by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"A NEW commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
Context, context, context is the key to understanding. Since words mean things, to properly understand the words of scripture, we must always consider the context they are presented in, the context of the Hebrew perspective they are presented from and the audience they are presented to. In this case we have to ask the latter question first - just who is Yeshua talking to in John 13 above? Is it to or about all the people in the world? Grammatically, that can't be His audience because He uses the people of the world in the second sentence as the reason for His instruction in the first. Are His Words directed to or about the crowds of people that followed Him around? That can't be His audience because scripture (click on highlighted words to view content) tells us that to those people He only spoke in parables, so that hearing they would not turn to be saved and this clearly is not a parable (Mark 4:11-12 - Christian "evangelistic" theology might need some re-examination). If His audience is not the world and not the crowds - then who was this message directed to? He was speaking to those He had intimately lived with for three and a half years, those of His Family - His brothers.
After the last article, Who Is The Son?, Ann wrote: "I totally get that the 10 commandments are real and vital today... To become love as Yeshua was is to be selfless and do the Fathers will - which in so doing you automatically would be keeping the 10 commandments." There is another distinction about this verse from John 13 that most are uninformed about when reading it - Yeshua did not speak these words in Greek, Latin or English. The Hebrew word He would have used for "new" among His Hebrew brethren is hadash. This is the same Hebrew word found underneath His comments on what it means to be "born again" while speaking to Nicodemus in John 3:3-10. In that instance, the reason Yeshua chastened Nicodemus for being a rabbi and not understanding what He was talking about is because the same words He was using to explain what it means to be born again are to be found in Ezekiel 36:25-27 - a passage from the Tanakh (OT) that, as a rabbi, Nicodemus should have been as well acquainted with as Yeshua was. And here, in Ezekiel, we also find the use of hadash. Notice that the end result of the Ezekiel passage Yeshua was quoting is the ability "…to walk in My (YHVH's) statutes and be careful to obey My (YHVH's) rules". To belong in the Kingdom of YHVH's Family is to receive YHVH for Who He says He Is - not who we want Him to be and that means keeping His 10 Words (with emphasis on verse one). "Doing His Will" does not mean one is "automatically" keeping His Words, it is the other way around - by keeping His Words, we find ourselves doing what YHVH would have us to do (see what it means to be in the Father's Will).
What this means is that Yeshua's "new" commandment, (just like the "new" covenant) isn't new at all. In both Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Jeremiah 31:31, the same adjective that is translated as the English word "new" has as its origin this Hebrew verb, hadash, which means "RE-newed". It is restored instruction, recentered definition, revalued Torah. Yeshua's use of "love one another" is simply His rabbinic extension of the command given in Leviticus 19:18:
|"You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am YHVH." Leviticus 19:17-18|
Here, in Leviticus, it is clearly stated who is to be considered your neighbor - the "sons of your own people". This same contextual Hebraic examination holds true for Yeshua's parable concerning the Good Samaritan when asked "who is my neighbor" in Luke 10:29-37. In this parable we have four participants: the injured party, a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan. Who are these people? Since the parable is ensconced in the context of the discussion between Yeshua and the lawyer following the vindication of Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, we can be confident that the victim was Hebrew. So, who are the others? Christianity has taught them to be merely incidental in their origin - however, when we look at what the words mean, we see a different picture.
The family of Kohen (meaning "priest") are direct descendants of the Kohanim ("priests") in the days when the ancient Temple stood in Jerusalem. They are, therefore, direct descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, who was the first High Priest. All of Aaron's sons were automatically Kohanim, and one of them became the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) when their father died. That process continued for as long as the Temple in Jerusalem stood (until 70 C.E.). Since then, the descendants of Aaron became only Kohanim (priests); there were no more Kohanim Gedolim (High Priests) as there is no physical Temple for them to serve in. Since Moses and Aaron were members of the tribe of Levi, the Kohanim are a subset of the Levi'im, descendants of the tribe of Levi who, at the time the Temple stood, were the assistants who served the Kohanim (priests). They were intimately involved in assisting Temple sacrifice as well as providing the vocal and instrumental music in the Temple - bringing us to the Samaritan.
|...the good Samaritan|
In spite of Christianity's attempt to center this parable and Yeshua's words from John around an elevated sense of emotional concern for everyone on the planet, from Yeshua's non-religious Hebraic perspective the primary subject of His parable was addressing just who were to be considered members of YHVH's family - who were the "neighbors" of Leviticus 19:18. Yeshua was illustrating that whoever keeps the Words of the Father through their actions is a member of His Family. Thus, to love your "neighbor" as you would yourself is to not let factious, religious strife keep one from aiding a family member in need. With this parable, Yeshua was upholding what He had already previously affirmed to the lawyer was the way to find Life - that to keep YHVH's Words was more than proclamation and ritual. To keep His Words is to become obedient to the Essence of His Nature in those Words by not allowing another member of His Family to be neglected (Galatians 6:10). Yeshua's comment in John 13 was a further endorsement among the twelve that what they had witnessed in His Life was the restored behavior of the Kingdom they were to exhibit toward one another - which would distinguish them from the rest of the world and be a proclamation that the promised redemption of the Kingdom YHVH had occurred. YHVH's family of Israel is not a people of definers of religion but a people of witnesses to His love for His Family. Scripture shows us the Hebrew has always had the ability to keep the Words of the Father. His Presence was manifested to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel immediately after their separation from the Garden. Keeping His Words brings those of His Family into His Presence - but, until Yeshua restored the Kingdom Greek idea, they had only been able to come into His Presence externally.
While the Hebrew scribe of Genesis knew that other men and women existed outside of Eden, they did not matter to him or factor into his account. He was concerned with Adam and Eve and their progeny - not those outside of this group. Thus, Genesis 2 focuses upon a particular place upon the already created earth - the Garden of Eden (v.8 - the Hebrew phrase gan 'aden meaning "garden of delight"). Here we are even given specific directions about where this Garden was located in the earth (v.10-14) and told of a particular man YHVH had formed (not created) and placed there - the Hebrew, Adam. It was into this particular person He breathed the Breath of LIFE - Himself (v.7). Leviticus 17:11 tells us the Life is in the Blood and it is the Blood that makes atonement (brings us into at-one-ment with the Father) by the Life contained therein. The Life YHVH breathed into Adam was His very Essence - now contained in Adam's Blood. In the same way as my son looks and acts just like me because of my DNA coursing in his blood (in spite of how much he would wish it otherwise), in like manner Adam was formed into the image of YHVH because He carried within Him the vital components of the Father's DNA - the Essence of His Presence. There was a necessary separation from that Essence, from that echad (Hebrew for "one"), caused by the first son's disobedience to YHVH's Word which corrupted his blood - setting in motion events that, if not addressed, would cause the sap of the Tree of Life to become permanently tainted. That echad was restored through the second son's obedience - the pouring out of His Pure Blood for the sin of His Family that was passed from generation to generation (also part of His Essence). What is called the "Old Testament" is a testimony of the faithfulness of the Father of the Family, YHVH, to restore what had been lost and a chronology of the passage of the Signet from the first son, Adam, to validate the last son, Yeshua, as having the authority to accomplish that restoration. Genesis 5:1 begins with "This is the book of the generations of Adam." So, when these words are read from the Hebraic perspective the scriptures are written in, we see there are only two types of people described therein - Hebrews and "others". These others are what are known as Gentiles - those who worship gods other than the One True Elohim of Israel. As we have just seen, all of the participants in the parable of the Good Samaritan are Hebrews.
By Yeshua's own confession, the purpose He was sent was for the restoration of the Kingdom to YHVH's family, Israel. Scripturally, the "story of redemption" is the good news of the gospel - that through the shed blood of Yeshua, the Kingdom of YHVH has been restored in the earth right now, today, as it was originally in the Garden, giving you and I the opportunity to become partakers of His Divine Nature by having the fullness of Spirit dwell within us. We can be echad with YHVH, the Creator of the universe, just as Yeshua is. The testimony, the Word we keep, is His Life lived in and through us - today, in the here and now.
|...from the two, the rest inseparably hang.|
|"It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by YHVH.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me…" John 6:45|
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.