This article is the final of three articles in a series entitled “Living Kingdom”. We will examine the importance of choosing to abide by YHVH’s commands as we consider the choices of individuals in Scripture. The Good News (Gospel) is about YHVH’s kingdom. Salvation is necessary for Kingdom Living, but it is a part of the process, not the goal. We face the same challenges as the Israelites: recognizing and obeying our King.
Yeshua said, “If you love Me, obey My commandments” (John 14:15). Misinformation abounds among present-day followers of Yeshua concerning what Yeshua meant by “commandments”. It is time to clear away the cobwebs of lies and confusion that impede us from all that YHVH intends for us.
Sha’ul (Paul) discusses more than one type of law even though many Bible translations speak of all types as just “law”. Sha’ul is talking mainly to Gentiles who were involved in pagan worship and were heavily influenced by the law of hasatan (Satan). Sha’ul pointed out that they had been released from the law of sin and death and were now free to pursue the law of YHVH which leads to freedom and life. It is helpful for us to use a translation that clearly distinguishes the different types of law, so all Scripture quoted in this article will be taken from New Living Translation (NLT).
In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, YHVH clearly points out that we have two choices. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving [YHVH] your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.…” The Israelites had lived in a pagan culture (Egypt) for over 400 years. The choices given here were between YHVH’s law or hasatan’s law. We all live in a world that has been influenced by the values of hasatan’s law which are sometimes called “worldly ways” or “living in the flesh”.
In the first chapter of Romans (1:18-32), we find mention of the two types of law. First there is the law and order of YHVH expressed through His creation: They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God (v 18-20). YHVH’s ways are evident throughout creation, but He has also given us His law in written form (Scripture) and has written it on our hearts. The opposite of YHVH’s law, satanic law, is graphically described in verses 28-32: Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.… They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. If hasatan had his way, this is the only law any of us would know. Therefore, he has worked throughout history to obscure and misconstrue YHVH’s law.
There has been confusion about the law since the time of the apostles. First, some Jewish leaders were adding pre-requisites before receiving salvation. We are rescued (salvation) from the dominion of hasatan through faith and even that faith is a gift from YHVH (Eph. 2:8). Second, Constantine, in an effort to unite his empire, combined the sacred with the pagan and forbade keeping Torah under pain of death, thus distorting the Sabbaths and replacing the appointed times of YHVH. Later, in the time of Martin Luther, grace was misconstrued as being the opposite of keeping law.
One dangerous heresy that has resulted today is the widespread belief that Yeshua’s followers are no longer under any type of law. Grace reconciles us to YHVH and keeps us in relationship with YHVH when we transgress while unlearning hasatan’s ways and learning YHVH’s ways. Grace is not a replacement for obedience to YHVH’s laws but rather the application of the atonement and covering of Yeshua when we repent of our sin.
Another myth today is that the laws of YHVH are too difficult to keep and therefore YHVH has done away with them. There are 613 laws in the Torah and no one person is accountable for all of them. Some are for priests only, others just for men, some for women only, and so on. There are actually 1,050 commands in the New Testament!
Adam and Eve were influenced by hasatan and sinned against YHVH, subjecting themselves to hasatan. Until hasatan distracted and confused them, they were capable of keeping YHVH’s law. Now, we who are born under the dominion and influence of hasatan, struggle to keep YHVH’s law on our own. Therefore, through Yeshua’s covering and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we can maintain our relationship with YHVH while we are being perfected. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Phil 2:13).
Yeshua rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for their false teachings and actions. Under the guise of keeping Torah, the Pharisees were more often keeping their own man-made laws (Matt 23:15-30). hhhahasMan-made law is the distortion of YHVH’s law thanks to humans who have disobeyed by adding to or subtracting from YHVH’s law (Deut 4:2). Man-made law is actually satanic law in another guise.
Salvation is not a one-time event, but a process. Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (Phil 2:12). YHVH has not changed, neither has His law nor His expectations of us.