June 9, 2018 Shabbat Bible Study
©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 13
Numbers 22:2 – 23:1 – Micah 5:1-15 – Psalm 111 – 2 Peter 2:1-22
Numbers 22:2-23:1– Balak’s name is H1111, waster, is from the root H1110, to destroy, (make) uninhabitable. His father’s name is Tzippor, which is the masculine form of Tzipporah H6833 (root), as in Moshe’s Midianite wife, and it means the same thing – a little bird, as hopping. This is from my notes for the Midrash of 2/18/17:
When Moshe got to Midian, he sat down near a well. Now, if he was thirsty from the long trek across the Sinai Peninsula desert, why did he sit down? Why wasn’t he getting a drink of water? Too used to service in the court of Paroh? Waiting for the shepherds to come so he could get help removing the stone that covered the well’s mouth? Maybe he was just tired. Reuel’s name means ‘friend of Elohim’, and he was the priest of Midian. When Reuel’s daughters came to water their flock of sheep, the other shepherds tried to drive them away. Maybe the shepherds were members of a rival religious gang, like the Sun Devils, or maybe they worked for one of AbiMelech’s descendants, the Canaanite king whose men stole wells from Yitzhak. When they tried to chase away the babes, Moshe, ever the chivalrous one, came to the ladies’ aid and drove off the shepherds and then watered their animals. Can you imagine the shepherds moving to chase off these young girls being confronted, as if out of nowhere, by Charleton Heston (that voice and all) in the prime of life and dressed in Egyptian military uniform and perhaps carrying the weaponry of an officer in Egypt’s army? A wrestling match or fisticuffs with a girl is one thing, but a knock-down, drag-out with a well-trained soldier who is equipped with – and knows how to use – the day’s equivalent of an M-16, Claymore’s and hand-grenades, is quite another. Of course, the girls were all atwitter about the handsome, Charleton Heston type Egyptian who rescued them and then served them. And when Reuel heard their story, he was amazed that they didn’t invite Chuck home for dinner. I can imagine him saying, “I raised you better than that! What happened to your manners?”
It doesn’t say so, but I assume he sent them out to find Moshe and bring him home so Reuel could thank him properly. Reuel must have offered him lodging, and Moshe accepted. Eventually, Reuel gave Moshe his daughter Tziporah as his wife. Talk about a proper thank you! According to Strong’s, the 3-letter root of Tziporah’s name means ‘twitter’, like a bird. I swear to you, I looked this up AFTER I said the girls were ‘all atwitter’, I really did. Was Tziporah the eldest of Reuel’s 7 daughters? Probably though we aren’t told. Tziporah bore Gershom to Moshe in Midian. Moshe called him that because he was a stranger in a strange land. Gershom’s name literally means, ‘stranger (ger) there (sham)’ as opposed to ‘here’ (halom). I think it signifies that Moshe knew he was in exile from Israel’s place of exile, that he knew he was an exile in Egypt, and now he was an exile even from there.
Birds are considered to represent haSatan or his shadim at times. In Yeshua’s parable of the sower, the birds came and ate the seed.
And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: … 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth not, then cometh the wicked, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. (Matt.13.3, 19)
I think this may be a hint at the deeper meaning of Balak, ben Tzippor, the annihilator, the son of the Wicked. Balak knew that his kingdom’s number was up and that Y’hovah was going to use Israel to wipe him out, like he had Sihon of Ammon and Og of Bashan. So he called on Bila’am, the local prophet for hire. Stone’s Chumash has an interesting Prefatory note to this Sidrah, pg.856, 57.
I can understand why Moav would fear Israel after what they did by Y’hovah’s hand against Ammon and Bashan, but Israel had deliberately by-passed Moav, not even setting foot on her territory. If my postulation last week is right, they had taken all of Ammon, including what Ammon had taken from Moav, the land lying between brook Arnon and Mt. Pisgah. Now, Israel was already encamped north of Moav across Yarden from Yericho. Israel was not threatening Moav at all. But Balak was THAT frightened of what Israel would do in future, that he sent to hire Bila’am to curse Israel.
Bila’am was in Pethor, a city by ‘the River’, which I infer to mean Euphrates, as that is THE major river of the entire region and was called ‘the River’ in the Levant as the Nile was in Egypt. The Midrash and the Zohar, according to the note on v.5 in the Chumash, say that Bila’am was a descendant of Lavan the Syrian, Ya’acov’s father-in-law. The elders of both Moav and Midian went to Bila’am. Now, Midian had Yithro, who I think had been a prophet-for-hire, but now was a prophet of Y’hovah, so why not go to him? BeCAUSE he was a prophet of Y’hovah, they knew that Y’hovah had brought Israel out of Egypt and that Moshe was married to Yithro’s daughter so that he would not curse Israel. So they went to the NEXT most influential prophet.
The elders of Moav and Midian arrived at Bila’am’s door with the standard charge for a curse from a prophet and asked him to come and curse Israel. So Bila’am lodged them in his domicile and told them that he would enquire of Y’hovah as to what he should do. But before he could work up a good offering ELOHIM spoke to him. Now, he went to enquire of Y’hovah, but encountered Elohim. If you look at the Tree of Sefiroth, www.tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm, you will see that Y’hovah is the right hand, manifesting the goodness/mercy of the Almighty, while Elohim is the left hand, manifesting the severity/righteous judgment of the Almighty.
Elohim asked who these guys were, and Bila’am answered truthfully. So Eloha told him he could not go, and he could not curse Israel for he had blessed them. So Bila’am got up next AM and told the embassage what Y’hovah had said. Do you see that Bila’am was in the dark as to which manifestation of the Almighty he had been talking? So the elders went back to Balak with their report, and Balak sent more important, and I assume more powerful military men with their hosts, princes to persuade him with a LOT more money and an offer of a LOT more power. Q&C
So Balak sent more important, and more powerful military men with their hosts, princes to persuade him with a LOT more money and an offer of a LOT more power. Bila’am made a great show of piousness with the princes, “I cannot go beyond what Y’hovah Elohai tells me.” But Y’hovah Elohai had already told him. Did he think Y’hovah was going to change his mind, just because Bila’am stood to gain a LOT more riches, power and prestige? He told the princes to hang loose while he went to enquire of Y’hovah. ELOHA told Bila’am that “if the men come to call you, go with them…” What Bila’am heard was, “Go with them”, because he had kesef (silver money) on his brain. He got up the following AM before the princes and had his ass saddled before they even rolled out.
*** Lot’s of Mark paraphrases coming.*** Eloha was TICKED that Bila’am went with them against his explicit instructions. So, who met Bila’am along the way, but Y’hovah Tzavaoth? And Bila’am didn’t even perceive his presence – already counting the booty. The ass saw haMalach Y’hovah – THE Angel of Y’hovah, sword drawn for battle, and the ass turned aside (that was one smart ass!), maybe to give Y’hovah a cleaner swipe. Bila’am, completely oblivious to his peril, struck the ass and got her back on the way, this time through a vineyard. The path must have been quite narrow, because when Malach Y’hovah stood in the way, the ass, who was smarter than the average prophet, turned aside again and brushed into the wall, smashing Bila’am’s foot against the wall, for which Bila’am struck her again. Next, Y’hovah put himself in the way where the ass had nowhere to turn at all, so the smart ass just dropped onto her belly, the easier for Y’hovah to take off Bila’am’s head and leave the ass’ intact. A VERY smart ass!
Bila’am got so ticked this time that he started beating the ass with his staff. So now, to show Bila’am what a dumb-ass he was, Y’hovah opened the ass’ mouth and she spoke to Bila’am, “Why have you struck me these 3 times?” And Bila’am answered his ASS (think about this, I can’t make this stuff up), “Because you’ve mocked me! If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you where you lay!” Now, had I been the smart ass here, I’d have indicated the Malach Y’hovah with my nose and said, “Why don’t you borrow HIS?” But this particular ass must have actually LIKED Bila’am, because she said, “You have been riding me since the day you acquired me. Have you EVER known me to act this way?” It was with the 2nd speech of the ass that Bila’am’s lights started coming on. He thought for a few seconds and answered (ANSWERED?!) his ass, “Er, … Uh, … No.?”
THAT was when Y’hovah opened Bila’am’s eyes and he saw Malach Y’hovah standing over him, sword drawn and ready to let him have it. Bila’am finally got the picture and made like the ass, falling on his face. Before he let fly with the killing stroke, Y’hovah said, “Why did you strike the ass these 3 times? That dumb (speechless!) animal saved your beef bacon, boy! You disobeyed me and I came out here to let you have it. Had she NOT turned aside, your eggs would be scrambled and you would be toast by now!” (Hey! It was breakfast time!)
So Bila’am finally got wise and confessed his sin before Y’hovah, who told him, “I’ll let this slide and you may continue with them, BUT if you open your mouth to curse MY PEOPLE, you will not live to regret it. When it comes to Israel, you will say ONLY what I tell you to say, Got it?!” Bila’am got it, alright.
Balak, heard that Bila’am was come and went out to meet him, to try to intimidate him, I think, with his importance. I don’t think that, having just had an encounter with a VERY ticked Almighty, Bila’am was real impressed. But he was still thinking about the power and the silver money in the back of his mind, as we’ll see next week. Balak said, “Don’t you know how powerful I am and how much silver money I can lay on you?” And Bila’am went back into his pious mode, saying, “I can only say what Elohai tells me to say.” Notice that at home, he was speaking of what Y’hovah would say through him, but now he was going to say what Eloha told him. He had met the wrath of Y’hovah and knew that he would never be in Y’hovah’s service again.
Bila’am went with Balak and came to Kiryath-chutzoth, which means ‘outside the city, separated by a wall from the city’. I think the remez is that it has to do with the City of the King, the New Jerusalem, outside of which Balak is going to find himself. And not just outside the city, but outside of the entire New Creation, having been thrown into the Lake of Fire after the GWT judgment. Balak brings the prophet of Y’hovah up to the high places of Ba’al so that Bila’am could look at the edge of Israel’s encampment, and that Israel’s camp extended beyond the horizon.
Num.23.1 – So Bila’am told Balak to build him 7 altars and prepare 7 sacrifices to Y’hovah on the high place of Ba’al. I don’t think that was a wise move on Bila’am’s part. We’ll see next week. Q&C
Micah 5:1-15 (4.14-5.14 Heb.) – V.1 is the last verse of ch.4 in the Hebrew scriptures, and then goes on into what is now ch.5. Remember that in the scrolls, there were no numbered chapters or verses. That is an invention of the RC church, really, which Yehudah has adopted as an easy way to find the portion they are looking for in their Tanakh’s, though their numbering system is somewhat different. Cf. https://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible. Torah scrolls used in synagogues today do not have these chapter and verse numbers, so they still have to search for the passage they are reading on any given shabbat, and the verse in Luke where Yeshua had to find his haftarah reading in the scroll in Natz’reth (Luke 4),
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of Y’hovah is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of Y’hovah.
It is interesting to me that it was not until the Babylonian captivity that the rabbis developed the annual Torah reading schedule, which was adopted by the Masoretes. Until then, the readings were almost exclusively done over a tri-ennial cycle.
The word xlated as ‘troop’ in v.1 (Heb.4.14) is g’dowd and shares a 2-letter root with the Canaanite deity (and Israelite tribe) Gad. If the daughter of troops is actually referring to the Canaanite Eloha, Gad (and I think it does), it properly belongs in ch.4, where Yehudah is told they will be exiled to Babylon, but that Y’hovah will not forsake them to that land. 4.14 (our 5.1) seems to say that he is going to call the daughter out of her ‘father’s house’ and back to Y’hovah, which we spoke of last week in the brief exposition of Is.27.4-5. Will the nations of the world system smite Mashiyach on the cheek with a rod? Did not the Roman soldiers do this to him during their scourging and mocking on the day of Pesach about 2000 years ago?
And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. (Matthew 27:30)
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. (Mark 15:19)
And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? (Luke 22:64)
Do you think the Assyrian will have his troops do any less when they gather against him to battle outside of J’lem?
18 And the king of Israel said unto Yehoshapat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? 19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of Y’hovah: I saw Y’hovah sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20 And Y’hovah said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before Y’hovah, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And Y’hovah said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, Y’hovah hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and Y’hovah hath spoken evil concerning thee. 24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of Y’hovah from me to speak unto thee? 25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. 26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’ son; 27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. 28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, Y’hovah hath not spoken by me. (1Ki.22.18-28)
I wanted v.24 as an illustration of who was behind the slap in the face AND the rod to Yeshua’s head, but that is one of my favorite passages of scripture because it shows how Y’hovah will make a MAN of you and me when he needs us to be men – even if you are just a guy, like Micaiah was. Ahab wanted ‘yes-men’ around him. Micaiah was no lap dog. I LOVE men like MicaYahu (Who is like Y’hovah) and YirmeYahu and pray that I will have their fortitude when I need it in his service. It’s easy to talk tough when there is no immediate danger to life and limb. It’s another thing when your life may hang in the balance. May we all be filled with Y’hovah’s Ruach when he needs us to stand up like men.
The judge of Israel in v.1 is also the ruler of Israel in v.2, melding the Melech and the Tzadik, the left and the right hands of the Almighty, and Mashiyach ben Yoseph and Mashiyach ben David that all manifest together in our MelchiTzadik High Priest and Redeemer, Yeshua ha Mashiyach. Y’hovah was born into the world in human flesh in BethLechem Ephratha. His ‘goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.’ The Hebrew sages knew that this prophecy spoke of Mashiyach before Yeshua was born,
3 When Herod the king had heard, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Mashiyach should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Matt.2.3-6)
Even Stone’s Tanach mentions Mashiyach in its circumlocution of Yeshua’s obvious fulfillment of this prophecy. Stone’s notes on vv.1 and 2;
Another name for Bethlechem Yehuda [Gen.48.7]. As the city of Ruth, a convert from Moav, BethLechem was an unlikely source of leadership,but it produced David, the anscestor of Mashiyach.
The hardships of exile will become as intense as labor pains, but it will end with the rebirth of the Jewish nation and the return of Mashiyach’s brethren.
They do the most amazing dance steps on the ‘Twister’ floor to get around admitting who he is. None is so blind as he who WILL not see. Q&C
V.3, I think, speaks of the Yehudim we just spoke of, those who will not see that Yeshua is Mashiyach, as Rav Sha’ul says in Rom.11,
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump also: and if the root be holy, so the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if Eloha spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Eloha: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for Eloha is able to graff them in again. (Rom.11.16-23)
This passage (vv.2-3) is a hard interpretation. But if we use the imagery of Ez.37, children of Israel = Yehudah and house of Israel = Ephraim/Yoseph, it becomes a little easier to see that the ‘remnant of his brethren’ in v.3 is speaking of those of Ephraim/Yoseph who believe and are ruled by the ruler of Israel (v.2), being brought back to fellowship with his elder brother Yehudah (v.3, children of Israel), as loosely illustrated in the parable of Prodigal Son.
V.4 – Mashiyach stands and feeds in the strength and majesty of Y’hovah’s Name, and they, the remnant and the children of Israel, shall abide in Mashiyach, who will be great to the ends of the earth. Everyone will know who is their King Mashiyach. This peace (v.5) that exists between Ephraim and Yehudah in Mashiyach will be what the Assyrian will have to deal with when he comes against King Mashiyach and his newly united body at HarMeggido. We will be 7 shepherds’ flocks and 8 princes’ armies + Mashiyach against the combined armies of the world. And Mashiyach will dispatch them without our needing to unsheathe our weapons. Mashiyach Yeshua will ‘deliver (natsach – triumph, end resistance) us out of the Assyrian’s hands’. Shades of Is.27.4-5 AGAIN! V.7 says that we are like dew on the grass of the nations. When there’s a dew, it doesn’t miss much. He will offer his redemption to even the armies arrayed against him, and he SHALL deliver those who will forsake the Assyrian and trust him. Do you see us, the remnant of Ya’acov who live among the Gentiles (v.8)? We will be among the nations, kinda like sleeper agents of a foreign government awaiting our wake up, which will go out from Mashiyach.
All of Mashiyach’s enemies will be cut off as his hand is raised against his adversaries. This is speaking about his REAL adversaries, haSatan and his imps who are driving the human rebellion against Y’hovah, as always, and who are really nothing to Y’hovah but comic relief.
Vv.10-15 are addressed directly to Y’hovah’s adversaries that he is dealing with by the hand of Mashiyach Yeshua. Since immediately preceding the battle of the New World Order’s armies against Mashiyach, all the shadim and haSatan himself will be bound and cast into prison for 1000 years, the spiritual power of the Assyrian will be removed so that he and they will cower before Mashiyach’s might. There will be no shadim to perform wonderful works, like the ones that fooled all of mankind during the previous 3½ years of earth’s history. The world’s sorcerers can try to cast spells in their own power, but there will be no shadim to carry them out. All the images and groves of Satan worship will be thrown down. Maybe THAT’s what we’ll do in this battle, because we won’t have to lift even our voices against the armies of the earth, as Mashiyach will deal with them with the creative power of HIS voice, the 2 edged sword we see in Rev.19,
14 And the armies in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty Eloha. 16 And he hath on vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Master of masters. (Rev.19.14-16)
Tehellim 111 – This is an acrostic psalm. I realize that it only has 10 verses, but it has 22 phrases that begin with successive letters of the Hebrew Alephbeit. You can see this in the Stone’s Tanach, as they precede each verse in English with the Hebrew letter that begins each phrase. Psalm 112 is also an acrostic and also of only 10 verses.
What is the ‘assembly of the upright’ if it is not the congregation of those who trust him in the Moedim and Miqra Kodesh that he has given us? I say this because the last verse of 111 and the first verse of 112 tell us about the upright being those who fear Y’hovah and do his commands; and assembly and congregation both refer to his miqra kodesh – holy convocations, which is what Shabbat and the moedim are designed for. The works of Y’hovah are those things he does to bring our redemption, as we see in our Torah portion every week. Last week we saw the annihilation of both the king of Arad, Sihon and Og. This week we saw Bila’am’s wake-up call at the speech of a ‘dumb’ (one who cannot speak) ass and the greed of one who was even dumber (though he could speak). Y’hovah’s works are great, sought out, honourable and glorious and they are righteous, because he can do nothing that is not righteous. The works of his hands are truth, justice and faithfulness. They are as relevant today as they were when he uttered the words that produced them. His redemption is done in time, but extends to eternity. For this reason we are right to reverence him, to hold him as worthy of our awe and respect just because he is who he is.
Fear of Y’hovah has more to do with the reverence we see in v.9, but anyone who is not afraid in his presence is either wicked in the extreme, or just plain silly. Or both. Q&C
2 Peter 2:1-11 – I’m kind surprised we’re not looking at Jude today, but that’s OK. This chapter speaks to Bila’am and about false prophets every bit as well as Jude does. The whole chapter is about false prophets and how unprofitable they are to Mashiyach’s body. It follows hard on the heels of Kefa’s reminder that he was an eyewitness to the Majesty of Mashiyach manifested in all his glory on the mount of transfiguration and a voice out of the heavens declaring that Yeshua was/is the Son of Elohim. And THEN Kefa said that even his own eyewitness testimony pales in veracity to the “more sure Word of prophecy” that we have in Torah and that that more sure word than his own eyes saw and his own hands touched was given by prophets who were moved by the Ruach haKodesh. But by the time Kefa wrote this epistle, false prophets had crept into the kehalim. And if they had them then, do you suppose we don’t have them now?
Not only were there false prophets, like Bila’am in Israel’s history, there are false prophets in our present and they will abound in our future. They almost seem to be coming out of the woodwork today. The church has been inundated with them, mostly in the Word of Faith and the Prosperity crowds recently. But, as the Hebrew Roots way of thinking has caught on, the false prophets have started popping up here, as well. Beware those who so rebel against all the doctrines of the church that they believe anything that refutes what the church OR JUDAISM teaches, even though it is biblically true. Are you redeemed by the blood of the Lamb? Is Yeshua that Lamb? Is he the Son of Eloha? Is he Y’hovah in the flesh? If you hear any ‘Hebrew Roots’ teacher saying anything contrary to those true doctrines of the church, RUN AWAY as quickly as you would from a church pastor or member who condemns someone for wanting to obey the Word of Y’hovah or follow him so closely that the dust dropping off Yeshua’s shoes lands on the tops of his own shoes.
Damnable heresies come by ‘private interpretation’ (1.20). Private interpretation is using other than scripture to interpret scripture, holding our traditions or experiences above the scripture as our basis for interpretation, or using single verses out of their context as proof texts for the damnable heresies. The reason so many in the Hebroots movement eschew Rav Sha’ul is their rejection of the traditional church’s ‘private interpretation’ of his words, as if that is what Sha’ul meant and as Kefa shows us in 3.16 of this very book.
False prophets present themselves as prophets of Eloha, but are actually sons of perdition, bringing reproach to the Name of Yeshua haMashiyach before his chosen. Don’t look at the number of followers a man has. Numbers is not necessarily fruit unto righteousness. The number of a man’s followers speaks nothing to his personal holiness or his lock on truth. Those who are after the flesh will gravitate to his perniciousness. Look at his fruit.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to Eloha, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Mashiyach; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto Eloha. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Romans 7:4-5)
Look at the lives of his followers. Is there sweet fruit of holiness in their lives? Do they edify the body? Do they provide for their brethren’s needs when they are able? If they are apt to teach, being both well equipped with scriptural truth and able, do they then teach? Or is the Name of Mashiyach Yeshua dragged through the muck and slime due to the lies and damnable heresies the false prophet teaches? Please notice (v.3) that a false prophet will take his followers in with ‘feigned words’ and then sell them out – ‘make merchandise of them’ – when he is up against it.
In vv.4-11, the false prophets are likened to those on whom judgment fell in the past. The judgment came down on everything around them while the godly were delivered from or through the judgment; like Lot and Noach, respectively. They were delivered either by miraculous intervention or by preparation for the judgment to come, again like Lot and Noach, respectively. Even the godly who for whatever reason, whether (for examples) it’s living in and having fellowship in the world or belief in a false doctrine, are NOT preparing, like Lot, will be delivered from the judgment to come. It would be much better to prepare and be ready so Y’hovah can keep our personal witness alive, like he was able to do with Noach. Noach overcame. Lot did not, IM (not so) HO. Notice, in vv.7-9, that Lot was a just and a righteous man, even though he was walking more in the flesh than the spirit (that is somewhat comforting to me). But he WAS delivered from the judgment that came upon the city in which he lived. His neighbors did not fair so well.
V.10 speaks of the spiritual awareness of the people of Sedom and of the antediluvian earth, who despised the Word of Y’hovah that was delivered by the righteous men in their midst. It is easy to see why Lot was dismissed as a prophet of Eloha, because he sojourned among the Sodomites and did business with them. His lifestyle looked more like them than like Avraham. It is kind of easy to see why Noach’s neighbors despised his words, as well. I mean, how often had there been a flood? The potable water source was either springs, wells, or dew. It had never rained. There may never have been any seismic activity. But during the 120 years of Noach’s preparation, they had heard and seen his consistent word and witness, so they had MUCH less excuse than did Sedom. They had a witness of truth from Y’hovah, but despised his ‘government’, his authority to demand their obedience. So, it was not really either Lot or Noach or any of US that they despise, but Y’hovah, whose word we speak, regardless the personal holiness of the prophet.
Who do you suppose are the ‘dignities’ of whom Kefa speaks? May I suggest that they were Lot and Noach, and in our days are … US?! ‘Dignity’ is from the greek root, dokeo, meaning ‘of reputation’, one who has a good rep – not necessarily a good rep among the hearers, but before Y’hovah, where it actually counts for something. Lot’s rep among the pagans was mixed at best, while Noach’s was solid, though contrary to them. Even if Lot’s was not perfect, his rep was good before Y’HOVAH. Lot and Noach were ‘dignities’ against whom the very messengers of Y’hovah brought no accusation before him, though they had some reason to in Lot’s case. Personally, I am more like Lot than Noach, so …
But the FALSE prophets, don’t see a problem engaging in lashon hara, which is a HUGE problem in the Hebroots ‘movement’. Beware those who speak against any respected teachers. The teacher may hold to a different interpretation of a particular passage than you or I do, and it MAY be wrong. But so may OURS be. The point is, we may disagree with Rico or Eddie or Jeff on a particular interpretation of scripture, but we must NEVER bring an accusation against their persons just because we disagree with them, especially if we’ve never spoken to them personally on the matter or read their position in detail. I disagree with Monte on the book of Hebrews, but he is a very good Torah teacher, and I always profit by hearing him teach. I disagree with Moshe Koniuchowski on patriarchal marriage, but I still learn from him on other Torah issues. It’s the same with Eddie, Jeff and Rico. They know Torah, see it a little differently than I in certain areas, but they edify me almost every time I hear them, so our interaction is profitable. I would never attack any of them on a personal level, though I may disagree with them over a fine point of doctrine. THAT kind of interaction is GOOD for the body. To engage in lashon hara or hamotzi shem ra is destructive, and it ought to stop immediately.
12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16 These six doth Y’hovah hate: yea, seven an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. 20 My son, keep thy father’ commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. (Prov.6.12-21)
Stone’s Tanach has this in v.16,
Hashem hates these 6, but the 7th is the abomination of his soul;
WOW! ‘One who sows discord among brethren’ is the abomination of Y’hovah’s soul! Can you imagine anything worse in the eyes of Y’hovah than the one ‘who sows discord among brethren’? I cannot. It is the abomination of Y’hovah’s soul? So, when you hear lashon hara, rebuke it. Its only purpose is to sow discord. Privately confront the lashon hara and if there is no repentance, get away from the discord sower. Do NOT engage in lashon hara, yourself. Speak the truth when asked a pointed question, but offer no words to cause strife in the kahal of Y’hovah.
Look at the Tree of Sefiroth again for a minute (www.tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm). Notice the 3 pillars, and the top sefirah of each pillar. On your left, the right hand of the tzadik, is Y’hovah Abba. On your right, the left hand of the tzadik, is Ruach Aima – father and mother. The tzadik keeps Abba’s commandments, and doesn’t forsake the instructions of his Aima, but binds them on his heart and ties the knowledge of them around his neck. When we sow discord, we interfere with the manifestation of the Almighty in our hearts and minds, and block the light of Y’hovah that we emit. Q&C
Vv.12-22 – After the parenthesis of vv.4-11, Kefa gets back to the warning about false prophets. False prophets speak evil (lashon hara) of things about which they have no understanding (binah). The traits that Kefa talks about are not necessarily all manifest in every false prophet, but when you see any of these traits in a person, beware. And the more of these traits you see in a person, the less contact you ought to have with him, the more likely you are seeing a false prophet, or, at least, the less likely he is to be on your direct path to complete Shalom with Y’hovah.
‘Eyes full of adultery’ may be physical sexual impurity, but it is ALWAYS a result of idolatry. One does not have to have graven images or oak groves to be engaged in idolatry. For many, idolatry revolves around ‘the root of all evil’ – the love of money. Prosperity preachers immediately jump to mind. I’ve come to hate the term ‘seed money’ they use, as if giving to their ‘ministry’ is going to force Y’hovah to make it rain gold and silver on them. Now, that isn’t to say that he won’t bless you if you make a freewill offering to some ministry somewhere. But he has not obligated himself to blessing a gift to a shylock who is interested in nothing more than living sumptuously on the gifts of widows and orphans and has little ‘ministry’ in mind. If you know of someone in need, and you have the ability to meet that need, you should do so out of obedience to Avinu. But if the REASON for your giving is to get more, your motive is wrong, and you will not see much increase, if any at all. There ARE true stories of businessmen who have decided to tithe their corporate profits who have seen increase in business and profits, but usually, they are giving for a right motive, and they end up increasing their giving. There was a man named R.G LeTourneau who decided on a 10% tithe and saw a large increase, who then decided to up the offering to 20%, and the cycle continued until he was giving over 50% offerings and getting business like he’d never imagined possible. But personal gain was not his motive, and THAT’s the point. A preacher living like a king on the gifts of his flock is just unseemly in my eyes, especially if there is any real poverty or need within his flock or in the congregations nearby. Tithes are meant to provide for Levites, widows, and orphans, not make their plight worse.
The false prophets have ‘forsaken the right way’, the Way of Y’hovah – Derech HaShem. The right way is seen in Rev.12.17,
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of Eloha, and have the testimony of Yeshua haMashiyach.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Eloha, and the faith of Yeshua. (Rev.14.12)
False prophets have forsaken either Yeshua as Mashiyach or the Commandments of Eloha, or both. They’ve ‘gone astray’, gotten off the narrow way. They CAN get back on the right way, until they have gone so far as Y’hovah just gives them up to their sinful lifestyle,
24 Wherefore Eloha also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of Eloha into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Rom.1.24-25)
The false prophet becomes like Bila’am, who for transitive riches peddled his services to anyone who’d pay his fee. This was not a problem for the shadim who are no gods, but to Y’hovah, this was an abomination. Men like Bila’am are like empty wells and clouds blowing over the desert, having a lot of promising outward show, but who amount to empty suits. Kinda like the Prushim in Mat.23,
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first that within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt.23.25-28)
Great swelling words (vanity) allure through lusts (wantonness) those who had gotten away from so-called believers who live in error. These would be either Israelites who had escaped the blindness of traditions taught as commandments of Eloha, or gentiles who had escaped the headiness of paganism and Gnosticism. They promise liberty, but how can a slave deliver a slave. They just add to their victim’s bondage, who is delivered into an even stronger bondage than they were delivered from. This makes the latter end of the false prophet’s victim very much like Lot, who experientially knew the truth, having lived with his uncle Avram for years, but wanted to live as close to the world’s system as he could, so that when his deliverance came he needed to be dragged away from his sinful lifestyle screaming and kicking.
8 No man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither power in the day of death: and no discharge in war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. 9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt. 10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity. (Ecc.8.8-10)
While the believer is delivered from the eternal consequences of his sin, he must still deal with the physical consequences of it, he bears his iniquity. I think Peter uses Lot as an example from Tanach to illustrate the latter end of those Pharisees who believed, but returned to the takanot (“a law instituted by the rabbis and not derived from any biblical commandment”, not to be confused with Chukot of Y’hovah) and ma’aseh (“a factual circumstance from which an halachic rule or principle is derived”) of Judaism. Lot has already had 4000 years, and the Prushim of Acts 15 have had 1900 to remember the choices they made in this life and have yet another 1000 to live with that remembrance before all tears will be wiped away from their eyes and their memories wiped clean. But they WILL be able to enjoy eternity guilt free, thanks to the grace and mercy of our Tzadik Rebbe, Yeshua Moshienu. HalleluYah! Q&C
End of Midrashic Bible Study Notes