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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Ekev 46-1


Deuteronomy 7:12- 8:11

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers... man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deut. 8:1, 3b NIV

Is there life in the commandments?

In several occasions the expression "today" – in Hebrew hayom, היום – appears in relation to the fulfillment of the commandments. The commandments have been given to be fulfilled today and tomorrow, not yesterday because we can't change the past, only the present and the future.

This text says that there is life as a consequence of fulfilling the commandments. From this we learn that the one who transgresses the commandments is in the path of death and the one who fulfills them is on the path of life. For the one who breaks the commandments death awaits him, twice, in this life and after resurrection, and to that one who fulfills the commandments life awaits him twice, in this life and after resurrection.

No man, except one, has been able to fulfill all the commandments required from him without failing. That's why the Eternal has provided with His mercy and forgiveness of sins for the one who repents of his disobedience. The one who accepts all the commandments that correspond to him and makes an effort to obey them, will have, as a general rule, a blessed life, longer than if he hadn't kept them. When he fails, repents and asks for forgiveness, the Eternal is merciful and forgives him. He has provided all the necessary means to provide forgiveness to those who repent. In this way, there is life in the obedience of the commandments.

One of the most important commandments is to believe and trust in the Eternal and the one who fulfills that commandment, will receive life, not only in this age but also in the next one. The one who believes in the Eternal's forgiveness and kindness, thus fulfilling one of the most important commandments, will gain forgiveness and everlasting life.

There is a deceiving teaching that states that the Eternal's commandments can't give everlasting life. It's true that a person, through legalistic efforts for fulfilling the commandments, can't gain enough merit to get forgiveness and eternal life in exchange. It's true that eternal life is a gift, but it is also true that nobody can achieve eternal life if he's not willing to obey the Eternal. It's not the same to disobey voluntarily rather than to fall because of weakness or by mistake. It's not the same to sin by fault rather than to sin because of lack of willingness to obey. The one who doesn't take the yoke of the commandments upon his shoulders won't ever be able to receive eternal life.

The Jew will have to take the yoke of the commandments given in Sinai upon his shoulders to get eternal life and the ben Noach (son of Noach) will have to take the yoke of the seven commandments. The one who lives in disobedience of the commandments without repentance and willingness to obey will never be able to receive eternal life. It's not the same to fail as to practise disobedience of the commandments. The one who fails, wants to obey -  there is willingness to obey in his heart. But the one who practises disobedience doesn't want to keep certain commandments that the Eternal has ordered. There is a big difference between them both.  

When the thief who was hung on the same tree as Yeshua was dying, he asked the Rabbi to remember him when he came into his kingdom. He died for his sins, as a criminal he was, and acknowledged it. At the same time, he asked the Redeemer sent by the Eternal to take him into account in the time of the resurrection of the dead. This shows that he repented of his sins and acknowledged that Yeshua didn't commit any death deserving sin and that he was going to be lifted up after resurrection. He believed that Yeshua was going to be able to help him in the resurrection in spite of his sins. Because of that repentance, that trust and that confession, he was saved and so Yeshua pronounced an order by the authority invested on him by the Eternal: “Assuredly, I say to you today: You will be with Me in Paradise.”

Yeshua promised him on that day that one day he would be with him in paradise, on the day of the resurrection of the dead. Yeshua, the Torah made flesh, spoke like the Torah saying "the command I am giving you today" (Deut 8:1) thus showing that what he said was for today eternally.

Certainly there is life in the commandments because men live on every word that comes from the mouth of the Eternal.

Shavua tov,


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