by John and Ruth Greene
“And now, O Israel, listen to the laws and the right-rulings which I am teaching you to do, so that you live, and shall go in and possess the land which YHWH Elohim of your fathers is giving you. Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it, so as to guard the commands of YHWH your Elohim which I am commanding you.” – Deuteronomy 4:1-2, ISR98
The early laws of Moses were directives from YHWH. They were complete, yet those with limited wisdom edited them and have added to them through the centuries until today. This is literally true of the Hebrews, now the Jews. It has also been true of ‘Christians.’ It is and will be true of a rising faith that will work to unite all faiths. Continually adding to and changing the laws of YHWH not only makes them a burden, but mocks them. For how can men with limited intellect change YHWH’s Word? Yet, this has been done deliberately and with purpose. (Matthew 5:17, 15:3-9; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:15; Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Galatians 1:6-12) The laws of YHWH remain the same desite the changes that man and his earthly rule has made.
Men have assumed positions of authority over or alongside YHWH to make new judgments and decisions in His Name. For example, the Hebrews adopted the symbols of Babylon in their written language and abandoned the old. They adopted the wings of angels, as the nations around them did, in picturing the special abilities of angels to come and go quickly as they were needed. Many came to worship the creation, including themselves, putting self in front of Almighty YHWH. Religious leaders at the time of the Messiah on earth, and since, have done exactly this. They even killed Yahshua [Jesus] in an effort to eliminate the competition. (Matthew 21:3-4) Many Christians have elevated themselves as leaders, just as the Jews have, adding to and taking away from scripture, elevating the leadership of the church, often changing the role of disciples in declaring the Messiah’s purpose. Both Jews and Christians have walked away from the genuine expression of YHWH’s Word, substituting their own traditions and provisions, which keep men in power and authority.
“Your eyes have seen what YHWH did at Baʽal Peʽor, for YHWH your Elohim has destroyed from your midst all the men who followed Baʽal Peʽor. But you who are clinging to YHWH your Elohim are alive today, every one of you.” – Deuteronomy 4:3-4, ISR98
Under the influence of the Moabite culture and others, the people of Israel began to ‘whore’ after the gods of the nations around them, notably the Baal of Peor, or ‘Lord of the opening,’ better known as the sun god, Shamash. (Numbers 25:1-25) While the rites associated with false gods may have been obscene or disgusting, deviance and rebellion from YHWH itself was no less of a sin in His eyes. Adopting the obscene rites of false gods illustrates the depth of abasement that the proclaimed people of YHWH were falling to. YHWH destroyed those that followed false gods. Those that held fast to YHWH lived. He desires that all should live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
“See, I have taught you laws and right-rulings, as YHWH my Elohim commanded me, to do thus in the land which you go to possess. And you shall guard and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the peoples who hear all these laws, and they shall say, ‘Only a wise and understanding people is this great nation!’” – Deuteronomy 4:5-6, ISR98
Instead of appreciating their special relationship with YHWH, many of Israel maintained the strongholds of Egypt, bending themselves to the idolatry of nations. They didn’t often care that YHWH expected His people to possess His land by observing His commands and judgments. He expected them to stand out as executors of His wisdom, so that other nations would see their witness and flock to Him. Instead, many in Israel flocked to the nations in a national wave of idolatry. They preferred the mindset of having many gods instead of YHWH. They quickly forgot what YHWH had done, succumbed to wicked influences and looked to their selfish desires and the desires of those about them.
“For what great nation is there which has Elohim so near to it, as YHWH our Elohim is to us, whenever we call on Him? And what great nation is there that has such laws and righteous right-rulings like all this Torah which I set before you this day? Only, guard yourself, and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the Words your eyes have seen, and lest they turn aside from your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children and your grandchildren.” – Deuteronomy 4:7-9, ISR98
No nation of people was as near to YHWH as Israel was intended to be. Moses could see how the Almighty honored His people among all the nations. Could the people of Israel see this? They had made a covenant promise to Him. This covenant is extended to all genuine disciples of the Messiah as well. His laws are designed to guide all people in all the earth, pronouncing sin as a measure so that the unrighteousness of sin can be avoided by all. His laws are just as applicable today as they were then. They were the provision of YHWH until Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah could be brought on the world scene. Father YHWH never issued a law without purpose, although some of these laws applied to that time in history. For example, animal sacrifice was nothing new to the nations, yet for a time, the Hebrews used this as a kind of bridge that they could understand in the worship of YHWH until the time of Messiah. (Genesis 22:2, 8, 12-13, 17-18) Animal sacrifice, for example, was replaced by the sacrifice and ongoing provision of Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah, a sacrifice made for all time. Being able to discern the truth of what is happening in scripture is vital to understanding it. The law of Messiah fulfilled the laws of Moses. Yahshua is the model for all of us in His earthly example and the High Priest of all. Obedience is the proof of your love for YHWH and for His divine provision. (Psalm 56:11; Romans 5:8; Matthew 6:24; Exodus 20:3-5; “The Unpardonable Sin“; “Understanding Sin“; “Strongholds & the Armor of YHWH“)
The Hebrews were stuck in the intense spiritual darkness of Egypt before they were delivered. (Deuteronomy 4:11-40) YHWH gave them special treatment, not only because He loved them, but as a proof for all of us looking back through time. The proof is that a nation or group of people cannot be expected to have a personal relationship with Him. This is something that only an individual disciple can do. In the same way, YHWH wasn’t what most Hebrews expected. They trembled at what they saw (including smoke and fire on the mountain), distancing themselves from YHWH. They were ravaged by their understanding of the physical, much as most are in this day. They didn’t understand with the mindset of slavery and the curse of many gods. Neither do so many in this time.
Even Moses erred when he threw down the tablets containing the commandments in judgment of them. YHWH wanted His people to possess the land that He provided, both around them and within them. He had them to walk the land to see what they owned. Much of that land they rejected. Today, YHWH wants disciples of Messiah to possess His land as temples of His Word, through His Son and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. (John 1:29, 3:16, 14:15; Acts 2:23; Romans 8:31-34, 11:18-23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; “Christianity: A Crisis in Prayer & Spirit“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“; “Understanding Real Prosperity“)
The overriding message of scripture is of avoiding rebellion to YHWH or deviance from His commands. He was careful and deliberate, even in the face of Moses, to avoid making or using an image to represent Himself. We are prohibited in using an image to worship Him or to hold an image of anything equal to or above Him. Some might see this as a tall order in the face of what you see in the world today. Even the nation that you live in probably demands your obedience over all else as a citizen of that land. This nationalism, as well as all images used in holding that nation high are image-bearing, an abomination of idolatry in the face of YHWH. (Matthew 24:15; John 2:19-21, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:16, 19-20; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 2:4-5; “Rebellion of the Jews & Romans“)
Abraham received abundant blessings because he did not hold back. He trusted YHWH first and obey Him. Elohim gave Abraham’s descendants the ability to conquer their enemies. He promised Abraham’s children and grandchildren, which had the potential to bless the entire earth. The lives of many people would be changed as a result of knowing about the trust of Abraham and his descendants. Most often, we think of blessings as gifts to be enjoyed. When YHWH blesses you, His blessings are intended to overflow to others through you. (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23; Mark 16:16; John 14:21; Psalm 23:1-6, 119:105; Hebrews 4:12; Philippians 4:19; Exodus 15:26, 23:22)
Despite the pleading of Moses in his instructions to the Hebrews, the nation of Israel fell headlong into the same idolatry as the nations about them. They have been in the same trap of idolatry and false pride ever since. This is the same trap that Christians fall into today, yet Father YHWH did not spare His Son. (Leviticus 20:1-7) You can be spared from eternal death and separation from YHWH, both now and in the future. You can be made new, no matter your past. Do you appreciate the provision? How much do you love YHWH? How much do you respect His provision through His Son? Do you respect His provision through the Holy Spirit? You have been invited to His table. Will you accept? (Ephesians 4:24; 1 John 3:1-3, 4:4; 1 Peter 5:6; Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17)