January 22, 2023
“And these are the commands the Lord gave Moses for the Israelites on Mount Sinai.”
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“And these are the commands the Lord gave Moses for the Israelites on Mount Sinai.” Leviticus 27:34
Many years ago, when I read the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament) for the first time, I was shocked to learn that God gave Moses more than 10 commandments. He gave 613, to be exact. These are not the commands of men but from God, Himself.
The “Ten Commandments” act as overriding principles, while the remaining 603 commands act as practical situational guides, teaching Israel how to honor God by living out the Ten Commandments in day-to-day life.
In religious (Orthodox) Judaism, several literary sources are drawn from. First, there is Torah and the Haftorah. (The Law and the Prophets) aka: the Tanakh, or “Old Testament .”These are the Divinely-inspired Scriptures.
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, everyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called the ‘least’ in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19
In addition to the Tanakh, there are other Jewish literary sources: Talmud, Mishna, and Kabbala. These are volumes of rabbinical teachings and interpretations of the Tanakh. Imagine all the great Christian teachers, Moody, Spurgeon, Wesley, etc. Imagine all the greats, every sermon, compiled throughout the ages. Well, that’s basically what these extra-Biblical volumes are: rabbinic commentaries.
The problem rabbinic Judaism faces is that so much of its religious practice is based on the teachings of men. Most rabbis spend the majority of their studies buried in the commentaries instead of the Torah!
I have challenged you (and myself) to aggressively read the Bible because the Church tends to have the same problem as the Orthodox (non-Messianic) Jewish community. Christians tend to elevate teachers above the Scriptures. Paul addressed this problem, even in the early Church. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
We should study the Bible so that we can weigh the value of Bible teachers instead of the other way around...studying Bible teachers to weigh the value of the Bible.