WHAT IS LOVE?

DID YOU KNOW that "love" is one of the most misunderstood and misused words in our English language? To see if that is a true statement, let us check out love in Scripture and see how it is described there.

1 John 5:1-3, Everyone who believes that Y’hoshua is the Messiah has been generated from YHVH. And everyone loving (25-loving dearly) the (one) generating also loves (25- is fond of) the (one) who has been generated of Him. By this we know that we love (25-are fond of) the children of YHVH when we love (25-love dearly) YHVH and keep His commandments. For this is the love (26-benevolence/generous gift) of YHVH, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

There is joy in learning the Word of YHVH – and keeping it! However, the above verses can be far more challenging than it appears on the surface. Consider that Judaism adds to the Torah by imposing man-made traditions that can be very burdensome and sometimes expensive. On the other hand, Christianity disregards the Torah and replaces the commandments and appointed times of YHVH with their man-made traditions, which also can be burdensome and expensive. Both make void the Word of YHVH. Therefore, it is very difficult for either group to see the simplicity of the Scriptures, for what people have been trained to believe will usually remain as the foundation of their understanding. Only when they desire with all their hearts to know and obey the Truth will that ever change.

The above words in the Book of John are not simply words appealing to one’s emotions and thereby disregarding the commandments of YHVH. John is relaying to us that YHVH gave us a beautiful gift, the Torah, His instructions for having life, and that obeying them is not difficult.

Both Judaism and Christianity agree that we should care about others, but do most of us really put that command into practice? And, if we do, is it according to Scripture, or is it according to what is right in our own eyes?

Consider the following definitions of the Greek words for love that are found in the Newer Writings:

#25 (from #5368) ag-ap-ah-o
1. of persons
a. to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2. of things
a. to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

#5368 (from #5384) fil-eh-o
1. to love
a. approve of
b. to like
c. sanction
d. to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend
2. to show signs of love
to kiss
3. to be fond of doing

#5384 (a primitive word) fee'-los
1. friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well
a. a friend
b. an associate
c. he who associates familiarly with one, a companion
d. one of the bridegroom's friends who on his behalf asked the hand of the bride and rendered him various services in closing the marriage and celebrating the nuptial.

#26 (from #25) ag-ah'-pay
1. brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
2. love feasts

benevolence:
1. disposition to do good 2. a: an act of kindness
b : a generous gift

3. a compulsory levy by certain English kings with no other authority than the claim of prerogative

#27 original word) ag-ap-ay-tos'
1. beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love

Again, is this the way we treat others?

In 1 John 4:7-12, we are told, Beloved (27), let us love (25 - be fond of) one another, because love (26 - brotherly love) is of YHVH, and everyone who loves (25 – is fond of), has been generated from YHVH, and knows YHVH. The (one) who does not love (25 – is not fond of) has not known YHVH, because YHVH is love (26 - kindness). By this the love (26 – generous gift) of YHVH was revealed in us, because His Son, the Only begotten, YHVH has sent into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love (26 – an act of kindness), not that we loved (25 – so dearly)YHVH, but that He loved (25 – so dearly) us, and sent His Son (to be) a propitiation relating to our sins. Beloved (27), if YHVH so loved (25 – so dearly) us, we also ought to love (25 – treat kindly) one another. No one has beheld YHVH at any time. If we love (25 – treat kindly) one another, YHVH abides in us and His love(26 - kindness) having been perfected is in us.”

This is how we are to show the love of YHVH among other believers, but how is the love of YHVH to be manifested between husband and wife?

Colossians 3:18-19 says, Wives, be subject (5293 – yield) to (your) own husbands, as is becoming in YHVH. Husbands, love (25 – love dearly) the wives and do not be bitter (4087 – embitter/exasperate/render angry/irritated/grieve/deal bitterly) against them.”

There has been a lot of discussion about emotions, whether they are good or bad. However, if we study Scripture carefully, won’t we find that YHVH gave us emotions to use for good, and they only become bad when they override the Torah in our lives?

An example is sex: the way it is seen through the eyes of the world and the way it is seen through the Word of YHVH. A relationship based upon raging hormones is called “love” by the world, but the world understands nothing about the pathway of YHVH; therefore, spouses are continually discarded like yesterday’s newspaper!

Sex is an important part of marriage, but that is not what is being spoken of when the Word says to love your wives. Sex is not dependent upon love; otherwise, there would be no prostitutes, date rape, etc., but love is an important ingredient in making sex what it is supposed to be. Sex in marriage should be different from all other kinds of sex (those generated by the flesh/lust). The husband and wife have become one flesh, which should make his wife different from all other women – she is part of him and he is part of her. It isn’t just the act of sex that makes them close, but because the emotion of a deep love ties them together. This is a special ingredient given to them when they know who they are in YHVH. They are secure in Him and in each other. People without YHVH as the head of their lives and their marriage do not have that kind of bond. It is a special gift from YHVH. At least, that is the way it is supposed to be.

The Jewish Encyclopedia gives this definition of love: “The deep affection by which one person feels closely drawn to another and impelled to give up much, or do much, without regard of self.” The secret in this relationship, as in all relationships generated by YHVH, is dying to self and considering the other person’s needs above one’s own.

Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate (#5387) one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” This is the only time the Greek word #5387 is used anywhere in the Newer Writings. It means:

1. the mutual love of parents and children and wives and husbands.
2. loving affection, prone to love, loving tenderly.
a. chiefly of the reciprocal tenderness of parents and children.


Some women look at being subject to their husbands as demeaning, but 1 Peter 5:6 gives a more complete example: “Likewise, younger ones be subject (5293) to older ones; and all being subject (5293) to one another. Put on humility, because YHVH sets (Himself) against proud ones, but He gives grace (favor) to humble (5011) ones. Then be humbled (5013) under the mighty hand of YHVH, that He may exalt you in time . . .”

To be humbled simply means to bring down one's pride; to have a modest opinion of one's self; to behave in an unassuming manner, and to be devoid of all haughtiness.

This is the main thought taught throughout Scripture: Die to self! Because you cannot be totally obedient to YHVH and fully carry out His commands until you accomplish this very difficult task. That is our REAL SACRIFICE. We are to put “self” on the altar to become a burnt offering, and only then can we truly be of full service to YHVH – when self has been fully burnt up so we can become fully alive.

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