Shabbat Bible Study for February 23, 2019
©2019 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 – Shabbat 3 Adar Alef
Num 19:1-22; Eze 36:16-38; Psalm 109; 1 John 1:1-10
B’Midbar 19 – speaks of the red heifer and the rites appertaining thereto. There doesn’t seem to be an age requirement, only that it be without blemish and never have had a yoke on her neck. Webster tells us it is a “young cow”, so it is a female. Webster also tells us it is a yearling, which means it is at least a year old, but not yet 2. I infer this to mean that the red cow would likely show white hairs after her 2nd birthday. In Judges 14 it speaks of a man plowing with another man’s heifer, or, working a man toward a desired end by using his wife to convince (or, in Samson’s case, NAG [v.17]) him to do it. The heifer was taken without the camp and slain before the priest, who would take of her blood and sprinkle it 7x before the tent of the congregation (into which the congregation was NOT allowed to go – only priests). She was then burnt entirely with the priest adding hyssop and cedar wood and scarlet to the fire. The priest would wash his clothes and himself and be unclean until evening. Then a third clean man would gather up the ashes and store them in a clean place for the people to use for waters of sanctification, for the purification of sin. All 3 men were unclean until the evening AFTER a mikvah. Schottenstein’s Chumash has excellent prefatory notes on pg.133.
This parsha is called “Chukath” – Decrees. Y’hovah’s Chukath are things that he said that don’t make sense to us puny humans. For instance, the red heifer is burned by the 12 tribal elders of the people before the priest (I assume this is the case, since the KJV is very clear that it is the people who do this, using the 2nd person plural pronoun, ‘ye’, when Moshe and Aharon are speaking to B’nei Yisrael), and the act makes the elders unclean until they do a mikvah and then await the evening offering. The priest officiating (NOT the Kohen Gadol, but his deputy) adds hyssop, cedar and scarlet wool and is also contaminated, needing to do a mikvah and await the evening offering. Then a 3rd man or group of men gathers the ashes of the red heifer and takes them to a clean place without the camp, after which he also must mikvah and await the evening offering. All of this was done to create the additive to the water of purification. Everyone acting to create the additive is contaminated by that action, but the ashes added to the water would allow purification of that which would be sprinkled by the water. It doesn’t make sense to us. This is the nature of a chukah. The fact that the decree does not make sense does not mean that we can ignore it or not obey it, any more than our inability to understand the truth makes the truth less true. We obey the chukim/decrees because Y’hovah commanded us to.
The Hebrew root of heifer is parah, from the root (H6565) parar פרר, ‘to separate out parts’. It is used 22 times and usually is xlated as kine or cow, but 6 times KJV has heifer, 5 times in Num.19 and once in Hosea 4. Stone’s Tanakh xlates it ‘cow’ all 22 times it is used. The water of separation, made with the ashes of the red heifer, were used to sanctify the vessels of the tabernacle, the basins and such that were used in the Mishkan service. Application of the ‘heifer water’ was by sprinkling from a sprig of hyssop. W/o the red heifer, there could be no approach to Y’hovah’s presence. Until just a few years ago, there had not been a red heifer in Israel in almost 2000 years. There is still question about the kosher nature of the red heifer that they did breed. How many NON-red hairs will make it unfit for use? 2? 10? Even 1? With the breeding of the red heifer and assuming that it is kosher, the vessels can be purified and the actual practice of Hebrew Torah observance can once again take place – if they had a tabernacle to work in. TSK has this interesting note on the red heifer;
The following curious particulars have been remarked in this ordinance:
1. A heifer was appointed for sacrifice, in opposition to the Egyptian superstition, which held these sacred, and worshipped their goddess Isis under this form; and this appears the more likely, because males only were chosen for sacrifice. So Herodotus says, they sacrifice males, both old and young; but it is not lawful for them to offer females.
2. It was to be a red heifer, because the Egyptians sacrificed red bulls to the evil demon Typhon.
3. It was to be without spot, having no mixture of any other colour. Plutarch says, the Egyptians “sacrifice red bulls, and select them with such scrupulous attention, that if the animal has a single black or white hair, they reckon it αθυτον, unfit to be sacrificed.”
4. Without blemish. (See note on Lev 22:21.)
5. On which never came yoke. Because an animal which had been used for a common purpose was deemed improper for sacrifice.
I believe the necessary vessels and tabernacle are already available. It’s the Mount being closed to Jews that’s keeping it from occurring, though they COULD go up to Shiloh in Ephraim, West Bank, where Y’hovah’s Name – יהוה – is actually written in the earth. I saw a satellite photo of it on line a number of years ago, and I am having trouble finding it now. It may have been taken down. The Hebrew letters יהוה were clearly seen in the satellite photo in the shadows of the hills.
Vv.11ff show one use of the water of separation. If a man touched a dead body, he was unclean for 7 days. On the 3rd day, he would purify himself w/water of separation and on the 7th day, after another sprinkling, he would be clean. Why the wait? Perhaps the separation on the 3rd day has to do with resurrection and clean on the 7th has to do with Sabbath rest? Good possibilities. Does the 3rd day mean the 3rd day after the defilement or the 3rd day of the week? I’m curious what Rashi has to say about it. It says in v.12 that if he was not separated on the 3rd day he was not cleansed on the 7th. THIS gives some credence to the assertion that if one does not believe in the resurrection of the dead, one is not purified for the Kingdom.
It did not have to be a priest who sprinkled the water on the people and vessels; any clean man could do it. The clean man who is doing the sprinkling becomes unclean until evening after the required mikvah, because he touched the water of separation, though he did not have to be sprinkled with the water first (more evidence of a chukah). I assume that each person who needed to be sprinkled would have to find a clean man willing to sprinkle him. Both would remain unclean until evening. Q&C
Yechezkel 36.16-38 – The first 15 verses of this chapter show us that in the same way that Israel had to be cleansed of defilement from the ‘golden calf’ by sprinkling with the ‘water of separation’, so will Aretz Israel have to be cleansed from its defilement by the people of Israel when they went their own way instead of Y’hovah’s Way. They had shed blood on the land in making offerings to idols and so they had to be put ‘outside the camp’ and the land now needed to be washed clean. V.17 speaks of ‘the uncleanness of a removed woman’. Dahekizzat? MAYBE
And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even. 23 And if it on bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she unclean. 26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. 27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even. 28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 30 And the priest shall offer the one a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before Y’hovah for the issue of her uncleanness. 31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that among them. 32 This the law of him that hath an issue, and whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; 33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean. [Lev.15.19-33]
But we are all as an unclean and all our righteousnesses as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. [YeshaYahu 64.6]
Y’hovah sees the uncleanness of the woman with an unusual issue of blood as if it were like idolatry, or perhaps the unclean issue is a punishment FOR idolatry. This might shed light on the woman with the 12-year issue of blood in Lk.8. Let’s also look at the 2 verses immediately preceding the woman with the 12 year issue, as it MAY also shed light on that passage.
And, behold, there came a man named Yair, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Yeshua’s feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Yeshua said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Yeshua said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Yeshua heard he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit [breath] came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
These 2 seemingly distinct occurrences are linked, IM[not so]HO, by the 12 years, which I think links us back to the Torah portion and its reason for being; namely, Israel’s idolatry of the golden calf at the foot of Sinai. If the rabbis are correct that the red heifer was for cleansing the defilement Israel received because they bowed before the golden calf and called it Y’hovah, perhaps the woman with the issue and all the people who were defiled by the woman with the issue of blood were cleansed by the water of separation; that water being made the water of separation by the ashes of the red heifer, then does it not possibly follow that the woman with the issue in Luke 8 had been guilty of idolatry? She had tried everything shy of confession and repentance, which I think is typified by her resorting to going to Yeshua for her cleansing, but on the ‘down low’. The 12 years comes into play because 12 tribes had participated in the worship of the golden calves; only Levi refraining; and that shows that chol Yisrael can make the same approach to and through Y’hovah Yeshua, who is the antitype to the red heifer. Let’s see if there are any other links we can make from this haftarah to the Torah parsha or the Brith Chadasha. Q&C
V.21 shows us that it was the pity Y’hovah took for his Name’s sake, which was dragged through the mud by Israel’s idolatry, and the subsequent judgment Y’hovah brought against them in and through their captivity. Therefore, in vv.22-23, Adonai Y’hovah told Zeke to tell Israel that he was going to show both Israel and their captors the power and Set-Apartness of his Name by bringing judgment against Israel’s captors for their profanation of his Name.
Then he switches gears in vv.24, saying that he will bring Israel out of the nations, presumably as idolaters still [which the majority of Israelis are today], and deliver them to Israel, perhaps as ‘secular Jews’ and ‘political Zionists’. But in v.25 he begins to show what he will eventually do for these Israeli idolaters. He will do exactly what he did for Israel in the wilderness; sprinkle them with clean water of separation to cleanse them of the sin of idolatry. He will also give them a new heart [v.26] like the one Yeshua gave to the woman with the 12 year issue. He will use that water of separation to remove the stoney heart and replace it with a fleshy one. And he will put his own Ruach in them [v.27], as Yeshua did for Yair’s daughter, reviving them to lovers of Y’hovah who will prove their love by keeping his commandments.
V.28 he begins to refer to the Millennial Kingdom, but also to the present day nation of Israel, for even in its lack of fealty to Him and his commandments, he still blesses her for the fathers’ sakes. Yisrael SHALL be his people and He will be their Eloha. He promises physical multiplicity, the mark of obedience, in vv.29-30. And it seems as though the result of that physical multiplicity will be Israel’s realization that it has been wicked and she repents, for he cleanses them of ALL their uncleannesses. But why does he say that he will ‘call for the corn [grain; barley, wheat, etc; grasses] and increase it, and lay no famine upon you’? Obviously he implies [or at least I infer] that SOME one is experiencing famine. If my opinion is correct that this refers to the Millennial Kingdom, the only people who will be experiencing famine of grasses/kernels will be those who refuse to make aliyah for the Feast of Sukkoth – and probably for the 2nd time.
16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Y’hovah Tzavaoth, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, whoso will not come up of the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Y’hovah Tzavaoth, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not [aliyah], that there shall be the plague, wherewith Y’hovah will smite the heathen that come not up [make aliyah] to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. [ZecharYahu 14.16-19]
What were the plagues that struck Egypt? Hail to destroy the barley that was in the ear and then Locusts to destroy the wheat and other grain grasses.
The blessings on Israel continue in v.30 where he grants even MORE physical multiplicity to her, even in her unbelief. Perhaps the famine that comes on Egypt and the nations that refuse to make aliyah to Chag haSukkoth awakens Israel to her need to repent, for v.31 says that she remembers her sinful ways, loathes her own walk in idolatry and disdain for Y’hovah’s Way and does repent and start to walk in it.
And WHY does Adonai Y’hovah bring this physical multiplicity to his people in their land [vv.32-34], even before she turns from her own way and unto His Way? For His Land’s sake! He didn’t just promise the Patriarchs the land, but he promised haAretz that His People would dwell in it and care for it.
He commands the house of Israel [just Ephraim? or BOTH houses?] to be ashamed and confounded for her ways.
42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. 43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. 44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I Y’hovah Elohehem. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be Elohehem: I Y’hovah. [Lev.26.42-45]
Those same heathen that watched Y’hovah bring Israel out of Egypt and deliver them to the Promised Land in the ancient Exodus will notice that He is blessing his land with Israel again in vv.35-36. The transformation the heathen see baAretz, in the Land, in v.35 will witness to them of the power and majesty of Y’hovah, who does this for Israel; both the people and the land in v.36.
In vv.37-38, Y’hovah likens Israel to the flock of J’lem that was kept in BethLechem and from which the Pesach Lamb was selected each year, the flock whose shepherds came to witness the arrival of Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiach. Truly Yeshua and Yisrael are inextricably linked. Y’hovah will increase, give physical multiplicity, to Yisrael as his set-apart flock and will show it to the world in the return of the King and of the cities that had lain waste. Q&C
Tehellim 109 – This is a perfect example of an imprecatory psalm. David prays down judgment on his enemies who hate Y’hovah and his servants. The enemy in this psalm, I think, is Absalom. V.4 says that because David loves Y’hovah they are his adversaries – yis-tenuniy – satan, even though he has prayed for them. So he asks that Satan be the right hand of their adversary. Imprecation is very often Y’hovah’s will for us. Yiremyahu, Yeshayahu, and Yechezkel all prayed against Y’hovah’s enemies who were within the camp, often the priests of Judah who were sucking up to the king to gain political power. David does the same here in vv.6-20. V.8 is my prayer for the American President, regardless who he is, until the President turns from his wickedness and to the righteousness of Y’hovah.
In vv.21ff, David asks Y’hovah’s blessing on himself. In v.21 he says Y’hovih Adonai, which is the appellation of the Divine Name that Encompasses all 3 of the major titles of the Almighty Ain Sof; YHWH is vowel pointed as is Elohim and then he is called my Master. In v.26, David addresses Abba as Y’hovah Elohaiy. I know for certain that the ending on Eloha makes that personal – MY Master, MY Mighty one.
Vv.28ff, make it clear that David isn’t worried about their cursing if Y’hovah is blessing him. ‘Let them curse me, as long as you bless me. No matter what they do or say, I will Bless Y’hovah.’ When David says ‘the poor’, he is speaking of the poor in spirit, not necessarily the financially poor. When Yeshua said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, this is who he was talking about, those who are not necessarily after monetary riches, but the richness of the Ruach of Y’hovah and HIS Kingdom.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
1Yochanan 1.1-10 – Yochanan puts his own imprint on this letter immediately by saying ‘the beginning’ – B’reishith, as he did when he opened his besorah, ‘gospel’. The Aramaic primacy of Yochanan’s writings is very apparent, as Andrew Gabriel Roth makes abundantly clear in note 2 (on pg.650) of the Aramaic-English New Testament. The Word of Life is none other than Mashiyach Yeshua, as Yochanan has pointed out both here and in his witness to the good news by which we know that we can be made partakers of the Shema and made one with Avinu through the shed blood of our Mashiyach Yeshua. Yochanan tells us in v.2 that the eternal life of Yeshua was with Avinu and manifested in Mashiyach to Yochanan and the other Shlichim (is that right?), Peter, James, Sha’ul, etc – the ‘we’ of v.1. It looks as if Yochanan was writing for a group, or perhaps that what he wrote was checked or approved by a group, even as was the letter sent from Yerushalayim to the kehalim in the nations in Acts.15.19-28. Perhaps it was the same group of zechanim and shlichim. The fellowship Yochanan refers to is the outworking of the echad nature of Y’hovah, the ultimate goal of our halacha, and the ultimate truth of the gospel – Y’hovah wants us to be echad with him, and has made the way himself in the life of Mashiyach Yeshua (Gen.22.8 KJV). And even at that, the revelation that Yochanan had was only a small part of all there is to understand about our Master Yeshua haMashiyach. He said what we understand OF him, which tells me Yochanan knew he’d merely scratched the surface of the Truth that will unfold to us when we see him as he is.
Yochanan just loved the account of Creation, it seems, because he is always alluding to it. Here he goes to the first thing Y’hovah created ex nihilo – light. In fact, it CAN be said to be the ONLY thing he formed ex nihilo, if you want to, because it can be shown via Einstein’s famous equation e = mc2, that all matter is a condensation of light energy. To show this in reverse, think of nuclear fission, where a hydrogen atom is split in two by a charged neutron. The original atom has a known mass, or weight. When the atom is split in 2, the weight of the 2 resulting atoms is slightly less than the weight of the original. The difference is the radiated energy that is used to heat the water into steam to drive the turbines for electrical generation, or to sustain the reaction in an explosion. All radiation is light in motion, whether that light is visible or not. The visible spectrum is a very tiny fraction of the total light spectrum. And what does Yochanan say in v.5? Elohim is light and in him is no darkness at all. IOW, Elohim is the full spectrum of light. He makes everything manifest by his light, both in a physical and in a metaphorical sense. If we have no physical light, we are blind – in the dark. If we have no spiritual light, we cannot comprehend Y’hovah’s truth and our hearts are full of darkness. When his spirit is at work in us, we are able to ‘see’ or understand things in his Word that may not be apparent in the words written on the page, as I think I have with some of the inferences I’ve drawn in our Studies of his Toroth. That is not to say that light is Elohim, for it certainly is not. But when he formed light, he was manifesting and explaining himself in a way that we could understand, and by his light we can ‘see’ his truth. Look at Is.45.7;
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Y’hovah do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
When he said he ‘formed’ light, he was saying that he gave it shape, as it were, or made it so it would be apparent to the matter he would shape from it, and as a consequence something came to be that had never existed before – darkness, or the absence of light. Before he ‘condensed’ the light into physical matter, there was no darkness because there was nothing physical to get in the way of the light to cast a shadow. As we remove our man-made traditions and dogmas from our thinking, it allows the light of his Truth to shine into us, through us and out from us.
In v.6 remember that fellowship with him is oneness with him, we internalize his Word in us and begin to let the Light of his Word shine through us. But if we walk in darkness, don’t do what his Word says (starve our inclination to good) OR do what his Word forbids (feed our inclination to evil), we make ourselves liars and prove that the truth has no place in us. I used to think this was right – that it didn’t matter how I lived my life, as long as I’d said the ‘sinner’s prayer’, I was going to be in the Kingdom. Look at how v.8 amplifies v.6. If we say our sins are gone, but have our halacha in darkness, we lie to ourselves and really care nothing for the truth. But even worse is how v.10 amplifies 6&8. If we say that we haven’t sinned we make HIM a liar, and the truth isn’t a part of us.
But if we walk in the spiritual light of his Word of Truth, as he IS that light, we will be echad with each other as Mashiyach and his Abba are echad, and we will also be echad with Y’hovah. And that Word of Truth will enlighten our minds to any sin in our lives so that we can repent of it and confess it to Avinu, applying Mashiyach Yeshua’s blood to it, washing it away as with the water of purification so we can get back to living in his True Light, and reenter the camp. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study