“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
12 / 06 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine – NIV used)
• I have always wondered why so many people think that Yahshua (Jesus) gave a new commandment to us that we must “love” … as if it had not existed prior to him. I have even been told that we no longer need to follow any of the Old Testament Laws today, but only need to follow Jesus’ command to love one another. Where did they get that, I wonder?
• Okay, okay … many of you may be thinking, “Kyle, just look at the verse you chose to open with”. Ohhhhhh … that is where they get it from … it is because Yahshua (Jesus) said it is a new command. But I thought that God commanded even in the Old Testament for us to love each other.…even before the Son of God appeared to us!
- “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am YHWH.” (Leviticus 19:18)
- “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am YHWH your God. “ (Leviticus 19:34)
- “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am YHWH your God.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)
• I don’t want to be disrespectful, but what is Yahshua (Jesus) talking about? How can this be a new commandment? Did He forget that He already commanded us to love each other back in our forefather’s time in the desert?
• HINT: Look at the last two verses regarding WHO they were commanded to love. The natural born Israelites were commanded to love the “Alien” that was living among them and to treat them as an equal. What was new when Yahshua was talking was that we Gentile believers were no longer “aliens” living among them, but equal to the natural born Hebrew believers. THAT is what Yahshua has accomplished! That was one of His purposes!
- Paul explains this to the Ephesians (non-Hebrews) in Ephesians 2:19 … “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” Recall from above that they were told to love the aliens among them. So, the notion of a Gentile believer being equal among them is NEW.
- “For He Himself is our peace, who made the two (Hebrew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (there were actual walls in the Temple built to keep the Gentiles separated), by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations (These are the dogma laws, or man-made laws that made it hard for not only the Gentiles to come near to God, but the common Hebrew, as well). His purpose was to create in Himself ONE new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16) Did you catch that? “HIS PURPOSE” was to create in Himself ONE man out of the two (Jew and Gentile). THAT is the part that was new, and therefore we both are told … LOVE one another.
- “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) (The body is Israel … made up of many parts of which our Messiah is the head!)
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, THEN you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
- “For there is NO difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him.” (Romans 10:12)
- Yet to ALL who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born NOT of natural descent, NOR of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:11-13)
THE ONLY THING THAT IS NEW IS “WHO OUR BROTHERS ARE”:
• Now, when we read passages about “loving your brother” we must not think about it being a new command, but that our thought of “who” our brother is to include the Hebrew believers, as well as the Hebrew believer must include us, Gentile believers as their thought of family. Together, we make up Israel.
• “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) I am to carry not only the Gentile believer’s burden, but the Hebrew believer’s, as well. You know what? We should probably STOP referring to each other according to our physical identification, as well … such as being a Jew, Greek, or Italian believer. Once someone is part of the family of Israel, there is no longer a PHYSICAL identification … but a Spiritual one. I am no longer a Gentile and a Hebrew is no longer a Hebrew. These things are of the world and not of God. For it is written about the children of God:
- “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
- “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
VERSES RELATED TO THOUGHT:
• “This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17) NOW we know that this is not replacing God’s Laws (as many think), but it is revealing that He (Yahshua / Jesus) commands both Jews and Gentiles within Israel to love each other as brothers (It is like a twin brother being taken at birth by mistake and being raised by someone else for 20 years. Then, one day, they meet and realize that they have been brothers all along. Now the brother who had been raised by their true parents has to share them with his new-found brother … who had been a brother all along.)
• “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10) Notice that we are to obey God’s Laws (do what is right … some translations say “do righteousness”) AND love our brothers.
• “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21) Now that it is clear what our Savior actually is speaking of, we know that this is NOT eliminating the Laws as given through Moses, but that He is bringing the Jew and Gentile together … and then commands them to love one another.
• “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8) What Law? Ohhhhhh … the law that Jews and Gentiles must love each other as brothers!
• John seems to hint that it really is not new, but has sort of been hidden and spoken of before. They (The Hebrews) KNEW that they were to love the aliens that were ALWAYS welcomed into Israel. But they always thought that being an “Israelite” was their right alone (recall the twin brother example. The one brother thought that he alone was an heir.). So John is clear in 1 John 2:7-9 … it is actually not so new. Those living at the time of Yahshua (Jesus) simply had never heard it: “Dear friends, I am NOT writing you a new command but an OLD one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
• “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
• “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
• So … who are our brothers? Anyone who believes in Yahshua (Jesus) as their Savior.
• Is the command to love each other replacing obedience to God’s Laws as given through Moses? Of course not.
• We are told that there is no Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male, or female within Israel. It also makes sense that the priests, who are the brothers of the High Priest, Yahshua (Jesus), are from every tribe, language, peoples and nations. These are all who hold firm to the testimony of Yahshua (Jesus) and obey the Law and teach it.
WHAT MIGHT THIS LOVE LOOK LIKE:
• Those of us who are attempting to obey God’s Laws as He gave them to His children MUST love those who have not come to that point in their walk with Him. We must show the same mercy that we received for so many years from the Lord.
• Those of us who are attempting to obey God’s Laws as He gave them to His children MUST love those who do the same, yet interpret and live out the commands differently from us, others, or the majority. (NOTE: We are all, most likely, incorrect in some points. Good thing we are not saved by our obedience!). Division comes when we do not love each other as He commanded and accuse each other for doing things differently.
• Yes … we must love one another … or it all means nothing.