Part 1: To Whom Does it Belong?
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 17 April 2004
I wonder if you, as a Christian, have ever been accused of not loving someone unconditionally because you bind yourself to Yahweh's Torah or Law? I wonder if you have ever been accused to letting 'religion' get in the way of love because you insist that you love within a framework of Law? For many years I have wondered about the catch phrase 'unconditional love' and always somehow felt uneasy about it. Indeed, there have been times - many times - when I have taken such criticisms deep to heart and wondered if indeed, perhaps, I have not been as loving as I ought to have been. I have wondered if I have allowed the letter of the Law to quench the spirit of love and so rendered myself a spiritually barren landscape. My thoughts and feelings over this question have been tossed to and fro over the years never really giving me a totally satisfactory answer until I discovered that I was using a word - 'unconditional' - that has a double meaning - a word that was being used to mean one thing by one set of people, and another thing by another.
The word 'unconditional' means 'without conditions or limitations'. Thus 'unconditional love' has come to mean 'total love'. And if that's all it meant, there might be no problems with using such a catch phrase. Where the meaning is twisted, however, is where, for instance, gurus from oriental religions demand your 'unconditional love' which is used in the sense of 'total surrender'. But does this mean that human beings should totally surrender themselves to others? The answer is an unreserved 'No!' - we are never to totally surrender to another human being, not even a wife to her husband who scripture says is required to obey him in "all things". The question is: what things? Wives are to obey their husbands in all things that do not contradict the demands that Yahweh places on her Himself. For instance, if a husband wants his wife to make love in a public place, then he is making a demand on her love that he is not entitled to have, because Yahweh has forbidden public exposure of this. That means, does it not, that the love she has for her husband can by no means be unconditional? It means that her loving is conditioned or limited ... by what? By Yahweh's Torah, of course!
It follows from this simple example that the love human beings are supposed to have for one another is conditional, not unconditional. If a married woman comes up to me and wants me to sleep with her and thus supposedly shows me 'unconditional love', does it mean that I am not loving because I refuse her? Of course not! It is one of the most unloving things I could possible do in committing adultery! I am required, by the love of Yahweh, to say an absolute and non-negotiable 'no'. And there are no mitigating circumstances. Am I selfish for denying her love? Of course not! My conditional love - that is, love within the boundaries established by Yahweh - is the most loving thing I can do for her, myself, my family, and her family. Thus if she retorts that I should be unconditionally loving her, she is, in fact, lying.
I suppose I learned this lesson a very long time ago but never really saw it in terms of the twisted catch phrases of our modern hedonistic society. But are there examples of unconditional love which are, say, spiritual and non-sexual? Yes of course. And all you have to do is read your Torah to know what this is. But before we look at this, let us first remind ourselves of the very clear teachings of Yah'shua (Jesus) on this subject:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35, NIV).
"As I have loved you ..." ... "In the same way I have loved you," He said. He did not say: "Love without frontiers!" did He? Listen, He says the same again a little later:
"My command is this: Love each other as (in the same way) I have loved you" (John 15:12, NIV)
So what does He mean by this word "as"? Isn't it obvious? He wants us to imitate the loving which He did whilst in mortality. He wants us to imitate His life. And what did that life consist of? Firstly, it had a framework, and that framework was uncompromisingly and eternally Torah, Yahweh's revelation, teachings and law of the Old Testament. Yahweh was always No.1 in His life, without exception. Many times He reminds us that the Torah is immutable and that not one dot over an 'i' or one crossed 't' will disappear from it until the end of time (Mt.5:17-20). This does not mean that anyone could subsequently say otherwise, even though apostles like Paul have been twisted to mean the opposite of what His Master taught. The context of loving, brethren and sisters, is always Torah. It is a conditional, living factor.
We also know that Yah'shua (Jesus) came to bring Torah to completion and that He expanded it and modified some of it. These we can read about in His "It is written ... but I say unto you" sayings. He redefined love to include loving our enemies, and to bless those who despitefully use us. But that extension of the love of Yahweh does not mean we can love our enemy by indulging in pagan practices, for instance, for that is to cease loving Yahweh. To love our neighbour or our enemy is not to hate him with negative, vengeful feelings or thoughts. It is to extend the love and grace of Yahweh through human life - our human life - to him by inviting him into the fellowship of Torah! To love the unbeliever is to love his soul in the same way that Yahweh loves Him, the love which was revealed by Yah'shua (Jesus). Does that mean that loving the soul of an unbeliever should be unconditional also? Of course not! It does not mean, for instance, that we open up our hearts to an unbeliever and create a soul tie to him that will put us into bondage. It does not mean that we strip the armour of the Gospel off us, does it? It does not mean that we remove the helmet of salvation off our heads so that we accept his false thinking. It does not mean that we remove the breastplate of righteousness off us so that we empathise with his ungodliness. It does not mean that we take off the belt of truth - truth which is defined by Torah - and accept the lies he believes in. It does not mean that we put down the shield of faith and agree with his faithlessness. It does not mean that we lay aside the Sword of the Ruach (Spirit) and of the Word and accept whatever demonic entities are leading him. And finally, it does not mean that we take off the shoes of spreading the good news of Yah'shua (Jesus) in order to befriend him - we are not to walk in his ungodly ways in any degree (Eph.6:11-18).
Now I could add to this list. Loving someone does not give the believer the right to put aside any of the armour of Yahweh! Ever! Yet many naïve and gullible Christians have done so believing that they are fulfilling a supposedly 'higher' commandment in 'unconditionally loving' their neighbour! Never! This is an insidious lie that keeps the believer in bondage. We are always to love within a context, and that context is Yahweh and His Torah. We are to love our neighbour and our enemy conditionally.
What I am absolutely not saying is that we should turn off tender and warm feelings for people. That is not what I mean at all. I am not saying you should become cold and indifferent. I am not saying you should cease being sympathetic and empathetic. All I am saying is that in all that you do, remember - remember to have Torah in the right place at all times, even as it is written:
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut.6:6-9, NKJV; also 11:18-21)
The words of Yahweh shall be constantly in our hearts, they are to be taught diligently to our children, they are to be spoken about at home, on the wayside, when lying down, and when getting up. Let me ask you: do you have this selfsame passionate love for the Word of Yahweh? It is to be such an intimate association, we are told, that we are to bind them to our hand and to our foreheads, and write them on the doorposts of our houses and gates. Can you think of a better way for Yahweh to make an important point? And remember, Yah'shua (Jesus) upheld all of this and emphasised them to His disciples, telling them to make sure that their Torah-righteousness exceeded that even of the Pharisees, the ultra-legalistic and spiritless religious leaders of the day.
The armour of God that Paul talks about is not play-acting. He isn't saying, dress up as a Roman soldier for fun in the way that we dress up our children in Sabbath School sometimes to teach them this lesson. This is spiritual instruction. We are to have this armour on day and night for the rest of our lives. Do you think he would give us this instruction if we didn't need it? Therefore remember this, and remember this well: when you are loving your neighbour and your enemy - and that means everyone - you must be spiritually kitted up at all times, for if you aren't, what possible use are you going to be to him? How can you lead him to salvation? If you remove your armour it is you he will be converting and probably without your even noticing it.
Torah is the outward manifestation of true love. The only unconditional love we are to give is to our Father in Heaven, and to no one else. Think about it. If we were to unconditionally love Yahweh and our neighbour, what would be the difference? Wouldn't we be loving them equally? Yes, that is exactly what it would mean. And Yah'shua (Jesus) implies that such is blasphemy when He declares:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26, NIV).
Now why would Yah'shua (Jesus) tell His disciples to hate his relatives and members of his own family when He had been preaching and teaching a message of love? He isn't, of course, saying we should hate them. We all know this; He didn't mean us to hate any more than He was preaching cannibalism when He told His disciples that if they were to follow Him that they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. The spiritually-minded know that what He is saying here is that our love for our family will seem like hate in comparison to the love we ought to have reserved for Yahweh, and for Yahweh alone. Thus the Amplified Version of the Bible adds this clarification:
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [that is, in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters, [yes] and even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple".
This truth you know, and you know it well. Given a choice between Yahweh and a parent, spouse, child, or even our own life, we will unhesitatingly choose Yahweh. But how can you do that if you love equally - if you love Him and your family unconditionally? It is impossible! In fact, the word 'unconditionally' becomes meaningless, then, doesn't it? How can you love two people unconditionally if they make demands on you that require your following one or the other? Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matt.6:24, NIV).
If you love humans unconditionally then by definition you have two masters, assuming you claim to love God unconditionally also - and that is a contradiction. A person who says He loves Yahweh unconditionally and also his neighbour unconditionally is a liar because this is utterly impossible. And if you believe it is possible, then it is because somewhere along the line you have been deceived. Loving a human being unconditionally is therefore seen to be a form of humanism and therefore atheism. The doctrine that we are to love people unconditionally is a doctrine of Satan, and no less.
I am sure people will want to misquote me on this, which is why I am inserting this statement now. What do I believe? I believe what Scripture teaches. And Scripture teaches that we are to love each other as Christ loved us. And He nowhere teaches that we are to love one another unconditionally. He told us to love each other but not in the same way as we love Yahweh. He taught that our love was always to have a Torah-context, in other words, that love is not lawless (Mt.7:21-23, but not the NIV!). He told us to be compassionate for others, to love them as we love ourselves (not as we love God), and to love as Yahweh loves, leading them into salvation (helmet), truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate), faith (shield), the Ruach (Spirit) (sword), and so on. We are supposed to be recruiting spiritual warriors, not disarming ourselves. Loving people unconditionally inevitably entails the risk of disarming ourselves and making us a prey for the adversary.
The doctrine of unconditional love for mankind is demonic, not because we aren't supposed to love people, but we are supposed to love them as people, and in particular, as Yahweh's children. He's the one who created them and us. And He's the one who has the right to qualify how we are to love. There is only one total, unlimited, and unconditional love that is permitted, and that is our love for Yahweh. When we love a person with that kind of love we commit idolatry. We either set them alongside God or above them. And it doesn't matter what you call yourself if you do that - Christian, Messianic, or whatever - when you do that you have fallen away from the faith, however well-meaning you may have been, because love - as I have preached so many times from this pulpit - is defined by truth.
Have I told you the truth this morning? If so, then ask yourself this question: why, if you go out and preach this message to other Christians, they are angered by it? Why should such a message upset them? And then ask yourself another question: who in the cosmos is going to be the most upset by this message? Who stands the most to lose from it? You all know the answer - it is Satan. The number 6 is the scriptural number of man, and the number 666 is man elevated to the position of deity or God. It is the number of the beast. When you love man unconditionally you are making him deity. Indeed, without perhaps knowing it, you have become a Hindu, an occultist, a Satanist. And because the idolatry is such a monstrous one, it provokes the wrath of Satan against those who expose it. This is the doctrine of the end-time deception. It is the doctrine which is so very near to the truth and yet is at the same time light-years away from it. It is the doctrine that is going to lead to the mass-murder of true believers during the Tribulation.
And it's an old doctrine, but dressed in different words. It is the doctrine of the ancient Greeks, and in particular of the successors of Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, who imposed the doctrine on little Judea and in the process tried to stamp out the religion of Yahweh. It was the doctrine of Antiochus Epiphanes who forced the Judahites to renounce Torah on pain of death and which eventually led them to rebellion and to the miracle of Hanukkah. And it is the same doctrine that is being taught by the liberal political establishment today, which exalts every minority belief and practice that is anti-Torah. It is the doctrine of unconditional acceptance of all and every lifestyle upon pain of prosecution. It is the doctrine of unconditionally loving every religion and the beliefs and practices of every man as though he were his own truth and his own deity. It is the doctrine of the abandonment of absolute truth, goodness, holiness and righteousness, the Bible, and Yahweh. That is the doctrine of unconditional love which is why it is so dangerous and must be exposed for the demonic lie which it is.
The Christians who have been, still are being, and will be, swallowed up into this delusion are all Torah-rejecting. They are promoting a doctrine of grace without law and opening the door to spiritual chaos. This is how we are being destroyed. And it all started 40 or so years ago with some very subtle but deadly anti-biblical indoctrination that spread like wildfire on the back of a new form of music which has today conquered the hearts of nearly all people. Of this I shall speak more in a couple of weeks' time.
Please do not be deceived. Unconditional love is lawlessness; is it something that human beings have no right to give to each other. True love through the medium of human beings is conditional, channeled, and purified through truth, and that truth is the Word, and that Word was incarnated as Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and that Word was Torah. I believe that this truth is what will separate the wheat from the tares, and the sheep from the goats, remembering as we must that tares look exactly alike wheat until they come to maturity when the difference becomes obvious. But by then it is too late. By then the tares are only worth burning. You see, false love looks like true love until it ripens and is shown to be of the devil.
Be wise, know your Torah, and invite the Ruach (Spirit) to write it on your heart, for this is the New Covenant (Jer.31:31-34) incarnated by our Master Yah'shua (Jesus). Amen.
Click here for Part 2
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Last updated on 11 March 2004
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