Things God Really Does Hate (Greatest Commandments, Part 16)

Imagine every commandment in Scripture as a tree, each commandment branching off of the others, until we’re left with the root of the tree: love God with all your being, and love neighbor as self.


The Greatest Commandments Project is an undertaking to map all the biblical commandments in the Torah into a massive visual tree. It’s been going strong for 2 years now. And we’re only about 15% done! Time to pick up the pace, boychik!

And you, fine blog reader, are here to witness that, as we tackle part 16, where we map commandments 55-65, all dealing with idolatry.

Have a look at:

Israeli Idol

You’d be surprised how much of the Torah is concerned with idolatry; currently, almost half (41%) of all mapped commandments are pertaining to idolatry. When all is said and done, we’ll probably end up at about 25%, or a quarter of all commandments in Scripture.

The politically incorrect nature of these commandments is striking: God hates idolatry. And you’re commanded not to love idolaters.

Wait, God hates something? Really? And we shouldn’t love those people? Really? That won’t sit right with most civilized people. Doesn’t jive with Christianity, really, or modern western culture, that God hates something, and that there are some people we are refrain from loving.

Atheists will gobble up these commandments and say, “See how evil your god is! He hates people, and commands you to hate them!”

GodHatesIn the US, there exists hardline right-wing religious groups protesting with signs like “God hates fags.”

And in response, left-wing counter-protesters hold signs, in mocking, “God hates shrimpers.” Left-wing protesters mockingly suggest God also hates shrimpers

Though these inflammatory, politically-motivated slogans are somewhat based on Scripture, perhaps in dubious ways, it is nonetheless apparent that there really are some things God hates.

Idolatry is one of them.

  • Don’t worship idols (Lev. 19:4).
  • Don’t bow to idols (Ex. 20:5, one of the 10 Commandments).
  • Destroy idols, and places of idol worship (Deut 12:1).
  • Burn idolatrous cities in Israel (Deut 13:16).
  • Don’t benefit from an idol’s destruction (Deut 7:25).
  • Don’t imitate idolaters (Lev. 20:23).
  • Don’t love idolaters, don’t favor them, don’t defend them, don’t save them, don’t yield to them (Deut. 13:6-11).
  • Don’t allow idolaters to even live in Israel (Ex. 23:33).
  • You’re actually commanded to regard idolatry as vile (Deut. 7:26).
  • Yes, God hates idolatry (Deut. 7:25).

Whew. And that’s just a sample.

Israeli Counter-Missionaries and Persecution

IMG_1889When you read the Torah like this, and take it literally, you can understand why certain Israeli ultra-Orthodox counter-missionary organizations do what they do. They regard Yeshua’s disciples as idolaters, so they persecute us. From their perspective, we are idolaters because we worship a different god.

Going a level deeper, if we, Yeshua’s disciples, are worshipping a different god besides the God of Israel, then yes, we are idolaters. And if we are idolaters, Jewish counter-missionaries are justified in persecuting us; in fact, not only justified, but commanded! That is to say, if Jesus is not the messiah, Christians and Messianics are misled at best, idolaters at worst, and the counter-missionaries are doing God’s work persecuting and killing us.

On the other hand, if Yeshua is the Messiah, then the counter-missionaries are hard-hearted and temporarily blinded at best, blasphemers at worst!

It comes down to the authenticity of Yeshua’s messiahship. If Yeshua is not the divine Messiah and Son of God – the one prophesied to do all those great things – then we ought not be praying to God in Yeshua’s name, we ought not consider Yeshua the long-awaited Messiah, he isn’t the first and the last, he isn’t salvation, the New Testament is a great fabrication, and our hope is in vain.

But if he is the Messiah, what a great hope we have! And what kind of longsuffering we must have towards our Ultra-Orthodox persecutors in Israel. If Yeshua is the Messiah, the counter-missionaries are temporarily hard-hearted, so that the nations would come to the God of Israel through its Messiah. A grand plan, with a prophecy-fulfilling, mountain-splitting, resurrection life outcome. It’s unfolded in the last 2 millennia for ultimate good, with the result of billions from the nations coming to know the God of Israel.

The Big Picture

We’ve mapped some 10 commandments into our big commandments hierarchy. Here’s the new snapshot of the beauty:

(Click to view full size)

And here are the stats so far:

  • 84 commandments have been mapped.
  • The project is 14% completed.
  • 88% are related to loving God.
    • Of these, about half are pertaining to idolatry.
  • 12% are related to loving your neighbor.
  • 96% can be carried out in modern times.
  • 14% can be carried out only in Israel.
  • 36% are positive commandments.
  • 64% are negative commandments.
  • 60% are observed by Christians:
    • Of which, 33% obeyed, 20% attempted, 7% recognized.
  • 94% are observed by Messianics:
    • Of which, 61% obeyed, 20% attempted, 13% recognized.
  • 95% are observed by observant Jews:
    • Of which, 64% obeyed, 20% attempted, 10% recognized.
  • 7% have alternate readings.
  • 21% are from Exodus.
  • 32% are from Leviticus.
  • 5% are from Numbers.
  • 41% are from Deuteronomy.
  • The average commandment length is 144 characters.
  • The average summary length is 32 characters.

This project forces me to get down and dirty with the commandments. Forces me to study, get beyond some of the theological fights out there and go back to the text. And mapping them in a visual hierarchy forces me to think about how the commandments are related, how the commandments all come back to loving God and neighbor, as Yeshua so succinctly put it.

And if nothing else, it puts the commandments back into my mind, which, recursively enough, is a commandment itself.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of the Greatest Commandments Project, fine blog readers.


  1. Judah, I like this post, but I especially liked your balanced and forward-looking view of those Jews who temporarily view Yeshua followers as opponents and even idolaters (from their point of view, which is, in part, no doubt also colored by many misdeeds of Christians), but soon, G-d willing, will embrace us as brothers while continuing to be as zealous for G-d and His Torah AND also for G-d's Messiah just as the first disciples were in Jerusalem.

  2. Hi Gene,

    You sure are up late this time of night. :-)

    Agreed, we have to be longsuffering, not returning the hatred that some of us have received.

    Hard to do, considering the stuff said about us in these forums, or done to Messianic believers in Israel.

  3. "Hard to do, considering the stuff said about us in these forums, or done to Messianic believers in Israel."

    It's hard to follow Yeshua in general, doubly or more so for any of us who are Jews. But if we start looking at our fellow Jews with the heart of Yeshua, not as enemies but beloved brothers, view them through the lens of Shaul who was willing to be cut off even from Messiah for their sake, it will - no, it MUST - take on a different dimension.


  4. I'm glad you're back on "the project". I've been waiting to see what else you have mapped. The class I'm currently teaching at my congregation is doing something similar. I've retooled my "613 commandments" class to take the teachings of Yeshua in Matthew and to try to map them back to the Torah commandments, and therefore enable us to see what (as it says in Matthew 28:19-20) Yeshua commanded his Jewish disciples to teach the Gentile disciples to learn and obey.

    However, I'm using a subset of the 613 commandments as compiled by the Chafetz Chayim, which is comprised of 77 positive commandments and 194 negative commandments. These are the mitzvot which are believed possible for Jews to obey outside of Israel in the modern era (no Temple, no Sanhedrin, no Kohenim, and so on).

    I just taught my 6th class (out of 16) last night and so far, we've established that Yeshua's teachings map back to 19 specific Torah commandments; 10 positive and 9 negative. All of the commandments (again, this is incomplete) fall under the categories of God, the Torah, Love and Brotherhood, and Treatment of Gentiles.

    Hopefully, by the end of the course, we'll have a list of the mitzvot that Yeshua was using as source material for all of his teachings recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and have a better idea of what Yeshua expected his Jewish disciples to teach we (for those of us who are Gentiles) non-Jewish disciples to learn and obey.

    Relative to the recent events in Ashdod, while I've already registered my issues on the Messianic congregation vs. the anti-missionaries, I have to agree with Gene that, if the ultra-Orthodox community views Messianics in the same way as those Christians in ages past who tortured and murdered Jews in an attempt to force their conversion to Christianity, their anger is understandable (though I can't approve of threats of violence).

    I really enjoyed your blog post today (though I miss the weekly "roundups"). Thanks.

  5. Judah, you should take some time to read the details to these commands on idolatry in Mishne Tora; here.

  6. Thanks, Aaron, that's helpful.

    @James, yeah, I've been doing the weekly bracha every two weeks instead. It makes life easier for me. I am a busy man! :-)

  7. And what kind of longsuffering we must have towards our Ultra-Orthodox persecutors in Israel.

    @Judah, that is so true. It is truly disconcerting to observe the knee-jerk reaction that some have when they hear of Messianic being persecuted in Israel. In our concern for our Messianic brothers in Israel, we must not forget our Orthodox brothers and strive to understand their legitimate concerns (while possibly disagreeing with their conclusions).

  8. It's everyone's initial reaction, right? "Oh, they're persecuting Messianics! That's it, I hate them!"

    Paul probably anticipated this when he said, "As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."

    You might paraphrase that bolded part as, "They look and act like enemies of the gospel. But keep in mind they are loved by God on account of the promises to Abraham."

  9. they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

    This sounds something like:

    When you understand that your fellow man is suffering in order that you may be privileged to help him—then you are truly humbled. (from Chabad of Mineola).

    Either way, God temporarily humbles or causes one person or group to be downcast so another person or group may be uplifted. When the Messiah comes, may we all be uplifted together.