The Greatest Commandments
as taught by Christ.
A lawyer, asked him a question, tempting (a-proving) him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart,and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment (Duet 6:4-5).
And the second is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Lev 19:18).
On these two commandments
hang all the law and the prophets.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength,
and to love his neighbour as himself,
is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly,
he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
Christ’s teaching in Matt 5 is that he did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, heaven and earth must needs pass before such and this has not happened yet ( just look up). Therefore the whole Word of God which is contained in the law and prophets hang from Duet 6:4-5 & Lev 19:18 and are therefore intact, this would include the whole body of Moses’ Law / God’s Law.
Just as all the law, these greatest commandments were not codified until Moses’ time, so even they are part of “the law of Moses” yet truly they are the law of the LORD YHWH which has been from the beginning.
Insomuch as Christ’s coming was to fulfill the law AND the prophets, Christ as a wise master builder fulfills the use of great stones and timbers in fulfilling the building of a structure. The Greatest Commandments (or “Greats”, refereed to as such hereafter) are the supports by which the whole body of God’s Law hang; the use of the “Greats” in Christian life are functional just as main supports are to a building, so are they in their fulfillment and if removed not only will the household of God be structurally inept, the Church will be ignorant in how to love GOD and Neighbor, as even the least laws hanging from the Greatest Commandments as to define Godly Love.
In a Word: If the “Greats” suspend all the law and prophets, and the “Greats” are to be intact in Christian life, the law should be therefore intact in the Christian life as to define Christian Love/Charity:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God, and keep his commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
and his commandments are not grievous.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith.
(1 John 5:2-4)
(Matthew 7:12-24) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity ( ανομιαν / lawlessness /S# G458).
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock…
Matthew 7:12-24 is a recap on the greatest commandments: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Lev 19:18), is in “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”; and Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…(Duet 6:4-5), is in “he that doeth the will of my Father” (Matthew 7:21): The Greek phrase ποιησαι (το) θελημα / doeth (the) will is identically seen in the LXX Greek manuscript of the Hebrew scriptures of Psalms 40:8, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heat, this verse identifies what the will of the Father is: His Law with in the heart; further proof is seen in the preceding Ps 40:6 which matches in the context of the lawyer’s answer to Christ in Mark 12:33, as well as prominent teaching on the subject in Hebrews 10.
The simultaneous statement “this is the law and the prophets” found in Matt 7:12 as in Matt 22:40 and Luke 16:16, show the irrefutable proof that this Command is indeed the same as in all other cases of Holy writ yet in direction towards the Church.
Building with Love upon the Rock
Writing the Law upon the Fleshy Table of the Heart
As Christ is not speaking in this instant to scribes and pharisees, but to his own disciples, first seen at Matt 5:1 where this sermon starts, his teachings are entirely directed towards his Disciple Church. This, therefore, is why Christ was teaching about the foundation of the household of God, as seen in any scripture on the subject of building on a Rock. In this household are the fundamental supports upon which the Father has hung (that is from top to bottom) the laws first, and then all the prophets. This house in Matt 7:24 is… built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (Ephesians 2:19-21). Starting at the top with the Father YHWH placing his Greatest Commandments as the hanging support of the house hold of God, Christ is the Chief Corner Stone in the foundation which is for keeping the building square and true in construction by the master builder (1Cor 3:10) when he follows the corner stone’s dictated line by it’s angle. What is then in between the support of the greatest Commandments and the foundation of Christ Jesu(s), the apostles and prophets?
1 Peter 2:5-25: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:.. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation (behavior) honest among the Gentiles (nations): that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation….For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God… For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Peter summarizes the building of God set upon Christ as corner stone, which is also: a rock of offense and is indeed the Word of God literally (This being another title and function of Christ -John 1:1-3, 1:14)- to the Word they were disobedient; Christ then being the Word of God, is the Word spoken as Law to Moses and the prophets: fore those who stumble at God’s Law will inevitably stumble at the Truth of Christ.
Christ Jesu(s) is the Word made flesh.
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father:
there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words ?
They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead,
they will repent.
And he said unto him,
If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded,
though one rose from the dead.
The Greatest Commandments
Old but New in You
As taught in Matthew 7:12, the disciple Church is to love one another by this command “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”,
similarly this command is taught in John 13:33-34:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (Note: the English words- “neighbor, friend and another” are all translated from the same Hebrew word:ריע/rêya)
Within the context of the surrounding chapters and verses: At the passover meal where Christ has instituted the New Covenant in his blood, Christ is foretelling of betrayal, and that he would be leaving his disciples; Peter’s infamous comment that he would follow Christ even in death, and Christ’s refute and foretelling of Cepheus’ denial.
The context is paramount, Peter / Cephas / a Stone who was foretold to be a stone under the Church (Matt 16:18), has fore shadowed the love which Christ is truly speaking of:
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13) The Love spoken of as the New Commandment is then that Christ’s disciples are willing to lay down their life for one another, just as Christ has done for us. While this command is no doubt literal, as it was for Christ, it is also typical, in that Christ denied the sinful flesh he came in by his sinless life: Christ lived his life in the flesh according to the will and word of he who sent him (John 6:38, Gal 1:4) thereby laying down his life in the flesh to fulfill the will of his true and spiritual Father; we as Christ’s disciples are as well to lay down our life in the flesh to do the will of our Father, fulfilling the law in our life in Christ in order to love one another, just as our Friend and Brother did for us. By obedience to this Commandment the disciple Church shows it’s love towards God as well as to one another, insomuch as they are the body of Christ who’s head principality and power is ultimately in God the Father. This action of positive law in loving one another is a sign to the world that we are followers of the one who gave himself for us.
The Commandment, therefore, is new in Christ by his New Covenant, for the Law of God has been the instruction in righteousness ending in love towards one another, from the beginning, the command therefore is not newly constructed.
(1 John 2:3-11) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments (Notice that John is not speaking of just the the undefined commandment of “love one another”, but he is referring to commandmentS (plural).
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (…thy law is the truth.-Psalms 119:142; …all thy commandments are truth.-Psalms 119:151; the Word was made flesh…full of grace and truth- John 1).
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you:
because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling (rock of offense) in him.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
(John is teaching the fundamentals of the New Covenant / New Testament- “the thing (which) is true in him and you” and the difference between the Old Commandment- “the word (written letter) which ye have heard”. John shows that this commandment is Old yet “in him”, Christ, it is New. The light as spoken of in John is the Word that was with God That was the true Light, which lighteth every man, the true light is thereby seen when the sons of God love one another, this is the Word of God applied to the inward parts, heart and mind: when the disciples keep his commandments and love one another.
The Key element must be maintained in understanding that Christ’s re-formation of the Covenant to be written on the heart is in His Love or Charity towards us first, while we were yet sinners. We must as Christ lay down our life for God and Neighbor by Love. This feet is not just seen in our willingness to die a bodily death as Christ in his crucifixion, which he did for God his Father and his friends, but also in his obedience to every Law and Commandment of God perfectly rendering him with NO SIN, in this Christ was dead to the lusts of of the flesh and the desire of the eyes, yet he was alive to God, a living sacrifice living a sinless life in sinful flesh; This too we as Christians are called to do while we live in this flesh.
(2 John 1:4-8) I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist (This reference to Christ’s coming in the flesh is the denial of the Word made flesh of John 1:14, moreover, it’s an attack on Christ’s sinless life that he accomplished while in sinful flesh. By taking away Christ Jesu(s) example of a sinless life in the flesh, as done by modern “christians” who teach that the son of God broke his Father’s Law, such as Sabbath keeping, they become Anti-christ in that the Christ was to be sinless in his life’s sacrifice. As well those who teach such deception allure them selves and their hearers to walk according to a sinful example thereby becoming more lawless and anti Christ themselves.) .
Look to yourselves,
that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward
great reward- Ps 19:11
Called great -Matt 5:19