Do you love your neighbour? When asked to reduce all of the commandments of God to one, Jesus recited the Shema from Deuteronomy chapter six, which states that Yahweh is one, and we are to love him with all of our our heart, mind and actions. The second most important instruction is from Leviticus.
Mark 12:28–31 (LEB)
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them debating. When he saw that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Whenever New Testament writers quote the Old Testament, we need to go read what they are referencing in context. Sadly, some may not even realize that Jesus was quoting from the Torah. The terms, New and Old Testament, are said to have been coined by Marcion, a first century heretic who wanted to distance his religion from the mean, commandment speaking God of the Old Testament. The first century followers of Jesus had only the law, prophets and writings. Here are the verses Jesus referenced as the second greatest commandment:
Leviticus 19:17–18 (LEB)
17 You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall surely rebuke your fellow citizen, so that you do not incur sin along with him. 18 You shall not seek vengeance, and you shall not harbor a grudge against your fellow citizens; and you shall love your neighbor like yourself; I am Yahweh.
Not only do these verses tell us to love our neighbour as our self, but they tell us how to love our neighbour. We need not try to redefine the love that is being spoken of here. Rebuke, do not seek vengeance, nor hold a grudge are the ways we are told to love our neighbour. We are also told not to hate our brother in our heart.
Hating our brother in our heart is self explanatory, with the exception that it implies we are doing it in secret. Pretending to love your brother while secretly hating him is hypocritical and goes against the instruction of Yahweh.
Matthew 5:21–24 (LEB)
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people of old, ‘Do not commit murder,’ and ‘whoever commits murder will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry at his brother will be subject to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Stupid fool!’ will be subject to the council, and whoever says, ‘Obstinate fool!’ will be subject to fiery hell. 23 Therefore if you present your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and first go be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your gift.
Rebuking our neighbours seems like an unlikely way to love them, but it is very important. The reason we “rebuke our fellow citizen” is so we do not incur sin along with them. Rebuking someone still does not sound very loving, but there are better words to describe what is being said. The word used for “rebuke” is Strong’s H3198.
1) to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right
1a1) to decide, judge
1a2) to adjudge, appoint
1a3) to show to be right, prove
1a4) to convince, convict
1a5) to reprove, chide
1a6) to correct, rebuke
1b) (Hophal) to be chastened
1c) (Niphal) to reason, reason together
1d) (Hithpael) to argue
Correct, convince, argue, and in another translation, it says to “reason frankly”. Remember the reason to do this was so that you do not incur sin with them. This is why we continually say to repent and follow the commandments! Once a person knows the way, it is their responsibility to tell their neighbours, to shine light on darkness, and not hide it under a bushel. The English Standard Version translates it like this:
Leviticus19:17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
A person can incur sin by not “reasoning frankly” with their neighbour. This is one of the purposes of these blog posts. “Your pagan celebrations in the church are witchcraft to Yahweh” is an example of reasoning frankly with your neighbour. No one seems to be willing to discuss these things in person, and people mock, sabotage and ignore the message. I have heard this situation described as it being like a crowing rooster. The rooster has the crowing inside of him and has to get it out. He does not care if there is anyone to listen, or if anyone pays any attention, so long as the message gets out.
“You shall not harbor a grudge against your fellow citizens” is another important part of the instruction. It would be easy to see someone heading for destruction, warn them, be ignored or mocked, then hold a grudge against them. We cannot do this, but only hope the person will eventually understand the gravity of the situation.
Deuteronomy 4:25–31 (LEB)
25 “When you have had children and grandchildren and you have grown old in the land and you act corruptly and you make a divine image of the form of anything and you do evil in the eyes of Yahweh your God, thus provoking him to anger, 26 I call to witness against you today the heaven and the earth, that you will perish soon and completely from the land that you are crossing the Jordan into it to take possession of it; you will not live long on it, but you will be completely destroyed. 27 And Yahweh will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations to where Yahweh will lead you. 28 And you will there serve gods made by human hands, of wood and stone, gods that cannot see and cannot hear and cannot eat and cannot smell. 29 But from there you shall seek Yahweh your God and will find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 In your distress when all these things have found you in the latter days, then you will return to Yahweh your God, and you will listen to his voice. 31 For Yahweh your God is a compassionate God; he will not abandon you, and he will not destroy you, and he will not forget the covenant of your ancestors that he swore to them.
This is all very important to consider. Tribulation is coming and hopefully people will remember these warnings. These verses are not for “the Jews”, while a lawless church is raptured into another world, as dispensational theology teaches Baptists and Pentecostals.
Isaiah 59:18–21 (LEB)
18 According to deeds, so he will repay; wrath to his enemies, requital to those who are his enemies. He will repay requital to the coastlands. 19 So they shall fear the name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the sunrise, for he will come like a narrow stream; the wind of Yahweh drives it on. 20 “And a redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn away from transgression,” declares Yahweh. 21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says Yahweh: my spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have placed in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of your children’s children,” says Yahweh, “from now on and forever.”
The redeemer, Yeshua, called Jesus today, came and told us what to do. When He comes back we better be doing what He said.
John 14:21–26 (LEB)
21 The one who has my commandments and keeps them—that one is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, why is it that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will take up residence with him. 24 The one who does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. 25 These things I have spoken to you while residing with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name—that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything that I said to you.
Some try to teach that the commandments of Jesus are different than that of the Father, or Jesus did all the commandments, so we do not have to, nor should we try. This is just the heresy of Marcion revisiting the church to lead people into lawlessness. It is deception that must be rebuked, debated and corrected!
Luke 21:8 (LEB)
8 And he said, Watch out that you are not deceived! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them!
This has happened in the 40,000 plus so-called Christian denominations, each with their own lawless Jesus. If your Jesus is saying something different then Yahweh, you have been deceived. Ezekiel saw the abominations in the church today, as they were in Judah.
Ezekiel 8:4–18 (LEB)
4 And look! There was the glory of the God of Israel like the vision that I saw in the valley. 5 And he said to me, “Son of man, lift up now your eyes toward the north.” And I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and, look, there was to the north of the gate of the altar this image of jealousy at the entrance. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, “Do you see what they are doing—great detestable things that the house of Israel is committing here so as to drive me from my sanctuary, and yet you will see again greater detestable things.” 7 And he brought me to the doorway of the courtyard, and I saw, and look! A hole in the wall. 8 And he said to me, “Son of man, dig now through the wall.” And I dug through the wall, and look! There was a doorway. 9 And he said to me, “Come and see the detestable things, the evil that they are doing here. 10 And I came, and I saw, and look, all kinds of creatures and detestable beasts; and all of the idols of the house of Israel were carved on the wall all around. 11 And seventy men from the elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, was standing in the midst of them, and they were standing before them. Each one had his censer in his hand, and the fragrance of the cloud of the incense was going up. 12 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in the inner rooms of his idol, for they are saying, ‘Yahweh is not seeing us; Yahweh has abandoned the land.’ ” 13 And he said to me, “Still you will see again greater detestable things that they are doing.” 14 And he brought me to the doorway of the gate of the house of Yahweh that is toward the north, and look! There were the women sitting weeping for Tammuz. 15 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Still you will see again greater detestable things than these.” 16 And he brought me to the inner courtyard of the house of Yahweh, and look, at the doorway of the temple of Yahweh, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward the east, and they were bowing down toward the east before the sun. 17 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Was it too small a thing for the house of Judah to do the detestable things that they did here? For they filled up the land with violence, and they provoked me to anger again, and look! They are putting the branch to their nose. 18 And so I will act in rage, and my eye will not take pity, and I will not have compassion, and they will cry in my ear with a loud voice, and I will not hear them.”
Once a person understands, they must start crowing like a rooster, even if no one is listening. Perhaps someone will remember these words when tribulation comes as described in Deuteronomy, and turn back to the instructions of the Creator. Repent and believe the gospel!
The featured image is by Nina Strehl on Unslpash
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