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Revive Israel Ministries

©July 22, 2012 Revive Israel Ministries

Moral Commandments

By Asher Intrater

Moral Behavior is an essential part of the gospel message. We are to repent of evil deeds.  We are to believe in Yeshua. He grants us forgiveness of sins but also demands of us obedience.  We are to receive the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all righteousness (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 10:30).

All three of these elements - repentance, Yeshua, Holy Spirit – require moral behavior. There is a universal tendency to avoid true repentance. The religious world changes repentance to ritualism. The secular world changes moral absolutes to moral relativism.

Absolute moral standards were defined by the Ten Commandments, particularly the basic prohibitions against idolatry, murder, adultery, stealing and lying. The prophets of ancient Israel called people to repent on the basis of those laws.

Jeremiah 7:9 – Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal…?

Yeshua was asked what is required to receive eternal life. He also turned to the Ten Commandments as the first step.

Matthew 19:17-18 – If you want to enter life, keep the commandments… You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother…

Repentance is a requirement of faith.

John asked the question as to why some people believe and others don't. His answer was profound: the ability to believe is dependent on good deeds and moral conscience. Without good deeds, one will not come to faith. With good deeds, he will.

John 3:19-21 – Men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. He who does the truth comes to the light so that his deeds may be clearly seen.

Moral behavior and faith in Yeshua cannot be separated.  All of us have sinned. Repenting of sin is the first step of faith. When Christians tell me that they are not required to keep the commandments, I ask, "Which ones were you planning on not keeping? Adultery? Stealing? Lying?"

In Judaism there is a tendency to confuse religious ritual with moral commandments, and to refer to them both as "mitsvot." Replacing moral commandments with ritual commandments robs the commandments of their moral power. Here are a few scriptures which describe a difference between moral and ritual commandments:

Numbers 15:39-40 – Fringes on garments are not a moral commandment of themselves but a symbolic reminder to obey the moral commandments.
Jeremiah 7:4-5, 22-23 - God did not command ancient Israel concerning sacrifices but to obey His commandments and execute justice.
Romans 2:27; I Corinthians 7:19 - Circumcision is not a moral commandment but a reminder of the covenant which does include moral commandments.

As Messianic Jews in Israel and Christians around the world discovering their Jewish roots alike, we can keep the symbolic and ritual elements of the covenants, but we must be careful not to confuse the symbolic with the moral.  

Let us restore the moral power of the gospel message which sets an example of integrity and challenges the world on its ungodly values.

New Covenants in Knesset

This week right-wing religious Knesset member Michael Ben Ari made headlines by tearing up on camera pages of a New Testament. He justified his actions by condemning "missionary" activity, and claiming that "Millions of Jews were murdered in the name of the New Testament; this revolting book brought massacres of Jews in the [Spanish] Inquisition and throughout history." His comment reveals something of the attitude of many orthodox Jews toward Christianity.

The Israeli Bible Society, led by Victor Kalisher, had sent 120 copies of the full Hebrew Bible, both Old and New Covenants, to all Knesset members. Victor responds:

We sent the Scriptures, with reference notes, along with a respectful letter. This edition of the Scriptures presents clearly the connection between the Tanakh and the New Covenant, thus providing a helpful tool for Knesset members to understand the viewpoints of Christian organizations with whom they have contact and to refute prejudices toward the content and meaning of the book.

When I was interviewed in the media, they chose to ignore the majority who thanked us for the book and concentrated on the few Knesset members who made an uproar.

Terror in Bulgaria and Colorado

Two insidious and murderous attacks took place this week, one in Burgos, Bulgaria, where a bus of Israel tourists was blown up on its way out of the airport, by an Islamic jihadist suicide bomber with connections to Iran. Five Israelis were killed and dozens injured. The second took place in a cinema theater in Denver, Colorado, where a psychopath began shooting, killing 12 innocent people and injuring 58.

The first was a jihadist; the second was a psychopath. Both were demonic.

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