The number of Biblical laws, 613 is rather ambiguous and there is no verse in the Bible that says this number is correct. In our search for these we are directed to the first five books of the Bible. The first five books of the Bible are known by Jewish people as the Torah, which in English means “the law.” So …the other point of view would be that these 613 commands, the most famous of which are the Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. There is no agreement between Jews or Christians that the number 613 is the number given by God through Moses. Where did this number come from? We start with the Talmud…
- Jewish civil and ceremonial law and legend comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara which is a rabbinical commentary on the Mishnah, forming the second part of the Talmud.
B) There are two versions of the Talmud: the Babylonian Talmud (which dates from the 5th century ad but includes earlier material) and the earlier Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud.
I have discovered that there are many theories as to how this particular number came into being. So I kept digging and it was worth the time. I will again post at the end of this blog the URL for a massive work…The 613 by Archie Rand. “ The 613 refers to the 613 Jewish commandments (mitzvoth in Hebrew) extracted from the Old Testament. This immense work by Archie Rand includes one painting for each one of the 613 mitzvoth.” Mitzvoth being a a precept or commandment or a good deed done from religious duty. All of these Laws, Commandments…can and has added to a great deal of debate, confusion and adds fuel to those who would profane them and use them as a distraction to mislead God’s people. I can assure you as a Layman the more I search for what is God’s Law, which is in reality the way God wishes us to live, the more I want to know. To me it is not a laundry list of must dos’, it soon comes down to a matter of what is in our hearts…and our hearts often rule our minds. Scripture tells us God knows what is on our minds and in our hearts. Consider this…keep things simple, Theology for a layman can become a series of trails ending in another rabbit hole. What is it that God wants of us?
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Looking to Jesus we might because of Matthew 5:17 become confused… “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” To keep it simple read Matthew 5:17-20. There is so much here in this chapter, there is not enough time and space to do it justice at this time. In the time of Jesus and Paul there were thousands of legalistic rules and regulations, ( those made by the Pharisees) many just petty and somehow they came to be literally matters of life, death and eternal destiny. The truth is that both Jesus and Paul broke them repeatedly and condemned them. So the Law being our focus this week what then did Jesus mean by the law? We know what he said in Matthew, some say take that to mean He came to bring out the real meaning of the law. All that scribal and oral law left one thing unsaid. One great principle which the scribes and the Pharisees had been unable to understand. That in all things people must seek God’s will but they would not find it in their man-made hordes of rules and regulations. The blood of Jesus on the cross freed us from all of that. Jesus was asked once which commandment of the Law was the greatest.
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
God gave the Law to define sin and demonstrate our need for a Savior. Jesus is the only one who has perfectly obeyed the Law. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He fulfilled all of God’s righteous commands (Matthew 5:17–18). Be sure if time allows to read some of those 613 laws, go to the link at the bottom. I will close today with a simple view of a very long and complicated process of Biblical Law / God’s Law.
“With the coming of Christ, God has established a new covenant with mankind (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 8:8-13, 9:11-15). Jesus and His apostles gave us a radically new understanding of the true intent of the Old Testament Law; they brought a new era of the rule of love for all people and spiritual truth instead of rule by law (Luke 10:25-28, John 13:34-35, Ephesians 2:14-18).”
Life is Good