Shabbat Bible Study for April 28, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 28, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

 Year 3, Shabbat 7, Triennial Portion

B’Midbar (Num.)14, 2Chron.36.5-23, Tehillim 106, 1Cor.10.1-17

B’Midbar 14 – Last week we saw 12 spies sent into the land to do some recon. 12 spies went in, at least 2 of whom were considered ‘tougher’ military men than Kalev and 1 more ‘tougher’ than Y’hoshua. What came out were 2 military leaders ready to kick tail and the names be damned, and 10 tourists who brought back some unusual souvenirs. Even worse, the average tourist gives a glowing report of where they’ve been. These guys were more like modern, ‘mainstream media’ news reporters, putting the most Godless spin on the whole experience. What the newsmen saw was the danger. What the leaders saw was the opportunity. Y’hoshua and Kalev never saw anything other than Y’hovah’s promise of their tribe’s inheritance. 10 of 12 spies brought an evil report, causing Yisrael to fear the people of Cana’an more than Y’hovah and to murmur against Moshe and Aharon. 

Also, remember the last time they wanted to go back to Egypt. They demanded flesh and, in their lust for it, cared not that it had died of itself and was, therefore, unclean. This was looking like a full-fledged mutiny, as they appointed a leader to take them back. This was the kahal, the ‘church in the wilderness’ as seen in 

Acts 7:35-38 (KJV)  

    “This Moshe whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did Elohim send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. [36] He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 

    [37] This is that Moshe, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Y’hovah Elohecha raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. [38] This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel (Yeshua, the Law-Giver) which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:”

I’m not sure, but I don’t think any good is going to come of this for the ‘church’. 

Kalev and Y’hoshua came to Moshe and Aharon’s defense and pled w/Israel to not rebel against Y’hovah, but were nearly stoned for their trouble. But as the ‘church’ bent over to pick up the stones, the kavod of Y’hovah appeared over the Tabernacle. I think Moshe knew that judgment was coming swift and sure. He once again placed himself between Y’hovah and his people to save their faithless hides. He appealed to Y’hovah’s mercy and the set-apartness of his Name and the tifereth of his power, which the Egyptians will blaspheme if he smites Israel in the desert. 

Moshe represented the nation as does a company commander on military parade, or a faithful defense attorney, like Mashiach Yeshua, does his client, and Y’hovah accepted him in that office. Moshe’s prayer is very interesting. He asks forgiveness for the people, but mitigates that mercy for the ringleaders, I think. See v.18, 

Y’hovah is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. 

Notice the phrase, “by no means clearing the guilty”, which is a direct quote of Y’hovah to Moshe as he accepted Moshe’s intercession for Israel’s rebellion in the ‘Golden Calf Affair’.

5 And Y’hovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Y’hovah. 6 And Y’hovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Y’hovah, Y’hovah El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Adonai, let Adonai, I pray thee, go among us; for it a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. (Ex.34.5-9)

Those who are guilty of this sin will be punished. Those who just followed the crowd will obtain mercy and forgiveness, but still not enter the land and rest therein. This does NOT mean they are blameless, only that the ones who instigated the rebellion were held to a more exacting standard than those who merely followed. Those who followed the ones who rebelled got to reap the consequences of their faithlessness, as well. They had the iniquity ‘visited on them.’ They did not pay as their rebellious leaders had, but DID have to suffer what resulted from the rebellion. As an illustration, and not a really good one, in the American Revolution only about 10-20% of the people were committed one way or the other, while 80-90% were ‘wait and see’ followers. The king promised the 5-10% who were loyal to him great rewards for their loyalty, and suffered the 80-90% to remain in their homes in relative ease. But the 5-10% who were active in the rebellion were to be hunted down like rabbits and exterminated. Had we lost the war, you can be assured that their lives, property and honour would have been forfeit, probably to the Tories. 

Same kind of thing is about to happen in the wilderness. The leaders of the rebellion died in the plague, in vv.36-37, and the rest, who followed them, died in the wilderness over the next 40 years. Y’hovah raised up a generation that would not remember Egypt’s ‘luxuries’, the leeks and onions – and the bricks and mortar and backbreaking labor. These would enter the land with Y’hoshua and Kalev in the lead, but only Y’hoshua and Kalev actually received their entire inheritance, because they were faithful to pursue it.

When Moshe told the people what Y’hovah had decreed, they decided to rebel once more for good measure. They said, “Oy vey! Maybe Y’hovah was serious about helping us take the land. Let’s go do it!” But the blessing was removed from this enterprise, now. Now they were in a different kind of rebellion. First they refrained from action that Y’hovah commanded, now the acted when Y’hovah had commanded them not to. Their hearts were not after Y’hovah. 

We need to learn from the mistakes of the people here. When Y’hovah says ‘Go!’, we should go. And when he says, ‘Don’t go’, we should stay put. He rewards obedience with blessing beyond our imagination, and he rewards disobedience with chastisement right to the limits of our endurance. Notice that the children under 20 had to endure the chastisement due their fathers – they were visited with the iniquity of their fathers. He rewards willful disobedience with quick and sure judgment, as the rebellious army soon learned. 

In light of this, do not make plans in your own strength to ‘move to Israel’, or Costa Rica or even across the street. If Y’hovah tells you to go, Go!, where and when he tells you. When he doesn’t, don’t. And, whatever he tells you to do, do it w/o hesitation. He wanted Israel to begin the conquest of Cana’an only about 18 months after the Exodus. The bad reports and rebellion caused the removal of that blessing from that generation. We make the same kind of mistake every time we walk in the flesh. Remember 

Romans 8:1 (KJV)  

    There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Mashiach Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

Walk after the Spirit of Y’hovah, not your own way. That is the biblical definition of being ‘in Mashiach Yeshua.’  Q&C

2Chron.36.5-23 – The last 3 kings of Yehuda had one thing in common – they did that which was evil in the sight of Y’hovah. This doesn’t mean they were particularly wicked men, only that they didn’t follow Y’hovah or care much for what he said or expected. ‘That which is evil’ means they DIDN’T do as Y’hovah commanded them. This is a perfect description of the generation of adults that came out of Egypt in the Exodus. They were just guys who had no background in Y’hovah worship until Moshe returned from Midian. The fact that they had faith enough to put the lamb’s blood on their doorposts is impressive to me, and I think it was to Y’hovah, as well. However, the fact that they were delivered from Egyptian slavery by some pretty wondrous miracles and yet didn’t believe Y’hovah could deliver them from the Amalekites had to kind of stick in Abba’s craw. 

Same deal with the last kings of Yehuda. Every time a king has done as Y’hovah told him, even if it was only once in his life, Y’hovah has come through for him, and I don’t mean just for the kings, but for their entire nation, both in Yehuda and Yisrael. Remember that Yehu followed Y’hovah’s instructions to the letter as he rode into town and destroyed Yisavel and her priests of Baal. Yehu’s problem was that he didn’t consult Torah to see how to properly worship Y’hovah in spirit and truth. He left Yir’voam’s altars and images of yhwh in Dan and Bethel, and didn’t allow his people to go up to Yerushalayim for the Feasts. As far as he knew, he was serving the TRUE Y’hovah, when in fact he was serving pagan images that were being called yhwh. He was a re-enactment of Yerovoam I of Samaria. And so he did that which was evil in the sight of Y’hovah. But Yah delivered Yisrael by Yehu’s hands. He had had a personal revival to Yisrael’s national religion and forced it on his people.

In the case of Yehuda’s final kings, they had forgotten all that Y’hovah had done for their fathers, probably because they were spoiled king’s kids who had never heard the scriptures read, had not made their own Torah scrolls as Y’hovah had commanded for each king to do, and had certainly never paid attention if they did. I think I remember reading that David had written his own copy of Torah. Had that become a tradition for every king in Yisrael, she may never have fallen into idolatry and adultery.

Yehoiachin’s was the shortest reign in Yehuda’s history – 68 or 69 days. His brother replaced him by decree of the emperor, Nevuchadnetzer. Yehoiachin is the king who was decreed childless by Y’hovah through Yirmeyahu the prophet.

Jeremiah 22:24-30 (KJV)  

    As I live, saith Adon, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; [25] And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nevuchadnetzer king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. [26] And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. [27] But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. [28] Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? [29] O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. [30] Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. 

Notice that it DOESN’T say he won’t have a son reign over Israel. The Parthian Empire of the 3rd C. BCE – 3rd C. CE were descendants of the 10 tribes with bnei David ruling over them, according to Steven M. Collins in his book “Parthia – the Forgotten World Empire”. Yehoiachin is the same Jechoniah we see in Yeshua’s genealogy in Matthew 1.

Matthew 1:11-12 (KJV)  

    And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: [12] And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 

I love this part. If Jeconias and Coniah and Yehoichin are one and the same, and they are, how could Shealtiel be his son and how could he be an ancestor of Yeshua? Hadn’t Y’hovah ‘written him childless’ in Yeremeyahu 22.24-30? Indeed, he had. Y’hovah seems to have painted himself into a corner. How can David’s lineage go on forever? How can Y’hovah now keep his covenant with David, that he would never lack a man to sit on his throne? (2Sam.7.12-15)

In Ezra 3.2 we find that Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel. Yeshua’s genealogy, as given in Matthew has Zorobabel the son of Salaltiel, but Luke’s genealogy has the same two guys in the same order. But the people on either side of the pair are completely different. We know that the legal royal line of Yoseph, Miriam’s husband and Yeshua’s adoptive father, is given in Matthew’s gospel. The genealogy in Luke is traced through Nathan to David and beyond to Adam and Elohim. Zerubbabel and Shealtiel must have been physical descendants of David in Nathan’s lineage who had both performed the service of kinsman redeemer for the lineage of Schlomo, each raising up seed to David to keep the royal line alive. Coniah was absolutely childless, as far as the prophecy is concerned, because his contemporaries, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel had done their Torah commanded duty of raising seed to him. Zerubbabel and Y’hoshua, the priest, were contemporaries in the return to Yehuda. 

Yoseph, Miriam’s husband and Yeshua’s legal father, was the legal heir to the throne of David. When he named Yeshua at his circumcision, he officially declared the child to be his, even though everyone knew that he and Miriam were only ‘espoused’, betrothed, in the Hebrew tradition when she was found with child. Yeshua became his b’chor, firstborn, with all the rights and privileges that came with the position. IOW, Yeshua was the legal and legitimate heir to the throne of David, even though he was not physically Yoseph’s son. Y’hovah kept the Davidic Covenant by using Zerubbabel and Shealtiel as kinsman redeemers to keep Nathan’s, David’s son’s line, going and Nathan’s umpty-upmpth great granddaughter bore a son to Yoseph, who named that son Yeshua, accepting him as his principal heir.

The Babylonian captivity came upon Yehuda because, even though they had the Torah, they didn’t follow it. Had they let their land lay fallow every 7th year, as commanded, they would never have been deported to Babylon. Had they kept even 1 Yovel in all their time in the land, they might still be there as the oldest living monarchy or government of any kind. I say that because the reason they didn’t keep the sabbaths was that they never consulted the scriptures about it. They despised the word of Y’hovah, as our culture does. If Y’hovah didn’t spare his people the sword when they despised his Word, what makes the contemporary believer think he’ll escape an even more dire punishment seeing his MUCH greater light? The lies of Satan is the answer to that last question.  Q&C

Tehillim 106 – The verses that really tie into our Torah portion today are in vv.24-27. But the whole psalm is about… EXILE AND REDEMPTION! The psalmist rehearses the history of Yisrael from Exodus to conquest of the land, their repeated failure all along the way, but Y’hovah’s mercy throughout. We had been exiled into Egypt to become a large and powerful nation delivered by Y’hovah, Elohim, when we cried out to him. He carried us through all the miraculous deliverances and we rebelled repeatedly until he finally had to deliver us into captivity so that he could once again make us into a large and powerful nation who will once again cry out for deliverance. When we do, he’ll deliver us once again into the physical Kingdom of his Son. Q&C

1Cor.10.1-17 – Everything that the Psalmist rehearsed was done for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. V.5 begins the telling of outcome of our Torah portion, where we refused to go in to the land until such time as Y’hovah said, “OK you can’t go.” Once he took it away from us, we wanted it, like the spoiled brats we are. Then, even after being warned not to do it, we go in our own strength and get our collective clocks cleaned by the Amalekites, who, BTW, were scared to death of us, or rather, of Y’hovah Elohenu. 

Sha’ul enumerates some of the sins that we find it so easy to perform in vv.6-10. Then he tells us that all those sins into which our fathers fell in the wilderness are told in every gory detail for our benefit, so we will know not to do them. A brief note on the difference between ‘ensample’ and ‘example’. An ensample is a miniscule taste of what we will experience, while an example is what we will experience. IOW, when we are given an example, we can expect the same result from the same action. But when we are told something is an ensample, we are being told that we will receive manifold more result for the same action. The reason we will get a bellyful where they only got a taste is that we are recipients of a LOT more light, having Yeshua in our HISTORY rather than our future. We know EXACTLY what he wants, for he came to tell us directly. Therefore, when we FFI (Fail to follow instructions), we can expect a tougher judgment. By the same token, when we FI (follow instructions), we can expect a better reward. They only got a sample of what we’ll receive, and always for our good, if we love Y’hovah and are called according to his purpose. 

See the wherefore in v.12? What’s that there for? To let you know what I just tried to say. If you think you have standing in Mashiach, but don’t follow him so closely that the dirt he kicks up lands on your feet, be careful to get back in step. Especially in the days we are entering. The world is trying to take us down from without and within. We need to be circumspect (head on a swivel), looking for sin and avoiding it by the Spirit of Y’hovah (v.13). 

All the previous 9 verses are summed up in v.14 – Flee idolatry! 

Vv.15-17 are a bit deeper than the last, judging by Sha’ul’s preface about ‘wise men’. These are the Corinthians. Sha’ul has been rebuking them without a break since Ch.1. He didn’t consider them wise in the Spirit. He seems to be changing direction, but he isn’t. He has laid the foundation in vv1-14. His whole point is unity of the body purchased with the blood of Mashiach. In the days to come, we are going to need each other, for the world religion that is rearing its ugly head is out to wipe out all Biblical Zionists, Christian and Jew alike. I received this via e-mail from a member of the Hebrew group. I think it is very interesting and prophetic of where we are headed.

Christian Zionists
 
by Hamed Al-Tamimi – Director Inter-Religion Dialogue Department and Member of the Supreme Judicial Council (a Moslem)

Very few people know the truth about this [Christian Zionist] movement, which unconditionally supports the Zionist enemy, and unconditionally opposes Islam and the Muslims… Their association and their organizations, headed by “The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem,” carry out their criminal activities against the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people, as Walter Riggans, the Secretary-General of the International Christian Embassy, proudly and defiantly announced: “We are more Zionist than the Israelis” …

And even if the sides of this hated, malicious alliance [of Israelis and Christian Zionists] have different goals, they both agree on hatred of Islam and the Muslims and on [the goal] to destroy them…

The Zionist-Christian motivation, in addition to imperialist motivation, was behind the cursed Balfour Declaration – Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George were Christian Zionists – …and the truth is we should not deny [that] these Crusader motivations stand [today] behind the British and American policy in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Arab and Muslim countries.

We choose [to quote from] the following lecture, by the Doctor Priest Riad Jarjour, the Secretary-General of the Middle-Eastern Churches Committee… to shed light on this destructive [Christian Zionist] movement that together with her Zionist Jewish ally comprise the greatest danger to world truth, justice, and peace.

[From lecture of Riad Jarjour]:
“Hence there is no place in the Middle East for Christian Zionism, it must be expelled by the World Church, since it is a dangerous distortion and a big deviation from the true Christian faith, which concentrates on Jesus, and it [Christian Zionism] defends a national political program which considers the Jewish race supreme…”

[Back to Tamimi]
: They [Christian Zionists] are a group who adopted Satan as God who drives their crazy nature. They have praised depravity and cursed virtue, they have turned the moral scale upside down and have reached [a point] in which forgery, deception, and lying, have turned into descriptions of world policy, which is led by the Zionism on both its branches – the Jewish and the Christian.”

Source: [http://www.kudah.gov.ps/news.asp?tbl=news&id=268] Link doesn’t work. However, the entire source document DOES come up in Spanish in one of the links from startpage search engine.

With the propensity of the ‘world community’ to favor, or rather FEAR, the Muslim Islamofascist extremists, the chances of this anti-Zionist worldview and agenda coming to be are pretty good, much better than the chance that anyone in power in either the American or UN Administrations will adopt a Christian weltanschauung [world and life view] any time soon. We need to be watching for any sin that may be working its way into our lives. Keep your accounts current with Y’hovah and with men, spiritually, physically and financially. If you are tied down to debt, you can’t be ready to go when the order comes from Y’hovah. Some advise on debt. Don’t buy what you can live without. Do you really need that soda pop? Don’t buy anything with a credit card that you can’t pay off when the bill arrives without taxing your finances. Credit card debt is the one that’s killing us the quickest so hit those as soon as possible. Get all your bills together and budget your payments. When you are making revolving credit payments, you are paying the interest first and THEN a few dollars come off the principle. When you pay more than the minimum, ALL of the extra comes off the principle, so your interest the next month is that much less. Take the smallest debt you have and try to double that payment, if you can, until it’s paid off. Once the smallest bill is paid off, use that money to add to the next smallest bill. Keep doing that until you are debt free. It is NOT impossible. Tighten the belt, pay the debt down and get free. 

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Who is your Master? Y’hovah or the bank/credit card company?   Q&C

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Shabbat Bible Study for April 21, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 21, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 6

Numbers 13:1-33 – Josh. 2:1 – Psalm 105 – Hebrews 11:24-40

Links:

B’Midbar 13:1-33 – Y’hovah commanded Moshe to send a leading man of each tribe, but not the elder of the tribe – perhaps the 2nd man or the leading warrior of each tribe. Up until now, Nachshon was the elder of the tribe of Yehudah, and there is nothing to say that he was not still their elder. But Kalev is the one sent as Yehudah’s representative. Elishama had been the Elder of the tribe of Ephraim, but here it is Hoshea, to whose name Moshe added a yud to make his name Y’hoshua. None of the elders were sent into the land as spies. Perhaps the elders, being old, would be intimidated by the potential enemies they would encounter and so younger men were sent. That didn’t work out so well for them, did it?  Cf. the first and last prefatory paragraph to the Schottenstein’s Chumash notes on p.88  The spies are not listed in the same tribal order as the elders had been in ch.1. In ch.1, they are listed in order of their camps, but here the Chumash says they were listed in order of their greatness, presumably in battle. Kalev is listed 3rd and Yehoshua 5th. None of these guys was a ‘Woos’. All had been in the battle with Amalek at Rephidim, so they were already battle hardened. Kalev’s father was Yephuneh, a Kenezite (son of Kenaz, a descendant of Esav – not an Israelite).

Moshe gave them instruction to go up the mountain and give the land a cursory look and decide how they wanted to walk through it to complete Moshe’s charge to them. Did they break up into teams and some go along the coast, and some go up the middle of the land and yet another go up the Yarden? Or did they travel as one large group? I think it is possible, though not necessarily so, that Yehoshua and Kalev traveled together. Moshe told them to look at the land, was it a good land or bad? He told them to look at the water, was it plentiful? He told them to look at the cities, where they open or fortified? He told them to study the people, were they strong or not? Then in v.20 he asked if there were trees, and then he asked that they bring fruit from the land to show the people. Rashi says the reference to trees has a hidden meaning – were there tzadikim, righteous men, there? And in conjunction with the request for fruits, I think Moshe wanted them to bring proof of the righteousness of the tzadikim. Now I base that on a sod application from Rashi, so it could very well be wrong. That they brought great fruits, large enough that it took 8 men to carry the bunch of grapes and 2 more to each carry a pomegranate and a fig tells me they found no tzadikim in the land (cf. note on v.23 in Chumash, pg.91).

In v.21, they went all over the land from the south end of the Dead Sea to the Bekaa Valley near Damascus. On their way back to Kadesh and the camp they must have come to the southern side of Hevron because in v.22, “THEY ascended from the south and HE came to Hevron” – Vaiy’alu b’negev vayavo ad-Hevron. (Monte’s monthly magazine is called Yavoh! [He comes])Why the change from plural to singular? Chumash says that only Kalev went into Hevron. I can see that, since that was where he eventually settled, some 44 or 45 years later. It was at Hevron that they saw the sons of Anak – giants before whom they felt like bugs. They never talked to the Anakim, but they somehow knew that the Anakim thought they were bugs, too. I think they projected their insecurities into other people’s attitudes for which they had NO EVIDENCE. Hevron was the town nearest Machpelah, the field and caves that Avraham had purchased for a burial ground for Sarah in Gen.23. 

In v.23, they came as a group to the brook Eshcol. The root of the word is H810 

‘eshek eh’-shek from an unused root ashak אשך ‘to enclose’); a testicle (as enclosed in a scrotum).

The word Eshcol itself means a bunch or cluster, so either the brook was what was used to water the grapevines or the brook had a bunch of rocks clustered together in its bed and the vines were nearby – or both. A brook is a ‘wash’ or wadi, a stream bed that only has water when it rains. In the US southwest they are called arroyos. A little free advice, If you are in a wadi or arroyo and it starts to rain, or if it’s raining a few miles upstream of you, get out of there or the runoff may ‘wash’ you away. 

In v.25, the spies returned from their mission after 40 days – a number that signifies probation, trial and chastisement. The people knew that the time was soon that they would be going into the land. There must have been a mixture of anticipation and unease at the thought. Until just a few days or weeks ago, they were comfortably camped at Sinai with the rock of Rephidim providing all the H2O they or their gardens or their livestock could use. Since they’d left there, they have had to be ready to march at any time, day or night. They knew there were people with formidable forces set to defend the land Israel was about to invade. But this was the time they’d been more or less anticipating for around 400 years, since Avraham got the land grant from Y’hovah. In effect, they were not invaders, but landowners coming to drive out the squatters. And here come the spies they had sent in to check out the land, the people, the produce and the spirit of the place. That the people were anticipating something is seen in v.26, where the spies came to not only Moshe and Aharon, but the congregation. The WHOLE congregation came out to hear the spies report. They showed the fruit to Moshe and the people and in v.27 said the land was good and the fruit was incredible. The first word of v.28 changes the whole tone of the meeting, as I think it was meant to do. “But” (Schottenstein’s Tanakh) means ‘exactly the opposite’ in this context. “As good as all this looks to the untrained eye,” they were saying, “there’s a lot more THERE than meets the eye HERE.” They gave a basically truthful report of what they’d seen, but the way they told the story was intended to dissuade the people from taking any chances. 

They said (in a Mark paraphrase), “Oh, yeah! The fruit is enormous and sweet and nutritious. I mean LOOK at the pomegranate! ONE of those seeds will feed your whole family! But it could be a Monsanto product! That just ain’t NATURAL! The land certainly flows with milk and honey. But you SEE the fruit! Can you imagine the size of the BEES?! Their STINGERS have to be my height! Of course, it would only take one apple to make the Charoset for Pesach – for the WHOLE NATION! Now the just plain folk, like us are very strong in and of themselves. Remember Amalek, the jackals that attacked our rearward stragglers at Rephidim? They are there, too. Their cities are well fortified, but that’s not all. We saw the Nephilim there, from whom came children of Anak, whom we saw in Hevron.” 

The first instance in the KJV of ‘giants’ in v.33 is the word Nephilim. It literally says, nephilim b’nei Anak. Now, if the rabbis are right, the only guy with chones enough to go into Hevron and actually SEE the sons of Anak was Kalev. So where did they get this information? Kalev probably told them that he’d seen the 3 sons of Anak, but I think they pulled the Nephilim thing right out of their nether regions to convince the people to NOT go up. They were intimidated by what they PERCEIVED with their eyes and let their interpretation of the empirical evidence outweigh the FACTS, 1) that Yhwh had not once reneged on a promise and 2) what they’d experienced over the previous year. They had been spared the severity of Elohim through the plagues, delivered through the Sea and seen Paroh drowned and the armies of the nation of Egypt destroyed. They had seen miraculous provision of food and water and they’d had the wits scared out of them by the trumpets and the Voice of Y’hovah from Sinai. Why were they so afraid of a few oversized trans-humans? Did they not think that Y’hovah could take care of them, as he had against Amalek at Rephidim when they fought a pitched battle without suffering even a scratch? Kalev had tried to tell the people to go up and take the land, that Y’hovah would be their shield and their strong right arm, as it were, but the 10 ‘tourists’, for that is what they’d become, shouted him down. It was only AFTER Kalev’s attempt to remind the people of Yhwh’s deliverance and get the upper hand that the word Nephilim came up. It worked and the Kingdom of Elohim became a democracy, as we’ll see next week, Y’hovah willing and the creek don’t rise. Q&C

Y’hoshua 2:1 – As Moshe sent in spies from Kadesh to check out haAretz, so Y’hoshua sent in spies from Shittim. If you remember shittim wood was used to build the ark, the other furnishings, and the boards of the Mishkan. There must have been a forest of them on the East Bank of Yarden. Shittim wood is also called acacia, which is a dense wood with long, tough thorns protruding – quite possibly the same type of thorns in which the ram had his horns entangled at the Akeida and from which the ‘crown of thorns’ was plaited for Yeshua. The spies went into the city and were taken in by Rachav, a prostitute, for ‘lodging’. Stone’s Tanakh’s note to v.1 says that the word zonah can be translated as either ‘prostitute’ or ‘grocer’ (zun – to feed) and so it translates the word ‘woman innkeeper’ which is meant to convey the thought that Rachav was a ‘madame’ who ran a brothel disguised as an inn. The root verb is zanah זנה, ‘to be unfaithful’ or ‘to defect’. V.3 has the king of Yer’cho sending to Rachav as if she might have the spies in a rented room, which is reasonable. If she were known to be or was outwardly walking the streets, he might not have asked her, but if she was running a legitimate inn keeping business, it was not any kind of a stretch to think she might be lodging them or that they would come to her for lodging. She may not have known they were Israelites until the king’s men came to her to tell her to watch for them. She put 2&2 together quickly and made her plans. Maybe we’ll be able to get into more detail on the rest of the chapter another time.

Tehellim 105 – The 1st 5 verses are filled with imperatives – commands – to show the greatness of Y’hovah and tell of his works, which is the point of this psalm. Then he directs those imperatives to Avraham’s seed (Gal.3.16, 29). There is one seed, but many chosen children of Jacob, so all children of Yisrael are the seed of Avraham and echad – one

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Mashiyach… And if ye be Mashiyach’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:16, 29)

 From v.7, the psalmist rehearsed the history of the spiritual seed of Avraham and Y’hovah’s covenant with them. He made the covenant with Avraham that his seed would inherit all the land on which Avram’s feet would fall. He confirmed that covenant with Yitzhak and again with Ya’acov. He made these covenants when the seed’s number was minuscule. That they believed him against all conventional wisdom is the thing that made them special. Avraham had only one child of promise, Yitzhak, who had only one child of promise, Ya’acov. It was with Ya’acov that he began to multiply the seed, and that was primarily through the 2 tzedakim, Yoseph and Yehudah, whose offspring would bring numerous kings and prophets to the forefront.

As you may remember, it was primarily through Yehudah’s influence that Yoseph was sold into Egypt via the Midianite traders. But Yoseph came to understand that it wasn’t that Yehudah betrayed him, but that Y’hovah made provision for his seed to endure through the suffering of the tzadik while using the experience to take a rotter like Yehudah had been and build in him another tzadik. In the days of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’acov, many Canaanite kings tried to impose their wills on the seed, but Y’hovah would not allow those kings to prosper. I see where an extrapolation can be made in vv.14-15,

14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; 15 Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

This can be applied to ALL Avraham’s seed, if we will just trust him to perform as he’s covenanted with us to do. All his seed is anointed, because all his seed is in Mashiyach, whether Jew, Israelite or goy. The dearth that came on all the earth during Yoseph’s sojourn in Egypt was a part of Y’hovah’s plan to deliver his seed to their inheritance at the proper time. Everything that happened to Yoseph while in Egypt was designed to prove his spirit and to show him that Y’hovah is faithful. When Y’hovah’s Word came to the baker and the butler, and Yoseph proved that he was a prophet of Y’hovah, the stage was set for Israel to be delivered from death so it could later be delivered to new life in the Promised Land. It was in Egypt that Israel became a great nation, from a family of 70 souls to a nation of 2-4 million in less than 200 years. When Egypt turned on Israel, Y’hovah sent Moshe to deliver them from their bondage and to their inheritance. Y’hovah’s works witnessed to the greatness of Y’hovah and the futility of Egypt’s gods. Then he delivered Yisrael through the sea in which he drowned the armies of Egypt. Y’hovah provided every need they had in the Wilderness Adventure, food, water, protection from enemies and from the elements.

Y’hovah did all this because he remembered Avraham, his friend and the covenant he’d made with him. He brought us to the land that was flowing with milk and honey, with crops in the fields and fruit on the trees, just waiting for their arrival, so that we could concentrate on observing his chukim and watching or guarding his Torah. Q&C

Ivrit 11:24-40 – Everyone who’s been a believer for more than a day or 2 knows that Heb.11 is called “The Faith Hall of Fame”. Each different “Hall of Famer’s” witness begins with “By faith”. Already mentioned are Avraham (v.17), Yitzhak (v.20), Ya’acov (v.21), Yoseph (v.22), Amram and Yocheved, Moshe’s parents (v.23). Notice that ‘they were not afraid of the king’s commandments.’ They would NOT do as the king ordered, but exercised their trust in Y’hovah. The 1st 3 years of Moshe’s life, spent in Yochebed’s care must have been a very intensive training session, because he KNEW that A&Y were his parents and that he was an Israelite, but that Paroh’s daughter had adopted him. He was being groomed as the next Paroh, even as Rav Sha’ul was being groomed as the next Chief Rabbi of J’lem. Each had great pressure from the flesh to continue in the path other people had chosen for them, but chose to follow after the path Y’hovah had chosen, even though it meant hatred and exile from their familiar people and places. I can see a parallel in every matter of faith in Moshe’s life to a similar one in Paul’s. Paul is writing here about Moshe, by faith, keeping Pesach so that the ‘angel of death’ would pass over the homes in Israel. How can people think that Paul, after praising Moshe for doing something that had never been done before and getting the people to do it, as well, writes elsewhere that the Feasts of Y’hovah are no longer important to observe? 

The next “Hall of Famer” is actually b’nei Israel, who also saw all the judgments Y’hovah brought against Egypt, marched for a week to get to Nuweiba, from whence they walked through the parted Red Sea and saw Paroh and his army drowned in pursuit of them. They also exercised faith that Y’hovah would deliver Yir’cho into their hands. Next is Rachav, who also believed that Y’hovah would deliver the city to them, put her trust in Y’hovah, and protected the spies from her king and his security forces. Every one of the ‘hall of famers’ that were named and those who were merely alluded to, Like YeshaYahu, Daniel, AzarYahu, Mishael and ChananYahu, etc. all stood up to the trials that were put upon them by the trust they had in Y’hovah and the certainty of rewards to come as a result of that faithfulness. NONE of them actually received the promise, but they knew that they had an inheritance coming and kept striving to attain it. 

End of Shabbat Bible Study

Shabbat Bible Study for April 14, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 14, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 5 

Numbers 12:1-16 – (No Prophet) – Psalm 104 – Romans 11:22-13:7

Links:

http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm

http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/misc/gc_coriv.htm 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River 

B’Midbar 12.1-16 – Ethiopian woman? Was Tzipporah Ethiopian? I thought she was Yithro’s daughter, and he was a Midianite. Maybe there’s something wrong with the xlation? The word is actually Cushite and that is a direct transliteration from Hebrew to English. Did Moshe marry another woman while Tzipporah was at Yithro’s home? See the prefatory notes and the note to v.1 in Stone’s Chumash on p.84. Rashi’s commentary on the word being numerically equivalent to a phrase seems a stretch to me and y’all know I am open to mystical interpretations. That one is just a bit ‘out there’ to me, though it can be seen as a basis for Rashi’s argument that the discussion between Aharon and MirYam was based on Moshe’s LACK of familial relations with Tzipporah. I still see it as a stretch, though, because there is no biblical evidence that Tzipporah or her sons were even there after Yithro left Israel for Midian. Whatever the REASON for MirYam’s denouncement of Moshe to Aharon and both their wondering why Moshe was ‘better’ than they were (had they not both received prophecy from Y’hovah?), there are a number of things that occur right away that indicate Y’hovah’s displeasure with both Miryam and Aharon.

The parenthetical of v.3 is the first thing that’s different. Y’hovah makes sure that Moshe is seen in the proper light. He is exceedingly meek, more than any person ever (until Yeshua). Often, people mistake meekness for weakness. They are NOT comparable. Weakness of character often displays as arrogant bluster that one really can’t back up. Meekness is a quiet, unobtrusive confidence. 

Have you ever seen the movie, Blind Side? Michael Oher is meek, but he is NOT weak. He is an ensample, just a taste, of the meekness of Moshe. His ‘homeys’ got a taste of what meekness is when they threatened his family. Just because you CHOOSE not to openly display your strength doesn’t mean you don’t possess it. Often, when people put on a flagrant display of power they are showing their sense of inferiority or weakness of character, as with Michael Oher’s homeys. He displayed his strength when he needed to.

Kinda like MirYam and Aharon. I think that they had a sense of inferiority or jealousy, which worked itself out in this lashon hara. Y’hovah wanted to nip this kind of thing in the bud. It is likely they would have gone ahead with this same slander in the camp, had Y’hovah not stopped it conclusively. 

In v.4, the 2nd different thing happened. Y’hovah calls out all 3 Amramsons to the tent of meeting for … well … a meeting. He called each individually, and, when they had all arrived, the 3rd different thing occurred – he called Aharon and MirYam OUT of the tent and left Moshe INSIDE, intimating that Moshe was preferred over the other 2. Y’hovah wanted a private confab with Miryam and Aharon where all the people could witness the results. He lifted the cloud off the Mishkan and rested it in the door of the tent and said (in a ‘Mark’ paraphrase), ‘When I speak to a prophet, I will show him a dream or a vision. But when I speak to Moshe, I do so face to face as man does with his friend, NOT in a dream or vision. Have I ever before spoken to you face to face? (Hmm! The 4th ‘different thing’) And I will not again. But with Moshe I have, I do, and I shall. How could it be that you didn’t fear to speak against him?’ Then he lifted the cloud from the door of the tent and rested it on the Mishkan – and, (to quote Jonathan Winter’s character, Mollie Frickert), MirYam was a leper, white as snow “ALL-ll-ll over my bo-o-dy!” 

Now, I think that MirYam was singled out because she instigated the slanderous dialogue against Moshe. When Aharon looked at her, he was frightened because he knew exactly what he was seeing and also knew that at this stage of leprosy, death is immanent. So he went to Moshe as the intercessor (I think he learned his lesson pretty quickly, don’t you?) and asked him to not allow MirYam to die. Moshe spoke right up, “Please, El, heal MirYam now!” Y’hovah told Moshe, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be humbled for 7 days? Put her out of the camp for that long and then let her back into the camp. She’ll be an example for Israel.” And so, MirYam was put outside the camp for 7 days, and probably had to mikvah before returning to the camp. The inference is that MirYam was healed instantly at Moshe’s plea. After having witnessed all this from pretty close proximity, it surprises me that Korach and Dathan essentially did the same thing not many days later. Korach and Dathan MAY have been nice guys, but they were “ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray”, if you know what I mean! Q&C

No Prophet 

Tehellim 104 – Ps.104 rehearses the Creation poetically. The psalm opens with a blessing on Y’hovah: “Bar’chi naphshi et-Y’hovah Y’hovah Elohai! Gadal’tha m’od hod v’hadar lavash’tha” – My blessing, my soul, are Y’hovah’s! Y’hovah my El! You are very great! Glory and majesty are your clothing!” He wears his glory and his majesty like a garment. That garment is his Creation. We cannot perceive him with our mortal senses, but we can witness his greatness by what he has created. And his first creation, where once there was nothing, was light. The argument can be made that he then ‘condensed’ that light energy to make matter because it is true that E=mc2. The initial light itself is the ultimate manifestation of the glory and majesty of Y’hovah. The matter that he ‘condensed’ from that light is a derived manifestation of his majesty and glory. When he first created Adam did he give him a ‘skin of light’ similar to his own? When Adam fell, was the ‘skin of flesh’ that he gave us merely the uncovering of our flesh by removing the ‘skin of light’, or the addition of a lambskin as a substitution for the death that was due us as a wage for our sin? Or is the answer “Yes!” 

V.3 seems to speak of the pre-flood ‘vapor canopy’ or something of the sort. Stone’s Tanakh has, “He who roofs his upper chambers with water.” A thick vapor canopy helps explain a lot of pre-flood differences from our present experience, like long lifetimes that approach 1000 years. If there was such a thing, it would filter radiation in all spectra and decrease or eliminate any harm they would cause and possibly cause the atmosphere to be a hyperbaric chamber, thus creating a more oxygen rich environment and a sort of ‘greenhouse effect’. The hyperbaric effect could also, among other things, aid the healing of wounds and oxygen absorption. Wings of the wind could also be ‘wings of the Spirit (ruach),’ perhaps a reference to Y’hovah’s omnipresence, the perceived speed with which Y’hovah can ‘move’ from place to place. The last couple of weeks we’ve likened the wheels within wheels in Ezekiel 1 to the camp of Israel in the Wilderness and the movement of the camp to the movement of Y’hovah and the angels in Zeke’s vision. Vv.3-4 could be doing so again – His malachim being ministering spirits (ruchot) and ‘flaming fire’. 

Vv.5-9 – The earth cannot be destroyed by any other force than the one who created it. We can kill every living thing on it by our own ‘power’, but we cannot remove the earth itself. We just don’t have the juice. Y’hovah keeps trying to awaken us to this fact by some of the natural disasters he sends our way. He’s told us that they are a natural consequence of our disobedience, but we fail to heed his warnings and we continue on in defiance. He gave us a warning in Noach’s flood, which we, in our arrogance, refuse to heed. There is evidence to the flood, not the least of which is the universal reference thereto in every culture on earth, that the ‘worldly-wise’ refuse to acknowledge as such. When the time was right the floods receded at Y’hovah’s command. We talked about the Grand Canyon last week. 

By the time the river enters the Grand Canyon, at Lee’s Ferry, its altitude has fallen to 3,110 feet, dropping over one mile since its beginning. The river will drop another 2,200 feet before it reaches the other end of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Wash Cliffs, 277 miles away.

The Canyon is a mile deep in places. If it enters at a level of 3110 and leaves at 2200, how could it possibly have carved through over 4000 feet of rock ABOVE its entry level that it encountered, as our ‘scientist’ friends hypothesize? How it was possibly formed immediately after the flood, when the waters on the Northeastern end of the canyon ‘burst the earthen or lava dam’ holding them back. The resulting flow of huge volumes of water and the associated cavitation could have formed the Grand Canyon in a matter of HOURS or DAYS. From that source of all objective truth – Wikipedia,

Between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago, massive flows of basalt from the Uinkaret volcanic field in northern Arizona dammed the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon. At least thirteen lava dams were formed, the largest of which was more than 2,300 feet (700 m) high, backing the river up for nearly 500 miles (800 km) to present-day Moab, Utah.[65] The lack of associated sediment deposits along this stretch of the Colorado River, which would have accumulated in the impounded lakes over time, suggests that most of these dams did not survive for more than a few decades before collapsing or being washed away. Failure of the lava dams caused by erosion, leaks and cavitation caused catastrophic flooding which may have been some of the largest ever to occur in North America, rivaling the ice age Missoula Floods of the northwestern United States.[66] Mapping of flood deposits indicate that crests as high as 700 feet (210 m) passed through the Grand Canyon,[67] reaching peak discharges as great as 17 million cubic feet per second (500,000 m3/s).[68]

After the flood, the waters from the canopy above and the ‘fountains of the Great Deep’ (Gen.7.11) below would have run off to the Seas, or even back into the reservoirs deep under ground. I-80 at the Susquehanna river, near Williamsport, PA, the site of the Little League World Series. V.9 says that he set the boundaries that the waters may not pass over again, reiterating Y’hovah’s promise to not destroy the earth by flood. Q&C

Vv.10-18 talk about business on earth as usual AFTER the flood, and moves rather effortlessly into it by staying on the water theme. This time he talks about normal runoff of rain and snowmelt that sustains the avian and land-based life on the earth. This is also a gracious provision of the Almighty. The fresh water sustains all the land animals and plants on earth and the plants provide sustenance for all the animals of the earth, either directly for the vegetarians or indirectly for the carnivores and omnivores. All the wine, oils and plant-derived foods would be non-existent if not for the fresh water that Y’hovah provides, primarily by precipitation. Even the ground water is replenished by precipitation that filters through the earth and rock to find its water table. Each creature is placed in the most advantageous place for its lifestyle and survival. 

Vv.19-35 – In v.19 he begins talking about that which is outside the effect of the water that sustains all life on the planet, beginning with that which is extra-planetary. The moon was placed in its orbit, not just to set apart the months, but the seasons. Not that it causes the seasons of the year (that’s the sun’s job), but it marks, in conjunction with the solar season that is defined by the condition of the crops and their development, like barley that was planted in the fall of the previous year marks the beginning of spring, the biblical ‘seasons’, or moedim – appointments that Y’hovah has commanded us to observe. He set the planets and their satellites and the stars into motion to mark off the biblical times and to be a witness to his plan for the ages, not things by which we tell individuals’ futures, but the general plan for the history he has already created, and completed. He ‘formed’ the light and when other things were created and set into motion, the relative position of those things relative to the light source created the light/darkness cycle we witness on a daily basis. When the sun goes down, the nocturnal animals go out to hunt their food. When the sun comes up the nocturnals go back to their dens and the diurnal animals take their turn hunting their food. Men were made for the ‘day shift’, to work by light of day and sleep by dark of night. What men are about at night are more likely predators or those we hire to protect us from the predators. It was all set into motion by the Creator, Y’hovah Almighty, even the sea creatures that were not destroyed by the flood. 

Leviathan, the dragon, represents haSatan, who ‘plays’ in the sea, which represents the world’s system. We see him in Iyov.41

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? (Iyov 41:1)

Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. (Psalms 74:14)

In that day Y’hovah with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Revelation of John 12:3)

All the things that he wondered at were under Y’hovah’s ultimate control, except the men to whom he allowed free will to throw monkey wrenches into the works. But even at that, he knows all the possible choices we can make and has a work-around to meet them and move his plan forward. We only gather for our sustenance that which he bestows. When we throw the monkey wrenches into the works, he causes first minor and then more and worse calamities to befall us until we either turn back to him or we decide he isn’t worth it. That is when he turns his back to us. But even then he doesn’t leave us. He’s there waiting for us to awaken to our troubles and their source and, like the Prodigal, come to ourselves and reason it out that we would be better off servants in our father’s house than kings of our own, rather limited, domain. His glory will endure. It still shows itself in the earthquakes and volcanoes, the storms and droughts. It is incumbent on us to recognize the source and reason for the both the good and the bad that happens around us, and that it is Y’hovah’s gracious provision that sends all our circumstances. We need to give him the glory in the good times and the bad, because 

…we know that all things work together for good to them that love Elohim, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

So, witness to Y’hovah’s greatness, but do not fret that those to whom we witness do not receive our testimony. They know the truth in their heart of hearts and reject Y’hovah, not us. Q&C

Romans 11.18-13.7 – What follows is taken from my study in the book of Romans, prepared as a weekly bible study over the course of 4+ years between 2004 – 2009. As we did a few weeks ago, we’ll just hit some of the highlights or we’ll be here a couple of weeks. We’ll begin in 11.18.

11.18 – How can anyone boast of his recent engrafting against those whom Y’hovah has been cultivating for 2000 years? Seems a bit arrogant to me, and to Sha’ul, as well. Some Gentiles incorrectly believed (and believe), that because the Jews had rejected Mashiyach, Y’hovah had rejected them. But ‘the gifts and calling of Y’hovah are without repentance’ (v.29). Y’hovah NEVER repents of a call made or a gift given. He’ll test our faithfulness. He’ll send trials to see how we’ll respond in relation to his gifts and calling. That’s called pruning. But he will NEVER repent of having gifted or called either you, me, or Yisrael. 

Vv.19-24 Sha’ul anticipates their argument and cuts it off (no pun intended). Follows a ‘Mark Paraphrase’: “Well, you just said they were broken off to make room for me.” “That is well”, he replies, “They have been put on a siding due to unbelief, while you stand in your faith. But don’t let that knowledge puff you up to thinking you are better than them. You ought to tremble. If Elohim has broken off the natural branches from the tree he’s been cultivating for over 1500 years (at the time he wrote Romans) to make room for you, on whom he’s not given all that effort, what makes you think he won’t break you off to make room for them, if they repent and you turn your back on him?” In Rev.2, Yeshua says very much the same thing to the church at Ephesus as he calls them to repentance:

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

First Works? I think it’s talking about Torah, sans Talmud and traditions.

There are 2000 yr. old olive trees. They grow until they die or are cut down. So he can graff them in right alongside us. There’s plenty of room. So don’t get haughty about your engrafting into the olive tree and their shunting to a siding. They will ‘take’ a lot easier than you did, for they are the natural branches. And even in their unbelief, they can teach us wonderful things of Y’hovah that Yeshua and Paul knew, but that we have lost in our arrogant attitude relative to them. 

(http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm)

Remember our discussion of the Sephiroth tree a while back? The rabbis had/have this idea of a tree with the ‘ayn soph’ – ‘the One who is unknowable’ or, literally, ‘without end’ – above it, energizing it and directing it. The Sephiroth tree is an attempt to understand and explain Y’hovah Elohim in his various aspects or emanations. In the Sephiroth, these emanations are in groups of 3 and on 3 levels between the Kingdom on earth and the Almighty ayn soph. Paul makes a reference to the center level of this Sephiroth tree when he says, “Behold the goodness and the severity of Elohim”. Superimposed on the tree is a representation of a man standing on the earthly Kingdom (Y’hovah’s Bride, the earth is his footstool, Is.66.1) with his arms outstretched, his right hand (Y’hovah’s grace) resting on the emanation of mercy/goodness and his left hand (Elohim’s justice) resting on the emanation of his severity/judgment. (It looks kind of like a man crucified on a tree.)

That center level has the goodness/mercy of Y’hovah on the right hand side of the tree (as we look at a representation of the tree it is on our left), while the severity/judgment of Elohim is on the left side of the tree. These are joined in the center of the tree in the beauty, tiphereth, of Y’hovah Elohenu’s Holiness. The beauty of Y’hovah Elohenu is also the center of the man’s body – his heart. This is a good graphic illustration of the heart of Y’hovah Yeshua, who is the outworking of Y’hovah Avinu’s mercy and goodness, but has also been given Y’hovah Elohim’s power to judge the earth with severity and righteous judgment. Now, the rabbis won’t make that connection – YET. But many of them will, and soon. Right now, they are receiving his severity and judgment. But remember that judgment doesn’t always end in condemnation – it often ends, as in our cases, with acquittal. That is his mercy and goodness. 

Paul is telling us in ch.11 that chol Yisrael will be acquitted after they are judged in righteousness. When their suffering moves them to repentance and they call out for Y’hovah’s deliverance, he shall deliver them. And their deliverer will be Yeshua, whom they will recognize immediately and welcome with the Words, “Baruch haba b’Shem Y’hovah! – Blessed is he who comes in the Name of Y’hovah”, echoing the crowds that greeted him as he rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass:

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Y’hovah; Hosanna in the highest. (Matthew 21:9)

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Y’hovah: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of Y’hovah: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:9, 10).

“Hosanna” = Hebrew, Hosheanu!, which means “Save us NOW!” Q&C

V.25a – To keep the Gentiles from being all puffed up in their engrafted position in Messiah, Paul is revealing a ‘mystery’ to the Gentile believers in Rome. ‘Mystery’ is from Strong’s #3466 musterion, moos-tay’-ree-on, from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites): –mystery.” Now, I don’t think this is saying that Paul was initiated into a secret society, like Freemasonry or Skull and Bones. It means this is one of those deep things of Elohim that he speaks about in I Cor.2:10:

But Elohim hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of Elohim.

We have discussed briefly before the rabbinic doctrine of PaRDeS, which says that there are 4 levels of understanding of the scriptures. 

The first level is the pashat, which is the concrete, literal, exactly what’s written on the page understanding. Pashat is the bedrock on which all the other understandings lie. If any understanding or interpretation of the verse or passage contradicts the pashat, it is invalid. This is, generally speaking, the Baptistic understanding – if it isn’t written out in black and white it’s not scriptural truth, and no matter how much you try to expand their scope of understanding, they will resist it, usually by denouncing you as an heretic. This I know from personal experience.

The second level of understanding is remez, which is a hint at the deep things of Y’hovah. The words on the page often allude to something much deeper or hidden. It is a hint at the ‘deep things of Elohim’. We have seen a bunch of these in Romans already. In Rom.1.18ff, we see that the creation itself is a hint at the existence of the ayn soph, ‘the one who is unknowable’- he who is literally ‘without end’; we spoke of a few minutes ago. Every time Paul speaks of one of the emanations or characteristics of the ayn soph he is giving a hint at understanding him. To many, these emanations are themselves very deep concepts, but in reality they are hints at the deepest of all the deep things of Elohim – himself. 

The third level of understanding is the D’rash, which is the personal life application of the verse or passage. This is where the Ruach, the Spirit of Y’hovah, gives us the ability to apply the truth to ourselves or to those whom we counsel. Paul often does this, as well. 1Cor.5 comes to mind, where he counsels the elders at Corinth to put the man out of the kahal who is having carnal knowledge with his father’s wife. This is an application of a commandment of Torah, which was seen as an action of Ya’akov when he removed the birthright from Reuben who had gone in to Bilhah, his father’s concubine and his brother’s mother. Our sin affects ALL of our descendants, as happened to Reuben. He was held responsible for his own sin, but the consequence of that sin passed on to his seed as well. When we compare scripture with scripture like that and see how it applies to us or those around us we have engaged in midrash, expounding on the meaning of scripture. A good sermon is always a good midrash. Mi = with or from, d’rash = application. 

Often, expounding on scripture will reveal the fourth level of understanding – sod, which is the hidden meaning – the mystery. This is where Paul is going in our passage. There is, for example, nowhere in Tanakh that states plainly that Messiah must suffer before men, be crucified and die for the sins of the world. It’s hinted at in remez, but never stated plainly. However, many rabbis BEFORE Yeshua’s appearing believed that was in fact how the nation would be delivered from sin and into the olam haba – the world to come. They always saw Messiah as a national deliverer (which he is), not a personal Saviour. Yeshua’s own talmidim didn’t get it, even AFTER the 40 day Yeshiva with the risen Messiah before his ascension. Look at Lk.24.13-35 and zero in on: 

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Messiah to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Notice that he ‘expounded’, he applied one prophetic scripture and its meaning to another prophetic scripture and its meaning and arrived at a conclusion that Messiah was certainly spoken of in Tanakh, it just was not understood BEFORE his crucifixion and resurrection. Often a sod teaching is not understood until AFTER the deeply covered prophecy has already occurred. Once it is shown to a person who knows the pashat of the prophet how Y’hovah made all things work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose, he flattens his forehead and says, “How could I have missed it?” He missed it because he needed an event to happen to supply the insight. OR we need to be in intimate communication with our Creator (but even then it is not a ‘done deal’ – we need to be open to the truth he is revealing). But even after the 40-day yeshiva with their Creator and risen Saviour, they were STILL asking if he would restore the Kingdom now! (Acts 1.6) They were looking for Israel’s national redemption right then, not the personal redemption of everyone who believes, which adds to the size of the nation. 

V.25.b – “Blindness in part” means their blindness is not total. Yehuda had become myopic, not totally blind. They could still see deep truths of scripture, even of the nature of Elohim, but the rabbis were given over to blindness concerning the person and work of Messiah. The Jews – the Iuaidoi leaders of the Hebrew religion – would not accept that Yeshua was Mashiyach ben Yoseph, especially knowing that he ‘was of the house and lineage of David’ (Lk.2.4). What they failed to see was the mystery that Paul is revealing in this passage, that in order to bring the 10 tribes out of bondage Messiah had to fulfill the office of the son of Yoseph, which was to bring them back to the faith once delivered to the saints. He did this by placing Yehudah on a siding for the time being while he brought in the multitude of Nations, the melo hagoyim and the fullness of the gentiles.

In Gen.48, Ya’akov told Yoseph that Ephraim would be greater than his older bro (a theme in scripture – the younger being greater in faith and practice than the elder) and that his seed would become a ‘multitude of nations’. The Hebrew phrase here is ‘melo hagoyim’, which also can be translated, ‘fullness of the gentiles’. Melo is the Strong’s 

#4393 מלה mlo’ mel-o’ rarely mlow {mel-o’}; or mlow (Ezekiel 41:8), {mel-o’}; from 4390; fulness (literally or figuratively): –X all along, X all that is (there-) in, fill, (X that whereof…was) full, fulness, (hand-) full, multitude. see HEBREW for 04390

#4390 male’ maw-lay’ or malae (Esth. 7:5) {maw-law’}; a primitive root, to fill or (intransitively) be full of, in a wide application (literally and figuratively): –accomplish, confirm, + consecrate, be at an end, be expired, be fenced, fill, fulfil, (be, become, X draw, give in, go) full (-ly, -ly set, tale), (over-) flow, fulness, furnish, gather (selves, together), presume, replenish, satisfy, set, space, take a (hand-) full, + have wholly.

M’lo is only translated ‘multitude’ one other time, in Is.31:

3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not Elohim; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When Y’hovah shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together. 4 For thus hath Y’hovah spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall Y’hovah Tzavaoth come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.

The shepherds he is speaking of there are the generals of the troops coming against Y’hovah Yeshua at Armageddon. The lion and the young lion both speak of Messiah, who is not afraid of the ‘fullness of shepherds’, or all the generals of the NWO, ‘called forth against him’. 

So, comparing scripture with scripture, the multitude of nations and the fullness of the gentiles coming in must mean all the gentiles called forth TO him. That’s Ephraim. And that is the message and the ministry of Mashiyach ben Yoseph. Mashiyach ben Yoseph has been calling forth the melo hagoyim ever since his ministry on earth. When they have all responded to the call, either positively or negatively, he will set up, as Mashiyach ben David, the Kingdom that his talmidim and the entire nation of Yehuda were looking for. 

The word male is only translated once as multitude in Jer.12.6. In that passage, their leaders have called all the multitude of the NWO nations to ‘weary’ Y’hovah’s people. 

5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee , then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? 6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude (male) after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee. 

I think this prophecy is warning Israel and Yehudah to not trust the ‘land of peace’, for that nation will turn against Israel in the end of days. I think this speaks of the United States. The US will weary Israel. The US is largely made up of descendants of the 10 tribes, Yehudah’s brothers and the firstborn of Jacob, according to Gen.48. The US will call ‘the multitude’ (male), the NWO armies, against the land of Israel in what may be the prophecy of Ezek.38-39 coming to pass. This is coming soon to Y’hovah’s people living in the political nation of Israel. Do you think they’ll listen to this prophecy? Not until they come to the end of themselves and realize their need for Y’hovah’s deliverance from the hole they’ve dug themselves. I think this may be coming to pass very soon. When they call on his Name, he will respond with his Deliverance. Their blindness will end when they ‘look upon him whom they have pierced’ (Zech.12.10). Q&C

V.26 – Notice that AFTER the fullness of the Gentiles come in, all Yisrael is saved. Juxtapose this verse with Eph.2.11-18 and our passage above, vv.13-24. All Yisrael includes all believers of all time, every person who has placed his trust in the Name of Y’hovah to deliver him from his bondage to sin and exile. This statement, ‘chol Yisrael y’shuato’ could not have been true until the melo hagoyim was brought in. 

Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when Y’hovah bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. (Psalms 14:7)

Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When Elohim bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. (Psalms 53:6)

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Y’hovah, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of Y’hovah out of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of Y’hovah Tzavaoth shall do this. (Isaiah 37:32)

Y’hovah also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Y’hovah will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16) 

Ha Tikvah, The Hope, is Israel’s national anthem. The hope of Yisrael is the ingathering of the exiles that will be accomplished by Mashiyach Yeshua. THAT is the blessed hope; the glorious appearing of Mashiyach bringing in his sheaves with him. Guess who the sheaves are. Ps.126 says the sheaves are those whose captivity Y’hovah has turned to liberty. Jews and Gentiles in Mashiyach = chol Yisrael, the saved from exile and slavery.

V.27 is a continuation of v.26; Paul has added to the passage he quoted. Is.59:

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Y’hovah. 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Y’hovah; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Y’hovah, from henceforth and for ever.

Paul quotes v.20-21a, then adds “when I shall take away their sins.” When will he take away their sins? When will Y’hovah take away Yisrael’s sins? Has he done so, already? Spiritually and metaphorically, he has. But in our experience we know this is yet to be fully accomplished in us (though it should be more real in our lives daily). So when will he take away our sins? 

Look at the rest of Is.59.21. When will Y’hovah’s word be ever present on our lips, as well as on the lips of our children and grandchildren? When he takes away our sins. Our seed and our seed’s seed can only be spiritual or metaphorical today, as is our part in Avraham’s covenant (Gal.3), but in eternity, on the new earth and in the new heavens, it will also be physical reality, when both we and our faithful literal, as well as our spiritual, offspring will both have his Spirit and have his Word forever on their lips.

In effect, Paul has taken the covenant with Yisrael, that he would not remove his Word from Isaiah or his seed forever and applied that promise to all Yisrael – His Spirit will be upon ALL Yisrael, not just Yeshayahu. Y’hovah’s Words will be on our lips, and those of our children and their children forever. The timing is in the millennial Kingdom and in eternity beyond, when the New Covenant with both the houses of Israel and Yehudah will be fully accomplished. This can ONLY be after he has drawn the lost and scattered sheep of the house of Israel out of the nations.  

Vv28-32 – Paul is still speaking about the Jews to the Gentiles in Rome. He is still giving instruction to the Gentiles who have come to the faith of Yeshua directly from paganism, and admonishing them for their attitude of superiority over the Jews. He’s already told them to fear, lest any of them be cut off from Y’hovah’s fellowship due to unbelief, even as many from Yehudah have been. These are made enemies so the wild branch Gentiles could be graffed into the cultivated tree. But they are NOT forsaken. They can be graffed back in, for they are STILL elect and beloved of Y’hovah for their father’s sake, for the gifts (the promises given to Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’acov) and the calling (of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’acov) of Y’hovah are without repentance. Y’hovah has not ‘recalled the call’ to chol Yisrael. All those who heed it will be graffed in. Notice that they ARE beloved for the father’s sake is present tense. Not ‘will be’ or ‘were’, but ‘are’. This goes to the attitude of the Gentile believers in Rome (and America as well).

He recalls to the minds of the Gentiles that, even as THEY were once without Elohim in the world system but have now obtained mercy, so it shall be with Yehudah. He has ‘concluded’ Yehudah in unbelief in Mashiyach. ‘Concluded’ does not mean that this is the final conclusion to the story of Yehuda. ‘Concluded’ is from Greek sugkleio, to ‘close together’. Have you ever wondered why it is that orthodox Jews have always lived in closed communities? Many think the root is anti-Semitism or Israel’s self-segregation; that the Gentiles didn’t want them to live among them or that they didn’t want to live among the gentiles, but this verse shows us that those are symptoms, not causes. The cause is Y’hovah’s sugkleio, HE has ‘closed them together’ so that he may more easily graff them back into the natural tree when they call on him for his deliverance. This has been a two-edged sword, for Yehudah has suffered much persecution, and it was easier for the persecutors due to that segregation. But the persecution was not so much a punishment for their unbelief as protection for their partial faithfulness. I think persecution is a vindictive, satanic act because of their position in Y’hovah’s plan and their obstinate adherence to their faith in his promises. 

Sha’ul concludes the chapter with an insight into the very nature of Elohim and a benediction on Y’hovah. When Paul speaks of the ‘depth of the wisdom and knowledge of Elohim’, he is realizing for himself just how much Y’hovah loves his people Yisrael, regardless the ‘house’ they are from. I think that he recognized that what he has just explained is from the Spirit of Y’hovah, but didn’t fully comprehend it himself until just then and was in awe of Y’hovah’s mercy as he grasped the gracious implications. 

Paul uses the Pharisee’s tool of Midrash again to make the point of the incomprehensible nature of Elohim. He takes 2 seemingly unrelated speeches from the book of Iyov and jams them together:

Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: (Iyov 5:9)

This is Eliphaz speaking to Iyov. 

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Iyov 9:10)

This is Iyov answering Bildad. 

The ‘wisdom’ of the Almighty, as we see in the illustration of the Tree of Sephiroth, is the primary attribute of the Father. When this attribute is combined with the primary attribute of Ruach haKodesh, which is the understanding of the Almighty, the result is the primary attribute of the Tzaddik Son, knowledge of the Almighty. This is not only the knowledge possessed by Y’hovah, but to know him intimately. Yeshua said;

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (John 17:25)

The more one knows the Father, the more like Yeshua he is and the greater the reward he receives. Conversely those who do not know Y’hovah receive his wrath.

Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. (Psalms 79:6)

The world has not known the Father; the heathen have not known the Father. Those people and kingdoms that know not Avinu receive his wrath. So, who HAS known the mind of Avinu? Messiah is the wisdom of Y’hovah. Who has been his counselor? Messiah works in the power of the Ruach haKodesh, so Messiah is the Understanding of Elohim. Messiah Yeshua is the perfect embodiment of the mind of Y’hovah Elohenu. And elsewhere we are told that we have the mind of Messiah (1Cor.2.16). Q&C

Romans 12

We just looked at Rom.12 the week before last. We hit highlights only because we had another chapter to look at. I will leave it up to you if you want me to go over it again, or jump to ch.13.

Rom.12 needs to be seen in light of ch.9-11. It does not stand alone.

V.1 – Paul is begging the gentiles in particular to present their bodies (plural) a (singular) living sacrifice. He is continuing on the theme that the gentiles need to be well grounded in basic Torah knowledge before they take any leadership role in the local assembly. He reminds them that Y’hovah is merciful to them AND to the Jews in leadership in the synagogue, and that the leaders of the synagogue have a wealth of Torah knowledge to teach them, even if they do not understand who Messiah is, yet. He is asking the gentiles to be as merciful to the leadership, as Y’hovah is to all of them, in both engrafting the gentiles and the future engrafting of the broken off branches that are lying there awaiting their chastisement’s end, which will be when they come to the end of themselves and call out to Y’hovah for his deliverance – Hosheanu! 

For that is the mercy by which he beseeches them. Mercies = graffing due to the faith of Messiah, as seen in 11.28-32. We were not graffed in by any merit of ours, but by the merit of Yeshua haMoshiach. HE has done it. HE has had both the faith and the perfect works to merit his eternal life, which he of course had from the foundation of the earth because he is Y’hovah. Then he ‘marries’ us and we become a part of him. He becomes our covering and what is his becomes ours.

For…. the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy (set-apart, sanctified). (I Corinthians 7:14)

Faith in the Hebraic way of thinking is not mere assent to a few concepts. It’s not just an abstract. In the Hebraic mind, faith includes the resulting actions of that assent as evidence that the faith of Yeshua has ‘taken’ in us. Heb.11 speaks of faith, defines it as “The substance of things HOPED for; the evidence of things not seen.” Can you see faith? Of course you can – in the actions that accompany it, which are evidence of your belief. Can you see hope? Of course you can – in the actions that come as a result of it. The actions of believers that are based in faith and hope may seem stupid to the casual observer, but they make perfect sense to the actor and to those in fellowship with him. So, when you make preparations or teach the truth based on your understanding of ‘the blessed hope’, the result is substantial. That substance may be material or spiritual, but it is real in either case. 

Rav Sha’ul speaks of ‘reasonable service’ to the entire kahal (congregation), but to the gentile believers in particular. He asks them to submit to the authority of the elders of the synagogue – their living sacrifice; their reasonable service – so they can learn the truth of Torah. He asks them to use their reason and not react emotionally to the presumably foreign teachers (i.e., Jewish rabbis in Rome). He is not asking them to submit to the traditions of the leadership, but to their Torah instruction. This is seen clearly in v.2, where he says ‘be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…’ The world includes the traditions of the elders, the ‘oral law’ that placed a fence around Torah so that the Jew could not get close enough to it to break it – or keep it. 

We have traditions in the gentile church, as well, that keep us from the Word, and for the same reason – to protect us from transgressing. An example is the biblical prohibition against drunkenness (Eph.5.18), as drunkenness is a counterfeit Spirit-filling. It doesn’t say to not drink alcoholic wine, but to not be drunk with it. In many fundamentalist churches this is taken to mean more than the scripture says – they ADD to the Word of Y’hovah and say to drink anything alcoholic is a sin. I have yet to see such a commandment – except among certain ‘fundamentalists’ who add that one. People go so far as to break fellowship over this fence placed between the believer and the Word of Y’hovah. This is a form of idolatry, making the fence our rule instead of the revealed Word of Elohim. 

We are to be in control of our spirits (1Cor.14.32), hence the prohibition on drunkenness AND the admonition to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This takes our reason and not our emotion – reasonable service. Q&C

V.2 – We’ve lightly touched on this already. The admonition is ‘be not conformed to this world’. We are to be IN the world, not OF the world (1Cor.5.10). We are to be set apart by our faith and faithfulness to the Word we believe. In this we will be different and it will hopefully be seen in our everyday walk. We should be people of integrity, our word should be our bond (Jms.5.12). There ARE people who are not of faith who have impeccable integrity, but they are VERY few and far between. But we, the people of Y’hovah as a whole, should be characterized by our integrity. If we have no integrity when it comes to things that CAN be seen, how can we be trusted to be truthful about the things that can’t be seen? This is James’ argument about faith restated – show me your faith without works; I’ll show you my faith BY my works (Yacov 2.18). Who is the world more likely to believe? The man of impeccable integrity is whom they will believe. Why does almost noone trust the US government anymore? It lacks integrity. Why does almost noone trust the church anymore? Why the lack of integrity? Because of lack of faith and hope in Y’hovah to deliver what he’s promised. Why does the world not hope in Y’hovah? Because it knows it can’t be trusted, and we tend to project onto others what we believe about ourselves. When we fail to trust Y’hovah, it’s because we know our own lack of integrity and project that onto him.

What do we do about it in our own lives? How do we build up our personal integrity? By being transformed through renewing our minds. Our minds are renewed when we internalize the truth of Elohim’s Word, when we study it and apply it to ourselves and then ACT on it. As we see that HE is faithful to his Word, we begin to trust that he will perform it in us and for us in the future and to act according to his faithfulness in us. As we see him actually do what he’s promised in and through us, our faith in him is built up and we study his Word and apply it to ourselves all the more. Thus, we grow in our desire to be what he would have us be, as he has revealed it to us by his Word. And Y’hovah will ALWAYS give us the desire of our hearts, whether for good or ill. As we WANT to be more like Yeshua, he fulfills that desire in us. Thereby are we ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (8.29), by the renewing of our minds.  Q&C

What is the purpose of this transformation in us? To ‘prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim’ in us. To ‘prove’ is to show that something is true. ‘Prove’ is from grk., dokimazo, to test. This is the same word translated ‘try’ in 1Jn.4.1, “…try the spirits, whether they be of Elohim.” So how do we prove the will of Elohim? By walking in his Word. If we obey his Word, he promises us certain blessings. By certain, I do not mean only specific, but absolutely sure and certain, as in “certain, unalienable rights”. Y’hovah has promised, not some hunk of wood made to look like a phallic symbol (church steeple?) or a lump of gold shaped by my own hands to look like a calf. Y’hovah who created the universe with a Word from his mouth has promised and he shall deliver. Try him, if you don’t believe me. Mal.3.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it .

That blessing may or may not be in kind. He may bless you with something or in some area completely unrelated to the specific area in which you are faithful, but it will certainly come. But when you try him and he proves himself true, you WILL be transformed. Your trust will grow. And the more you test his promises, the more he will prove himself true and the more you’ll trust. It won’t be long before you see his blessings to you everywhere and in everything – even the bad stuff haSatan sends to try to get you to doubt Y’hovah, because you’ll know that Rom.8.28 is true. What haSatan means for your ill Y’hovah uses for your good.  And you are made to be MORE like his Son, which IS his good and acceptable and prefect will for you and me. 

So, what will a ‘renewed mind’ look like? The question is not rhetorical. I’d like at least one answer. It’s going to look like Yeshua’s mind in Phil.2.1-8

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Ruach, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua: 6 Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the tree. 

V.1 has four ‘any’ attributes and v.2 has four admonitions that can be seen in relation to each other. Those verses are an entire sermon unto themselves, so I’ll let it go at that, but here is the mind of Messiah. He thought and thinks nothing of himself. Everything he does is for OUR good who love him and are the called according to his purpose. In the ultimate scheme of things, who is not fulfilling Y’hovah Yeshua’s purpose in his life? That is really not rhetorical either. In one way or another, either by walking in his perfect will for us or by walking in our own ways, we do fulfill his purpose. We can thwart his perfect will in our own lives, but we cannot thwart his PLAN, or purpose. What is Y’hovah’s perfect will for us? It’s for our minds to be like Yeshua’s mind. Ps.40.7-8 shows us Messiah’s mind;

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the scroll it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O Elohai: yea, thy Torah is within my heart.   

Didn’t David write that a year or 2 (or 400) before Jeremiah prophesied the ‘New’ Covenant’? If there was no ‘New’ Covenant yet, how could the Torah be written on anyone’s heart? May I say that the ‘New’ Covenant is no different from the ‘Old’? The ‘new’ covenant has to do with a renewed heart in the believer. The commandments were written on tables of stone at Sinai, but in the ‘New’ Covenant they are written on fleshy tables of our hearts (2Cor.3.3). The tables/hearts of stone correspond to the carnal man’s uncircumcised heart. Y’hovah has always commanded us to have our hearts circumcised (Deut.10.16, 30.6). THAT is what Yeshua modeled for us in his walk – a circumcised heart. Do we succeed in walking as Yeshua walked at all times? Not likely. But it should become more and more evident in our walks over time.  Q&C

Vv.3 – The words, ‘of himself’, are supplied by the translators. Don’t think on things or try to do things that you aren’t prepared for. This may lead you to things that will hurt your walk, and to think you can handle the pressure and spiritual attacks that will come at you when you reach a position for which you are not prepared. New converts to Messiah should NEVER be placed in any kind of authority in a kahal (congregation). Our American devotion to ‘Hollywood’, fame, fortune and hero-worship has caused no end of trouble in the lives of famous people who have converted to Messiah. Bob Dylan is probably the most famous American I can recall who has had a conversion to Messiah Yeshua. He was immediately a guest on every ‘Xian’ TV/radio show, and any other media outlet that could contact him. As if the guy didn’t get enough adulation from his screaming fans, NOW he’s got Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker and the whole TBN crowd fawning on him when he should have been studying in quiet and growing in the nurture and admonition of Y’hovah. 

Rav Sha’ul did it right, I think, and was an example that we should emulate. When he was converted on the Damascus road, he didn’t get put on the Nazarite lecture circuit. He didn’t immediately go on a concert tour to promote his new album of ‘Jesus-freak’ music. In Israel, there may not have been a more famous anti-missionary than Paul. He was the top student of the top rabbi in the land. He was the most successful anti-missionary hit-man there was – a Pharisaic ‘James Bond’, as it were. (“Saul. Saul of Tarsus, Agent 001. Licensed to imprison.”) The Notzrei were scared to death of him and for good reason; he had open arrest warrants from the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that Ananias tried the Spirit (1Jn.4.1) that gave him the command to go meet him and lay hands on him for healing. Paul gives us the timeline in Gal.1.13ff,

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the kahal of Elohim, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased Elohim, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 

He went to Arabia for basic training from Ruach haKodesh before he went to the synagogue in Damascus to study Torah and show the rabbis Messiah in the scriptures, which would have gotten him killed had he not written the book on persecution of the kahal. Imagine the personal Yeshiva with the Ruach of Messiah in Arabia! On Sinai?

Have you ever wondered why Saul was so successful at arresting Notzrei? If one were a Jewish follower of Yeshua (and there were absolutely NO gentile believers at the time), where would he be on Shabbat? In the synagogue hearing Torah read and discussed. Unless they were very wealthy, they had no Torah scrolls among themselves. So all Sha’ul had to do was go to the synagogues and round up the ‘Jesus-freaks’, who were all Torah observant. They would obey Y’hovah’s Word even at risk of life and liberty. THAT is faith, my friends – to go despite one’s fear to where there was a virtual certainty of arrest and possibly death (Stephen had been stoned already). But, if you wanted to obey Y’hovah, that was what you needed to do. Would we go to shul under those conditions? 

I would hope so, but in America there has never been a need for worry – YET! That may change soon and suddenly. One morning, you’ll have religious liberty, the next – gone! I see the political landscape of April 2009, and I see our ability to practice our faith about to be squeezed out of existence. In fact, our liberty to even HAVE our faith privately to ourselves, much less in public, is about to be taken from us. “Hate-speech”, AKA preaching and teaching the Word of Y’hovah, is about to become a crime. What we think and believe is about to be policed by ‘authorities’ that have no Constitutional authority to police what we think and say (1st Amendment). “Thought-Police” will soon be at our doors, arresting us for ‘thought-crimes’. Hello, George Orwell. Pleasure to make your acquaintance – NOT!

We need to think soberly, i.e., coolly and rationally, about our place in the kahal. Are we ready to teach? Are we ready to serve in another capacity? Maybe it’d be best if we were taught, growing in the nurture and admonition of Yah for a while, & then serve. Q&C

V.4 – A part of thinking soberly is to look around and see who is best suited to which position in the assembly. Hopefully we do this with our children and we build around their natural talents and abilities. Why would we think it should be different in our kahal? There are varying gifts given in varying degrees in various people. Part of the nurturing process is to determine who is suited for what and to build up that area of his walk, ‘train up a child’ and all that. Remember that Paul is still addressing the gentile believers and their relationship with the rabbis and their (the rabbis) leadership of the synagogue. Spiritual gifts are about to be discussed in that light. Passages about spiritual gifts can be found in 1Cor.12 and Eph.4, but Eph.4.11ff is the better parallel to Rom.12.4ff as it deals more with positions within the kahal than the manifestations of the Spirit. Both the gifts of ministry and the ‘sign’ gifts are important, for they each have the same purpose.

What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d like an answer. (Wait for it) The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is the edifying of the body. Each gift is needed to build the kahal into the image of Messiah, and by that I mean not just the local assembly, but the entire organic body of Messiah in the world. Each person is given each of the gifts of the Spirit in varying degrees. Some prophecy, some help, some are hospitable, some speak in tongues, etc. Each is also given the gift that is most suited to him in the measure it is needed in his congregation. Some are pastors, some are apostles (sent out ones – missionaries to others in need of the gospel or instruction in right living, like Sha’ul), some are teachers. All are for the ‘perfecting of the saints’, ministering to the needs of other kehalim (assemblies) and individuals, and building up the faith of the brethren and their families until when? 

Eph.4.13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Eloha, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Messiah:

Given the state of the ‘church’ today, how long do you think this will take? It need not take that long, if we’ll accept other believers’ giftings and both teach them what they need and learn from them what we need to be made more perfect in the faith and in faith-fulness. To do this takes humility to listen to what people have to say and glean the truth from within the error they hold to. NONE of us has it all correct. Not even this author (though I hate to admit it). We need to actively listen, not just to shoot down errant teachings (that’s the easy part), but to find truth that we may not yet have understood. Sometimes, that truth may go 1800 from what we’ve been taught. Are we ready to do an about face on our preconceptions and the attitudes we’ve learned to accept the truth from someone we considered an heretic, if it proves true? Am I saying that even Benny Hinn might have something to teach me? As much as I would hate to say it, he could have a salient understanding hidden somewhere among all that tripe that I would never have come upon myself. This takes an open mind to the truth, from whatever source it may come. For this reason, I am loathe to dismiss anyone’s ideas until he proves to be a total reprobate. I DO need to be careful to check words against THE Word, but I also need to be open to the truth of Y’hovah. I mean, I’ll even hear what Sam or Gary have to say.

V.5-8 – Every one members one of another. We are interconnected. What happens to any one of us affects every other one of us and all of us. You may be the right hand and I the left buttock, but if something happens to me it will affect you, and our entire body. It is hard for a body to live without an essential part (like a left buttock), for as lowly as the part may be, when it is missing or not working to its accustomed efficiency, the whole body has to find a way to compensate, and becomes less effective. For that reason, we need to be watchmen for each other, warning each other of potential threats to the health and unity of the body.

Your gifts and my gifts will be different. Each gift is needed in each body. I believe that we are all gifted in every type of spiritual gift, but not all in the same measure in each gift. My strongest gift may be one thing and yours may be another, but we each are gifted in both areas. If my strongest gift is prophecy and yours is administration, that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn or receive a prophecy from you or that I can’t have a valuable suggestion to help you administer the body. We need to listen to each other about everything. This is why I don’t mind so-called ‘rabbit trails’ in our study time, because it is often the rabbit trail that Y’hovah uses to bring the greatest spiritual insight and is what everyone needed to hear and discuss. 

The gifts mentioned here are pretty much self-explanatory. But ‘giving, with simplicity’ may need some interpretation. Simplicity is from the grk Strong’s #

572 haplotes hap-lot’-ace from 573; singleness, i.e. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal):–bountifulness, liberal(-ity), simplicity, singleness. see GREEK for 573

Simple giving seems to mean singleness of mind, to be of service without thought of return. This is the way that Elohim gives us grace and faith, and salvation thereby. Our mind needs to be like Yeshua’s, which is like Avinu’s. 

Matt.6.24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve Elohim and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if Elohim so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of Elohim, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

That is the simplicity with which we need to give – and live. Q&C

V.9-13 – Here begins a section of practical instructions on what walking with a renewed mind will look like. 

Love without dissimulation. Dissimulation = hypocrisy. The grk word is anupokritos; an = negation, hupo = underlying (hypo), krinos = critique or judgment. Y’hovah’s love is without underlying criticism, it is without reservation. That is our model for loving, especially the members of our body.

Abhor evil, cleave to good. To abhor is to hate vigorously, from the grk. apostugneto. Apo = the highest degree (apogee = furthest point of a body’s orbit), stugnetos = odious, hateful. Cleave is a funny word, because depending on its context it can mean exactly the opposite of itself. Cleave = hold tight; or cut away. Here it means the former. Grk. Kollao = to glue things together. I wonder if there is an etymological relation to kalle, to call.

Kindly affectioned, with brotherly love. Philostorgos and philadelpia are based in phileo, which is human affection or friendship. Remember Peter in Jn.21? Peter, do you agape me? I phileo you. Storge = familial affection; sibling to sibling, parent to child. So, philostorgos = actually liking your family – no small feat for many. Adelphos = from the womb, i.e.; brother. Philadelphia, then, means actually liking a brother – also, no small feat for many. IOW, we ought to interact as a loving family interacts. My family may be weird, but when we get together, we argue over the stupidest stuff. We holler and make recriminations, but when it’s all over we still like each other. In Messiah we are allowed to disagree, and sometimes vehemently disagree. But that disagreement should not be the source of hatred or bitterness one to another. Each has different experiences that shape his view of the world and of scripture. We ought to listen and calmly consider what the other is saying in light of truth before we dismiss it or them. 

In honor preferring one another. Time = a value or money paid. We are to value each other in Messiah above ourselves, as Messiah values each of us above himself. The word translated ‘preferring’ is Grk. 4285 proegeomai, to lead the way for others; in military parlance, to take the point. What does a ‘point man’ do for his platoon? He blazes a trail, he watches out for the enemy and warns the rest of the group of potential threats to their security, he subordinates his own well being to that of the others. 

Not slothful in business. Slothful is from Grk. 3636 okneros, which means tardy or indolent (lazy). Business does not mean necessarily that by which we earn a living. It is from Grk. 4710, spoude, (speedy?) eagerness, dispatch, earnestness. IOW, when Y’hovah moves on our hearts, we need to MOVE. This puts me in mind of the Olivet Discourse:

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

We need to be ready at all times to take off in obedience to Y’hovah’s commands, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Hence, the preparedness videos. We need to be ready to do as we are told when we are told. We try to train our children to do this, and it is for their protection. Same with Y’hovah and us. 

Fervent in Spirit. Zeo = hot, boiling liquid or glowing solid. I think the word may be related etymologically to zoe, life. Can you see how the two are related? If this were Hebrew instead of Greek, I’d say they ARE related by virtue of being built from the same letters. This may be a Hebrew word play that translates into greek. Something boiling surely looks to the casual observer to be full of life, like a fish on a hook. Maybe.

Serving Y’hovah. Our service to Y’hovah Yeshua should be characterized by all above (and below). Q&C

Vv.12-13 – Still looking at what our walk should look like. Rejoicing in hope. Biblically, hope is an earnest expectation of Y’hovah’s fulfilling his promises. Rejoicing is from Grk.5463, chairo which is the root for charis – good cheer, cheerful. 

Patient in tribulation. Patient = to stand under, from hupomeno. Meno is to stay in a given place or circumstance. Hupo, as we’ve seen before = under or behind. When we are tried, we need to endure and be steadfast. If we are rejoicing in hope, if we are living our lives based on what Y’hovah has promised us and not on what we see coming at us, we will be better able to stand what comes at us, and be witnesses to the grace of Y’hovah even in tribulation. Which will prove our faith, both to ourselves and to those who are watching, and will REALLY tick off those who are tribulating us. 

Continuing instant in prayer. Proskartereo is translated ‘Continuing instant’. Pros is the prefix of forward direction, or leading. Kartereo means to be strong or to endure. This phrase means we ought to lead immediately with prayer and to endure in it. We should be characterized by praying first, then waiting for direction and then doing what we are directed to do. The first thing we should be doing is praying, and continue in prayer until we get an answer. This may take no time at all, or it may take years. 

How urgently do we pray? When we see a situation arising, do we do what seems right to us, or do we take time to ask for Y’hovah’s direction? Prayer should be our first resort. Too often it is my last resort (even once is too often). I am preaching to myself, but if you want to take ownership of it yourself, feel free. I don’t mind. And I seriously doubt that Y’hovah will mind. In fact, I’m pretty certain he’ll be pleased. I think the more we lead with prayer and then wait for direction, the more immediate will be the response, because we will have more practice getting out of Yeshua’s way and following his lead. 

Vv.14 – Bless them which persecute you, bless and curse not. If ever there is a spiritual gift, this is it. THIS is not a normal human response to persecution. If you are being persecuted and bless the persecutor, how blessed will you be? This commandment from Paul points to the situation in the local synagogue in Rome, where the non-believing Jews were not very happy about the new gentile believers who were ‘infiltrating’ their kahal without going through the traditional conversion process as proselytes. Notice that just being able to not curse your persecutor is a blessing. Eulogeo literally translates as ‘speak well of’. David spoke well of Saul, would not allow his men to speak badly of him because Saul, as king, was Y’hovah’s anointed – moshiach. 1Sam24

1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which Y’hovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’ heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Y’hovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, Y’hovah’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of Y’hovah.

In this passage there are a couple of things that are interesting. One is that moshiach doesn’t mean ‘Saviour’ – as in Yeshua. Mashiyach is anyone who is anointed. In Israel, the king and the priest were anointed to their offices. This anointing was done by pouring anointing oil on the new priest or king, the outpouring of the oil symbolizing the outpouring of Y’hovah’s Ruach on them. There is no evidence in the gospels that Yeshua was ever physically anointed as either king or priest in his days on earth. In fact, only Mary is said to have anointed him at all (Jn.11.2). One who is anointed by Ruach is able to bless his persecutors.

The other interesting thing in 1Sam.24 is that ‘skirt’ is from Heb. 3671, kanaph. This is the exact word used in Mal.4.2,

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

The word translated as ‘wings’ here is kanaph. Yeshua had healing in his kanaph, proven by the woman with the 12 year issue, who was immediately healed by touching the hem (kanaph), or wing, of his garment (Mat.9.20). I think this was the tzitzioth, fringe, of his tallith, prayer shawl. 

The King is also the healer of the breach between Yehudah and Israel. That healing is in his kanaph as well as in the ointment that is poured out on him. Both symbolize the Ruach HaKodesh. Q&C

V.15-17 – It is a lot easier for me to rejoice with them who rejoice than it is to weep with them who weep. It’s an American ‘guy’ thing, I think. We haven’t had to experience a lot of hardship in America. Even those whom we consider ‘poor’ are rich by the standards of most of the world’s people. Our ‘poverty stricken’ mostly have roofs over their heads, food on their tables (not to mention the tables the food is on) and at least 1 car. So rejoicing is pretty easy in America, because we are spoiled. So we don’t really know how to react to mourning and weeping and many of us just avoid it. When Jacob’s trouble comes, we will be unable to handle it as a people. Americans will panic and seek help from the quickest mollifying source available, which will naturally be the worst source – government. We don’t know how to mourn with them who mourn, weep with them who weep. We will learn. Do you think this may be why Israel has suffered so much over the years – to learn empathy and sympathy? Do you think we’ll learn quicker than they have?

V.16 – Be of the same mind – This phrase kind of restates the last verse in more general terms. It means to put yourself in their situation mentally. Think of what YOU would need if you were going through what others are going through and help them through it. 

Mind not high things – in context, this means to meet a need at the level it is on. If the need is physical or emotional, do what you can to meet it. People who have a material need don’t want you to say you’ll be praying for them – more often than not, that’s a Xian cop-out. They’ll believe you a lot more when you say you’ll pray for them if you actually meet the material or emotional need first. Sincere prayer is ultimately more important, but how sincere will your prayer be if you are unwilling to meet the material need? Out of sight, out of mind is a very true saying. “I’ll be praying for you, brother,” has a very hollow ring to me when most Xians say it. What did James say? “Show me your faith without works. I will show you my faith BY my works.” (Jms.2.18) It is not lost on folks in need. And if you are going to promise to pray, why not just do so right then? And meet their other needs on the spot, as well.

‘High things’ is from grk. 5308, hupselos, which is ‘lofty’ in place or character. We have a tendency to make ourselves out to be more than we really are. It’s a pride thing. We all to one extent or another build ourselves up in our own minds and then project that image of ourselves. This can be good or bad. I do it – hold up my ideal for myself, and then I try to live up to it. Sometimes I actually succeed and, when I do, those around me benefit. That’s good. When I don’t, they see I am just human and I can’t even hit MY target, much less Y’hovah’s. That can be bad, depending on the one watching. When we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we consequently think of others LESS highly than we ought, and we portray an attitude of condescension. 

But when it comes to dealing with others and their needs, we need to condescend to men of low estate. Sunapago = sun, with + apo, off or away + ago, lead or drive. So ‘condescend’ means to lead people or go off with people who are in life’s low points – to get down with them, not to be looking down from above. We are to condescend without being condescending. This is exactly what Y’hovah did in the person of Yeshua – he got down with us. Yeshua had the mind that we should have (Phil.2.5). We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to be like him, getting down to ‘brass tacks’, as it were. When we are led by the Spirit of Mashiyach, we will do it.

Be not wise in your own conceits – This is the 2nd time Sha’ul used this phrase (11.25). The phrase own conceits is from the Grk 1438, heautou, which is the root word for himself (herself, etc.), in the context it would translate ‘yourselves’. The idea is that we ought not think ourselves wise by using ourselves as the basis for comparison. Wisdom is not self-approved or subjective. True wisdom is in the Word of Y’hovah, using it as our basis for comparison because we have no other truly objective truth to base it on. We need to judge ourselves by the Word, trying to be as ‘objective’ as possible. When we can be honest with ourselves about our knowledge and understanding of the Word of Y’hovah, THEN we can be truly objective in judgment; i.e., wise. When Paul says (1Cor.11) ‘examine yourselves’, by what does he mean us to do so? By Y’hovah’s Word, of course. 

V.17 – Recompence to no man evil for evilApodidomi means give away or give off. Evil in both uses is the grk. kakos, from which we get the English word cacophony – bad sound. Kakos is literally worthless. We are not to give back in kind, for that draws noone to Yeshua. 

Provide things honest in the sight of all menPronoeo means to exercise the mind before. Kalos means virtuous or valuable. Putting the 2 sentences together, we get “Don’t react to your enemy’s evil treatment, but consider that he will treat you that way and plan how you will respond to his evil treatment in such a way as to show forth Y’hovah’s love. 

But sanctify the Y’hovah Elohim in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (I Peter 3:15)

That’s how to be a witness to the virtue of the gospel of peace (besorah hashalom). Q&C

Vv.18-21 – If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Why is this phrased this way? If it is possible? Why would it not be possible to live peaceably with all men? Probably because sometimes we allow people to just tick us off. I think the key phrase in this verse is the qualifying ‘as much as lieth in you’ – grk to ex humown – that which comes out of you. Ex has a root meaning of ‘out of’, not in. I think this means we are allowed to be inwardly peeved but we need to try to control our outward expression of that anger. In other words, when people in the congregation do or say things that make us angry, we need to try to let it roll off our backs like water from a duck. How often are we able to do that? And how are we able? Not often enough and only through the power of Ruach HaKodesh. If it were left strictly up to me, I’d verbally level the guy, and I do that often enough. But the Spirit of Y’hovah would have us let inadvertent or unintentional slights go, and to temper our anger at even the advertent and intentional slights from those who are less mature in Yeshua, or who do not know him at all.

The point of v.18 is expounded in v.19 – Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith  Y’hovah. The Hebrew word underlying the phrase ‘dearly beloved’ is dodi. That was just a gift for you, dodi. Paul commands us to not avenge ourselves, but to ‘give place to wrath’. ‘But’ is from alla, which means ‘exactly the opposite’. We are to give our wrath (grk. orge – guess what English word we get from orge) to Y’hovah and let him deal with our light work. He is so much better at the whole wrath thing, anyway. Our wrath is usually meant to harm the object thereof, while his is meant to reconcile the ‘perp’ to himself. If we are acting out of love for the brethren, we ought not lash out at every slight we perceive, but we ought to place our wrath with Ruach and let him bring ‘constructive retribution’.

Our attitude should be to serve, even when those we serve take advantage or use our service to harm us. When we serve those who would harm us, their condemnation is made that much more severe, because it is a witness to them of the agape of Y’hovah. Keep this in mind when we get to Ch.13, where the gentile brethren whom Paul addresses here are exhorted to ‘be subject to the higher powers’ in the synagogue. 

Can we be ‘overcome with evil’? I’ve shared how ‘cold’ doesn’t actually exist, haven’t I? I think in the same way, evil doesn’t really exist. As cold and darkness are the absence of energy, so evil is the absence of good or righteousness. Is.45.7 illustrates this idea;

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Y’hovah do all these.

Taken just as it is written, darkness was created with the formation of light and evil was created with the making of peace. What Y’hovah did was to ‘form’ light, to give it shape. The Hebrew word is yaszar, to mold into a form. To mold something it must have already been there. So when Y’hovah created light, the light just was, and it must have been everywhere. But when he yatsar’d it, he localized it. May I submit to you that Y’hovah is light, and in him is no darkness (or absence of light – 1Jn.1.5). Now Elohim may be light, but that doesn’t mean that light is Y’hovah. This sounds dangerously close to pantheism, does it not? The step from scriptural truth to paganism is very short, logically speaking. I mean it is a very short logical step to go from Elohim is light to the logical parallel that light is therefore Elohim. But the one side of the equation is true – Y’hovah is light. The other side is false – light is not Y’hovah. The difference is that light has no life in itself. It helps to sustain life, indeed is essential for life, but it has no life of its own. 

Light is a property of energy, as is heat. Energy is that which animates life, but energy has no life of its own. Both energy and light are given their properties by Elohim. He is the one who provides the energy that manifests to us as heat, light and life. So his Ruach is the source of all life. 

It can be said that energy, being the first ordered creation of Elohim, is the building block of all creation. And this can be proven by nuclear physics. When the weak nuclear force is removed (that which holds the atom’s nucleus together) the result is fission, the complete dissolution of everything affected at least to the sub-atomic level. When Yeshua removes his power from the creation it will dissolve, for Yeshua is both the Creator and sustainer of all things;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his (Yeshua’s) glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible Elohim, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [Col.1]

The word translated ‘darkness’ here is skotos, and means ‘obscurity’. That is EXACTLY what the Hebrew word choshek (Gen.1.3) means. Nothing had form before Elohim gave it form. When Moshe and Sha’ul talk of ‘darkness’, they speak primarily about spiritual things, i.e.; lack of spiritual light. It is the same with ‘evil’. They speak primarily of lack of spiritual life and peace. And we overcome evil with peace, in context. 

Everything Paul exhorts us to in this chapter are the outworking of love from us. This is what love looks like. Q&C

Romans 13

Let’s remember that the KJV was translated under the authorization of James I, King of England. That having been said, it is understandable where the idea of the secular government being the ‘Higher Powers’ came from. The KJV translation would have been influenced heavily by both the historical and contemporary idea of ‘the divine right of kings.’ That is not to mention that before the Reformation, there was very little in the way of rebellion from the authority of the Roman Church by any king or nation – all power was subject to the Roman Church on pain of excommunication. You think the synagogue had authority? The synagogue in Rome had some autonomy, but was not the secular authority. They could have been wiped out by the Roman army or thrown out of the city at any time (and were in 135 CE, on pain of death, after the Bar Kochba rebellion of Jews following a false Messiah by that name). The Roman Catholic Church was both the ecclesiastical and secular authority for 1200 years before Luther’s theses were nailed to the Wittenberg church door. So the western idea of ‘higher powers’ being the secular government authority is understandable. It just isn’t contextually correct. 

As we’ve seen through chapters 9-12, Paul has been building up to this point. For this to mean the secular authorities, it would mean a 7 verse ‘bubble’ in an otherwise religious context through 7 chapters of text. It is vv.3-5 that really make the argument for the synagogue leadership being the ‘higher powers’. The Roman secular authority could not be mistaken for ministers of Y’hovah – Mithra perhaps, but not Y’hovah. 

Are the secular authorities the ministers of Elohim? Do they only punish evildoers? Or do they punish those who do good? Believers who are exercising their right to worship as they believe Elohim would have them do and raise their children in the nurture and admonition of Y’hovah are often persecuted in 21st C. America (1st Amendment rights). In Germany, parents can be arrested and school children committed to a mental institution for daring to say they want to ‘home-school’. How long do you think it will be before this same inane/insane law is enacted in America? WHO regulations that are binding on all signatory nations make it a CRIME to refuse vaccination in a declared pandemic. Laws are passed and regulations established with the intent of making us criminals. I would be willing to bet (and I am not a gambling man) that, if we were to look diligently through laws already on the books, every one of us writing, reading or hearing this teaching is guilty of some felony – and possibly are what the courts would call ‘habitual felons’. And I believe I would win that bet every time – it wouldn’t really be a gamble. The governmental power in America has become wicked in the extreme, passing laws with the express purpose of extracting money or control from the people through the application of ‘the guilt trip’. The godly are finally awakening to it, but it may already be too late. IF there is another election and IF it is free and unfixed in any way, we MAY have one chance left to take America back. Unfortunately, those are very large qualifiers. Does anyone suspect it was better in Rome, that had no ‘Christian tradition’ to influence it?

V.1 speaks of the ‘higher powers’. ‘Higher’ is translated from the greek word, huperecho, a compound word which derives from the preposition huper (hyper-), meaning above and echo, a verb meaning to hold. ‘Powers’ is from the greek word, exousia, another compound word deriving from the preposition ek or ex, meaning out of and eimi, a primary verb root meaning to be, elsewhere translated “I am”. Strong’s primary translation is “I exist”. Higher powers ought to fully mirror Y’hovah’s good.

The idea Paul is trying to get across is that we ought to subordinate ourselves to (hold above) those whom Y’hovah has placed in authority over us for our good (v.3). Looking at context up to this point, these higher powers are the leaders of our local synagogue, and that only as far as their authority extends. Your pastor or rabbi is not your mayor, governor or king. His authority extends to your local assembly. His influence may reach to the secular authorities, but his authority does not – unless you live in a theocracy. Can you speak to your pastor or teacher for advise? Yes. And it may be wise to do so under certain circumstances. But MUST you get your pastor’s or teacher’s permission to do anything outside the assembly that doesn’t affect the assembly. No. Godly counsel? Yes. Authority over every aspect of your life? No. And if you have a pastor or teacher who is trying to exercise authority over every aspect of your life, RUN AWAY as fast as your feet will take you! He’ll be preparing the Kool-Aid before long.

When it says the higher powers are ‘ordained’ of Elohim, does that mean that Y’hovah has blessed the wicked, secular government? He may use a wicked, secular government to draw his people back to his Way (if they’re spiritually astute enough to recognize the fact – I hope America awakens to the idea quickly), but he does not ‘ordain’ it in the sense that a rabbi, pastor or elder is ‘ordained’ “for your good”. The grk. word is tasso, meaning “to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot)”. The idea that a wicked government is ordained of Elohim has the same sense as his creation of evil in Is.45.7, which we’ve spoken of before:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Y’hovah do all these things .

He didn’t create darkness or evil, as such, but in his forming light and making peace evil and darkness were necessarily created as the relative absence of the things Elohim formed or made. In like manner, he didn’t ordain wicked governments as ministers of good. They came into being as manifestations of the absence of good (and in varying degrees) in that the sinful situation of the nation under its thumb required that absence of good to bring it to itself, even as the prodigal. How much suffering must a people endure before they will call on Y’hovah for deliverance? Israel had to go into abject slavery before they called out in Egypt. Yehudah had to be exiled to Babylon 70 years before Daniel discerned the time and called out to Y’hovah for deliverance. How much longer will we have to suffer? Until we, the people of Y’hovah, are no longer able to bear it on our own shoulders. Only then will we earnestly call out for deliverance from on high. Only when we humble ourselves, pray, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways will he hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land. That time is coming. Things will have to get very uncomfortable for believers in general before we feel compelled to earnestly call on Y’hovah’s deliverance. Hopefully, it will not be so late that he’ll have abandoned us to our sin.

V.2 speaks of those who resist (antitassomai – arrange oneself against) the ordained authority. Remember that throughout this book so far Paul is telling the Jews that the new gentile members are their Yisraelite brethren whom Yeshua had called to repentance, for whom he’d died the death of the divorced wife’s husband (7.1-4, applying Dt.24.1-4), so that he, as a new man, could lawfully take them as his Bride. Here he is telling the new gentile believers that they are to ‘hold above’ (huperecho) the synagogue leadership in matters of righteous conduct in the kahal as elder brothers. They were to do this so that they could hear the Word of Elohim, which alone could bring them to faith (10.17). If they resisted the ‘powers’ in the synagogue, they would be sent out into Rome, where their new faith in Messiah would make them criminals. If they refused to worship Caesar they were subject to death UNLESS they were under the authority of the synagogue. So, the gentile believers had a decision to take – 1) submit to the synagogue authority, 2) submit to the Roman authority, or 3) die in the circus. Sha’ul expected them to submit to the rabbinic authority, hear the Word of Y’hovah and grow in faith. Q&C

V.3 emphasizes the point of v.2. “Rulers (archon) are not a terror (phobos) to good works.” The question is, “What are ‘good works’? The audience is made up of believers. Are the secular authorities worried about good works in a religious sense (‘religious’ here used as America’s founding fathers used it)? The synagogue authorities would consider Torah observance as ‘good works’, as do I (and as Paul in Eph.2.10, Gal.5.22-25 illustrates). 

What would Rome consider a ‘good work’? That would depend on the situation, wouldn’t it? A Roman soldier performing a ‘Caesarian section’ on a pregnant woman in a conquered city would be performing a ‘good work’, wouldn’t he? You betcha! And I don’t mean to save the baby’s or the mother’s life, but to kill them both. I chose the most egregious and barbarous Roman practice I could think of just then. I seriously doubt Paul was thinking the Roman government was concerned with whether you were doing biblically ‘good works’. What a secular government calls ‘good’ is not usually what scripture calls ‘good’. If they agree to the ‘goodness’ of a thing, it is more likely coincidence than not. Would the government of a nation take notice of a person who lives as Paul describes in Gal.5? Someone living like that might not be arrested, but will he garner praise from a secular government? Not likely. But one who exhibits this type of behavior in the assembly will be noticed and possibly commended – especially if he’s a gentile in the synagogue. The rabbis would definitely take notice of such a gentile.

Archon means first in rank. This would be the ruling elder or rabbi of the synagogue. I assume that the hierarchy was similar to the governmental authority in the camp. Moshe, as ruling elder, then the tribal elders, then family elders, then the fathers of households. The rabbi or ruling elder was usually not a political appointee, as was the High Priest in the Temple in Roman days, but a man proven to be of godly character, learning and discernment (1Tim.5.17, 3.1ff). While he may not (and probably wasn’t) a believer in Yeshua, he was a man from whom the new believers could correctly learn Torah, which is their purpose in being in the synagogue. 

Is this a ‘hard and fast’ truth? Must the gentile believers, in our present context, submit to the synagogue authorities in every aspect of their lives? I don’t think so anymore than I think that your pastor has any business examining your ruling of your own house (unless it’s obviously sinful). But they must walk (righteous conduct) according to the local halacha within the synagogue and according to Torah in their daily walk. If the rabbi were to, for instance, order them not to speak of Yeshua, they should follow Peter’s example from Acts.5

29 Then Peter and the apostles answered and said, We ought to obey Elohim rather than men. 30 The El of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath Elohim exalted with his right hand a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and also Ruach haKodesh, whom Elohim hath given to them that obey him.

But in matters of halachic conduct, they should submit so they can have fellowship and learn Torah. Remember that the new gentile believers are considered members of a sect of Judaism, the Notzrim or Nazarene sect, understood to be such by Jerusalem Temple authorities and, therefore Roman authorities.

V.4 says the ruler is the ‘minister of Elohim to thee for good’. The word translated ‘minister’ is the Greek word (Strong’s 1249) diakonos, a deacon or a minister within the kahal. Where Paul calls him a minister of Elohim, he uses this word, diakonos. Will he minister to you if you do evil? Yes. In v.6, he uses the greek word (Strong’s 3011), leitourgos, which is a functionary in the Temple or in the gospel. He is a Levite, but not a priest. The Levite’s (leitourgos) function is to maintain the Temple; the priest’s (diakonos) job is to perform in the offering system, to teach Torah, to judge disputes and such official duties.

The grk. word translated ‘do’ in v.4 is Strong’s 4161, poieo. In this context it means ‘abide in’. In Eph.2.10 it is the root word behind ‘workmanship’ (poiema 4160). As we are a ‘work in progress’ of our Abba, so is the evil in v.4. The ruling elder is both a minister of Y’hovah for our good who act righteously and a ‘revenger to wrath’ on those who are ‘doers of evil’. The word translated ‘doeth’ is Strong’s 4238, prasso, and means one who practices evil as his manner of life – an habitual sinner. Habitual evil must be punished in the kahal, as it had to be dealt with in the camp in the wilderness. In this case, the habitual ‘bad actor’ is to be excommunicated and left to live under the threat of Roman law. As happened in Corinth, the one who was excommunicated didn’t live outside the protection of the synagogue for long before he; 1) repented (2Cor.2.4-10 – the primary purpose of the discipline), 2) reverted back to his paganism (2Tim.4.10a, 1Jn.2.19 – antiMessiahs) or 3) was arrested and sent to entertain in the circus. 

V.5 – The use of the 2nd person plural in vv.4&6 makes this supplied word ‘ye’ likely to be correct. The word translated ‘be subject’ is greek hupotasso, to arrange oneself under. Ye (that is gentiles in the synagogue) must order yourselves before the elders of the kahal, not just because they can excommunicate you, but because your conscience will afflict you if you don’t – the Spirit of Y’hovah won’t let you alone.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth not, to him it is sin. Jms.4.17

Paul takes up this idea again in ch.14.

V.6 speaks of paying tribute, another reason this is seen as speaking of Roman authority. The synagogue collected the Temple tax, as well as the Roman tax. I assume the synagogue assessed some cost for maintenance of the meeting place, too. Members of the local kahal did not pay taxes directly to the Roman authorities, but through the synagogue. There is no distinction made in v.6 about what is being called tribute. The word is from the greek phoros (Strong’s 5411), meaning a load, as borne. Every tax is a load borne by the taxpayer, even the Temple tax (which is scriptural – Ex.30.11-16). The Temple tax was a ½ shekel, which was 2 drachma – the amount the poor widow was putting into the treasury in Mk.12.42. At any rate, the members of the kahal paid all their taxes through the kahal and Rome took its cut from there. This should have made the payment of taxes fairer within the kahal, as well, for the ministers of Elohim for our good should be less likely to assess more than what was due. 

V.7 then delineates where tribute money went and that the members ought to pay what was due (not more than what was due). “Tribute to whom tribute” speaks of taxes. We’ve been over a couple of the taxes assessed at the synagogue; Temple tax, Roman head taxes, poll taxes, and etc. The Romans hired tax collectors all over the empire and empowered them to assess whatever they darned well chose. These tax collectors would assess the tax + whatever they thought was ‘fair’ compensation for their ‘services’. This is why ‘publicans’ were so hated in Israel. They were Israelites who stole from their own people because they had ‘legal’ (if not legitimate) authority to do so. Rome’s governors backed them up. As long as Rome got its cut, the governors cared less how much the publicans (like so-called ‘judges’ today) extorted from the people. So, when the synagogue assessed the taxes, they should have been more fair, or less grasping at least, than the average tax assessor. It’s interesting to me that Zaccheus told Yeshua that ‘IF I have cheated anyone, I will repay him 4-fold what I’ve stolen”. I think he may have been an ‘honest’ tax collector, taking only that which was due + a truly reasonable fee. If Zacc was an inveterate thief, he’d have broken himself financially with this oath. I think the synagogues in Rome were honest, as well. 

“Custom to whom custom” – ‘Custom’ (Strong’s 5056) is from telos, which usually means goal or end, but in this and most other instances where it deals with the actual payment of taxes it means “an impost or levy as paid.” W1828 has impost as, “A duty or tax laid by government on goods imported, and paid or secured by the importer at the time of importation.” So when customs assesses an impost on what you carry into the country from outside, it is legitimate and you need to pay it. Customs are usually a small percentage of the cost of the goods. Once again, these were assessed at the synagogue, if applicable. 

“Fear to whom fear” – The greek word is phobos, terror. To whom is ‘fear’ due? Fear is due to anyone who has legitimate authority to bring judgment against you. In our context, that would be, in order of importance to the believer, 1) Y’hovah, 2) the authority of one’s family (preferably the father, but mother in father’s absence, or eldest sibling), 3) the elders of the kahal, 4) local/municipal police/judges, and then 5) provincial/State authorities. The reason the secular authorities are listed last is that these SHOULD be the last ones anyone would see, judgment being most just at the most intimate level. Seen in light of the 5th Commandment, this explains the reason given in Ex.20.12:

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which Y’hovah Elohecha giveth thee.

If we honour our parents and obey them, we are most likely to be good citizens of a just nation and good leaders in the local kahal, because we are most likely to be obedient to Y’hovah‘s Word. 

“Honour to whom honour” – We’ve already seen who is most worthy of our honour – Y’hovah and our parents. But to whom else do we render due honour? Let me list a few direct from scripture:

Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face (meaning countenance) of the old man, and fear Elohecha: I am Y’hovah. (Leviticus 19:32)

For thou hast made him (Messiah) a little lower than Elohim, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalms 8:5)

A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches. (Proverbs 11:16)

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (John 5:23)

Honour widows that are widows indeed. (I Timothy 5:3)

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (I Timothy 5:17)

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear Elohim. Honour the king. (I Peter 2:17)

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (I Peter 3:7)

And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.(Revelation 21:26)

You could easily say that any righteous man, or any person righteously filling an office of trust or authority is worthy of our honour. It is his due. And what do we generally find? We find that when someone faithfully observes to perform his assigned duties, to keep his word and to honour his trust, he is given much honour. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study

Bible Study for Shabbat April 7, 2018

Bible Study for Shabbat April 7, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 4

Numbers 11:1-35 – Isaiah 50:2, 59:1 – Psalm 103 – 1 Corinthians 10:1-33

Links:

http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev5gb.htm

 

B’Midbar 11.1- – The kvetching begins in earnest. Israel was comfortable at the foot of
Sinai, what with the daily supply of manna and quail, the Rock at Rephidim supplying all the water they could drink, and the familiar, if not homey, tabernacles they were living in, what was to be uncomfortable about – especially after over a year in one place? So when they got the preparatory command to move, the lifting of the cloud from the Mishkan to hover over the camp of Yehudah, their easy, familiar lifestyle was being disturbed. So they kvetched. And Y’hovah, like any good commander could not allow that kvetching to go unnoticed or unpunished. It was, after all, insubordination; as if they knew better than he what needed to be done about fulfilling his promise to them. If once they found they could get away with their kvetching, he’d never hear the end of it! So, judgment and condemnation started to fall on them.

Chumash’s note on v.1 says that “the uttermost parts of the camp” refers to the ‘erev rav’ or the mixt multitude that attached itself to Israel as if they were true converts, but were not faithful men. Erev = dusk or night. Rav = much, many or great. So erev rav = much or great darkness. Almost every use of H6153, erev = evening. There is but ONE verse in Tanakh, 1Ki.10.15, in which the word erev is transliterated as ‘Arabian’ in the KJV, meaning ‘foreign’ or ‘vassal’, and 4 more, Jer.25.20 and 24, 50.37, and Ezek.30.5, where it is translated “mingled people”. I think the idea is that ‘evening’ is a mixing of light and darkness. That “uttermost parts of the camp” refers to the mixt multitude may be true, but is not a given. I mean, why do the sages always seem to think that Israel was intrinsically different than the mixt multitude, that an Israelite would not lead a rebellion? Korach’s rebellion is going to show THAT idea to be false. Was Israel not saddled with the same flesh and as predisposed to the lusts of the flesh as was the mixt multitude? V.4 does say that the mixt multitude took to lusting after flesh, but it also says that Israel was a part of the kvetching about the lack of variety in their diet. And there is nothing mixt about the sage’serev rav’ – they were ALL gentiles. But the very words ‘mixt multitude’ speaks of a mixture of the holy and the profane, does it not? And is that not exactly what the Korach rebellion was, a mixing of the ‘set apart’ Kohathite, Korach, and the ‘common’ Reuvenite brothers, Dathan and Abiram, and their Reuvenite cousin, On (Num.16.1)? So, while the gentile mixt multitude may have been first to voice their lust, Yisrael took to it without missing a beat.

When Y’hovah brought his ‘fiery’ judgment against them, they cried out to Moshe, who interceded for them. Moshe called the place Taverah (H8404), which means ‘burning’, from the root ba’ar, meaning ‘to feed upon, eat up or consume’. Now, I think[1] the fire of Y’hovah was not a physical fire that consumed their stuff, but a spiritual and emotional one that burned their hearts or consumed their bodies from within, perhaps a pestilence or an ‘inflammation’ in their joints or muscles. I think that because the Hebrew word translated ‘among them’ is bam, a combination of the bet prefix (in, on or among) and the root word heim (them), and can be as easily translated, “in them”, meaning in the ones actually kvetching and not necessarily every Israelite in the area, this was a localized judgment, the outer limits of the camp. Before Y’hovah brings judgment against an entire people, he brings it against the actual sinners first. Only when the nation tolerates what it knows to be sin does Y’hovah bring judgment against that nation.

ARE YOU LISTENING, AMERICA? ISRAEL? WORLD? CHURCH? Notzrei? We have tolerated sin in our midst. We have VOICED our concern, but have not done what we could to stop it, because we have been too comfortable in our lifestyles. Y’hovah is removing that comfort because we have NOT removed the sin from our camp. It’s not like he hasn’t given us ample warnings, what with the brush fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, awakening volcanoes, storms, attacks from terrorists, both governmental and non-governmental. The evidence is as plain as the nose on our face, but the vast majority, as was the case among the congregation in ‘The Wilderness Adventure’, has not taken heed. And now, the carrion pigeons are coming home to roost…. and feast on us.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Corinthians 10:11)

Since the end hasn’t come yet, there is STILL a chance, remote as it probably is, to redeem THIS generation. That begins with US turning from our own ways and repenting of our own sins, living a holy, set-apart, biblically righteous life in obedience to Avinu, and then showing that life to our local community, so they’ll see the results of a righteous life. Meanwhile we have to WORK to make known the coming judgment to give them warning, like good watchmen. Preaching with our words, without an accompanying righteous lifestyle will prove most unbeliever’s assumptions that we, like most ‘religious’ people, are just hypocrites. Taverah was the beginning of judgment against the camp.

Vv.4-10 – The mixt multitude actually DID begin the murmuring against the manna and that spread to the entire camp of Israel. The mixt multitude began kvetching about flesh food to eat. They had had quail in Rephidim (Ex.16) since they last complained about not having flesh to eat. They had been getting enough all the time they were camped at the foot of Sinai, I think, because there had been no kvetching about flesh until they were away from that camp for 3-4 days. Perhaps Y’hovah didn’t bring them quail during their journeying, but waited until they had established a camp for a few days or longer. Their kvetching about the manna not being nutritious enough for them was not true. It provided all their nutritional needs. The quail while in camp gave them a little variety, which I think was their real complaint about the manna. I’d guess that ‘manna-coated’ or ‘manna-stuffed’ quail was kinda tasty. Q&C

Vv.11-15 – Their kvetching was so intense that it started Moshe to kvetching about the burden they were to him. It sounds to me like Moshe took to ‘passing the buck’, a la Adam in the garden, right back to Y’hovah. He kvetched at LEAST as well at Y’hovah as the people had to him. They were complaining about their desire for the rich food of Egypt, and I have to admit that spices and veggies must have been missed – I know I’d have missed them and I’d probably been one of the kvetchers, myself. Hey, I understand the unrighteousness of it, but the flesh DOES scream for attention while the Spirit speaks in a still, small voice. You don’t have to listen intently for the flesh, but you do for the Spirit. That does NOT make the kvetching right, just understandable. I do love my spices. So Moshe finds himself in a despairing spirit, actually asking Y’hovah to just kill him if this is all he had to look forward to in his service.

Vv.16-17 – If you remember Ex.18, Yithro gave Moshe advice to appoint elders over Israel to remove some of the burden from his judicial shoulders and that Y’hovah approved of that plan. Now, Y’hovah was commanding Moshe to do it again, this time to create a kind of advisory board – what eventually became known as the Sanhedrin. This time, he commanded that he appoint 70 elders of the people to help him make decisions for the good of the nation, basically to advise him about the general validity of their kvetches. The number 70 corresponds to the nations of the earth and hearkens back to the 70 Ya’acovsons who went down to Egypt with Israel in Gen.46. Schottenstein’s Chumash has a good note on the 70 men Moshe chose to help him administer the nation – the Sanhedrin. See Chumash on pp.79-80, on Shiv’iym Iysh. What the rabbis call ‘the Heavenly Sanhedrin’ was the 70 angels of the nations who were Y’hovah’s advisory council. They had no authority within the council – that was Y’hovah’s alone – but he told them about his plans. Part of the tradition is that Lucifer was on this Sanhedrin before his fall, and it was Y’hovah’s decision to make man a ‘little lower’ than himself, but of greater authority than the angels, that caused Lucifer’s pride to overwhelm him so that he led a rebellion against Y’hovah and led ‘his’ host of angels away (Rev.12.7, 9).

Vv.18-29 – Y’hovah next told Moshe to tell b’nei Israel to sanctify themselves because Y’hovah was going to so fulfill their lust of the flesh, the ‘belly’ they had made their Elohim (Phil.3.19), that they may never ask for flesh again. Even Moshe seems to question Y’hovah’s ability to fulfill this thing, what with Israel being 600K footmen, not to mention their families.  But Y’hovah says (in a ‘Mark’ paraphrase), ‘Has my arm been shortened or weakened because of YOUR or Israel’s inability to understand the ‘hows’ of it?’

So, Mo goes out to tell the people to sanctify themselves and to gather up the Sanhedrin to set up shop around the Mishkan. 2 of the 70 stayed in the camp, so only 68 actually went up to the Mishkan. A total of 66 of Ya’acov’s descendants accompanied him to Egypt in Gen.46. Yoseph, Asenath, his wife, and their 2 sons were already in Egypt, making a total of 70 Israelites, 1 for every nation listed in Gen.10. I think the 2 chosen by Moshe who stayed in the camp, Eldad and Medad, may represent Ephraim and Menashe. That may also explain why Moshe did not rebuke or stop E&M from prophesying in the camp when Joshua denounced them to him. Y’hovah put his spirit on ALL the Sanhedrin – even those who did not obey Y’hovah’s command to come up to the Mishkan. They had been set-apart by Moshe and Y’hovah had accepted and anointed them for their offices, as evidenced by their prophesying. He said, ‘Don’t be jealous for me. Rather be jealous for ALL Israel to prophesy.”

Moshe went into the camp and a wind arose to blow a few million quails into and around the camp, so the ground was covered with them 3-4 feet deep for at least 1000 cubits around the entire camp. I think they were eating the quail without properly cleaning and bleeding it, and THAT was the reason for the plague on the people. They allowed their lust for flesh to overcome their knowledge of Y’hovah’s decree to not eat the flesh with the blood. From my study of Lev.17. last December:

Vv.10-14 is the Torah of NOT eating blood. This is a codification of the prohibition against eating blood that was given to Noach in Gen.9. The life is in the blood and it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul of the transgressor. (Take that PETA!) This does not mean that blood of an animal NOT for atonement is OK to eat. It isn’t. The use of the term כל־דמ – chal-dam, ALL or ANY blood, in v.10 makes this plain. We are to ensure that ALL the blood is removed from the animal. If we kill our own animals, they are to be bled completely and their blood poured on the ground and COVERED – same as excrement – or Yehovah will not walk among us. Y’hovah says that he will put everything else aside to deal with the man who eats blood. This is why I think the people in Num.11 sinned by eating quail without bleeding, cleaning and cooking it first;

31 And there went forth a wind from Y’hovah, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’ journey on this side, and as it were a day’ journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of Y’hovah was kindled against the people, and Y’hovah smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. (Num.11.31-34)

Looks to me like Y’hovah set everything else aside to bring condemnation against those who ate in their lust for flesh. Num.11.4 says that the ones who lusted were the mixt multitude. And in the instance of eating blood, Yehovah is the one who cuts off the soul of that man from the people of Israel. Eating blood is SERIOUS business. It looks like there is no atonement for the sin of eating blood.

Kibroth-hattaavah means ‘graves of longing’, because the people died for feeding their lust for flesh, and thus their evil inclinations, by eating the flesh with the blood still in it.

So, in v.35, Moshe gave Ithamar a silver trumpet and Israel broke camp and marched to Hazeroth. Chatzeroth indicates a blowing of trumpets, as in pitching and breaking camp, as we discussed last week. Q&C

YeshaYahu 50.2 – Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? Has to be talking about Ephraim/Israel, the 10 northern tribes, whom Y’hovah gave a bill of divorce in Yirmeyahu 3.8

And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. (Jeremiah 3:8)

So YeshaYahu 50 is addressed specifically to Ephraim/Israel, for Y’hovah never gave a bill of divorce to Yehudah/Israel, though she was even guiltier than her faithless sister. The questions Y’hovah asks Ephraim remind me of Yeshua’s question

1 And he spake a parable unto them, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not Elohim, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not Elohim, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And Y’shua said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not Elohim avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Lk.18.1-8)

The tie-in to the Torah portion is to Num.11.17-18

17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. 18 And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of Y’hovah, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore Y’hovah will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. (B’Midbar 11.17-18)

The unrighteous judge answered the righteous widow as the righteous judge answered the unrighteous kvetchers – they each granted their requests. He finds no faith in his ability to meet our needs or in his power to deliver us from our predicament, though the evidence is everywhere that he is faithful to deliver his people and has power to redeem and to destroy. The southwestern US is chock full of evidence to a worldwide flood, with deep river canyons that enter the canyons from a large mountain basin which is MUCH lower than the canyon rims (over a mile in the Grand Canyon), indicating a large inland sea that had been created by a high dam that somehow burst and released massive quantities of water cavitating through sedimentary earth that was still soft from the deposition of sediment settling to the water’s bottom.

 behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. (Is.50.2)

YeshaYahu 59.1 – In answer to the questions of 50.2, Y’hovah says ‘My arm is not shortened or weakened, nor is my ear unable to hear’. But I answer in my time, when it is BEST for you and not necessarily when you WANT me to. Ch.59 is all about our need to turn from our own ways and to his Way. Unless we do so, our generation is going to perish and it will have been in our power to deliver them. Y’hovah hears the world crying out for deliverance and sends us a redeemer. But our world rejects him. Q&C

Tehellim 103.1-5 – David speaks to his soul about all that Y’hovah does for it. Y’hovah forgives all the souls iniquities and then restates that point by saying he also heals all its diseases. When Yeshua healed a disease, did he not usually then admonish the one he’d healed to ‘go and sin no more’? The physical maladies we suffer are at least illustrations of our soul’s iniquities, if not actual consequences of them. Our spiritual maladies are DEFINITELY actual consequences of them. The physical consequences of our iniquities is the oppression we suffer from outside. If we are being oppressed it is a direct result of NOT walking in Torah. Y’hovah’s benefits to his faithful are seen in vv.3-5; he redeems the soul’s life from destruction, which speaks of the resurrection promise through Mashiyach Yeshua’s finished work; he crowns it with chesed and rachamim; he satisfies it’s mouth with his Word and renews our strength like an eagle’s. The reason we need to have our strength renewed is that our iniquities sap or strength from us.

Vv.6-7 – Our oppressors will be righteously judged for their oppression. Y’hovah hates oppression as much as he hates religion, mainly because it is usually done ‘in his Name’ or in the name of a religion by religious men. Religious men do not know his ways. His ways are tzedakah, mishpat, and shalom. His acts are also righteous and good, but knowledge of his acts is a much less intimate relationship than knowledge of his ways. He says

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Y’hovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We cannot really know Y’hovah while in this physical frame. The closest we can get is to know his ways, to understand that he isn’t looking for human good in us, but his righteousness; that he wants us to judge according to his righteousness, not what we think is good; that he want us to have his peace and to live in peace with our brothers.

Vv.8-14 are a paragraph or stanza that shows how Y’hovah deals with us as sons, not strangers and why he does. We who fear him will always be under his wings. To fear him involves actual fear and also holding him in awe and reverence. But those two characteristics show when we consider him and his commandments in all that we do. If that is our heart attitude, he may rebuke and chastise us for our failure to obey, but he will nor forsake us. His chastisement is ultimately for our good, to help us to learn his ways and begin to think his thoughts after him.

10 For thus saith Y’hovah, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Y’hovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith Y’hovah: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith Y’hovah; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (YirmeYahu 29.10-15)

You can’t get further away from anything than ‘as far as the east is from the west’, but that is how far from us he takes our iniquity if we fear him. The physical picture of that is the scapegoat on Yom Kippur, which is taken into the wilderness by a fit man and released

21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Vayikra 16.21-22)

Barabbas filled that position in Yeshua’s trial. He was the goat that escaped, never to be heard from again. A human father knows what his children go through, because he went through it all himself. Y’hovah’s tender mercy, racham, is expressed 4 times in this psalm. His grace, chesed, is expressed 4 more times. Mercy and grace are actually flip sides of the same compassion coin. Y’hovah knows our frame because he has lived a human lifetime and death IN our frame (Heb.4.17). THAT is why he can be truly compassionate. Like a human father understands his children, he fully understands the demands the flesh places on a man’s soul because he fully experienced it in the flesh of Yeshua. It is not a mere intellectual exercise for Y’hovah. He KNOWS both intellectually and experientially.

Vv.15-18 show us the difference in Y’hovah’s understanding from our own. His is always based on the LONG view, one that sees the end from the beginning and well as the beginning from the end and all points in between. Our experience is a small remnant of all of history. If the world’s time is 7000 years (and I think it is), and our time is an average of 70 years, then we will experience 1/100th of all of history in this generation of time/space/matter. We subjectively see one play of a ‘chess game’ that he objectively sees from the outside. He knows the whole strategic plan, while we see only the tactical, immediate situation. Indeed, his thoughts are not our thoughts. We have no experiential knowledge of his plan beyond what he’s revealed in his Word, so how can we question either his reason or his motives in allowing or doing anything? And to whom is his chesed and tzedakah shown, but those who consider him and his Word in all that we do. Indeed

The fear of Y’hovah is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

Wisdom (chochmah) + understanding (binah) = knowledge (da’at) chabad. Our fear of Y’hovah manifests itself when we keep our end of his covenant and obey his commandments.

Vv.19-22 are the summation of the psalm. I can see the ‘chess game’ being played from the throne in v.19 – he controls the strategy and has every contingency covered. If we stray from the strategy by our handling of the tactical, he has it covered. His Kingdom rules over everything. The elohim who excel in strength are WE, when we keep covenant and obey his Word. We are also his tsava’ah host that ministers in doing his Word. We are also his works everywhere in the earth, and we need to individually and corporately “Bless Y’hovah”. 6 is the number of man, and 6 times David said “Bless Y’hovah” in this psalm, which shows that all mankind should bless him in everything we do, for that is how we manifest our fear of Y’hovah. Q&C

1Cor.10.1-4 – I think it’s safe to assume that any regulars to this study already know that this passage refers to the Egyptian exodus, and that Paul includes his believing gentile audience as those whose ancestors came out of Egypt. Speaking to a mostly gentile audience, he said, “All OUR fathers” went through the ‘Wilderness Adventure’ and drank of the Rock that followed them. If you were with me on May 21, 2011, you may remember this;

The rabbis speak of the rock following them throughout the Wilderness Adventure, for they didn’t kvetch about water again until MirYam’s death (Num.20.1). When Y’hovah instructed Moshe to speak to the rock, he instead struck the rock with his rod. The note to Num.20.8, on pg.139 of Schottenstein’s Chumash [paraphrasing Ramban] is VERY interesting (read it). Now, you don’t suppose that Rav Sha’ul knew about what the rabbinic sages had said concerning this Rock that followed them, do you? Do you see that the sages said it was the same Rock as at Horeb/Rephidim?[2]

That 2 rabbinic sages that lived about 1600 years apart knew of the same sod level application is enough for me to think that they probably had a similar or identical source, and I think that source was ‘oral tradition’ that was faithfully passed from rabbi to talmid for centuries and finally got written down in the Mishnah and Talmud and commented on by Ramban. And now by me via quotation of, not equation to. Paul said the Rock gave them drink, which I assume quenched both their physical and spiritual thirst, and that the Rock was Mashiyach. If Paul said it, I think we’ll find reference to it in Mishnah/Talmud, as well.

The background information in the Revelation book study at Yashanet has this (among LOTS of other stuff) on the ‘rock’, ‘manna’ and ‘living waters’

TZADDIK – SOURCE OF LIVING WATER[3]

Yesod is considered to be one of the two primal sources of “living water,” the other coming directly from Eyn Sof via the highest Sephirah of Keter/Crown. (See notes on the “River of Eden”) The difference between the two is that which is from Keter flows freely, but that from Yesod-Tzaddik is subjected to certain predetermined laws and limits, based on the merited righteousness of those receiving it.1

This function of Yesod is often compared to Joseph, who represents Yesod on the Tree of Life. When Joseph did not control his ego (i.e., in his younger years antagonizing his brothers), things did not go so well for him (being sold into slavery, etc.) Only after going through this ordeal, and learning humility and keeping himself from temptation (i.e., rejecting the advances of his master’s wife), did he control his ego, become the Tzadik that Elohim wanted Him to be, and receive enormous blessings from the Source of blessings.2

Yesod-Tzadik is thus considered to be the “fountain of blessing” or, “fountain of living waters.”

Yeshua referred to Himself using this terminology:

    John 4:10 – Yeshua answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of Elohim, and who it is that says this to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.

The “limitation” in receiving blessings, based on a person’s merit, is also in accordance with that taught by Yeshua. One who follows Him will become a Tzadik, and source of living water:

    John 7:38 – He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.

Note that to, “believe in Him,” (as we discuss elsewhere in this study and in our other studies), means to follow the path of Torah. Rewards (either in this life or the next) are related to Torah study and observance. Yeshua, being the Divine Tzaddik, represents the goal of the Torah for us, as Paul stated in his most famous epistle:

    Romans 10:4 – For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Mashiyach, who offers righteousness for eveyone who trusts.” (Jewish New Testament).3

The Tzaddik is also considered “the living Torah,” as the hidden light of Elohim, found in the letters of Torah – the foundation of life4

TZADDIK – ROCK

Another aspect of Tzaddik is that of “rock” – specifically the rock from which flow the living waters:

    Bahir 193 – And what is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 49:24), “From there is the Shepherd. the Rock of Israel.” From “There” is nourished the Rock of Israel. What is the meaning of “from There?” We say that this is the Supernal Righteous One (Tzadik). What is it? It is (the precious stone called) Socheret. And the stone that is below is called Dar.

Paul associates this “rock” that provided nourishment (water) to Yeshua. (This verse shows Paul as having a deep kabbalistic interpretation of the “rock” (or “well”) that followed the Children of Israel in their desert wanderings):

    1 Corinthians 10:1-4 – Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moshe in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Mashiyach.

In Psalm 42 we again see David seeking the “living Elohim.” In this case, associating this emanation of Elohim (Yesod) as a rock issuing forth water…

Another text containing various “stone” themes is Peter’s first epistle [1Pe.2]. He refers to Yeshua as the living stone and chief cornerstone, and His followers, who are to walk the path of the Tzadik, are called living stones, who build up a spiritual house.

The followers of Yeshua are “a royal priesthood” (alluding to the stones on the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol). Peter mentions that the Divine Tzaddik, Yeshua, suffered and died for the atonement of many…

Note that Peter also calls Yeshua the, “Shepherd and overseer of our souls,” a similar “caretaker” metaphor as given to the Sephirah of Yesod in the Bahir:

    Bahir 180 – The “Righteous, Foundation of the world” is in the center. It emanates from the south of the world, and is officer over the other two. In its hand are also the souls of all living things. It is called the Life of Worlds.10

Gershom Scholem points out the Messianic connection between the Tzaddik being a custodian of souls:

    The same idea with a Messianic thrust appears in another Bahir passage, which speaks about the Sephirah of Tsaddik, which is the “foundation of the world”: “In His hand is the treasure-house of all souls …” 11

The presence of these themes shows the same kabbalistic ideals found in the Zohar and Bahir, also underlie Peter’s writings.

Looks as though Paul and Peter were at least familiar with kabbalistic ideas, and wrote of them in their canonical writings. This is why I do not think it a good idea to give a new convert John’s gospel. He was the most deeply kabbalistic author of the Brit Chadashah. Q&C and I hope I can do justice to any questions about that stuff from Yashanet.

Vv.5-10 tell us particulars of what they did in the Wilderness that Y’hovah admonished and judged them for and Paul exhorts us to refrain from them. The lust they experienced was the lust for flesh that we looked at today in the Torah portion. I don’t think it was the flesh food that was so wrong, but their kvetching about the manna not supplying all their need. Here’s a bit of the 3rd part of that article I quoted from Yashanet on the Tzaddik – Manna.

TZADDIK – MANNA

The following section of the Zohar contains an interesting comment on the double portion of Manna taken up for the Sabbath. It states that this double portion was not so much twice the quantity as it was two types of bread – earthly and heavenly varieties.

This bread of heaven is said to come by way of the Tzaddik. The Zohar refers to this bread as, “the bread of vau.” The letter “vau” is directly associated with Tipheret, as discussed elsewhere in this study. Tipheret, as also mentioned earlier, is the “body” of the male, representing the heavens; therefore this is the “bread of heaven.”

The earthly bread is the bread of the Sabbath (Malchut). Again, the theme of the Tzaddik uniting Tipheret and Malchut is seen, this time in the idea of the heavenly and earthly breads being united: … the desire of the female to pour forth lower waters [from Malchut] to meet the upper waters [from Binah] is only aroused through the souls of the righteous. Happy, therefore, are the righteous in this world and in the world to come, since on them are established upper and lower beings. Hence it is written: “The righteous man is the foundation of the world” (Prov. x, 25). Esoterically speaking, the Zaddik is the foundation of the upper world and the foundation of the lower world, and the Community of Israel contains the Zaddik from above and from below. The righteous one from this side and the righteous one from that side inherit her, as it is written: “The righteous shall inherit the earth” (Ps. XXXVII, 29).  The Righteous One inherits this earth, and pours upon it blessings every day, and furnishes it with luxuries and delicacies in his flow.

All this is hinted in the words: OUT OF ASHER HIS BREAD SHALL BE FAT, AND HE SHALL YIELD ROYAL DAINTIES. It is from the future world that the stream reaches this Righteous One, which enables him to provide luxuries and delicacies to this earth, thus transforming it from “the bread of poverty” into “the bread of luxury”… In the expression “his bread” the reference of the word “his” is not specified; but we may divide the word lahmo (his bread) into lehem vau, that is, “the bread of vau” (which signifies the heavens) [Tipheret]; hence it is written: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Ex. XVI, 4). It is from thence that the tree of life is nourished and crowned, and when it receives this nourishment, then it “yields the dainties of the king”. This king is the Community of Israel, who is fed therefrom by the hand of the Righteous One, the sacred grade of the sign of the covenant [Yesod].

The manna DID supply all their soul’s need, as did the water from the Rock, the water and nourishment of both their bodies and their spirits were provided by Mashiyach. Again, quoting the same article from Yashanet

In John’s gospel, Yeshua discusses the theme of the manna, speaking of the earthly manna, eaten by the people, and a heavenly manna, which he describes as Himself… Note the reference to coming to Yeshua and never hungering or thirsting. This is an allusion to His other words about “eating His flesh” and “drinking His blood.” (John 6:53 – obviously highly metaphorical and kabbalistic ideas.) The theme of Torah (His words) equaling life is also present in this section. Note also that many of His followers did not understand this deep (kabbalistic) level of Torah understanding and departed from Him at this point…

John 6.31-33 – Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Yeshua said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moshe gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of Elohim is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

…The rectified sense of eating is the special sense of the tzadik, as is said: “The tzadik eats to satisfy his soul.” This verse continues: “but the stomach of the wicked is always lacking.” The soul-oriented tzadik feels “full” and happy with a little; the body-oriented rasha (wicked-one) never feels “full.”… In his rectified state of consciousness he [the tzadik] is continuously aware that “not on the [physical dimension of] bread alone does man live, but on each utterance of the mouth of G-d does man live.” The time of greatest pleasure in partaking of food is on the day of Shabbat.

All the Yashanet quotes are from the article YESOD – Part 3 – LIVING WATER, ROCK, MANNA, THE “WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE” at

http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev5gb.htm. As I said last week, I cannot recommend Yashanet highly enough, but the Revelation study is VERY deep and mystical, as is the book of Revelation itself. Therefore be sure to go through the book studies in order, Matthew, Romans and THEN Revelation. There is a lot to try to bend your mind around in the Rev study, and it may be difficult to grasp without a good foundation. I am not sure I do. But, Behanu does well in providing one.

Other sins that SOME of them committed were idolatry/fornication, which was done at least twice in the ‘play’ before the golden calf and the Bila’am inspired sin of Ba’al Peor (Num.25) when the Israelite man took a Midianite woman into the tent of the congregation to fornicate with her in the Holy Place and Pinchas smote them through with a javelin to the tent floor, thus staying the plague that had broken out, killing 24,000 in the camp; and tempted (better xlated ‘tested’) Mashiyach, bringing the fiery serpents to plague the murmurers. Q&C

 

Vv.11-13 – We already all know that v.11 is addressed to us in these last days. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines ‘example’ (v.6) as

  1. A pattern, in morals or manners; a copy or model; that which is proposed or proper to be imitated. “I have given you an example; that you should do as I have done unto you.” Jn.13.15

An ‘example’ is something we are to take action on, to either imitate or avoid. And W1828 defines ‘ensample’ (v.11) as

  1. figure; in theology, type, representative. “Who was the figure of him that was to come.” Rom.5.14 (Speaking of Moshe)

An ‘ensample’ is a concept shown by the metaphor revealed in the historical events. So the ensample we got was a ‘type’ or ‘taste’ of what is to come for us, ‘on whom the ends of the world are come.’ For this reason we need to get closer to Y’hovah because, if they couldn’t withstand the ‘type’ or ‘taste’ in their flesh, it is going to be even harder for us to withstand the antitype and full reality in ours. But Y’hovah does not give us more of a test than we are able to bear; IF we are keeping our accounts short with and staying close to him, HE will strengthen us for the trials to come.

Vv.14-17 – For this reason we need to flee idolatry, and anything that we allow to divert us from our pursuit of Shalom w/Y’hovah is an idol that we need to loose from us, while anything that brings us closer or keeps us on the narrow road leading to life is what we need to bind to us. Otherwise, we are in very deep and stinky Kimchee! V.15 gives us a clue that Rav Sha’ul is about to wax ‘mystical’ (wise men), so keep that in mind. “Judge ye what I say” means ‘think about this, it is deeper than the words I am writing’, as was Yeshua speaking of things much deeper than the literal words he spoke in Jn.6 and elsewhere. Yeshua said

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)

If all you can see is the words printed on the page, and no spiritual truth or application (like those believing Pharisees that left from following Yeshua over the ‘eat my flesh/drink my blood’ metaphor), you are blind spiritually even though you see physically. And in this, we who see the spirit of the words are ‘kosher’ kabbalists, whether we like the appellation or not. Sha’ul uses the same metaphor Yeshua used, body and blood of Mashiyach, and in the same way. He isn’t saying to eat his literal body or drink his literal blood, but to liken the Word of Y’hovah, Torah, to Mashiyach Yeshua’s life blood (Torah is life), and by extension, the body to the kahal of Yeshua ‘in him’. Do you see how many metaphors and spiritual applications we use every day and accept without question. Do you and I actually make up a single physical body? Of course not; but each of us, when ‘fitly framed together’ with our special gifts and blessing from Y’hovah, make for a strong spiritual ‘body’ and ‘building’ ‘in him’.

VV.18-33 – The table is sanctified by our actions and fellowship at the table. The ‘communion of Y’hovah’s table’ is when we are together at oneg, talking about the Torah/haftarah we read or heard. It is in this way that we come together as a body, and have one understanding of Torah and the other scriptures. We are engaging in Y’hovah’s table as we study together. We are being nourished by his Spirit through his Word and our thirst is quenched by his living water in the same way. There is less to worry about over flesh that may or may not have been sacrificed to idols than there is in NOT focusing our ‘hearts’ and minds on his Word in all that we do. How do we ‘provoke Y’hovah to jealousy’? Is it not by idolatry? Am I engaging in idolatry by eating flesh that MAY have been offered to idols? Or am I more likely engaging in idolatry by considering the idol a thing to be feared? If there is a brother there who knows the flesh was offered to an idol and is scandalized by me eating that flesh, then I should refrain for his conscience’ sake (Rom.14.15). But to me, it is a non-starter. I can eat that flesh without worry of breaking a Torah instruction – it is lawful. But, if my brother has a problem with it, I should forbear so my brother can be edified – present my ‘body a living sacrifice’. In that way I have the mind of Mashiyach Yeshua

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Mashiyach Yeshua: (Phil.2.4-5)

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Elohim, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Elohim. (Rom.12.1-2)

I haven’t looked, but I am willing to bet, and without worry of loss, that Paul hit this theme at least once in each of his epistles. You have liberty in Mashiyach to do all that is lawful, but if exercising that liberty will cause another brother to stumble, you should refrain from exercising your liberty for his conscience’ sake. Q&C

 

End of Bible Study notes.

[1] An italicized ‘I think’ means I am engaging in an educated guess. I COULD be wrong …. But I DOUBT IT!

[2] Midrash for Shabbat May 21, 2011 ©2011 Me & FTM

[3] found at http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev5gb.htm

Shabbat Bible Study for March 31, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 31, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 1 

Numbers 9:22-10:36 – [No Prophet] – Psalm 102 – 1 Corinthians 14:1-19

Links:

http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev4c.htm 

B’Midbar 9.22-23 – Once again, The description of when and how the camp moved when the cloud was taken up from the Mishkan reminds me of Ezekiel 1. Ezekiel saw a whirlwind coming out of the north and in the whirlwind he saw the likeness of 4 living creatures (Rev.4-22?) having faces looking in the 4 cardinal directions, and the entire ‘chariot’ didn’t turn, but moved in the direction the 4 beast’s faces looked. All were the faces of men with characteristics of the 4 ‘beasts’. The one coming toward him from the north (so it was the one facing toward the south that he saw first) has the face of a man. The likeness of a lion was to the right, or east. The likeness of an ox was to the left, or west. And the likeness of an eagle was on the back or north side. The likeness of the lion looks to the east, which was the direction of the Yehudi camp, so the likeness and the lead tribe correspond. The likeness of the ox (or Cheruv) looks west, the direction of the Ephraimite camp, so they correspond. The likeness of the man is toward the direction of the Reuvenite camp, so they correspond. The likeness of the eagle is toward the direction of the Danite camp, so they must correspond, as well, though I have a hard time seeing it. Perhaps it has to do with Dan’s position as the ‘rear guard’. From the Yashanet article on Ezekiel’s chariot:

Ezekiel … goes on to explain the “movement” of these beings. It is imperative at this point to recall what “movement” is with regard to (beings in) spiritual space… angelic movement is not related to physical movement, but to carrying out the will of Eloha… 

…the vision of the chariot shows a heavenly beast, which is really four beasts, that Ezekiel identifies as cheruvim, which are angels. These angels are carrying out the purpose of Eloha, though no specific mention is given of the particulars of their assignments. Here we have an example of the relationship between spiritual light (the divine cause or will of Eloha), spiritual mass (the angels carrying out the will of Eloha), and the resulting spiritual energy (the effect of their action upon man/creation)…

… As for the wheels, there are two main opinions as to what they are. One is that these are also angelic beings called ophanim, who are of a lower order than the cheruvim. There is also an opinion that these wheels represent various heavenly realms. In actuality, both opinions can be true as there is a close relationship between angels and the realms (both spiritual and physical) that are assigned to them … 

… What we see from Ezekiel is a connection between these orders of angels, as well as between the angels and the firmaments they operate in. Ezekiel makes it clear that the Ophanim only move according to how the Cheruvim move. This would indicate something of a “chain of command,” whereby the Cheruvim receive more direct instruction than do the ophanim, although the divine purpose resides in both. This concept is supported by Ezekiel’s explanation that there is a connection between the “throne” and the Cheruvim, a second connection between the Cheruvim and the Ophanim, and a third connection between the Ophanim and the earth.

I cannot recommend the Yashanet website and book studies highly enough. Behanu (his PT handle) has done a wonderful job of breaking down the deepest concepts so that even I can get an idea of what it is all about. He uses scripture skillfully and also extra-biblical sources. What I have quoted above is from one article of the background information from his deepest and most extensive book study on Revelation. If you go there, start at the beginning; Matthew. Then proceed through the intermediate; Romans. Only THEN should you start to wade through Revelation. Expect to spend a LOT of time on this, if you decide to do it. Behanu had to spend YEARS researching, writing and publishing it.

The angels over the 4 ‘winds’ in Rev.7 would be the “Ophanim” that Yashanet discusses. They would probably be the angels over the camps in the wilderness, as well. So when the cloud of Y’hovah’s presence lifted off the Mishkan, the angels began to move. I think in this metaphor, the Cheruvim would be over the Levite camps, and the Ophanim over the tribal camps, wheel within a wheel. While the motion of the camp is in a particular direction, Yehuda’s camp is to move first, so the corresponding Ophan must move first after the Cheruv corresponding to the Kohanim. As the ‘firmament’ (cloud) moved, the Cheruvim (Levites) moved, and as the Cheruvim moved, the Ophanim (tribes) moved. 

As Y’hovah moved or rested, so did Israel. As the firmament moved in Ez.1, so did the wheels. And it seems that the ‘chain of command’ worked well. We’ll see a little more detail of the movement in ch.10. Q&C (and I hope I can do some justice to any questions you ask.)

10.1-10– Moshe was ordered to make 2 silver trumpets for himself. They were made in the same manner as the menorah; of one piece of silver and beaten into the proper shape. They were to be his OWN, not anyone else’s (v.2), though he was commanded to have Elazar and Ithamar wind them (v.3, 8) at the appropriate times. These trumpets were for rousing Israel to gather at the Tabernacle or to prepare to march. When BOTH trumpets were winded in a tekiah, or a long, sustained blast, the entire assembly was being called. When only ONE was blown in a sustained, tekiah blast only the elders were being summoned. When Moshe winded one trumpet in a Teruah, or series of short, staccato blasts; it was time for Yehudah’s camp to move out. When it was blown the second time, Reuven’s camp marched off. And, everyone logically assumes, so on around the camp. When the tekiah was sounded while they were on the march, they were to make camp. When BOTH trumpets were sounded in a Teruah alarm, they were to ready for community action in time of distress, like war (v.9). So the tekiah was the call for assembly and the Teruah was the call to move. When the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and rested over the camp of Yehudah, that was the signal to break camp. The camps did not move until the trumpet(s) sounded. Schottenstein’s Chumash has some interesting notes on these trumpet blasts; see the notes on vv.9-10 [pg.71]. On the shabbats and Feast days, the teruah [staccato] would be preceded and followed by a tekiah [sustained]. The sages think this was ALWAYS the case though there is no command for it in Torah. 

The trumpets are not MERELY to call the tribes to move or to meet. When Y’hovah heard the trumpet being blown in obedience, he knew that his people were ready to be led. When you know it is time to assemble because of the commandment to do so, and that assembly is to be called by the winding of a trumpet, it’s a good idea to let Y’hovah know that you are willing to be led by giving him the signal he has commanded, don’t you think? V.8 tells us that the commandment is an everlasting commandment. We don’t have the silver trumpets. They were Moshe’s. Let Y’hovah know that you are ready for him to lead you and you are ready to follow him. Blow your shofars, if you have them. 

Vv.11-28 deal with the order of breaking camp for all the tribal camps and the Levi’im. On the 20th day of the 2nd month, after the 2nd Passover that year, the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and Israel left Sinai behind.  They had been in camp at the foot of the mountain for about 10½ months. The cloud rested in the Wilderness of Paran, about a 3-day journey from Sinai. When the trumpet sounded the teruah, Yehudah led the march with their standard and Nachshon, the elder of the tribe in the lead. After the tribe of Yehudah came Issachar with her elder Nethane’el at its head. Then came Zevulon with her elder Eliav at its head. Meanwhile, the tabernacle was taken down and packed on its wagons and immediately following Zevulon were the tribes of Gershon and then Merari, driving their wagons.

When the trumpet sounded the 2nd Teruah, the camp of Reuven set out with her standard and the elder of Reuven, Elizur at its head. Next was Shimon with her elder Shelumiel leading, followed by Gad and her elder, Eliasaph, heading the tribe. Immediately behind Gad, the Kohathites set out bearing the Mishkan furnishings on their shoulders. When the cloud stopped the Gershonites and Merarites would have some time to set up the Mishkan to receive the furnishings while the camp of Reuven caught up. It is likely that the Kohathites would arrive as the last curtain was being hung on the Mishkan. Y’hovah is just that way, a master of drama making everything work out just in time. 

When the trumpet sounded the 3rd Teruah, the standard of Ephraim set out with her tribal elder, Elishama at the head of the tribe. Menashe followed Ephraim with her tribal elder, Gamaliel at her head. BenYamin marched after Menashe with her tribal elder, Abidan at her head. Then the trumpet sounded a 4th Teruah and the standard and elder of Dan, Ahiezer at the head of the tribe. The tribe of Asher moved next with Pagiel, her elder at the head, followed by the tribe of Naphtali, lead by her elder, Ahira. Dan was the ‘rear guard’. The northern camp was very numerous and they would guard the flank, as well as pick up stragglers or even stuff lost by the other tribes. Some say that Dan’s camp was so numerous and had so much time to set out that they could spread their numbers out across the rear of the formation and do a kind of FOD walk-down behind the rest of the tribes. If any of you have been in military aviation, you know what I mean. 

Vv.29-34 – Moshe invited Yithro to stay with Israel. He’d been with them the whole time they were at Sinai and now he was getting ready to depart. Moshe told him that they would love to have Yithro stay with them, but Yithro said he just wanted to go home. Moshe told him that he would be treated the same as any native Israelite, as Torah said to do with any ger who decided to sojourn with Israel. It is unclear from the text whether Yithro stayed with them, or not. 

In v.33 we see the Ark traveling before the column in the wilderness, but it didn’t leave camp until more than ½ the nation left. The sages differ in what happened. Some say there were 2 arks, one with the intact 10 words in the middle of the formation, the other with the original tables of broken stone in another box at the head of the column. I have a 3rd idea that allows one Ark leaving as we saw earlier in the chapter (v.21) and yet leading the whole procession. We’ve already discussed a number of times the idea that Y’hovah carried the ark and those who carried it, possibly in the same manner that he carried Israel across the Red Sea dry, even though the floor of the Sea had to be mushy, silty, mud, as Paroh found out when Y’hovah removed the barrier between them and the muck when the last Israelite foot stepped on the land on the Midianite side. My possibility is that He could easily have carried them right to the front of the line in a kind of ‘Philip’s transport’ (Acts 8.39). 

Vv.35-36 tell us what Moshe would proclaim as the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and set out to the east. As the silver trumpet sounded the teruah to announce it was time to break camp, Moshe would say,  “Arise, Y’hovah, and let your enemies be scattered! May those who hate you flee from before you!” And when the cloud stopped and the tekiah sounded assembly, Moshe would say, “Return, Y’hovah, to the myriads of Israel.” These last 2 verses are set-apart from the rest of the Torah by a pair of inverted nuns, one before and one after.

Q&C

No Prophet

Tehellim 102.1-28 – Israel is calling out to Y’hovah in its affliction and oppression. After what we just learned about the trumpets/shofars, how do you think Y’hovah will know we’re serious in this corporate call? How about when we obey his commands to usward? Isn’t that how Israel showed him they were ready to follow? If we are not obedient now, how will he know we will be obedient later? The more we obey him, the more we indicate our willingness to obey and the quicker he is likely to respond when we call. WE keep the channel open and WE keep ourselves in close proximity to him through our obedience and willingness to obey. 

Israel is under a weight of oppression in her spirit in vv.3-5. Nothing we do prospers. Everything we do seems to be for nothing. In vv.5-7 Israel is out of her element, like a pelican is a sea bird and the owl is a bird of the forest (each in a desert wilderness), and alone like a lone sparrow on a housetop, lost and separated from the flock to which he’s accustomed. V.8 translates as ‘mad’ H1984, the root verb halal הלל, lit. ‘to radiate’, as explanation, ‘to boast or be hypocritical’. Strong’s says this about halal

primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify.

Stultify, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary means

“1) to make foolish; to make one a fool, and 2) In law, to allege or prove to be insane, for avoiding some act.”

Our enemies make themselves fools in Y’hovah’s eyes to make us look foolish or insane to the world when we refuse to do what it considers ‘normal’ in our obedience to Y’hovah. Look at how the average Xian is treated by the media, like when VP Pence said he would not have a meeting or dinner with another woman without his wife attending. Now look at how the Notzrei are treated by the average Xian. We are the outcast’s outcasts! We are the madman’s madman! But they are halal against us! Let me say that ‘halal’, either this hatred OR the Moslem sanctification of food, is not ‘kosher’. The slaughter is done in the same manner as a kosher slaughter, but all halal flesh is offered to the false god of Moslemism. Different spirit than I wish to associate with, if you know what I mean. And one we definitely do NOT want to associate with if there is a former Moslem among us who is a new believer, as it may cause our younger brother to stumble. I prefer to NOT buy ‘halal’ foods, to try to keep as much cash out of the Moslemists hands as possible. I want to keep the cash in the family as much as possible. This is not to say that eating ‘halal’ food is sinful; only that if there is another brother/sister around who doesn’t understand, it is better to not partake of it, rather than cause a brother to ‘stumble’.

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that none other Eloha but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us one Eloha, the Father, of whom all things, and we in him; and one Master Yeshua haMashiyach, by whom all things, and we by him. 7 Howbeit not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat  as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But food commendeth us not to Eloha: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 13 Wherefore, if food make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. [1Cor.8.4-9, 13]

I think separating ourselves to Y’hovah will go further toward our good than just eating and associating as our flesh desires. For sure, vv.9-10 show us what happens when we go our own ways. Have you ever seen Pro Wrestling? I think v.10 describes a ‘Suplex’ move in that stupidly entertaining show – ‘pick me up and throw me down’. Israel is in the dusk in v.11, just enough light to see dimly, with shadows beginning to merge into darkness. I think we will see political Israel actually see days like this before long. Israel will find itself on the verge of destruction before she calls out to Y’hovah for her deliverance.

V.12 is the sea change. Instead of kvetching, Israel recalls Y’hovah’s faithfulness to her in the past, when she walked in HIS Way instead of her own. Y’hovah’s remembrance is not recalling, like ours is. He never forgets something unless he decides to do so, like he forgets our sins by blotting them out of his ‘book of remembrance’ (which I think is the ‘time line’ of creation into which he can impose himself anywhen and where)

Have mercy upon me, O Eloha, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. (Psalms 51:9)

Then they that feared Y’hovah spake often one to another: and Y’hovah hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Y’hovah, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:16)

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  [Moshe speaks of Israel after the calf] And Y’hovah said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. [Y’hovah says only the unrepentant will be blotted out] (Exodus 32:32, 33)

“Wherefore, if flesh food make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” [1Cor.8.13], speaks of a ‘set time’, a moad, or appointed feast. Which do you think he’s talking about? I think it’s the last Yom Kippur of this age, when all the kings of the earth will be set to attack Zion in the Valley of Megiddo. I also think that Zion will be OBSERVING Yom Kippur, like Israel was doing in 1973 when the Sinai/Golan war started and Israel was almost overrun. It could be that they will KNOW the attack is coming and they will decide to TRUST Y’hovah to deliver them and call on him in one accord – echad, and if they die, they die. But they will TRUST him, even if they die. V.14 shows that this set time will be in Zion, where his servants, the Seed of Avraham love his land. This is when Y’hovah will build up Zion. It is Yisrael that will be the destitute, and the ‘people who SHALL BE created shall halal Y’hovah, HalleluYah! (same root as halal above – here meaning ‘to radiate praise’. 

Y’hovah looks down from the heavens and sees our affliction. He allows it until we make teshuvah and trust him to do what he promised to his faithful. He comes to deliver us from it so that we can halal sing his praises to the heathen when they are gathered together to serve Y’hovah in his Kingdom. Look at vv.23-28 as a paragraph, all the verses related specifically to each other. He weakened his servant’s strength in the Way and shortened his days and his servant pleaded with Him to NOT take him from his service to Him, but to lengthen his days according to HIS years, as He laid the foundation of the earth and spread the heavens with His own hands. Because even the heavens and earth shall perish, wax old like a threadbare garment (like the jeans I’m wearing as I type) but Y’hovah endures eternally. And then He gives His servant a ‘change of vesture’ and he shall be changed! Resurrection! Translation from this corruptible mortal body to incorruptible immortality! And the servant’s children’s seed will be established in Him. All this will happen beginning in the day of Yeshua’s return and continuing through the Kingdom, the GWT and the into the New Heavens and Earth. That is when Zech.3.3-7 will be fulfilled

3 Now Y’hoshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of Y’hovah stood by. (Zech.3.3-5)

Y’hoshua’s evil inclination was removed in that passage when his iniquity was taken from him. This is New Heavens and New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and the righteous who dwell there will be the seed of the faithful who would die rather than NOT TRUST Y’hovah to deliver them. HalleluYah! Q&C

1CorinthYah 14.1-19 – In ch.12, Rav Sha’ul enumerates some spiritual gifts and then in ch.13, he describes the greatest spiritual gift of all – charity, or agape. Agape is the kind of self-less love that Y’hovah showed for us when he took on human flesh and submitted himself to experiencing everything we experience so that he could have real 1st-hand knowledge of our troubles in living within this meatsuit from conception through normal human life and an agonizing physical death. Make no mistake; Y’hovah was in total control of Yeshua’s physical body and would not allow Yeshua to sin.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

But Y’hovah did not exercise the full power he has through Yeshua’s flesh, except as it came to dealing specifically with fulfilling Messianic prophecies, like giving sight to the blind, raising some people from the dead, opening deaf ears, etc. What is important to remember is that it was Y’hovah’s Spirit that energized Yeshua’s flesh and NOT a human spirit. 

What was the purpose of those spiritual gifts he gave us? That is the subject of ch.14 – practical application of the spiritual gifts for the edification of Mashiyach’s ‘body’. Prophecy is NOT for self-aggrandizement, but for service to the ‘body of Mashiyach’. And prophecy is not primarily to tell what is going to happen in the future. Prophecy’s main purpose is to speak the truth to the edification of believers, whether they are ready to receive it or not. If they are ready to receive the truth from a teaching prophet, they will be drawn to him like a moth to a flame. If they are NOT ready to be taught by a prophet, they will denounce him and work to kill him as the heretic they deem him to be. 

22 But Sh’aul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is truly Mashiyach. 23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Acts 9.22-23)

Even Yochanan the Immerser questioned whether Yeshua was Mashiyach

2 Now when Yochanan had heard in the prison the works of Mashiyach, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Yeshua answered and said unto them, Go and shew Yochanan again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matt.11.2-6)

Yeshua did NOT say, “I am Mashiyach” in so many words. But he DID say “I am Mashiyach” with that answer, because all those things were prophesied of Mashiyach, and he knew full well that Yochanan fully knew that, and that he was just seeking reassurance that he did not labor and was not about to die in vain. His answer to Yochanan was ‘perfect’, and Yochanan continued to confidently preach until Herodias demanded his head.

What I am about to say is going to cause some people to leave the room. Amein. So let it be. Tongues is an important gift to the body of Mashiyach IF there is an interpreter there. And this is the reason that this passage was chosen for this Torah portion, it refers to Num.10.1-10, the sounding of the silver trumpets in “The Wilderness Adventure”. The trumpets gave a ‘certain’, precise meaning, a known signal – “Assembly” and “Execute”. All military orders have 2 components, 1) Prepare to receive a command and 2) Execute that command, like “1) Company!, 2) Atten – HUT!” And the company comes to attention in unison. If a person in the assembly speaks an unknown tongue and there is noone to interpret that tongue how will the assembly know what the exhortation or command is to receive or obey? The tekiah and the teruah were known commands, the cloud lifting was the preparatory command. An unknown tongue spoken in the assembly where there is no interpreter is pretty much useless and if LOTS of folks speak in their own personal tongue all at once, outsiders will consider you a bunch of nut-jobs and take off without the exhortation they may have needed, even if the tongues were profitable to the speaker. But a prophet speaks in the clear where everyone profits. Speaking in an unknown tongue in the assembly without interpreting for the group is actually dissembly and will foment confusion. And v.5 is clear that the tongues speaker needs to interpret, or confirm an interpreter’s interpretation. If someone speaks in an unknown tongue but doesn’t understand the revelation being given, the tongue profited NOONE and was just so much noise, a cacophony. I will go so far as to say that if there is no clear revelation given from the tongues speaker or a recognized interpreter (which should be CONFIRMED by the speaker), the tongue was a counterfeit that can be, and probably WILL be, used by haSatan to confuse and draw undiscerning men away from Y’hovah. 

V.12 is the point of the whole passage – Speak to edification of the body in the assembly. To prophesy to the edification of the church is the purpose of ALL the spiritual gifts. It all comes down to having the mind of Mashiyach – It ain’t about ME! It’s about Mashiyach’s body. Q&C 

End of Shabbat Bible Study Midrash notes.

Shabbat Bible Study for March 24, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 24, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Shabbat 2

B’Midbar 8.1-9.21 – ZecharYahu 4.1-14 – Tehellim 101 – Rev.11.1-19

http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm

B’midbar 8.1-4 – KJV’s ‘over against’ means either opposite or toward, so the light of the 3 left and the [opposite] 3 right side lamps is directed toward the center. The Hebrew word is muhl, from the same root for mohel, which is the title of the Kohen who specializes in CC. The same idea is seen here of adjusting the appearance of the thing being addressed. Did I sufficiently circumlocute just then? Aharon was to adjust the lamps to illuminate the center stand as much as possible. If you look at the representation at http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm of the tree of Sefiroth you may see the metaphor I am alluding to. The junctions within the ‘center stand’ represent the ‘knops’ of the menorah from which the arms extend and the sephirah (lamp) ends of the arms on the right (abba Y’hovah) and left (ima Ruach haKodesh) illuminate the center (ben – tzadik rebbe Yeshua). The menorah was of one piece of gold of a talent’s weight beaten into shape, including the knops, the tubes the flowers and cups – it was incredibly intricate. The malleability of gold made the thing possible, but it was still an amazing piece of craftsmanship, and, I think undoable by any man not filled with  Ruach haKodesh. 

It is POSSIBLE that the 6 side-lights were surrounding the center light.

Vv.5-26 – The Levi’im are consecrated for service in the Mishkan by sprinkling them with the red heifer water. I’m curious how they knew what red heifer water was before the provision was made in Num.19. This supports the thought that Leviticus and Numbers are not necessarily laid out in chronological order. After they were sprinkled with the water of purification, they shaved their bodies and washed their clothes. Then they brought 2 young steers as a sin offering and the associated meal offering. When it says that the whole assembly laid their hands on the Levites, I don’t think it was all 2.5 million Israelites laying their hands on all 24,000 Levites. I think it was the elders of Israel in the presence of the whole congregation laying hands on the elders of the Levi’im, which represents their approval of this consecration. And Aharon offered the Levites as the offering of Israel for the tabernacle service. Then the elders of the Levi’im laid hands on the steers and Aharon slaughtered them and offered them on the altar in the place of the Levites sins. When Aharon (v.11) and Moshe (v.13) offered the Levites, it was as a wave offering – Stone’s Chumash has an interesting note on the wave offering [pg.63 on v.13]. The Levi’im were effectively ‘living sacrifices’. 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Now, usually the priest then ate the wave offering, but I don’t think that was actually done here. ‘Levite’ is not one of things declared ‘clean to eat’ in Lev.11 or Dt.14. “Offering’ the Levites here means to consecrate them to the service of Y’hovah. 

** Disclaimer for PETL (People for the Ethical Treatment of Levites): No Levites were harmed in the making of this offering. **

The Levites then moved right into their service of Y’hovah as the substitutes for all the 1st-born of Israel. The 1st-born still are Y’hovah’s, but the service they were to render fell to the Levi’im because of the sin of the Golden Calf and the faithfulness of Levi to Y’hovah. Aharon and his seed were given the rest of their tribe as servants of the Mishkan. As with the Mishkan and its furnishings and everything was done exactly as Y’hovah commanded Moshe, so it was with the Levi’im. Levites trained to serve until their 24th year was complete. Then they served Aharon and his seed in the Mishkan from the beginning of  their 25th year until the end of their 49th year and beginning in their 50th year they trained the trainees. In ch.4, we saw that the Levi’im were counted from the 30th year to the 50th year in the census as substitutes for the 1st-born and to serve in the Tabernacle. Chumash says that from their 25th year to their 30th they were in an apprenticeship. In reality, Levi’im were ALWAYS in service to Aharon and his seed as the Kohanim served Y’hovah. Q&C

B’midbar 9.1-14 – There are 3 major events in ch.9: the Pesach in the Wilderness [good Pesach, y’all!], including the giving of the 2nd Pesach; Y’hovah’s acceptance of the Mishkan and his settling his Shekinah over it; and reiterating the commandment concerning breaking and pitching camp. 

Y’hovah commanded Moshe that Israel should keep the Pesach in the 14th day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt. As we saw in Lev.23, this was to be done yearly. This Pesach in ch.9 is the only one that is recorded in the Wilderness Adventure, but that doesn’t mean it was the only one they kept. Torah is not meant to be an exhaustive record of everything Y’hovah’s people did for the 2500 years of history it covers and it seldom repeats itself. It is probably that THIS one is only mentioned because of the men who were defiled and therefore could not keep the Pesach, but WANTED TO. This provision is made for the faithful. Only 8 years ago, I needed to take part in a 2nd Pesach due to traumatic injury (I was kind of ‘on a journey afar off’), and Y’hovah blessed me and my family by providing a place where we could do so among friends. THEY were celebrating Pesach on a different calendar than we were, but that was not important to us. Y’hovah had them celebrate it on the proper day for the 2nd Pesach for me, which may be the reason he led them the way he did – just for me. I am uncertain if they are still following that calendar, but I am grateful they did then. Y’hovah’s provision for those who would be faithful to him does not go unnoticed by those whose eyes are open. 

V.13 is pretty clear that if one is clean and not on a journey will either observe the Pesach in all the provisions that he had previously specified, or be cut off from Israel and shall bear his sin, that is, the physical consequences of it. If a ger who lives among us wants to keep Pesach, he is to be allowed. The ger may celebrate with us as long as he does so in accord with the Pesach instructions in Ex.12. It says there that the ger needs to be circumcised before he may partake in the Pesach. In Ex.12 this was definitely to be taken literally. But does it need to be still? If that were the case, I think it would have been specifically addressed in the Jerusalem Council. Now, I think that by the time the gerim had gotten through the Torah in the synagogues once or twice, they would have been moved on by the Ruach to want to be circumcised, but it was NOT required of them for acceptance into the fellowship in the synagogue, which I assume would include celebration of the Feasts of Y’hovah. It is clear to me that Rav Sha’ul was not going to be a ‘circumcision cop’ at Pesach, making the new gentile converts ‘drop trou’ to prove their worthiness to participate. 

Vv.15-21 – As soon as the Mishkan was erected, the pillar of fire/cloud covered the Mishkan proper. This was the sign to Israel that Y’hovah accepted the Mishkan and proved that the priests had rebuilt it properly. In Deut. we are told of 42 camps in the Wilderness Adventure. There MAY have been more, but these are the ones mentioned. When Y’hovah moved, the camp moved. When Y’hovah stopped moving, Israel pitched their camp and the pillar of Y’hovah’s presence covered the Mishkan. This calls to mind Ezek.1

20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. (Ezek.1.20-21)

As the living creatures of Ezek.1 moved when the Ruach moved, so b’nei Israel moved when Ruach moved. When He went, they broke camp; when he stood, they pitched camp; when Ruach lifted up, the wheels within wheels of the Israelite camp lifted up with him. If the pillar remained on the Mishkan, whether for a few hours or for a few years, camp remained, but when Shekinah went up from the Mishkan, Israel moved until the pillar stopped. Q&C

 

ZecharYahu 4.1-14 – ZecharYahu was not asleep. He was awakened ‘as a man is wakened from sleep.’ The most important words in prophecy are ‘like’ and ‘as’. ‘As’ means, ‘in the same manner’ as something else – not the same thing, but the same manner. ‘Like’ means, ‘having the resemblance or appearance of an event’ or thing. Being wakened ‘as out of sleep’ means he was awake, but unaware of his surroundings – in a trance or having a vision. The action never stopped from his vision of ch.3, but the subject and location of the visions did. He has left the Kodesh Kadashim and is now in the ‘plain old’ Kodesh Place. 

Y’hovah Yeshua who appeared in ch.3 as the angel of Y’hovah and Y’hovah Tzavaoth now appears as the 7-lamp candlestick. The 7 lamps of the menorah correspond to the 7 eyes in the Stone of 3.9. Moshe Koniuchowski, in the footnotes of the Restoration Bible says this about the Stone in 3.9:

The Stone is Moshiach, and the seven eyes are symbolic of perfection, and perfect spiritual vision.

Where else do we see 7 eyes? 

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent forth into all the earth. Rev. 5:6

Where else do we see the 7 spirits of Elohim?

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;  Rev. 1:4 

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of Elohim, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Rev. 3:1 

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. Rev. 4:5

Are these 7 spirits enumerated any where? To whom are they given? 

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: [2] And the spirit of Y’hovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Y’hovah; [3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Y’HOVAH: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. [5] And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Isaiah 11:1-5 (KJV)

There is a reference to the BRANCH in 3.8, just before the Stone with the 7 eyes. I think we can safely equate the 7 lamps to the 7 eyes and to the 7 Spirits of Elohim, and the recipient of this 7-fold Spirit of Y’hovah is none other than Yeshua haMashiyach. 

The 2 olive trees represent the 2 houses of Ya’acov, Yisrael/Ephraim and Yehuda. Again, from the notes on Zech.4 in Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scriptures:

He saw two olive trees, both being congregations of Yisrael, both representing the Father, both sending forth an anointed witness, both producing an individual witness to prophecy and together both representing the whole people of Yisrael.

These two olive trees are the Two Houses (Isaiah 8:14, Jeremiah 31:31, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Nations (Ezekiel35:10), Two Chosen Families (Jeremiah 33:24), Two Backslidden Sisters (Ezekiel 23:2-4), Two Olive Branches (Zechariah 4:11-14, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Sticks (Ezekiel 37:15-28), Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-4), Two Lamp Stands (Revelation 11:3), Two Silver Trumpets for the whole Assembly (Numbers 10:2-3), Two Advents (Hebrews 9:28), Two Cherubim (Exodus 25:18-20), Two Spies from Efrayim and Judah (Numbers 13: 6, 8), Two Congregations (Rev. 1:20), based on the principle that one lampstand equals one assembly.

That’s a lot of 2s! I had (when I first wrote this) never before considered that the 2 witnesses of Rev. could be the 2 houses of Ya’acov, and not two prophets of Tanakh. It’s an interesting scenario. And it fits this interpretation of the identity of the two olive trees, as we’ll see in Rev.11. 

When the Angel asked Zach if he knew what the olive trees were, Zach answered in the negative. When he asked, he got what seemed an answer to a different question. He’d asked ‘What are these?’ and got the answer ‘This is the Word of Y’hovah to Zerubabel…’ The angel had told Zach that the people would see Zerubabel keeping the building of the Temple after the will of Y’hovah (and of the people back into faithful sons of Y’hovah) with the plumb line of the Word and the eyes of Y’hovah keeping watch over their building efforts. Yah had their backs. Every little thing that got done brought them closer to the goal of a new Mikdash. Y’hovah would see them through it. 

Zach had to wade through that and after asking again (twice!) what the olive trees were, he got another question from the Angel (You STILL don’t know?), as if the answer he’d given should have opened Zach’s mind to the knowledge. The final answer was about the 2 anointed ones. In context, I think it refers to Zerubabel (ch.4) and Yehoshua (ch.3). Zerubabel was of the tribe of Yehuda and family of David, in the lineage of Yeshua (Mat.1.12-13). Yehoshua was the Kohen haGadol, a picture of the righteousness of Y’hovah. Kings and priests are both anointed, so they could very well be the 2 anointed ones Zach is being told about. I do subscribe to the 2 house doctrine, but this seems a plausible interpretation, as well. The kingdom, given to Yehuda, and the righteousness, given to Ephraim’s sons (represented here by the Kohen), was reunited in Yeshua haMashiyach. Yeshua is our MelechTzadik, King and Righteousness. The lampstand being fed by the two olive trees is a very good picture of this. The 2 olive trees, one of royalty and one of righteousness give themselves completely to, and lose their separate identities to Yeshua. Seems it’s all about redemption from exile, eh?  Q&C

Tehillim 101 (sounds like a freshman college course) – The mercy and judgment of Y’HoVaH ties this Psalm to our passages about the menorah. As discussed earlier, the menorah was of one piece of gold beaten into shape – as Y’hovah Yeshua was beaten for our transgressions. It also burns with the righteous judgment of Elohim, fed by the oil of the Ruach haKodesh of Y’hovah. 

V.2 makes this a psalm that points to the first advent of Yeshua haMashiyach, who behaved himself wisely (Lk.2.52), and walked among his own house (Yehuda) with a heart that was perfect (tamiym).

We need to beware of his saying in vv.4-5, 7-8, that we not have a froward – a perverted, false heart; a heart that says one thing in your face, but another when you’re not looking. When he says he doesn’t know them, he means that he doesn’t become intimately familiar with them. They will not be his family or friends. We also need to be careful to walk in a tamiym way before him so we can benefit from our service with and to him. Q&C

Gilyahna 11 – In light of the temple, see who the builder is in 

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Y’HOVAH Tzavaoth, saying, Behold the man whose name haNetzer, the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Y’HOVAH: 13 Even he shall build the temple of Y’HOVAH; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his [Y’hovah’s] throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zech.6.12-13).

There’s that BRANCH again. He not only builds Y’hovah’s Temple, but then he sits on Y’hovah’s throne and rules from there. Hmm!? Do you suppose this might be Y’hovah? But it is a man! How can that be? And how can a King also be a priest? Aren’t those separate offices that belong to separate tribes of Yisrael? Of course, we’ve already discussed this in our look at ZecharYah, but I just had to bring it up again, since there is confusion in Messianic circles about the person and nature of Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiyach. Notice BRANCH and LORD are both in CAPS in the KJV. That is NOT a coincidence. The only use of ALL CAPS in KJV is to denote the covenant Name of Y’hovah.

John was ordered to measure the temple and given a reed to do it with, but then doesn’t do the measurement. I have no doubt that he did the measurement, but the results are not recorded. The next measurement is of the New Yerushalayim in ch.21. I think we already have the measurements of the Temple John saw in Yechezkel 40ff. I COULD be wrong .… But I doubt it.

42 months/1260 days is used twice in this chapter, once to discuss the time that the Gentiles will control the outer court and once to discuss the ‘ministry’ of the 2 witnesses. The amount of time is the same, so I believe these are contemporary to each other. There is also a reference to 3½ days that the witnesses lie dead in the streets of Yerushalayim. 42 months and 1260 days; each = 3½ years. Is there a connection? Could be, but I don’t know what it is. Any help from the peanut gallery would be appreciated. 

The 2 olive trees are not a problem to understand, as we’ve discussed earlier. But the 2 candlesticks are. There was only one candlestick in the tabernacle, there were ten in Shlomo’s Temple and there is no record of how many were in the 2nd temple. Why 2 here? We have a possible answer in 

And I saw no temple therein: for Y’hovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the temple of it. Rev. 21:22

That’s just a thought. It really COULD be wrong. Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scripture notes say this:

The two witnesses are Judah and Efrayim, as both houses are ordained to rise up and teach truth during the Day of Y’hovah, during Yisrael’s 70th week. We know that these two witnesses are the two houses, because they are called two lampstands, or two menorahs. The seven congregations in Asia are called seven lampstands in Revelation 1:20. So each congregation of believers is one menorah. Therefore two lampstands are two congregations, or groups of believers. This confirms the entire revelation to Zachariah in chapter 4 of the two anointed olive trees who stand before Y’hovah. From each of these two houses comes one witness, or two individuals who represent the two houses. Moses from Judah(?), since Lewi was part of [the nation of] Judah(?), and Elijah from Efrayim. They do their ministry for 3½ years before being killed and then rising in Jerusalem. Y’hovah will never allow any true biblical witness in the earth without both Judah and Efrayim being the two chosen and faithful representatives of His truth.

That seems a plausible interpretation, except for 2 things, 1) that Moshe was not from Yehuda. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to include Moshe among Yehuda just because Levi sojourned more in Yehuda’s inheritance than Ephraim’s, especially after the division of the Kingdom 500-600 years after Moshe’s death. I guess I’m just a stickler for context. Also, 2) if the lampstands are two congregations and we are using Rev.2-3 as the basis for that interpretation, which 2 congregations are they? Thyatira and Laodicea? Smyrna and Philadelphia? It’s a stretch to use this scripture as the basis of your interpretation and then change the identities of the congregations to Yehuda and Ephraim, names that show up nowhere in the text. I am not saying it CAN’T be right, only that I see it as a stretch. I have no problem with the trees being Ephraim and Yehuda. Neither do I have a problem with the candlesticks being Ephraim and Yehuda. I have a problem with them being ID’d as Moshe/Eliyahu AND Ephraim/Yehuda. Especially since neither Ephraim nor Yehuda spouted fire. I know that they perform the same miracles that Moshe and Eliyahu did, but does that mean they are Moshe and Eliyahu? Is there anywhere in scripture that SAYS the two are M&E? Not that I recall. That has been an interpretation of the church for a lot of years – centuries, even; and it may even be right (blind squirrel?). But it ain’t certain. Let’s not make our interpretations into certainties. We may be disappointed and lose faith, as WILL happen when the pre-trib rapture turns into a bust for those expecting it.

The 2 witnesses are killed by the beast that ascends from the pit – Abaddon. 

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. Rev. 9:11

The beast and false prophet have no such power, and are foiled throughout the Great Tribulation until this destroying angel, Abaddon, kills them. Abaddon is from the root word H3 abad אבד, ‘to lose valuable possession’. It COULD be that, if the two witnesses are Ephraim and Yehuda, all of us (IF we are the 144K) will be killed and lie in the streets of Yerushalayim 3½ days, only to be resurrected and called up to meet Y’hovah in the air. If this is right, the date will be Yom T’Ruah, the day of trumpets, some year soon. BTW, it just occurred to me that the 144,000 who had been killed and resurrected at the end of Elul in the year of the Final trumpet blast announcing Yom T’Ruah, COULD be the angels that Yeshua will send to gather the remnant of his seed to witness his offer of Shalom to the olam hazeh [Ps.27.4-5] and then to wipe out [abad – lose valuable possession] all those who refuse. Even those whom Yhwh’s angels destroy are His valuable possession.

While the 2 witnesses/144K are lying around the city awaiting their [our?] awakening, everybody who has had to endure the judgments are throwing parties and sending gifts all over the world in celebration, watching us lie there on worldwide HDTV, taunting us (as if we could hear – or CARE). FEDEX, DHL and UPS will be making a ‘killing’, pun intended, on our deaths. The party will end abruptly when we all stand up and are called audibly, taken up into heaven and disappear from their sight – all in vibrant living 4G HD color for everyone to see. Everyone will probably say in unison, “Ooo! THAT can’t be good!”

At that exact moment there will be an earthquake like there never was before in Yerushalayim. 7000 die in it. That number is unthinkable in a modern, first-world, western city. It prompts the remnant to give glory to Y’hovah. This remnant cannot be unbelievers who lived through the quake, they MUST be the believers who are left after the 2 witnesses were killed. Imagine the depression that might come over believers when their champions are killed and left in the streets for 3½ days. Then, suddenly they are resurrected and at that exact moment a 10.0 quake strikes to punctuate the event! If you were one of those believers, I think you would sing praises to Y’hovah just to let the pagans know who is REALLY in charge.

And just to make the point that much clearer to us, v.14 tells us the last woe is coming quickly. And what does the angel say? He ALSO gives glory to Y’hovah, telling the inhabitants of the earth that all the kingdoms of the earth are in HIS control, not theirs. As the believers were elated, the pagans must go into a funk. Even their champion can’t kill the witnesses and make them stay dead. Despair must abound.

Meanwhile in heaven, the 4 and 20 are worshipping and announcing the glory of Y’hovah, which is about to be revealed in his wrath – the 10 days of awe before Yeshua’s final return to the Mount of Olives to defeat the world’s armies at Har Megiddo. Reward and punishment are on the horizon.

Why is the ark exposed in heaven? I think it’s because all the judgment that’s about to come down on the inhabitants of the earth, all the wrath that Elohim has been storing up for all these millennia, will be tempered by the compassion shown at Y’hovah’s mercy seat. Even as wicked as the earth has become, and as much worse it will become in the Great Trib, Y’hovah’s mercy is going to temper his wrathful judgment, and the pagans will not receive even a small fraction of the wrath they’ll deserve – even as we haven’t received a minuscule fraction of the wrath that we deserve. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study/Midrash

Shabbat Bible Study for March 17, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 17, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 1 

Numbers 6:22-7.89 – [no prophet] – Tehellim100 – Romans 12:1-21

Links:

http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm 

B’Midbar 6:22-7.89- – Y’hovah told Moshe to tell Aharon and his sons to bless Israel. Aharon and Moshe did not have the juice to bless Israel in their own strength, but they were delegated the authority to do so by the only person who actually COULD bless the nation – Y’hovah himself. As such, when Aharon was blessing Israel in fulfillment of this command, he stood as the mediator of Y’hovah to his people. There is only one mediator between Y’hovah and us, the man Mashiyach Yeshua. This command was given to the Kohanim specifically. This blessing should not be given ‘willy-nilly’ by those who are NOT sons of Aharon. Were it not for the Golden Calf and loss of the blessing of the 1st-born to the Levi’im, this may have been the intended duty of every 1st-born. For now it was commanded to Aharon. When the New Covenant is in full force (I think), after the 2 houses are reunited on earth, the original intent will be back in force – the 1st-born of each family will be its priest, and he will exercise this right, duty and honor over his family. This 1st-born duty and honor will go to the one best suited, as everywhere in the Messianic lineage (beginning with Abel/Seth), not necessarily the physical 1st-born. In my physical family, that would be me, though I am the 4th-born son of Peter A. 

The Aharonic blessing is 3-fold. There are 3 distinct blessings pronounced on Y’hovah’s people. Y’hovah bless you and keep you pronounces that Israel will be blessed generally and that Y’hovah will ‘keep’ Israel. The word shamar means ‘to protect, to distance from danger’. The idea of a hen shielding her chicks from a storm or a fire comes to mind.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shield and buckler. (Psalm 91.4)

Be merciful unto me, O Eloha, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalms 57:1)

Imagine the care Y’hovah takes over those who trust him, and then the sorrow his heart must experience when his own will not accept his blessing and protection, freely offered.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34, Mat.23.37)

Y’hovah make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you says that Y’hovah will smile on everything his children will do under his wings. Have you ever looked at what little kids do and how they discover stuff and how they take delight in it and you just find yourself smiling about it, delighted with their delight? I think that’s a part of what Y’hovah is talking about here. But it also means that he graciously intervenes supernaturally on our behalf. He helps us out and then delights in our delight when we understand what happened. I think he delights over my limited understanding of the hedge he placed around me 8 years ago, and the delight I have knowing how he loves me. He smiles on me and mine every time I rehearse it and am awestruck by his protection. There was nothing I did that deserved that protection. But he provided it anyway. And he will do so again. And again. And again. As many times as I need it and until he calls me home. And he will do so for YOU, TOO! You can put THAT promise in the bank and collect the interest on it, and there’s a MUCH better insurance policy in place than the FDIC -Y’hovah Yeshua Mutual has this policy and it has a DYNAMITE retirement plan, too.

The 2nd blessing also has to do with his blessing of Torah, which is the embodiment of his light that shines to the world. When he enlightens us with his Word, he gives a blessing not just to us, but also to that part of the world that we contact. And as we illuminate that part of the world, it also helps to illuminate the part of the world that IT contacts. And so on. And so forth. For as long as there is someone through whom he can pass on his light. And he does so through YOU TOO! And that accrues more blessing back to you, though that is not why we do it. We do it because if we did not, we would burst at the seams. 

7c I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of Y’hovah was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (Jeremiah 20:7c-9)

Y’hovah lift up his countenance upon you and grant you Shalom. When Y’hovah lifts up his countenance, it shows that he is purposely doing that which he is not obliged to do. He has promised that he will recompense sin, but here he purposely forgives our debt to him and graciously pardons us for our disobedience to him. However, he does not forgive our sins and wrongs against our fellows until we have reconciled with them. 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

And when we reconcile with our brother, he establishes Shalom between us and also between himself and us.

And they shall put MY Name upon b’nei Yisrael and I will bless them. This can be seen as Y’hovah blessing Yisrael through the Kohanim OR blessing the Kohanim for their obedience to the command; or BOTH (which is actually how I see it). Personally, I think this means that the Kohen is to actually pronounce the Name of Y’hovah over Yisrael, not a title or a circumlocution of his Name. That is the simplest sense in which this command can be understood. He made sure to pronounce his Name 3 times in the Bruchah, so I think the command is unambiguous. Q&C

7.1-9 – The day on which Moshe set up the Mishkan the 1st time was seen in Ex.40.1. Here’s the opening of my commentary on Ex.40.1 from Sept. 2, 2017:

B’yom Chodesh harishon, b’echad lachodesh “In the day of the first new moon, on the first of the month” can only mean the biblical Rosh HaShanah is the first day of the 1st month, not the first day of the 7th month, because Y’hovah had commanded Moshe in 

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)

So, the Mishkan was to be inaugurated, built, anointed and offered at on the 1st day of the 2nd year out of Egypt. In vv.1-16 we see the order that the service would have on the 1st Rosh HaShanah in the Wilderness. This was, by the way, the ONLY Rosh HaShanah, they were intended to spend in the wilderness. The Adventure was supposed to end when they came to Kadesh (Num.13), only a few weeks hence.

So, between the day Moshe came down off the Mount for the 2nd time – about 80 or so days from the Exodus – and the 1st day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt, The Tabernacle was built and all its parts anointed, and all the animals and stuff needed for that transport were gathered up or made by craftsmen of the tribes.

It was on this day that the elders of the tribes of Israel brought the carts and the oxen for the service of the Levi’im in transporting the Mishkan from camp to camp. The elders themselves brought the carts and oxen, not any deputy, so I assume this was how the commandment was sent. There are 12 oxen, which corresponds to the oxen on which the laver was set in Shlomo’s Temple, 4 sets of 3, each set facing the cardinal direction in which the camps were placed around the Mishkan. There was a cart for each 2 elders and one ox per elder. A detail that is not mentioned is which yoke of oxen pulled which cart and how they decided. I think there was probably a reason behind it, but we don’t have biblical reference to it, as far as I know. The sons of Gershon were given 2 carts and 4 oxen and the sons of Merari were given 4 carts and 8 oxen to carry their respective Mishkan parts and accoutrements. Ithamar was in charge of the Mishkan for transport through the elders of the Gershonites and the Merarites. The Kohathites are to carry the Mishkan furnishings on their shoulders. These were NEVER supposed to see the back of a cart. 

Vv.10-83 – The elders also brought their offerings to be offered for their tribes to the Mishkan. It looks like the tribal offerings were similar and were offered one offering per tribe and each tribe’s offering on a successive day. They came up in order of their place in camp, I think, or in the order in which they left when it was time to break camp, or perhaps both. Yehudah, Issachar and Zevulon came up the 1st 3 days and in that order. Reuven, Shimon and Gad came up the next 3 days to offer their offerings. The third 3 days came up Ephraim, Menashe and BenYamin, and the last 3 days came up Dan, Asher and Naphtali.

Each tribe brought the same things for the offering – a silver charger (a large plate to place under a plate or bowl in formal settings) weighing 130 shekels; a silver bowl weighing 70 shekels; a gold spoon weighing 10 shekels; 1 young bullock (steer), 1 ram, 1 lamb of the 1st year for a burnt (freewill) offering; 1 kid for a sin offering; and 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 he-goats and 5 lambs of the 1st year for a peace offering. So, there was a lot of precious metal and a whole bunch of animals to slaughter, and just the volume of animals tells me why this took 12 days to complete. The Chumash could well be correct in claiming that the reason it took 12 days was to make each tribal offering as singular as could be, since they were all identical. To offer all 252 animals at once might look like just a jumble. 21 animals with their meal offerings and oblations would be quite enough for each day, I would think. 

The tabernacle of the congregation was not the same as the Mishkan, though they were only separated by a veil. The tabernacle of the congregation was the tent of meeting – ohel moayd. This is where Moshe met with Y’hovah. Even Moshe was not allowed behind the veil. There is another Tabernacle of the Congregation (ohel haMoayd) spoken of in Ex.33 where Moshe met with Y’hovah outside the camp while the Mishkan was being prepared. As soon as the ark of the testimony was finished, it was brought to the ohel. Moshe was almost always there until the Mishkan/ohel was anointed and furnished. Q&C

Tehellim 100 – This is a song of thankful praise. Hariyu laY’hovah kal haAretz. KJV translates eretz a number of different ways; land is the most frequent, earth is next. I lean towards earth, rather than lands here – not that that means a whit, as I know only enough Hebrew to hurt myself. But I see this as a song of praise and rejoicing at the arrival of Mashiyach to deliver his people from captivity and to take his throne. As such, we who are awaiting his coming to rule will naturally serve him with gladness and come before his throne singing his praises. Even those who have come in unbelief through the tribulation that precedes his coming will rejoice and be glad that the time of troubles is over. Everyone, believer and unbeliever as well, will know that Y’hovah is the Eloha who made us. That he even has to mention ‘not we ourselves’ tells me that the idea of secular humanism and denial of Eloha, that man is the measure of everything, was around in David’s day. Our last few generations do not have a lock on abject stupidity. There is truly nothing new under the sun. The word todah is in v.4, as well as in the title, but this time it’s translated thanksgiving. In the title it says ‘praise’. The only real difference is the prefix. In v.1 it says L’todah and in v.4 it says b’todah. So, why the difference? L’todah is simply to thank or praise, and this psalm is a song to give thanks and praise, so B’todah is simply in or with thanksgiving. We enter his house with a thankful attitude to praise him. The 2nd use of thanks in v.4 is the Hebrew word hodu, which is to exalt or lift up. From beginning to end, Ps.100 is an exercise in lifting up Y’hovah, exalting his Name for the wonderful things he does and is.

Romans 12.1-21– This study in Romans 12 (to be seen in conjunction with Num.6.21-7.89) is taken from my study of Romans that was taught over a period of about 4 years as a weekly or bi-weekly bible study. It is extensive, but not exhaustive.

Rom.12 needs to be seen in light of ch.9-11. It doesn’t stand alone.

V.1 – Paul is begging the gentiles in particular to present their bodies (plural) a (singular) living sacrifice. He is continuing on the theme that the gentiles need to be well grounded in basic Torah knowledge before they take any leadership role in the local assembly. He reminds them that Y’hovah is merciful to them AND to the Jews in leadership in the synagogue, and that the leaders of the synagogue have a wealth of Torah knowledge to teach them, even if they do not understand who Mashiyach is, yet. He is asking the gentiles to be as merciful to the leadership, as Y’hovah is to all of them, in both engrafting the gentiles and the future engrafting of the broken off branches that are lying there awaiting their chastisement’s end, which will be when they come to the end of themselves and call out to Y’hovah for his deliverance – Hosheanu! 

For that is the mercy by which he beseeches them. Mercies = graffing due to the faith of Mashiyach, as seen in 11.28-32. We were not graffed in by any merit of ours, but by the merit of Yeshua haMashiyach. HE has done it. HE has had both the faith and the perfect works to merit his eternal life, which he of course had from the foundation of the earth because he is Y’hovah in human flesh. Then he ‘marries’ us and we become a part of him. He becomes our covering and what is his becomes ours.

For the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy (set-apart, sanctified). (I Corinthians 7:14)

Faith in the Hebraic way of thinking is not mere assent to a few concepts. It’s not just an abstract. In the Hebraic mind, faith includes the resulting actions of that assent as evidence that the faith of Yeshua has ‘taken’ in us. Heb.11 speaks of faith, defines it as “The substance of things HOPED for; the evidence of things not seen. Can you see faith? Of course you can “ in the actions that accompany it, which are evidence of your belief. Can you see hope? Of course you can – in the actions that come as a result of it. The actions of believers that are based in faith and hope may seem stupid to the casual observer, but they make perfect sense to the actor and to those in fellowship with him. So, when you make preparations or teach the truth based on your understanding of ‘the blessed hope’, the result is substantial. That substance may be material or spiritual, but it is real in either case. 

Rav Sha’ul speaks of ‘reasonable service’ to the entire kahal (congregation), but to the gentile believers in particular. He asks them to submit to the authority of the elders of the synagogue – their living sacrifice; their reasonable service – so they can learn the truth of Torah. He asks them to use their reason and not react emotionally to the presumably foreign teachers (i.e., Jewish rabbis in Rome). He is not asking them to submit to the traditions of the leadership, but to their Torah instruction. This is seen clearly in v.2, where he says, ‘be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind’. The world includes the traditions of the elders, the ‘oral law’ that placed a fence around Torah so that the Jew could not get close enough to it to break it – or keep it. 

We have traditions in the gentile church, as well, that keep us from the Word, and for the same reason to protect us from transgressing. An example is the biblical prohibition against drunkenness (Eph.5.18), as drunkenness is a counterfeit Spirit-filling. It doesn’t say to not drink alcoholic wine, but to not be drunk with it. In many fundamentalist churches this is taken to mean more than the scripture says – they ADD to the Word of Y’hovah and say to drink anything alcoholic is a sin. I have yet to see such a commandment, except among certain ‘fundamentalists’ who add that one. People go so far as to break fellowship over this fence placed between the believer and the Word of Y’hovah. This is a form of idolatry, making the fence our rule instead of the revealed Word of Elohim. 

We are to be in control of our spirits (1Cor.14.32), hence the prohibition on drunkenness AND the admonition to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This takes our reason and not our emotion – reasonable service. Q&C

V.2 – “ We’ve lightly touched on this already. The admonition is ‘be not conformed to this world’. We are to be IN the world, not OF the world (1Cor.5.10). We are to be set apart by our faith and faithfulness to the Word we believe. In this we will be different and it will hopefully be seen in our everyday walk. We should be people of integrity, our word should be our bond (Jms.5.12). There ARE people who are not of faith who have impeccable integrity, but they are VERY few and far between. But we, the people of Y’hovah as a whole, should be characterized by our integrity. If we have no integrity when it comes to things that CAN be seen, how can we be trusted to be truthful about the things that can’t be seen? This is James’ argument about faith restated – “ show me your faith without works; I’ll show you my faith BY my works (Yacov 2.18). Who is the world more likely to believe? The man of impeccable integrity is whom they will believe. Why does almost noone trust the US government anymore? It lacks integrity. Why does almost noone trust the church anymore? Why the lack of integrity? Because of lack of faith and hope in Y’hovah to deliver what he’s promised. Why does the world not hope in Y’hovah? Because it knows it can’t be trusted, and we tend to project onto others what we believe about ourselves. When we fail to trust Y’hovah, it’s because we know our own lack of integrity and project that onto him.

What do we do about it in our own lives? How do we build up our personal integrity? By being transformed through renewing our minds. Our minds are renewed when we internalize the truth of Eloha’s Word, when we study it and apply it to ourselves and then ACT on it. As we see that HE is faithful to his Word, we begin to trust that he will perform it in us and for us in the future and to act according to his faithfulness in us. As we see him actually do what he’s promised in and through us, our faith in him is built up and we study his Word and apply it to ourselves all the more. Thus, we grow in our desire to be what he would have us be, as he has revealed it to us by his Word. And Y’hovah will ALWAYS give us the desire of our hearts, whether for good or ill. As we WANT to be more like Yeshua, he fulfills that desire in us. Thereby are we ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (8.29), by the renewing of our minds.  Q&C

What is the purpose of this transformation in us? To ‘prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim’ in us. To ‘prove’ is to show that something is true. ‘Prove’ is from grk., dokimazo, to test. This is the same word translated ‘try’ in 1Jn.4.1, “Try the spirits, whether they be of Eloha.” So how do we prove the will of Elohim? By walking in his Word. If we obey his Word, he promises us certain blessings. By certain, I do not mean only specific, but absolutely sure and certain, as in ‘certain, unalienable rights’. Y’hovah has promised, not some hunk of wood made to look like a phallic symbol (church steeple?) or a lump of gold shaped by my own hands to look like a calf. Y’hovah Yeshua, who created the universe with a Word from his mouth has promised and he shall deliver. Try him, if you don’t believe me. Mal.3.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it .

That blessing may or may not be in kind. He may bless you with something or in some area completely unrelated to the specific area in which you are faithful, but it will certainly come. But when you try him and he proves himself true, you WILL be transformed. Your trust will grow. And the more you test his promises, the more he will prove himself true and the more you’ll trust. It won’t be long before you see his blessings to you everywhere and in everything – even the bad stuff haSatan sends to try to get you to doubt Y’hovah, because you’ll know that Rom.8.28 is true. What haSatan means for your ill Y’hovah uses for your good.  And you are made to be MORE like his Son, which IS his good and acceptable and prefect will for you and me. 

So, what will a ‘renewed mind’ look like? The question is not rhetorical. I’d like at least one answer. It’s going to look like Yeshua’s mind in Phil.2.1-8

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Mashiyach, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Ruach, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Mashiyach Yeshua: 6 Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the tree.

V.1 has four ‘any’ attributes and v.2 has four admonitions that can be seen in relation to each other. Those verses are an entire sermon unto themselves, so I’ll let it go at that, but here is the mind of Mashiyach. He thought and thinks nothing of himself. Everything he does is for OUR good who love him and are the called according to his purpose. In the ultimate scheme of things, who is not fulfilling Y’hovah Yeshua’s purpose in his life? That is really not rhetorical either. In one way or another, either by walking in his perfect will for us or by walking in our own ways, we do fulfill his purpose. We can thwart his perfect will in our own lives, but we cannot thwart his PLAN, or purpose. What is Y’hovah’s perfect will for us? It’s for our minds to be like Yeshua’s mind. Ps.40.7-8 shows us Mashiyach’s mind;

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the scroll written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O Elohai: yea, thy Torah within my heart.

Didn’t David write that a year or 2 (or 400) before Jeremiah prophesied the ‘New’ Covenant’? If there was no ‘New’ Covenant yet, how could the Torah be written on anyone’ heart? May I say that the ‘New’ Covenant is no different from the ‘Old’? The ‘new’ covenant has to do with a renewed heart in the believer. The commandments were written on tables of stone at Sinai, but in the ‘New’ Covenant they are written on fleshy tables of our hearts (2Cor.3.3). The tables/hearts of stone correspond to the carnal man’s uncircumcised heart. Y’hovah has always commanded us to have our hearts circumcised (Deut.10.16, 30.6). THAT is what Yeshua modeled for us in his walk – a circumcised heart. Do we succeed in walking as Yeshua walked at all times? Not likely. But it should become more and more evident in our walks over time.  Q&C

V.3 – The words, ‘of himself’, are supplied by the translators. Don’t think on things or try to do things that you aren’t prepared for. This may lead you to things that will hurt your walk, and to think you can handle the pressure and spiritual attacks that will come at you when you reach a position for which you are not prepared. New converts to Mashiyach should NEVER be placed in any kind of authority in a kahal (congregation). Our American devotion to ‘Hollywood’, fame, fortune and hero-worship has caused no end of trouble in the lives of famous people who have converted to Mashiyach. Bob Dylan is probably the most famous American I can recall who has had a conversion to Mashiyach Yeshua. He was immediately a guest on every ‘Xian’ TV/radio show, and any other media outlet that could contact him. As if the guy didn’t get enough adulation from his screaming fans, NOW he’s got Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker and the whole TBN crowd fawning on him when he should have been studying in quiet and growing in the nurture and admonition of Y’hovah. 

Rav Sha’ul did it right, I think, and was an example that we should emulate. When he was converted on the Damascus road, he didn’t get put on the Nazirite lecture circuit. He didn’t immediately go on a concert tour to promote his new album of ‘Jesus-freak’ music. In Israel, there may not have been a more famous anti-missionary than Paul. He was the top student of the top rabbi in the land. He was the most successful anti-missionary hit-man there was – a Pharisaic ‘James Bond’, as it were. (“Sha’ul. Sha’ul of Tarsus, Agent 001. Licensed to oppress.â€) The Notzrei were scared to death of him and for good reason; he had open arrest warrants from the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that Ananias tried the Spirit (1Jn.4.1) that gave him the command to go meet him and lay hands on him for healing. Paul gives us the timeline in Gal.1.13ff,

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Iuaidoi religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the kahal of Elohim, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Iuaidoi religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased Elohim, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

He went to Arabia for basic training from Ruach haKodesh before he went to the synagogue in Damascus to study Torah and show the rabbis Mashiyach in the scriptures, which would have gotten him killed had he not written the book on persecution of the kahal. Imagine the personal Yeshiva with the Ruach of Mashiyach in Arabia! On Sinai, perhaps [Gal.4.25]?

Have you ever wondered why Sha’ul was so successful at arresting Notzrei? If one were a Jewish follower of Yeshua (and there were absolutely NO gentile believers at the time), where would he be on Shabbat? In the synagogue hearing Torah read and discussed. Unless they were very wealthy, they had no Torah scrolls among themselves. So all Sha’ul had to do was go to the synagogues and round up the ‘Jesus-freaks’, who were all Torah observant. They would obey Y’hovah’s Word even at risk of life and liberty. THAT is faith, my friends – to go despite one’s fear to where there was a virtual certainty of arrest and possibly death (Stephen had been stoned already). But, if you wanted to obey Y’hovah, that was what you needed to do. Would we go to shul under those conditions? 

I would hope so, but in America there has never been a need for worry – YET! That may change soon and suddenly. One morning, you’ll have religious liberty, the next – gone! I see the political landscape of March 2018, and I see our ability to practice our faith about to be squeezed out of existence. In fact, our liberty to even HAVE our faith privately to ourselves, much less in public, is about to be taken from us. ‘Hate-speech’, AKA preaching and teaching the Word of Y’hovah, is about to become a crime. What we think and believe is about to be policed by ‘authorities’ that have no Constitutional authority to police what we think and say (1st Amendment). ‘Thought-Police’ will soon be at our doors, arresting us for ‘thought-crimes’. Hello, George Orwell. Pleasure to make your acquaintance – NOT!

We need to think soberly, i.e., coolly and rationally, about our place in the kahal. Are we ready to teach? Are we ready to serve in another capacity? Maybe it’d be best if we were taught, growing in the nurture and admonition of Yah for a while, & then serve. Q&C

V.4 – A part of thinking soberly is to look around and see who is best suited to which position in the assembly. Hopefully we do this with our children and we build around their natural talents and abilities. Why would we think it should be different in our kahal? There are varying gifts given in varying degrees in various people. Part of the nurturing process is to determine who is suited for what and to build up that area of his walk, ‘train up a child’ and all that. Remember that Paul is still addressing the gentile believers and their relationship with the rabbis and their (the rabbis) leadership of the synagogue. Spiritual gifts are about to be discussed in that light. Passages about spiritual gifts can be found in 1Cor.12 and Eph.4, but Eph.4.11ff is the better parallel to Rom.12.4ff as it deals more with positions within the kahal than the manifestations of the Spirit. Both the gifts of ministry and the ‘sign’ gifts are important, for they each have the same purpose.

What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d like an answer. (Wait for it) The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is the edifying of the body. Each gift is needed to build the kahal into the image of Mashiyach, and by that I mean not just the local assembly, but the entire organic body of Mashiyach in the world. Each person is given each of the gifts of the Spirit in varying degrees. Some prophecy, some help, some are hospitable, some speak in tongues, etc. Each is also given the gift that is most suited to him in the measure it is needed in his congregation. Some are pastors, some are apostles (sent out ones’ missionaries to others in need of the gospel or instruction in right living, like Sha’ul), some are teachers. All are for the ‘perfecting of the saints’, ministering to the needs of other kehalim (assemblies) and individuals, and building up the faith of the brethren and their families until when? 

Eph.4.13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Eloha, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Mashiyach:

Given the state of the ‘church’ today, how long do you think this will take? It need not take that long, if we’ll accept other believers’ giftings and both teach them what they need and learn from them what we need to be made more perfect in the faith and in faith-fulness. To do this takes humility to listen to what people have to say and glean the truth from within the error they hold to. NONE of us has it all correct. Not even this author (though I hate to admit it). We need to actively listen, not just to shoot down errant teachings (that’s the easy part), but to find truth that we may not yet have understood. Sometimes, that truth may go 1800 from what we’ve been taught. Are we ready to do an about face on our preconceptions and the attitudes we’ve learned to accept the truth from someone we considered an heretic, if it proves true? Am I saying that even Benny Hinn might have something to teach me? As much as I would hate to say it, he could have a salient understanding hidden somewhere among all that tripe that I would never have come upon myself. This takes an open mind to the truth, from whatever source it may come. For this reason, I am loathe to dismiss anyone’s ideas until he proves to be a total reprobate. I DO need to be careful to check words against THE Word, but I also need to be open to the truth of Y’hovah. I mean, I’ll even hear what Ken or Patti or Tzfat have to say.

V.5-8Every one members one of another. We are interconnected. What happens to any one of us affects every other one of us and all of us. You may be the right hand and I the left buttock, but if something happens to me it will affect you, and our entire body. It is hard for a body to live without an essential part (like a left buttock), for as lowly as the part may be, when it is missing or not working to its accustomed efficiency, the whole body has to find a way to compensate, and becomes less effective. For that reason, we need to be watchmen for each other, warning each other of potential threats to the health and unity of the body.

Your gifts and my gifts will be different. Each gift is needed in each body. I believe that we are all gifted in every type of spiritual gift, but not all in the same measure in each gift. My strongest gift may be one thing and yours may be another, but we each are gifted in both areas. If my strongest gift is prophecy and yours is administration, that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn or receive a prophecy from you or that I can’t have a valuable suggestion to help you administer the body. We need to listen to each other about everything. This is why I don’t mind so-called ‘rabbit trails’ in our study time, because it is often the rabbit trail that Y’hovah uses to bring the greatest spiritual insight and is what everyone needed to hear and discuss.

The gifts mentioned here are pretty much self-explanatory. But ‘giving, with simplicity’ may need some interpretation. Simplicity is from the grk Strong’ #

572 haplotes hap-lot’-ace from 573; singleness, i.e. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal):–bountifulness, liberal(-ity), simplicity, singleness. see GREEK for 573

Simple giving seems to mean singleness of mind, to be of service without thought of return. This is the way that Elohim gives us grace and faith, and salvation thereby. Our mind needs to be like Yeshua’s, which is like Avinu’s.

Matt.6.24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve Eloha and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if Eloha so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of Eloha, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. [Mat.6.24-34]

That is the simplicity with which we need to give – and live. Q&C

V.9-13 – Here begins a section of practical instructions on what walking with a renewed mind will look like.

Love without dissimulation. Dissimulation = hypocrisy. The grk word is anupokritos; an = negation, hupo = underlying (hypo), krinos = critique or judgment. Y’hovah’s love is without underlying criticism, it is without reservation. That is our model for loving, especially the members of our body.

Abhor evil, cleave to good. To abhor is to hate vigorously, from the grk. apostugneto. Apo = the highest degree (apogee = furthest point of a body’s orbit), stugnetos = odious, hateful. Cleave is a funny word, because depending on its context it can mean exactly the opposite of itself. Cleave = hold tight; or cut away. Here it means the former. Grk. Kollao = to glue things together. I wonder if there is an etymological relation to kalle, to call.

Kindly affectioned, with brotherly love. Philostorgos and philadelpia are based in phileo, which is human affection or friendship. Remember Peter in Jn.21? Peter, do you agape me? I phileo you. Storge = familial affection; sibling to sibling, parent to child. So, philostorgos = actually liking your family – no small feat for many. Adelphos = from the womb, i.e.; brother. Philadelphia, then, means actually liking a brother – also, no small feat for many. IOW, we ought to interact as a loving family interacts. My family may be weird, but when we get together, we argue over the stupidest stuff. We holler and make recriminations, but when it’s all over we still like each other. In Mashiyach we are allowed to disagree, and sometimes vehemently disagree. But that disagreement should not be the source of hatred or bitterness one to another. Each has different experiences that shape his view of the world and of scripture. We ought to listen and calmly consider what the other is saying in light of truth before we dismiss it or them. 

In honor preferring one another. Time = a value or money paid. We are to value each other in Mashiyach above ourselves, as Mashiyach values each of us above himself. The word translated ‘preferring’ is Grk. 4285 proegeomai, to lead the way for others; in military parlance, to take the point. What does a ‘point man’ do for his platoon? He blazes a trail, he watches out for the enemy and warns the rest of the group of potential threats to their security, he subordinates his own well being to that of the others. 

Not slothful in business. Slothful is from Grk. 3636 okneros, which means tardy or indolent (lazy). Business does not mean necessarily that by which we earn a living. It is from Grk. 4710, spoude, (speedy?) eagerness, dispatch, earnestness. IOW, when Y’hovah moves on our hearts, we need to MOVE. This puts me in mind of the Olivet Discourse:

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

We need to be ready at all times to take off in obedience to Y’hovah’s commands, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally. We need to be ready to do as we are told when we are told. We try to train our children to do this, and it is for their protection. Same with Y’hovah and us.

Fervent in Spirit. Zeo = hot, boiling liquid or glowing solid. I think the word may be related etymologically to zoe, life. Can you see how the two are related? If this were Hebrew instead of Greek, I’d say they ARE related by virtue of being built from the same letters. This may be a Hebrew word play that translates into greek. Something boiling surely looks to the casual observer to be full of life, like a fish on a hook. Maybe.

Serving Y’hovah. Our service to Y’hovah Yeshua should be characterized by all above (and below). Q&C

Vv.12-13 – Still looking at what our walk should look like. Rejoicing in hope. Biblically, hope is an earnest expectation of Y’hovah’s fulfilling his promises. Rejoicing is from Grk.5463, chairo which is the root for charis – good cheer, cheerful. 

Patient in tribulation. Patient = to stand under, from hupomeno. Meno is to stay in a given place or circumstance. Hupo, as we’ve seen before = under or behind. When we are tried, we need to endure and be steadfast. If we are rejoicing in hope, if we are living our lives based on what Y’hovah has promised us and not on what we see coming at us, we will be better able to stand what comes at us, and be witnesses to the grace of Y’hovah even in tribulation. Which will prove our faith, both to ourselves and to those who are watching, and will REALLY tick off those who are tribulating us. 

Continuing instant in prayer. Proskartereo is translated ‘Continuing instant’. Pros is the prefix of forward direction, or leading. Kartereo means to be strong or to endure. This phrase means we ought to lead immediately with prayer and to endure in it. We should be characterized by praying first, then waiting for direction and then doing what we are directed to do. The first thing we should be doing is praying, and continue in prayer until we get an answer. This may take no time at all, or it may take years. 

How urgently do we pray? When we see a situation arising, do we do what seems right to us, or do we take time to ask for Y’hovah’s direction? Prayer should be our first resort. Too often it is my last resort (even once is too often). I am preaching to myself, but if you want to take ownership of it yourself, feel free. I don’t mind. And I seriously doubt that Y’hovah will mind. In fact, I’m pretty certain he’ll be pleased. I think the more we lead with prayer and then wait for direction, the more immediate will be the response, because we will have more practice getting out of Yeshua’s way and following his lead. 

Vv.14 – Bless them which persecute you, bless and curse not. If ever there is a spiritual gift, this is it. THIS is not a normal human response to persecution. If you are being persecuted and bless the persecutor, how blessed will you be? This commandment from Paul points to the situation in the local synagogue in Rome, where the non-believing Jews were not very happy about the new gentile believers who were ‘infiltrating’ their kahal without going through the traditional conversion process as proselytes. Notice that just being able to not curse your persecutor is a blessing. Eulogeo literally translates as ‘speak well of’. David spoke well of Sha’ul, would not allow his men to speak badly of him because Sha’ul, as king, was Y’hovah’s anointed – mashiyach. 1Sam24

1 And it came to pass, when Sha’ul was returned from following the Plishtim, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David in the wilderness of EnGedi. 2 Then Sha’ul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Sha’ul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which Y’hovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Sha’ul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Sha’ul’s skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Y’hovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, Y’hovah’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is hamashiyach of Y’hovah. [1Sa 24.1-6]

In this passage there are a couple of things that are interesting. One is that mashiyach doesn’t mean ‘Saviour’ – as in Yeshua. Mashiyach is anyone who is anointed. In Israel, the king and the priest were anointed to their offices. This anointing was done by pouring anointing oil on the new priest or king, the outpouring of the oil symbolizing the outpouring of Y’hovah’s Ruach on them. There is no evidence in the gospels that Yeshua was ever physically anointed as either king or priest in his days on earth. In fact, only Mary is said to have anointed him at all (Jn.11.2). One who is anointed by Ruach is able to bless his persecutors.

The other interesting thing in 1Sam.24 is that ‘skirt’ is from Heb. 3671, kanaph. This is the exact word used in Mal.4.2,

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

The word translated as ‘wings’ here is kanaph. Kanaph כנף, means ‘to cover, to conceal from view’. Yeshua had healing in his kanaph, his covering, proven by the woman with the 12 year issue, who was immediately healed by touching the hem (kanaph), or wing, of his garment (Mat.9.20). I think this was the tzitzioth, fringe, of his tallith, prayer shawl. I think of the mother hen kanaphing her chicks under her wings.

The King is also the healer of the breach between Yehudah and Israel. That healing is in his kanaph as well as in the ointment that is poured out on him. Both symbolize the Ruach HaKodesh. Q&C

V.15-17 – It is a lot easier for me to rejoice with them who rejoice than it is to weep with them who weep. It’s an American ‘guy’ thing, I think. We haven’t had to experience a lot of hardship in America. Even those whom we consider ‘poor’ are rich by the standards of most of the world’s people. Our ‘poverty stricken’ mostly have roofs over their heads, food on their tables (not to mention the tables the food is on) and at least 1 car. So rejoicing is pretty easy in America, because we are spoiled. So we don’t really know how to react to mourning and weeping and many of us just avoid it. When Jacob’s trouble comes, we will be unable to handle it as a people. Americans will panic and seek help from the quickest mollifying source available, which will naturally be the worst source – government. We don’t know how to mourn with them who mourn, weep with them who weep. We will learn. Do you think this may be why Israel has suffered so much over the years – to learn empathy and sympathy? Do you think we’ll learn quicker than they have?

V.16Be of the same mind – This phrase kind of restates the last verse in more general terms. It means to put yourself in their situation mentally. Think of what YOU would need if you were going through what others are going through and help them through it. 

Mind not high things – in context, this means to meet a need at the level it is on. If the need is physical or emotional, do what you can to meet it. People who have a material need don’t want you to say you’ll be praying for them ‘ more often than not, that’s a Xian cop-out. They’ll believe you a lot more when you say you’ll pray for them if you actually meet the material or emotional need first. Sincere prayer is ultimately more important, but how sincere will your prayer be if you are unwilling to meet the material need? Out of sight, out of mind is a very true saying. ‘I’ll be praying for you, brother’ has a very hollow ring to me when most Xians say it. What did James say? “Show me your faith without works. I will show you my faith BY my works.†(Jms.2.18) It is not lost on folks in need. And if you are going to promise to pray, why not just do so right then? And meet their other needs on the spot, as well.

‘High things’ is from grk. 5308, hupselos, which is ‘lofty’ in place or character. We have a tendency to make ourselves out to be more than we really are. It’s a pride thing. We all to one extent or another build ourselves up in our own minds and then project that image of ourselves. This can be good or bad. I do it [hold up my ideal for myself], and then I try to live up to it. Sometimes I actually succeed and, when I do, those around me benefit. That’s good. When I don’t, they see I am just human and I can’t even hit MY target, much less Y’hovah’s. That can be bad, depending on the one watching. When we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we consequently think of others LESS highly than we ought, and we portray an attitude of condescension. 

But when it comes to dealing with others and their needs, we need to condescend to men of low estate. Sunapago = sun, with + apo, off or away + ago, lead or drive. So ‘condescend’ means to lead people or go off with people who are in life’s low points – to get down with them, not to be looking down from above. We are to condescend without being condescending. This is exactly what Y’hovah did in the person of Yeshua – he got down with us. Yeshua had the mind that we should have (Phil.2.5). We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to be like him, getting down to ‘brass tacks’, as it were. When we are led by the Spirit of Mashiyach, we will do it.

Be not wise in your own conceits – This is the 2nd time Sha’ul used this phrase (11.25). The phrase ‘own conceits’ is from the Grk 1438, heautou, which is the root word for himself (herself, etc.), in the context it would translate ‘yourselves’. The idea is that we ought not think ourselves wise by using ourselves as the basis for comparison. Wisdom is not self-approved or subjective. True wisdom is in the Word of Y’hovah, using it as our basis for comparison because we have no other truly objective truth to base it on. We need to judge ourselves by the Word, trying to be as ‘objective’ as possible. When we can be honest with ourselves about our knowledge and understanding of the Word of Y’hovah, THEN we can be truly objective in judgment; i.e., wise. When Paul says (1Cor.11) ‘examine yourselves’, by what does he mean us to do so? By Y’hovah’s Word, of course. 

V.17Recompence to no man evil for evilApodidomi means give away or give off. Evil in both uses is the grk. kakos, from which we get the English word cacophony “bad sound”. Kakos is literally worthless. We are not to give back in kind, for that draws noone to Yeshua. 

Provide things honest in the sight of all menPronoeo means to exercise the mind before. Kalos means virtuous or valuable. Putting the 2 sentences together, we get ‘Don’t react to your enemy’s evil treatment, but consider that he will treat you that way and plan how you will respond to his evil treatment in such a way as to show forth Y’hovah’s love. 

But sanctify Y’hovah Eloha in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (I Peter 3:15)

That’s how to be a witness to the virtue of the gospel of peace (besorah hashalom). Q&C

Vv.18-21If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Why is this phrased this way? If it is possible? Why would it not be possible to live peaceably with all men? Probably because sometimes we allow people to just tick us off. I think the key phrase in this verse is the qualifying “as much as lieth in you” [grk to ex humown] that which comes out of you. Ex has a root meaning of ‘out of’, not in. I think this means we are allowed to be inwardly peeved but we need to try to control our outward expression of that anger. In other words, when people in the congregation do or say things that make us angry, we need to try to let it roll off our backs like water from a duck. How often are we able to do that? And how are we able? Not often enough and only through the power of Ruach HaKodesh. If it were left strictly up to me, I’d verbally level the guy, and I do that often enough. But the Spirit of Y’hovah would have us let inadvertent or unintentional slights go, and to temper our anger at even the advertent and intentional slights from those who are less mature in Yeshua, or who do not know him at all.

The point of v.18 is expounded in v.19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance mine; I will repay, saith Y’hovah. The Hebrew word underlying the phrase ‘dearly beloved’ is dodi. That was just a gift for you, dodi. Paul commands us to not avenge ourselves, but to ‘give place to wrath’. ‘But’ is from alla, which means ‘exactly the opposite’. We are to give our wrath (grk. orge – guess what English word we get from orge) to Y’hovah and let him deal with our light work. He is so much better at the whole wrath thing, anyway. Our wrath is usually meant to harm the object thereof, while his is meant to reconcile the ‘perp’ to himself. If we are acting out of love for the brethren, we ought not lash out at every slight we perceive, but we ought to place our wrath with Ruach and let him bring ‘constructive retribution’.

Our attitude should be to serve, even when those we serve take advantage or use our service to harm us. When we serve those who would harm us, their condemnation is made that much more severe, because it is a witness to them of the agape of Y’hovah. Keep this in mind when we get to Ch.13, where the gentile brethren whom Paul addresses here are exhorted to ‘be subject to the higher powers’ in the synagogue.

Can we be ‘overcome with evil’? I’ve shared how ‘cold’ doesn’t actually exist, haven’t I? I think in the same way, evil doesn’t really exist. As cold and darkness are the absence of energy, so evil is the absence of good or righteousness. Is.45.7 illustrates this idea;

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Y’hovah do all these.

Taken just as it is written, darkness was created with the formation of light and evil was created with the making of peace. What Y’hovah did was to ‘form’ light, to give it shape. The Hebrew word is yaszar, to set limits, to shape. To mold something it must have already been there. So when Y’hovah created light, the light just was, and it must have been everywhere. But when he yatsar’d it, he localized it. May I submit to you that Y’hovah is light, and in him is no darkness (or absence of light – 1Jn.1.5). Now Elohim may be light, but that doesn’t mean that light is Y’hovah. This sounds dangerously close to pantheism, does it not? The step from scriptural truth to paganism is very short, logically speaking. I mean it is a very short logical step to go from Elohim is light to the logical parallel that light is therefore Elohim. But the one side of the equation is true – Y’hovah is light. The other side is false – light is not Y’hovah. The difference is that light has no life in itself. It helps to sustain life, indeed is essential for life, but it has no life of its own. 

Light is a property of energy, as is heat. Energy is that which animates life, but energy has no life of its own. Both energy and light are given their properties by Elohim. He is the one who provides the energy that manifests to us as heat, light and life. So his Ruach is the source of all life. 

It can be said that energy, being the first ordered creation of Elohim, is the building block of all creation. And this can be proven by nuclear physics. When the weak nuclear force is removed (that which holds the atom’s nucleus together) the result is fission, the complete dissolution of everything affected at least to the sub-atomic level. When Yeshua removes his power from the creation it will dissolve, for Yeshua is both the Creator and sustainer of all things;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his (Yeshua’s) glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible Eloha, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [Col.1.11-17]

The word translated darkness here is skotos, and means obscurity. That is EXACTLY what the Hebrew word choshek (Gen.1.3) means. Nothing had form before Elohim gave it form. When Moshe and Sha’ul talk of darkness, they speak primarily about spiritual things, i.e.; lack of spiritual light. It is the same with evil. They speak primarily of lack of spiritual life and peace. And we overcome evil with peace, in context. 

Everything Paul exhorts us to in this chapter are the outworking of love from us. This is what love looks like. Q&C

End of Midrash notes.