How Much of the Torah Do Believers Already Keep?

How much of the Torah do believers already keep? + Which Parts They Do | Land of Honey

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This post owes a debt to Andrew Gabriel Roth's article, "How Much Torah Do Christians Already Keep?" It can be found in the Aramaic English New Testament - check it out if you get a chance!

Is it possible to keep the commandments that YHWH has given us? I think many people say no to that without knowing what those commandments actually are. The Bible is a big book, after all. Many believers have seen or heard about a totally overwhelming number of Jewish laws and often assume those are in the Bible.

It is traditionally believed that there are 613 commandments for believers in the Torah. You can debate if it's that exact number for a couple of reasons - should loving and serving YHWH be one commandment or two? are certain verses relative statements or absolute commands? - but for now, we'll stick with 613 rules as a ballpark figure. That sounds like a lot, right? If we took a test with over 600 questions, most of us wouldn't answer 100% correctly. Thankfully, it's a little easier than that.

While many of these commandments are absolutely for everyone, not all of them are applicable to you. I don't say that in brevity or believe that we should write off huge chunks of Scripture. But it's true. Because these 613 instructions cover all sorts of things...marriage laws, Temple protocol, specific instructions for kings, Nazirite vows, agricultural practices, and so on. So if you haven't taken a Nazirite vow, those particular regulations don't need to be followed by you. If you're not married, you don't need to worry about those instructions at the moment. Paul talked about this in Romans 7.

"The married woman has been bound by Torah to her living husband, but if her husband dies, she is released from the Torah concerning her husband." -Romans 7:2

We can see here that we are only expected to keep the commandments for our own self and circumstances. Of course, it is hugely important than we rightly divide Scripture to do our best to follow all of the commandments that pertain to us. Of those 613 commandments, more than 200 have to do with the Temple. That means that right off the bat, we have less than 400 that might pertain to us. For the most part, believers do pretty well following these. Roth estimates that most Christians are keeping between 69-87% of the laws applicable to them! For a group that typically views keeping Torah as a burden, that's a pretty decent start. That's like answering, seven, eight, or even nine questions correctly on a ten-question quiz that you never in a million years thought you could pass. Maybe this is a little more doable than you thought.

What commandments are believers already keeping?

-Loving the Creator. Serving and clinging to YHWH. Loving him with all your strength. Giving thanks to him. Fearing him. Respecting his word. Not testing him.

-Treatment of others. Loving your neighbor as yourself. Not verbally attacking a stranger. Not afflicting orphans and widows. The obligation of returning lost property to its owner. Helping someone collapsing under a burden or in danger. Treating litigants impartially. Honoring of parents.

-Honesty and integrity. Not lying or speaking a false witness. Not following a majority to do evil. Not bribing a judge.

-Financial matters. Not stealing or defrauding someone. Giving charity to the poor. Not deceiving someone in business.

-Marital relations. Not to have sexual relations outside of marriage. No relations between family or step-family.

What commandments are believers not keeping?

-Remembering the name of YHWH. Not forgetting it (replacing it with terms like God or Lord) but using it with reverence and respect. Calling on it for help.

-Sabbath. Sanctifying the seventh day. Resting. Not having servants or employees work on the Sabbath.

-Biblical holidays. Celebrating them and not working on certain days. Not having or eating leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

-Dietary laws. Not consuming unclean animals. Not consuming blood.

This is generalization, obviously these won't line up exactly for everyone, but for most denominations would basically agree with the above. That's it. The commandments believers aren't keeping mostly fall into those categories. And you know what? Even in modern culture today, those things are pretty doable! Start using YHWH instead of generic, incorrect terms like God and Lord. Look forward to resting each week on the Sabbath. Eat in ways that benefit your health. Add Biblical celebrations to your calendar. You really can do this! 

And these things are wonderful to do! Everyone I know who has delved into those things has benefited from it. They would tell you that their faith has grown exponentially. They've seen their health improve as they make changes to their diets. They understand Scripture better and have a deeper relationship with the Creator. You can have all of those joys as well by taking steps to be obedient to Scripture.

If you say you live in the Messiah then you should live like he did! -1 John 2:6 | Land of Honey

It's not about being flawless.

It's not because you have to.

It's not too hard.

"Those that say they live in him ought to walk as he did." -1 John 2:6

The Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving

Hebrews 13:15 - we should continually be praising and thanking the name of YHWH // Why is it a sacrifice of praise? | Land of Honey

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"Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to YHWH, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name." -Hebrews 13:15

Why is it called a sacrifice of praise? Why doesn't it just say, "Let us continually praise YHWH,"?

Gratitude is an undervalued commodity in our world. It's way too easy to take for granted the many, many blessings we all have. That's not to say that life doesn't have it's share of problems and frustrations, but for most of us, the good vastly outnumbers the bad. And more so, having gratitude in the hard circumstances changes you for the better.

Sometimes praise is a sacrifice. Traditionally we think about animal sacrifice in the Bible, or a soldier sacrificing themselves for their cause. But we also think about giving up our time or money to help someone as a sacrifice, or sacrificing sleep to care for a newborn. But how his praise a sacrifice? It doesn't require physical effort, much time, or even much of an inconvenience.

Praising and thanking YHWH...continually. That's easy to do sometimes, except when...

Someone said something hurtful...I want to confront them.

I've been inconvenienced...I wouldn't mind pointing out exactly how much to the person that caused it.

A workplace situation is unjust...I want to complain.

Something ridiculous is said on social media...I'd like to explain exactly why it's wrong.

A person is being inconsiderate...I feel like telling someone about it.

Life is overwhelming...I want to take it out on someone else.

All of these tendencies - that are so easy to do - have nothing to do with praising or thanking the Creator. Sometimes the sacrifice of thanksgiving means that instead of choosing to verbalize my reasons for being upset or remembering the ways someone has wronged me, I start to praise YHWH. Sometimes the sacrifice means that I don't get to correct the wrong way someone sees me or my actions. Sometimes I need to sacrifice my 'right' to complain about something or how someone has treated me. 

There will always be something to complain about. But having gratitude even when things are hard means our lives are different. Making the choice to praise our Creator and be thankful will change your life.

Six Reasons Why Believers Should Keep the Sabbath

Are you a believer considering the Sabbath day? Here are six reasons why you should honor it! God set aside Shabbat for you | Land of Honey

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The Sabbath day: are you studying this? Are you feeling like the Living God is calling you down this  path? Are you in need of rest? Are you wondering if this is right for you or something that you should be doing? Let's look at a few reasons why we should all be keeping this set apart time each week.

Reasons believers should keep the Sabbath:

1. Scripture tells us to. We could stop the list right here and call it good, because if our Creator tells us to do something then we should, plain and simple. Honoring the Sabbath day is one of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:10), as I'm sure you've heard before these are commandments, not suggestions or principles. We are accountable for our decisions, and there are consequences to choosing to honor or ignore something that Scripture says.

2. YHWH himself rested on the Sabbath. One of the first things that Scripture tells us in Genesis 2, is that YHWH rested on the seventh day. It wasn't because he didn't have anything left to do, and it wasn't because he physically needed rest. I think there is a significance here that we miss, when the Creator literally set the example for us. Genesis 2:3 says that YHWH blessed the seventh day and set it apart because that's when he rested from his work. If he did it, we should too.

3. The Messiah kept the Sabbath. The authors of the Gospels made it plain that Yahusha honored and rested on the Sabbath day. And he always spoke of it highly! Are we followers of him and his ways? 1 John 2:6 says that if we are then we should live as he did! Observing Shabbat is a practical way to do that, no matter where or when we live. We should work to follow the Messiah's example.

4. New Testament believers kept the Sabbath after the resurrection and ascension of Messiah. Those that spoke with and walked with the Messiah continued to honor this commandment, even after he ascended from the earth. These were people that were obedient to the Messiah even unto torture and death, if he had told them to stop resting on the Sabbath then I'm sure they would have. But they kept on following his example in this manner, and not one of them ever suggested they wanted that to change or that we should do things differently.

5. Because you're busy. I know many of you are thinking that you're way too busy to set aside 1/7 of the week for rest and worship. Hear this though: you're too busy, not to do this! Life will always be pulling at you from a million different directions; it's time to take a stand against that. I think every Sabbath keeper I know would agree with me when I say that I accomplish a lot more now that I keep the Sabbath. Resting one day of the week helps me to have more energy and use my time better. If I'm not willing to keep this instruction from Scripture, that holds me back from living the abundant life that he has for me...because I'm too exhausted and overwhelmed from not letting myself rest to enjoy his fullness.

6. Your soul needs this. Do you want more peace in your life? Do you find yourself aching in need of refreshment? Are you weary and burdened? Is joy hard to find? Are you struggling with your faith or with not feeling close in your relationship with the Messiah? Do you feel like there has to be more to life? Sabbath rest helps with all of that an so much more. It's time to stop believing the lie that Sabbath keeping is too hard or not for us or a burden. It is none of those things. I'm closing in on a decade of Sabbath observance and it is joy, freedom, refreshment, and peace. You owe it to yourself and your family to walk in this gift from our Creator.

Don't have time to keep the Sabbath? You're too busy not to! Rest and honor Shabbat. | Land of Honey

Want to learn more about the Sabbath?
Here are fifteen things Scripture says about it.
This is what the Messiah taught about Shabbat.
Need practical ways to stop working on the Sabbath?
A few of the things I love the most about it.
And why I started keeping Shabbat.

Hebrew Holiday Dates 2020 + Printable

Here's when the Biblical holidays land in 2020! Hebrew holidays calendar | Land of Honey

Here are the 2020 Hebrew holiday dates! As usual, I'm providing a free printable so you can stick it in your planner, take it work, put it on the fridge, or whatever else you need to do to make sure that you'll be free to celebrate the special times of our Creator. All of these holidays are significant, and some of them are called Sabbaths in Scripture, which means we are instructed not to do any work on those days. I've made note of those so that you can plan accordingly. You can read more about no-work days here.

There are several different calendars out there for celebrating the feasts, and once again I'm giving you two sets of dates. My goal is not to convince you of one over the other (or even necessarily either of these), but to encourage you to pick a calendar to use so that you can honor Scripture's set apart times to the best of your ability. As always, pray about how you should live and be willing to make changes and adjustments as your faith grows.

Biblical holiday dates for 2020 - traditional calendar | Land of Honey

Traditional calendar:

The traditional calendar has days going from sundown to sundown. Holidays start at sundown on the day listed. For example, Passover starts at sundown on April 9 and ends at sundown on April 10. The traditional calendar also gives an extra day for Shavuot and Yom Teruah, though Scripture treats both as one-day holidays.

Passover - April 9-10
Feast of Matzah - April 10-17
First Fruits - April 11-12
Shavuot - May 29-31
Yom Teruah - September 19-21
Yom Kippur - September 28-29
Sukkot - October 3-11

No work days:
First day of Matzah Week - April 10-11
Last day of Matzah Week - April 16-17
Shavuot - May 29-31
Yom Teruah - September 19-21
Yom Kippur - September 28-29
First day of Sukkot - October 3-4
Last day of Sukkot - October 10-11

Click here to download the traditional calendar Hebrew holiday dates.

Biblical holiday dates for 2020 - Torah to the Tribes' calendar | Land of Honey

Torah to the Tribes' calendar:

This calendar uses daylight to daylight dates. This means Passover starts at daybreak on April 2 and ends at daybreak on April 3.

Passover - April 2
Feast of Matzah - April 3-9
First Fruits - April 5
Shavuot - May 24
Yom Teruah - September 16
Yom Kippur - September 25
Sukkot - September 30 - October 7

No work days:

First day of Matzah Week - April 3
Last day of Matzah Week - April 9
Shavuot - May 24
Yom Teruah - September 16
Yom Kippur - September 25
First day of Sukkot - September 30
Last day of Sukkot - October 7

Click here to download the Hebrew holiday dates from Torah to the Tribes.

Start planning to keep the Feasts this year!