“So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
Because of an erroneous stubbornly recurring antithesis theology between the Hebrew and the Apostolic Writings, people assume that Yeshua overthrew the retributive Mosaic legal code of, ‘an eye for an eye’ and replaced it with a new law based on love and forgiveness (Exodus 21:24; Matthew 5:38-41). Let’s examine the issues a little closer.
The expressions, ‘eye for an eye’ and, ‘turning the other cheek’ are not to be taken literally. These are Hebrew idioms; legal terms invoking damage restitution by a liable parties. For damage restitution not to be demanded by God’s court of law would be unjust, and Hashem cannot be unjust. ‘An eye for an eye’ is a command for an offender to restitute what is lost, broken, or stolen, as a chance to redeem himself, not for the offended to demand. For a liable party not to ‘beg’ for an opportunity to demonstrate his true repentance for his foolish actions, would show callousness and a total lack of the fear of God.
When reading the Master’s recommended application of the Torah legal code all throughout His teachings, we must realize that Yeshua could not have been changing the Torah. That would automatically make Him a false prophet to be shunned. It is because of that erroneous teaching that until today Jews will not consider Yeshua as the Messiah. What Yeshua did in His teachings was absolutely in line with Rabbinic Judaism. He took the Torah and gave His personal opinion on how to apply Its wise instructions. Most of the Master’s recommended Torah application can be found within Judaism itself. He promoted much of Rabbi Hillel’s teachings (Rabbi Hillel was Gamaliel’s (Paul’s mentor and teacher) Grand-father)). Of course, since Yeshua is the Mashiach, His chosen applications are the right ones.
The mistake people make when they read the Master’s teachings is the failure to distinguish between obligations pertaining to Torah courts of Law, and imperatives given to individuals. Because of this, people often want to take the ‘law’ in their own hands and apply it in a vigilante style desiring wanting to kill the adulteress, the idolater and the criminals, when actually nothing of the sort can be done outside of a legal Sanhedrin ruling.
What the Master teaches us is greater than requiring the due course of justice. There is no commandment to litigate, and what Yeshua offers here is the idea of not to litigate; to rather to forgive a debt (a sin or an offense) from the heart; to not hold grudges, but instead,to rely upon Hashem for justice. This principle is the one found in the parables of the unjust servant (Matthew 18:21-35).To forgive in the legal code of Torah was not an emotional mental exercise; it was simply not to require retribution.
Come to think of it; could anyone of us be required the full mandate of the Torah for our trespasses against God?