The following profound statement is found in the
Talmud; "He who has knowledge of the Law, but no fear of [Yahweh], is
like a keeper of the treasury, who has the inner keys, but not the
outer keys. He cannot enter." The speaker equates the Law with a
treasure. The Psalmist felt the same way about the law when he said,
"The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and
silver" (Ps 119:72). The person that does not fear Yahweh cannot
benefit by this treasure because he does not have access to it. Two
keys are needed to profit from this treasure. The first key is the
fear of Yahweh. The second key is a knowledge or understanding of the
In Christianity today, both keys have been lost for several reasons. One reason is given by the Apostle Peter in 2 Pe 3:16; "As also in all his (Paul's) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." Superficially reading Paul's epistles has led to the erroneous belief that believers are no longer obligated to keep Yahweh's laws. As a result of the "no law" doctrine, people no longer fear Yahweh's wrath for breaking His laws.
Accepting the KJV as infallible and not checking the Greek to make sure words have not been added, deleted or translated incorrectly has also led to the loss of these two keys. For example, the KJV translates Rom 7:6, "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." This teaches us that the law is dead. The bold phrase should correctly read, "being dead to that," teaching that the believer has died, not the law. This would agree with verse 4 which reads, "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Messiah."
This study is primarily concerned with the first key; the fear of Yahweh. It is declared twice in the Scriptures that, "The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom." The first reference is in Ps 111:10, the second is Pr 9:10. The Hebrew word translated "fear" is "yirah." Although it can have the meaning of reverence in relation to worship, it primarily means to fear as in terror. Some examples of this fear are found in Dt 13:11; 17:13; 19:20; and 21:21. In each of these cases Yahweh decreed harsh punishment so that the people would be afraid of Him and not commit such acts again. This same reasoning is declared by Moses in Ex 20:20, "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for the Mighty One is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."
Yahweh also worked great miracles such as parting the Red Sea so that, "all the people of the earth might know the hand of Yahweh, that it is mighty: that ye might fear Yahweh your mighty one forever" (Josh 4:24). This type of fear led the Psalmist to say, "My flesh trembles for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments " (Ps 119:120). It is the kind of fear one of the thieves hanging beside Yeshua had. This man expected the other thief to fear Yahweh as well since he was about to die (Lu 23:40).
In regards to fearing Yahweh as a motivating factor for obedience, consider the following three verses:
Prov 3:7, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear Yahweh, and depart from evil."
Prov 16:6, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of Yahweh men depart from evil."
Ec 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear the Mighty One, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
Each of these verses teach us that in order to depart from evil (sin), one must fear Yahweh first. A person has to be afraid of what may happen to him if he doesn't obey Yahweh. Indeed, this is my own testimony. The fear of Yahweh's wrath upon me for not obeying Him was the motivating factor in my conversion. That fear, as a motivational factor, has now turned to love, as a motivational factor for obedience. That is the proper sequence that leads to true worship as revealed in Dt 10:12. "And now, Israel, what doth Yahweh thy Mighty One require of thee, but to fear Yahweh thy Mighty One, to walk in all his ways, and to love Him, and to serve Yahweh thy Mighty One with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of Yahweh, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"
Notice the sequence taking place in the above verse. First comes the fear of Yahweh. That fear then leads to obedience to all of Yahweh's ways. Fear eventually turns to love once a person becomes more intimate with Yahweh. At that point a person is truly serving Yahweh.
Ps 25:12 says, "What man is he that fears Yahweh? Him shall He (Yahweh) teach in the way that He shall choose." Once a man fears Yahweh, Yahweh will direct his path. Verse 14 goes on to say, "The secret of Yahweh is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant." How true this is. Fear, terror, or dread, all lead to a healthy reverence and respect for Yahweh's power and authority. Yahweh takes pleasure in this (Ps 147:11) and rewards those that fear Him by giving them an understanding of His covenant and laws.
As far as that initial fear turning to love, we read in 1 Jn 4:17,18, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love." The perfection of the believer lies in the casting out of that initial fear.
Most people who attend church services today are not hearing the preaching of the fear of Yahweh. Instead, they are bombarded by the "love gospel" that teaches love without obedience to the Law. Those who hear this have no reason to fear Yahweh because they are taught that He is "Love" and full of mercy. This is true, but its only half the truth. The other half is that Yahweh's mercy is only extended to those that fear Him (Lu 1:50) and obey Him (1 Jn 2:4 - "He that saith, `I know Him', and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him").
A proper fear of Yahweh is not only the beginning of wisdom, but also, as Pr 1:7 shows, "the beginning of knowledge." It is the fundamental key needed to unlock the deeper truths of scriptural knowledge. It is the kind of fear that Messiah Yeshua said we should have in Mt 10:28; "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." It is also the kind of fear that Paul admonishes Gentile converts to have. "Be not highminded, but fear: For if [Yahweh] spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee" (Ro 11:20b,21).
The "everlasting gospel" is preached by an angel in Rev 14:7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear [Yahweh], and give glory to Him, . . ." If men would only be wise and fear Yahweh, He would direct their steps forevermore. "Blessed is everyone that fears Yahweh; that walk in His ways."