Sunday, August 11, 2013

WHAT COMMANDMENTS MUST BELIEVERS KEEP UNDER THE NEW COVENANT OF GRACE?

By Helena Lehman of the
Pillar of Enoch Ministry

Yahshuas Two Commandments Embody
All of the Ten Commandments
Yahshua or Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and He was NOT just a great man of God, or an angel, or a prophet! He is God incarnate! He is the WORD OF GOD in the Gospel of John, and the I AM WHO I AM that spoke to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus Chapter 3. He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and to all believers. His Two Main Commandments are a summary of the Ten Commandments, and both of His Commandments can be found in the Old Testament Books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which He dictated to Moses as the Word of God. The following article explains what this means for believers in Christ. 

Please take the time to read this article, and to share it. It is vitally important for believers to know this, and to realize fully that Grace is not a license to sin, nor a cancellation of God's Moral Requirements. We are forgiven of our past transgressions by Christ only when we fully repent of our sins, let go of our willful ignorance, surrender our lives to God, and allow His Spirit to show us how to please Him.

Though all believers are covered by the gift of God’s Grace or unmerited favor when they sin and seek repentance, and they all have freedom and liberty in Yahshua, who fulfilled the Law for us, there are many statements in the New Testament that indicate that Yahshua expects His followers to keep His Commandments, or His Moral Law. But defining what these Commandments or Moral Laws are can prove to be rather tricky unless we understand the differences between the Mosaic Law and the New Covenant of Grace. Examples of New Covenant admonitions to keep God’s Commandments include the following:
John 14:15-17 - “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:21 - “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
1 John 2:1-6 - “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ (Yahshua Ha Mashiach) the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
1 John 5:1-4 - “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ (or that Yahshua is the Messiah) is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.”
In analyzing Yahshua’s call to His disciples to keep His Commandments in the Gospel of John,  I found several qualifiers. For example, note that in John 14:15-17, Yahshua promised to send the Holy Spirit as the Helper that His followers need to rely on in order to keep His Commandments. Furthermore, in John 14:21, Yahshua said that He would manifest Himself to those who believe in Him and receive His Spiritual Baptism. This means that they will literally have words of knowledge, visions and dreams that reveal what Yahshua wants from them, which will - by necessity - have to be in full accordance with Scripture.

In the Epistle of 1 John, we are also told to keep Yahshua’s Commandments, but with defining statements as to what this means. For example, in 1 John 2:1-6, we are told that, if we sin, Yahshua is our Advocate before God if we are doing as He asked, and keeping His Commandments. Then, near to the end of that same chapter, we are told that “the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things” (1 John 2:27), and “everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29). In other words, those who are anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit do not need to be taught how to please God because the Spirit of God abides in them, and teaches them how to be righteous like our Adonai Yahshua!

In 1 John 5:1-4, we are told that keeping God’s commandments is only possible for those who are born of God, which means that they are baptized with the Holy Spirit. To be baptized with, anointed by, or born again of the Holy Spirit, believers must have a working, living love relationship with Yahshua and their fellow believers - as I will show in a moment.

Yahshua and the writers of the New Testament Epistles also make it clear that Yahshua’s Commandments are not the same as the Old Testament Law because Yahshua fulfilled the sacrificial requirements of the Law for all those who believe in Him, are baptized by His Spirit, and follow Him. We therefor are not required to offer blood sacrifices to God, nor to have a dedicated priesthood hierarchy, not to keep the sabbaths and special feast days as the Jews did. They did so with animal sacrifices and severe restrictions based on traditional interpretations of God's Word, and we do not need to follow their traditions:
Colossians 2:11-17 - “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
As the passage from Colossians above shows, the New Testament writers made it known that those under the New Covenant are not obligated to keep the whole Mosaic Law, especially since 80 percent of it revolved around Temple worship and the sacrificial system, which is no longer possible. As the Apostle Paul made clear in Colossians, Chapter 2, all the ritual observances of the Law in regard to ritual clothing, clean and unclean foods, keeping the Sabbath, and the sacrificial and traditional rituals associated with the Feast days are no longer binding on believers. Rather, in Acts we find that the Gentile Believers were not expected to keep the old rituals such as circumcision, but only to observe a few important rules:
Acts 15:22-29 - “Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: ‘Greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” - to whom we gave no such commandment - 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.’”
These were not the only rules believers had to follow, but were in addition to the rules laid forth by Yahshua Himself. These are to be baptized and to receive the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8; Acts 2:38-40; Acts, Chapter 8), to love Yahweh God and one another fully (Matthew 22:36-40), and to share bread and wine in Communion to symbolize our death to the love of the world and its lusts, and our desire to love, live for and serve Yahshua and one another (Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32; 1 John 2:15-17). To highlight what it means to die to the world and live for God, Yahshua said that there are two Great Commandments that believers under the New Covenant should follow: 
Matthew 22:36-40 - “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ 37 Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”
Yahshua’s Two Commandments are both found in the Torah, or first five books of the Old Testament, and they were given to Moses by Yahshua,  Who is the Word of God, and God Incarnate. Here are links to the Scriptural passages in Deuteronomy and Leviticus that contain Yahshua's Two Commandments: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Since Christ is the Word of God and I AM WHO I AM, He is the author of these passages in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and these Two Commandments embody all of the Ten Commandments. In fact, the commandment to love God is covered in more detail by the first five commandments, and the commandment to love one’s neighbor is more fully described by the remaining five. The Apostle Paul, who was a Messianic Jew, reinforced Yahshua’s teaching of the summation of the whole Law in two simple, yet all-encompassing Commandments:
Romans 13:8-11 - “‘Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.’”
In this Scripture, Paul was highlighting the fact that Yahshua’s Commandment to love one another, when carried out to its fullest extant, is the fulfillment of all the moral requirements of the Mosaic Law. The Moral Law of God is the part of the Law that does NOT deal with the priesthood, priestly duties and garments, or the sacrificial system, which were the Laws that were nailed to the Cross and died wth Christ. In fact, through the resurrection of Christ, we all have been resurrected into the freedom we have in Christ. Being dead to the world and alive in Him as all believers are, we have the freedom to celebrate our faith and fellowship in any way that we see fit, so long as we keep God's Moral Law, which deals with how we should treat one another. That is why the verse below applies to all of God's people, whether Jew or Gentile. We all need to KNOW and KEEP God's Moral Law!

~*~ Hosea 4:6 ~*~ 
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”

There are several places in the Bible that list God's Moral Requirements. The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, and the Moral Laws in Exodus 21Exodus 22, and Exodus 23, which was called the Book of the Covenant are essential for believers to know and follow. In addition there are important Moral laws in Leviticus, Chapter 18Chapter 19 and Chapter 20, and in Deuteronomy 18Deuteronomy 19Deuteronomy 21Deuteronomy 22, and Deuteronomy 23. These summarize the Moral Laws of God, and all believers are required to be aware of, and to keep these laws to the best of their ability.

Of course, Paul also understood that, unless a person loves God thoroughly, and seeks to know Him through His Word in the Bible, they will not be able to keep God's Moral law in order to love their neighbor properly. This is because Yahweh God is the source of all perfect love and holiness. No one understood this better than the Apostle John, who -  in his first epistle - clearly wrote about how our ability to truly love others is perfected in loving God our Father:
1 John 4:7-16 - “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

A Call To Messianics And Legalists To Embrace The Holy Spirit

Yahshuas New Covenant Fulfills the Mosaic Covenant!
Of course, the Apostles Paul and John both recognized that the ONLY WAY true believers in Yahshua are able to keep the Commandments of God is by being born again and having a relationship with Yahshua and His indwelling Spirit, which is what the New Covenant was established to do. Yahshua gave the gift of the Spirit not only to the Apostles, but gives it to all believers in Him that are truly ready to repent and turn away from sin. These repentant people want to forsake their prior love of the world in order to follow Yahshua. The indwelling Spirit is what makes the freedom and liberty we have in Christ via His Grace possible, as He instructs us in all truth, and He is the Seal guaranteeing our salvation:
Ephesians 1:13 - “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise...”
Ephesians 4:3 - “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
We grieve the Spirit of God whenever we sin by breaking God's Moral Law, which can be found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. To truly follow God's Moral law, however, we all need the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to seal us, and to guide us in our spiritual walk with Yahweh God our Father. His Spirit alone should be our Mentor and Guide in keeping the Moral Commandments of God that are important, and in pleasing Yahshua and God the Father:
John 16:5-15 - “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
As verification that this indwelling presence of the Spirit in power was NOT limited to the Apostles on Pentecost, the Bible declares:
John 7:38-40 - “‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
This means that only those with faith in Yahshuas sacrifice, faith in the transformative power of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God, and faith in their ability to listen to the Spirit and follow its guidance in obedience to Christ are truly keeping the Law or Commandments of God. Indeed, without faith in God the Father and in Yahshua and His Spirit, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

As a warning to the saints, if you find that your faith in Yahweh God is constantly wavering, your sin nature is alive and well, and you are filled with doubt and fear, then you are showing all the signs that you are not in fellowship with Yahshua directly through the Holy Spirit. If this describes you, then you need to humbly pray to God the Father and His Son, and ask them to give you the baptism, faith and gifts of the Holy Spirit so that you can know how to please God the Father by dedicating your life to Yahshua, and living your life for Him alone.

Honoring The Book of the Covenant


In the 12th Edition of my book: “The Language of God in Humanity” (and all previous editions), I exhaustively discussed the Old Covenant in relation to the New Covenant, and I felt that what I discovered was so important to the Church, that I made a free downloadable PDF book excerpt of it available on my Pillar of Enoch Ministry web site in 2008. Unfortunately, the majority of Messianic Jewish believers have ignored it, and many Christian believers don’t really understand it. For those who are interested in exploring this hefty chunk of the second chapter in my book, which focuses on Messianic and Christian Theology and Apologetics, here is a link to download the free excerpt:

What It Means to be Saved by Grace:

To summarize what I discovered, the Book of the Covenant is almost completely overlooked by both Messianic Jews and Christians, when it should be well-understood, taught and focused on in every congregation, whether among Jews or Gentiles. Some of you may never have even heard of the Book of the Covenant. I know that I sure didn’t until I ran across it in my detailed studies of the Mosaic Law that I linked to above, and how it relates to the concept of Grace, or God’s unmerited favor.

The Book of the Covenant can be found in Exodus 20:22 through 23:33. It follows and further embellishes God’s holy moral requirements in the Ten Commandments, calls believers in Yahweh to allow the land to rest every seventh year, and implores them to keep three specific Feasts of Israel every year. These are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest (a.k.a. the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot), and the Feast of Ingathering (a.k.a. the Feast of Tabernacles). Though many Messianics vehemently disagree with me, Christians (a.k.a. Gentile believers) have always been taught to honor these three Feasts in their own simplified, and often touchingly beautiful ways since the Church began to form in the First Century AD.

Here is an excerpt from pages 75 and 76 of my book “The Language of God in Humanity”, which explains the spiritual significance of the Book of the Covenant for all believers: 
“…the Book of the Covenant was delivered to Israel immediately after they were given the Ten Commandments, and the Covenant meal was eaten immediately after the Book of the Covenant was read to the Israelites and they agreed to follow the terms of the Covenant. Therefore, this Covenant Book, with its call to ritual observance of three biblical feasts, and the Ten Commandments were the actual laws of this Covenant. Note also that the Covenant meal was eaten in God’s very presence after the Book of the Covenant was read to the people (Exodus 24:11). Furthermore, this Covenant Book did not include the rest of the Law of Moses as found in the remaining portions of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

 This is no accident, but was Yahweh’s way of showing all believers that the Ten Commandments, the Book of the Covenant, and its call to keep three major biblical feast days are important tools  for instructing people in the ways of righteousness. Though they are often unaware of it, Christians partly agree to honor the Book of the Covenant whenever they take Communion because the Last Supper was a Passover meal and the New Covenant meal, and Passover was one of the three feasts targeted as perpetual observances in the Book of the Covenant! However, the Israelites tried to fulfill the moral requirements of God’s Law on their own, while believers have the Holy Spirit to guide them - a gift given on the Pentecost following Yahshua’s ascension into Heaven.
 
The pouring out of the Holy Spirit allows God’s just laws to be truly written on people’s hearts after they repent and are saved. However, this is not done to nullify the Book of the Covenant or the Ten Commandments, but to truly fulfill them in Christ! This means that the first moral laws given as part of the old Covenant should be written on every believer’s heart and kept by all - whether Jew or Gentile. We will further discuss the reason why keeping the Ten Commandments and the three feasts mentioned in the Book of the Covenant are vitally important a bit later. -
End of Book Excerpt
Fascinatingly, Gentile believers keep all three of the Feasts of Israel targeted in the Book of the Covenant. They celebrate the Spring Feast of Passover by participating in the Lord's Supper (a.k.a. Communion) regularly and not just in association with Passover Week. They also keep Passover by celebrating Christ's Resurrection from the dead on Easter or Resurrection Sunday, which falls during Passover Week. They also celebrate the Sunday of Pentecost in the late Spring as a special holy day that is seen as the birthday of the Church because the Holy Spirit was released to seal, bless and transform all believers in Christ on that day. In addition, in studying the Book of the Covenant in my aforementioned book, which is available for purchase at Amazon.com and the POEM Ministry web site, I have concluded that the celebration of Thanksgiving Day, and the celebration of Christmas fulfill the requirement to keep the week-long Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Ingathering or Sukkot. In summary, the three Jewish Feasts targeted in the Book of the Covenant are honored among Gentile believers as shown in the following List: 


THE CHRISTIAN EXPRESSION OF THE THREE COVENANT FEASTS:
1.   The Spring Feast of Unleavened Bread (a.k.a. Passover Week) is kept via the entire week between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, and in taking Communion

2.   The Late Spring Feast of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks is kept via Pentecost Sunday, and by becoming born-again by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

3.   T
he Autumn celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is kept via Thanksgiving Day, and via the Twelve Days of Christmas falling between December 25th and January 6th. These days correspond to the eight days of Chanukah beginning on Kislev 25.
Although Legalists and Judaizers will find fault in my above conclusions about the faithful Christian keeping of the Jewish Feasts, it is because they are unaware of certain things that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to them, and the Spirit of God cannot do so unless they are born-again. One of these things is that, though it is rarely taught, Chanukah is a week-long feast that has been viewed among Jews as a type of Second Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles on the Jewish Calendar, and Sukkot is closely related to both Yahshua’s birth, and His Millennial Rule on Earth. Furthermore, Christmas is essentially the Christian celebration of Chanukah, which is directly related to Christ's conception, and His discovery by the Magi in Bethlehem. Therefore, Christians who seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit, teach the Ten Commandments and Christ's Two Commandments as essential truths, and keep the three Church holidays of Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas fulfill the major requirements of the Book of the Covenant without even realizing that they are doing so.

For this reason, Christians should be deeply loved and encouraged by their Messianic Jewish counterparts instead of chastised and condemned, as they so often are by legalists that over-emphasize the Jewish traditions associated with these Feasts, and condemn the Gentile expression of them. But, as I have often taught, this hatred between Messianics and Christians is wrong, and should not be the case. That is what prompted me to write this article, and I hope it will serve to bless and guide all who read it to love one another as Yahshua taught.

For further instruction, I also highly recommend reading the following articles on this subject that explore additional Scriptures:


The New Covenant of Liberty and Freedom

CHRIST'S COMMANDMENTS AND 
GOD'S MORAL LAW ARE SYNONYMOUS!

In the meantime, may our wonderful Father God Yahweh bless you all through Yahshua Ha Mashiach and His Spirit, now and forever, Amen!

Maranatha! Yahshua is coming SOON! 

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Helena. This is a big rift in the Body of Christ! There is so much misunderstanding on both sides. I get flack from just about everyone. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete

Shalom! Feel free to comment, but please be respectful. God bless!