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(Matt 5:17-19 [KJV])
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Should Christians keep the commandments? (pt2)

First, we must establish what we know about the law of God and the prophets.

  1. The law of God consists of commandments.
  2. The prophets revealed the precepts and commands of God to man.
  3. A series of commandments make up the law.
  4. There are different categories of laws.

–          The law of liberty (James 2:12)
–          The law of the Spirit (Rom 8:2)
–          The law of sin and death (Rom 8:2)

  1. Every time the law and commandments are mentioned in the New Testament, they refer back to what was written in the Torah (the first 5 books of Moses).
  2. The law and the commandments go hand in hand.
  3. The law is set out in three groups. 7.1 Love for God and Love for man/self (all the commands hang on these two), 7.2 The ten commandments (written on tablets of stone and placed in the Ark), 7.3 Commandments expanded under the first and second group. These commandments tell us how to keep the 10 and what to do when they are transgressed. 

Let us examine the word use of “commandments”.
Yeshua (Jesus) starts off with the law and then He goes straight into what the law consists of by saying, “Whosoever therefore” (meaning everyone without exception).
(Matt 5:17-19 [KJV])
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments…

Yeshua goes on to instruct the listeners to do and teach the commandments. So now we look at the Greek word used for commandments.

Commandments = G1785 ἐντολή entole (en-to-lee’) n.
injunction, i.e. an authoritative prescription.
[from G1781]
KJV: commandment, precept.

Next, in keeping with letting scripture interpret scripture, we go to where the commandments (ἐντολή entole) are mentioned.

Here we see that Yeshua makes keeping the commandments (ἐντολή entole) a first requirement to be saved. As in Matt 5:19 he said that they should be done and taught. It is written.
(Matt 19:16-20 [KJV])
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 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 (same Greek word as in Matt 5 ἐντολή entole)18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

As Yeshua continues to speak, He then states the second requirement needed to be saved. In fact, he uses the word “perfect”, this could only mean that you need to be perfect to get eternal life. What makes us perfect? What gives us perfection, not the keeping of the commandments, but rather faith in Yeshua; the believer is perfected in Christ (Yeshua).
(Matt 19:21-22 [KJV])
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 (faith in Yeshua). 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

In the following verses, we have the two requirements mentioned as having been done by the saints (believers in our Lord). Note: There is no statement to keep the commandments only or the faith in Jesus only, but rather both go together. As Yeshua said to the rich young ruler the two should go together.
(Rev 12:17 [KJV])
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments (same Greek wordἐντολή entole) of Godand have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(Rev 14:12 [KJV])
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments (ἐντολή entole) of God, and the faith of Jesus(TTGM: the rich young leader is not to be found with the saints. Why? He only kept the commandments and he cannot be made perfect without faith in Christ).

This verse again confirms what was told to the rich young ruler. To have the right to access the tree of life (future), you are required and it is a blessing to keep HIS (Yeshua/God) commandments.
(Rev 22:14 [KJV])
Blessed are they that do his commandments (ἐντολή entole), that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Which “commandments” are believers required to keep?
Before Yeshua was born the same word to describe commandments was used in the following verse. Like the rich young ruler, both Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments of the Lord. All the commandments found here are the same commandments given to Israel by God. The same commandments that David wrote about in Psalms 119 (Read it and pay special attention to the love that David had for the commandments of God).
(Luke 1:5-6 [KJV])
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the COMMANDMENTS (ἐντολή entole), and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Answer: Believers are expected to keep all the commandments of God.

IMPORTANT: If believers (saints) are to keep all the “commandments”, HOW are they to keep them?
To answer this question, we follow on from what our Lord said about the commandments in Matt 5:17, notice as He mentions the commandments you will see that they are not done away with but rather our Lord says, “but I say unto to you”; and he moves the commandment from what is written down to having it now written on the heart (to the root of man’s desires). The following is the “new” model of understanding that Yeshua wants the believer to have. Whenever a commandment is read, you must now look to apply it to your heart as our Lord directs. Again, not only does Yeshua target the heart but He also modifies the command to a higher standard (eg. see Matt 5:33 and Matt 5:34). Yeshua targets the heart and He also modifies. Nowhere does Yeshua, say it has passed away. Why? All the commandments will stay in place until all is fulfilled. They also play a part in the believers’ salvation as stated by our Lord (eg. It will be determined by your actions in keeping the commandments who will be the least and the greatest in His kingdom – at the judgment).  

IMPORTANT: Yeshua is the only person who can modify the law. Why? He is the lawgiver. He has the authority; He is GOD. 

Note: Some teach that Yeshua only meant the ten commandments; however, as you will see in Matt 5 and countless other passages, our Lord included other commandments under the law (He did not mention all, but He alluded to a cross-section for specific reasons – to teach us the base principle). It is important to mention that Yeshua was a Jew and all Jews are required to keep all of the commandments all of their life. 

Yeshua explaining the commandments in Matthew 5 (it is the believers’ responsibility to do and teach the commandments):

—-  —-

The commandment, thou shalt not kill (this commandment is found on the tablet of stones) – targets the believers’ heart:
(Matt 5:21 [KJV])
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

Notice it is not the act of killing that condemns you, but rather what is in the heart and later what comes to the mouth; this is what condemns:
(Matt 5:22 [KJV])
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

—-  —-

The commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery (this commandment is found on the tablet of stones) – targets the believers’ heart:
(Matt 5:27 [KJV])
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

 Notice it is not the action of adultery that condemns you, but rather what is in the heart (lust); this is what condemns:
(Matt 5:28 [KJV])
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

—-  —-

The commandment, to give your hated wife a writing of divorcement (this commandment is NOT found on the tablet of stones) – modified with the explanation given (because of the hardness of the husband’s heart etc):
(Matt 5:31 [KJV])
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

Notice that you can still divorce (put away) the wife if she has committed fornication (why is it not adultery since she is married? – visit and study what true marriage is – Download Chart on the biblical marriage precept). Yeshua is now saying not to put away your wife (excluding fornication); and if you do so, anyone marrying her in the future is committing adultery.
(Matt 5:32 [KJV])
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

—-  —-

The commandment, not to forswear thyself (this commandment is NOT found on the tablet of stones):
(Matt 5:33-37 [KJV])
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 

Notice the commandment is modified and the believer is not to swear at all. Swear by nothing at all – modified with explanation given.
(Matt 5:34-37 [KJV])
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

—-  —-

The commandment, an eye for an eye etc (this commandment is NOT found on the tablet of stones):
(Matt 5:38 [KJV])
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

Notice the commandment is modified and the believer is not to act out revenge – modified with explanation given (God will be the revenger of His own).
(Matt 5:39-40 [KJV])
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

—-  —-

The commandment, to love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy – (this commandment is NOT found on the tablet of stones):
(Matt 5:43 [KJV])
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

Notice the commandment is modified and the believer is now to LOVE his enemies. With explanation given.
(Matt 5:44 [KJV])
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

—-  —-

TTGM Conclusion:
The commandments of God are still in effect until all has been fulfilled. To do and teach them is a requirement for the believer. In Matthew 5 our Lord sets the stage on how we are to interpret the commandments as believers. With the heart now playing a part in the breaking of the commandments and with modifications made for a new covenant understanding; the model or template is in place for us to interpret the rest of the commandments. If our Lord had gone through all 600 plus commandments, the New Testament would have been a repeat of what was already written in the Torah. This was not His intention, but rather to give us a deeper understanding. It is now our responsibility not as the church or gentiles or Jews, but rather as sons of God to go to the commandments with Yeshua’s enlightenment in mind. 

Question: What is the deeper understanding? 

Answer: To be made perfect in God’s Love. The Holy Spirit brings with Him the Love of God into our hearts and it is this love that is applied to all of the commandments. That is why we are now expected to love our enemies. No matter what our enemies do to us, the love in us is greater and it prevails for all eternity. So be perfect (by accepting Christ in faith) as our Father is perfect.

(Matt 5:48 [KJV])
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 The sons of God do not keep the commandments to be saved, but rather, they keep the commandments because they are saved.

——  ***   *** ——

Now let us examine verses that Christians point to and say we are not to keep the commandments.

This is one of the most common texts used to say that believers do not have to keep the law/commandments of God.
(Gal 3:10-13 [KJV])
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 13 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

If you read the verses above, one may conclude that Paul is saying that we should not keep the law. However, we must look at the full context of his message. Let us look at how Paul starts the chapter (below verse).
(Gal 3:1-4 [KJV])
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

In the above verse, Paul is addressing false doctrine and referring to the Galatians as foolish. What is the false doctrine? Somehow the Galatians believed that the works of the law will save them (they will get the Spirit by keeping the law). Paul is reminding them that the works of the law is not able to give them the Holy Spirit (eternal life). He is reminding them that it is by “faith” (in Christ) that they are able to receive the Spirit of God to gain eternal life. Paul goes on in the chapter to let them know that if they believe the works of the law will justify them in God’s eyes, they are cursed.

Consider this statement by Paul, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse”. Translation; if a believer thinks (as are of the works) the law will justify them before God, they are cursed to think so. Why? No man can keep the whole law and gain eternal life.

Here is another text in the same chapter (below) that is used to support believers are not under the law of God.

(Gal 3:25-27 [KJV])
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

What is Paul saying? Paul is saying, before Christ we were under the schoolmaster (law), after Christ, we that believe by faith are now under Him (Christ) – Christ is the Head of the Church (believers are under their head). The law could not save us, but because we have come under Christ (put on Christ) we can now be saved because of FAITH in Him, which brings “GRACE”. That is why it is written, by grace we are saved, not of works (law). Under the schoolmaster (law), brought death. Why? The wages of sin is death. Again, no man could keep the law, furthermore, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Also, all righteousness is as filthy rags (all attempts by sinful man to keep the law, is not possible, it is a waste of time).

Now the question is, do believers still keep the law even though we are no longer under the schoolmaster? Let Paul speak (remember the scripture does not contradict itself and we must let scripture interpret itself).

(Rom 3:28-31 [KJV])
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

(read the entire chapter and you will see it is in the same context as what was conveyed to the Galatians – The law cannot save the believer)

Another parallel example (using the law of the land); if we say, “do we then make void the law of the land? God forbid (no way), yea we establish it”

What does Paul mean by establish the law? Let us examine the word establish in the Greek. You will see it can also be translated, “continue

Establish = G2476 ἵστημι histemi (hiy’-stee-miy) v.
 στάω stao (staō’) [used in certain tenses] to stand.
{transitively or intransitively; used in various applications, literally or figuratively}
[a prolonged form of a primary stao stah’-o (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses)]
KJV: abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up)


Conclusion: Believers are expected to keep the law, it cannot save us, but it is necessary for us to keep all of the commandments of the law, even the least as per our Lord. Why? Transgression of the Law is Sin (1John 3:4) and God does not want His sons to live in sin. 

For additional clarity, listen to this presentation on the subject of the commandments – HERE

Keynotes to remember:
Whenever God speaks (He is the King of His Kingdom), His word is established after it goes forth and it is for all time. Man’s culture and ways do not change the commandments of God. Everyone will be judged against the commandments of God and not the traditions of men. Sin is the transgression of the law. What is the law? TORAH (written in the first five books of the Bible).


Q. People keep asking TTGM, how is it possible to keep all of the law (600 plus), much less remember every command?

Answer: In the land that we live in there are thousands of laws/commandments; for example, marital laws, traffic laws, banking laws etc. Do you remember or do everyone? No. You only do what applies to you and to a given situation to which the law of the land speaks. It is the same with God’s law. You will need to study the commands for yourself to see what applies to you (keeping in mind our Lord’s application under grace). Do not leave it to your church leader to get it right on your behalf. When we stand before God we will stand alone for our works to be shown. 

Your salvation and position in the Kingdom of God is dependent on you and on what you believe/do. Someone once said, if your intentions are okay, you are safe. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Read Matthew 7:21-23. Sin is the breaking of God’s law/commandments.

List of commandments

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The commandments and the Torah | Deception in the church
Why would iniquity keep you out of Heaven? | Are you in God’s will?
Do you have the heart of an adulterer? | Are you thinking marriage?
What is true marriage? | Is polygamy sin in the eyes of God?
The right and wrong way to become one flesh and much more.

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