613 Commandments of Torah
Early in our walk we continued to hear the theme of there being around or up to 613 commandments in the Torah. Often times, when in a debate, we could point to the “New” Testament and say, “You think 613 is hard, there’s over 1000 commandments in the New Testament!!” (See: New2Torah 1000 Commandments). It became a numbers game and took the focus off the point.
Nehemia Gordon* brings up a great point on this topic in an episode of the Toral Pearls. Why look for 613 commandments? Putting a number on the commandments diminishes their purpose; for them to be followed and obeyed. One person could say there’s 613 and another person says there’s only 604, etc. It’s a matter of interpretation.
First of all, understand this: no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own; for never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing — on the contrary, people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh spoke a message from God. ~ 2 Peter 1:20,21
Example: we are commanded to keep the Sabbath. Well, that’s one commandment. It’s a broad commandment that has detailed commandments embedded into it such as, no work, no kindling of fire, be holy, keep the sabbath holy, etc, etc.
So do we count the one broad commandment or the broad commandment PLUS the detailed commandments that follow? Again, one person could count all of them as individual commandments or another person could see one commandment and it’s details of how to keep them. So to the other person he is not keeping all the commandments since he’s only counting it as one.
It’s certainly helpful when debating to try to associate a number of commandments, but that’s not the point, is it? Yeshua take ALL the commandments and sums them up with:
He told him, “‘You are to love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah (commandment). And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.” ~ Matthew 22:37
* We are aware that Nehemia Gordon is not a believer in Yeshua. He is a Karaite who has studied the Torah and Hebrew and we find value in that.
Then Yeshua addressed the crowds and his talmidim: “The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim,” he said, “sit in the seat of Moshe. So whatever they tell you, take care to do it. But don’t do what they do, because they talk but don’t act! They tie heavy loads onto people’s shoulders but won’t lift a finger to help carry them. ~ Matthew 23:1-4
Don’t quench the Spirit, don’t despise inspired messages. But do test everything — hold onto what is good, but keep away from every form of evil. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22