When I first looked at this, I have to admit I was shocked, then appalled. This scripture is a foundation scripture for Christianity. And the fact it has been so mis-taught and watered down is, well, it is a grave injustice. What we are about to see is in direct contradiction to what some are taught and believe. The question is, do you follow man’s ways or YHWH/God’s way? Let’s just see.
Here is the typical translation read:
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.Matthew 28 (NIV)
This seems pretty straight forward. Teaching, we can understand pretty easily. Teaching who? As we learned previously, ‘the nations’ or ‘group of people.’ So teach a group of people. Teach a group of people what? According to the NIV, to obey. Let’s take a look at that word to make sure we understand it’s meaning to its full extent.
Obey. tēreō. I like to start at looking at how it was translated in other scriptures.
keep (57x), reserve (8x), observe (4x), watch (2x), preserve (2x), keeper (1x), hold fast (1x).KJV translations according to Strong’s
The KJV uses the word observe, but it also sees this word as more than just an observant behavior, it also sees it as preserving and holding fast.
Look at this one:
to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard, metaph. to keep, one in the state in which he is, to observe, to reserve: to undergo somethingOutline of Biblical Usage
How does this translation change how you see this verse?
“teaching them to guard all that I have commanded you.”ISR Version
Guard vs obey vs observe. Obey feels like an obligation. Observe seems passive. But guard sounds like a responsibility, something to step up to. Obey and observe feel like an offensive position where Guard is a defensive position. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
Here are a few other verses using this same word:
- And He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One – Elohim. But if you wish to enter into life, guard the commands.” Matthew 19:17
- And He said to them, “Well do you set aside the command of Elohim, in order to guard your tradition. Mark 7:9
- “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
Teach groups of people to guard … guard what? Commands. This is also shown in the other scriptures referenced above. Here’s where Christianity starts to move onto a man made path, when we ask the question … What commands?
There are two descriptors of these commands. All and the ones יהושע/Jesus gave. What Christianity has done is taken those to mean the ones given by Jesus in the New Testament.
The first flaw in that thinking is, none of the New Testament exists as writings at the time יהושע/Jesus spoke these words. But if asked, a Christian would say the command which Jesus gave were:
And one of the scribes coming near, hearing them reasoning together, knowing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first command of all?”Mark 12 ISR
29And יהושע answered him, “The first of all the commands is, ‘Hear, O Yisra’ĕl, יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one. (Deu. 6:4)
30‘And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Deu. 6:5) This is the first command.
31And the second, like it, is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Lev. 19:18) There is no other command greater than these.
But, this is also flawed if we don’t realize all of these are actually coming from the Torah.
25And see, a certain one learned in the Torah stood up, trying Him, and saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit everlasting life?”Luke 10 ISR
26And He said to him, “What has been written in the Torah? How do you read it?”
27And he answering, said, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ (Deu. 6:5) and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’ ” (Lev. 19:18)
28And He said to him, “You have answered rightly. Do this and you shall live.”
It is clear Jesus is referencing what is in the Torah. He even said He did not come to destroy the Torah, or the Prophets. “The Law and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures.”
17Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.Luke 16 ISR
18For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.
19“Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.
I don’t think it is too difficult to establish when Jesus gave this commissioning, the commandments referred to include those in the Old Testament. There are other scriptures where Jesus talks about the commandments and about how He says nothing except what the Father says. Might be worth taking some time to explore those if you haven’t already.
So what this says when all laid out is:
Teach groups of people to guard/keep all the commandments given by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I’ve come to realize there are three versions of “the commandments,” but only two are seen by Christianity.
- The Jewish law. We know Jesus was not a fan of the commandments the Jewish religious leaders of His time were keeping. This is because they had added a bunch of their own laws.
- Jesus’s laws. Love God and Love Your Neighbors. Christianity teaches we are no longer under the laws but under the blood. Some how that has translated to we don’t have to keep the laws of the Old Testament, which typically is tangled up in the Jewish laws.
But both of those are actually man’s laws. Whoa! What! Yes I said that.
The Jewish Law was made up of the Torah laws PLUS their own Oral laws. They had a bunch of man made laws they followed, like don’t carry your mat or heal on the Sabbath.
The Christian’s Laws are also man made because they went to the other side of the road. Theirs is Jesus MINUS the Torah laws. They said we don’t have to know the laws of the Torah, like keeping the Sabbath day.
If we really look at what Jesus said, we would find there is a middle path, which is the one Jesus taught, Jesus taught the Torah (part of the Jewish teaching) PLUS the Kingdom of Heaven is near (part of Christianity’s teaching). Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of everything in the Torah. He has taken the place of the Tabernacle, the High Priest, and the Sacrificial Lamb. He did not take the place of YHWH/God’s law. God’s law defines what is sinful.
This was what the fall was all about. After eating from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve saw what was good and evil in their own eyes. Reversing the fall of man is about putting the fruit back on the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By dying to our flesh, we hand that knowledge of good and evil back to God. Because God defines what is evil, He also defines what the payment is for doing evil, which is death. He gave the Old Testament people the requirement of sacrificing and shedding the blood of a Lamb as the price.
He gave the New Testament people the option to choose to come under the blood of THE Lamb as the price. If we accept Jesus as our sacrificial Lamb, then we also accept sin and the payment for sin is once again defined by God in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Good News is YHWH reigns again, He defines good and evil, He defines the payment for evil, He has given us Jesus to restore us through His blood and He has given us the Holy Spirit, to live in us, helping guide us to all truths, empowering us, comforting, and convicting us to keep us from sinning.
This is why Jesus commissioned us to:
Teach groups of people to guard/keep all the commandments. (Torah) “And see, I am with you always, until the end of the age. Amĕn” ISR (Kingdom of Heaven)