“There is also another thing; A city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things: The entrance thereof is narrow, and is set in a dangerous place to fall, like as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water: And one only path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one man go there at once. If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inheritance?” 2 Esdras 7:6-9
What is the law of Yahweh? Many may think it is the list of commandments and statutes given to Moses, but Torah is actually the first five books of the Bible that not only include what Yahweh gave to Moses, but also a complete guide to living successfully on Earth. Here are a few things that are established from the beginning:
Gen 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
Gen 1:15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
Gen 2:3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Gen 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Just in the first two chapters of the book Genesis, we have the following instructions:
- Use the lights in the sky to determine days, months, years and seasons.
- Multiply and fill the Earth
- Eat fruit that has seeds
- Take care of the garden
- The seventh day is set apart and holy
- Leave your mother and father and start your own family.
These instructions were given before the warning to not eat of the one certain tree was given to Adam and Eve. It is interesting that in the future, Yahweh desires to bring us back to this state.
Amo 9:11 On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and I will repair its breaches and will raise up its ruins and will build it like the days of old.
Amo 9:12 Thus they may take possession of the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares Yahweh, who does this.
Amo 9:13 “Look, days are coming,” declares Yahweh, “when the one who plows will overtake the one who reaps, the one who treads grapes will catch up with the one who sows the seed. And the mountains will drip sweet wine and all of the hills will flow with it.
Amo 9:14 And I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they will rebuild the desolated cities and will inhabit them. And they will plant vineyards and will drink their wine, and they will make gardens and will eat their fruit.
Amo 9:15 And I will plant them on their land and they will not be uprooted again from their land that I have given to them,” says Yahweh your God.
The Sabbath will also still be honoured at the time of the new heavens and Earth.
Isa 66:22 “For just as the new heavens and earth that I am about to make shall stand before me,” declares Yahweh, “so shall your descendants and your name stand.
Isa 66:23 And this shall happen: From new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath all flesh shall come to bow in worship before me,” says Yahweh.
Isa 66:24 “And they shall go out and look at the corpses of the people who have rebelled against me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
As we move through Genesis, there are more instructions given as events unfold. Along with instructions there are some notable promises like this one to Noah:
Gen 8:22 As long as the earth endures, seed and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease.
It looks like we will continue to have weather, seasons, planting and harvesting as long as the earth endures. Here are some instructions given to Noah:
Gen 9:4 Only you shall not eat raw flesh with blood in it.
Gen 9:6 “As for the one shedding the blood of humankind, by humankind his blood shall be shed, for God made humankind in his own image.
Gen 9:7 “And you, be fruitful and multiply, swarm on the earth and multiply in it.”
As we move on to Abraham, we see a covenant made. This is the start of circumcision.
Gen 17:4 “As for me, behold, my covenant shall be with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
Gen 17:5 Your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
Gen 17:6 And I will make you exceedingly fruitful. I will make you a nation, and kings shall go out from you.
Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you, and between your offspring after you, throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant to be as God for you and to your offspring after you.
Gen 17:8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land in which you are living as an alien, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting property. And I will be to them as God.”
Gen 17:9 And God said to Abraham, “Now as for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you, throughout their generations.
Gen 17:10 This is my covenant which you shall keep, between me and you, and also with your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 And at eight days of age you shall yourselves circumcise every male belonging to your generations and the servant born in your house and the one bought from any foreigner who is not from your offspring.
Gen 17:13 You must certainly circumcise the servant born in your house and the one bought from any foreigner. And my covenant shall be with your flesh as an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 And as for any uncircumcised male who has not circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant.
Fast forward a few hundred years and we see the children of Abraham as slaves in Egypt. They asked to be allowed to have three days off to have a feast for Yahweh, and what they got was more work piled on, being called lazy by the Egyptian slave masters. This is what it looks like with no Sabbath day rest:
Exo 5:1 And afterward, Moses and Aaron went, and they said to Pharaoh, “Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel, ‘Release my people so that they may hold a festival for me in the desert.'”
Exo 5:2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is Yahweh that I should listen to his voice to release Israel? I do not know Yahweh, and also I will not release Israel.”
Exo 5:3 And they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go on a three-day journey into the desert, and let us sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest he strike us with plague or with sword.”
Exo 5:4 And the king of Egypt said, “Why, Moses and Aaron, do you take the people from their work? Go to your forced labor!”
Exo 5:5 And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now many, and you want to stop them from their forced labor.”
Exo 5:6 And on that day Pharaoh commanded the slave drivers over the people and his foremen, saying,
Exo 5:7 “You must no longer give straw to the people to make the bricks like before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
Exo 5:8 But the quota of the bricks that they were making before you must require of them. You must not reduce from it, because they are lazy. Therefore they are crying out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’
Exo 5:9 Let the work be heavier on the men so that they will do it and not pay attention to words of deception.”
Exo 5:10 And the slave drivers of the people and their foremen went out, and they spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I am not giving you straw.
Exo 5:11 You go, get straw for yourselves from whatever you find because not a thing is being reduced from your work.'”
Exo 5:12 And the people spread out in all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for the straw.
Exo 5:13 And the slave drivers were insisting, saying, “Finish your work for each day on its day, as when there was straw.”
Exo 5:14 And the foremen of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh’s slave drivers had appointed over them, were beaten by men who were saying, “Why have you not completed your portion of brickmaking as before, both yesterday and today?”
Exo 5:15 And the foremen of the Israelites came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you treat your servants like this?
Exo 5:16 Straw is not being given to your servants, but they are saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ and, look, your servants are being beaten, but it is the fault of your people.”
Exo 5:17 And he said, “You are lazy, lazy! Therefore you are saying, ‘Let us go; let us sacrifice to Yahweh.’
Exo 5:18 And now go, work, but straw will not be given to you, and you must give the full quota of bricks.”
Exo 5:19 And the foremen of the Israelites saw they were in trouble with the saying, “You will not reduce from your bricks for each day on its day.”
The next event we are looking at is the institution of the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread.
Exo 13:3 And Moses said to the people, “Remember this day when you went out from Egypt, from a house of slaves, because with strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from here, and food with yeast will not be eaten.
Exo 13:4 Today you are going out in the month of Abib.
Exo 13:5 And when Yahweh brings you to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites—which he swore to your ancestors to give to you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you will perform this service in this month.
Exo 13:6 Seven days you will eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day will be a feast for Yahweh.
Exo 13:7 Unleavened bread will be eaten the seven days; food with yeast will not be seen for you; and yeast will not be seen for you in all your territory.
Exo 13:8 And you shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘This is because of what Yahweh did for me when I came out from Egypt.’
Exo 13:9 And it will be as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes so that the law of Yahweh will be in your mouth, that with a strong hand Yahweh brought you out from Egypt.
Exo 13:10 And you will keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.
Yahweh reestablishes the Sabbath with His people. A free man is one who can take a Sabbath. Also, it implies one should be working the other six days.
Exo 16:23 And he said to them, “This is what Yahweh has said. Tomorrow is a rest period, a holy Sabbath for Yahweh. Bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil. Put aside all the surplus for yourselves for safekeeping until the morning.”
Exo 16:24 And they put it aside until the morning, as Moses had commanded, and it did not make a stench, and not a maggot was in it.
Exo 16:25 And Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath for Yahweh. Today you will not find it in the field.
Exo 16:26 Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, it will not be present on it.”
Exo 16:27 And on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they did not find any.
Exo 16:28 And Yahweh said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep my commands and my laws?
This brings us to the time Yahweh meets His people at Mount Horeb, delivering the Ten Commandments, face to face.
Exo 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 “I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.
Exo 20:3 “There shall be for you no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a divine image with any form that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth below or that is in the water below the earth.
Exo 20:5 You will not bow down to them, and you will not serve them, because I am Yahweh your God, a jealous God, punishing the guilt of the parents on the children on the third and on the fourth generations of those hating me,
Exo 20:6 and showing loyal love to thousands of generations of those loving me and of those keeping my commandments.
Exo 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name.
Exo 20:8 “Remember the day of the Sabbath, to consecrate it.
Exo 20:9 Six days you will work, and you will do all your work.
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God; you will not do any work—you or your son or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your animal, or your alien who is in your gates—
Exo 20:11 because in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and on the seventh day he rested. Therefore Yahweh blessed the seventh day and consecrated it.
Exo 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days can be long on the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.
Exo 20:13 “You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 “You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 “You shall not testify against your neighbor with a false witness.
Exo 20:17 “You shall not covet the house of your neighbor; you will not covet the wife of your neighbor or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Every denomination, church and human being follows a list of instructions or torah. People have different standards that they follow, where something that is acceptable to one person may be intolerable to another. Early in the history of the church, the leadership abandoned Yahweh’s instructions and made up their own, much like the Pharisees of Judaism had done with their Babylonian Talmud instructions. The following are some examples of man made laws from one of the early church councils, Synod of Laodicea 343-381 A.D.
The readers and singers have no right to wear an orarium, and to read or sing thus [habited].
Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIII.
Cantors and lectors shall not wear the orarium.
Rightly Zonoras here remarks, “for the same reason (that they should not seem to wish to usurp a ministry not their own) it is not permitted to these to wear the stole, for readers are for the work of reading, and singers for singing,” so each one should perform his own office.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian’s Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxiii., can. xxviij.
No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the As- cetics, ought to enter a tavern.
A subdeacon must not give the Bread, nor bless the Cup.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XXV.
A subdeacon may not give the bread and the cup. Aristenus.
Subdeacons are not allowed to perform the work of presbyters and deacons. Wherefore they neither deliver the bread nor the cup to the people.
There are hundreds of canons, which were Roman laws like these, and that was at a time with one denomination. Now there are over 40,000 denominations of the Christian church, each with their own “laws”. Wouldn’t it be easier to just follow Yahweh’s instructions? The following is how Jesus describes His instructions:
Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Where does Jesus get His instructions if it is not from the Father who sent Him? Jesus being the Word of Yahweh, was Yahweh’s instructions in the flesh.
Joh 8:27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.
Joh 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
We looked at a sample of some laws that were made in the Synod of Laodicea, 1600 years ago, but how about looking at some more modern laws that churches have made? Maybe these are not “laws”, but churches I have attended had a requirement of such things as attending Sunday morning and Sunday night; however, other churches only required Sunday morning. Some forbid consuming any alcohol, where others permit it. Major denominations split over one thing or another, and it goes on and on. What is the standard? Where can a person get grounded and understand what Yahweh expects from his people? It is so simple. It took me years of dealing with man made traditions and rules, that have no scriptural basis, to see what was always right there in scripture. The Bible is not a compilation of inspirational sayings to tape to your refrigerator door, and it’s not fairy tale stories to teach in Sunday school to little children. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. By following Yahweh’s instructions, a person no longer has to be tossed back and forth mentally and emotionally by commandments of men. Such things as burning hair with a curling iron, because teenage girls were not allowed to cut their hair, is disturbing. Various forms of physical abuse have been too often the normal, and this is a terrible mark on Christianity. How many people were driven away for life and will never come back because of these things? Unnecessary guilt has been delivered to people from church denominations that is close to, if not, actual emotional abuse. I say the commandments of men have been and will always be bondage, and the law of Yahweh is liberty. The following verses from Psalms 119 are true:
Psa 119:165 Great peace is for those who love your law, and they do not have a cause for stumbling.
Psa 119:166 I hope for your salvation, O Yahweh, and do your commands.
The contemporary church, in some cases, despises the law of God, or at least believes pursuing it is impossible or even wrong. How did we arrive here? Since Yahweh gave His instructions, men have been adding to it and taking away from it.
Deu 12:32 All of the things that I am commanding you, you must diligently observe; you shall not add to it, and you shall not take away from it.”
Every writer in the New Testament taught from the law and prophets. We do not need statements of faith or thousands of rules and regulations- if we take their lead, especially when they have done a lot of the work explaining the law and prophets in light of the cross.
Pro 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
The New Testament writers knew that keeping the commandments of Yahweh was the key to faith. How can a person have any substance of faith in a God if they do not believe they need to do what He says to do, or He did what He said He did?
1Jn 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Ah, but we were told those things Yahweh said to do were for someone else. We don’t do those things anymore, we don’t obey Yahweh now. Did He really say “don’t eat from that tree”? How did we get to the place where some think Jesus came with a different message than Yahweh? It started in the first century with heretics like Cerdo and Marcion. The following is from Ireneous, Against Heresies Book 1
Chap. XXVII. — Doctrines of Cerdo and Marcion.
- Cerdo was one who took his system from the followers of Simon, and came to live at Rome in the time of Hyginus, who held the ninth place in the episcopal succession from the apostles downwards. He taught that the God proclaimed by the law and the prophets was not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former was known, but the latter unknown; while the one also was righteous, but the other benevolent.
- Marcion of Pontus succeeded him, and developed his doctrine. In so doing, he advanced the most daring blasphemy against Him who is proclaimed as God by the law and the prophets, declaring Him to be the author of evils, to take delight in war, to be infirm of purpose, and even to be contrary to Himself. But Jesus being derived from that father who is above the God that made the world, and coming into Judaea in the times of Pontius Pilate the governor, who was the procurator of Tiberius Caesar, was manifested in the form of a man to those who were in Judaea, abolishing the prophets and the law, and all the works of that God who made the world, whom also he calls Cosmocrator. Besides this, he mutilates the Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all that is written respecting the generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most dearly confessing that the Maker of this universe is His Father. He likewise persuaded his disciples that he himself was more worthy of credit than are those apostles who have handed down the Gospel to us, furnishing them not with the Gospel, but merely a fragment of it. In like manner, too, he dismembered the Epistles of Paul, removing all that is said by the apostle respecting that God who made the world, to the effect that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also those passages from the prophetical writings which the apostle quotes, in order to teach us that they announced beforehand the coming of the Lord.
According to these heretics, the God of the Old Testament was evil and mean with all the laws and judgements. Jesus was supposedly the son of a higher God than the Creator, who did away with the law of the Old Testament God. Is this not what we get with modern dispensationalist doctrine? Instead of having the Old Testament God be a different God, do they not say He changed in different dispensations?
2Pe 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2Pe 2:2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
2Pe 2:3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Be diligent and search these things out for yourself. The majority is often wrong, so do not let them decide for you.
2Ti 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,
2Ti 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
2Ti 2:18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.
2Ti 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Our opening quote was from the book of second Esdras describing the narrow path much like Jesus spoke about. The narrow, difficult path leads to the inheritance.
Mat 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
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