Deuteronomy 4:2Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of YHVH* your Elohim which I command you. *(See footnote)
This verse tells us that the reason we should not add to nor diminish from is so that we can keep His commandments. If we add our own ideas to what He has given us it will become burdensome. By the time of Yahshua so much had been added that they needed teachers of the law to keep it all straight.
At the time of Moses, on the other hand, it was only necessary to read the book of the law once every seven years at the feast of tabernacles before the men, women, children and the stranger that is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn and fear Yahweh your Elohim, Deut 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before YHVH thy Elohim in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear YHVH your Elohim, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear YHVH your Elohim…
Also Deut 30:11 states "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off."
The apostle John reminds us of this in 1John 5:3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous., and Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
All throughout scripture we see that the law was given to bless us and a special blessing if we meditate on that law day and night. Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of YHVH; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Yahshua also says in Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Deut 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. The Father, speaking of His son says "I will put my words in his mouth", and Yahshua says in John 12:49-50 "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." So you see that the easy yoke that Yahshua is presenting to us, is the same perfect yoke written about in Psalm 19:7," For the law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul".
From these scriptures we understand that Yahweh’s law is not too difficult, it is not burdensome, in doing it, it makes us happy, and it was given perfectly for His people, and also He helps and guides us by His Spirit, Ezekiel 36:26-27 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." By the time the Spirit installs a new heart and a new spirit you practically have a whole new man. This is what we see in Ephesians 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after Elohim is created in righteousness and true holiness." But with all this, if we fail to follow the Father’s instruction as He intended, I John 2:1-3 gives us this encouragement "My little children these things I write unto you that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahshua Messiah the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." So John’s desire for us is that we sin not but that we keep all His commandments as an expression of our relationship with the Father through His son Yahshua Messiah the righteous, so do not add unto the word which He commands us neither diminish ought from it. If we add to it we make it too difficult and if we diminish it then we are obviously not doing it anymore.
Deuteronomy 12:32 gives us this instruction again "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it, thou shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it." Here we see the same instruction but with a different context. This instruction comes just before the chapter about being able to recognize the false prophet. Verse 5 of Deuteronomy 13 identifies the false prophet as the one who would turn you away from Yahweh your Elohim … to thrust you out of the way which Yahweh your Elohim commanded you to walk in. Deut 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from YHVH your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which YHVH thy Elohim commanded thee to walk in…
So the false prophet would thrust us out of the way in which we are to walk. John reminds us of that walk in 1st John 2:6, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked." Matthew 7:15 also warns us of the false prophet, "Beware of false prophets which come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Wolves take life by killing and eating and similarly someone who would steer us away from them the Father’s instruction, by their teaching, takes life from us according to Deuteronomy 30:15 "See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil." And also in verse 19, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
As we know from Galatians 3:7 "ye know therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." And again in verse 29 of the same chapter, "And if ye be Messiah’s then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise." 2nd Timothy 3:16 and 17 makes it clear that, "All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of Elohim may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." These scriptures establish the framework that all of Yahweh’s word apply to all of Yahweh’s people.
Matthew 24:11 tells us that many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. Yahshua warns us of this human tendency by rebuking the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 15:8-9 "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Proverbs 30:6 follows this same theme by connecting "adding to the word" with falsehood, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Isaiah 40:8 "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our Elohim shall stand forever." So beware of the false prophet who might add thereto, or diminish from it.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 "I know that whatsoever Elohim doeth, it shall be forever, nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it, and Elohim doeth it that men should fear before him." In this verse, the connection is made between His eternal and unchanging nature and the unchanging nature of His word, which seems so obvious, why should we have to say it, but it does need to be said, over and over because of the tendency of man to replace the word of Elohim with the ideas of man, and the traditions of man. And when we finally get this through our heads that if He doesn’t change, then also His word doesn’t change, then we put ourselves in the proper frame of mind to really fear Him, as the last phrase in the verse implies, "that men should fear before him."
To fear Him includes the idea of respecting Him, but it’s much more than just respect. To better understand this, picture yourself as Isaiah is his vision standing before Yahweh’s throne, described in Isaiah 6:1-5 or as one of the four and twenty elders who fell on their faces and worshipped in Revelations 11:16 and 17. Then picture yourself as in Revelations 20:12 when we shall all stand before His throne and we will be judged out of those things which were written in the books according to our works. These scriptural accounts help us to grasp His awesome majesty to a greater level. In Genesis 22:11-12 the angel of Yahweh points out that the fear of Yahweh is demonstrated in our obedience when he said "for now I know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son thine only son from me."So we must be doers of the word and not hears only.
Finally, we see in Revelations 22 that the very last words given as inspired scripture emphasize the eternal principal, do not add to the words nor take away from the eternal word. Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Elohim shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
What He has spoken, He has spoken. Numbers23:19 says it this way, "El is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
And also Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Not only is this principal the very final words of scripture but He also wrote this concept into the laws of the universe, "Mass-Energy may not be created or destroyed but each may be converted into the other."No one can escape His eternal unchanging word, nor should anyone want to, Halleluyah.
* This article uses the Hebrew names:
- the LORD = YHVH (often transliterated Yahweh)
- Jesus = Yahshua (or Yeshua) - God = Elohim (also shortened as El)
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