God’s Oral Commandments

If the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.

Deuteronomy 12:21 (KJV)

As I have commanded thee – A recent conversation with a Jewish friend of mine brought us to this verse from Deuteronomy. He reasoned that this verse justified the Oral Law, considered the Talmud, that was given to Moses orally and not part of the Written Law, the 5 books of Moses. The 5 books of Moses (written Torah) does not explain the details for how to kill an animal, but the Talmud does. So obviously God must be talking about the Oral Law in this verse.

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There is Hope

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:10 (KJV)

The gathering together – The word here in Hebrew is mikveh ( מקוה ) which you may recognize. It is often used in reference to a pool of water for ritual immersion leading to ritual purity. Here in Genesis, it is used to describe the waters (mayim) out of which the earth grew.

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Everything is a Commandment

And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.

Numbers 1:54 (KJV)

Commanded – This word in Hebrew is tsavah ( צִוָּה ) which is the primitive root of mitzvah (commandment). It is used about 500 times in the Old Testament. Commands are given from a father to a son (1 Samuel 17:20), a farmer to his laborers (Ruth 2:9), a king to his subjects (2 Samuel 21:14). YHVH commands His people by issuing kingship and instructing obedience to His rules.

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What is Your Sin?

How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.

Job 13:23 (KJV)

Know – Job is the figure we all think about when in turmoil. We might liken his suffering to our own and reason that if we maintain our faith, we will surely overcome. However the text reveals a difference between Job and us. Job was righteous and without sin.

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Water Baptism

And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.

Leviticus 8:6 (KJV)

Washed – Baptism is frequently thought of as a Christian event. The first form of New Testament baptism is found in the story of John the Baptist. But John wasn’t a Christian, he was a Jew. Why would John practice baptism if baptism was a Christian thing, especially at a time when Christians weren’t yet a people?

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COVID-19 and the plagues

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:13 (KJV)

Where ye are – The first quarantine was established by God during the time of a plague. He instructed all of Israel to stay in their homes while a plague ravished the land. And here we are today, on the verge of Passover, practicing quarantine to remove ourselves from a virus spreading throughout the land. How fitting.

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Quarantine

All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

Leviticus 13:46 (KJV)

Without the camp shall his habitation be – God teaches the method of quarantine when it comes to infectious diseases. He doesn’t say that spiritual people won’t be infected. He doesn’t say that your faith will shield you from diseases. In fact, the ONLY way to completely avoid disease, at least the diseases in Egypt, is to keep the law.

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Silent Reading

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

Deuteronomy 17:19 (KJV)

Read – In the early 400s AD, St. Augustine wrote about a man named Ambrose who, when he read, did not vocalize the words or move his tongue. This was apparently shocking for St. Augustine to witness so much so that he noted it in his journal.

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A Lying Spirit

A couple of months ago, I had a great conversation with an older fellow believer. He was concerned that I had become too legalistic in my obedience to the laws of God. Although, he didn’t outright say that, I could tell based on his attempt to have me reconsider not fasting from leaven during Passover. He knew that my family and I didn’t eat leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but he did. And similarly to many Christians, he prided himself on being spiritually obedient and living according to the spiritual commandments written on his heart. This is a very noble effort indeed.

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Lech Lecha

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1 (KJV)

Get thee out – God tells Abram, lech lecha (לֶךְ-לְךָ), get thee out. As is much of the Hebrew Bible, this is another play on words. The words may sound identical, but actually mean two different things: “go” and “to yourself.” The implication is that although Abraham must undergo a traumatic departure from his native land, he is actually traveling to find his more authentic self. Once Abraham enters the land, his true relationship with the one Lord can grow. 

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