How To Live Forever

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


In this paper I want to examine what the Bible says about how a man can gain eternal life. I want to know how to live forever from HaShem's perspective. Let's begin by looking at:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 3:20-24 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. HaShem God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And HaShem God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So HaShem God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

So, in Bereshit (Genesis), HaShem says that men would live forever if they eat from the tree of life. This is the first reference to eternal life, in the scriptures. Lets look again to see if there are any other ways to have eternal life:

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:39-40 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that HaShem is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep His decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land HaShem your God gives you for all time.

 

The above passage seems to be saying that you can live forever by keeping the commands and decrees of HaShem. Lest we have any doubt lets try to confirm this from another passage:

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 20:10-13 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert. I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I HaShem made them holy. "'Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws--although the man who obeys them will live by them--and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) never comes right out and calls it eternal life, but, it is obvious that the way to live is through the commands of HaShem. This life is different than what the wicked do when they walk and breathe. The wicked do not live like the righteous. The only difference must be in how long they live. Lets look at one more passage to make this point clear:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 19:15-17 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Now a man came up to Yeshua and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Yeshua replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

 

and

 

Marqos (Mark) 10:17-23 As Yeshua started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Yeshua answered. "No one is good--except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Yeshua looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Yeshua looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

 

and

 

Luqas (Luke) 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Yeshua. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Yeshua replied. "Do this and you will live."

 

The second way to live forever is to obey the commands of HaShem. By obeying Torah we inherit eternal life. Lets look, now, at a third way to live forever:

 

Yochanan (John) 6:43-51 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Yeshua answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

 

The next way to live forever is to eat of the Bread from Heaven. Yeshua is obviously The Bread from Heaven. The second way to live forever is to eat of this Living bread. This Living Bread is clarified in:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:10-16 "You are Israel's teacher," said Yeshua, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, That everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

The third way to live forever involves believing in the Son of G-d. This third way is described, repeatedly, throughout the scriptures, in various ways. They all boil down to faith in Mashiach.

 

Let's summarize the methods, used by HaShem and described in His scriptures, for obtaining eternal life:

 

1.         Eat from the Tree of Life.

2.         Obey the commands of HaShem.

3.         Believe in the Son of G-d.

 

These three ways to live forever are all clearly spelled out in the Bible, yet there is a problem. Lets look at the problem:

 

Yochanan (John) 14:6 Yeshua answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Mashiach seems to be saying that there is ONLY ONE way to life and that is through Yeshua. Yet, we have already seen that there are clearly three ways to live forever. How do we resolve this? Proverbs puts all three of these together:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:13-20 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom HaShem laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; By his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

 

The above passage is read, in the synagogue, when the Torah scroll is returned to the ark. When we say this, we agree that the ultimate wisdom is Torah. This passage shows that whoever created the world is Torah and is the Tree of life. So, the Tree of Life, the Torah, and Yeshua are all the same entity. Yeshua must be the Tree of Life. Yeshua must be the Torah. Yeshua is THE way and THE truth and THE life!

 

The scriptures often compare two different things, to a third thing. For example: Torah is light and Yeshua is light:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:23 For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law (Torah) [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:

 

Yochanan (John) 8:12 When Yeshua spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

 

This has profound implications for the believer today. It means that we must obey all of HaShem's commands in the Torah or we will, in effect, be discarding a part of Yeshua. It means that if we make a distinction between the laws of HaShem that we must obey and those that we don't have to obey, that we must somehow believe in part of Yeshua and not in all of Him. This does not work! Just as Yeshua is a single entity, so also is the Torah a single entity. We can not divide the commands of HaShem anymore than we can divide the body of Messiah. We either obey all of the Torah or we have rejected Mashiach.

 

Further evidence for this idea is demonstrated by the fact that the Sages divide the 613 commandments into 248 positive (corresponding to the 248 bodily organs) and 365 negative (corresponding to the 365 bodily sinews). After all, a wise individual understands that he must take care of his entire organism if he desires physical well-being. So too it borders on spiritual blindness to dramatize one mitzva while ignoring another. If Yeshua is the Living Torah, then these 613 mitzvot represent His body!

 

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For further study:  Shabbat is the "Tree of Life," a tree planted in a place of life, which is understanding.[1]

 

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This study was written by Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com



[1] Shem M'Shmuel, Bereshit 5671