The Path of the
The disciple of Messiah Yeshua knows that every word of the scriptures is of a paramount importance to those who desire to follow in the footsteps of the Lord and walk in The Way. Thus, the question: Did Yeshua annul the Law? Or is the Law spiritual, and as such can only be comprehended by men and women who are themselves of the Spirit?
When Prof. John Allegro
was quoted as saying that what has been revealed in the discovery of the Dead
Sea Scrolls is a great amount of overwhelming evidence that “...may upset a
great many basic teachings of the Christian Church.
This in turn would greatly upset many Christian Theologians and
believers. The heart of the
matter is, in fact, the source and originality of Christian doctrine”
(August 1966 issue of Harpers Magazine); what he was in fact stating is that,
everything that we now know about Christian beginnings demonstrate that the
Essene-Ebionites were not the heretics, as they were falsely portrayed by the
later Gentile church, but were in fact the body of genuine believers that held
fast to the authentic teachings of Yeshua and the New Covenant.
Yeshua foresaw a great
many of the body of believers would be led astray, was predicted in his words: “For
false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so
that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. See, I
have warned you” (Matt 24:24-25 TLB).
The conflict regarding the nature of the beliefs between the Messianic
Jewish followers of Jesus, and the Gentile church which remains to this day the
foundation of many of our present day doctrines, can only be understood when it
is realized that, like the Sadducees and Pharisees who interpreted the Law in a
ritual rather than a spiritual manner, the majority of carnally minded Gentile
believers were incapable of understanding the spiritual meaning of the Law.
In order to even begin to
comprehend the true depth of the controversy we must recognize that, like the
Essenes, the Messianic Jewish followers of Yeshua were Spiritual -- and their
vision of the Law (as revealed by Moses) can only be understood in a mystical
perception of religious symbols. Moreover,
it must be realized that Jesus himself not only embraced the Law, but taught
that its fulfillment would continue to be a requirement for those who would be
called his followers.
The answer to the question
that has plagued the Gentile converts since the first century can be found in
the early codexs of Luke that still contain a saying of Jesus that is also found
in the Gospel of Thomas -- which is part of the recently discovered cache of
early Christian scriptures that have come to be known as the Nag Hammidi
Library. While this quotation
can be used to demonstrate the validity of Sabbath Observance, like most sayings
of Jesus is can be seen in a much more broad manner.
In this codex of the Gospel of Luke there is still contained the verses: “On
the same day, He (Jesus) beholding a man laboring on the Sabbath, said to him:
Man if thou knowest what thou doest, blessed art thou; if however thou dost not
know, cursed art thou and a transgressor of the law”.
In coming to terms with
the relationship of the Law to the teachings of the New Covenant, the Messianic
must ask themselves why Yeshua would warn the man that only if he possesses the
true knowledge of the meaning of the Sabbath can he be blessed -- and if he does
not possess this essential knowledge, then he is cursed.
The answer goes to the very heart of the difference between the Spiritual
Jews who were the followers of Yeshua, and the Carnal Jews: If one is spiritual,
and has manifested the inner workings of the Law in their body, mind and spirit,
then one is free from the constraints of the Law, and outward observances mean
nothing. Whereas, if the inner workings of the Law have not been
manifested in the body, mind and spirit of the believer-disciple, then they are
cursed. Perhaps more
importantly from a spiritual perspective, when one walks in The Way and enters
the Kingdom within, from a biblical perspective, there is nothing but Sabbaths.
When the Apostle Paul told the Galatians that they were
freed from the constraint of the Law, this was because they were supposed to be
a spiritual people who were in the world and not of it -- i.e., every day was to
be a Sabbath.. From a spiritual perspective, the meaning of the Sabbath
is directly related to the significance of the number as it relates to the
spiritual centers of the body -- and ultimately, the mind and spirit of man.
Under the heading of NUMBERS, Nelson’s bible dictionary states that “Many
times seven is important as a symbol rather than a number. It is used almost 600
times in the Bible. Often it expresses the idea of completeness or perfection”
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
number seven is a numeral that conveys a Divine pattern throughout all of Creation.
It is written that all of Creation was completed in six days, and God
rested on the seventh. Enoch,
who was the seventh from Adam, never died because God took him up to heaven.
The seven feasts, the seven churches, seven seals -- all these countless
places where the number seven is used -- what is conveyed is a series of great
spiritual truths that is of the greatest importance to the disciple when he
embraces these biblical patterns in his life.
In the example of what
Yeshua said regarding the man laboring on the Sabbath, the only way for the man
to know what he was doing, was if he had himself overcome, and had walked the "narrow
path", entered through the "strait gate", and emerged
within the gates of the inner Kingdom (Luke 17:20-21). In the words of Yeshua: “The sabbath was made for
man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27 KJV).
What this means is that, those who follow in the Lord’s footsteps into
the Kingdom, themselves become the Sabbath, and they become free.
While all those people who are outside of the Kingdom remain under the
dominion of the god of this world, and are under Law.
It is therefore from this perspective that Yeshua could say to the man who
was laboring of the Sabbath: “Man if thou knowest what thou doest, blessed
art thou; if however thou dost not know, cursed art thou and a transgressor of
This same thought is
fundamentally the essence of what Paul attempted to express in his Epistles to
the Romans and Galatians. “For
in my inner being I delight in God’s law”, writes Paul, “but I see
another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my
mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members”
(Rom 7:22-23 NIV). What Paul
was conveying to us is that those who pick up their own cross and follow Messiah
into the Kingdom are the recipients of God’s grace, and are able to escape the
Law, and enter into Life. What
this means is that, unless you have followed Yeshua into the Kingdom, and have
achieved the union of the natural mind with the soul, then you are still
possessed by the works of the flesh that obstruct your walk with the Lord -- and
as such, the Apostles states that you are spiritually immature.
From the perspective of Paul’s Epistles, life only exists in the
Kingdom -- everything outside the Kingdom is death, and belongs to the god of
The doctrine contrived by
the later Gentile church that Yeshua abolished the Law so they could live in any
manner of their choosing, is refuted in the words of Yeshua himself when he
declared: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the
Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the
truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least
stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is
accomplished” (Matt 5:17-18 NIV).
Thus, because not even one precept of the Law has been done away with or
abolished, when they are present in this world, the followers of Yeshua are
required to remain faithful to the Law.
The Nazirene, or Messianic
Jewish followers of Yeshua understood his words when he commanded them: “Anyone
who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the
same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and
teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven”
(Matt 5:19 NIV). What we can
see from these words is that Yeshua expected his followers to not only practice
and observe the Commandments of God as set forth in the scriptures, but to teach
others to do the same.
This same exact concept of
the New Covenant in relation to the Law is affirmed in the Epistle of James
where he writes: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just
one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10 NIV).
That the followers of Jesus were to not only keep and observe the Law in
its fullness, but do it better than the Jewish sects of the Sadducees and
Pharisees, can be seen in the words of the Lord: “For I tell you that
unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of
the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20
Did Jesus abolish the Law,
as is commonly believed by many churches today?
All three synoptic Gospels contain the passage of scripture which states:
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and
kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit
eternal life?” (Mark 10:16 KJV).
The more we consider the reply of Jesus to this question, the more we comprehend
that his answer undermines our whole modern-day understanding of the Gospel: “And
he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is,
God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt 19:17
What we must first
acknowledge is the fact that Yeshua’s reply is in total conflict with what was
later seemingly preached by Paul regarding the Law.
Where Paul writes that no one can be saved by observing the Law, Jesus
contradicts Paul, and states: “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the
this we can see that when Yeshua was questioned about how we are to enter into
Life, Jesus replied that we must observe and be faithful to the Law of God.
Does that mean that we must observe the Law in the manner of the carnal
Jews? Absolutely not! But as disciples of Messiah Yeshua, we must move
beyond the error of the Sadducees and Pharisees, apply the Key of Knowledge, and
manifest the Law by turning it within us in search of the Kingdom.
In the modern
Messianic Believer's search for a higher understanding of the Gospel message, what is
presented in this passage of scripture is of the greatest importance, as seen in
the Adam Clarke Commentary which writes:
“Much instruction may be had from seriously attending to the conduct, spirit, and question of this person.
He came running (Mark 10:17), for he was deeply convinced of the
importance of his business, and seriously determined to seek so as to find.
He kneeled, or caught him by the knees, thus evidencing his humility, and
addressing himself only to mercy. (See Matt. 17:14).
He came in the spirit of a disciple, or scholar, desiring to be taught a
matter of the utmost importance to him -- Good teacher.
He came in the spirit of obedience; he had worked hard to no purpose, and
he is still willing to work, provided he can have a prospect of succeeding --
What good thing shall I do?
His question was the most interesting and important that any soul can ask
of God -- How shall I be saved?”
As was the case then, the
question that was asked by this person remains valid in our own time -- i.e., in
the words of the Adam Clark Commentary, the most “...important that any
soul can ask of God -- How shall I be saved?”
In fact, the question is so important to us in our present time that it
could be said that if we do not possess the genuine answer, it is as if we are
playing Russian roulette with our lives.
When each of us stands before the judgment seat of the Lord, our ability
to answer this question will be of a paramount importance.
The problem is that the nature of the question itself demands our utmost
attention, and cannot be answered in a casual manner.
At stake is your very life and future existence.
Why? Because a true
understanding of life and the Gospel is dependent upon what you see, perceive
and comprehend in this all-important story that is contained in each of the
three synoptic gospels.
The time will come -- the
event is imminent -- regardless of what you do, you cannot evade your destiny --
everyone must come to terms with the question that this man asked the Lord.
If you have listened to the wrong people or religious authority --
believed the wrong doctrine -- or squandered your opportunity in life by
immersing yourself in the culture of this world -- then everything that you have
labored to acquire and achieve will be forever lost.
Regardless of how religious you are -- how often you attend church -- how
much money you donate to the church -- if you fail to answer this single
question correctly, the result of your life could be as spiritually stagnant as
the Sadducees and Pharisees who worshiped the Lord in vain!
From the perspective of
the Gospel message, it is of the greatest importance that we understand what is
being presented here. Moreover,
it is important to recognize that from our modern day perception of the gospel
message, we would conclude that the person who approached Jesus would be saved,
and he would be counted as being faithful by today’s concepts of the New
Covenant teachings which is embraced by many modern churches -- churches which
embrace abortion, homosexuality, sexual immorality -- and every other perversion
which they claim is made acceptable by belief in Yeshua.
In fact, it is important for us to be cognizant of the fact that by
today’s standards, this man could be a pillar of the church.
He came to Jesus -- falling on his knees -- declaring his faith --
calling upon the name of the “good master” -- desiring to be saved.
Yet, in total opposition
to what many Christians and Messianic Jews profess to believe today, Yeshua replied that the man has
to do more than believe and have faith, fall on his knees to Yeshua, and
acknowledge him as the “good master”.
Not only did the man have to observe the Commandments of God, but he had
to relinquish all that he owned in this world, and follow the Lord: “Jesus
said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to
the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matt
If our modern-day
perception of the gospel was correct, and the good news that is presently being
preached from the pulpits of many liberal churches represents the true
revelation of the Lord to mankind, then Yeshua would have told the man that his
faith (in Yeshua) has saved him. In opposition to what is commonly believed today, we
can see clearly demonstrated here that belief and faith in Yeshua, without the
observance of the Commandments as found in the Law, and without the
relinquishing of the things of this world, cannot save us -- as expressed in the
words of the Matthew Henry’s Commentary which concludes: “Though many
that call themselves Christians, do not act as if they believed it; it is
certain, that, when we embrace Christ, we must let go the world, for we cannot
serve God and mammon... we must devote ourselves entirely to the conduct and
government of our Lord Jesus; Come, and follow me. It seems here to be meant of
a close and constant attendance upon his person, such as the selling of what he
had in the world was as necessary as it was to the other disciples to quit their
callings; but of us it is required that we follow Christ, that we duly attend
upon his ordinances, strictly conform to his pattern, and cheerfully submit to
his disposals, and by upright and universal obedience observe his statutes, and
keep his laws, and all this from a principle of love to him, and dependence on
him, and with a holy contempt of every thing else in comparison of him, and much
more in competition with him. This is to follow Christ fully”.
Another element of this
biblical account that the modern believer must seriously consider is the rebuke
of Yeshua when the man called him “good master”.
In our churches today we can observe people who feel they are right with
the Lord by praising His name.
What Yeshua said to the man is that what you say with your lips means
absolutely nothing -- and it is what you do with your life with respect to
fulfilling the Commandments, and being in the world and not of it, that will
It is important that we be
continually cognizant of the words of the Lord when he warned: “For many
are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14 KJV)!
And when we ask who are those who are called?
The answer can only be: Those who have had the Gospel preached to them.
The answer to the question that was asked of the Lord is very much like
the parable that Yeshua put forth regarding the Kingdom: “The kingdom of
heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his
servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but
they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those
who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened
cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding
banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off -- one to his field, another
to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.
The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned
their city” (Matt 22:2-7 NIV).
The observation of the
Adam Clark Commentary is correct: It is not enough to fall on one’s knees to
the Lord. It is not enough to
express one’s faith. It is not enough to praise him, and call him good
master. It is not even enough
to live a good life in accordance with the Commandments of God.
After all, the Christians and Messianic Jews who are called, are to be held to a higher
spiritual standard than others: “For I tell you that unless your
righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you
will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20 NIV).
The message that is
clearly portrayed is that those who desire to be the genuine followers of
are required to relinquish any and all hold the things of this world has upon
them -- and only then will they become free from the entanglement of the god of
this world, and they will be able to then follow in the footsteps of the Lord.
Belief and faith -- when they are stagnated because of spiritual
complacency, cannot save you -- and in this respect, it is our modern day
perception of the Word that could very well be our eventual demise.
Moreover, it is those we listen to -- those who presently shepherd the
flock -- those who preach that we are saved by faith alone regardless of the
manner that we actually live our lives -- who ultimately must be seen as the
assassins who pull the trigger of the lethal weapon that will have killed the
very spiritual life of the believer’s soul -- of whom Jesus warned: ”Leave
them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall
into a pit” (Matt 15:14 NIV).