Testing the 613, Part 1


You may have heard about the 613 commandments and upon hearing such a high number became a bit squeamish. If you did, you are not alone, many people feel a similar way after learning there are more commandments to be followed. But don’t let a number scare you or intimidate you and hopefully after this series you will come to see that not only is it not too difficult but that keeping the instructions of the Father is a joy.


Before we begin going over the commandments, I should make you aware that no where in the Bible does it state there are 613 commandments. It does however contain, in the writings of Moses, a voluminous set of instructions for followers of Elohim to live a set-apart life. In the 12th century Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon or more commonly known as “Rambam”, set out to list the 613 as the Talmud states there is.

“Rabbi Simlai taught: There were 613 mitzvot stated to Moses in the Torah, consisting of 365 prohibitions corresponding to the number of days in the solar year, and 248 positives…” (Talmud, Makkot 23b)

The Talmud however does not give specific verses to find these 613 commandments, hence the list Rambam made. As we go over Rambam’s list we are first going to see if there is actually a command there, then determine if it can be fulfilled today, and if the command falls under loving Elohim or loving our neighbor.

“And יהושע said to him, " ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ “This is the first and great command. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Others who have embarked on such an inquiry have reported that there really are not 613 commandments, but fewer and even fewer still that may be fulfilled today. Without further ado let us to begin the journey.


1. Rambam has, “Know there is a God”

I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)

Using the scripture, he used to prove this is a command, we see that while it does not state “You shall know” we can however see the logic behind it. For we must first know there is YHWH if we are to worship Him. This would fall under love Elohim and yes this can be fulfilled today. For my own personal notes, I titled it “Know there is Elohim”.


2. Rambam has, “Do not entertain thoughts of other gods besides God”

“You have no other mighty ones against My face.” (Exodus 20:3)

This commandment is clear, we are not to have other mighty ones (gods) besides the one true Elohim. This would fall under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. For my notes I titled it, “Do not worship other gods.”


3. Rambam has, “Know that God is One, a complete Unity.”

“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl(Israel): יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

This commandment is clear, we are to know Elohim is one. He does not share the stage with a pantheon of other gods such as the gods of Greek mythology. This would fall under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. For my notes I titled it, “Know Elohim is one.”


4. Rambam has, “Love God.”

“And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Another clear commandment, we are to love Elohim with all that we have. One might ask how do we show love to Elohim?

“For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy,” (1 John 5:3)

By observing His commands, we show are love for the Father, with that being said this would fall under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. I titled it the same in my notes.


5. Rambam has, “Fear God reverently.”

Fear יהוה your Elohim. Serve Him, and cling to Him, and swear by His Name.” (Deuteronomy 10:20)

We can easily see this command along with three others that Rambam will list later. This would fall under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. In my notes I titled it, “Fear Elohim.”


6. Rambam has, “Sanctify God's Name.”

“And do not profane My set-apart Name, and I shall be set-apart among the children of Yisra’ĕl(Israel). I am יהוה, who sets you apart,” (Leviticus 22:32)

Rambam will list do not profane later, but we can see that His name, His being, shall be set- apart (holy, sanctified) among His people. This falls under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today by using His name in a respectable manner. I titled it the same in my notes.


7. Rambam has, “Do not profane God's Name.”

And do not profane My set-apart Name, and I shall be set-apart among the children of Yisra’ĕl(Israel). I am יהוה, who sets you apart,” (Leviticus 22:32)

Profane means to, “treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect” (Google dictionary). The commandment is clearly there, falls under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. I titled it the same in my notes.


8. Rambam has, “Do not destroy objects associated with God's Name.”

“Completely destroy all the places where the nations which you are dispossessing served their mighty ones, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall break down their slaughter-places, and smash their pillars, and burn their Ashĕrim with fire. And you shall cut down the carved images of their mighty ones and shall destroy their name out of that place. “Do not do so to יהוה your Elohim,” (Leviticus 12:2-4)

When the Israelites came into the land, they were instructed to destroy everything that was used to worship other gods, the Father concludes be saying they should not treat His places and items in the same manner. This is a commandment that falls under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today. I titled it the same in my notes.


9. Rambam has, “Listen to the prophet speaking in God's Name.”

“Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him,” (Deuteronomy 18:15)

The commandment is there and while we’re here allow me to offer why I believe the Prophet spoken of is Yeshua.

“I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18)

Notice the language used in 18:15 and 18:18 indicate a singular Prophet, not to say this commandment wouldn’t apply to other prophets such as Isaiah, but that this prophecy ultimately is fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah.

“Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49)

This command falls under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today by adhering to the words of the prophets and the ultimate one, the Messiah. I titled it the same in my notes.


10. Rambam has, “Do not test God unduly.”

“Do not try יהוה your Elohim as you tried Him in Massah.” (Deuteronomy 6:16)

I agree with Rambam but let us look and see what happened in Massah.

“Therefore the people strove with Mosheh (Moses), and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Mosheh (Moses) said to them, “Why do you strive with me? Why do you try יהוה?” And the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Mosheh (Moses), and said, “Why did you bring us out of Mitsrayim (Egypt), to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” Then Mosheh (Moses) cried out to יהוה, saying, “What am I to do with this people? Yet a little and they shall stone me!” And יהוה said to Mosheh (Moses), “Pass over before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Yisra’ĕl. And take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. See, I am standing before you there on the rock in Ḥorĕḇ. And you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people shall drink. And Mosheh (Moses) did so before the eyes of the elders of Yisra’ĕl (Israel). And he called the name of the place Massah and Meriḇah, because of the ‘strife’ of the children of Yisra’ĕl (Israel), and because they ‘tried’ יהוה, saying, “Is יהוה in our midst or not?” (Exodus 17:2-7)

The Israelites had little no faith that the Father was going to take care of them, and instead of having trust in Elohim they began to complain. The commandment is for us not to test Him as our ancestors did years ago in Massah, let us not be like them during trying times but trust in our Father. This command falls under love Elohim and can be fulfilled today.


11. Rambam has, “Emulate God's ways.”

“Elohim does establish you as a set-apart people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you guard the commands of יהוה your Elohim and walk in His ways.” (Deuteronomy 28:9)

It’s not too difficult to see how Rambam got, emulate Elohim’s ways, if we walk in His ways then we are imitating, just as Paul told us to do.

“Become imitators of me, as I also am of Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

This commandment falls under love Elohim, can be fulfilled today, and I titled it the same in my notes.


12. Rambam has, “Cleave to those who know God.”

“Fear יהוה your Elohim. Serve Him, and cling to Him, and swear by His Name.” (Deuteronomy 10:20)

I don’t know where Rambam got cleave to those who know Elohim, when the scriptures say to cling to Him. It is a good idea to cling to those who serve Elohim, but the commandment is to cling to the Father. This falls under love Elohim, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I wrote, “Cling to Elohim.”


13. Rambam has, “Love other Jews.”

“‘Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am יהוה.” (Leviticus 19:18)

The commandment says to love your neighbor as yourself, not just Jews. When this command was given it was to the people of Israel, not just Judah, if this statement confuses you check out my post titled, “Israel and Judah”. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, it can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

14. Rambam has, “Show love towards converts.”

“And you shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Mitsrayim.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)

The literal command here is to love the stranger, nowhere does it state what Rambam listed. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “love the stranger.”


15. Rambam has, “Do not hate fellow Jews.”

“‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him.” (Leviticus 19:17)

The literal command here is to not hate your brother, which could mean your family and could mean your family in Messiah. When the Father gave this command, He was not just speaking to a sect of Israel but to all of Israel. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “Do not hate your brother.”

16. Rambam has, “Reprove a neighbor who sins.”

“‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him.” (Leviticus 19:17)

To reprove someone means to rebuke, admonish, or to reprimand and the only time are neighbor would need correcting would be when they sinned. They are caught up in some sort of disobedience and need to be corralled back on to the path. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and I titled it the same in my notes.


17. Rambam has, “Do not embarrass others.”

“Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him.” (Leviticus 19:17)

The literal command here is to not bear sin because of a neighbor, perhaps the reason why Rambam put what he did is because of gossip, but that does not encompass all of sin. For example, you could get angry at your neighbor. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “Do not bear sin because of your neighbor.”


18. Rambam has, “Do not oppress the weak.”

“Do not tread down a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Mitsrayim.” (Exodus 22:21)

The literal command here is to not oppress the sojourner, a sojourner is someone living temporarily somewhere. This commandment falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “Do not oppress the sojourner.”


19. Rambam has, “Do not speak derogatorily of others.”

Do not go slandering among your people. Do not stand against the blood of your neighbour. I am יהוה.” (Leviticus 19:16)

This command is clear, do not go about spreading gossip. This falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and in my notes I titled it, “Do not slander (gossip) about others.”


20. Rambam has, “Do not take revenge.”

“‘Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am יהוה.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Another clear, straight forward command, this falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and I titled it the same.


21. Rambam has, “Do not bear a grudge.”

“‘Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am יהוה.” (Leviticus 19:18)

The command is clearly there, falls under love your neighbor, can be fulfilled today, and I titled it the same in my notes.


This series will have many parts to it, I could cover more but I don’t want these posts to be over a 10-minute read. With this series probably going to be in the 60 range, I will more than likely take brakes along the way to write about something else. I hope this not only informs you about some of the teachings of Elohim we should be following, but also helps to calm the nerves. As always continue to test all things, including this, and may the Rauch lead you into all truth.

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