Lesson 15 (a)
Part 1: The Two Types of “the Law”
Part 2: Examples of the Differences
Part 3: Traditions of Men Everywhere
Total of 7 Pages
Part 1: The Two Types of “the Law”
Let’s dive right into a hotly debated topic, “The Law.” Our goal is to sort truth from misunderstandings. We start by making sure that we are on the same page for what “the Law” means to each of us. After all, “the Law” is a broadly-sweeping term, much like a baby in the bathwater.
We start with basics but will become more specific as we go along. The first concept is this diagram to clarify that there are two basic types of “Law.” At a quick glance, the distinctions are very fuzzy at best, since most English translations use the same word, (“Law”), for both types! 2 Also, these two types of “the Law” appear on the surface to share much in common.
• They both encourage “good works.”
• They both are tagged as “religious.”
• They both typically have the support of “believers.”
• They both encourage worshiping God.
• And they both have outward observances.
But there are many alarming differences! How do we know that? Because Yahshua (Jesus), 3 repeatedly warns us that the traditions of men can strip the scriptures of power. Understanding that “the Scriptures” are also seen as “the Word” and as “the Bible,” here are two of many scriptural examples that point out the conflicting contrast:
“Thus by YOUR TRADITION you make null and VOID THE WORD of God!” – Matthew 15:6 The Complete Jewish Study Bible
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is useless because they teach MAN-MADE RULES [traditions] 4 as if they were doctrines.” – Matthew 15:9 (quoting Isaiah 29:13) The Complete Jewish Study Bible
Yahshua then goes on to very specifically point out the distinction between the two types of “the Law” in the verses below:
“The scribes and the Parashiym [Pharisees] sit in Moshesh’s [Moses’] seat: All therefore whatsoever HE [Moses] bids you guard, that diligently guard and do; but do NOT ye after THEIR [Pharisees’] reforms and TRADITIONS: for they say and do not [what Moses said to do].” – Matthew 23: 2-4 Aleph-Tau Cepher 5
So let’s compare some of these alarming differences between these two types of “the Law.” We keep in mind that the scriptures are the standard by which all else is compared.
Part 2: Examples of the Differences
It will be helpful at this point to see a couple of specific examples of the contrasts between the two types of “Law.” Let’s start with two examples, both from Matthew 15:1-6:
There is no verse commanding people to wash their hands before eating. Religious leaders required this as though it was required by God. Yes, it’s a good idea to wash your hands before you eat, but not always practical. Especially, if extra water is not available.
Cleanliness is an important principle in the Word, but the details are to be determined by following His Spirit for different situations. The priority is to have clean hearts and clean deeds of the hands. 6 Outward observances are meaningless without inward change.
“You reject God’s laws in order to hold on to your own traditions. 10. For instance, Moses gave you this LAW FROM GOD: ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’… 11. BUT YOU SAY it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I HAVE VOWED TO GIVE TO GOD WHAT I COULD HAVE GIVEN TO YOU.’ 12. You let them disregard their needy parents. 13. As such, YOU BREAK THE LAW OF GOD IN ORDER TO PROTECT YOUR OWN TRADITION. And this is only one example. There are many, many others. – Mark 7:9-13 (NLT)
Other examples of “the law” of the traditions of men, not in scripture, include not healing on the Sabbath, and not eating food of the fields when walking through them on the Sabbath. Both of these examples are found in Matthew 12:1-12.
Part 3: Traditions of Men Everywhere
We realize as we go into this that not all traditions are “bad.” 7 So which traditions are unacceptable? It’s really quite simple. See below where we list traditions to watch out for:
“The Law” when representing, “the Scriptures,” shows the fruit of good works of the Spirit. “The Law” of the traditions of men. However, displays the fruit of the good and bad works of the flesh nature, which are not “good” in God’s eyes. 8 Why? Because they emphasize the wrong type of “the Law.” They are fruit from different trees in the Garden.
“The Law” when meaning, “the Scriptures,” shows the fruit of good works of the Spirit. “The Law” of the traditions of men. However, displays the fruit of both good and bad works of the flesh nature, which are not “good” in God’s eyes. Why? Because they emphasize the wrong type of “the Law.” (See footnote 8 on the next page for more info on good and bad works.)
The laws of the traditions of men are laws unto themselves. Therefore, a counterfeit of the law of the Word. Another way to say this “instead-of-the-true-Law,” is “without-the-scriptural-Law,” or “lawlessness.”
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS!” – Matthew 7:21-23 The New King James Version
The “traditions of men gatherings” may be very cleverly disguised as the real deal, but there are still many obvious signs that give them away. These signs should alarm us. Before going into what these signs are, we expand our diagram to point out another main point. The traditions of men are common to Jews, Christians, and all religions.
To recap so far, we’ve just seen that whether Jew or Christian, when immersed in the traditions of men, there is a cluttering, and obscuring, or distraction from the Word and from hearing the Spirit of truth. So, what are the obvious signs of the traditions of men that should alarm us? This diagram points out some signs that the religious traditions of men of any group tend to have in common.
When “the Law” that refers to the traditions of man and their church systems take the lead, the way for spiritual growth is limited. A great deal of the “growth” is not by the pure stream of the Word and Spirit. In summary, this Lesson alerted us that whenever the word “Law” is used in nearly all English translations, the word “Law” could be referring to “the traditions of men,” or to “the Scriptures.” If we don’t discern which type it is referring to, then we would come into either great confusion error or both.
We went on in this Lesson to focus on recognizing when the “Law” is referring to “the traditions of men.” Our next Lesson will shift the spotlight to understanding the other type of the “Law,” which is “the Scriptures.” That Lesson will be followed by a third one. This third Lesson will present a principle that relates to both types of the “Law.” which we’ll conclude with a summary review of all three Lessons on the “Law.”
To be continued…
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Eric & Mary Ellis
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1. “Law” is translated from Strong’s Greek word No. 3551, meaning “regulation” in general, “principle” figuratively, and also specifically as both to Moses and the Gospels. This English word “Law” is used many dozens of times in the Bible for both types of the law as shown above.
2. The only translation that I found that translates the two types as different words are Michael Rood’s, “The Chronological Gospels” which uses the “Corrected King James Version.” Here the traditions of men are translated as “taka not.” For more on taka not, see the first 20 verses of Matthew 15 in Rood’s version, where the traditions of men are clearly revealed as opposed to the commandments of God.
3. “Yahshua” is the Hebrew name that the angel told Mary to name her firstborn, and which Joseph did (Matthew 1:21 & 24). Because “Yahshua” is an English transliteration of the Hebrew sound of his name, it can also be transliterated at “Yehshua,” and “Y’shua.” I prefer to use “Yahshua” because God’s poetic nickname is solidly agreed upon to be transliterated as “Yah.”
God’s full name has been determined to be correctly pronounced as “Yahovah,” “Yehovah,” or “Y’hovah.” To help see the big picture of one God, I use “Yahshua,” “Yah,” and “Yahovah,” fulling realizing that the two “a”s in “Yahovah” are pronounced differently, with the first “a” being nearly silent, like the “a” in “amuse, and the second “a” like the “a” in “father.” By using “Yah” in each reminds us that they are one (John 17:21). For more information, please see our Mistranslation items on His names under “Eric’s Library” on our website.
4. In all scripture quotations, the words in square brackets are mine, inserted to help with clarity.
5. This is the only English translation other than “The Chronological Gospels” that I found that translates this correctly as “HE” (Moses), rather than as “they” (Pharisees). Why would all of the others be wrong? The reason for the differences in the document sources used for the translations.
These two Bibles I’ve mentioned use the Hebrew copies of Matthew as their source, whereas all other English translations and versions are based on Greek copies of Matthew, which came from Aramaic copies, which came from the Hebrew copies. It was a translation error into the Aramaic that was easy to make since the Hebrew words for “he” and “they” are very similar. For more information, see our Mistranslation Item No. 15, found under “Eric’s Library.”
6. See Psalm 24:3-4, & Jeremiah 4:14, then, Lesson 1 for more on the last diagram on this page.
7. For example, since the Sabbath begins at sunset, Mary and I enter into it with our evening meal. This supper is the most special meal of the week, along with the best table setting. We start by lighting a candle while giving a prayer of thanksgiving.
Then, we pronounce a blessing upon each other. Sometimes it comes from within, and other times we read the blessing. After the meal, we read Scripture out loud. All of this is a general tradition in our home that we felt led to do, and we find it meaningful.
We don’t have to do it that way and we don’t feel that we have to do it that way. Why? Because the scriptures don’t specifically tell us to do it that way. It doesn’t always work out to do it that way either, which is okay.
The main point is to cease from our works to honor Him, entering into His rest. The details fall into place each Sabbath by hearing His Spirit, which always aligns with the written Word. We do not lose sight that He is our rest, and with Him, in us, we stay in His rest all 7 days. It’s just that on the Sabbath Day we make a special focus on Him.
Editorial Review by Mary Elizabeth Ellis
Written by Eric J. Ellis