What is the Jewish law, and how does it relate to us today? Read on to learn about the Old Testament law and how it was fulfilled in Jesus.
What is the importance of the ancient laws in the Hebrew Bible? Are they even relevant for Jesus followers? Explore how much the laws can teach us about God’s character and the significance of Jesus’ ministry on Earth.Video Details
There are 613 different commands given to the Israelite people in the Torah.
The first five books of the Bible are known by Jewish people as the Torah, which in English means “the law.” The Torah is where you’ll find these 613 commands, the most famous of which are the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
But the Torah isn’t just a list of laws. It’s an epic story about how God is partnering with humans to bring his blessing to the world. When Jesus spoke about the Torah, he talked about how he was bringing the storyline of the Torah to its fulfillment.
What does the law have to do with the storyline of the Torah?
At the beginning of the Torah, God creates humans, but they quickly rebel and forfeit the blessings of the garden. God then chooses Abraham and his family to restore Eden blessing to the world. But eventually, Abraham’s descendants end up as slaves in Egypt. Faithful to his covenant promise to Abraham, God rescues the Israelites and makes a new covenant with them. He says that he will bless and protect them if they follow their end of the covenant—a set of rules and rituals that we now refer to as Old Testament law.
Throughout the rest of the Torah, we see a continuous pattern of the Israelites receiving laws from God and breaking them. This pattern of instruction leading to rebellion continues all the way up to the conclusion of the Torah, where Moses tells the people that the only way they will ever be able to follow God's laws is if their hearts are transformed.
Moses’ warning to the people came true. Throughout the rest of the Hebrew Bible we see the death and destruction that besieges Israel because they are unable to follow God's laws. But later in the story, the Hebrew prophets begin to talk about a day when following God's commands would feel like a pleasure rather than a duty. The prophet Isaiah also spoke of a Messiah who would lead all the people in obedience to the law.
Together, all of these books form a cohesive story—one that is continued in the story of Jesus. Jesus said that he came to solve the problem with humans' hearts and fulfill the law. Jesus explained that all of the laws of the Torah could be summarized in one core command: to love God and love others.
Love God and Love Others
This command is not as easy as it seems. For example, Jesus explains that treating others poorly or holding resentment for them is equivalent to murdering them in our hearts. And loving others doesn’t just mean loving those who love you. Jesus explains that we are to extend love even to our own enemies.
Human hearts are flawed, and apart from the transforming work of God, we can’t love others in the way we are called to. But where humanity has failed, Jesus has succeeded, demonstrating love even unto death. For followers of Jesus today, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us to fully love others and love God, fulfilling the law that God put in place at the very beginning of the biblical story.
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2 Episodes •
Follow discussions between Tim & Jon as they prepare to write the theme video on "The Law." Jon discovers there are actually 613 different commands given to the Israelite people, the most famous of which is the Ten Commandments.
The Law Episode 1
Intro to Biblical Law
Tim and Jon discuss why God gave so many laws to ancient Israel in the Bible. There are 613 laws found in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, and they were the basis of God's covenant with Israel. What role does the laws play in relationship to the overall narrative of the Old Testament?
The Law Episode 2
Tim and Jon discuss the metaphors used by Moses and The Prophets for why humans are incapable of obeying the law and how God plans to fix it. We discuss Jesus' teaching on the law, the Great Command, and how his followers dealt with the law.