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Shabbat Bible Study for May 26, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for May 26, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

B’Midbar 19.1-20.13, No Prophet, Tehillim 109, Yochanan 20


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. 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 parshah is called “Chukath” – Decrees. Yhwh’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 ‘apprentice’) 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/they 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 Yhwh commanded us to.

The Hebrew root of heifer is Hey, Resh, Pe (H6510). 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 or Temple to work in. 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 Yhwh’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. 

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 a 2nd 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 if he was not separated on the 3rd day he was not cleansed on the 7th.

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 

B’Midbar 20 – Here they are in the 1st month in Kadesh, where Miriam died. Was this the 2nd year out of Egypt, or the 40th? I lean toward ‘no,’ though I have no evidence to back me up. I think it was neither the 2nd nor 40th. All we really know is that Miriam died sometime after Shavuoth of year one and before Sukkoth of year 40. I lean toward 38 or 39 years after the Exodus, mainly due to what comes up later in the passage. And it says she died, not that she slept. I don’t know if we die and our souls/beings go to paradise, or if our flesh sleeps and our spirits go to Y’hovah to await the resurrection of the body. But the KJV seems to lean toward die/paradise for believers and sleep/wait for unbelievers. Again, it’s an I think versus an I know, so I won’t be dogmatic about it. You think what Yah is leading you to think. As far as I’m personally concerned, it doesn’t matter. One way or another, the next thing I’m going to know after I croak is that I am in Yeshua’s presence never to leave him again. That’s enough for me. 

The next verse tells us that we were right back to complaining [this is the Meribah rebellion] to Moshe and blaming him for the weather and lack of moisture. Actually, we were using Moshe and Aharon as our whipping boys because we couldn’t lay a glove on Y’hovah, with whom we were really mad. But Mo took it personally. And who can blame him, really. He’d just lost his sister and we started in on him without so much as a, “We’re sorry for your loss, bro.” When Y’hovah commanded Moshe to take the rod and speak to the Rock, he grabbed the rod, smacked it against the Rock twice and said, “Shall WE fetch water out of this Rock?” The water came gushing out of the Rock in anticipation of John 7.37-38, 

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. [38] He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38 (KJV)

However, Y’hovah was ticked at Moshe and Aharon for the 2 smacks and the use of the 1st person plural, as if THEY were bringing the water out of the Rock. In this 8-word speech, Moshe became something other than meek, and the pride of that moment cost him dearly. He would not lead us into Canaan and Aharon wouldn’t either. (Chumash, pg.139, note on v.8; THE Rock)

Notice in v.11 the rod of Y’hovah became Moshe’s rod once more. From Exodus 4.20 until now it was the rod of Y’hovah, but now it is Moshe’s rod. I think this shows the pride that manifested in Moshe for which he was punished. This is the only time in the entire journey that he manifested anything other than a Messiah-like attitude.  Q&C

In v.14 Moshe sends messengers to the Edomite king to ask permission to use his sidewalk. He promises that they won’t harm anything and that they’ll pay for any water their cattle might drink. Edom said, “If you use my sidewalk, I’ll send my whole family out to meet you (kinda like the Hatfields and McCoys). So rather than fight with their brother Esau, Jacob went the long way round.

First stop was Mount Hor, where Aharon was gathered to his fathers. Here is where we are told that Aharon was in the Meribah rebellion with Moshe. I believe the rebellion there was bitter (Meribah = bitter strife) to Y’hovah because as a result he had to keep Moshe and Aharon out of the Promised Land. Did you notice that Moshe does exactly what Y’hovah tells him, as he had before the Meribah incident? The text seems to reflect an attitude on Moshe like a whipped pup. He definitely learned his lesson, and who knows, perhaps he could get Y’hovah to repent of his banishment from haAretz. 

So Moshe, Aharon and Elazar went up onto Mt. Hor, Moshe removed the High Priest’s attire from Aharon and put it on Elezar. Then Aharon died on the mountaintop. It was the Kadosh Ruach of the priest’s office that kept Aharon alive, for as soon as the mantle was passed, he died. He had full control of all his faculties until the moment of his death at the age of 123 (Num.33.39). This was the norm in the patriarchs and all those who were after Y’hovah’s heart. I pray it is the norm in our lives, as well. It will be if we follow hard on the footsteps of Mashiyach. Like Miriam, Aharon didn’t ‘sleep’. He died. In the case of believers, I think the whole ‘sleeping’ thing is an exercise in phenomenal, or apparent, language, like the words ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’, neither of which describes the actual truth, but the appearance of the truth. 

So, it looks like Moshe lost both his elder sibs in the space of a week or so. That may not be right, though. The timing was not what Y’hovah was interested in conveying so much as the lessons we need to learn from the incidents. Moshe was the meekest man ever to walk the earth (with the exception of Yeshua), except for the Meribah incident. His momentary pride cost him what he held dearest in the earth – to go into the Promised Land. From then on, he was very meek once more (though there will be a few ‘passing the buck’ moments).

How many moves had Yisrael made to this point? According to Num.33.38, they had moved 34 times and it had been 40 years and 4 months from Egypt. In all, from Egypt to Jericho they moved 42 times. I counted in Num.33.5-48 once and the number seemed significant enough for me to remember. ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ jumps out for some reason. Q&C

Ezekiel 44.29 – ‘They’ is speaking of “the Priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok”, as that is the last 3rd person plural noun named in v.15. Beginning there this whole chapter speaks of them, the priests who stayed faithful to Yhwh when all the rest of Israel and Yehudah went astray (like Xianity Today, which is why I’ve been calling that magazine for over 25 years, “Xianity Astray”). In Yehudah’s history, Zadok and Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, were the priests while David was king and at the time that Absalom’s rebellion took place. Zadok wanted to leave Yerushalayim with David, but David told him he’d rather that Zadok stay behind and be an [worst haughty Monty Python French accent here] ‘agent provocateur’, to give Absalom conflicting advice as that of Ahimelech and also to keep his ears open and send his son as his messenger to David (2Sam.15), so that he’d know Absalom’s plans.  

Tehillim 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. Yeremeyahu, Yeshayahu, and Yechezkel all prayed against Y’hovah’s enemies who were within the camp, often the priests of Yehudah 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 Yhwh.

In vv.21ff, David asks Y’hovah’s blessing on himself. In v.21 he says Y’hovih Adonai. I’m no Hebrew scholar, but I think the long ‘e’ vowel under the vav makes that say ‘my Y’hovah’. In v.26, David addresses Abba as Y’hovah Elohai. I know for certain that the ending on Eloha makes that personal – 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 Eloha, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)


Yochanan 20v.1 destroys the ‘sunrise service’ of the church, doesn’t it? How can they hold a sunrise service when he was already out of the grave ‘while it was yet dark’? From my weekly bible study in the life of Messiah (a 5+ year ordeal):

241b). In Mat.28.1 we have an interesting turn of phrase that the TBSL (Thompson Bible Software Library – my outline is the harmony of the gospels there) editors left out. It says, “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” It was still the Sabbath when the Marys went to the sepulcher. It says ‘as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.’ The Sabbath ends at sundown on Saturday, not at sunup of Sunday, so they were going out to the tomb BEFORE or just after sundown. W1828 has this definition for dawn, 

“4.  To begin to open or appear.” 

So dawn doesn’t merely refer to sunrise of a day, but the beginning or opening of anything. Strong’s G2020 is the greek word used, which means “to begin to dawn, to draw on.” So the end of the Sabbath was drawing on toward the first day of the week. Sundown was approaching. As they drew near the sepulcher, there was an earthquake.

They were coming to SEE the sepulcher. They were not necessarily coming to anoint Yeshua’s body at this time, but possibly to assure Mary Magdelene of the location, planning to come out ‘while it was yet dark’ (Jn.20.1) the following morning.

If I am correct about the timing there wouldn’t be time or light enough to do the anointing that evening. I think this shows they were just making sure of the tomb’s location so they could start out early next morning as the sun began to rise. 

V.9 says they as yet didn’t know the scripture about Yeshua rising from the dead. Of course, he’d told them about it on more than one occasion (Mk.8.31, 9.12, Lk.9.22), but they were unable to comprehend it. This is good, because Satan didn’t comprehend it either. Had he, he’d have done all in his power to STOP the crucifixion. There is no pashat prophecy of Mashiyach rising from the dead. There is a hint to the prophetic, sod level in Ps.16.10,

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Since Ps.16 is a Psalm of David, he is saying that Yhwh would not leave his soul in hell, but for David to call himself Yhwh’s Holy One would be the height of effrontery. After the resurrection, this is probably one of the scriptures Yeshua used to open the eyes of the talmidim on the Emmaus road. It took the event to make the psalm recognizable in its Messianic, prophetic nature. The remez is often not easily seen until AFTER the events it hints at.

At first, Mary didn’t recognize Yeshua when she spoke with him, thinking he was a gardener. But when he spoke her name, she recognized him. Again, from my weekly study:

Mary turned twice in this passage. First she turned to face Yeshua (v.14), and then, while she was looking at him, he spoke her name and she turned herself again (v.16). I think the second turn was NOT physical, but spiritual and emotional, for she recognized who he was. The joy must have been like an Almond Joy, indescribably delicious. 

Yeshua told her not to touch him for he had not yet ascended to his father. I think this is because he was about to go do the high priestly chore of offering the firstfruits wave offering on the morrow after the weekly sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which also began the ‘counting of the omer’ to the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost. This wave offering was of the ‘firstfruits of the dead’, men who had risen with him and appeared to many in the city. 

Mat.27:52-53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, [53] And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” 

He needed to be ritually pure to do that, so he could not come in contact with anyone first … That afternoon or evening he was ASKING to be handled by anyone who didn’t believe he was really there, that he was an apparition. The reason Yeshua would not let Mary touch him in our passage had NOTHING to do with her sex. It had everything to do with his duty as the new “high priest after the order of Melchizedek” and the Bikkurim wave offering he was about to perform.

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Ps.110.4

6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Heb.5.6, 10

20 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Heb, 6.20

11 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) Heb. 7.11, 17, 21. 


That evening, he appeared to ten of his talmidim in the place where they hid from the Iuaidoi, the leaders of the Jewish religion. He didn’t knock or open the door. He didn’t walk through the wall. He was just there. In his resurrected body, he was able to do what no human had done since Adam’s fall – he traveled at the speed of thought. His existence was no longer limited by time, space and matter (a condition he must have found extremely frustrating, at least I would). He now exists outside of time and space and can insert himself anywhere and anywhen. It is for that reason that I think that both the Angel of Y’hovah who spoke to Avraham at Mamre a few days before Sedom and gAmorrah got toasted and the one who appeared face to face with Ya’acov, Moshe, Y’hoshua and others was the resurrected Yeshua. I have no proof, only speculation and educated guesses. But the hypothetical is possible, given what he did that evening.

When Thomas was in the room 8 nights later (maybe he had to work the drive-thru window at Hardee’s every evening after the 1st day), Yeshua appeared again in the same manner. When Tom saw it with his own eyes, he finally accepted the truth of Yeshua’s resurrection. Peter alludes to this in his 1st epistle.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (KJV)  

    Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master Yeshua haMashiyach, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Yeshua haMashiyach from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of Elohim through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Yeshua haMashiyach: [8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: [9] Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 

What is all this stuff about remitting sins and retaining sins? Is this ability limited to ministers or priests? W1828 says this under ‘remit’;

  1. To pardon, as a fault or crime. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them. John 20.

Do you have power to remit all my sins? No! And neither does anyone other than Yhwh. You have power to remit my sins against YOU, or to retain them if I refuse to repent after attempts at reconciliation. That is all that says. I do not stand in Y’hovah’s stead in the forgiveness of all your sins, and neither does anyone else. Only Y’hovah can ultimately forgive my sins or yours, RC dogma notwithstanding. 

Yeshua did many wonderful miracles in the presence of his talmidim. We are told about only a few, because the oceans aren’t large enough to hold the ink, nor is the sky broad enough to receive the script of all the mighty works he’s done since he created the universes with a word from his mouth. 

V.31 gives us the whole purpose of the besorah of Yochanan – to tell you enough that you can believe that Yeshua is Mashiyach, the Son of the Living Eloha to the end of your obtaining eternal life by eating the Bread of Life, drinking the Water of Life and experiencing the Spirit of Life. IOW, so you could choose life – Yeshua who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  

    I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deut. 30:19 (KJV)

L’Chaim! To LIFE!   Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study


Shabbat Bible Study for May 19, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for May 19, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 10 

Numbers 17:1 – 18:24 – Ezekiel 44:15 – Psalm 108 – Hebrews 5:1-6:3


B’Midbar 17.1- – There is no break in the action from ch.16. The plague has just been stayed by Aharon’s quick obedience to Moshe and the faithfulness of Elohim. Y’hovah is going to show the elders of all the tribes who his chosen vessels are and which tribe would have the service in the Mishkan. The elders of each tribe were to bring their walking sticks to the Mishkan, after having written his name on it. Each gave his rod to Moshe, who then took them into the Mishkan to lay before Y’hovah on this side of the veil. The next morning, Moshe brought out the rods and all were as they had been the day before EXCEPT Aharon’s, whose rod had budded, brought forth buds, flowers AND almonds. Then Y’hovah ordered Moshe to bring the budded rod back into the Mishkan for safe-keeping. There are interesting notes in Schottenstein’s Chumash on pp.124-125. We see this in Heb.9

3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. [Heb.9.3-5]

The people were afraid to come near the Mishkan [vv.12-13] for fear of another plague breaking out and they all dying. So Y’hovah made provision in …

B’Midbar 18.1 – What does it mean that Aharon and his sons and his father’s house shall “bear the iniquity” of the sanctuary and their priesthood? Schottenstein’s Chumash has a pretty good explanation on ‘bearing iniquity’ [associated with] your priesthood” on pg.125. Sounds OK, but I don’t buy it as the ultimate understanding. 

Now, I am a lover of the ‘law of first mention’ when interpreting scripture, so let’s look at the use of that phrase from its first use in Ex.28.38. 

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Kodesh LaY’hovah. 37 And thou shalt put it on a techayleth lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. 38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before Adonai.

How can the Kodesh things, the very things Y’hovah has ordered Moshe to have Betzale’el and Aholiav make to exacting specifications and then set apart unto himself, bear any iniquity? Isn’t iniquity Torahlessness? What Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon says of H5771, avon in this passage in Ex.28.38 is that Aharon bears, as in carries away, the iniquity of others. Seems that every accoutrement the High Priest wears in some way supports his being the one who carries the iniquity of those for whom he offers an offering so that that offerer is accepted in the High Priest’s mediation before Y’hovah. The High Priest, Aharon in our passage, carries away the iniquities of the offerer and transfers his “Kodeshiness” to the offerer: in exactly the same manner as our Mediator, Y’hovah Yeshua, transfers iniquity from, and holiness to, us. Aharon then offers the offerer’s animal as the substitutionary atonement for the iniquity that he carries FOR the offerer. Noone but the Kohen Gadol was allowed to offer on the altar of burnt offering. If anyone else, from another Kohathite to any other Levite [vv.2-3a] to just a guy from the 12 Tribes in the outer camp tried to approach the altar, he was TOAST – he literally bore his own iniquity, as Sha’ul explains in Rom.6.23a

For the wages of sin is death, …

The other Kohanim and Levi’im were to ‘shamar’ the Tabernacle from anyone of the 12 tribes getting too close, so that they would not ‘bear their own iniquity’ to Y’hovah and receive their wages. This was probably why Korach went into the pit with Dathan and Eliav; he didn’t guard the inner circle, like he should have. He fraternized with the Reuvenim. Meanwhile, v.3b says it was the Kohen Gadol and his family’s job to shamar the Mishkan and the Kodesh Kadashim from the other Kohanim. 

v.4 says that the Levi’im were all to help the Kohen Gadol in any way they could to shamar the tabernacle precincts. No Yisraelite not of the tribe of Levi was to come further into the Tabernacle area than the brazen altar, where he would slaughter the animal to be offered [these are freewill, sin and thanksgiving offerings] and take what was not Y’hovah’s or the Kohanim’s portion home and prepare it for the party. All this was done, according to v.5 so that there would be no more plagues in the camp of Yisrael.

Vv.6-7 are direct instructions to the Kohanim to guard their office. Anyone other than a Kohen of Amram’s house to come near the Mishkan was a ger and his life was forfeit. In light of this and that the charge to shamar the Mishkan was given to Aharon uv’nei Aharon, do you think Y’hovah would hold the Kohen Gadol responsible for the Yisraeli ger’s death? I think it may be likely. I ALSO think that it didn’t happen after this last plague that Aharon stopped by standing in the gap between Y’hovah and the living in the camp in ch.17.

I don’t know if Aharon had any idea just how much slaughter there would be in Yisrael, but I think that Y’hovah gave him all that he did in vv.8-19 as a way of softening what they would have to endure in the way of the emotional trauma and then the hardening that would have to take place due to the constant bloodletting, which HAD to take its toll. 

V.9 says that they were to eat their portions mikodesh hakadashim, from the holiest of the holies and v.10 says they shall eat it b’kodesh hakadashim, IN the holiest of holies. Now, noone but the High Priest and even HE only on Yom haKippurim could even ENTER b’kodesh hakadashim, so this MUST mean something else. The priests were to eat their portions in the courtyard of the Mishkan, not in the Mishkan itself. This designation of the Courtyard as kodesh kadashim MUST be as it is compared to the camp of Yisrael. On pp. 127-28, Schottenstein’s has an excellent comment [they mainly agree with me, so …].

Vv.15-17 list the 3 types of things that are redeemed and not offered in Yisrael, 1] the bikkurim of clean animals that can be offered are given to the Kohanim to be used for offerings, 2] the firstborn of all Yisraeli families are redeemed for 5 shekels of silver and 3] firstborn male donkeys are redeemed with a lamb. Salt is virtually indestructible, so a salt covenant is eternal in v.19. In v.20, the Levi’im have no land inheritance, for Y’hovah is their inheritance. 

But Levi DOES get the tithes that are brought up by Yisrael unto Y’hovah. Tithes were not primarily in specie money, but are 1/10th of the actual crops that were brought up to the various Moedim/Kodesh Miqra of Y’hovah. Schottenstein’s Chumash has a good comment on pg.129-30.

In vv.25-32 The tithe of the tithes that were given to the Levi’im in lieu of a land inheritance is given to Aharon or his successor as Kohen Gadol. I infer that this tithe from the tithes was distributed among the courses of priests in the Temple times. Q&C 

Yechezkel 44.15 – The order of Y’hovah for b’nei Aharon to be the ones to offer in the Tabernacle is further restricted to b’nei Tzadok, which family of Aharon is, like b’nei Levi in Ex.32, the only one to stay faithful to Y’hovah to the last man. They all followed in their father Tzadok’s footsteps when he [and his brother Aviathar] remained faithful to David in the Absalom rebellion [2Sam.18]. B’nei Tzadok = Sons of the Righteous. Q&C 

Tehellim 108 – There are 3 stanzas to this Psalm; vv.1-6, 7-9 and 10-13. Vv.1-6 have the Psalmist praising Y’hovah for his mercy, truth and power whereby the Psalmist has obtained his deliverance. He is expending his own glory to bring all glory to Elohim of his salvation. He sings Yah’s praises while playing the psaltry and the harp, all things he did remarkably well, according to the sages. He calls on the psaltry and harp to awake as he awakes in the morning to bring his praises to Avinu in v.3. Then in v.4 he notes that Eloha’s mercy, or goodness, reaches even higher than his truth, or severity [Rom.11.22-23].

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Eloha: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for Eloha is able to graff them again.

His goodness, indeed, reaches higher than his justice.

In vv.7-9 the Psalmist relates how Y’hovah will defeat the enemies of Israel and her Elohim and take possession of the enemies’ lands for his service. There is an interesting idiom in v.9; “Over Edom I will cast out my shoe.” This exact phrase is used in Ps.60.8. I think this is a reference to an ancient custom in the Middle East, which we see in Ruth 4, where Boaz is negotiating with the nearer kinsman [cousin] to Chilion, Ruth’s husband. 

5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.

6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.

9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. [Ruth 4.5-9]

According to the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, 

This custom does not refer to the law about refusing to marry a brother’s widow [Dt.25.7-10] , but was usual in the transfer of inheritances. For this relative was not a brother, but simply a kinsman; and theshoe was not PULLED off by Ruth, but by the kinsman himself. The Targumist, instead of his shoe, renders ‘his right hand glove,’ it probably being the custom, in his time, to give that insteadof a shoe. 

 I think that Y’hovah is saying that he disavows Edom as its near kin [Edom was the son of Lot, Avraham’s nephew] and passes the right of redemption to another.

Then, in vv.10-13 David relates how Y’hovah will overcome Israel’s enemies and deliver his own into his Kingdom. V.11 has a LOT of added words, and I think it should read, “Eloha hast not cast us off, and will you not, Eloha, go forth with our hosts?” The psalmist then importunes Eloha to help because it is useless to get help from men when it is only through Eloha that we can do valiantly; for HE, and NOT WE, will walk all over our enemies. 

14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of El Shaddai. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Master of masters. [Rev.19.14-16] Q&C

Ivrit 5 – Ch.4 ended with this passage;

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yeshua ben   Eloha, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Rav Sha’ul, or his talmid [perhaps a High Priest], who wrote this letter [IM not so HO], contrasts the high priesthood of Aharon to the High Priesthood of Yeshua, our MelchiTzadik, Righteous King. The contrast is that every day in the Mishkan/Beit haMikdash, the Aharonson had to offer sin offerings for himself BEFORE he could offer any other on the off chance that he’d inadvertently committed a sin or omitted a duty. But Yeshua had lived a life in the same flesh that we and Aharon and his sons have, tempted in the same way we all are, yet without ever sinning, either by committing what he was commanded to NOT do or by omitting to do what he was commanded TO do. For the MelchiTzadik, the King of Righteousness, there is no need for a sin offering. Paul, or his disciple who wrote this letter, started to make the case in ch.4 that Yeshua was our MelchiTzadik and he builds his case right through ch.10, where he culminates it with vv.26-31, 

26 For if we [kohen hagedolim] sin wilfully {by offering the goat of atonement on Yom haKippurim [IMO – MP]} after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. 30 For we know him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith Y’hovah”. And again, “Y’hovah shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim”.

For a Netzari believing priest [Acts 6.7c – a BUNCH of ‘em] to offer the Atonement would be a denial of and a profanation of the Name of Y’hovah. And since they ‘were obedient to the faith’, they were outcasts among the political leaders of the religion. If it wasn’t Sha’ul who wrote this book, it was one of these Netzari Priests [IM not so HO}. 

In vv.1-4, the Aharonsons can have compassion on us when we sin and desire to offer our offerings so that we can make tikkun, reconciliation, a reality in our own lives, because they have experienced it, even the need to make tikkun. As we saw in our Torah portion today, only Aharonsons may offer at the earthly sanctuary, for only Aharon and his sons have been appointed and ordained of Y’hovah for that purpose. Anyone usurping that position is a dead man walking.

Vv.5-6 makes it plain that Yeshua [that is, the flesh and blood man] did not raise himself up to his position as MelchiTzadik, but the Ayn Sof, El Shaddai, did.

I will declare the decree: Y’hovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. [Ps.2.7]

Y’hovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.    Y’hovah at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. [Ps.110.4-5].

V.7 refers to Yeshua’s prayer in Gethsemane, at least. “And was heard in that he feared”. Yeshua’s prayer in the Garden the night before he died was heard because he FEARED Y’hovah. I think this passage gives us the proper understanding of the word fear. To fear Y’hovah the way Yeshua feared Y’hovah was to submit to him, to obey him, in all we do. Yeshua feared Y’hovah, who was able to deliver him from death. It was not hard for Yeshua to believe in deliverance from death, since he had been Y’hovah’s ‘channel’ of delivery on at least 4 occasions; the last one, Elazar, just weeks before, was still ‘big news’ the night of Yeshua’s death on the tree. Paul is still referring to 4.16-18 in v.8, where he says Yeshua learned obedience through his fear and suffering; through his obedient submission to the will and plan of Avinu for him. The result of his fear [v.9] was his resurrection through which he conquered the human fear of death

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. [Heb.2.14-15]

Also, please notice that he is the cause of eternal life in those that obey Y’hovah. Our obedience shows forth our love for and fear of Y’hovah. Another result was that he fulfilled [v.10] his call as the MelchiTzadik High Priest.  Sha’ul would have tried to explain it to these priests except they were ‘dull of hearing’ [v.11]; AENT says ‘impeded’ and gives a good comment on that choice of words in note 30 on pg. 406. Q&C

Vv.12-14 – Some of these priests had been believers that Yeshua is Mashiyach for DECADES, but Rav Sha’ul [or his talmid] doesn’t have the time to try to get them to understand mysteries deeper than what he is explaining. After all this time, they should be teachers, not toddlers. It is for that very reason that he is going to spend the next 6 chapters explaining their position and their danger in what I think they were considering; returning to their service in the Temple sacrificial system, particularly the Yom Kippurim atonement, as referenced above [near the top of p.5]. I think he is kinda taking them to the woodshed with the next remark;

… such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Moshe Koniuchowski’s comment on v.12 is instructive;

You have the need that someone teach you AGAIN the first principles of the primary writings of Y’hovah [Torah – MP].

He told them that they are slipping back into the trust in the traditions as equal to, or even superior to, Torah. The author likens the traditions to pablum and Torah to strong food on which you must ruminate and work over with determination to get the best nutrition for your soul. I think that was meant to be an awakening slap in the face to these men who were well trained in Torah and Mishnah. He is trying to get them to see that it is primarily Y’hovah’s Word, not the oral traditions that need to be trusted and obeyed. Not that there is anything WRONG with traditions, per se; but they are just that, men’s traditions and they could be wicked in the extreme;

The heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked: who can know it? I Y’hovah search the heart; try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways; according to the fruit of his doings. [Jer.17.9-10]

Paul [or their brother Kohen] was urging them to think according to Torah.

Ivrit 6.1-3 – And he goes on to ‘leave behind the basics’ and teach them things deeper than the pablum he’d just told them they were swallowing because it was “easier” or would make their lives simpler. He goes on to teach meat, not pablum. But our portion ends with v.3 today, so I am not going to continue beyond this; 6.1-5 is a parallelistic outline showing the good and the evil he’d finished ch.5 unveiling. Let me show you [if I can] what I see there [I hope this works out in the net postings]:

Men who have done A should then do B:

A. Left the Elementary Principles [vv.1-3 lay another foundation for]

1. Repentence from dead works

2. Faith toward Elohim [obedience]

3. Doctrines of Mikvoth [baptism]

4. Laying on of hands

5. Resurrection of the dead

6. Judgement and Reward

B. Continue on to Torah’s perfection [Vv.4-6], for they who have

1. Descended into mikvah [been washed by the pure water of the Word]

2. Tasted the heavenly gift

3. Made partakers of Ruach HaKodesh,

4. Tasted [but not fully experienced] the good Word of Elohim and the

5. Power of the Kingdom and New Creation

Then he iterates the outcome of those who have done all of that and turn aside from it to go back to what will make their lives easier [like going back to the Temple offering system, which is of no efficacy and is an insult to Y’hovah Yeshua and Ruach l’chesed, who bought them with his own blood] to renew them once again to repentance. That is SOBERING, folks. Those who leave behind the Way of Y’hovah Yeshua and his Torah for the elementary things of mens’ traditions have denied the One who bought them, they have walked all over Yeshua, thought Ruach haKodesh’s power is less than worthless.

Our author RE-iterates this in ch.10.26-32; here it is once again, in case you missed it a few minutes ago:

26 For if we sin wilfully [by denying our Master Yeshua and leaving the Way Of Elohim] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. 30 For we know him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith Y’hovah”. And again, “Y’hovah shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim”. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye received mikvah, ye endured a great fight of afflictions …

Live WITH the afflictions. Live THROUGH the afflictions by the power of Ruach haKodesh! Remember what Yeshua would do if you deny him

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. [Mat.10.32-33]


If it hasn’t been mentioned yet, May 20 on the common calendar is Chag haShavuoth, or Pentecost, to Christian believers. This was the day on which the Covenant was given on Mt. Sinai [Ex.20.1-24.16] AND the day on which Ruach haKodesh came upon Yeshua’s talmidim as recorded in Acts 2. This is the day in the not too distant future when I think the 144,000, 12K from each tribe of Yisrael in Rev.7.5-8 and 14.1, will be anointed. I think they will be resurrected direct from their life without tasting death and will have been the leaders of the various kehalim in the previous 3½ years. Of course, those are italicized I thinks, and I COULD be wrong. But I DOUBT IT! 

May it be both correct … AND TOMORROW.

End of Shabbat Bible Study Notes.

May 12, 2018 Shabbat Bible Study

May 12, 2018 Shabbat Bible Study

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 9 

Numbers 16 – 1 Samuel 11 – [No Psalm] – Jude


B’Midbar 16.1-4 – Think about the way the tribes are encamped in the Wilderness; Reuven’s tribe is just a short putt away from the Kohathite Levi’im, and I infer from that that Korach and the Reuvenim involved in the whole plot thing are near neighbors. Korach MAY have instigated the rebellion, but I think  that the Reuvenim at least egged him on. Korach, son of Yitzhar, was a Levi, a son of Kohath; a Kohen, though NOT a son of Amram and, therefore, not of the Kohen Gadol’s line. He had duties within the Mishkan and in service to it, may even have been one who carried the Ark or another piece of the Mishkan’s furnishings. Now, Korach may have been k’vetching, or maybe he was just listening to the Reuvenim; Dathan and Aviram, sons of Eliav, and On, son of Peleth k’vetch; but these 4 men led a group of 250 famous and tough mostly Reuvenim [IM not so HO], along with some Levi’im to raise their k’vetch to Moshe’s face. I think that was pretty gutsy; or maybe it was just STUPID. Had they not seen that even Miriam was not immune to Y’hovah’s wrath when it came to Moshe? Did they think they would get away with this attempted mutiny? Schottenstein’s Chumash has an interesting prefatory note on this chapter on pg.112.

Now, in the natural, the k’vetching is understandable. In pretty quick succession the 12 spies had been sent into the land [ch.13] to check it out and came back with a glowing report of the land and brought out some incredible souvenirs, but the 10 spies-turned-tourists had discouraged the people about the giants in the land that in the physical should eat Israel’s army for breakfast, as the 57 Muslim nations should do with present day Israel were it not for Y’hovah’s favor. The whole nation turned on Moshe, Aharon and the 2 mighty men of valor and threatened to stone them all [ch.14] just before Y’hovah intervened [scaring the bejeebers out of the Israelites for a time] and told Moshe to step aside while he fried the nation’s bacon for them. It was only Moshe’s intercession that kept any of them alive for the next 39 years. A group who understood the rebellion they had committed and were seemingly repentant, then wanted to go into the land they were told they could not enter and a bunch [maybe not all] who, again would not listen to Moshe nor obey Y’hovah, died at the hands of Amalek and Canaan. Almost immediately after that [15.32ff], perhaps the very next Shabbat, a guy goes out to pick up sticks on the Shabbat. Y’hovah’s judgment is that the people should stone him outside the camp, which Israel did, I think grudgingly, and THAT brings us to this Korach rebellion against Moshe and Aharon – NOT openly against Y’hovah, but against Israel’s human leadership, which is really the same thing, since they are Y’hovah’s anointed, His mashiyachot. 

Korach and the [I think] Reuvenim instigators came to Moshe and accused him of lording it over chol Yisrael, I think, projecting their own spirits on their leaders, which people are wont to do. Moshe’s response, like with the people who wanted to stone them and follow the tourists back to Egypt, was to fall on his face before Y’hovah in the sight of the whole lot of them. Evidently, Y’hovah spoke to Moshe’s spirit and gave him the idea of the test that would convince Yisrael, if not the instigators. 

In vv.5-11, Moshe gave the Word of Y’hovah to Korach and the would-be Levi’im who were with him in the rebellion. He said [in a Mp] “Each of you take a censer and fire and incense and meet me here in the morning, so that Y’hovah can show chol Yisrael who are his mashiachot [anointed ones]. You guys don’t know the depth or odor of the Kimchee you are stepping into. Do you think it is a minor thing to have the exalted duties you have as Y’hovah’s bikkurim? Do you not know the HONOR you have already received? Do you think you have these things because you DESERVE them? And you want MORE? And I can understand your contempt for me, but why in the WORLD would you k’vetch about Aharon?!” [end of Mp]

Then Moshe called for the Eliavim instigators, Dathan and Aviram, who didn’t even go up for this meeting. They basically told Moshe to pound salt, and then we see what is probably the REAL source of the rebellion; Dathan repeats [v.13] the opening words of Moshe to Korach [v.9], “Is it a SMALL thing …”, but he then gives the witness that Y’hovah gave of haAretz, and that the 12 spies had confirmed, to EGYPT! – “Is it a SMALL thing that you have taken us from a land flowing with milk and honey.” Did he not remember the subjugation of Egypt and the back-breaking labor without rest there? I don’t think he forgot. I just think he was positioning himself to be king, and had tempted Korach with the High Priesthood. Dathan’s reply shows all of this [IM not so HO], the attitude of rebellion and setting himself and Korach up to replace Moshe and Aharon. Dathan’s accusations against Moshe in v.14, caused Moshe’s righteous indignance in [Mp v.15], “Y’hovah, don’t accept their offering. I haven’t profited in the least while standing in the gap between them and you. Do what you will with these ingrates.” Then he turned to the rebels and said [vv.16-17], “Bring your fire-pans and incense in the AM and we’ll see who Y’hovah will choose” … and to Korach he said, “You and your would-be Levi’im and Kohen Gadolim and Aharon will stand before Y’hovah tomorrow and Y’hovah will choose.”

So, next day there were 250 Levi’im and would-be Levi’im [probably Reuvenim], and Aharon, standing before the Mishkan with their fire-pans with incense and fire, and Y’hovah’s kavod stood above them and said to Aharon and Moshe [Mp], “Back away from the people of Yisrael just a bit. I’m going to wipe them out.” Moshe and Aharon heard that and immediately fell on their faces before Y’hovah and interceded for the people once again, to which Y’hovah replied [v.24 – Mp], “OK, but tell the congregation to back off a bit from the rebellious group’s encampment, ‘cause THEY are toast!” This gives me to infer that Dathan and Aviram’s tents were adjacent to Korach’s in the camp, Korach’s in the inner circle of the Levites and Dathan and Aviram’s just outside the inner circle in Reuven’s camp.

So Moshe went down to the rebels’ campsite and stood between the people and the rebels to protect the sheep who followed the wolves. Then Moshe told the sheeple [v.24, again in Mp], “Back away from these guys and don’t touch their stuff or you will get what Y’hovah gives them.” Then he spelled it out to them all, Dathan, Eliav, Korach and all their families standing in the tent doors [Mp vv.26-30]; “If these 3 families die normal deaths, I am not the anointed of Y’hovah. But if the ground opens underneath them and swallows them whole with all that they possess, I most certainly AM the Mashiyach of Y’hovah to you.” No sooner did the last quotation mark leave Moshe’s lips [vv.31-34] than the earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, Eliav and Korach and all that pertained to them whole and then closed up again in the sight of chol Yisrael. Then, just to drive the point home [v.35], fire came down from Y’hovah and devoured the 250 would-be Levi’im and their incense, NOT by way of accepting the offering, but of punishing the presumptuous bad actors. Reminds one of Rev.20.9, does it not?

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from Eloha out of heaven, and devoured them.

Then Y’hovah instructed Moshe to have Aharon’s son, Elazar, gather up the 250 censers to be beaten into a covering for the altar as a sign to chol Yisrael. I infer from this that it was obvious that the altar’s brazen covering was from the 250 individual censers, so one must have been able to see where 1 censer ended and another began; perhaps they overlapped and one could see the rim of one censer against the body of another. The sign was to make Yisrael remember that no non-Levi could offer at the altar on Y’hovah [vv.37-40].

Yisrael was not finished being stupid, though. In vv.41-50 they k’vetched about Moshe and Aharon AGAIN!, “You’ve killed the people of Y’hovah!” Since they didn’t seem to get that it was Y’hovah who had killed the rebels, not Moshe, the cloud covered the Mishkan once again and Y’hovah’s kavod appeared to chol Yisrael. I infer here that before Moshe could turn and fall before Y’hovah to intercede for Yisrael the plague broke out, because Moshe just told Aharon to quick, like a bunny, get a censer and some incense and get between the living and the dying in the camp in an attempt to stop the wrath of Y’hovah against the people. It worked. Only 14,700 were wiped out that day by the plague that Y’hovah sent against them. So, altogether we see about 15,000 people destroyed among the children of Yisrael in less than 24 hours; 14,700 here, 250 would be Levi’im and Korach, Dathan and Aviram and all their families the day before. And, if you remember our study from 3 weeks ago, it seemed to all start when they left the comfort of Rephidim, with the camp in one place, as well as all the water and food they could eat and drink, to go into haAretz. Q&C

1Sam.11.1-15 – In Sh’muel Alef 10, Sh’muel had anointed Sha’ul as king of Israel, but the sons of Beliya’al [10.27] murmured against Sha’ul’s kingship, not bringing the new king any gift at his coronation – kinda like the rebels’ rejection of Moshe and Aharon. Sha’ul said nothing about it. Our passage for today begins with a man of Ammon named ‘Snake’ besieging Yavesh Gilead and the elders of Yavesh offering to serve him as tributaries. Nachash comes back proposing to the inhabitants that he be their protector under the condition that he be allowed to put out the whole town’s right [dominant] eyes. Now, the men of Yavesh didn’t think that proposal was all that and a bag of chips, so they counter-proposed to send to chol Yisrael for help, and if there isn’t a reply in 7 days time, they would accede to his demand. For some reason Nachash agreed to this and Yavesh sent to Giveah for deliverance. 

King Sha’ul, meanwhile. had returned to his flocks and when he heard the news, Ruach haKodesh came upon him to gather the men of chol Israel to battle with Nachash. His method of calling was a bit unusual. He butchered a yoke of oxen and sent the pieces to the 4 corners of Yisrael with the message that such would be the fate of the cattle of any who would not come up to Yavesh in aid to their Israelite brethren. Chol Yisrael obviously thought he could make it happen because they came up as one man to Sha’ul and Sh’muel to defend Yavesh against ‘The Snake’. When they numbered the men of Yisrael, there were 300,000 and from Yehudah came up 30,000. Seems interesting that there was a difference between Yehudah and Yisrael here, long before their supposed ‘division’ in Rehovoam’s reign. We will, in fact, see the same division when David ascends to the throne of Yehudah in Sha’ul’s stead, when there will be a 7 year period of division between Yehudah and Yisrael. 

When Yavesh’s messengers came to Sha’ul at Giveah he sent word by them that they would be there by noon the next day. Those messengers must have seen the number of Yisraelites arrayed at Giveah, because the zechanim of Yavesh were overjoyed and got kinda cocky with Nachash. They said [Mp v.10], ‘Tomorrow, we’ll come out and you can do what you will with us.’ Nachash must not have heard about the size of the army to be arrayed against him, because he stuck around to do what he would to Yavesh. 

Sha’ul split his army in 3 [v.11] and sent them from at least that many directions against Nachash’s camp and throughly discomfited it so that the survivors slunk singly away and back to Ammon. In other words, there were not many survivors to slink back to Ammon. 

Now, those sons of Beliya’al must not have been among the Israelites who came to Yavesh’s aid, for chol Yisrael said to Sh’muel [Mp], “Who was it that said, ‘Sha’ul will not lead us?!’ – Let’s go GET ‘em and STRING ‘em up!” – your basic lynch mob. Sha’ul held them off from killing their Israelite brethren and Sh’muel proposed that they re-anoint Sha’ul at Gilgal and reaffirm his kingdom, which they did with a rip-roarin’ party. Yisrael had a king, by acclamation.  But he wasn’t Y’hovah. Q&C

No Psalm

Yehuda – was the brother of Yeshua and Ya’akov, Yoseph and Shimon; the son of Miriam and Yoseph;

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue:and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Miriam, the brother of Ya’akov, and Yoseph, and of Yehuda, and Shimon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. [Mk.6.1-3]

And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s [Yoseph’s] son? is not his mother called Miriam? and his brethren, Ya’akov, and Yoseph, and Shimon, and Yehudah? [Matt.12.54-55]

But other of the apostles saw I none, save Ya’akov the Master’s brother. [Gal.1.19]

Yehudah says that he is the eved of Yeshua and the brother of Ya’akov (who was the Nasi of J’lem, a respected and high-ranking official within the Temple; quite possibly the ruling elder who succeeded Gamaliel, Sha’ul’s rebbe, after his retirement or death; and who wrote the book of Ya’akov [or James] in your Brith Chadasha). 

Why did Yehuda not say right out that he was Yeshua’s brother? Perhaps because he had mistreated Yeshua earlier in his life, and felt unworthy

Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. [Yochanan 7.2-3]

What Yehuda DOES say is that he is writing to the ‘sanctified’ who are called by Y’hovah. Rav Sha’ul tells us who are the ‘sanctified’ in 

Unto the kahal of Eloha which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Mashiyach Yeshua, called saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of MarYah Yeshua haMoshiach, both theirs and ours. [1Cor.1.2]

Who are ‘called’? Chol Yisrael are called in Rom.11.29

For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance.

Believing Yisrael are called out of the world in MarYah Yeshua and who are, therefore blessed with mercy [rachamim], peace [shalom] and love [ahava], and to whom Ya’akov gives greeting in vv.1-2.

In vv.3-4, Yehudah gets down to business by telling the recipients that he meant to write to them about their [that is, the entire kahal’s] commonly held faith, both Yehudim and ger. This is what I have called ‘the once delivered to the saints faith’, the same one that Avraham ‘crossed over’ to from his idolatrous paganism – the belief that Y’hovah is one, and there is no other Elohim. But Y’hovah moved on him to write on ‘false prophets’ among them who would try to get them to go after a false elohim and not the Master Y’hovah who had bought them with his own blood,

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which Ruach haKodesh hath made you overseers, to feed the kahal of Eloha, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [Acts 20.28]

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into Kodesh Kadashim, having obtained eternal redemption. [Heb.9.12]

Wherefore Yeshua also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [Heb.13.12]

And from Yeshua haMashiyach, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. [Rev.1.5]

The false prophets, who had misrepresented themselves in order to gain entry into the kahal and positions of authority therein, who were teaching that there was no need to obey Y’hovah anymore, since Yeshua had ‘fulfilled Torah’ for us, so we can [to quote Mark Call] “Go make ourselves a ham sandwich and share it with a ‘lady of the evening’. Y’hovah was just kidding when he told Yisrael to obey him because “Jesus paid it all” and we can now live any way we choose because Jesus has given us a ‘get out of hell free’ card.”

So, in vv.5-7, Yehudah reminds his audience that after Y’hovah had delivered the nation from Egypt, he destroyed all those who abandoned his work and started living as they chose to live after they had 4 times agreed to his conditions for deliverance into the promised land. Did Yehudah’s audience think they were better than the Exodus generation? We saw in the last few weeks Torah portions how

“In pretty quick succession the 12 spies had been sent into the land [ch.13] to check it out and came back with a glowing report of the land and brought out some incredible souvenirs, but the 10 spies-turned-tourists had discouraged the people about the giants in the land that, in the physical, should eat their army for breakfast. The whole nation turned on Moshe, Aharon and the 2 mighty men of valor and threatened to stone them all [ch.14] just before Y’hovah intervened [scaring the bejeebers out of them for a time] and told Moshe to step aside while he fried the nation’s bacon for them. It was only Moshe’s intercession that kept any of them alive for the next 39 years. A group who understood the rebellion they had committed and were seemingly repentant, then wanted to go into the land they were told they could not enter and a bunch [maybe not all] who, again would not listen to Moshe nor obey Y’hovah, died at the hands of Amalek and Canaan. Almost immediately after that [15.32ff], perhaps the very next Shabbat, a guy goes out to pick up sticks on the Shabbat. Y’hovah’s judgment is that the people should stone him outside the camp, which Israel did, I think grudgingly, and THAT brings us to this Korach rebellion against Moshe and Aharon – NOT openly against Y’hovah, but against Israel’s human leadership, which is really the same thing, since they are Y’hovah’s anointed mashiyachot.”

So, be careful how you speak of and treat human teachers when they prove they are human. Don’t revile them, but pray for them. They are NOT Y’hovah in human flesh. They deal with the same evil inclination and are as prone to sin as we are. Do they faithfully teach Yah’s Word? Pray for them. Did Moshe fail at times? How about David, the only man about whom Y’hovah said “a man after my heart’ [1Sam.13.14, Acts 13.22]? If these worthies could fall short, do you expect that YOU can’t? Pray for them! And beware, lest YE fall [2Pe.3.17]. There were angels, spirit messengers created for service to Y’hovah and to his people, who ‘kept not their first estate’. If these, who had access to the throne of Y’hovah, could rebel and follow a creature instead of the Creator, whom they could see, do you think you are greater? If so, you are foolish. 

Did Sedom and gAhmorrha actually burn forever? As far as the people there were concerned, yes; but those fires, like all fires, burned out when there was no more substance to burn. In the same way, the Lake of Fire, which is the final dissolution of this creation [2Pe.3.7ff], will only burn until there is nothing left to burn. That fire will be eternal for the physical things that burn up in it – as long as there is any substance to burn. But it will be momentary in the grand scheme, even as Sedom and gAhmorrha’s inhabitants deaths were relatively instantaneous, though their destruction was absolutely complete. Q&C

V.8-10, still speaking of those false prophets from v.4, has a parallel passage in 2Pe.2.4-12 

For if Elohim spared not the angels that sinned, but cast down to hell [i.e., the grave], and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned with an overthrow, making an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just [tzadik] Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For hatzadik dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed righteous soul from day to day with unlawful deeds;) 9 Y’hovah knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before Y’hovah.

12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; [2Pe.2.4-12]

These are people who, under the influence or oppression of the Adversary, practice acts and teach doctrines that Y’hovah has termed abominable. When we detect them in our midst, we need to excommunicate, cut them off, from our fellowship. These are marked by the character traits we see in v.11; the way of Cayin, the error of Bila’am, and the ‘gainsaying’ of Korach. I think the ‘way of Cayin’ is to go ones’ own way, rather than the way Y’hovah has prescribed for us – obedience to his Word. The error of Bila’am was, I think, going with the human messengers to Balak, king of Midian, for profit, as distinguished from the WAY of Bila’am, sending Midianite women to entice Israelite men to compromise themselves with the Midianite gods and rites. We just saw the ‘gainsaying of Korach’ in our Torah portion today; he coveted a position to which he was not entitled and took steps to usurp the position. 

Vv.12-13, STILL speaking of the false prophets who had crept in unawares. The word translated here as ‘spots’ is G4694, spilas, which actually refers to reefs or rocks hidden just beneath the surface of the water against which your vessel can be destroyed. The KJV translators must have thought the word should have been G4696, spilos, which actually translates as ‘spot’ or ‘moral blemish’. So, these guys are going to destroy your Feasts of Yah. They will look great and lull you into comfort until you run up against them and rip the bottom out of your boat, killing all aboard. They look great; like a big, fluffy cumulus cloud on a sunny day, or a fig tree out of season with leaves all over it but empty of fruit [Matt.21.19-20]. 

19 And when he [Yeshua] saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away.

The description as ‘raging waves of the sea’ gives credence, I think to the aforementioned KJV mistranslation of ‘spilas’ as ‘spots’ and its actual meaning as reefs or shoals.

Vv.14-15 make reference to the extra-canonical book of Enoch, which some people think ought to be canonized as well. I do not think so, though it does have some things to teach us, like Talmud and Kabbala, or even the ravings and rantings you’ve suffered through today, already. In the case of Enoch, I know that at least as much of it as Yehudah refers to here is instructive and true. Y’hovah coming with 10,000s of saints is also spoken of in Torah, in the first words of Moshe’s final blessing on Israel

Y’hovah came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand a fiery law for them. [Dt.33.2]

When he comes with 10,000s of his saints, those saints will be there to witness Y’hovah’s judgment and execution of it, not to participate. There is nothing in this passage to disabuse us of the truth that Y’hovah will perform what he has promised. Y’hovah coming with 10,000s of saints is an historical reference to the Egyptian exodus, when Y’hovah manifested himself to Paroh with judgments [his severity, Rom.11.22] and to his people in mount Sinai with his Covenant [his goodness, Rom.11.22]. He then manifested his severity against the unfaithful Israelites who, seeing his judgments 1st-hand performed on Paroh’s Egypt, thought that they would not feel his wrath if they despised his Torah. 

Let this last sentence be a warning to us, whom he has delivered from the wrath to come against all who trust in the flesh, for if we despise his Torah, will he also not judge us in our own Wilderness Adventure? Keep your accounts short with him, repent quickly. You have been delivered by supernatural means; act like it.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is Elohim which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. [Philippians 2.12-13]

For we are his workmanship, created in Mashiyach Yeshua unto good works, which Elohim hath before ordained that we should walk in them [Eph.2.10]

Don’t become like one of the ungodly, whom Y’hovah MUST judge. Remain faithful to him, as he, who gave himself for you, has been faithful to you. 

The purpose of Y’hovah’s judgment is ALWAYS to bring the object to teshuvah, repentance, and  tikkun, restoration. When we get into any kind of difficulty, we need to examine our lives to see if the root of it is sin and not harden ourselves to that possibility. We need to ask Y’hovah to show us, if it is inadvertent, so that we can confess and repent of it. He may also allow the Enemy to buffet us at times to try our faith and faithfulness. Will we pray for our brother or sister in need? Will we provide the need as we are able and as Y’hovah gives us the ability? Q&C

V.16 begins with the word ‘these’, which refers us back to the false prophets in the kahal who had ‘crept in unawares.’ Remember how Israel spoke against Moshe and Aharon over the last few weeks Torah portions? Dathan, Eliav and Korach are the ones THIS week, who tried to usurp the authority Y’hovah had ordained in his mashiyachot. The last word in v.16 in KJV is ‘advantage’, but it’s translated from G5622, ophelia, benefit or profit. Korach and Dathan were after their own ‘advantage’ and thought that Moshe and Aharon were profiting from their positions. They wanted a piece of that action. They obviously weren’t watching when Moshe interposed himself between Israel and her utter destruction those 3-4 times. 

Vv.17-19 refer the audience to Kefa’s 2nd letter

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Elohim the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [2Pe.3.3-7]

This speaks of the general consensus in the world, but has become very conspicuous in the ‘church’ in general in recent decades. The word ‘sensual’ is from G5591 pseukikos, psychical or ‘soulish’, carnally minded, which refers us to Rav Sha’ul’s letter to the Romans.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please Elohim. [Rom.8.5-8]

Vv.20-21 is an exhortation to those of us who, in contrast to the carnally-minded false professors, are building up ourselves in “the most holy faith”; the ‘once-delivered to the saints faith’ of v.3 that Yehudah HAD meant to write about. He tells us that building ourselves up in that faith will manifest itself in our praying in Ruach haKodesh and being obedient to Y’hovah, which is how we guard ourselves in the love of Elohim.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. [2Jn.1.4-6]

It sure looks like Yochanan’s purpose in writing his letters was to exhort the Notzrim [lady, bride of Mashiyach] to the same thing Yehuda wrote in his – exhortation to remain in the ‘once delivered to the saints faith’. 

Vv.22-23 is an exhortation to faithfully pray for and evangelize those false professors among us who walk in the flesh and are ‘spots in our Feasts’ [v.12]. Some will be won by our compassion, showing ourselves to be different than the carnal majority. Others will be won by showing their end if they keep on as they are doing. In both ways you will be pulling them out of the fire that consumes everything that it touches; the final fire of the dissolution of all things.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Elohim the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with Y’hovah as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 Y’hovah is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of Y’hovah will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of Elohim, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. [2Pe.3.5-12]

Vv24-25 bring it all back around to the One Y’hovah who is able to do all in and through even us, if we remain faithful to him who alone is worthy of glory, majesty, dominion and power in and through Mashiyach Yeshua. Q&C

End of Bible Study notes

Shabbat Bible Study for May 5, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for May 5, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 8 – 12 May 2012

Numbers 15:1-41 – Jeremiah 17:19-27 – Psalm 107 – 1 John 2:1-3:24


B’Midbar 15.1-16– When ye come into the land” – the libation offerings would not take effect for 39 years, but are given here, the rabbis say (and it makes sense), so the generation that will ‘replace’ those who have been told they will die “B’midbar” – in the Wilderness – will KNOW that Y’hovah is going to bring them into haAretz. The grain and libation offerings are NOT to be added to sin or trespass offerings, but only to Freewill and Feast offerings. They have to do with celebrations of one type or another, not atonement for sins. These meal/libations are to be offered by both the native-born and the ger who sojourns among the people of Y’hovah. One law for all who would offer a freewill offering. This is the basis for the American law applying to both native born and alien. The difference, in modern practice and traditional practice, is that until the last few decades, when people came to America, they had the intent of becoming Americans. This is no longer the case in all too many instances. American law should be applied as Y’HOVAH told Israel to apply Torah – if the ger was coming to ‘sojourn’, his intent was to eventually become an Israelite, and so he took Torah learning and observance on himself – he was going to assimilate into Israel. This was our founders’ intent, as well. You may come and partake of the blessings of liberty, IF you intend on becoming American. If you just want to live here without assimilating into the culture, you are not welcome. You may do business, but you may not have all the blessings of liberty, you may have no say in the governance of the nation, because you have no loyalty to the nation or its people. 

Vv.17-21 – Again, these instructions are to take effect BaAretz, in the land, 39 years hence. When they make their first batch of bread with the produce of the land, they are to offer an heave (elevation) offering. If you’ve seen “Roots”, Kunta Kinte’s father did exactly that with his son, introducing him the ‘only thing greater than himself’ – his god. Not the same, but very similar. We offer our all to Y’hovah, even the loaves of bread we make from our grain. I think the wave offering was similar, but I could really be wrong about that. The firstfruits of the barley is raised up and waved before Y’hovah on the morrow after the weekly Shabbat during unleavened bread, the first loaves made from the wheat are raised up and waved before Y’hovah on the morrow after the 7th weekly shabbat following Chag haBikkurim. And when we bring in our produce, we are to offer the firstfruits of our personal ground in much the same way.

Vv22-29 – If the congregation errs in any of the commandments Moshe received from Y’hovah in the ‘Law of Moshe’, the law that was added (Gal.3.19) because of the transgression of the Golden Calf (not to be confused with the Covenant – Ex.19-31) came into effect. 

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19) 

The congregation offered a bull as a freewill burnt offering and a goat for a sin offering with their associated meal and libation offerings. If a Man sinned in ignorance he brought a she goat with her associated meal and drink offerings. The one law for sins of ignorance pertained to anyone in Israel, whether native or ger. The individual’s sin of ignorance had a general effect on the people, so it is important that when I sin due to ignorance and someone sees it that they bring it to my attention privately, or it may have an adverse effect on the whole congregation. And it is also important that I accept the observation in the spirit in which it is given and NOT react in pride or haughtiness. That will not go well with me. 

V.30ff – But if a person did (asah, make) presumptuously (yad the open hand, with power or intent), knowingly disobeyed, he was to be cut off from his people because he had contempt for the Word of Y’hovah and deliberately disobeyed it. It is in this context that we are to see the incident of the man gathering sticks on the Shabbat, beginning in v.32. The Heb. word is eytz, and can mean either kindling, firewood, or lumber. It is well over a year since the Shabbat was laid out and clearly defined in Exodus 16. EVERYONE knew which day was the Shabbat and which was the day to prepare for Shabbat. Did that guy think he’d get away with this? He may have. An example had to be made to drive home the point. They brought him to Moshe who went immediately to Y’hovah for a judgment. Y’hovah’s judgment was that the entire congregation was to take him without the camp and stone him to death. Now, the entire congregation of 2.5-4 million did not stone him, but at least the entire group that witnessed his presumptuous sin DID. He had presumed on the grace of Y’hovah. He was made an example of the judgment found in vv.30-31. “His iniquity is upon him” doesn’t necessarily mean that he is damned to the Lake of Fire in the day of judgment. It definitely means he gets to suffer the consequences of his sin – in this case, physical death. I think that among those who had to stone him was not a man who subsequently went out on Shabbat to defile it presumptuously, but that they were especially mindful of shabbat and its preparation day from that day forward. 

Vv.37-end deal with the tzitzit on the kanaph of the garment. It is there to remind us to keep the Commandments, as the guy who’d just been stoned to death had NOT done. I am asked frequently whether women are allowed to wear tzitzit. The passage is addressed to ‘b’nei Yisrael’, which means the ‘children of Israel’, not merely the ‘sons of Israel’. I don’t see where there is any prohibition for women to wear them and the command is general to the whole nation, so I would have to say, “Not only are you allowed to wear them, you OUGHT to wear them.” They are there to 1) help us to remember to keep the commandments. In this light, we have 613 commandments that are ours to observe. While there are those commandments that are not addressed to us, these remain for us to observe as NEGATIVE commands; for example, the Kohanim have commandments that are specific to them as POSITIVE commands which are, consequently, NEGATIVE commands to us who are NOT Kohanim. They have to do them, we MAY NOT do them, but they still apply to us in that way. The tzitzioth are there 2) so that we can obey this commandment to wear tzitzioth – it is one of the commandments that is POSITIVE for us to do, and it applies to all of b’nei Israel. This is especially true because it is followed by the ‘enabling clause’ “I am Y’hovah Elohechem, who brought you out of the land of Mitzraim to be Elohechem. I am Y’hovah Elohechem.” They are there 3) so that by your obedience you will be given the opportunity to “give reason for the hope that lieth in you.”

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

Please note that the Korach rebellion comes immediately after the commandment to wear the tzitzioth, which was given as a visible reminder to keep the commandments of Y’hovah, which will be our subject next week. Q&C

YirmeYahu 17.19-27 – By this time, Israel had already been exiled by and to Assyria and Yehudah was almost ready for her own exile to Babylon. As Y’hovah had prophesied in Jer.3.8, Israel had been given a bill of divorce and Yehudah didn’t learn from Israel’s trouble, but actually committed even worse wickedness. This is one of the final warnings. Yehudah had gotten more brazen in her rebellion against Y’hovah. So Y’hovah told YirmeYahu to go and stand in what became known as the Huldah gate, where the prophetess Huldah would stand and prophesy to Yehudah and where the Sanhedrin likely met for such things as receiving the reports and declaring the new moons. Huldah was a contemporary of YirmeYahu’s, though probably older than he, as she prophesied when YirmeYahu was growing up. She prophesied to Josiah that he would not see all that Y’hovah was going to bring against Yehudah and Yerushalayim (2Ki.22 and 2 Chron.34). This was the south gate to the temple mount, where there are a set of 3 gates and another set of 2 gates separated by a relatively short portion of wall. See the Huldah Gates at This is the triple gate that was used to ascend to the Temple for freewill and other offerings. The steps are of varying rises and runs to slow the people on their ascent. There are 15 wide runs on which the people would stop to recite or sing the ‘Songs of Ascent’ (Psalms 120-134) as they went up for offerings; Ps.120 on the first long run, Ps.121 on the 2nd and so on. Imagine all 15 songs being sung in unison as the people ascended to worship – the cacophony of worship rising to Y’hovah. The double gate was used to leave the Temple mount after the offerings were made. YirmeYahu was going there to bring Y’hovah’s warning of judgment to the people’s attention. Y’hovah’s warnings are always with the purpose of getting his people to make teshuvah and come back to him. 

YirmeYahu was to tell the kings, the Sanhedrin, and the people as they entered the Temple just what chastisement Y’hovah was going to be bringing them if they did not repent and return to Y’hovah’s Way. In the 7 verses from 21-27 Y’hovah makes 7 references to returning to his Shabbat. It is a call to personal repentance to all who hear, and that repentance will be evidenced by their returning to his Shabbat. “Take heed and bear no burden on the Shabbat, nor bring it in the gates.” Do you suppose that this was one of the reasons that Yeshua purged the Temple of the shop-keepers and money changers those 2 times? First Israel and now Judah had forgotten Y’hovah’s Shabbat, as has the vast majority of Xianity. Theses admonitions are not just for those people then, but for us NOW! If Y’hovah did not suffer the olive branches of the tree that he cultivated for all those years to abide in his land, but exiled them for these 2600 years, what makes us think that he won’t do exactly the same to us, engrafted wild branches?

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. (Romans 11.19-23)

Exile and dispersion are judgments for unbelief, which showed itself in Yehudah of YirmeYahu’s days in breaking Shabbat. So one way you show that you are keeping Shabbat is by not carrying a burden to Temple on Shabbat, and then in v.22 he says to not carry a burden out of your house or do any work on Shabbat, but hallow (make sacred and set apart) his day, as he commanded our fathers. But our fathers, as we saw in the Torah portion today, ‘made their necks stiff’ and refused to shema, to hear and obey, all he had commanded them. The promise Y’hovah makes in vv.24-25 to the kings, princes and just folks who come through the gates of the Temple is that if they will just hallow his Shabbats as he instructed them, they would forever remain in their land and be ruled by the House of David. All Yehudah would remain forever, from Negev to BenYamin and from the Med to the Dead, bringing their offerings up to Yerushalayim in their appointed times. Isaiah says much the same thing in 58.13-14,

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of Y’hovah, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in Y’hovah; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of Y’hovah hath spoken it . (Is.58.13-14)

I think that ‘turn away the foot’ may be a reference to not trample something under, and the next phrase then becomes an amplifier. Turning away your foot has to do with not doing our own thing on Shabbat, following Y’hovah’s instructions for that day, to not call it bothersome or a pain, but to delight in it. The word delight is oneg. The delight of discussing Torah over a fellowship meal is what’s called ‘eating at the table of Y’hovah’, while eating a meal and NOT talking about Y’hovah’s Word is called ‘eating at the table of devils’. 

Ye cannot drink the cup of Y’hovah, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of Y’hovah’s table, and of the table of devils. (I Corinthians 10:21)

If we refuse to hallow his Shabbat day in his way, if we DO bear a burden out of our homes to the Temple on Shabbat, if we DO kindle a fire in the Temple precincts, he will destroy the city and send us into exile and disperse us throughout the world. Do you see the connexion between kindling a fire and bearing a burden into the Temple on Shabbat? Do you see the connexion to the last part of our Torah portion today – the man carrying a burden of sticks for kindling a fire? Q&C

Tehellim 107 – This is the first chapter of the 5th book of the Psalms. Did you know that the Psalms are broken into 5 sections and that traditionally, each section corresponds to the same book of Torah? This 5th book of the Psalms corresponds, then, to Devarim – Deuteronomy. Book 1 is Psalm1-41, Book 2 is 42-72, Book 3 is 73-89, Book 4 is 90-106 and Book 5 is 107-150. The 5th book of the Psalms opens with the exhortation, 

O give thanks unto Y’hovah, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

This exhortation occurs in 43 verses of scripture, 35 of them in the 5th book of Psalms. Do you suppose that is the gist of the book of Devarim? We’ll see when we get there.

Vv.2-3 clearly states that the redeemed have been and will be returned from their exile. It had not happened yet when this psalm was written, but it is stated in the prophetic perfect tense, as if it was already accomplished. By Yeshua’s death and resurrection we are redeemed from the hands of the enemy and will be delivered back to Eretz Yisrael from the 4 corners of the earth. That’s right – this psalm is about EXILE and REDEMPTION! Only AFTER the exiles are redeemed, can they be regathered to the land. 

Vv.4-7 show us that in the interim, the exiles are scattered to the winds, by force or inclination. Israel settled in cities, but when they did they were marginalized, demonized, and persecuted because they were ALWAYS setting themselves apart from the general population, as Y’hovah had commanded them. Had they remembered this exhortation BEFORE their exile, they’d not have been exiled in the 1st place, and Israel may be the oldest human government and been the light Y’hovah intended them to be. When we ‘wander’ we are going our own way without regarding Y’hovah and his direction. We are aimless when we walk contrary to Y’hovah’s will, we hunger and thirst for his righteousness, but find no sustenance. Only when we make teshuvah and take steps to go his way do we find any solace for our afflictions when we cry out to him for his deliverance. When we show our willingness to go his way, he leads us in it and to his city of habitation, the one Avraham looked for, the “city with foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim.”(Heb.11.10) In v.7 Y’hovah leads them in the RIGHT way. How many ways are there? I’d say there are as many ways as there are people, but there is only 1 RIGHT WAY, and that is his Way. 

The Israelites who died in the Wilderness knew the WORKS of Y’hovah, but only Kalev and Yehoshua knew his WAY, which is to trust him, that he knows which way is best for us and all we need to do is follow and obey in Derech Y’hovah. 

Vv.10-12 speak of those who choose to stay in exile because they reject Y’hovah’s counsel and hold his Word in contempt, they think his Word is of no value. But even when they were in the midst of their despair, if they would call on him with even just a flicker of hope that he would respond, he would answer their call for deliverance, because he wants NOTHING from us other than our willingness to become one with him through Yeshua. 

Vv13-16 tell us how to be delivered from our exile. Cry unto Y’hovah and he will free you from your distress. When he talks of darkness, the shadow of death and bands he means exile, so when he talks of delivering from them and breaking that which binds us, he is talking about redemption of his people. In v.15, as in v.8, he laments that the children of men do not praise Y’hovah for his goodness and the wonderful works he has done for them. Fools are afflicted because of their sin and iniquity, but if they will make teshuvah and call on Y’hovah, he will deliver even them, he will send his Word and heal them (v.20). Do you see how healing people’s diseases was a sign of who Yeshua was? When Yochanan, the Immerser, was in prison he got a bit discouraged and sent his talmidim to enquire of Yeshua if he was the promised Moshiach. Yeshua said, Go tell Yochanan that the blind see, the lame walk, women receive their dead returned to them alive. He never said I AM Mashiyach, but that sentence told Yochanan that Yeshua is Moshiach, for it was well known that those were things that Moshiach would do. One reference that comes to mind is,

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

In v.21, the psalmist again reiterates Vv.8&15. Do you think he’s trying to make a point? He adds something this time though. V.22 brings up the ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving’ and declaring his works that we alluded to in the haftarah today when we mentioned the Huldah Gates and the cacophony of praise when the people would sing their psalms of assent (120-134) as they ascended the steps to the Temple.  

Vv.23-26 speak of Yeshua’s power over the seas, as he demonstrated in Mat.14,

25 And in the fourth watch of the night Yeshua went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Yeshua spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Mat.14.25-27)

Yeshua walked on the water, calmed the raging sea and the winds sent by haSatan to frighten the talmidim. V.30 says Kefa SAW the wind; perhaps the spirit came through the veil and manifested itself to Kefa. He got into his sight quite quickly, forgetting that he was walking to Yeshua. But his first reaction when he realized that he’d gotten into himself again was to call on Y’hovah for his deliverance (as in ps.107.27-28) when his soul melted for trouble and he staggered like a drunk. His deliverance was immediate. But I’ll bet he was still wet when he got back into the boat. Yochanan’s account of the walking on the sea incident says that when they got into the boat, the sea calmed and they were immediately at their destination (Jn.6.21), Capernaum. Shades of 107.29-30. And for the 4th time, the psalmist says, 

31 Oh that men would praise Y’hovah for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107. 8, 15, 21, 31)

The ‘assembly of the elders’ (v.32) refers once again to the steps on the south side of the Temple mount before the Huldah Gates, where the Sanhedrin met for such stuff as receiving the new moon reports and declaring the same, as well as judging those accused of Torah violations. Perhaps this is where Yeshua stooped to the ground and wrote in the dust in Yochanan 8? 

Vv.33-35, 39-40 show what to expect if we’ve his Name on us and we profane it. Vv.36-38, 41-43 result when we make teshuvah.  It is our faithlessness and Y’hovah’s lovingkindness that keeps the cycle of sin and repentance going. We get to walking in our sight and we stumble and sometimes fall, but he reminds us of the blessings which accrue to us when we start walking after the Spirit of Y’hovah and then he delivers on his promises by delivering us from ourselves. Q&C

1Yochanan 2.1-29 – This letter is written as an exhortation to not sin, but also as an encouragement that if we do sin, we have a Mashiyach on our side who can make our case at the bema. Please note that bema G968 is ‘a step’ from basis G939 meaning ‘a foot’ which is from the primitive root, unused in the scripture, baino to walk – possibly another reference to the steps leading to the Huldah Gates, where the prophetess would pronounce the judgments of Y’hovah, where the Sanhedrin would gather for their official duties as the judges of Israel. It is here that Yeshua is our advocate with the Supreme Judge of the Universe, to whom is given all authority and judgment, and who is also mindful of the war between flesh and spirit, because he experienced it himself and understands our infirmities. Being Y’hovah in the flesh, he knows what we go through, though he was able to never sin because he IS Y’hovah. Propitiation is that which removes a debt, whether by forgiveness or by substitutionary payment. Yeshua did both. 

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Mashiyach Yeshua; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Tim.2.5-6) 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7)

Whose commandments in v.3? Yeshua’s. If Yeshua is Y’hovah in the flesh, and he is, and he and the father are echad, then there is no difference between Yeshua and Y’hovah Avinu. If, as I believe, it was the resurrected Moshiach Yeshua who actually appeared to Moshe on Horeb, the point is clearly established.  Now, if anyone says he knows Yeshua, but doesn’t keep (tereo, guard from injury or loss) his commandments, he is a liar and doesn’t know the truth. But if he DOES guard them Y’hovah’s love is perfected (teleoo, completed) in him. So when we guard his Word, we prove our position ‘in him’. If you are IN YESHUA, you “ought … to walk even as he walked”. Yochanan tells us in v.7 that he isn’t writing any new revelation. He is preaching the same word as men of Y’hovah had always preached, “Love Y’hovah and keep his commandments”, be “doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” If you say you love Y’hovah Yeshua and will not obey his commandments for whatever reason (including the ridiculous lie that they are obsolete or done away with), you are a liar and have used your own lie to deceive yourself. He applies this in vv.8-11 by way of application.

Vv.8-11 – The darkness Yochanan speaks of is the time of Ephraim’s exile, and is being drawn back to Y’hovah through Yeshua haMoshiach ben Yoseph. In light of this, you can see the application with regard to the brother in v.9-11. If you SAY you love Y’hovah, but you hate your brother, you are just fooling yourself. There was a major problem in the 1st c. CE, as there still is today – Yehuda hates returning Ephraim and vice-versa. In the parable of the Prodigal son, the younger brother represents Ephraim, who asks for his inheritance and then squanders it all on his flesh. The older brother represents Yehudah, who stays true to Y’hovah inasmuch as their traditions allow. The traditions get in the way of full fellowship, but they never abandon or turn their backs fully to Y’hovah. When the prodigal returns in humility to ask the father to take him in as a hired servant, the father brings him right back into the family (though the inheritance is still gone; something like the sons of Aharon who had physical or mental defect, who could not offer offerings, but still partook of the priest’s food and place of honor). When Yehuda shows his disdain for Ephraim, he is showing that he is NOT trusting Y’hovah. And when Ephraim shows his hatred of Yehudah, he proves that he does not know Yeshua. Neither the Jew who hates gentile believers nor gentiles who hate Jews are in the Light of Y’hovah – each is deceiving himself. 

I think that vv.12-14 are making reference to Is.40,

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon Y’hovah shall renew strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. (Is.40.30-31)

Youths = little children; Young men = young men; they who wait upon Y’hovah = fathers. In Isaiah, the youths and young men must be working in their flesh, for in Yochanan, the young men have overcome the wicked one and so, have not utterly fallen, though it is possible that the youths get tired of the fight and slacken, though they know Avinu and their sins are forgiven. 

Is that ‘wicked one’ necessarily haSatan, or could it be the young men’s own flesh that is constantly at war with the Spirit? The fathers have known him from the beginning. The beginning of what? I think the context would indicate the beginning of the Nazarite sect of Yehudism, because they have know him from the beginning – they were leaders of the Nazarite sect and were obedient to Y’hovah’s commandments (vv.3-6). Ya’acov, Yeshua’s brother, was one of the earliest ‘fathers’, as were Kefa, Yochanan, Yehudah and Sha’ul. I think when Yochanan speaks of ‘fathers’ he may be referring to men who had been in Mashiyach since at least the outpouring of the Ruach on Shavuoth/Pentecost, and were zealous for Torah 

And when they heard it, they glorified Y’hovah, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law. (Acts 21.20). 

Vv.15-17 speak of friendship with the world system. The world’s system is going to burn in the dissolution of all things at the end of the Kingdom Age of this earth. The world entices believers with the 10th Commandment’s object – covetousness. Covetousness is the root cause of all sin, for we would not sin if we did not desire something or want to do something which is proscribed from us. Covetousness is almost always the ‘sin which doth so easily beset us’ (Heb.12.1). 

V.18 introduces the word ‘anti-Mashiyach’ to our vocabularies. Anti-Mashiyach is referring to ‘false Messiahs’, counterfeits, more than men opposed to Mashiyach, though that is also a valid application. These anti-Messiahs could be morally upright men of power and authority, but if they do not represent Y’hovah in all respects, they are false. There have been many anti-Mashiyachs, and Josephus names at least 2 who had preceded Yeshua. Even Gamaliel had mentioned a couple in Acts 5. AntiMessiah’s are literally a dime a dozen. I think there will be one who will be the ultimate Anti-Mashiyach, but that is based on an interpretation of what the ‘Beast’ of Revelation, the ‘abomination of desolation’, the ‘man of sin’ will do, assuming these are all speaking of the same guy or thing. That HAS been the conventional wisdom for a long time, but I have found that it isn’t wise to place one’s trust in the conventional wisdom, as it is VERY often wrong. V.19 tells us to whom Yochanan refers – those who WERE with us, but who are now AGAINST us, wolves in sheeps’ clothing, as it were. They have not only left the assembly, but are working at cross-purposes to it and possibly denying the Mashiyach who bought them. 

V.22 further states that anti-Mashiyachs deny that Yeshua is Mashiyach and, as such, he denies both Avinu and his Son, Yeshua haMashiyach. When one denies Yeshua he has no part in Avinu. There are some clues that Yochanan is addressing the fathers he spoke to earlier; v.24 talks about what they’ve known from the beginning, v.20 says they have ‘an unction’ from the Ruach, and v.27 says they have an anointing that will overcome the anti-Mashiyachs who are trying to seduce them away from the faith once delivered to the saints. Unction = anointing, both words are translated from the word chrisma – Thayer’s Greek lexicon says, ‘anything smeared on’. These know and have known the truth. For these reasons I think he is writing the fathers, whose job it is to warn their juniors about the seducers and train the little children and young men to eventually become fathers. Vv.28&F29 let the little children know that they may be confident in Mashiyach, that they will know they are righteous before Y’hovah Yeshua when they live in righteousness. Q&C

3.1- – Do you see the parallel Yochanan draws between Mashiyach and the Prushim of his day and the believer and the anti-Mashiyachs of their day, some 60-65 years later and OUR day some 1900 years later? We ARE the sons of Elohim, but we haven’t a clue about what a cool position we are in. But when he appears at his return we will know, for then we will be resurrected/changed from mortal to immortality, from corruption to incorruption and will be able, finally, to handle the revelation. If we truly understood what he has in store for us, we’d go loopy. And when we have the hope – that which we earnestly expect to receive from him because he has promised – we desire to live according to his word, so that we can renew our minds by the engrafting of his Word into our souls. 

When we know Torah, we know when we sin, because his word is righteous and sin is Torahlessness (anomia = without law). But Y’hovah manifested in the flesh to take away our sins. The antecedent to the pronoun ‘he’ in v.5 is Y’hovah or Elohim from vv. 1, 2, & 5. The syntax is straightforward – a pronoun has to rename the last noun of the same number and gender, unless the context forbids it. So Y’hovah manifested in the flesh to take away our sins. If we make a regular practice of Torahlessness, we are not in Y’hovah and do not know him. If we know Y’hovah, we do not practice sin, though we may fall short of the mark sometimes. We see that we sometimes sin in 1.8 and have the grace of Y’hovah to confess and repent of our sins in 1.9. 

3.8 says “The worker or doer of sin” is of the devil who was a sinner from the beginning. The word translated ‘committeth’ in the KJV is ‘poieo’, and Thayer’s Lexicon says it means “to make or do”. That’s where I get the idea that sin is a regular practice of this guy, not just a stumble, but a conscious effort. Now, also in v.8 we see that the Son of Elohim was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, whose work sin is. Y’hovah manifested to take away our sins, Yeshua manifested to destroy the works of the devil, which means sin and its consequences, so adding 1+1 I get Y’hovah = Yeshua. V.9 is very important, because it supports my thesis above – when we are in Y’hovah; we do not poieo – make or do – sin. Sin has no power (dunamis) over him because he is regenerated out of Elohim. In vv.10-11 Yochanan brings the whole exercise back around to 2.9-10, he who loves his brother is the son of Elohim, he who hates his brother is the son of haSatan, walking in darkness and there is no light in him. Ephraim needs to love Yehudah, and Yehudah Ephraim; not like Cain, jealous enough to murder our brother, or like Yoseph’s brothers, jealous enough to sell him into slavery. As Yeshua laid down his life for us, we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for our brother. 

If we see a brother in need, and we have the ability to provide for his need, do we supply it, or do we find a way out (we can ALWAYS find a way to not help, if we try hard enough). Loving with our words, but not showing our love by our actions just proves that we are hypocrites. “I’ll be praying for you, sis” is a good thing, but if sis needs physical help and we’re in close enough proximity to provide it, we’d better darned well provide it, or the love of Y’hovah is not in us. Our works have a 2-fold purpose; 1) to spread abroad the love of Y’hovah, and 2) to prove to ourselves and others that we are really his. 

Vv.23-24 drive the point home. We are to love our brethren in truth and not just in word, for that is the new commandment Yochanan spoke of in 2.7-8. Of course, it’s the same commandment we had in Torah as Yeshua reiterated it; to love Y’hovah with all our heart, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we keep these commandments in mind in everything we do, we will be walking in his righteousness – in his Torah. Q&C 

End of Shabbat Bible Study.


Shabbat Bible Study for April 28, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 28, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

 Year 3, Shabbat 7, Triennial Portion

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

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

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

Acts 7:35-38 (KJV)  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:1 (KJV)  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 22:24-30 (KJV)  

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

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

Matthew 1:11-12 (KJV)  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: [] Link doesn’t work. However, the entire source document DOES come up in Spanish in one of the links from startpage search engine.

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

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

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

Shabbat Bible Study for April 21, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 21, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 6

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Shabbat Bible Study

Shabbat Bible Study for April 14, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for April 14, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 5 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

No Prophet 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Eliphaz speaking to Iyov. 

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

This is Iyov answering Bildad. 

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul takes up this idea again in ch.14.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Shabbat Bible Study