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)
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.