Much of Christianity has turned The Beatles into a Contemporary Christian Music group, for one song at least. Impossible you say? Oh, it is possible, and it is true! They will tell you that Torah is no longer applicable, and all you need is love now. John Lennon wrote a song, as sung by The Beatles that also said the very same thing! Were The Beatles quoting the Bible? I would hardly think so. This idea that all we need is love is not Biblical thinking, but is worldly thinking. In effect, it says that you can do whatever you please, as long as it is done with love.
For Christians, this is not true at all. Can a Christian rob a bank to support his parents? Can a woman marry a woman? How about having an affair on a husband or wife? After all, those things are done in love, are they not?
Of course, people will say “Christians wouldn’t do that!” Check the news, I say. It happens on a daily basis. The problem is that we, as believers in Yeshua the Messiah, have lost touch with His teachings. For far too long we have taken snippets of His teachings (leaving what we do not like for the Jews) and snippets of Shaul’s letters, and formed whole doctrines around them that do not fit with the rest of Scripture. And then we wonder why Christianity’s influence is waning, not just in the United States, but the rest of the world.
In the Gospel according to Matthew, we find Yeshua being questioned by a Pharisee after making the Sadducess look silly.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Most Christians will use this passage to show that love is all you need. There are a few problems with this. The first problem is that Yeshua never said that love is the only thing you need. What He said was that these are the GREATEST commandments. These are the most important, not the only ones, and seeing as how He quoted Torah, it is not logical to say that He abolished obedience to Torah, if the two greatest commands are found in the same Torah that He is abolishing. It is also not logical to say that since a Christian is dead to the Torah, all he needs to do is these two commandments, which are the greatest in the Torah that the Christian claims he is dead to (for a more in depth analysis on what Shaul means to be dead to the law, please read our article entitled “Dead to the Law (Romans 7.”).
The second problem is that Yeshua says that all of the Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. If love replaced Torah, as the Church teaches, shouldn’t love also replace the Prophets, since both the Torah and the Prophets hang on love? But that can’t be the case, since there are still dozens, if not hundreds of prophecies that have yet to come to pass. This hearkens back to Yeshua saying that the Torah and the Prophets will be in force until ALL is fulfilled. Not all has been fulfilled, and so Torah and the Prophets are still very much applicable.
The final problem with this line of thinking is that there is a failure to take parallel passages into account. We find the exact same occurence in the Gospel according to Mark, but the author adds a little bit of information at the end. Right after Yeshua states that all the Torah and Prophets hang on these two commandments, we find this happens:
So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Now when Yeshua saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
We find that the Pharisee does not condemn or attack Yeshua for violating Torah by teaching against His Father’s commands, but whole-heartedly agrees with Yeshua, and Yeshua even tells the Pharisee that he is on the right track! With all the Pharisees were trying to pin on Yeshua to disqualify Him, why did they not jump at this chance of Yeshua publicly declaring that Torah was no longer applicable, and that all they needed to do was love each other and love G-d? The simple answer is because He never said as such! In fact, one hundred years before Yeshua, a Pharisee named Hillel said the very same thing, though in a different wording! Hillel stated “”What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it.” Hillel was not saying all we need is love! The notion is ridiculous.
As we have shown, this misapplication of Yeshua’s words are extremely problematic for the Christian who employs them. Needless to say, they do the same thing with the apostle Shaul.
“…whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Again, there are a number of problems in the way that Christianity has applied these verses. The first problem we find is that Christians will generally claim that Yeshua fulfilled the law, that is that He ended it, so it is no longer applicable to us. So if Yeshua fulfilled the law in the Christian sense, how can we fulfill something that has been ended?
Second, we must ask exactly why is there an imperative to try and live up to a standard that we are supposedly dead to? And since we are asking questions, if we do fulfill the Torah, does it then become inapplicable after we do, as it did for those who came after Yeshua, and if so, for how long?
The third problem is that when taken out of context, these two passages by Shaul leave no commandment to love G-d, which Yeshua said was identical in importance to this commandment. I know that Christianity believes that we should love G-d, but when one hacks up Scripture, we end up with non-sequiturs.
As we close this study down, our final question to ask is this: What is love? How is it defined? We should not be content to leave love and brotherhood as a lofty ideal, to be fulfilled as each individual sees fit. In fact, the apostle Yochannan (John) spells out just how we are meant to show that love, and in doing so, clears up the non-sequiturs left by Christians.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
The love of our neighbors is in loving G-d and keeping Torah. The love of G-d is in keeping Torah. It all boils down to keeping Torah, not self-righteously, but with mercy, grace, justice, humility, and compassion. This answers the non-sequiturs put up by Christians. Loving our neighbors is fulfilling the Torah, because obedience to Torah is the very definition of loving our neighbors and loving G-d! Yeshua did not say that all you need to do is love. He was telling us straight up, “KEEP TORAH!”, but do it the right way. And what’s more, the Pharisees agreed with Him!
We have to remember that the Torah calls for grace, justice, mercy, humility, and compassion. These are the weightier matters and are the basis of the loving aspect of Torah. While love (grace, mercy, humility, and justice) is the thread that holds it all together, not the only thing required. Love doesn’t obviate other aspects of the lives of those who are followers of Yeshua the Messiah. No, love holds those aspects together. Love is not a solitary requirement, it is the thread that unifies and empowers all the other requirements. If we don’t have love which is shown through the weightier matters, nothing else works, no matter how hard we try.
We hope that this study has helped you, and we pray that you are able to apply it to your life and walk in His instruction.
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