36“Teacher, which is the great Command of the Torah?” 37 And Yahushua said to him, “You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great Command. 39 And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two Commands hang all the Torah and the Nebi’im [Prophets].” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 22:36-40
The above verse is loaded with incredible information. Here we have a Pharisee who is described as “one learned in the Torah” and this Pharisee was “trying Him” (Yahushua). There is no mistake that the Pharisees were known to be learned in the Torah (the first 5 books: Genesis – Deuteronomy) however according to our Messiah, they were lacking in their application of YHWH’s instructions and guilty of adding to and taking away from it. We read that Yahushua warned them many times about these matters, which they did not appreciate nor take to heart.
Sadly, Christianity (the religion I prescribed to most of my life) has also failed in the application of YHWH’s instructions and the above verse in Matthew is a prime example. I’ve heard teachings from many Christian “leaders” that Yahushua was implying that all the Commandments are “done away with” and that the Messiah replaced them with only two. While this false doctrine is a direct assault of the very Word of Elohim, if we look closer and understand these words from Yahushua, we will soon realize why He only discusses these two in the above verse.
Notice the Command that He describes as “the first and great Command” - You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being and with all your mind.” Every blog I have written up until this point has been focused on just that, how to love YHWH with all your heart, being and mind and through that love, we assert that He is our Elohim. The order in which I have written these blogs is intentional.
The action steps prescribed by YHWH (His righteous instructions - Torah) will lead us back to paradise, through the blood of Yahushua. Thus, the title of our webpage “The Journey Back Blog.” We could even describe His instructions as directions. He directs us in the way we should go.
“The steps of a man are ordered by YHWH, and He delights in his way.”
Psalms (Tehillim) 37:23
“The Torah of YHWH is perfect, bringing back the being.” Psalms (Tehillim) 19:7
What some might not realize in Matthew 22 is Yahushua was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, known as the Shema in Hebrew. Shema means to listen and obey. Let’s read the first part of the Shema.
4“Hear (shema), O Yisra’el: YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is one! 5 And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might.” Deuteronomy (Debarim) 6:4,5
Sound familiar? This is exactly what Yahushua quoted in verse 37 in Matthew. Thankfully, the remainder of the Shema is very clear on HOW we love YHWH with all our heart, being and might.
6“And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, 7 and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, 8 and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy (Debarim) 6:6-9
The Shema is telling us how to love YHWH. We should be following His instructions (i.e., directions) every day. It should be a way of life for us, not a hobby or just something we try to do. It is something we dedicate our life to. These instructions teach us to be set-apart from this evil world. They are preparing us for His Kingdom come and it’s crucial that we are found doing the will of our Father when Yahushua returns (Luke 12:43).
The key in all of this is love. Those who proclaim YHWH to be their true love will enjoy and appreciate their “born again” lifestyle in following His lead. It is an absolute pleasure and honor to serve Him and to live our lives the way He intended.
I have found over the years that those who think it is hard or burdensome to follow His loving instructions, clearly indicate the condition of their heart. Ultimately, they would rather live for themselves than for Him. My heart was in that selfish state for most of my life. I’m grateful for the patience and mercy of YHWH through my selfish years, Who knew one day I’d humble myself and desire nothing more than to serve Him.
Now my life’s purpose is to make others aware of the traditions, lies and false doctrines that are extremely detrimental in our walk with Elohim. And in particular, regarding this study - Yahushua’s words in Matthew need to be understood in order to accurately follow Him.
So again, why did Yahushua only state two? Years ago, when first studying the words of Yahushua regarding the greatest commands, I realized that the greatest command encompasses the first 4 Commandments in the Ten Commandments. These first 4 Commands in the Covenant (ketubah) are all about our relationship with YHWH.
Let’s explore the first four with the understanding of Yahushua’s teaching - “Love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, all your being and all your mind”…
1. Having no other “gods” before Him is loving Him with all our heart, being and mind.
2. Choosing to not create and serve any idols in our life but to serve YHWH only, would show we love Him with all our heart, being and mind.
3. Deciding to revere and honor His Name and not treat is as useless or replace it, would indicate that we love YHWH with all our heart, being and mind.
4. Committing to honoring the Sabbath day, to set that day apart and show up every week for our date with our King clearly confirms that we love Him with all our heart, being and mind.
So, in this case… does it sound like Yahushua was abolishing the Father’s first 4 Commands by saying we need to love YHWH with all our heart, being and mind? On the contrary, He was confirming His Father’s instructions, and we will discover this fact even further.
Love your neighbor as yourself
It wasn’t until I started to study what is referred to as the “Old Testament” that I truly gained the proper understanding of our Father and our Messiah. Growing up in Christianity, I was always taught that only the “New Testament” mattered. The “Old” was just that… old and outdated. After moving that thought process aside and deciding to study for myself, I quickly realized that was false doctrine, misleading, and flat out lies.
It was clearly perpetrated by the great deceiver to lead humanity down the path of destruction, to get us to turn from the loving righteous directions of our Elohim which lead us into His marvelous Light, and instead down the road of darkness, deception, and evil. Right into the arms of Satan himself.
That sounds a bit dramatic, I know. However, those who have awakened and see the lies and deception can quickly recognize the plans of the enemy, but only when we diligently seek Yah’s truth. I’ve witnessed a great awakening in these last days (more than ever) and everyone comes to the same conclusion; we have discovered the enemy deceives the entire world (Rev 12:9) and it’s up to us to come out of that deception. We can only do that based on the condition of our heart and the desire to know YHWH, to please YHWH and to truly love Him.
So, those who have decided to roll up their sleeves (get un-brainwashed from religion) and study the Torah will find that Yahushua stating the 2nd greatest Command as “Love your neighbor as yourself” is also found in His Father’s wonderful Covenant instructions.
Let’s examine the last 6 of the 10 Commandments with this understanding…
5. Respecting your father and your mother is loving your neighbor as yourself.
6. When you do not take someone’s life and murder, you are loving your neighbor as yourself.
7. Committing to not participate in adultery shows you love your spouse, thus loving your neighbor as yourself.
8. Choosing not to steal from anyone shows you love your neighbor as yourself.
9. When you do not bear false witness and lie against your neighbor, it indicates that you love your neighbor as yourself.
10. Agreeing to not covet or be jealous of anything your neighbor owns or has, displays that you love your neighbor as yourself.
Amazingly, we have just covered all 10 Commandments and how they so beautifully fit right into the 2 greatest commands illustrated by Yahushua. I do not believe that is a coincidence. We can now plainly see that Yah’s Commands have not been abolished or erased by Messiah, rather that His Son (Torah in the flesh – John 1:1-5) asserted and confirmed them.
The righteous instructions of YHWH go into more detail of the love we are to have for our neighbor.
“Do not oppress a sojourner…” Exodus (Shemoth) 23:9
10“And do not glean your vineyard or gather every grape of your vineyard, leave them for the poor and the stranger, I am YHWH your Elohim. 11Do not steal, do not lie, do not deceive one another. 12And do not swear falsely by My Name and so profane the Name of your Elohim, I am YHWH. 13Do not oppress your neighbor and do not rob the wages of him who is hired. It is not to remain with you all night until morning. 14Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling-block before the blind, but revere your Elohim, I am YHWH. 15Do no unrighteousness in right-ruling. Do not be partial to the poor or favour the face of the great, but rightly rule your neighbor in righteousness. 16Do not go slandering among your people. Do not stand against the blood of your neighbor, I am YHWH. 17Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him. 18Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am YHWH.” Leviticus (Wayyiqra) 19:10-18
Just as Yahushua quoted from Deuteronomy 6 regarding love YHWH with all your being, here again we see Yahushua quoting from the Torah regarding, love your neighbor as yourself. Our Messiah never came to destroy His Fathers Commands and instructions, rather He came to reveal them.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Nebi’im [Prophets]. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly I say to you, till the shamayim [heavens] and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.” Matthew (Mattithyahu 5:17,18
We can all look outside our window and see that heaven and earth are still here, so then so is the Torah. The word “complete” also has been translated into English as “fulfill” and both English words have been taken out of context and have altered the true meaning. These translated words come from the Greek word pleroo which is better translated as to verify, or to fully preach.
It's important to understand that during the ministry of Yahushua, many had lost their way (rather lost YHWH’s way) and needed a righteous Shepard to show them the way to live through His example and teachings. Notice who He said He came for…
“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 15:24
So, while it is true that Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only brought-forth Son (John 3:16), we must come out of the world and be grafted into Yisra’el in order to be saved by His blood. We join (grafted into – Romans 11:17-27) Yisra’el by believing in Yahushua as Messiah and by our obedience to His Commands (John 3:36, Rev 14:12, Rev 22:14).
“He who believes in the Son possess everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.” John (Yohanan) 3:36
Amazingly, John 3:16 is one of the most popularly quoted verses about our Elohim loving the world, that He gave His only brought-forth Son, yet I had never “heard” verse 36 (above) until I became a student and my entire being longed to know Him.
The word “belief” seemed to be the emphasis of all doctrine yet it was missing the key ingredient, obedience. James perfectly describes that belief alone does not save but must be coupled with obedience (works). James 2:14-26
Let’s take a closer look at the verses we started this study with, written in Matthew 22, particularly verse 40.
“On these two Commands hang all the Torah and the Nebi’im [Prophets]” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 22:40
The English word “all” comes from the Greek holos which means whole, altogether, every whit, throughout – So it seems Yahushua is not indicating that those 2 Commands are “some” and that the rest of Torah doesn’t apply. He is clearly saying that the whole and entire Torah is covered or included in these two.
Once we study the Torah and Prophets, the detailed descriptions of how to love YHWH and how to love our neighbor become very evident. I believe some confusion and hesitation might come from identifying which instructions in the Torah are given to which specific individuals. For example, specialized Commands are for the Levitical Priesthood, yet we know Yahushua became the ultimate sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26-28 & Hebrews 10:9,10). I discuss this in further depth in my blog “Time to clean house”
There are also different commands for men, for women, for children, animals, the Land, etc. Here is a link to a book that helps us understand which instructions pertain to whom (The Torah of YHWH) and here is a glimpse from the booklet showing the designations.
One point is very clear, loving YHWH and loving your neighbor applies to everyone. Let’s examine how Yahushua describes loving your neighbor and the reward for those who do, and the consequence for those who don’t.
32“And all the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the Sovereign shall say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the reign prepared for you from the foundation of the world – for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous shall answer Him saying ‘Master, when did we see You hungry and we fed You, or thirsty and gave You to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and took You in, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison and we came to you?’ And the Sovereign shall answer and say to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in so far as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’ He shall then also say to those on the left hand, ‘Go away from Me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers – for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, was naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. Then they also shall answer Him, saying, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’ Then He shall answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, in so far as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.” –Matthew (Mattithyahu) 25: 32-46
So, based on Scripture loving your neighbor as yourself seems very clear. We are instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick and the imprisoned, show others loving care and acts of endearment. But does it also include reproof?
Remember, Yahushua describes the 2nd greatest command by quoting Leviticus 19:18 (loving your neighbor as yourself). The verses before “loving your neighbor” define what that entails and interestingly, love is defined as reproving your neighbor.
“Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him.” Leviticus (Wayyiqra) 19:17
The English word reprove was translated from the Hebrew word yakach which means to convince, correct, plead, reason and to be right. So out of love for our neighbor, if we see them going astray from YHWH’s instructions, we are commanded to yakach, to correct, plead and reason them back to living “right” or righteous. If we too, are unaware of His instructions or go astray and off the lighted path, we would want someone to correct or instruct (reprove – yakach) us onto the lighted path.
16“All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for straightening, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17
18“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall certainly die,’ and you have not warned him, nor spoken to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his wickedness, and his blood I require at your hand. 19 But if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his wickedness, and you have delivered your being. 20 And when a righteous one turns from his righteousness and shall do unrighteousness, when I have put a stumbling-block before him, he shall die. Because you did not warn him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done is not remembered, and his blood I require at your hand. 21 But if you have warned the righteous one that the righteous should not sin, and he did not sin, he shall certainly live because he has been warned, and you have delivered your being.” Ezekiel (Yehezqel) 3:18-21
I become quite perplexed when I see defensive reactions to reproof. I’m talking reproof that is simply out of concern and love for others. I see many Covenant Family members continually post verses from Scripture that warn us not to do as the heathens do, to separate ourselves from this world, to be sure we get right (righteous) before YHWH before it is too late. A lot of these warnings are met with defensiveness, disdain and hate. Many people get uncomfortable and angry when they read verses that are convicting their chosen lifestyle.
I’ve experienced this backlash a bit myself, especially during the pagan holidays. Amazingly, posts about His promises and blessings are accepted and received wholeheartedly and with joy. However, the verses posted on instruction and emphasizing the errors of one’s ways seem to result in the feelings of being judged. I’ve read comments on posts like “mind your own business”, “I can do what makes me happy”, and even “don’t judge lest you be judged!”
Many feel that reproof is not loving your neighbor but judging your neighbor. It is an accepted social practice to remain silent if we know someone is living in sin and instead to just cheer them along and be happy for them because after all, they are doing what makes them happy.
Reproof vs Judging
We’ve already discussed the definition of reproof (yakach). So, is reproof also judging our neighbor? A popular quote from Yahushua about judging is found in the book of Matthew.
“Do not judge, lest you be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged. And with the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you. And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the plank in your own eye? Or how is it that you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter out of your eye,’ and see, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to remove the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 7:1-5
Sadly, like countless other verses in Scripture, the words from Yahushua are cherry picked and only the first 7 words are popularly quoted. But if we continue to read, we see that we need to first remove our own sin. Once we are living in obedience to our Father’s instructions, we can then clearly see the same sin we used to be living in others, then help point them to live righteously and walk on the lighted path (Psalms 119:105). Again, this all must be done in love.
We can see the word “judge” is translated from the Greek word krino which I believe does have a more abrasive definition than does the Hebrew word yakach (reproof). Krino is better defined as condemn, damn, sentence to. These words seem more like what our Messiah will be doing on that great day (John/Yohanan 5:26-30; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Acts 17:31; Romans 14:10).
Notice in the above words by Yahushua in Matthew 7, He states “the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you.” We are all given the same measure. The measure is YHWH’s righteous instructions, His Torah. Our goal is to stay on the mark.
So, if we use the same measure (His Torah) to measure ourselves and others, rather than our own idea of what is right (in our own eyes), we will be judging righteously according to how Yahushua teaches us to judge, or rightly-rule.
21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Adonai, Adonai,’ shall enter into the reign of the shamayim, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the shamayim. 22 Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Adonai, Adonai, have we not nabu [prophesied] in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 7:21-23
“Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John (Yohanan) 3:4
Lawlessness comes from the Greek word anomia and is better defined as “without Torah” – not following YHWH’s directions, thus not setting themselves apart from this world.
Here is a very interesting verse just a few paragraphs later in John…
“In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest:  Everyone not doing righteousness is not of Elohim,  neither the one not loving his brother.” 1 John (Yohanan) 3:10
Here, John is defining “children of the devil” as  those not doing righteousness and  those not loving his brother. I’ve emphasized these two statements by numbering them. As you can see, they are the failure of obeying the same 2 commands described by Yahushua in Matthew 22.
Doing righteousness means living righteously – that entails loving YHWH with all our being and following Yahshua’s lead (obeying His Commands – Torah). We should then love others enough (who are on the same dark path that we were on) to warn them before it’s too late.
When studying Scripture, there are always certain words that seem to pop off the page to me that I cannot help but give extra special attention to. This is surely the case in Ezekiel 3 (quoted earlier in this blog) in verse 18. YHWH states that you need to warn the sinner, to save his life. While we do not do the actual saving, we are commanded to point people to the One who does. Knowing that their life is at stake, why wouldn’t we warn? Isn’t that true love?
It's important that we set aside the fear of rejection or the possibility of losing that relationship. If we allow those feelings to surpass the magnitude of the subject of life or death, then we care more about ourselves than our neighbor. Thus, the entire point is loving our neighbor as ourselves. The weight of loving our neighbor should be equal to the love we have for ourselves.
Through my deeper studies of the subject of love, I have realized that love is so much richer and full of greater meaning than I ever imagined. It encompasses multiple elements and layers worthy of a series of books, rather than just a blog.
In studying His Word, I have discovered that YHWH’s love seems to have “conditions”- certain “if/then” statements attached to His many promises of provision, protection, and inheritance. Yet, I realized those conditions are constructed on His love for us. His desire is for us to heed His directions, the very directions that lead us to eternal life with Him. So, when He warns, punishes, and even forsakes, it is clear that He wants us to turn back (repent – teshuva) into His loving arms. He knows the way and He is true and faithful.
YHWH Elohim is the Qadosh One (Holy, Set-apart One) and His presence would consume the sinner thus the need to be covered by the pure blood (light) of Yahushua.
Many more studies are essential for us all, in understanding the depth of the love of YHWH. After all, YHWH is love.
“Beloved ones, let us love one another, because love is of Elohim, and everyone who loves has been born of Elohim, and knows YHWH. The one who does not love does not know YHWH, for YHWH is love.” 1 John 4:7,8
If you are like me, we desire nothing else but to know YHWH. Understanding and implementing love (defined by Him) in our lives is essential, according to 1 John.
“If we love one another, Elohim stays in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12
In conclusion, I believe it’s vital to follow the lead of our Father and His Son. There is no better example of how to love than from the One who created it. I pray that we may be found doing the will of the Father, loving Him with all our being and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
“Love is patient, is kind, love does not envy, love does not boast, is not puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not seek its own, is not provoked, reckons not the evil, does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth, it covers all, believes all, expects all, endures all.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“And you, then, be ready, for the Ben [Son] of Adam is coming at an hour you do not expect… baruk [blessed] is that servant whom his master shall find so doing when he comes.” Luke 12:40-43