Tag Archives: Mosaic Law

HEBREW HONEYCOMB


 

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

 

Author: William Andrew Dillard

 

From the living pages of ages past, comes the encapsulated foundation of acceptable life among men on earth. It is called the Ten Commandments. Some would say the commandments were a part of the Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled, and no longer in force. Right, and wrong! Jesus did fulfill the Law and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross, Col. 2:14-17, but what is removed from us today is the present penalty of the Law, not the principle. Think with me!

 

In the initial writing of the Law, the one governing neighborly relationship is stated: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, ass, nor anything that thy neighbors. Exo. 20:16-17. Later, this was appropriately summarized as “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” First, to love God supremely, then to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is said to be the summation of all the law.

 

The question then arises from some who quibble over such things for self justification is: “who then is my neighbor?” This very question was posed to Jesus by a lawyer, and is recorded in Luke 10. It is here that the story of the good Samaritan is related. A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten and left half dead in the road. It is ironic that a priest passed by and refused to help. Also a Levite, those who produced the priests, also observed and passed by without helping. It was the lowly Samaritan who took care of the unfortunate traveler, and paid for his medical care. When Jesus posed the question, which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves, the answer was obvious and so stated: he who showed mercy on him. Jesus’ pointed reply was that they, and us, should go and do likewise.

 

The position God’s people occupy on this planet is that of an ambassador. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. Representatives of heaven on earth who are reconciled to God see others in need as their neighbor, and they respond accordingly. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It may not be one’s opportunity to help another who has fallen among thieves, but there are so many other areas of life that manifest a need for help. Chief among those is the obvious need to share the gospel, the great love of the Creator/Redeemer with those who have been wounded by sin. There is no shortage of them. Do you love your neighbor?

 

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Fulfilling the Law


 

Romans 13: 8, 9

 

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law,” Romans 13:8.

 

 

 

Most of us enter into a contract with a finance company or bank when buying a new car or house, agreeing to make monthly payments. It is such a happy relief when we make the last payment on the purchase. The obligation (lawful contract) is satisfied. Even more satisfying is when we complete the contract ahead of schedule.

 

The Law had many “laws” that must be completed or fulfilled. The Jews were obligated to do their best to follow the Law. The Pharisees and other religious elite persons added extra details (their own interpretation) to the Mosaic Law. To their surprise, Jesus exposed all their extra details and simplified the Law down to two. They are love God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40).

 

Think of all the marriages that could have been and could be saved if the two adults practiced these two simple commands to love God and their spouse. How about all the church splits that could have been avoided if her members practiced love God and their fellow members? We could fulfill the whole Law with one word—Love. Love God, our neighbors, spouses, fellow church members and unbelievers so much that we are willing to put them first and our own preferences second.

 

REFLECTION

 

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love Is the fulfilling of the law ( Rom. 13:10).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

 

 

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Hebrew – Statute(s)


 

chōq [and] chāqaq

 

The fourth synonym we encounter for God’s Word is statute, which is the Hebrew chōq (H2706), a masculine noun derived from a verb (chāqaq, H2710) that means “to cut, scratch, inscribe, or engrave.” Oh, what a word we have here! While it is used for such ideas as cutting a tomb out of rock (Isa_22:16), its most common use is to refer to engraving or writing.

 

At one time, one of the major attacks on the authenticity of the Bible by its critics was the belief that writing did not exist in Moses’ time, “proving” that Moses couldn’t have written the Pentateuch, rather that it was written four centuries later by four separate authors. This was forever dispelled, however, in 1902 by one of the most important archaeological finds of all time, the Code of Hammurabi, discovered by M. J. de Morgan. Hammurabi was king of Babylon (ca. eighteenth century BC) and was, therefore, a contemporary of Abraham. The code, written on an eight-foot-high, two-foot-wide, and one-and-a-half-foot-thick polished block of black diorite stone, contains laws (some similar to the Mosaic Law) dealing with worship, justice, taxes and other money matters, building, and matters of commerce.

 

The existence of that code, as well as others of the ancient world—such as the Egyptian Rosetta Stone (ca. 200 BC)—wonderfully illustrate our word for today. It is used, for example, of the statutes God gave to Moses (Exo_15:26; Num_30:16, Mal_4:4). The word lûach (H3871) speaks of a stone slab (Exo_34:1). God inscribed His law on such tablets; they were known as the “tables,” as in the “tables of testimony [February 17], tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exo_31:18).

 

The old expression “set in stone” also illustrates this truth. God’s statutes (or decrees) are engraved in stone, graphically demonstrating their permanence. Turning again to Psalms 119, we find chōq twenty-one times, the first of which is in Psa_119:5 : “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” God’s Word is not open for debate, not subject to reinterpretation for the times. God’s Word is set in stone!

 

Scriptures for Study: Read a few of the occurrences of statutes in Psalms 119, noting what our attitude and response to them should be: Psa_119:8; Psa_119:23; Psa_119:54; Psa_119:71; Psa_119:83; Psa_119:112, and Psa_119:117.

 

 

 

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Hebrew – Law (2)


 

Tôrāh

 

While tôrāh (H8451) speaks of God’s Word in general, it is also used to refer specifically to the Law God gave to Israel at Sinai—the Mosaic Law, with all its ceremonies, sacrifices, and ordinances. Through Moses, and in the minutest detail, God gave Israel 613 commands that covered every area of life—moral, civil, and ceremonial.

 

First, there was the Ten Commandments, the Moral Law, the Decalogue, “ten words” (Exo_20:1-17), followed by the judgments, directing the social and civil life of Israel (Exo_21:1 to Exo_24:11), and concluding with the ordinances (Exo_24:12 to Exo_31:18), dictating the religious life of Israel. What is also significant is that it was necessary that they keep all that Law. To “keep the whole law,” in fact, “and yet offend in one point” meant they were guilty of breaking all 613 laws (Jas_2:10, from Deu_27:26).

 

We will return to the latter two aspects of the Law tomorrow, but we note today that this Moral Law was written in the hearts of men everywhere (Rom_2:15). This demonstrates that men know in their heart (i.e., by their mind and conscience) not to lie, steal, murder, or violate the other moral commands. Again, such moral law is found in legal codes of nations throughout history.

 

These moral laws (except for keeping the Sabbath, which was replaced by the Lord’s Day, March 20–21) are also found restated several times in the NT: having no other gods (Exo_20:3; Deu_5:7; Act_5:29); making no idols or images (Exo_20:4-6; Deu_5:8-10; Act_17:29-31; 1Co_8:4-6; 1Co_10:14; Col_3:5; 1Jn_5:21); not profaning God’s name (Exo_20:7; Deu_5:11; Jas_5:12); honoring one’s father and mother (Exo_20:12; Deu_5:16; Eph_6:1-3; Col_3:20); not murdering (Exo_20:13; Deu_5:17; Rom_13:9-10; Jas_2:11); not committing adultery (Exo_20:14; Deu_5:19; Rom_13:9-10; 1Co_6:9; Heb_13:4; Jas_2:11); not stealing (Exo_20:15; Deu_5:19; Rom_13:9-10; Eph_4:28); not lying (Exo_20:16; Deu_5:20; Eph_4:25; Eph_4:31; Col_3:9; Tit_3:2); not coveting (Exo_20:17; Deu_5:21; Rom_7:7; Rom_13:9; Eph_5:3-5; Heb_13:5Jas_4:1-3).

 

Let us rejoice in and obey God’s Law.

 

Scriptures for Study: Read the many verses listed in today’s study and apply them to your own living.

 

 

 

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Hebrew – Law (1)


 

Tôrāh

 

In addition to the fascinating study of God’s many names, which formed the bulk of our readings in the past, there is another OT subject that has many facets, namely God’sWord. There are, in fact, no less than eight different Hebrew words in Psalms 119 alone that describe the many aspects of God’s Word.

 

The first such word is law, which is the most frequent of all, appearing some 219 times. The Hebrew is tôrāh (H8451), a feminine noun meaning “direction, teaching, and instruction.” Generally speaking, law most often refers to a body of teaching, and that is precisely what allScripture is. While we will examine in subsequent studies the Mosaic Law and its bearing on NT believers, all Scripture provides direction and instruction. While not all Scripture was written to the church (NT believers), all Scripture was written for the church. In other words, all Scripture provides legitimate application for us in this age.

 

It’s interesting and instructive that the very first occurrence of tôrāh is in Gen_26:5, long before God gave the Mosaic Law: “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” In other words, God has always had laws. This is further evident in the fact that before God gave the Mosaic Law, some of its basic principles already existed among the Babylonians, Hittites, and other civilizations. This clearly demonstrates that at the very least a basic verbal law had been handed down through the years. It eventually was ignored by the majority after Babel, but there were some, such as Abraham, who retained the knowledge of God’s law. We see the same implication in Job (which predates the Mosaic Law): “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job_23:12). Again, long before Moses, there were commandments, that is, law, which while eventually replaced by the Mosaic Law, was nonetheless a code of behavior and a body of teaching by which man was bound. As we will see, this is the law written in man’s hearts (Rom_2:15), a law he cannot escape.

 

Scriptures for Study: What do Psa_1:1-3; Psa_119:1 promise to those who keep God’s law, that is, the instruction of His Word in general?

 

 

 

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