Moses and the Torah

21:1 to 23:19

    Compared with Suzerainty Treaties, the Torah also had specific conditions. These specific rulings, drawn from the principles of the Ten Commandments, were to set Israel apart from other nations. They were to be a holy nation, set apart for the purposes of a holy God. Other specific conditions are also seen in Deuteronomy 12:1 to 26:15.

    When the Torah was completed there would be 613 commandments, including the Ten Commandments. These teachings were divided into two groups, positive and negative. The positive ones start with words like: do or you shall; while the negative ones started with words like: do not or you shall not. There were 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments, one for each day of the year.

    When we get to the New, or Renewed Covenant and we read about the traditions of the Elders (Matthew 15:2) or the traditions of my fathers (Galatians 1:14), those had nothing to do with the Torah. They were man made rules after the Babylonian captivity and were called the Oral Law (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law). They taught that Moses brought them down with him in written form Mount Sinai, but in reality God had nothing to do with them. By the time of Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees not only treated them as being equal to the Torah, but they actually held them in higher esteem. The rabbis said, β€œHe who follows the Torah does a good thing. But he who follows the Oral Law, does an even better thing.” Therefore, all of the conflict Jesus had with the religious rulers in Jerusalem was over the Oral Law. But Jesus had nothing to do with the many oral laws, that is why He called them the traditions of men (Mark 7:8).

    So although the Torah was misinterpreted and misused by pharisaic Judaism, it continues to be a tree of life to those who take hold of its principles. Happy are those who view it as a blue print for living because its ways are pleasant and all its paths lead to peace.


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