Monthly Archives: July 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for August 4, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for August 4, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 21

Numbers 34:1-35:8 – Ezekiel 45:1, Joshua 21:41 – Psalm 119a – Ephesians 1:1-2:22


B’Midbar 34.1- – The southern border of haAretz begins in the Wilderness of Zin, which is from the ‘outmost part of the salt sea’, which I think means the Eastern edge of the southern coast of the Dead Sea. Chumash agrees. The map there shows a town called Ma’aley Akrabbim about a mile east of the southeastern corner of the Salt Sea. If we were to draw the Dead Sea like a long rectangle, I infer it to mean where the east coast of the Sea turns almost entirely westward towards the ‘great’ or Mediterranean Sea. The line would be drawn roughly west southwest to a few miles south of Kadesh Barnea passed the village of Adar (remember Adar, who came out against Israel and took some prisoners?) to Azmon, and then just north by northwest to the mouth of Wadi el Arish as it empties into the Med. As an alternative, it could go more west by northwest to the easternmost mouth of the Nile near Tahaphanes (completely encompassing what we now call the Gaza Strip) where Jeremiah was taken by his captors and where Nebuchadnezzar followed them, destroying that city in 586 or so BCE. The ‘goings out of it’ (v.6) seems to indicate the islands visible from the shore were also a part of haAretz. 

The western border is the Mediterranean or ‘Great’ Sea.

The northern border begins at the Med near Mt. Hor. This is NOT the Mt. Hor where Aharon died. THAT Mt. Hor was south of the land. There is a Mt. Washington in Maine and another in Colorado, so it is not unheard of that there be 2 mountains of the same name in one nation. There are 2 places called ‘Mt. Baldy’ in the Cleveland, Ohio area. There is another Mt. Hor in Syria, near present day Aleppo. Thompson Chain’s inspired maps have Mt. Hor as lying between Tyre and Sidon in Lebanon. The border runs east from Mt. Hor towards Chamath (root is H2346 chowmah כמה, ‘to protect’ so Chamath = walls) and then on to Zedad, whose root means to sidle (kind of insinuate towards, as in “he sidled up to her”). From there it moves eastward to include Ziphron (root means fragrant) and ends near Hazar Enon (the village of springs). I infer that these springs are the headwaters of the Yarden River. Thompson Chain’s aforementioned inspired maps includes Mt. Hermon in the borders of the land, and turns south from a mile or so northeast of it.

The Eastern Border begins at Hazar Enon, just northeast of Mt. Hermon, to Shepham (bare spot) and from there to Riblah (beautiful/fertile). From Riblah they moved to Ayin (eye or fountain, as the eye of the landscape) and from Ayin to the east shore of Chinnereth, the Sea of Galilee. From there it followed Yarden to the Dead/Salt Sea and closed the loop at Ma’aley Akrabbim and the southeast corner of the Salt Sea. 

It was THIS land that was to be divided among the 9½ tribes that were to inherit on the west side of Yarden. The job of dividing haAretz was assigned to Elezar, the high priest and Yehoshua, son of Nun. Y’hovah hereby gives Yehoshua the same level of authority as Elezar and Moshe held and makes it known once again that Yehoshua is Y’hovah’s man, as Moshe had been. The tribes were to send their elder’s/firstborn to the priest and prophet to receive the inheritance on their tribe’s behalf. I infer that the inheritances were assigned in the order they are listed in vv.19-28. Yehudah must have been selected first by Elezar via the Urim v’Thumim, Simeon 2nd and BenYamin 3rd. I think it’s interesting that the territory assigned to what would become the nation of Yehuda after the Rehovoam/Yerovoam split was divvied up first, and the other 6½ tribes would share the north. The zachan/bachor of each tribe was to then divvy up the inheritance family to family according to the size of the families – more land to larger families, less to smaller. Q&C

35.1-8 – Y’hovah commands that the Levi’im be given 48 cities to be their homes within Israel, with 3 cities on each side of Yarden of the 48 designated as cities of refuge, where a man who inadvertently kills another (manslaughter, not murder) may flee for his own life. These 48 cities were given including their ‘suburbs’, the area approximately 1 km (3000 feet) from the walls or gates of the city proper. The suburbs were measured out from the cities walls 2000 cubits (v.5) east, south, west and north. The suburbs were for the Levite’s livestock. The only time an animal would come within the city’s walls, I assume, would be to deliver any burden it was carrying that could not be carried a short distance by hand or handcart. If the animals came into town as a matter of course, the city would become filthy in very short order – animals, like horses, sheep and cows, are not particular as to where they defecate. In fact, one of the reasons disease was rampant in the days of the horse and buggy was for this very reason. It will not be long after the automobile becomes too expensive for the average person to keep on the road (and it is getting pretty close NOW) before pestilence visits the large cities once again. I would suppose that small communities will implement some prohibition concerning animal traffic and perhaps short-haul freight companies will operate trucks for commercial traffic in larger towns. Man-powered carts for short-haul of freight and passengers might prove a viable small business in smaller towns, perhaps alongside liveries for the animals. 

In vv.4&5 there LOOKS like a contradiction, which Rashi, Rambam and Ramban have explanations for that are slightly different, but similar. All of them see the suburbs a bit differently. All agree that the city is that within the walls. Ramban sees the suburb as 500 cubits outside the walls all around, giving a total of 1000 cubits without the city for the suburb. Rashi sees 1000 cubits for the livestock and another 1000 cubits for fields and vineyards, while Ramban sees the city and suburb the same way, but a 2000 cubit area outside the suburbs for fields and vineyards. All these ideas fit the numbers of the narrative, Ramban being the most conservative of the inheritance, and Rambam the most liberal. And I think Rashi has the right idea. The suburb = 1000 cubits around the city and then another 1000 cubits around the suburbs for fields and vineyards. 

The 48 cities were to be given according to the tribe’s ability to give. BenYamin, who had the smallest inheritance, gave up the fewest cities to the Levi’im, while Menashe, with the largest inheritance (total between the 2 ½ tribes) gave up the most. IOW, it was not 4 cities from each tribe, but according to the number of cities they had within their inheritance. 

Ezekiel 45:1 – In the future Messianic Kingdom, there will be a special land offering in the midst of the land set apart for the use of Levi, for the Palace and for the Temple. The size of the place will be 20K x 10K reeds. The reeds are defined in ch.40 as 6 royal cubits, which royal cubits = 1¼ normal cubits, or about 7.5 common cubits. A normal cubit = about 18 inches, so this royal cubit would be about 22½ inches. 22.5 x 6 = a reed of about 135 inches. 10,000 reeds = 1,350,000 inches or about 21.37 miles wide (north to south). The offering is also 25K reeds (east to west), or 53.27 miles long. It’s a good bet that the Temple will fit in the center of that without much problem.

Joshua 21:41 – This chapter specifies which families of Levi got which cities and this verse says that the 48 cities were given with their suburbs. Q&C

Psalm 119.1-88 – We will look at these acrostically, as David wrote them, in octrains (a term I coined, to the best of my knowledge, by replacing ‘quat’, meaning 4, with ‘oct’, meaning 8 – quatrain is a word that can be found in any dictionary), or eight verse stanzas, according to the letters that begin each line.

Vv.1-8 (aleph) – Of the 176 verses in the 119th Psalm, 173 speak directly to walking in Y’hovah’s commandments, statutes, judgments or ordinances. And the other 3 allude to the same. Walking in our own ways defiles us, but if we are walking in Torah, we will be undefiled on THE way, which just happens to be what the early Notzrim called their sect of Yehudism. Vv.1, 3, and 5 all speak of Y’hovah’s way or ways.

Yeshua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Yochanan 14:6)

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2)

This man (Apollos) was instructed in the way of Y’hovah; and being fervent in Ruach, he spake and taught diligently the things of Y’hovah, knowing only the baptism of Yochanan. (Acts 18:25)

And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of Eloha more perfectly. (Acts 18:26)

But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)

And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. (Acts 19:23)

The PTW (powers that were) in Sha’ul’s day were the Pharisees, who adhered to oral traditions + Torah, but gave the traditions top billing. It certainly seems that keeping his Torah is how we walk in Y’hovah’s Way, and the Prushim didn’t like the reminder. 

Vv.9-16 (bet) – When you find yourself harboring sin, the procedure for cleansing your way is to do Y’hovah’s word. Once you’ve found him, ask his help to keep your eyes looking at the goal – Y’hovah. That is the ONLY way you can keep from wandering. The more of his Word you KNOW, the less you will wander into sin. V.12 is not a request. It is an imperative statement – Baruch atah Y’hovah! Lamdeyni chukecha! Remember our study a few weeks ago about the chukoth – decrees that didn’t seem to make sense, like tzitzioth? David wants Y’hovah to teach them to him, so he’ll understand the question; “Why?” He declared all the mishpatim l’Y’hovah. When we say his word out loud, we have a triple witness – thinking and/or seeing them, speaking and hearing them. 

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him (the one who prevailed); and a threefold cord is not quickly broken (the one who was prevailed against and the two that withstood the one who at first prevailed). (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Piqudeycha = Y’hovah’s precepts. Precepts are mandates, they are mandatory. Meditating on Y’hovah’s mandates will teach us to respect his ways. He doesn’t do things for the same reason or in the same way as we do. But he does them, and if we will think about them, using his Word as our frame of reference, we will have respect for his ways. We know about his works, but we do not, by and large, understand his ways. The more delight we take in his statutes, the better we will remember his Word.

Vv.17-24 (gimel) – Another imperative from David to Y’hovah, so that he may live to guard Y’hovah’s Word. David has laid some groundwork to make these demands on Y’hovah by reminding him of how he has disciplined himself to walk in Y’hovah’s ways, that he is ever mindful of Y’hovah’s requirements for him and the promises that Y’hovah has made to him. Now he is reminding Y’hovah to fulfill his Word for those who have guarded his will and his Word. “Deal bountifully”, “Open mine eyes”, “hide not thy commandments”, “Remove reproach and contempt.” Because I have made it my lifestyle to keep, meditate on and teach your Word to others, you now have a promise to fulfill – to keep me, to protect me, to help me to know you better – to know your ways. 

Vv.25-32 (daleth) – David says his soul has cloven to the dust, which means that his soul has cloven to his flesh, so he tells Y’hovah to quicken his spirit as he has promised so that he can overpower the soul’s attachment to things of the flesh. Y’hovah has heard David teach his own ways, so David tells Y’hovah to teach him his statutes and precepts, so that he can walk in Y’hovah’s ways and talk of his mighty works. He is truly repentant, knowing his own ways and how it hurts Y’hovah, so he tells Y’hovah to strengthen him. He knows it isn’t in him to live an obedient lifestyle and wants Y’hovah’s strength. More imperatives based in his desire to live a life pleasing to Y’hovah; “Quicken me”; “teach me”; “make me understand”; “strengthen me”; “remove”; “grant me”; “Put me not to shame”. David KNOWS this is Y’hovah’s will for him, and so he CAN make imperative statements to his Creator – he is holding Y’hovah to his own promises. Look at vv.30-32. David tells Y’hovah that he’s kept his Word ever before him so that he can walk in them, and then he tells Y’hovah that when he enlarges (strengthens and empowers) David’s heart, he will keep on striving to obey and please Y’hovah.

Vv.33-40 (hey) – More imperatives from David to Y’hovah. Have you noticed that it started out in the bet stanza with 1 imperative, then in the gimel stanza there were 4, then in the daleth stanza there were 7? In the hey stanza, there are 9 imperatives; teach, give, make, incline, turn, quicken, stablish, turn away and quicken. All these imperatives are made so that Y’hovah will empower David to live a life pleasing to Y’hovah. David is not after more financial blessings or power, but for the heart of Y’hovah to be his own. This is the key to issuing imperatives to Y’hovah – they must be motivated by a desire to live righteously and to build up Y’hovah’s Kingdom – for Y’hovah’s glory and not our own. 

Vv.41-48 (vav) – David leaves off the imperatives and makes some promises of his own. If Y’hovah will show his mercies to David, David will give all glory and praise to Y’hovah’s Name. He acknowledges that he has nothing that is not directly attributable to Y’hovah’s mercy towards him. He is thoroughly unable to answer the reproaches of men except for Y’hovah’s mercy, in which he trusts, and his Word on which he trusts. David’s liberty is completely dependent on his walking in Y’hovah’s Torah and seeking his precepts. Precepts are his piqudim, his mandates. David is seeking them out to be more like Y’hovah. The more of his mercies that are bestowed on David, the more he will speak of them before the kings of the earth, the more he will take delight in and praise Y’hovah for his commandments and meditate on his chukim, his decrees that are hard to understand, whose purposes are not readily understood, but are imperative to obey, nonetheless; such as looking to the brazen serpent for deliverance from death by the serpent’s bite. Q&C

Vv.49-56 (zayin) – Folks, HERE is an octrain that we might be well to memorize and apply with an understanding of the meanings of the words I’ll expound, hope and remember, because of the times that are coming. This is an octrain that we will be well to pray back to Y’hovah both daily and every time we think of it. Remembrance from Elohim’s perspective is not recalling something from memory, because Y’hovah just IS; he doesn’t have to recall because he is, at the moment of his ‘remembrance’ of his promise, present at the giving of his promise. There is ultimately no difference between his utterance of the Word and his performance of it. When he ‘remembers’ his promise for one of us he is simultaneously acting on his fulfillment of that promise. His frame of reference is himself, and is outside of the time/space/matter universe – he just IS. David tells Y’hovah to act on his Word, in which he has placed his hope. Biblically, hope means an earnest expectation of deliverance of Y’hovah’s Promise. Y’hovah has caused David to hope, to earnestly EXPECT him to deliver. Do you see how our hope is dependent on Y’hovah’s remembrance and that his remembrance is the same as his fulfillment? David’s comfort lies in Y’hovah’s past performance of other promises, including David’s certain knowledge of his spiritual quickening. No matter how much derision was piled on him for trusting Y’hovah’s Word, David remained faithful to Torah. David’s horror is NOT on the wickedness against himself of those around him that have forsaken Torah, but on their certain judgment, if they fail to repent, and turn from their own ways and back to Y’hovah’s. He sings Y’hovah’s chukim, rolling them around in his mind and heart, chewing on them in order to assimilate them into his own frame of reference. When David remembers Y’hovah’s Name in the night he rehearses his Torah. In the last 2 lines there are 2 different words used for ‘keep’, natsar and shamar. Both mean to ‘guard’, but they have 2 different applications. Shamar (v.55) means to hedge it about, build a wall around it. I think this is where the Prushim got the idea of building a hedge around Torah of traditions that keep us from breaking them. But I don’t think that’s what David was thinking. I think he built the hedge around Torah AND himself, so he could not escape from it, to keep himself in close proximity to Torah so he could almost not help but to DO them. Natsar (v.56) means to build a wall to defend what is within, which includes both Torah’s mandates and David. When we DO them, we are simultaneously defending them. And people notice, hence the derision AND the jealousy that ultimately drives it.

Vv.57-64 (cheth) – This octrain actually opens with, “My part is Y’hovah, I said I would  keep your Word”. I think David says that if he keeps Y’hovah’s Word, Y’hovah will receive David unto himself. The word xlated ‘intreat’ is H2470 chalah, which shows the attitude of gratitude and love for favor bestowed, like a dog licking his master’s hand. When he remembered his life, David quickly and finally turned to Yah’s Way. No matter how the wicked rob us of our stuff; if we keep our minds set on doing Y’hovah’s will and Word, he will be our portion, as well. We will not dwell on what we’ve lost, but on what Y’hovah has promised us. Y’hovah’s mercy is seen in that he gives us the companionship of other people who also fear Y’hovah, whom we can both encourage and by whom we are encouraged.

Vv.65-72 (teth) – Y’hovah takes care of our needs according to his promises. Keeping his mitzvoth gives us right perception and knowledge (da’ath), which is the synergy of understanding and wisdom. Our afflictions, the chastisement the wise receive as a result of our disobedience, are designed to bring us back into a right relationship with our Master Y’hovah. Foolish people will speak lashon hara, the evil tongue, against us for actually doing his piqudim. Our place is not to call them out publicly, but to keep doing what he has mandated for us and let Y’hovah deal with it. The result will be that their heart is thick and resistant to Y’hovah’s prodding, perhaps so thick as to not even perceive it – like Paroh’s was, but you will delight in his Torah. Have you ever watched one of your children or grandchildren taking delight in playing with something or coming to an understanding about something, and couldn’t help but smile in delight yourself – kind of taking delight in their delight? THAT’s what I think he’s talking about here. When we delight in his Torah we understand how good his chastisement was, because it brought us to wish to learn his chukim (the commands that don’t seem to make sense to us), because his doing and understanding his instructions is better than possessing all the gold, silver and precious commodities that David gathered to build the Temple. Compared to understanding the chukim of Y’hovah, earthly riches are like silver was to Schlomo

And all king Schlomo’ drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Schlomo. (I Kings 10:21)

Vv.73-80 (yud) – Since Y’hovah planned the whole of creation, learning his Word, which did the creating, needs to be our greatest desire and should be our first mitzvah. People who fear Y’hovah will be happy to see us, because we are waiting on (hoping, in the biblical sense of earnestly expecting) his promise. When people are not glad when they see you, you need to ask yourself 2 questions; 1) Are THEY earnestly expecting Y’hovah to fulfill his promises? 2) Are YOU earnestly expecting him to fulfill his promises? Why else would they not be glad to see your witness? Once again, our afflictions are designed to get us back on the Way. When we turn back, his mercy to us is our comfort and his instructions our delight. The proud are those who stubbornly go their own ways, even through the chastisement Y’hovah brings to draw them back to him. They deal with the saints according to their own ways while the saints meditate in Y’hovah’s mandates (piqudim). When we do not react to their mistreatment in a fleshly manner, it heaps coals of fire on their heads. Those who fear Y’hovah are those who ‘know know’ his witness. When Y’hovah strings the same word together like that it signifies a certainty, as much of that word as can be applied. Often the first use of the word is translated ‘very’, which means ‘everything the following word means, all thrown together’. Folks who have a complete knowledge of Y’hovah’s mighty works and inscrutable ways just naturally fear him. When our hearts are sound, or complete (tamiym), in his chukim, we will not be ashamed.

Vv. 81-88 (caph) – We prepare for Y’hovah’s deliverance by our expectantly awaiting his fulfillment of his promise to us. Our eyes also expectantly ask, “How long, Master”, before you fulfill your promise, as do the saints under the altar?

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Master, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation of Yochanan 6:10)

We are truly like closed bottles in the smoke, little points of clear truth amidst all the deception, for we do not forget his chukim. Do you see here that when we keep even his seemingly senseless commandments, we stand out because we are so different from the pollution around us? It’s also why we are so irritating to the smoke-blowers. Oh, HOW they hate us! They make laws for the specific PURPOSE of making us criminals [as in Dan.6]. They tune their laws to make our obedience to Y’hovah’s Torah criminal. Y’hovah has already judged this so-called justice and will bring major condemnation against those who perpetrate this perversion and persecute us via their false ‘justice’. They would force us to submit to their wicked legislation, but his remnant will not forsake Y’hovah’s orders. David ends the 11th octrain with a demand that Y’hovah quicken his heart and mind so that he will not turn away from his testimonies. 

So, I see that David had a theme for each stanza. They are, to my mind; Aleph – defiled or cleansed depends on our actions, Bet – our cleansing comes from obeying his Word, Gimel – we are cleansed so that we may guard his Word, Daleth – our quickened spirit allows us to overcome the flesh, Hey – that power helps us to live in a manner pleasing to Y’hovah, Vav – our liberty completely depends on us walking in his Toroth, Zayin – When Y’hovah remembers us, we remember his Word, Cheth – our attitude is affected by his favor towards us, Teth – understanding that Y’hovah takes care of our needs according to his promises is better than all the precious possessions the world has to offer, Yud – Those who fear Y’hovah will not waver in their obedience to his Word, Caph – we expectantly await Y’hovah’s fulfillment of his promises to us. Q&C

 Ephesians 1.3-6 – Remember whenever you are reading or studying Ephesians, or any other of Sha’ul’s epistles, that the pronouns Sha’ul uses are VERY important. ‘We’ means men who, like Paul, were born Jews, i.e.; of the tribes of Yehudah, BenYamin or Levi, and have come to the faith of Yeshua (there may have been a very small percentage of the house of Israel living among them in Yehudah). ‘You’ means men who were born Gentiles who have come to the faith of Yeshua (it is likely, IMO, that a large percentage of these were descended from one of the 10 tribes of the House of Israel – it had been 750 years since those tribes dispersion and assimilation into the world system). ‘Us’ means all the we’s and you’s who are now one in Mashiyach Yeshua’s Netzari sect of Judaism. The spiritual point of this epistle is the unity of the body of Mashiyach as the two houses, Yehudah and Ephraim, become one. The epistle was written to a synagogue in Ephesus that included ‘Jews’ and ‘Gentiles’, some from each group having come to the faith of Yeshua. It is also likely that the makeup of the synagogue was becoming more heavily salted with Gentiles as time progressed in Ephesus because the influx of new Gentile converts to the Netzari sect of Judaism was likely greater there than the influx of new traditional Jews. By this time the Jerusalem council was a piece of history and the 4 guidelines passed down from it were known in the diaspora.

Sha’ul begins with a blessing on the Almighty Y’hovah Elohenu, whose Ruach HaKodesh quickened the egg of Miriam and indwelt Yeshua from his conception, as he indwells us from our ‘spiritual conception’ in Mashiyach (v.14). The Almighty has blessed us with ‘all spiritual blessings’. Here’s a sample of his spiritual blessings and of his identity,

And when Avram was ninety years old and nine, Y’hovah appeared to Avram, and said unto him, I am (El Shaddai) the Almighty Eloha; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1)

And Eloha Almighty (El Shaddai) bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; (Genesis 28:3) (Yitzhak to Yacov)

And Eloha said unto him (Yacov), I am (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; (Genesis 35:11)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of (Elyon) the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai). (Psalms 91:1)

I am Alpha and Omega [Aleph and Tav], the beginning and the ending, saith Y’hovah (Yeshua), which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Shaddai). (Revelation 1:8)

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Y’hovah (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:8, quoting Is.6.2-3)

And I saw no temple therein: for Y’hovah (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)

I think that last ‘and’ shows that Y’hovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the identical Ruach haKodesh, the latter being Y’hovah El Shaddai in human flesh – that there is ultimately/spiritually no difference between them. 

He blesses us with all spiritual blessing ‘according as he has chosen us in Mashiyach’. My online dictionary defines the phrase ‘according as’ to mean ‘depending on whether’. That means that Y’hovah has blessed us with all spiritual blessings depending on whether he has chosen us in Mashiyach. I think it would be well if we were to look into Paul’s meaning of ‘chosen in Mashiyach’. I studied Paul’s progression in Rom. 8 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Eloha, to them who are the called according to purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom.8.28-30

What follows is my understanding of this passage, as gleaned from elsewhere in Romans.

Vv.29-30 – Here’s a ‘hard saying’ of Sha’ul, like Peter talks about in 2Pe.3.16. But I think the reason is that we use numbered sound bites instead of looking at the context, like Peter says, wresting it. Remember that ch.8 is the foundation for the arguments of the rest of the book. These verses say,

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

These 5 words; foreknow, predestinate, call, justify and glorify; are all verbs, and they seem to indicate a progression of actions taken upon believers by Y’hovah. If we see evidence of these things occurring in us, we can be pretty well assured that we are his. The church has done all kinds of mental and scriptural gymnastics trying to explain the seeming inconsistencies of this text in juxtaposition to others. But if we’d just look elsewhere in Romans for Sha’ul’s usage of these words in like context, it would clear right up for us.

Whom did Y’hovah foreknow? The answer is given in Rom.11

1 I say then, Hath Elohim cast away his people? Elohim forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Avraham, of the tribe of Binyamin. 2 Elohim hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Eliyahu? how he maketh intercession to Elohim against Israel, saying, 3 Master, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of Elohim unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. (1Ki.19.18)

This tells me that Paul spoke of those who followed Y’hovah (the 7000 faithful) as those whom Y’hovah foreknew. This includes us, if we have not bowed the knee to Baal.

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

He is speaking specifically of believing Israelites, but it extends to all who worship Y’hovah in Spirit and in truth, without intentional or known compromise. Kind of gives new impetus to “Come out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing,” doesn’t it?

Now, whom he foreknew he did also predestinate. Predestination is a tough saying of Sha’ul because it seems to contradict free will. But it really doesn’t, and here’s why.

Paul has a definite meaning for predestination, and he shows it in ch.11.

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Now the word ‘shall’ is much more powerful that the word ‘will’. Y’hovah can will something, and it not come to pass. After all, he wills none to perish and that ALL should come to repentance, but that isn’t what actually happens. But if he says, “I SHALL do such and such,” you can put that in the bank and collect the interest. It is an unconditional promise to perform. It is predestined. The promise is that it shall be done. We just have yet to see the performance. The 2008 US Senior Open was at the Broadmoor course in Colorado Springs. There were people who had purchased their tickets and reserved rooms at the hotel in 2005. That is an earnest expectation and belief in a promise. I have my ticket to the show, but the performance is yet in the future.

ALL ISRAEL shall be saved also refers to the return from exile in Babylon and Assyria, from which only a remnant of Judah and Benjamin returned along with so small a number of the other tribes that they could not be considered even a remnant and were counted as parts of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In the future redemption, ALL Israel SHALL be saved. It is predestined.

Those who are predestined are the ‘called according to his purpose’. We see this in – you guessed it – ch.11.

28 As concerning the gospel, enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance. 

Believing Yisrael is called of Elohim. Did you notice the jump from v.5 to v.25 in ch.11? I hope so. The verses in between 5 and 25 show HOW Israel means those who believe Y’hovah and are the called according to his purpose in 8.28.

What does Paul mean by ‘justified’? He tells us in – you guessed it again! – ch.11. 

30 For as ye in times past have not believed Elohim, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

Justification is the outworking of Y’hovah’s mercy in that we don’t get what we deserve; i.e., destruction. We could not justify ourselves before him, so he had to work a plan where he could show his mercy and justify us freely by his grace (3.21-26). 

Those of us who believe Y’hovah and do not bow the knee to Baal are predestined to partake of his glory. We do not now look as if we are glorified, but these promises (8.29-30) are past tense. He HAS glorified us and we can put that in the bank and collect the interest, too. 

So, whom did he foreknow? Who has been predestinated? Who has been called? Who has been justified? Who has been glorified? Chol Yisrael – All Yisrael are the foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified children of Elohim. Does this mean that every physical descendant of Avraham is included? Rom.9 says,

6 Not as though the word of Elohim hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Avraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh (Ishmael/Esau), these are not the children of Elohim: but the children of the promise (Yitzchak/Ya’acov) are counted for the seed.

According to Eph.2.11ff all believers are of the Commonwealth of Israel, and according to Rom.11.6-24 all believers are graffed into the Root of Yisrael. So Yisrael must therefore mean all believers who are not walking after the flesh, but after Ruach of Elohim (8.1), whether Jew or goy.  

So, whether Jew or goy, Yehudah or Ephraim, physical descendant of Avraham or a whomsoever who has the faith of Yeshua, all those 5 verbals apply to you; foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified – all of it, according to v.4-6, accomplished in Mashiyach ‘before the foundation of the world’, ‘according to the good pleasure of his will’, and ‘to the praise of the glory of his grace’. I’d say we’re in a pretty good situation if we ‘love Elohim and are called according to his purpose.’ (Rom.8.28) Q&C

Vv.7-23 – Our redemption is through the blood of Mashiyach, who, as the last Adam, paid the debt owed by the 1st Adam, ‘propitiated’ his sin, and overcame the penalty that was passed on to his offspring. I don’t know about Adam’s passing a sin nature to us, but that his decision to accede to his evil inclination may have passed a genetic tendency to the same accession is not an unreasonable possibility to me. As we inherit our father’s ‘stuff’, we also, if we are honorable men, will see all his debts paid, if there are any. It is the spiritual debt that we, as it were, ‘inherit’ from Adam and that is propitiated by Yeshua’s death on the tree. W1828 has this definition for propitiate

1. To conciliate, to appease one offended and render him favorable.

Propitiation is the act of making reconciliation for the offender to the offended, to appease his wrath and make him ‘propitious’ (kindly affectioned, favorable). Yeshua’s death did not merely propitiate Adam’s sin, but the sins of the whole world.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I Yochanan 2:2)

Herein is love, not that we loved Eloha, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I Yochanan 4:10)

It is by this propitiation that we obtain Y’hovah’s forgiveness. The payment has been made and the debt no longer exists for us who have turned to Y’hovah for that redemption. It was Y’hovah’s gracious personal payment of our debt through the death of Yeshua on the tree that made known the mystery of his will, ‘that in the dispensation of the fulness of times’ he would reconcile all things to himself in Mashiyach. Yeshua’s death as propitiation for us is the linch-pin in his plan. Many dislike the word ‘dispensation’, but I believe it perfectly describes how Y’hovah works his ‘shalls’. He dispenses his grace over time, working through his Word, 

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [those] weaned from the milk, drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This [is] the rest ye may cause the weary to rest; and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of Y’hovah was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Is.28.9-13)

That which is dispensed is not varying degrees of grace, as the church erroneously teaches, but varying degrees of understanding of his plan and the ‘shall’ of it (precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little). If we knew the details of each step he would take along the way to fulfilling his ‘shall’ for us, we would do like Avraham did, and go in unto Hagar to help Y’hovah fulfill his will. I believe that the ‘Hebrew Roots’ ‘movement’ is an example of the ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ by which he is gathering the lost to himself, including those who are ‘lost’ or, better said, ‘fenced in’ by the false teachings of ‘dispensationalist’ ‘replacement theologians’. That so many are recently being awakened to this is, I think, among the last moves of Y’hovah toward the ‘fulness of times’ and ‘the fulness of the gentiles (Rom.11.12, 25)’, which phrases are synonymous to my mind. Yacov, of course, spoke of this in his blessing on Ephraim,

19 And his father refused, and said, I know, my son, I know: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Gen.48.19)

‘Multitude of nations’, melo hagoyim’ can also be translated ‘fulness of gentiles’, and I think it is this to which Sha’ul refers here when he says ‘fulness of times’ in v.10. Paul says that the fullness of times will bring about the reconciliation, not only of us to Y’hovah, but also of the ‘you’s’ and ‘we’s’ to each other. If Ephraim has indeed become a ‘multitude of nations’ or the ‘fullness of the gentiles’, does that not mean that the nations of the world are full of Ephraimites? 

As you remember, from our look at Rom.8.28ff, ‘we’ are predestinated; ‘we’ referring to Avraham’s seed, both physical and spiritual. But in vv.11-12 he is speaking specifically of Yehudah, through whom the world has received the oracles of Eloha. In this light, he then tells the Ephesian kahal that it was the Yehudim who first trusted Mashiyach. He MAY be speaking of the Yehudim who trusted Yeshua through the words of the schlichim about Yeshua haMoshiach after his resurrection and the pouring out of Ruach on Shavuoth, but I think he was actually thinking about all the Patriarchs, prophets and people of Yisrael from the days of Adam. On this I COULD truly be wrong … but I DOUBT IT! And I doubt it because Y’hovah Yeshua will judge the whole world by the same standard – Torah! Torah is known to every person in the world, whether he understands that fact or not. And he knows to whom he will answer, whether he wishes to admit it or not. 

In vv.13-14, Sha’ul shifts to speaking to the gentiles specifically, saying that the Gentiles (ye) have now trusted the same Mashiyach that believing Yehudah (we) has been trusting for millennia. And, as an earnest of that, that the promises made to Avraham are now shared with ALL of Avraham’s seed (Gal.3.29), he tells them of Ruach of Y’hovah that seals them. Ruach haKodesh in us is our proof of the fact of our reconciliation to Y’hovah by the blood of Mashiyach until the physical redemption of the whole of creation unto Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. If the earnest is an indwelling and sealing Ruach haKodesh NOW, isn’t it true that it also was before? I think so (Heb.13.8). I think the patriarchs and prophets were all filled and sealed with Y’hovah’s Spirit, like believers are today. I see no reason to think or assert that they are not. There are no 2nd class citizens of Y’hovah’s Kingdom, which is the point Sha’ul is trying to make with this letter to the Ephesian kahal; indeed, the case can be made that this is the central theme of the apostolic texts – no more Jew or Greek, no more male and female, no more bond and free – all are one, as “Y’hovah Elohenu, Y’hovah echad”.

Paul has taken notice of all the gentiles who are coming to the faith of Yeshua and are coming to the synagogues to hear the Torah read and discussed, that he knows of their love for ALL the saints; Jew and gentile, male and female, bond and free; and he intercedes for them upon his every remembrance of them. I think this ‘love for all the saints’ is that to which Yeshua refers as their 1st love;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Rev.2.2-4)

It looks as though Sha’ul’s prayer for them was answered, but they let their knowledge and understanding of Y’hovah got to their heads by the time of Yochanan’s Revelation, and they’d become rather judgmental. This was not the case in the early 60s CE, but was by the early 90s CE. The difference may be that the 1st generation of saints was dying out and the new generation, who’d grown up in the kahal, did not have the memory of life before Yeshua’s propitiation – like is prevalent in today’s kahal. 

The hope of his calling in v.18, speaks of the earnest expectation of Y’hovah’s deliverance of his promised inheritance in US! We are Y’hovah’s inheritance (v.18) that he has wrought in Mashiyach (v.20) by resurrecting him from death! It SHALL come. Y’hovah has promised it. You can put it in the bank and collect the interest. He will not deny himself the inheritance he has worked so hard to re-acquire after Adam’s sin. Y’hovah has set Yeshua haMoshiach as his right hand. The preposition ‘at’ is translated from the Greek word en, which literally means IN. Y’hovah has set Yeshua IN his right hand. He is Y’hovah’s executive officer, set FAR above every other power in creation, executing Y’hovah’s will over it. Do you remember the “Tree of Sefiroth”? ( In it, Mashiyach, the tzadik rebbe who perfectly melds the just righteousness of Elohim with the merciful grace of Y’hovah, is the center stand (like in the menorah), and he is standing on the World of Action, the Kingdom. Quite literally, the World is his footstool.

Thus saith Y’hovah, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is Eloha’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. (Mat.5.34-35)

As his footstool, the world of action is under his feet. Right now, the Adversary is allowed a certain amount of control of the world of action, but when Yeshua haMoshiach takes his Kingdom, the scriptures will be fulfilled,

Y’hovah said unto Adonai, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalms 110:1)

For David himself said by Ruach haKodesh, Y’hovah said to Adonai, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Mark 12:36)

The chapter ends with another look at the ‘fulness’ we spoke of earlier. His fulness will be the fulness of the nations, his Body. Q&C

Eph.2.1-3 – Again remember the pronouns, YOU = gentile converts to Torah-keeping, WE = Yehudim converts to Torah-keeping, US = all the converts together as one body. In this sentence that encompasses all of the 1st 3 verses, Shaul begins drawing the You’s and the We’s together as Us/We All. He is primarily addressing the former gentiles in vv.1-4. They were drawn naturally to the sins of the flesh, having had no Torah to teach them Y’hovah’s Way. But he also includes himself and his Yehudim brethren in the same boat, because Sha’ul was nothing if not brutally honest. Just as the gentiles were slaves to their lusts according to the directions of the flesh and possibly (though not certainly) with the influence of haSatan, so were the Yehudim. Remember that in Rom.7 Sha’ul said he was made aware of just how covetous he was when he actually thought about the 10th commandment for the first time. 

What shall we say then? Is Torah sin? Eloha forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except Torah had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)

Do you suppose it was/is the same with most Yehudim? I would be willing to wager, without MUCH chance involved. I don’t think his problem was lusting over OTHER people’s stuff, but lusting for what he already had,

4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the [oral – M] law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in Torah, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Messiah. (Phil.3.4-7) [I still  think Paul was the rich young man [Mat.19.16-22 & Mk.10.17-22]  who coveted his stuff; ^ THIS ^ stuff.]

Vv.4-7 – “But Eloha” are quite probably the sweetest words in scripture, aren’t they? As wicked as we can be without even knowing it, Y’hovah is knowingly that merciful towards us, full of love for which we are throughly undeserving. He, by his gracious favor, quickened us together with Mashiyach Yeshua when he raised him from death, and seats us in eternity in Mashiyach and through him allows us to inherit in his Kingdom. 

Vv.8-10 – It is by his gracious favor to usward that we are delivered by the faith of Mashiyach. This faith needs to be seen in the Hebraic sense that faith is both mental assent to truth and obedience working out that truth. Remember that it is not OUR faith that secures our deliverance from the law of sin and death, but the finished work of Mashiyach Yeshua on the tree, in the grave and upon his resurrection. 

Even the righteousness of Eloha which is by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:22)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yeshua haMoshiach, even we have believed in Yeshua haMoshiach, that we might be justified by the faith of Mashiyach, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law… I am crucified with Mashiyach: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Mashiyach liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of Eloha, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:16, 20)

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Yeshua haMoshiach; that we might receive the promise of Ruach through faith… But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach might be given to them that believe. (Galatians 3:14, 22)

My brethren, have not the faith of our Master Yeshua haMoshiach, the Master of glory, with respect of persons. (James 2:1)

And now, we haltingly obey his commandments as we submit to his Ruach haKodesh, who supplies spiritual power we need to comply and to thereby overcome the wicked one; that is our/my own fleshly self and, on occasion, haSatan. We ARE his workmanship. He has created us IN Mashiyach UNTO obedience. W/O Mashiyach, we could not obey. I purposely left out the references of our faith IN Mashiyach, because I didn’t want to confuse the issue. But suffice it to say that our faith is IN Mashiyach in exactly the same way the WE are IN Mashiyach. It is not OUR faith in Mashiyach that saves us, but HIS faith, the faith OF Mashiyach that delivers us from death to life IN HIM. We English speakers think that faith is mere belief, while Hebrew speakers understand that every word is based in ACTION, not concept. If you claim to be in Mashiyach and you understand that concept to be true, but your understanding hasn’t affected your life and produced the effect of obedience, your faith is useless; your faith is dead.

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone… For as the body without Ruach is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:17, 26)

Vv.11-13 – Here are our pronouns again, and put to good use. YE (former gentiles) WERE afar off; w/o Mashiyach, goyim, gerim, hopeless, w/o Eloha though surrounded by elohim; but are NOW brought near by Mashiyach’s blood. He is OUR shalom, having made the two (Us and Ye) echad. Now; today; in the physical world, we still have 2 houses extant, comprised of Yehudah, who have been conditioned to distrust Xians and will not accept that many are being drawn to Torah by Mashiyach, and Ephraim and full goyim, who have been conditioned to distrust Yehudah by the same anti-Jewish Xian fathers who perpetrated the crusades, inquisitions and pogroms that made the Yehudim distrustful of all things that name Yeshua as their Mashiyach. But IN Mashiyach there is no Jew/Greek, no bond/free, no male/female dichotomy. All are echad in him as Y’hovah is echad. 

The middle wall of partition, friends, is the oral traditions that keep us from breaking Torah, while also keeping us from obeying Torah. The context of the sentence also shows that that middle wall is the enmity that stands between us. Yeshua abolished that middle wall (that, in the Temple, passed which a gentile could not enter) and the enmity it represents between Yehudi and goyish believer in the same Y’hovah Elohenu by his finished work on the tree. By that work, as we said before, he made of the 2 one body. See that he reconciled us to Eloha – we are one in Eloha, as well as in Mashiyach by Yeshua abolition of enmity between goyish and Yehudi believers. The enmity was not just between goy and Yehudi, but also between BOTH human houses and Eloha, and the Shalom Yeshua brings is BOTH between us 2 human houses AND between both houses and Y’hovah. <<< THIS is why I say that the gospel in a nutshell is, “You can have SHALOM – PEACE with the Creator of the universe.” What better news could there be to a world lost and dying? All we need to do after they see that their problem is enmity with Y’hovah is to show them the delivery vehicle of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection. 

And so, we former gentiles are made citizens in the Israelite Commonwealth and members of Eloha’s family, built on the foundation of the sent out prophets of Y’hovah and the cornerstone of Mashiyach.   

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. (Psalms 118:22)

In that day shall there be an altar to Y’hovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Y’hovah. (Isaiah 19:19)

The HEADstone of the corner describes only one stone I can think of – a pyramid’s CAPstone, as it is placed at the head of the pyramid and stands over ALL 4 corners of it. In Mashiyach, all the body, from the 4 corners of the earth will be brought together as echad, and in him we will be one as Y’hovah is one – absolute Shalom. Q&C

End of Midrashic Study notes.

Shabbat Bible Study for July 28,2018

Shabbat Bible Study for July 28,2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 20

B’Midbar 33:1-56 – YirmeYahu 4:1-2 – Tehellim 118 – Ma’aseh Schlichim 6:7 – 7:60


B’Midbar 33.1-56 – Most people refer to Israel’s ‘Wilderness Wanderings’ (sounds almost like a theme park, which is why I call it “The Wilderness Adventure”). But nothing could be further from the truth. Israel was not wandering. They were being led by Y’hovah Yeshua from place to place, and if I were wiser in the real “Bible Code”, which is not to be confused with the hype that those Xian marketing gurus have been using for the last 15 or so years, I could pull some outstanding ‘sod’ teachings out for you. Y’hovah had given Moshe instruction to keep a diary of their encampments, as we are told in v.2, and he was now told to rehearse it for the nation and also to record it in Torah.

They started in Rameses, the treasure city, and journeyed to Sukkoth, the tent city. This was probably the site of the grain storage from Yoseph’s day and where the 11 brothers had to face the music (Gen.45). On that site is the ruin of a large building that could have been the grain silo/delivery works of Yoseph. It is very probable, if that is the case, that this is where Yoseph had been buried. He had given instruction that his bones were not to remain in Egypt when Israel left. Moshe honored that instruction:

And Yoseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. [25] And Yoseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. (Gen.50.24-25)

19 And Moses took the bones of Yoseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. 20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. (Ex.13.19-20)

There are 42 moves and campsites all together. I think it is possible that each move corresponds to the mystical 42 letter Name of the Almighty, the Ayn Sof, but I am not at all equipped to delve into that matter. Schottenstein’s Chumash DOES speak briefly of this on pg. 227 in the prefatory note to this parsha. 

They left Rameses on what would next year, and every year after, be the first day of unleavened bread. It was NOT a Feast until the following year. This year they had to scoot. They made the trip to Succoth and stayed overnight. Then they skedaddled for Etham, which is at the head of the Wadi Watir that leads through a sheer valley to the beach at Pi Hahiroth, modern Nuweiba. Once in the valley, they had to go straight ahead or do an about face and go out the way they had come. By the time they got to Pi Hahiroth, Paroh had closed on them and there was no turning back. Nuweiba is about the only place along the western shore of the Yam Suf that has a beach large enough to support a group of 3-4 million, and it just happens to be about 4-5 miles from ruins of a high watchtower, Migdol (H4024). The description of Pi Hahiroth in B’Midbar fits Nuweiba very well. They would have arrived on what would next year be the last day of unleavened bread, after a one-stop journey of a week’s duration. Pi Hahiroth means “the mouth of the gorges”. There are a number of tributary wadis that run through various gorges and empty into Wadi Watir, which empties into the Yam Suf/Gulf of Aqaba at Pi Hahiroth. Opposite Pi Hahiroth on the Arabian shore of the Yam Suf lay Baal-Zephon, which means “lord of the north”. This could reference one of 3 things; 1) to Lucifer’s wishful thinking in YeshaYahu 14, “I will sit in the sides of the north”, or 2) to Y’hovah because that is the location of his throne which Lucifer covets, or 3) Yes!, depending on whom you worship, Y’hovah or idols. Q&C

Vv.8-17 – Once on the opposite side of Yam Suf, they traveled 3 days without a stop and then they pitched at Marah, where they first rebelled vs. Moshe and Y’hovah in the perceived need for fresh H2O. As you may remember, they were not OUT of water but they were getting close and, upon seeing water, they wanted to replenish immediately. Under normal circumstances this would actually be a wise thing to do. But, after all the miraculous works that Y’hovah had done in their behalf, it would have been better if they had waited for Y’hovah’s timing and Moshe’s direction; hindsight, and all that. At Y’hovah’s direction Moshe dropped a tree into the bitter water to make it sweet and to satisfy the people’s fear of being out of H2O. Of course, they learned that had they trusted Y’hovah they’d have seen his forward thinking, because the next day they came to Elim and the 12 springs of water and the 70 palms. What do you suppose those numbers symbolize? You’d have to have very little knowledge of biblical numerology to NOT know that they symbolize the 12 tribes, the 70 Yacovsons that went into Egypt and the 70 primary nations of the earth. According to Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew concordance, Elim means an ‘arch’, the strongest architectural shape known for passage through a solid structure, like a wall or a rock. Had they awaited ‘the arch’ of Elim, they would have seen how Y’hovah had thought it all out ahead of time and was taking them by the best possible route to care for them. The arch is the strongest shape man knows and that is how strong their faith had been had they simply waited on Y’hovah’s timing. Just a few more hours of travel – I think just over the next rise. I also think that, had they made it to Elim w/o murmuring, they’d have all crossed at their first encounter with Kadesh. 

Next stop is the east shore of Yam Suf, then the Wilderness of Sin (the foothills of the mountains), then to Dophkah (to knock – they were knocking on the door of Sinai?) and then to Alush (a crowd of men).

Next stop is Rephidim, where there was no water at all. As Moshe recounts their travels, he just touches on where they stopped, not what happened in each place or how long they stayed there. In the case of Rephidim, it was not far from Sinai. The Rock there sustained their need for water for a year (and then followed them around for the whole ‘Wilderness Adventure’), as they got the Commandments and the additional laws and priesthood and built the various furnishings of the tabernacle, as well as the tabernacle itself. 

Kibroth haTa’avah is the place where b’nei Israel lusted for flesh and Y’hovah gave them quail, but (I think) in their lust they ate without cleaning it and making offering to Y’hovah. The name means ‘kibroth = grave, of the ta’avah = longing after dainties or lusts’. Not much later we’ll have the Korach/Dathan rebellion over similar lusting after the ‘dainties’ of Egypt. They left Kibroth Hata’avah for Hazeroth, which means ‘yards’ or ‘hamlets’. It was at Hazeroth that Miriam and Aharon murmured against Moshe and Miriam was afflicted with tzara’ath, KJV says ‘leprosy’ (more likely a severe psoriasis). I think I see a word-play in Miriam’s affliction and the name of the place; tzara’ath and chatzeroth – the difference is an ayin in tzara’ath and a vav in chatzeroth, like in the difference between owr (אור – light), as seen in Gen.1, and owr (עור – skin), as seen in Gen.3 and the ‘sod’ level wordplay that develops. I may be fishing, though. I have asked for help on this from a man MUCH more fluent and with more access to Zohar than I. Q&C

Vv.18-32 – They moved, after Miriam was allowed back into camp, from Hazeroth to Rithmah. This Rithmah is actually the Kadesh whence the spies were sent out. Chumash has a good note on this on pg.229. Rithmah is from the Hebroot 7574, ratham רתם, to bind or tie up, which is what Yisrael was, tied-up there for 19 years. When Yisrael rebelled against Yhwh’s command to take the land, they got to LOOK at the land they had been promised for 19 years while a BUNCH of them died off. They departed Kadesh for Rimmon Peres, the pomegranate of the breach. Rimmon can be either a pomegranate fruit or tree. The pomegranate is supposed to have 613 seeds. Who had the incredible patience to actually count them and NOT eat them is a better man than me. I love pomegranates. This may be the place where Korach/Dathan pulled their shenanigans. That DID create quite a breach, so much so that the ground opened up and swallowed the perpetrators. So they moved from Rimmon to Libnah, which means to be or become white. This may be the ‘Laban’ of Dt.1.1 that isn’t a place, but a personal name. From Libnah they moved to Rissah, which means to ‘drip to pieces’. Rissah was in ruins and looked like its walls were literally dripping apart, like water. 

From Rissah they moved to Kehelethah, to congregate from the root kahal, assembly. Thence they moved to har Shapher, mount beauty. The root shaphar = to gracefully balance, harmonize beautifully. Next, they moved to Charadah. Charadah means ‘fear, anxiety’. Next they went to Makheloth, which is from the same root and Kehelethah, kahal. It means assemblies. From there they moved to Tachath (bottom) and then to Tarah (to waver). Remember that all these places that we have not heard of before are likely places where nothing of consequence happened. But nothing that is mentioned in Torah is of no consequence, so I think the places have some sod application of which I am merely unaware. 

From Tarah Israel moved to Mithkah, meaning ‘to reason effectively’ or ‘sweet reason’. It must have been a place with fruit or honey or something sweet for the entire kahal to enjoy. Next was Chashmonah, meaning fertile, and then to Moseroth, meaning corrections. They then went to B’nei Ya’akan – sons of twisting or torture. From there, they went to Chor Hagidgad – the cave of self-inflicted cuts. That sounds like the 450 prophets of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel. Let’s see: They went from Mithkah (sweetness) to Chashmonah (a fertile place) to Moseroth, (correction) to Bnei Ya’akan (sons of twisting/torture) to Chor Hagidgad (a cave of self-inflicted cuts). Not a good progression in my book. Q&C

Vv.33-56 From ChorHagidgad they went to Yotbathah where they were (accepted) to Ebronah (Hebron?) where they could (cross over). From there they went to Ezion-geber (the spine of a valiant warrior). They were on a spiritual roller coaster, but for now, they are where they probably needed to be. 

They camped at Etzion Geber at the northern end of the Yam Suf and their next stop was Kadesh, where Miriam died. Kadesh was the place they went about 1½ years out of Egypt to find that their 12 spies were actually 10 tourists; whose only interest was in bringing home some souvenirs; and 2 men. They returned there just before they started their march towards Canaan. The nations through which they would have to pass had watched them all these years and they had most likely had discussions between themselves on the ‘Israel problem’. They left Kadesh to go to Mt. Hor, where Aharon died and passed his mantle to Elazar. So, the likelihood is that Miriam and Aharon died within about a month of each other.

We’re told that Aharon died in the 40th year after the Exodus on the 1st day of the 5th month. This tells me that they made all the rest of their moves in the next 6 months after Aharon’s demise. I think the amount of movement at the end was a training session to get b’nai Israel used to following orders on a moment’s notice and without hesitation – an attitude they would need when they took the Promised Land from its inhabitant/squatters. I say ‘squatters’ in a kind of Y’hovah’s eye view of it, because he had promised Eretz Israel to Avraham 430 years before.

In vv.40ff, Israel is moving around Edom and we get the account of Arad coming out against Israel. Arad means naked, as if Israel caught them with their pants down. This was the 1st Canaanite tribe they came up against since the Amalekites some 39 or so years before after the Rock was spilt to gush water in the desert at Rephidim. It just happens that the same Rock that followed them (1Cor.10.4) had just produced more H2O, and they were at least probed by a Canaanite force. Arad came out against Israel, I infer for the water, taking some Israelites captive (perhaps to learn the source of their H2O). So Israel rescued their captives, met Arad and his people and mopped the floor with them. So Israel left Mt. Hor and pitched near Zalmonah (shady – perhaps they rested there for a while in the shade), and left there for Punon (perplexity). From there they went to Oboth (water-skins), and then Iyey Haabarim (the heap or ruins of those who cross over). This is on the border of Moav. When they left Iyim, they came to Dibongad (pining or mourning a troop) and then to Almown Diblathim (hidden cake of figs?). Then they went to Avarim, where Moshe was told to pass his mantle to Yehoshua and Moshe asked that the passing of the mantle be done publicly so there would be no contention with Yehoshua after the fact. From there they went to Nebo (foreign word) and from there to the plains of Moav across the water from Yericho. Their camp on the east side of Yarden stretched from BethYeshimoth (house of the deserts) to Avel Shittim (meadow of Acacias). That’s a stretch of about 5 miles. The camp is probably still a rough circle of 5 miles diameter. You can see a map at I cannot attest to the accuracy of the map, but it seems reasonably close. 2.5-4 million people would certainly need a large area to pitch camp.

Vv.50-56 have Y’hovah’s marching orders for the conquest of Canaan. It was basically, “Drive them out or kill them all” (vv.52-53 – cf. Chumash note on 53, pg.233). And they were told what would result from disobedience to that standing order, (WARNING!! Mark paraphrase coming! Watch out for striking lightning.) “If you don’t drive them out, they will be nothing but trouble and I’ll end up doing to you what I wanted to do to them.” (cf. Chumash note to v.56, pg.234) The Canaanites represent sin to us. It must be driven out or killed in our lives, or it will be nothing but trouble and a vexation to us, and Y’hovah will have to chasten us for regarding it.  Q&C

YirmeYahu 4.1-2 – Y’hovah promised in v.1 that if we would return to him with our whole heart, we would not be exiled from the Land. In v.2 we’re promised that not only will we glory in Y’hovah, but by our rejoicing in him the world would rejoice also. Not only did Israel and Judah fail to abide by this promise, but 1950 years of church history proves that the church has failed as well. As with Israel and Judah, there have been short and relatively minor returns to Abba’s ways in church history, as well. But by and large, Y’hovah’s people have never AS A WHOLE heeded

And Yhwh appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. [13] If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; [14] If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:12-14)

That says nothing about us evangelizing the world, or feeding the hungry, or caring for the sick, though we ought to do those things. It says nothing about the world doing all those things. It says if we, who call on his Name (not his titles) will humble ourselves, and pray, and seek his face, and turn from OUR wicked ways, THEN he will hear from heaven and forgive us and heal OUR land. Why is there war in Israel? The world? Because we like our sin and are too proud to admit it and turn away from it and seek his face. When we do that, I think Ephraim and Judah will come together and call on the Name of Y’hovah and actually get the answer we all desire – Messiah coming with clouds. Q&C

Read the Psalm sans added words. Tehellim 118.1- Who is told to say “For his mercy endureth forever”? 3 groups, not counting the reader and the author, 1) Israel (in this case, the whole house of Jacob, not just the northern tribes), 2) The house of Aharon, and 3) those who fear Y’hovah. Why was Aharon singled out? Aharon was not a strong character, being easily led. He transgressed in the golden calf and again in the rebellion w/Miriam, and I believe in the Nadav/Avihu incident as well (he was angry w/Y’hovah, but his fear, read abject terror, kept him from voicing it). While there is an aspect of fear that can be described as ‘awestruck’, I don’t believe that is the primary meaning here. Fear in v.4 of Tehellim 118 is from the H3373 – yare, which derives from H3372, the primitive root – yare. 3372 means frighten, dread and terrible. I like the way C.S. Lewis put it in ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’. Susan asked if people wouldn’t be frightened to be face to face with a Lion. Mr. Beaver said that the Lion was the King above all kings, and if one didn’t tremble in the presence of this king, he was either wicked, or stupid or just plain silly. That pretty much describes the one who doesn’t tremble with fear before Y’hovah – crazy, stupid, wicked, or a combination of the 3.

When the Psalmist called upon Y’hovah, he answered. Distress = exile. When the psalmist is in distress, he calls on Y’hovah, who answers for 3 verses by setting him in a large place. Large = open space – figuratively, liberty. 

15 So the heathen shall fear the name of Y’hovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. 16 When Y’hovah shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. 17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. (Ps.102.15-17)

Y’hovah is beside him and has taken up his cause, rendering the author without care for what men can do. If only the political nation of Israel – if only those who say they trust Y’hovah – would take vv.7-9 to heart and desist trusting in men and nations and insist on trusting Y’hovah, we would be invincible. Israel’s enemies have no power in themselves, like Y’hovah has. And neither does Israel.

After he says he trusts Y’hovah and not man, he says 3 times (vv.10-12), “He surrounds me with his presence, I will therefore destroy any that comes against me.” Remember that he is in distress – exile and tribulation. But since he trusts Y’hovah, he fears nothing that man can do to him and KNOWS he will prevail against man’s (and HaSatan’s) devices. In vv.14-16 he recalls the deliverance of Y’hovah by his right arm (Mashiyach) in the midst of the tribulation. We need to remember this in the days to come (and they are MUCH closer now than they were only yesterday), to not be discouraged by the tribulation we will face, but trust in Y’hovah to bring his deliverance (Yeshua haMashiyach) to us. I can personally attest to the truth of vv.17-21

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of Y’hovah. 18 Y’hovah hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. 19 Open to me the gates of Tzedikah: I will go into them, I will praise Y’hovah: 20 THIS gate of Y’hovah (Yeshua), into which the tzadik shall enter. 21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become Yeshuati. (Ps.118.17-19)

He did NOT give me over to death, and I shall not die, but LIVE to declare his righteous works. And when I do, he SHALL open to me the gates of righteousness and I SHALL enter through them to give hallel (praise) and hodu (glory) to Y’hovah Yeshua’s Name.

The Messiah who was rejected by men will become the head cornerstone of all scripture and all history. The day that he ascends the throne is the day that Y’hovah has made. It will be marvelous (miraculous) and we WILL rejoice and be glad in that day. Vv.25-26 are the very words that the people were saying as Messiah entered Yerushalayim on the donkey 4 days before his death on the tree

Hosheana! … Baruch haba b’Shem Y’hovah! (vv.25.26)

It was the day that the Kohen Gadol brought the Pesach Lamb into the city to be examined for 4 days, the very process Yeshua went through for those 4 days in the Temple. V.27 describes the impaling of Yeshua on the tree after being bound to its corners. He is our Elohim, and his atoning death shows forth his mercy, which literally is forever for those who trust him. Q&C

Ma’aseh Shlichim 6.7 – I think v.7 shows the underlying reason the power brokers had to shut Stephen up – “a great company of priests were obedient to the faith”. If the priests became followers of Yeshua, how long would it be before the Temple services stopped? I think that one reason the Temple was destroyed by Rome is because the priests kept offering the atonement on Yom Kippur, which Hebrews tells us is walking all over Yeshua, counting his blood common and despising Ruach’s grace.

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10.29)

That’s why I think the powers that were then had to stop the Way of Yeshua – the source of their power and control was slipping away. The religion of Israel had long before been turned to fables and false gods, as Stephen tells them in his monologue. He just truthfully rehearsed Israel’s history straight out of Tanakh and showed that the religious authorities had always been more about controlling the people (Nicolaitan) than Torah’s righteousness. The PTB had to silence that sect and Stephen in particular or lose their sweet deal.

The main reason the people came against Stephen is given in 

Acts 6:13-14 (KJV)  

    And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: [14] For we have heard him say, that this Yeshua of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. 

‘He incessantly blasphemes the law, the customs which Moshe delivered to us’, they said. This speaks of the ‘oral law’ (customs), not Torah. These are Pharisees, who held more in that day to the oral traditions than to Torah. Stephen ran rings around them – even around Sha’ul of Tarsus – with Torah, and they couldn’t refute him, because they were relying on the ‘oral law’ – words and traditions of men, while he resorted to Torah – the Word of Y’hovah. It was no contest. 

Acts 7:53 (KJV)  

(Pharisees) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Stephen made some powerful enemies, who wanted nothing more than to kill him. And they did. I think that the fact that Stephen, presumably an unlearned man, was able to run rings around Sha’ul; the chief talmid of Gamliel, whom Gamliel was grooming to be his successor as chief rabbi of Jerusalem; using Torah alone is what REALLY got Sha’ul’s attention. He had been taken to the intellectual cleaners by a man with little or no schooling and it hurt his pride. When Stephen rehearsed all the history of Israel, from Avraham onward in about 4-5 minutes and then applied its sod level meaning to the crowd that was listening in general, and Sha’ul in particular, I think it cut Sha’ul to the quick. Perhaps Sha’ul could not have done such a good job in the same rehearsal. I think he HATED Stephen and engineered his stoning (which was done outside of Torah’s instructions because there was neither verdict, condemnation nor sentence passed down) while standing by to keep the Temple guards from stopping Stephen’s executioners. 

V.60 is a perfect example of the principle of ‘loosing’ vice ‘binding.’ He forgave and asked Y’hovah to forgive his murderers. This is what Yeshua meant when he said

Matthew 18:15-20 (KJV)  

    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the kahal: but if he neglect to hear the kahal, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. [18] Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [19] Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. [20] For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

Binding and loosing have to do w/forgiveness of trespasses against us, a la, Mat.6, …forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Only Y’hovah can forgive impersonal sins, violations of Torah. And only we can forgive a wrong done to us, as Stephen did. I’ll bet that cut Sha’ul more to the quick than all the preaching he ever heard or would hear. Conviction of sin is very uncomfortable. When another does it to us, we get resentful (because we know he’s right!).  Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study

Shabbat Bible Study for July 21, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for July 21, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Shabbat 19

Numbers 32:1-42  –   Y’hoshua 22.1-34  –   Psalm 117   –   James 2:1-26


B’midbar 32.1- – Reuven and Gad saw the land that Israel had taken by right of conquest from Midian, Ammon, and Bashan and thought about what great land it would be for their cattle. And so Reuven and Gad approached Moshe to ask if they could settle their families and herds on the eastern side of Yarden. Now consider for a minute what Moshe’s 1st thought probably was; “Here we go again! It’s Kadesh all over again! These guys were just youngsters 38 years ago and don’t remember the 10 tourists and what that brought about.” You can’t blame Moshe, really. He had been in the ‘guard Israel’ mode for almost 80 years now, and he had learned from experience that Israel was a stiff-necked people. The words that Reuven and Gad used to make their proposal also helped because they said “our herds and our families”, implying that they were more worried about the animals than the people. If that were the case, it was a no-brainer that Reuven and Gad were not going to cross Yarden to help with the conquest of Canaan, even after the object lesson of the conquest of Midian, WITHOUT INJURY, with a relatively small force working as a unit. Also, they’d actually spoken the words, “Bring us not over Yarden” (v.5).

Moshe jumped right down their throats. He didn’t even pass “GO!” He said (in a Mark paraphrase), “You’re going to let your brothers cross over without YOU to help them take the land? They helped to take the land YOU want and now they won’t have YOUR help taking their land? Don’t you remember why we’ve been out here in the Wilderness for the last 38+ years? Do you want us to have to wander ANOTHER 40 years? What kind of mamzers are you?” The Hebrew word mamzer is not actually used in scripture until Dt.23.2, but the usage is correct. That is what Moshe thought of them at this point. A mamzer is a person born of adultery or his offspring. 

A bastard (mamzer) shall not enter into the congregation of Y’hovah; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of Y’hovah. (Deuteronomy 23:2)

Had Tamar actually had a child of adultery in Gen.38, Yehudah’s pronouncement of punishment would have been proper. She was under his covering by marriage and subject to his customs and laws, even though she was sent back to her father’s house to live.

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. (Leviticus 21:9)

AH! The vagaries of interracial/intercultural marriages!

Meanwhile, Moshe’s monologue was very pointed, and I think can be applied to the spiritual circumstances we see today. Let’s look briefly at Lev.26.14ff. In vv.1-13 Y’hovah pronounced blessings for obedience to his Toroth. But beginning in v.14 he says, “But if you WON’T obey me …” and then he gets REALLY specific;

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; [a conscious decision] 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

That sounds a bit like what’s going on in the world today, doesn’t it? Especially like what’s happening in the USofA? We have some pretty nasty plagues that have been visited on our nation and the world in the last 40 or so years; SARS, AIDS, MRSA, etc. [and many largely for profit]. And for the last few years, the grain crops have been shipped to China in partial repayment of our debt to them, leaving us with almost no reserves. Add to that the stupid idea of turning our food into motor fuel while curtailing our own production of fossil fuels, driving the prices of almost everything through the roof [again, for profit]. But that’s not all. Look at the next verse in Lev.26;

17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

Our enemies, all you believers, HAVE been ruling over us. If you think that the Bushes and the Republicans were our ‘friends’ you have another thing coming. And you well know that neither Clinton nor Obama nor the Democrats are our ‘friends’. We just haven’t generally had the insight to see it, largely due to the tax-exempt corporate status of most ministries in the US. Those ministries are precluded from preaching the truth about the federal government’s hand in all of this, for fear of having their tax exemption removed and having to pay all those back taxes from the day the exemption was granted until now. They preemptively flee when none pursues. But that’s not all, either. Look at the NEXT verses of Lev.26:

18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

Do you think that those verses might be in their fulfillment for America as we speak? In California there is a severe drought, like there was in the mid-section of North America between the mountains – the Mississippi watershed up until this year. In the high plains of Colorado, farmers were talking about worms eating their crops from beneath while grasshoppers were eating what’s above ground. 8 grasshoppers would eat a corn stalk all the way to the ground in a day. Here’s a quote from Colorado State University Ag extension:

In Colorado there are several species of grasshoppers, but 90% of damage to plants is caused by grasshoppers in the genus Melanoplus. Females of one species in the genus can lay up to 400 eggs in a single season, depending on the weather. Fewer eggs are produced in cooler, wetter weather. [And, presumably, MORE in dry, hot weather. – MP]

Some grasshoppers prefer one food source, such as corn or alfalfa, but when the food is scarce they eat a variety of plants, shrubs, and trees. 1 grasshopper eats its weight in grass in 16 hours. 7 grasshoppers/sq. yard over 10 acres till eat the same ration [of grass – MP] as one cow.

BTW, cows don’t crop the grass down to the ground. 

But in addition to the drought, which is graphically described in Lev.26.19-20, there is also the stuff in vv.21-39 that will follow ‘hard on the heals’ of what’s already happened. There are 4 multiplications of the curses ‘7 times’ for those who despise or abhor Y’hovah’s commandments. 

But I think there is a ray of light to be found in Mat.24 in conjunction with Lev.26.40-42: 

40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 And I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Avraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. (Lev.26.40-42) 

Y’hovah doesn’t forget, and so can’t ‘recall’. When Y’hovah says he ‘will remember’ something or someone, he means he will act on their behalf. 

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here Mashiyach, or there; believe not. 24 For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Mat.24.21-24)

I think we are about to enter ‘those days’, folks. The 40th anniversary of the decision on Roe v. Wade was January 22, 2013. America’s probationary period ended on Jan.21,2013. Americans, like the Sanhedrin and the political leadership of the Hebrew religion in Yeshua’s days and those 40 years following until the destruction of the Temple, have not accepted our national culpability nor recognized our iniquity in this matter and I think that this is at least a PART of the reason for these obvious [to me, anyway] judgments of Y’hovah that we are experiencing. The possibility exists that we are about to experience the destruction of America’s version of the Temple. SCOTUS has not brought many, if any, righteous decisions in the last few years. More coals of fire? Could be.

But keep this in mind; Y’hovah promised in Lev.26.40-42 that IF we will humble ourselves and acknowledge our sin and accept the punishment that comes on us as our due for our iniquity, he will remember his covenant with our Patriarchs and act on our behalf. I think that is what Yeshua was alluding to in Mat.24.22 – that we CAN shorten those days by implementing 2 Chronicles 7.14, which reiterates Lev.26.40-42, on behalf of our nation and world. Q&C

Vv.16-22 Anyway (getting back to the Torah portion), Gad and Reuven changed their verbiage. They said (again – a Mark paraphrase) “DOH! That wasn’t what we meant. What we meant was …” and then they completed their proposal. “We SHALL go in and help our brothers take their land – that was a part of the plan. Here’s what we want to do; we’ll repair the breeches in these cities’ walls and fences. Then we’ll leave our wives and children here on this side of Yarden to care for our livestock and tidy up a bit. While they’re doing that, we’ll go into Canaan and help with the conquest of our brother’s inheritances. We’ll even stay beyond the actual conquest of the land until they actually enter their inheritances before we come back across Yarden to live in peace with our brethren in Canaan (assuring ourselves that we won’t have to be a part of the cleanup and basic housework kinda stuff because we’re MEN, and that’s women’s and children’s work). Whaddayasay?!” Moshe liked the basic proposal OK, but he took the wives side by saying (in another Mark paraphrase), “Well, I expect you to help with the conquest, but once that’s done, you can just hightail it right back over to your wives and kids and help out around the house.” G&R said (in yet ANOTHER Mp), “DANG! Caught us! … OK, that’ll work.” And there was shalom once more. 

Vv.23-42 – Moshe told them that if they would not help Israel’s other10 tribes to subdue the land for them, they would be in sin before Y’hovah and to ‘be sure your sin will find you out.’ Moshe then instructed Elazar and Yehoshua concerning Gad and Reuven. He told them what these tribes would do before crossing over to the west bank to help the rest of Israel subdue the land and drive out the inhabitants. He spelt it out for Elazar and Yehoshua in v.29 and pronounced the judgment in v.30 – all the rest of Israel would know what mamzers these 2 tribes were if they didn’t do as they proposed. That’s one way their sin would find them out. Another way may have been the loss of a great percentage of their families and herds. In v.17 you can see why I think this may have been a way their sin might find them out. They still had young women of these lands among them as servants. Perhaps, had Gad and Reuven reneged on their word to Moshe, those girls would have enticed the tribes to sin after the counsel of Bila’am, causing the men to go after the gods of the land they’d conquered. Or perhaps the inhabitants of the land would attack and overpower their cities before they could get them rebuilt. The inhabitants had a fear over them of Israel and her Y’hovah. Perhaps Y’hovah would use those inhabitants to bring judgment on Gad and Reuven if they would not go over Yarden armed to subdue Canaan. Whatever Moshe meant is not spelled out, but I think Gad and Reuven knew. 

In v.33, Moshe added a little twist we didn’t hear from Gad and Reuven’s mouths – ½ of Menashe was going to inherit in Gilead, north and east of Gad, which would inherit north of Reuven. Reuven’s land was basically the land of Ammon, which lay north of Moav and Edom. Gad’s was basically the east bank of Yarden from the Sea of Galilee to just a few miles north of the Dead Sea. Gilead was the hill country east of Yarden and the eastern shore of Galilee (now called the Golan heights) to just north of Mt. Hermon. Gad would rebuild the defenses of 9 cities, Reuven the defenses of 6 more and 2 sons of Machir, son of Menashe would get 2 sets of smaller cities and their associated villages. The amount of work needed to rebuild these defenses must have been relatively minor, because it could be done in a few weeks, at most. Next week we’ll look at the 42 camps in the Wilderness Adventure. Q&C

This haftarah is taken from my notes for the TTRT study of Joshua.

Yehoshua 22 Vv.1-6, TSK has this commentary on v.1-6 that seems salient and may even be correct:

We have already seen, that a detachment of 40,000 men [4.12-13], of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Menashe, had passed over Yarden armed, with their brethren, according to their agreement with Moshe. The war being now concluded, the land divided, and their brethren settled, Yehoshua assembles these warriors; and with commendations for their services and fidelity, he dismisses them, having first given them the most pious and suitable instructions. They had now been about seven years absent from their respective families; and though there was only the river Yarden between the camp of Gilgal and their own inheritance, yet it does not appear that they had, during that time, ever revisited their homes…

Of course, they had moved camp to the area of Shiloh from Gilgal [v.9 how did TSK miss this?], but the rest of that was well said.

V.5 has Yehoshua’s instruction and warning that the 2½ tribes need to stay true to Y’hovah’s instructions in order to keep their land on that side of Yarden. That this was the understanding between the tribes will be seen later in the chapter. As I look back on the tribal conquests of each inheritance, it only just now occurs to me that these 40,000 were at each battle throughout the conquest. These 40K were quite probably the most battle-hardened troops in Israel’s arsenal. At the census taken in B’Midbar 1, Reuven had 46.5K men at arms [Num.1.21; 26.7 says 43.73K], Gad had 45.65K men at arms [1.25; 26.18 says 40.5K], and Menashe had 32.2K [1.35; 26.34 says 52.7K] total, so ½ of that is 16.1K [26.35K] for a total of 108,250 [104,750] men of war on the leeward side of Yarden, of whom 40K went to battle for their brethren on the windward side [Jos.4.12-13], leaving 64,750 men to watch over the land, cultivate it, etc and protect the women, children and the Levi’im who MUST have stayed on that side to care for the spiritual needs of the people. It IS possible, and I think LIKELY, that there was a rotation of the fighting men, as only about 38% of the Gilead/Bashanite men were in the actual fighting force. Were I the Zachan of those tribes, I’d have had a rotation working to send fresh men to battle and relieve those who’d been through the wars. Maybe a year on duty with the army and 2 years back home. When I was on active duty in the Navy, our normal sea duty rotation was 10-11 months working up for a 6 month deployment and then a month of leave upon return. and then start the work ups for the 2nd deployment of your sea duty tour followed by 3 years of shore duty. The 2½ Bashan/Gilead tribesmen may even have left their land fallow, at rest, for the year they were on duty. The family could live pretty well on what came up from the dropped produce of the previous harvest.

V.6 says they went to their tents according to the command and leave given them by Yehoshua in v.4. The tents Yehoshua had referred to are not the ones they were staying in temporarily while fighting with their brethren on THIS, the windward, side Yarden, but the ones they had not visited for awhile on THAT, the leeward side. They were ALL men of their word, all of good character

12 And to the Reuveni, and to the Gadi, and to half the tribe of Menashe, spake Yehoshua, saying, 13 Remember the word which Moshe the servant of Y’hovah commanded you, saying, Y’hovah Elohechem hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moshe gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; 15 Until Y’hovah have given your brethren rest, as you, and they also have possessed the land which Y’hovah Elohechem giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moshe Y’hovah’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising. 16 And they answered Yehoshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moshe in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only Y’hovah Elohecha be with thee, as he was with Moshe. 18 Whosoever doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage. [Jos.1.12-18]

The time away from their homes was the price that Y’hovah through Moshe had made them pay to have their inheritances in Bashan, and it seems that they were happy to pay it. That must have been some really CHOICE real estate. For you to get ME to stay away from MY Lovely Bride for 7 years and be HAPPY about it, you’d have to come up with some VERY CHOICE stuff.

In.v.7, East Menashe and West Menashe are parting company for the very 1st time. These full brothers had been together for as long as they’d existed, their patriarch having been born in Egypt of Yoseph and Asenath [I think with some rabbis she was Dinah’s daughter by Shechem, Gen.34]. Now they were going to live apart from each other, Machir’s ½ [through the daughters of Zelophehad and his kinsman redeemers] on the windward side, and Gilead’s ½ on the leeward side of Yarden [cf. Num.26.29]. Yehoshua in v.8 blesses East Menashe, Gad and Reuven for their faithfulness in keeping their word to Moshe and their brethren. The blessing was that plenty characterize their possessions on that side of Yarden, and I think it had already been blessed. And [v.9] the 2½ tribes crossed Yarden in accord with the promise of Moshe. Now, I don’t think everyone from the 2½ tribes up and left at that exact moment Yehoshua told them to go, and I think many or most were there for Yehoshua’s “as for me and my house” admonition in 24.15. But in their minds, and in all reality, they had been dismissed from their duties to their brethren. After 7 years of close contact and rather intimate proximity to their brother Israelis, it might have been hard to cut the ties that bound them; kinda like there being no such thing as a “former Marine”. They had very likely become a real ‘band of brothers” while in the trenches together. Fortunately for those who had made close relationships with their brethren, the other was “just over there” and there was only a shallow river [most of the time] between them.

When the 2½ tribes crossed Yarden, they built an altar [v.10] for a similar purpose as the heap of stones that Ya’acov and Lavan had built at their final meeting place [Gen.31] on the banks of the Yavok in the upper portions of Gilead, I think. This was not an altar on which to offer sacrifices, but one to bear witness to the unity of Gilead/Bashan with Israel. As the heap that Ya’acov and Lavan had built at the border was a permanent reminder of their non-aggression pact, so this altar was to symbolize the unity of Israel across the River Yarden. Now there was a heap/altar of witness, respectively on the upper and nether ends of the Yavok in the land. 

Dt.13.12-15 – if a town leaves Yhwh.

Israel on the windward side got the wrong idea when they saw the altar on the leeward bank. V.11 says plainly that they knew the altar marked the ford of the river on the leeward bank. Please notice in v.12 that the Israelis on the West Bank didn’t even consult Yehoshua or Y’hovah before they got ready to go and fight Israel on the East Bank. At least one cooler head got involved. I think it was Pinchas’ [v.13], next in line for the High Priesthood of Israel, who cooled them off enough to send an embassage to ask what this altar is for. So Pinchas and the 10 elders of Yisrael [vv.14-20] went to get the straight skinny from the 2½ tribes. They said that The 9½  tribes were worried that their brothers were departing from Y’hovah and going their own way, when of course we know that nothing could be further from the truth. The 9½ are already in full battle gear and ready to force the 2½ back into line. So Pinchas brings the western tribes’ concerns to the eastern tribes’ attention. [Mp] “It sure looks like you guys are going against the express command of Y’hovah by building an altar in competition to the one He established in Shiloh [v.16]. Pinchas went [v.17] on the remind the east side guys about Ba’al Pe’or and the death that resulted. As you’ll remember, Pinchas stopped that particular death plague with his trusty javelin. He told them about the slippery slope that eventually comes when even one person allows even one little toe outside the express command of Y’hovah [vv.18-20]. He goes on, exhorting them to not depart from Y’hovah, but if need be, come and live with us in our less than a postage stamp’s area of land [v.19]. We’ll make do to help keep you faithful to Y’hovah. It’s that last that makes me think it was Pinchas doing the palavering. The Priest would want to be sure the people were staying true to Y’hovah. He then reminds him of the sin of Achan that caused not a few deaths in the 1st battle of Ahi.

But East Bank Israel told West Bank Israel [in an abbreviated Mp of vv.21-29], not even a LITTLE bit of that malarky is true! This is an altar of witness between us and you that we will NOT turn away from Y’hovah or our brethren on the West Bank. Pinchas was satisfied, and when he told WB Israel that he was, they lightened up. Pinchas’ words in v.31 summed the whole episode up, “Y’hovah is among us.” Not “He’s with us on our side”, or “He’s with you on your side”, but he inhabits us all and we are echad. TSK has this interesting note to v.34, since the word עד, or ayd, supplied by the KJV translators as ‘witness’, doesn’t appear in the Hebrew text the translators used, but does elsewhere [including Stone’s Edition of Tanakh];

Ayd: i.e. a witness, The word witness, or testimony, is not found in the common editions of the Hebrew Bible; and is supplied in Italics by our venerable translators, at least in our modern copies; for in the first edition of this translation, it stands in the text without any note of this kind; but it is found in several of Kennicott’s and De Rossi’s manuscripts, and also in the Syriac and Arabic. Several also of the early printed editions of the Hebrew Bible have the word ayd, עד, either in the text or in the margin; and it must be allowed to be necessary to complete the sense. It is very probable that an inscription, עד, was put on this altar, signifying the purpose for which it was erected. Thus was this affair most happily terminated.

If that is right, and I believe it to be, the altar itself is a witness not only of the echadity of chol Yisrael, but of Yisrael and her Y’hovah. Q&C

Tehellim 117.1-2 – This is very interesting. The goyim praise Y’hovah. Collections of people (haummiym) – Stone’s Chumash says ‘states’ – praise Y’hovah. This, then, is a complimentary parallelism, as the words goyim and haummiym i.e.; nations and states; are totally synonymous. But THAT isn’t the interesting thing. What’s really interesting to me is that the Israelite who wrote this is telling the nations and states of the world they are blessed through Yisrael, specifically because Y’hovah is mercifully kind to Yisrael, his children regardless the nation or people who trust in him. 

Ya’acov 2.1-26 – I broke out my old Schofield Reference Bible (because I can’t find my Cambridge wide-margin bible with all my penciled in notes). Under the title of each book is a brief intro from Dr. C. I. Schofield in which he provides a listing of its major divisions. Now Dr. Schofield and this reference bible were the chief catalysts for the exponential rise in popularity of the ‘dispensationalist rapture cult’, to which I ascribed 30 years ago. As I read the list I became aware of something I had never noticed before. Let me reproduce the list for you.

1) The testing of faith; 1.1-2, 26

2) The reality of faith tested by the tongue; 3.1-18

3) The rebuke of Worldliness; 4.1-17

4) The rich warned; 5.1-6

5) Hortatory; 5.7-20

What I noticed was that Dr. Schofield created a 6th division that becomes conspicuous by its absence. His divisions leave out 23 verses of chapter 1 and all of chapter 2 (that’s 49verses, total). Dr. Schofield left 49 of 108 verses out of his major divisions of this book. I think that they didn’t support his pet theory, ‘dispensationalist rapturism’. 

Those 49 verses, read in the pashat, or literal, sense make minced meat of that cult’s reason to exist. It is these 49 verses and a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word ‘faith’, born of decades in the philosophical influence of Plato and Aristotle on the RC denomination from which he received his schooling (or fooling), that made Martin Luther want to remove Yacov’s book from the canon of scripture. Had the RCC and its Babylonian pagan roots been less anti-Torah, Luther might have gone all the way back to the Way of Y’hovah Yeshua that Sholiach Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) preached. In its Torah sense, sola fide (faith alone) is true. But Torah faith is not just a mental assent to truth, as the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophers teach, but also the mitzvoth – works of obedience – that accompany that belief in Truth. And THAT is the point of Yacov 1.3-25 and 1.27-2.26. The works do not justify us nor keep us in the family, but they DO attest to the FACT of our familial membership in good standing. They PROVE our faith to our selves and to even the most casual observer. Our obedience sets us apart so that everyone notices. It is this obedience that will mark us as his when the ‘fit hits the shan’. Motty pouth!

Vv.1-10 – Why didn’t Dr. Schofield have 2.1-10 in his division 4? Because, in conjunction with 1.27, it is an exhortation to Torah observance.

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. (Ex.22.21-24)

Everything Yacov says in 1.27-2.10 is best understood in light of Ex.22.21-24 and supporting passages in Tanakh. The exhortation is clear that we are to help those who have no covering, widows indeed and orphaned children. It is OUR job to provide for the needy in our kahalim. It should never come to the government to provide the needs of the faithful. We should aid our own family members. If the needy have no family, then it falls to the kahal. We should not just provide their necessaries, like food, clothing and shelter. If they are able, we should provide them with a means to earn their necessaries so that they will actually be responsible for themselves. And if we are able, we ought not expect the family or kahal to just provide the stuff, but actually earn it by our own worthwhile labors. Charity, in the KJV sense, is not gratis. Charity respects the person’s need for self-respect. 

When Yacov says in v.6, “but ye have despised the poor”, he is saying that you have thought them less than worthy of your love. That attitude of showing respect or adulation for a wealthy man, while brushing aside the poor so that we can pander to the rich, is normal in the world’s system, but is out of character for a godly man. Paul shows us his agreement w/Yacov about godly character in 1Thes.5;

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded [faint-hearted, weak in the faith], support the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of Eloha in Mashiyach Yeshua concerning you. 19 Quench not Ruach. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very Eloha of Shalom sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our master Yeshua haMashiyach. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do. (1Thes.5.14-24)

The Restoration Scriptures has this for Yacov.2.6b-7; (AENT agrees)

Is it not rich men that oppress you, and drag you before their bema of mishpat? 7 Do they not blaspheme that worthy Name by which you are called?4 [Y’hovah]

Yacov is speaking about the leaders of the religion in Jerusalem, I think. (I think this also dates the letter quite early in the Way’s history. Even Schofield got that part right.) He is saying just what Paul did to Kefa when they were in Antioch (Gal.2.11-19 – showing 2 laws, as is apparent in v.19)

11 But when Kefa was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from Yacov, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled (set themselves apart from gentile believers, as if they were not worthy) likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel (no respecter of persons, Ex.22.21), I said unto Kefa before all, ‘If thou, being Yehudi, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Iuaidoi, why compellest thou the Gentiles to ‘live as do the Jews’ [‘Iudaidzo’]? 15 We Yehudi by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the (oral) law, but by the faith of Yeshua haMashiyach (Torah obedience), even we have believed in Yeshua haMashiyach, that we might be justified by the faith of Mashiyach, and not by the works of the (oral) law: for by the works of the (oral) law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Mashiyach, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Mashiyach the minister of sin? Eloha forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed (oral traditions), I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through Torah am dead to the (oral) law, that I might live unto Eloha. (Parentheticals are my own to show the 2 ‘laws’ spoken of.)[Ellipses are mine to show the faithful Yehudi from the Judaizers/Iuaidoi]

How can a man die to Torah by living through (according to/obeying) Torah? That is a logical absurdity. They cannot logically co-exist. By living out Torah, working out the faith of Yeshua with fear and trembling [Phil.2.12], we die to man’s traditions – oral law. 

Yacov.2.10 is speaking of Torah when it says law. Moshe’s footnote in the Restoration Scriptures is very instructive;

What one point is under discussion? Showing partiality. If a Jewish believer keeps the whole Torah, and yet mistreats, or refuses to recognize Ephrayim (as Kefa did in Antioch), it is as if he has violated the entire Torah. There is much more on this in Galatians, or Galut-Yah.


Vv.11-26– Yacov went on to give example from elsewhere in Torah, the Ten Words to be exact. If I do not commit adultery, but I DO murder, am I not guilty of all 10 Words? While each of the 10 commandments stand alone, they are also interconnected through the 10th Word – against covetousness. Our lust for things, power or position is the root of every other sin listed there. As Paul says 

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)

But we need to speak and work as if we actually believe that it will be Torah that Yeshua will use as the standard of judgment at HIS bema of mishpat. Rest assured that he shall. It is truly a Torah of liberty. Liberty is not absolute freedom. Absolute freedom is actually license. We must not be licentious. Liberty is freedom self-constrained. The Torah of liberty provides maximum freedom in human relations. We constrain ourselves by the 613 or 759 (depending on who’s counting) instructions in Torah. We are ‘on our honor’, Y’hovah will not force us to work contrary to our own wills. But he shall reward or punish us according to his Torah commands and promises. If we show that we understand his Torah by walking in it, showing mercy (rachamim) whenever we can (like ‘visiting’, making provision for, the widows and orphans in their affliction) we shall obtain his rachamim. 

If you see a person in physical need and bless them with your words (or say “I’ll be praying for you”), but do nothing to provide for their physical needs, you are a liar, a cloud without rain. By the same token, if you SAY you believe, but there is no actual witness to it in your walk, you are likewise a liar. The worst part of it, though, is that you are fooling only yourself, because people can tell by your walk that your words are just an attempt to blow smoke up their posteriors. If that is you, your faith is merely said, and “Merely said faith is really dead faith.” As I said before, our obedience to Torah is not what justifies us. It is the evidence that we are justified. If there is no evidence of spiritual life in you, you must be spiritually dead, regardless your physical protestations to the contrary. 

The AENT has a great note on v.21 (note 7), Paul, using the same action by Avraham Avinu, made the case for works being useless in our justification.

17 By faith Avraham, when he was tried, offered up Yitzhak: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Yitzhak shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that Eloha able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Heb.11.17-19)

Avraham knew that his seed lay before him on the altar. He knew that Yitzhak was not yet married, had no children. But he had already offered Yitzhak in his heart and mind and Yitzhak was already dead in Avraham’s mind because he KNEW that Y’hovah only had 2 courses of action; 1) stop Avraham from killing him, or 2) raise him from death. So, this was the ultimate act of faith. Trusting that Y’hovah would keep his promises to him and Sarah and Yitzhak, he picked up the knife and purposed that he would kill his son. BTW, Yitzhak was a young man in the prime of life. That he submitted wilfully to his father’s actions showed that his own faith and trust in Y’hovah’s promises was every bit as strong as his papa’s.

Avraham’s faith, worked out, made his faith complete, or perfect (v.22). Do you see that Yacov connects Avraham’s faith, as seen in Rom. 4, with his actions, as seen in Heb.11? He connects Gen.15

And he believed in Y’hovah; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

with Gen.22

8 And Avraham said, My son, Eloha will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 

10 And Avraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of Y’hovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Avraham, Avraham: and he said, Hinayni Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest Eloha, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only from me. 13 And Avraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Avraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Avraham called the name of that place Yehovahyireh: (Genesis 22:8, 10-14)

YehovahYireh means “Y’hovah, he will see to it.” Provide in v.8 is the same exact word –  yireh (root = ra’ah, to see). In v.8 it is Elohim will see to it. In v.14 it is Y’hovah will see to it. 

An interesting note: Shem called the place “Shalom”, or peace, and Avraham called it Yireh, or “he shall see”, but Y’hovah calls it Yerushalayim – YirehShalom, “He shall see Peace”.

In the same way that Avraham’s faith was completed by the works that accompanied it, so was Rachav’s faith completed when she believed Y’hovah would deliver Yericho into Israel’s hands and she hid and then delivered the spies out of the city. She put her life into Y’hovah’s hands when she did that. She knew the consequences if Y’hovah did not deliver Yericho – her life would be forfeit. And she did it anyway. That is a faith that works, folks. May we all have it so. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study.

Shabbat Bible Study for July 14, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for July 14, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3, Shabbat 18

B’Midbar (Num.) 30-31, Yeremeyahu (Jer.) 4.2, Tehillim (Ps.)116, Mat. 5.33-48

B’Midbar 30– Be careful about making vows to Y’hovah, for he will hold you to your word. You’d better make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you pledge yourself to anything. Your word should be your bond. If you are female, your head has a veto power over your obligation. I think that means that Messiah has veto power over our vows. I know it means that a father or husband has veto power, because that is the Pashat of this passage. This MAY be the source of the idea of ‘binding and loosing’, as we see in 

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay on men’s shoulders; but they will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matt.23.3-4)

And since Messiah is our Husband and Abba is our Father, I think this may be the Sod, or mystery. So, if we make a vow to something in HaSatan’s kingdom, Messiah or Abba can veto that vow. This doesn’t mean he CERTAINLY will veto it, but he has the authority to do so. For example, we borrow money and vow to pay it back over time. He CAN veto that obligation. But until he unequivocally does so, we need to honor our word. When our Husband, AFTER we become his bride, does veto our vow entered into before we were his, HE takes responsibility to fulfill it (v.15). And that’s exactly what Yeshua did for us through his death on the tree. He renegotiated our vow to haSatan when we trusted him and he bore our iniquity – “the handwriting of ordinances against us, nailing it to his cross” 

10 And ye are complete [perfect] in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Mashiyach:  12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his tree; 15 having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col.2.10-15, esp. 14). 

In keeping with this passage of Torah, Hannah made her vow known to Elkanah; that if Y’hovah would let her conceive a son, he would be a Nazarite from the womb (1Sam.1.11); and Elkanah agreed to it so that Samuel was Y’hovah’s from before his conception.

Pay off your debts as the day approaches. Gather up all your credit card bills and pay the minimums on all of them, except the smallest one you have. Pay as much as you can on that one every month until it is paid off. Then, do likewise to the next smallest one and continue in this pattern until they are ALL paid off. Then forget you have credit cards until you NEED one. Then, when you need one, pay it off as quickly as you can. Next, get your car and house payments into the mix. Pay them off as quickly as you can. The reason we are cash strapped is because we are paying so much interest on those damned credit cards. I used that word purposefully, because they are a blessing that we have allowed to become a curse to the people of Y’hovah. Satan has taken what COULD have been a great blessing and perverted our minds, making them a curse to us. As long as we only used them and then paid them off at the end of the month, thus avoiding the finance charges, they were a blessing. As soon as we got greedy and started carrying balances over to the next month in our pursuit of stuff, they became idols to us. 

I think that you ought to pay your debts EVEN BEFORE you pay your tithes and offerings, if that is necessary. I mean, if you have a choice to make an offering or pay a debt, pay the debt, because one of the worst witnesses we can have to the world is to not keep our word. If we can’t keep our vows to people we can see, how will we ever keep our vow to Abba, whom we can’t see? Besides, if you get your debts paid off, you will have more to offer in the long term than you would have had otherwise. Of that I am certain. 

So the general principles are: 1). Don’t make vows you can’t keep, 2). When you make a vow, keep it, even if something else that is unnecessary (like owning a new car or buying a bigger house than you need) has to suffer, 3). Get out of debt and STAY out of debt – ‘the borrower is servant to the lender’. 4). THEN bring your tithes into the storehouse. 

I think I’ve meddled long enough – for now. Q&C

B’Midbar 31.1-6 – Y’HOVAH commanded Moshe to avenge Yisrael on Midian. This has to do with the ‘doctrine of Bila’am’, wherewith Midian tempted Yisrael to go after their own way in debauching the very Tabernacle of meeting in Moshe and Y’hovah’s face, and to follow the gods of the Midianite wives they took way back in ch. 25 – about a week or so ago in the chronology. Bila’am had gone over completely to the enemy (v.8). What could be a worse end for a man of Y’hovah than to die in His judgment on the heathen? 

Here’s a quote from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (edited):

“All who, without commission from Yah, dare to execute private revenge, and who, from ambition, covetousness, or resentment, wage war and desolate kingdoms, must one day answer for it. But if Yah, instead of sending an earthquake, a pestilence, or a famine, be pleased to authorize and command any people to avenge his cause, such a commission surely is just and right. The Israelites could show such a commission, though no persons now can do so. Their wars (this one, anyway) were begun and carried on expressly by Y’hovah’s direction, and they were enabled to conquer by miracles. Unless it can be proved that the wicked Canaanites did not deserve their doom, objectors only prove their dislike to Yah, and their love to his enemies.”

With Y’hovah’s command, Yisrael was authorized to wipe out the Midianites. 

This brings to mind the future attack on Yisrael by the Assyrian, as seen in Yoel 2.1-11. In ch.1 Y’hovah had sent preliminary judgments (insects to destroy the crops, and thereby the economy) in an attempt to get Yehuda/Zion to repent and go after Y’hovah with all their heart. However, the destruction of our economy doesn’t seem to get our attention, so he sends the Assyrian’s armies to further emphasize the point. When the Assyrian comes against us we finally get it and call on Y’hovah’s set-apart Name for deliverance. Please note that this repentance does not come until Yoel.2.12-17, so IN CONTEXT the blowing of trumpets in Zion in v.1 is an attempt to awaken Israel from their slumber in spiritual darkness. V.9 is NOT about Israel doing exploits, but of the Assyrian’s armies’ ‘urban warfare’ tactics (think about the news reports of the multi-jurisdictional ‘training exercise’ in 7 southwest states called “Jade Helm” which is going on right now in July 2015). To bring this together with our passage in B’Midbar, the Assyrian is doing Y’hovah’s will, and His purpose will result – Yehuda and Zion will repent and call on his Name (probably just when their backs are against the wall). The blowing of the trumpet in v.15 is to tell Y’hovah that Zion is ready to repent and turn to HIS way on this solemn assembly for fasting and prayer for deliverance. During the moedim, it is to announce the Yovel, the fast of Yom Kippur, the soon assembly at Yerushalayim for the Feast of Tabernacles, and the marriage of the Bridegroom to his bride. Then (v.18 – AFTER the true repentance of Y’hovah’s people) comes judgment against the Assyrian’s army as they run in disarray to escape from before the King of kings. Though he used the Assyrian’s armies as his tool, they are still responsible for their treatment of Yisrael. (I think that unless America repents, she will be a part of the Assyrian’s armies.)

31.7-12 – We see the demise of 5 kings of Midian and Bila’am. As I stated earlier, it seems that Bila’am has forsaken Y’hovah completely and gone after the loot. The king Evi’s name (from the root avah, H183) means ‘I am covetous or lustful’, which I think probably relates to Bila’am, as well. Perhaps Bila’am has taken over Balak’s kingdom and is now known as Evi, eh? This incident brings to mind the kings of B’reishit 14, whom Avram wiped out. Do you suppose this all has to do with exile and redemption? (say facetiously) NAHH! Couldn’t be! Let’s see, the kings of the East came and took Lot captive, as the Midianites had ‘taken Yisrael captive’ with their daughters. Avi goes after the 5 kings and wipes them out to redeem Lot, as Y’hovah redeemed Yisrael by wiping out these 5 kings. Are we seeing a parallel here? 

By the way, did you notice that the 3rd king mentioned is named Zur? Remember him? He was the father of Cozbi, the Midianitish woman that Zimri took in the sight of the whole congregation of Israel in the Tent of Meeting? 

14 Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he head over a people, of a chief house in Midian. (Num.25.14-15)

Do you think he’s there to personally avenge his daughter’s death, perhaps to kill Pinchas? 

But Yisrael didn’t get the point, seemingly, since they took the women and children captive. Y’hovah’s instructions were to avenge Him on Midian – the idea being to utterly destroy Midian, and leave nothing and noone alive. The trouble we’re seeing in Lebanon and Gaza is a direct result of Yisrael NOT wiping out Midian and the Canaanites when they were told to. Have you killed or driven out Midian and Canaan from YOUR life?  There I go meddling again. I’ll rest for Q&C.

Vv.13-20 – Mo is righteously ticked! They had just had a plague where 24,000 Yisraelites had died because these women had tempted Yisrael, and here is Yisrael taking them – perhaps the very same women! –  prisoner! What were they thinking?!? Maybe, “Oh, There’s Delilah! I had a REALLY good time with her!” Unfortunately, they weren’t thinking (not with their brains, at least), or they’d have followed their orders. Mo gives the order to kill ALL the males and the women who had known any man. Only young virgin girls were to be spared, and then only as slaves – NOT WIVES. 

Then they were told to do the ritual purification and see that the girl captives were purified, as well. 2 mikvoth were performed, once on the 3rd day and again on the 7th, just like when they were defiled with a dead body. I think the requirements were the same; that failure to cleanse on the 3rd day made the same exercise on the 7th day futile? See Num.19 for these requirements.  Perhaps the 3rd day has to do with Resurrection and deliverance from sin’s consequence, and the 7th with Shabbat and deliverance from the evil inclination/sin nature?

    Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: [3] Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. (Numbers 5:2-3 KJV)

“The Israelites had to purify themselves according to the law, and to abide without the camp seven days, though they had not contracted any moral guilt, the war being just and lawful, and commanded by Eloha. Thus Eloha would preserve in their minds a dread and detestation of shedding blood. The spoil had been used by Midianites, and being now come into the possession of Israelites, it was fit that it should be purified.”ii

Vv21-24 – Those things that could go through the fire without harm would be sent through the fire, but they STILL had to go through the water of purification, the water that had been mixed with the ashes of the red heifer (ch.19). Everything had to go through the water of purification, so that nothing would defile the camp. It is getting very close to the time for their wandering to end and to enter the Promised Land. They had to wash their clothes on the 7th day and THEN they would be clean. In Rev.7.14, we see the multitudes who have ‘washed their robes’. The word robes is from G4749, stole, from G4724, stello. Stello = ‘withdraw oneself’, or set oneself apart. They needed to be set-apart unto Y’hovah in order to take the Promised Land without loss. Hence, the detailed instructions on purification and entering the camp. We are as close now as they were then.

Vv.25-47 – Why was the spoil divided differently for the fighters and the people in general? It seems obvious that the ones who put their lives in jeopardy ought to receive the lion’s share of the spoil. It was not just the amount of spoil, but the requirement of the offering that was different. The spoil was divided in half and the fighters divided their ½ 12,000 ways. The people then divided the rest equally. Here’s what Matthew Henry says:

Out of the people’s share God required one in fifty, but out of the soldiers’ share only one in five hundred. The less opportunity we have of honouring God with personal services, the more should we give in money or value.ii 

I think there is at least one other possibility – that the people in general would see (sight vice faith) that the fighters got not only a larger division of spoil, but got to keep 10x as much of their share. This would have the effect of making everyone want to participate, not just the mighty men of valour. By now, the idea must have gotten around that, as long as they stayed in fellowship and Y’hovah was fighting for them, none of their fighters even took a scratch in battle. So there was no risk, and more personal financial benefit in actually going into battle. Spiritually, even the most self-seeking person would have his faith built up by continual victory without loss of life or limb. It worked temporarily, at least. I thinki that Yehoshua had to turn away willing soldiers after this.

Vv.48-54 – Not ONE man lost in battle! This had happened once before, and would happen again in Yericho. The men had the right attitude, which probably helped in the Yericho ‘battle’. They humbly offered a freewill offering en masse in gratitude for Y’hovah’s watchfulness and protection over them. This ought to be our attitude, as well, in our victories, for it is NOT we who win, but Y’hovah through us. Q&C

Yeremeyahu 4.2 – The website has a one line comment on our Haftarah for today, “The haftarah portion refers to swearing “in truth, in justice, and in righteousness.”” While that is true as far as it goes, taken in context it tells us that we can not swear ‘in truth, justice and righteousness’ until we have fully repented and are following after Y’hovah’s ways and not our own. In fact, v.4 ties us more closely to our Torah portion in that it is a command to be set-apart unto Y’hovah by circumcising our hearts after breaking up the fallow ground. Fallow ground is that which has not been planted for a long while. It has become hard and resistant to seed. When we break up the fallow ground, it will initially clump. These clumps must also be disked and then plowed into rows before it can be planted. It takes a lot of work to make fallow ground fit for planting. But once the work is done and the ground is softened and fertilized, it will effortlessly bring forth a wonderful harvest. Q&C

Tehillim 116 – The connection, according to is in v.14, where we pay our vows to Y’hovah. But there is much more here that ties us to both the Torah and haftarah. It seems that keyed on the vows and forgot the 2nd chapter of Torah for today. 

We see a connection to Yeremeyahu in vv.2-9, where the Psalmist testifies to Y’hovah’s faithfulness and his response to that faithfulness. This is also connected to my secondary application of vv.25-47, where the general population saw the benefit to fighting for the land and Y’hovah and was grateful for his provision.

Vv.7-14 connect us back to the 2nd chapter of today’s Torah portion, where the fighters went out and found they had taken no casualties, and where they had to purify themselves and their booty, including the girl servants, in 2 mikvot on the 3rd (Resurrection) and 7th (glorification and rest) days. 

V.15 speaks to why there were no casualties. The lives of Yah’s saints are especially precious to him. We will find out how precious in the time of trouble to come. Q&C

Matt.5.33-37 – It would seem at first glance that Yeshua is contradicting Torah here. But nothing could be further from the truth. Our Torah portion for today did not COMMAND us to make oaths. It only gave guidelines for us if we DO make one, and made provision for the head of the family to veto any agreement made by one under his authority in a timely fashion. Yeshua teaches us to AVOID making an oath, because then the Torah applies and MUST be followed. He tells us that our character should be such that noone who knows us would ever require an oath of us. We should be known as scrupulously honest in all we say and do. 

Vv.38-42 – Yeshua quotes a portion of a verse out of context, like most people do (Hosea 4.6 comes to mind as an especially egregious example), to point out the hypocrisy of doing so. Here’s the entire verse (first mention) with its context:  

    [18] And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: [19] If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. 

    [20] And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. [21] Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. 

    [22] If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. [23] And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, [24] Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, [25] Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:18-25 KJV)

The contextual point is that there must be an appropriate judgment against the perpetrator of the injustice or loss, which is EXACTLY what Yeshua was saying here. He was NOT abolishing Torah, but applying it. This passage can be seen as Yeshua answering the objections of a man who had made a deal with a woman, but her father or husband had vetoed the agreement, thus causing a loss in the first man’s eyes. There was no actual loss, only a perceived one – and that perhaps by both parties to the agreement, and so there could be no eye for eye, tooth for tooth application.

Vv.43-48 – Yeshua was probably commenting on this very Torah portion that we saw today, for everything ties to it so well. In our portion, Israel was commanded to attack and destroy Midian. Midian had made itself Y’hovah’s enemy by trying to destroy his relationship with his bride. Therefore Midian had become Israel’s enemy. However, Yeshua was teaching a group of individuals, mostly of Judah, who hated the Ephraimite Samaritans and considered them enemies. His ministry was to seek and to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [Mat.15.24]

The hatred the Yehudim had for Ephraim had to stop, or they could never perform the final command Yeshua gives in our passage, 

Matthew 5:48 (KJV)  

    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

Perfect is translated from the G5046, teleios, complete. I think teleios corresponds to H259, echad, which means not absolute singularity, but unity. In Devarim 6.4 we read:

Shema, Israel; Y’hovah Elohenu, Y’hovah echad. 

Y’hovah is one, but there is a subject/object relationship between Y’hovah Abba, who is Ruach haKodesh, and Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. We are to be like that with our brethren; one in spirit but with a physical subject/object difference. It WILL be this way, as seen in countless scriptures. Here are just two of them:

    The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. (Isaiah 11:13 KJV)

    When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. (Zech. 9:13 KJV)

That will be a great and glorious day! HalleluYah! Even so, Come quickly, Y’hovah Yeshua. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study