholds and supports) the LAW. By choosing to believe only part of the Book, they nullify the Power of the Living Word in their lives while, at the same time, they profess Him with their lips (Mark 7:13, above).
Let us set aside our tradition and doctrine for a moment and simply read what is written. This exercise of letting the words speak for themselves, not trying to elevate them to fit any spiritual, ethereal theme of theology or shoehorn into their meaning what I would like them to say is one that has served me well over the past decade - the Father has always honored it (see Arrows of Famine). Instead of starting with what we have come to believe over the years just because it has been handed down to us; working backwards by trying to make scripture fit those beliefs - let us clear our table and start with just what is given us, what is written, working outward from there. The Father is after those who seek Truth - but only Truth (Matthew 5:8). Yeshua said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). Worded another way, it could be said that the only Way of entering into the Presence of the Father is by embracing the Truth exampled by the Life of Yeshua (Revelation 19:10b). What is given to us in scripture about His Life validates what we hear in the Spirit as Truth - not the other way around. But, words mean things. Let us see what they really mean, just by themselves.
What Yeshua said was that ALL of the law and the prophets HANG upon just two commandments. The rest were not done away with, but simply had their attachment from these two - to love the Father, YHVH, with ALL your heart, with ALL your mind, with ALL your soul and to love your neighbor as you would have him love you (Matthew 22:36-40). The epistles echo this same refrain (Galatians 5:14). Yeshua is saying these two mitzvahs (commandments) are the starting place of understanding the Essence, the Nature and the Character of the Father from which everything else is positioned. This is the law of 100% - to give everything we have to the Father.
And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14
Say to them: "Whoever of all your descendants throughout your generations, who goes near the holy things which the children of Israel dedicate to the LORD, while he has uncleanness upon him, that person shall be cut off from My Presence: I am the LORD." Leviticus 22:3
Why was the law given? Sha'ul tells us in Romans 2 that the law was given to instruct us in the Way of the Father that we might come to know His Essence, the core of Who He Is in order that we might have access into His Presence. The law was given that we might know the difference in behavior that would preclude us from coming into His Presence (see the Testimony). Sha'ul, being Jewish, wrote these words in Romans from a Jewish mindset, having been raised in a Jewish culture, learning of the Father the same way Yeshua learned of the Father - by revelation through Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) that is validated in Torah. The same process by which we learn of Him today. Sha'ul was not saying to "not keep the law". He was saying the same thing Yeshua said - do not be hypocritical in the manner in which you handle the law. We have been taught backwards - we need to look at Sha'ul from the vantage point of the Life of Yeshua which exalts the Essence of the Father. Coming from the other direction is to try to make YHVH fit into our idea of who WE think He ought to be. That is not the way scripture is meant to be approached. We need to embrace ALL scripture from the standpoint of how it is interwoven into the changeless Nature of YHVH.
Yeshua said He came to "fulfill" the law - not destroy it. What, then, does it mean to 'fulfill' something? The Greek word translated "fulfill" in Matthew 5:17 above is pleroo (pronounced ple-rue-o) and means to render full, i.e. to complete, to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting unto full measure, fill to the brim. If you have a container and fill it with liquid to the very brim - it means you can't put anything else in it. It is full. It is complete. It does not mean that, because it is full, you throw the container away for then there would be nothing to hold the liquid from which to take a drink. IF (big little word) we are consistently giving 100% of who we are and what we have to the Father, we are fulfilling the first commandment in the original Book because we are bringing it to it's fullest measure - there is nothing wanting for more, we are making it complete. It is the law of 100% and that law did not originate in the New Testament - it is contained in the original Book, the Torah. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:29-31).
An excellent illustration of this principle of fulfillment is found in the verse in Matthew 23:23-24 above. We are taught from almost every "Christian" pulpit (which is not found in scripture, by the way!) that because we are 'not under the law' we no longer have to abide by what is written in the original Book since it no longer applies to us today. And yet, from those same pulpits we are admonished to "pay our tithes" - but, the very place where tithing was instituted is in "the law" (only today it is presented under the cloak of 'financial seeding', also not scriptural, but the language still comes right out of the law of tithing). How is this so? There are only three places in the Gospels where Yeshua even mentioned tithes and all three are in castigation of the hypocrisy of the spiritual leadership in the manner by which they handled it (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:9-14). Yeshua never said "do not give." He said to give 100%.
Most people have been taught they are to give 10% of their earnings to the 'church' since in the Old Testament it says that the people would bring 10% of their harvest to the Lord. So, according to present day custom, when paid, tithes are given to the some institution, organization or charismatic person presenting themselves as a worthy vessel to "invest in". We simply accept the tradition of men as the commandment of YHVH, not having been taught of the Father about how or where to give. This is why we should not be "taught" of anyone other than the Holy Spirit (1John 2:27). Ruach haKodesh will only speak of Yeshua and His Life (John 14:26) and will guide us into all Truth (John 14:17). The Father gave us the scripture to validate what we are hearing is truly from Him and He is worthy of our trust in this area.
Let us find out what the Father was trying to teach us about the "tithe" in the Torah. Leviticus 27:30-32 says that the tithe is 10% of everything in a saint's life (yes, the word saint originates in the Tenach) - land, trees, crops, flocks, herds, houses, first-born, along with money. Everything is Elohim's and 10% is to be given back to Him, made holy (or set apart) to Him for His use. Not to man - to haShem. Later, in Numbers 18:20-24. He says to allow the Levis, the sons of Aharon, who are set aside as priests, to partake of the tithes set apart for Him because they have no inheritance in the Land they are to occupy. As far back as Exodus 19:6, God's plan was to have a 'Kingdom of priests and a holy nation'. The only reason for a King was because of the grumbling of the people (1Samuel 8). Fast forward to Hebrews 7:5-9 and we find Paul using tithes as a talking point in regards to who it is that occupies the priesthood. 1Peter 2:5-9 and Revelation 1:6 bring it all full circle back to we, the Body of Believers, are the fulfillment of that royal priesthood God intended to have from the beginning - Priests set apart to minister to YHVH without having any inheritance in this world. So, now, the Body of Believers constitutes both the "storehouse" and the "priesthood".
Under the law of 100%, as the Father lays up His Provision upon us to care for, we come to understand that, as His Storehouse, ALL that we have is His (not just 10%) and become ready to offer it up to the brethren (the priests) we come in contact with that present us with an immediate need - not the world. In like manner, as a priest in our own right and as we have need, it is perfectly acceptable to look to YHVH to fill that need through the Body of Believers (the storehouse). Now, this requires of us to do some work in praying and seeking the Lord as to where we should be giving, who to give to and how much to give instead of taking the easy way out by just turning it over to a hireling. This is what it meant in Acts 2:44 and Acts 4:32 where it says the early believers had "all things common". It did not mean they lived in a "commune" - just that they understood everything they were given stewardship over belonged to the Father for Him to distribute and use as HE willed.
Should we give? Absolutely - and we should give abundantly, especially to those in the Body who are in need (and this is important) as Ruach haKodesh directs, when He directs and how much He directs with a cheerful heart because He first gave to us (2Corinthians 9:7). But, it should never be out of a sense of "duty" or obligation or because someone behind a pulpit says you should give to them. The Father's law of giving is to give 100% AND, when we do, we fulfill the law contained within the first because WITHIN the 100% IS the 10% - you can not reach the 100% without the 10%. If you take away the 10%, you no longer have 100% - you are left with only 90%. It remains incomplete. The container is not rejected; it is filled - full to the brim and exceeding what is required. This is the manner in which we should approach all that is written within the Book for He is the One True God and the Essence, the Nature of Who He is does not change from one book of scripture to another. The Testimony of His Life is the same from Exodus 16:33-34 to Revelation 19:10b.
All right - that exercise was simple enough. Going on, then, how do we fulfill the part of the law that says if your son or daughter curses their mother or father they are to be stoned to death? (Leviticus 20:9). It is with rare exception in this day and age that a child has not cursed their parents at some point in their lives. We fulfill this part of the law the same way we approach all scripture - from the standpoint of the law of 100%. Everybody can quote John 3:16 which says, "God so loved the world that He gave�" But, there are few I find who can quote 1John 3:16 with the same eloquence. If we lay our lives down for our children by not allowing our own desires for success and the other cares the world would use to captivate our focus, thereby crowding out the attention they need paid to them, if we do not allow the world to raise them due to our neglect - we will have respectful children who honor their parents. This does not mean they won't make mistakes, it does not mean they will be flawless - it simply means they will love and honor you, they will not curse you. Every child is born with an innate sense of love toward their parents, the Father put it in their hearts. It is in the cultivation of that love by exampling to them our Love in the same manner Yeshua first exampled His Love to us that they are saved in this area (1Peter 4:1). We reap the consequences of unfulfillment because we haven't allowed the Father to fill up our lives with His Essence. We have not allowed the law of 100% pre-eminence in our lives (John 17:23, 1John 2:5). Instead of exercising the law and pressing in to understand what it means to fill the container - it just becomes easier to discard it entirely. We don't appreciate that, because the law was given to show us and to teach us about the Essence of the Father, when we throw it away - we are discarding Him. Remember - according to Yeshua, justice, mercy and faith are of the law. Which part of the law do we keep and which part do we discard - and who decides which is which?
There are those who point to Ephesians 2:15 to try to mitigate (render of none effect) what Yeshua said about the law. However, by looking at what the words actually mean, we find them in harmony with what He said.
The word translated as abolish is the Greek word katargeo and means
1) to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
There is only one place in the Gospels where Yeshua said He gave to us a New Commandment (John 13:34-35). He said this New Commandment was now to love each other, the brethren, "�just as I have loved you". This New Commandment was not for the world - it was for us, His disciples. This is how the world will see that He is Who He said He is - when we exhibit the Life He laid down for us individually in the same manner toward one another. 1John 4:16-17 tells us what that Love looks like and that we in like manner should do the same toward the brethren. When Yeshua gave us this New Commandment, He was not saying to do away with the first, to do to our neighbor as we would want them to do to us - He was saying we are to exceed it, by loving them regardless of what they do to us. This is the way He Loves us and if we Love each other the Way He Loves us, we are moving in His Presence. As we move in His Presence, we are eclipsing the first commandment, absorbing it in excellence and rendering it ineffective. When the moon eclipses the sun, it does not do away with the sun it merely takes pre-eminence over the sun. By embracing the law of 100% as recorded in Torah over every aspect of our lives, we fulfill the law by exceeding it - not doing away with it.
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."|