Saturday, March 11, 2023

Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth

By Maria Merola אריאל

© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance October 22, 2009
I first began reading the Bible in 1974 (at the age of 14). I began with the gospel of Matthew, and I can remember thinking to myself, (as I read the words of our Messiah), that he was changing the Laws of Moses, and improving upon them. This was the general consensus that I had heard repeated from my Roman Catholic parents and the nuns at Catholic school.

We were taught to believe that the Law of Moses was no longer applicable, after our Messiah died on the cross, (except for the Ten Commandments). The nuns and priests explained to us children that the Temple rituals and sacrifices were done away with, and therefore, many of the Temple rituals as laid out in the Tanakh (Old Testament) have been abolished by our Messiah. 

They convinced us that “Jesus gave us a New Covenant,” and with that included a brand new set of laws that pretty much narrows everything down to only two commandments. These two greatest commandments that our Messiah spoke of, I now call “The hanger laws,” since all other commandments in Scripture hang upon these. Its not that the other commandments have been done away with. 

Simply put, we cannot obey the other commandments in Scripture, unless we are first motivated by love for our heavenly Father, and for our fellowman. As a matter of fact, the first four out of the Ten Commandments teach us how to love YaHuWaH; and the latter six out of the Ten Commandments teach us how to love others.

The Two Greatest Commandments taught by our Messiah:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 22:37 Yahuwshuwa said unto him, You shall love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 

Marqos (Mark) 12:30 And you shall love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. 

Luqas (Luke) 10:27 And he answering said, You shall love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.

Many of us have been taught to believe that these two greatest commandments are brand new commandments invented by our Messiah, because of a misunderstanding of the following verse:

Yahuwchanon (John) 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

But was it really a new commandment, or was it an old commandment made new again to our understanding? I submit to you that these commandments had fallen out of use, because the Scribes & Pharisees failed to emphasize them. They were only focused on the laws surrounding the Temple, and making financial profit from their religion. But Yahuwshuwa was now bringing these commandments back into focus again. The gospel of Yahuwchanon (John) gives us more clarity, because John said that these are not new commandments, but old ones given to us from the beginning.

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning. 

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines.

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:9 He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now.  

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:10 He that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:11 But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not whether he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes. 

2nd Yahuwchanon (John) 1:5 And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

Here are the old commandments given to us from the beginning, which were repeated by our Messiah, and the Apostle John:

Wayiqra (Leviticus) 19:18 You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am YHWH. 

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 19:19 Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 22:39 And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

Marqos (Mark) 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 

Luqas (Luke) 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself

Romiym (Romans) 13:9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 

Galatiym (Galatians) 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shalt love your neighbour as yourself

Ya'aqob (James) 2:8 If you fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbour as yourself, you do well:

The reason why I had come to this conclusion, (and why many in the Christian Church also come to this conclusion), is because we lack a firm foundation of the history of the Scriptures, the context, the culture, and the language. 

A Christian man wrote to me, and he had the same misconception.

This is what he wrote:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 5:43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.

“...Did not Jesus change the commandments when he said the law says: ‘hate your enemies, BUT I NOW SAY, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES’.....where is that in the law an eye for an eye? BUT I NOW SAY....A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT JESUS WAS DOING HERE WHEN HE SAID: BUT I SAY.’”

My answer to this man was this:

When Yahuwshuwa said “IT IS WRITTEN,” he was speaking about the Towrah of our Heavenly Father (the five books of Moses). How do we know this? Because scripture tells us that the Law of Mosheh (Towrah) was “written with the finger of Elohiym,” and all five books were written down in scrolls by Mosheh under inspiration of the Ruwach ha'Qodesh (Holy Spirit). 

Whenever he said “YOU HAVE HEARD,” he is quoting the Oral Laws of the Pharisees (Talmud) which often-times contradicted the Laws of our Creator (Towrah). How do we know this? Because the “Oral Towrah” was handed down orally, and it was not written down until the fourth century under Hillel II. At the time when Yahuwshuwa walked the earth, the Oral Laws of the Pharisees (Talmud) were not “written,” because they were orally passed down. 

Therefore, when Yahuwshuwa said “you have heard it said,” he was referring to man-made laws, not the laws of our Heavenly Father.

In order to understand what Yahuwshuwa was talking about, we must go to the Towrah to find out:

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 24:

17 And he that kills any man shall surely be put to death. 

18 And he that kills a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. 

19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he has done, so shall it be done to him; 

20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he has caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 

21 And he that kills a beast, he shall restore it: and he that kills a man, he shall be put to death. 

22 You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am YHWH your Elohiym.

*Note: The laws for the Yisraelite were the same as for the Gentile.

You will notice in the above law, that this is all about making restitution. Today it would be called “indemnity.” If someone crashes into your car, they have to pay for the damage that they did to your car, right? That is what Auto Insurance is for. The Towrah provided laws of fairness for those who destroyed the property of another. The person who destroyed, stole and damaged another’s property had to make “restitution.” Those who murdered had to pay with their own life. Today this is called “capital punishment.” Elohiym requires “blood for blood.”

Grace was always available, for those who were truly repentant, even under the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law showed us what we deserved, but the mercy and grace of our Father often prevailed because Yahuwshuwa has always been “The lamb slain from the foundations of the world (Revelation 13:8). Any could person gain a revelation of grace by understanding that the ordinances in the Temple (done by the Levites) were an exact replica of what has been taking in Heaven by our High Priest Yahuwshuwa. Yahuwshuwa is a priest forever in eternity (Psalm 110:4 & Hebrews 7:3).

King Dawiyd (David) ordered that Uriah, (the husband of Bethsheba) be killed in battle, but he made it look like an accident. However, after David was reproved by the prophet, and punished for his wickedness, he was truly repentant, and Yah forgave David. YaHuWaH did require blood for blood, but it was Dawiyd (David)’s baby born to him by Bethsheba who died for his sin against Uriah. YaHuWaH could have required David to die for his sin against Uriah & Bethsheba, but he wanted David to remain on the throne, so he took his son instead. 

Even under the Renewed Covenant, Ananias & Sapphira paid with their own blood for lying to the Ruwach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). When they committed this evil deed, (after receiving the knowledge of the truth), they crucified the son of Elohiym afresh and put him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6). This means that they shed Yahuwshuwas blood in vain. Therefore, they had to pay with their own life:

Acts 5:

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 

2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet. 

3 But Keefa (Peter) said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 

4 While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied unto men, but unto Elohiym. 

5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the spirit: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

There have always been laws in place for those who killed someone by accident. This is called “Involuntary manslaughter.” If someone took the life of another unintentionally, there was provision for this:

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 19:

3 You shall prepare you a way, and divide the coasts of your land, which YHWH your Elohiym gives you to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee there. 

4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee there, that he may live: Whoso kills his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past

5 As when a man goes into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetches a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the helve, and lands upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live: 

6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past. 

Now getting back go what Yahuwshuwa said in Matthew 5:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 5:

43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy

44 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; 

It is important to note, that there is not one commandment in the Towrah (the five books of Moses) commanding us to “Hate our enemies.” So who was Yahuwshuwa quoting when he said “You have heard it said?” He was quoting from the oral laws of the Pharisees, because they were applying the Law of Moses out of context.

However, Yahuwshuwa said to obey the Laws of our Creator:

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 19:34 But the stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am YHWH your Elohiym.

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 10:19 Love you therefore the stranger: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

When reading the Besowrah (Gospels), many cannot see the difference between the Talmud (oral law) and Towrah (the laws of our Creator). They are making the classic mistake of confusing 
justification with sanctification. 

Whenever Yahuwshuwa said “You have heard it said” he was quoting the oral laws (Talmud). Whenever he said “But I say,” he was bringing us back to the to Towrah. It was Yahuwshuwa himself who gave the Towrah to Mosheh “Written with the finger of Elohiym” (Exodus 31:18, Deuteronomy 9:10).

When the Towrah requires “An eye for eye, and a tooth for tooth,” it is requiring the person who caused the loss to make restitution or indemnity. However, the oral traditions of the Pharisees applied Leviticus 24:20 in the wrong way. They used it to justify seeking revenge against a fellow brother in the faith, when it was never intended for that. The original intent of this Towrah commandment was for making restitution. If someone killed a man’s donkey or ox, he had to make restitution by giving one of his animals to replace the loss. 

This is what the term “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was intended for. The Pharisees however, applied Leviticus 24:20 in the wrong spirit, as they were justifying the idea of “paying evil for evil.” So you see, our Messiah was not changing, nor abolishing the Towrah. He was restoring the original intent for what Leviticus 24:20 was intended.

And today, Christianity does the same thing when they twist the Towrah to mean something else.

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

1st Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1st Keefa (Peter) 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.

A “New Commandment” or an Old One Renewed in Our Understanding?

The prophet Yirmeyahuw (Jeremiah) spoke of a “new” covenant that YaHuWaH would make in the last days between two groups of people: The House of Yisrael (Ephrayim) and the House of Yahuwdah (Judah). The Hebrew word that he used here for “new” is the word “chadash” which means: “to rebuild, renew and repair.”

Yirmeyahuw (Jeremiah) 31:31 Behold, the days come, says YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’el, (Ephrayim) and with the house of YaHuWdah (Judah):

Our Messiah came to “renew, rebuild and repair” the old marriage covenant that had been broken by Yisra’el, (because of paganism) and he came to “renew” the wedding vows and the terms and conditions of that Covenant (Towrah). In the same way, he came to “renew” the commandments and make them “fresh” in our understanding!

People often times try to make a distinction between “The Law of Elohiym” versus “The Law of Messiah” as if they are somehow different. They will cite “The Two Greatest Commandments,” as if our Messiah was giving us “two new replacement laws” and doing away with the other commandments in the Towrah. There are several flaws with this. First of all, they forget to insert the word “hang” into this statement: 

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 22: 

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the Towrah (law)?

37 Yahuwshuwa said unto him, You shall love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Was this some brand new commandment that he was giving us as many Christians often believe? Or was he quoting from the Torah?

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 6:5 And you shall love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 10:12 And now, Yisra’el, what does YHWH your Elohiym require of you, but to fear YHWH your Elohiym, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart and with all your soul.

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 19:18 You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am YHWH.

In all of his teachings, our Messiah made it evident that he was not coming to abolish the Towrah (Laws of our Creator). What does it mean to “abolish?” In Deuteronomy 12:32 we are commanded not to “add nor diminish” from the Towrah! 

If our Messiah was coming up with brand new commandments, he would have been guilty of “adding” to the Towrah, and thus he would've been violating (abolishing) the Towrah! So what he did he mean when he said this?

Yahuwchanon (John) 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Was this really a brand new commandment?

#2537 kainos kahee-nos of uncertain affinity; new (especially in freshness; while 3501 is properly so with respect to age:--new; recently made fresh.

But it comes from this root word:

#3501 neos neh-os including the comparative neoteros neh-o-ter-os; a primary word; new, i.e. (of persons) youthful, or (of things) fresh; figuratively, regenerate:--new, young.

The Apostle Yahuwchanon (John) understood this well when he wrote the following:

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto youbut an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning. 
1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines.
John called it a “new commandment” but he first pre-qualified what he meant by saying that this is not a new commandment but an old one! He was making it “new” again in our understanding and in our ability to now obey it. It was a fresh new commandment now, because of the blood atonement of Messiah, which cleanses us, and gives us a fresh new start.
By the power of the Ruwach ha'Qodesh (Holy Spirit), we are now able to overcome the sinful nature, thereby enabling us to obey not only the letter of the Towrah, but to also obey it by the Spirit.
Love your Neighbor but Hate Your Enemy?
Does the Torah really command us to hate our enemies? Yahuwshuwa said, “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy” (Mathew 5:43). This makes it sound as if Yahuwshuwa was replacing the Torah’s law “to hate our enemies” with a new law of love for our enemies: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). 
This interpretation plays well into the hands of those who believe that Yahuwshuwa came to replace the Torah with a new law. While it certainly is true that the Torah says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), it contains no commandment to hate your enemy. Instead, Yahuwshuwa contradicted what must have been a popular man-made tradition among the religious zealots of his day:
“Love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.” That is to say, “Love your fellow-Jew (i.e., your neighbor), but hate the Romans.” 
The Dead Sea community in Qumran went even further. They taught their followers to “love all the sons of light … and hate all the sons of darkness,” understanding the sons of light as members of their own sect, and sons of darkness to be other Jews outside of their sect (Dead Sea Scrolls). These sentiments do not derive from the Torah.
Regarding the fellow-Yahuwdiy (Jew), Torah explicitly says, “You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart” (Leviticus 19:17). The Torah requires a man to love even the stranger: “You shall love him as yourself” (Leviticus 19:34). Instead of instructing people to hate their enemies, the Torah requires us to show kindness to enemies, and assist them when they fall into difficulty (Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 23:7). 
Proverbs teaches us, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Proverbs 24:17). Our Messiah brought correction to those who tried to justify hatred for their enemies. He told His disciples that, if they want to enter the kingdom, they must love their enemies, by blessing them instead of cursing them. He taught us that we should do good to them instead of evil. He told His disciples to pray for their persecutors: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). 
Yahuwshuwa told his disciples that if they show love to their enemies, they prove themselves to be sons of their heavenly Father.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45). 
His disciples are to show men impartiality, just as Elohiym sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous, and causes the sun to rise on both the wicked and the good. 

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