הֲלָכָה (Halacha) - “The Way we Walk”
הֲלָכָה or Halacha; “The Way we Walk,” is a word used in various forms, and over 1500 times in the scriptures. It almost always means walk in the sense of “Whoever says he abides in Messiah ought to walk in the same way in which Messiah walked.” (1 John 2:6) In other words, those who confess Messiah or claim to be “in Him,” ought to conduct their lives accordingly. One of the promises of the New Covenant is that The Spirit placed within will ’cause us to walk in God’s ways.” (Ezekiel 36:27)
Some other examples:
“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:24)
“Righteousness walks before him and prepares the way for his steps.” (Psalm 85:13)
“The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him.” (Deuteronomy 28:9)
Our walk, or how we conduct ourselves through life according to God’s principles, is our ‘Halacha.’
For over a millennia, the mechanics of how to walk out the commandments of God according to His word have been vigorously debated. Likewise, varying and often contradicting biblical interpretive methods have yielded many different ways of walking the commandments out. Those that called themselves scribes, sages, and teachers, have unfortunately confounded God’s clear teachings and twisted them into ‘a collective burden which neither we nor our Fathers have been able to bear.” (Acts 15:10) No, that’s not talking about the Law (Torah) (God’s very instructions for life), but what the religious elite had unnecessarily contorted the Divine’s teaching into. I say ‘unnecessarily,’ because God said that His instructions/law were easy to understand and easy to do:
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11–14)
God’s way is perceivable. He does not obscure it or hide it from those earnestly seeking Him:
“I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth:
I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain:
I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” (Isaiah 45:17)
God’s word perceivable and understandable and His way is walkable. In other words, you can do it.
By the time Messiah came on the scene and began his ‘fulfilling’ ministry, things had gotten pretty confusing. There was a lot added to and taken away from God’s clear instruction. Walking out this conflated religion was classified as ‘burdensome’ by Messiah as well. (Matthew 23:4) Their Halacha was not God’s Halacha. The walk that once belonged to the righteous had become obscured by the religious.
In Matthew 5:17–19 where Jesus says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” the word ‘fulfill’ there does not mean ‘fulfill’ in the sense that His obedience to it terminates our obligation to keep it. No, that interpretation and application, according to Jesus makes one ‘least’ in God’s Kingdom. Instead, the word ‘fulfill’ has the sense of causing God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be by Jesus’ example. He lived the Law / Torah / God’s instructions for life, as it was intended to be lived and walked out. He separated out all of the religious adulteration or man made halacha, and set in motion a halacha (walk) that all of His disciples would emulate.
The way we walk, our halacha, should reflect that of Yeshua the Messiah. He never made a single provision for a halacha that was different than His. He never said that His life, death, or resurrection, would change or nullify His halacha (best and fullest example of how to walk out the faith).
A halacha outside of Christ and His teachings is a halacha of our own desires and flesh. (Ephesians 2:3) Jeremiah the prophet has much to say about creating a halacha, a walk, a manner of conducting ourselves through life and with others that does not reflect Torah. He also warns us that walking (halacha-ing)* according to our own theological devices only leads to hopelessness, rebellion, and disaster. (Jeremiah 18:11–13)
God says that it is arrogance that tries to develop manner of walking that contradicts, adds to, or takes away from His Halacha. He also says that those who remember His Halacha or instructions for walking (Torah) will be blessed and become His treasured possession. (Malachi 3:13–17)
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk (Halacha) according to the Torah of the LORD.” (Psalm 119:1)
Is your walk (Halacha) fashioned after God’s Law and Messiah’s fullest example or after your own theological devices?
*I’m using the Hebrew root הָלַךְ (Halak) in all of the examples cited above with a little latitude. 🙂