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W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 07-14-2021     

Read:  Mark 10:2-9

Who wrote the 613 laws of the Old Testament?  Biblically, God clearly (and literally) wrote the 10 Commandments, but what about the other 600+ laws?  Tradition says that God dictated them to Moses.  The Bible does not explicitly say that, but does imply it.  But is there more to it than that?  Did Moses make some of the laws?

The scripture passage above from Mark is a fascinating case.  The Pharisees are trying to catch Jesus in a trap so they ask Him a question for which there was no consensus among the rabbis of that day.  Here is the passage from Mark:

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Interesting, Jesus says it was Moses who made that law, however, when you look up the place in the Old Testament where this law was given, (Dt. 24:1-4, Dt. 26:16-19) it seems to come from God, and not from Moses. I conclude that Jesus is correcting our understanding of this law, and its origins.  Did Moses write other laws, of the 613 Torah laws, that are attributed to God?

I have previously made the point that Jesus is the capital “W” Word of God (John 1), and that the scriptures are the small “w” word of God.  The Bible says that Jesus was perfect; the Bible doesn’t make that same claim of itself.  One reason that Jesus came was to show us and teach us about the true nature of God.  In other words, He had the authority to challenge our understanding or translation of the scriptures. Jesus contradicted the words of the Old Testament several times (I.e. read Matthew ch. 5).  It was one of the things that offended the Pharisees most; they thought He was committing blasphemy.  The bottom line: the Old Testament doesn’t have the same authority for us as the New Testament, and that is important for us to realize.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom