Definition of Love |
By Andrew Gabriel Roth
Although the Scriptures clearly define love, it has been given all manner of modern definition by various institutions and religions. Most souls think of love according to its attributes because love is rather difficult to define. Many Christians assert that "God is love" and one of the popular clichés is to "just love the Lord."
But the manner of how one "loves the Lord" brings up much opinion and debate, especially since Christians often teach a love that is quite the opposite of what Scripture teaches. For example, "And by this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and follow his commandments. For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not burdensome. Because, whoever is born of Elohim overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith" (1 John 5:2-4).
The definition of love is best understood through Mashiyach's life and teachings: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15); and, "He who has my commandments with him and keeps them, he is who loves me and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. And I will love him and reveal myself to him" (John 14:21); and, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept the commandments of my Father, and I abide in His love." (John 15:10). Abiding in His love is clearly connected to "keeping the commandments." The "commandments of my Father" always refers to Torah; and Y'shua taught that "if you love" him, you will keep the Commandments.
Mashiyach Y'shua clearly kept the commandments of his Father, but yet only a tiny minority of Christians would even consider the importance of these same Commandments - even though the name "Christian" comes from the same root haMishchah (the anointing) which means to be "Mashiyach like." Y'shua is the Word of YHWH, and about this Spirit of Mashiyach Moshe wrote: "And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My Commandments" (Sh'mot/Exodus 20:6); and, "Therefore you shall love YHWH your Elohim and keep His charge and His Statutes and His Judgments and His Commandments, always." (D'varim/Deut. 11:1).
There are dozens of places in Scripture where "love" is tied in with keeping the Commandments. Unfortunately, those Christians who truly "love the Lord" according to Scripture are labeled as Legalists and Judaizers for keeping the Commandments, and often encounter persecution from "the Church." This is because in Christianity "love" is defined by status quo, so to be a good Christian each one must fashion their "love" according to the values of a core group or denomination. In recent times, many good, YHWH-fearing Christians have become ashamed to even be called "Christians" after being attacked by so many Christians for keeping the Commandments. Many opt instead to be labeled as "Believers" because they realize that love requires sacrifice, and that love is not a cerebral ideology that neglects the Commandments.
"And owe nothing to anyone; but to love one another. For he that loves his neighbor has fulfilled Torah. For this likewise, which it says: You shall not kill; nor commit adultery; nor steal; nor covet; and if there is any other commandment, it is completed in this sentence: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to one's neighbor because love is the fulfillment of Torah." (Romans 13:8-10). Rav Shaul is clearly teaching that these four Commandments are examples of how a person demonstrates love to their neighbor; this kind of love is the fulfillment of Torah. "For the entire Torah is properly understood in one Miltha (Word/Manifestation): 'You will love your neighbor as you would yourself.'" (Galatians 5:14). The many other definitions of love that lack the Commandments also lack the connection to Justice and Righteousness. Man's interpretation of "love" often reverts to carnal instincts like anarchy, excess, sensuality, emotionalism etc.
The Brit Chadasha literally means Covenant Renewed, a "making new" of the Covenant of Love that YHWH had formerly established between Himself and his people. Although there is a change of priesthood in the Renewed Covenant, YHWH's Word and Commandments remain eternal, love has never changed; if anything love has been magnified. "You have heard that it has been said that you should not commit adultery. But I say to you that all who that looks at a woman as lustfully at once has committed adultery in his heart." (Matt. 5:27, 28). Y'shua "raised the bar" but he also said, "And because of the growth of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold." (Matt. 24:12). Therefore, as the Commandments grow within the heart, true love will also grow. Love, therefore, is a voluntary and personal choice to do the right thing and keep the Commandments.
Joshua teaches that loving YHWH means "to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments": "But take diligent heed to do the Commandment and the Torah, which Moshe the servant of YHWH charged you, to love YHWH your Elohim, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Joshua 22:5). He declared "...as for me and my house, we will serve YHWH." (Joshua 25:15).
To love YHWH means to keep His Commandments. There is no other substitute a person can make to demonstrate their love to YHWH or to each other, because true love is righteous; it is Set-Apart and does good towards YHWH and all of His creation.
We are to become as "little children" who can put trust in Mashiyach and simply do what he asks, rather than be rebellious and find religious loopholes that make us feel better about breaking the Commandments.
"Consider how I love your precepts: quicken me, O YHWH, according to your lovingkindness." (Psalm 119:159). Love is a reciprocal giving and sharing that is based on being true to the Word of YHWH, and "great peace have they which love your Torah: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:165). Peace is established by love because love is the action of doing what is Right, Set Apart, Just and Good.
One of the greatest perversions accomplished against the Word of YHWH was to superimpose a false religious definition of love based on Church theology which, in the eyes of millions of Christians, has rendered the Torah null and void. The unpleasant realities of "Christian love" through the centuries have spoken volumes in times when "Christian nations" like Spain, Germany and Poland brought hatred upon Jews and other races or religions that were not "Christian." Today members of the World Council of Churches are launching new crusades against the Jewish "occupation" of their homeland of Israel - the very lands YHWH gave to the Jewish people as an "everlasting possession" (Genesis 15:18); and from which He promised they would never again be removed (Amos 9:15).
Christian love is fashioned after "tolerance," rather than temperance and self control and discipline and accountability to one another and the Word of YHWH. Crime and decadence has escalated in "Christian nations" like the USA that would embarrass Sodom and Gomorrah. Y'shua said that the land of Sodom would fare better than some cities that had the truth presented to them but rejected it (Matthew 11:23, 24). The United States claims to be led by "Christian" Presidents and approximately 65 percent of the nation claims to be Christian. The reality is that Christian America has one of the largest per capita crime rates in the world and twice the homicide and rape statistics of many European countries, under "Christian" leadership and "Christian" government.
What's more, Christians have an extremely high divorce rate simply because Christianity has defined love according to man's opinions. Most Christian leaders teach that Torah is taboo because "Jesus nailed it to the cross" and gave them the Commandment to love, so they teach carte blanche Torahlessness for the "forgiven." Sin is hidden under "Christian grace" because the new "Christian definition" of love provides unlimited pardon of willful and repetitive sin. Religious "Christian" love is based on "doublethink" that replaces YHWH's love with a religious tradition about love, but in reality this has desensitized people's hearts to one another and to Mashiyach. In reality, this kind of Christian love is tyranny because it is simply love of the status quo; it is certainly not love according to Mashiyach and the Set Apart Scriptures!
The prophet Daniel wrote, "And I prayed unto YHWH my Elohim, and made my confession, and said, O YHWH, the great and dreadful Elohim, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His Commandments;" (Daniel 9:4). Israel broke the Covenant that YHWH gave, just like Christianity is breaking the Renewed Covenant that is offered in Mashiyach. The Covenant is evidenced by an exchange of love between YHWH and His people, but it is incumbent upon mankind to love YHWH and to demonstrate love to others by keeping the Commandments.
James wrote, "And if in this you fulfill the Torah of Elohim, as it is written, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you will do well:" (James 2:8). The majority of Christian theologians translate the word "fulfill" as "bring to an end" but it clearly means to bring to a reality, perform or do, as in a person's duty to love their spouse by their actions, where the actions of love is love demonstrated. To fulfill Torah means to have the love of the Father dwelling within the soul, and this means to not only welcome His Commandments but to delight in them as obedient children.
"There is no love that is greater than this that a man lay down his life for the sake of his friends. You are my friends if you do all that I commanded you." (Yochanan 15:13, 14) Y'shua speaks according to the Spirit of YHWH in him rather than his own soul; therefore, "all that I commanded you" is specifically referring to Torah.