The Least and Greatest in the Kingdom

So long as we observe the important rules in the Bible, like the Ten Commandments, why should we worry about all the little stuff?

Those who annul even the least of the commandments and teach others to do so as well will be called “least in the kingdom of heaven. The person who keeps the Torah’s commandments and teaches others to do so as well will be considered great in the Messianic Era. (Image © FFOZ/KUCO/Bigstock)

Yeshua said that He did not come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets but to fulfill them, that is, to observe them and correctly interpret them. Moreover, He warned His disciples not to annul a commandment or to dissuade others from observing the commandments.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

Those who annul even the least of the commandments and teach others to do so as well will be called “least in the kingdom of heaven.” This does not mean exclusion from the kingdom, nor does it mean that they will not “go to heaven” when they die, rather it means that they will rank low in the Messianic Era. The term “kingdom of heaven” refers to the Messianic Era when King Messiah will reign on earth. The person who keeps the Torah’s commandments and teaches others to do so as well will be considered great in the Messianic Era.

The Master told His disciples that they were to be scrupulous in keeping both the smaller commandments and the greater commandments. Disciples of Rabbi Yeshua must resist the temptation to dismiss any commandment of the Torah, no matter how seemingly inconsequential. All the commandments are important, and even the light commandments should not be neglected. For example, the Master praises the Pharisees for tithing even their mint, dill, and cumin (Matthew 23:23)

The Talmud compares one of the greatest commandments, “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12) with one of the least of the commandments, “you shall not take the mother with the young” (Deuteronomy 22:6) and points out that the reward for both commandments is identical: “that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.” Perhaps this is why rabbis say, “Be as scrupulous observing a small commandment as you are observing a great one for you do not know what the reward of each is” (m.Avot 2:1).

The reward for observing God’s commandments will not be revealed until the kingdom. In that day, those faithful disciples who have kept even the least of God’s holy commandments to their best of their ability will receive the greatest reward.

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Adapted From:

Chronicles of the Messiah

Chronicles of the Messiah presents an extensive harmonized study of the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective, published in a sturdy, hard cover edition of six books.

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