The Commandments of the Law (‘Torah’) in the New Testament writings are “hidden in plain view,” as we saw in the previous writing. We saw how Yahuweh’s purposes can be seen in how these Commandments are hidden, and in why the Commandments are hidden from some but not others.
We also saw that all of Yahuweh’s Covenant people are commanded to hear, and to learn, and to do, all the words of Torah, in order to learn to fear Yahuweh (Deut 31:12-13).
We now understand that all of mankind are now called — invited as it were — to be a part of Yahuweh’s Covenant people, in that all men are commanded to “repent” — to return to Yahuweh (Mark 6:12; Acts 17:30). However, from the New Testament writings, we understand that only those whom the Father draws — who submit themselves to Yahushua the Messiah — will receive the Grace to fully repent.
Some of the Torah Commandments in the New Testament are directed to all mankind in general, but most of the Torah Commandments found in the New Testament are directed to those who are already Born-Again. We recall that Yahushua said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b).
Thus we see that only those who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb have the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Grace of Messiah-in-you, to accomplish and keep these Torah Commandments!
We begin the first of many examples of Torah in the New Testament writings, with the apostles John and Paul, who give the same message to two groups of New Covenant Believers.
John Speaks to Little Children
The apostle John wrote many things, both to new Converts, and to mature Believers. But notice here what John writes in closing:
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1John 5:21)
In this passage, we see John exhorting the ‘Little Children’ in a most important issue — the importance of keeping the 2nd Commandment, a part of Torah. But why doesn’t John simply tell them to keep the 2nd Commandment?
In order to understand what John is saying, let’s review what the 2nd Commandment says. We will look also at one passage giving details, and another giving us some consequences of disobedience:
“Thou shalt not make [“make, have, acquire” unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” (Exodus 20:4)
“Take heed … Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make [make, have, acquire] you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:” (Deuteronomy 4:15a-18)
“Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” (Deuteronomy 7:26)
Take note in the above passages, of the great danger that could come to those who violate this 2nd Commandment. Is there some very important reason John did not want to come right out and tell the new Believers that they ‘must’ obey the commandments?
As we saw previously, Believers under the New Covenant are no longer ‘compelled’ under threat of death to keep His Commandments. Instead, we are to keep His Commandments because we LOVE Him, for He first loved us, and Redeemed us. Because we are now redeemed and free to choose a new Master, we choose to obey Him out of our love for Him. Obedience to Yahuweh’s Word is the very essence of the Faith of Abraham, and of walking in the New Covenant!
But we recall that our Redemption is not based on our works. Yahuweh would have the apostle John, therefore, exhort the Little children, the New converts, to keep the basic principles of those Commandments that would be dangerous for them to ignore, as we shall see below. At the same time, the early apostles were careful not to put the Believers under compulsion to keep an external command — which in itself would be a form of bondage, and would thus violate Torah (Jer 34:11, 15-17).
It is only over an extended period of time that the Truth of Torah is written on the heart. The external Torah, written on tables of stone, is to become internal, written on tables of the heart. It is line upon line, precept upon precept — day by day, week by week, month by month — that the Truth is learned, lived, and applied.
In the meantime, the young Believers are exhorted to avoid certain things that would be harmful to them, as seen in Acts 15:20:
“But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:20)
The new Believers are exhorted to abstain from:
*pollutions of (becoming soiled or defiled by) idols;
*eating things strangled;
Notice that these things the new Converts were to avoid, are all basic Torah Commandments (Deut 4:16; Lev 17:7, 14; Deut 7:26; Deut 14:21; Gen 9:4; Deut 12:23; Lev 19:26).
John knew that the young Believers would continue to learn Moses every Sabbath, even as James stated (Acts 15:21). In this way, they would eventually have the Commandments of Torah written as Truth on their heart, to warn them, as they were being led and guided by the Holy Spirit to become “conformed into the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
Notice it is the ‘Little Children’ that are addressed in 1John 5:21, and are exhorted to keep the essence of the 2nd Commandment. They are told to ‘keep yourselves from’ (stay away from) idols. These Little Children are being reminded to read and obey the 2nd Commandment.
The 2nd Commandment tells them in the Hebrew wording not to ‘make, have, or acquire’ these objects resembling either male or female of any living beings (animals, birds, fish, angels, frogs, etc). They are thus exhorted to ‘keep from’ these objects, and they are warned not to bring them into their homes. Let’s see why the new Converts were given this warning.
Curse of the Torah vs Curse of an Object
Here it is vital that we see the difference between the ‘curse of the Law (‘Torah’) and the ‘cursed’ status of certain objects. As we mentioned in the introduction, the curse proclaimed by the Torah (the penalty of death pronounced on those who fail to meet the obligations and requirements of Torah), was put upon Messiah, and is now cancelled by one’s Redemption by the Blood of the Lamb.
It is important to understand, however, that the cursed status of these objects remains in force, and provides the built-in punishment, so to speak, as stern discipline for disobedient children. Violation of the 2nd Commandment has a built-in curse associated with it, as seen in (Exodus 20:5; Deut 5:9; 7:26; 27:15; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6).
Therefore John strongly exhorts the new Believers to keep away from idols, without ‘laying down the law’ to them, by ‘compelling’ them to keep the Commandments.
Who Are the Little Children?
These Believers addressed by John are called ‘Little Children’ because they must still be reminded to keep the Commandments, and thus are exhorted to keep away from idols.
Young men and Fathers (1John 2:12-13) have already learned their lessons, for these keep the Commandments of Torah from the desire of their own hearts, and thus have advanced beyond being children!
The ‘Little Children’ are those Believers who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, but who are not yet walking in obedience to the Commandments of Torah, which Yahushua calls “MY” Commandments.
Let’s now see the identical message given by the apostle Paul.
Paul Speaks to Wise Men
The apostle Paul likewise warns the Believers of idolatry. Paul is very cautious in this, for his primary focus is to lay an important foundation of Redemption by Blood, and of Salvation by Grace through Faith, in the lives of the Believers. But notice what Paul writes:
“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” (1Corinthians 10:14-15)
In the above passage, the apostle Paul’s message, just like John’s message, is a reminder to the Believers to go back to obedience to the 2nd Commandment.
Like John, Paul wants the Believers to be established by Grace through Faith, and not by works. Yet the issue of protection from the curses associated with idolatry is very real, so a warning must be given. But notice here that Paul is addressing ‘wise’ men instead of ‘Little Children.’ Why is this? Don’t the wise already keep the 2nd Commandment?
Notice from the context of the verses following, that Paul’s exhortation to ‘flee idolatry’ is addressed to those who are ‘wise,’ but who had been seduced by the ‘substitute Passover,’ as seen in context, within the next six verses (1Cor 10:16-21).
This man-made, substitute Passover was being taught, even in Paul’s day, by those who had crept in unawares (Jude 1:4). The True Lord’s Supper is the Torah-commanded Passover, practiced by Yahushua and His Disciples. The man-made substitute, or counterfeit Passover, known today as Eucharist, Communion, and the Lord’s Supper, is a widely practiced tradition of Rome, and is usually taught to be taken at any time of man’s own choosing, ‘as often’ as one desires.
The result is that most evangelical Believers today continue to disregard Yahushua’s Commandments and warnings for His people to take the true Passover meal (John 6:53) — and they continue to ignore the warning against eating things sacrificed to idols (Literally, the ‘idol sacrifice’) which is the man-made, counterfeit Passover we are warned of in Rev. 2:14, 20.
For this reason we see the apostle Paul calling the ‘wise’ men of his generation, and the wise of today, back to the 2nd Commandment, calling them to earnestly contend for ‘The Faith’ as stated in Jude 3.
We now understand that the Torah Commandments are hidden from view in the New Testament, in order for the new Converts to establish their Faith. We also see that because some Torah Commandments are for the safety and protection of the Believers, these are given as exhortations and warnings for the new Believers to heed.
We see that the apostles Paul and John both exhort the Believers to ‘flee from idolatry’ and ‘keep yourselves from idols,’ which are basic Torah Commandments referring to the 2nd Commandment.
These exhortations continue to call all Believers today — both the little children and the wise — to repent, and return to being “DO-ers” of the 2nd Commandment, a vital Commandment of Torah in the New Testament!
For further understanding of the danger of graven images and idols to New Testament Believers, see What Your Pastor Never Told You About The 2nd Commandment.
For details about the Counterfeit Passover, see Eating Things Sacrificed to Idols: A Warning to the Bride.