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Shabbat Bible Study for March 24, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 24, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Shabbat 2

B’Midbar 8.1-9.21 – ZecharYahu 4.1-14 – Tehellim 101 – Rev.11.1-19

B’midbar 8.1-4 – KJV’s ‘over against’ means either opposite or toward, so the light of the 3 left and the [opposite] 3 right side lamps is directed toward the center. The Hebrew word is muhl, from the same root for mohel, which is the title of the Kohen who specializes in CC. The same idea is seen here of adjusting the appearance of the thing being addressed. Did I sufficiently circumlocute just then? Aharon was to adjust the lamps to illuminate the center stand as much as possible. If you look at the representation at of the tree of Sefiroth you may see the metaphor I am alluding to. The junctions within the ‘center stand’ represent the ‘knops’ of the menorah from which the arms extend and the sephirah (lamp) ends of the arms on the right (abba Y’hovah) and left (ima Ruach haKodesh) illuminate the center (ben – tzadik rebbe Yeshua). The menorah was of one piece of gold of a talent’s weight beaten into shape, including the knops, the tubes the flowers and cups – it was incredibly intricate. The malleability of gold made the thing possible, but it was still an amazing piece of craftsmanship, and, I think undoable by any man not filled with  Ruach haKodesh. 

It is POSSIBLE that the 6 side-lights were surrounding the center light.

Vv.5-26 – The Levi’im are consecrated for service in the Mishkan by sprinkling them with the red heifer water. I’m curious how they knew what red heifer water was before the provision was made in Num.19. This supports the thought that Leviticus and Numbers are not necessarily laid out in chronological order. After they were sprinkled with the water of purification, they shaved their bodies and washed their clothes. Then they brought 2 young steers as a sin offering and the associated meal offering. When it says that the whole assembly laid their hands on the Levites, I don’t think it was all 2.5 million Israelites laying their hands on all 24,000 Levites. I think it was the elders of Israel in the presence of the whole congregation laying hands on the elders of the Levi’im, which represents their approval of this consecration. And Aharon offered the Levites as the offering of Israel for the tabernacle service. Then the elders of the Levi’im laid hands on the steers and Aharon slaughtered them and offered them on the altar in the place of the Levites sins. When Aharon (v.11) and Moshe (v.13) offered the Levites, it was as a wave offering – Stone’s Chumash has an interesting note on the wave offering [pg.63 on v.13]. The Levi’im were effectively ‘living sacrifices’. 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Now, usually the priest then ate the wave offering, but I don’t think that was actually done here. ‘Levite’ is not one of things declared ‘clean to eat’ in Lev.11 or Dt.14. “Offering’ the Levites here means to consecrate them to the service of Y’hovah. 

** Disclaimer for PETL (People for the Ethical Treatment of Levites): No Levites were harmed in the making of this offering. **

The Levites then moved right into their service of Y’hovah as the substitutes for all the 1st-born of Israel. The 1st-born still are Y’hovah’s, but the service they were to render fell to the Levi’im because of the sin of the Golden Calf and the faithfulness of Levi to Y’hovah. Aharon and his seed were given the rest of their tribe as servants of the Mishkan. As with the Mishkan and its furnishings and everything was done exactly as Y’hovah commanded Moshe, so it was with the Levi’im. Levites trained to serve until their 24th year was complete. Then they served Aharon and his seed in the Mishkan from the beginning of  their 25th year until the end of their 49th year and beginning in their 50th year they trained the trainees. In ch.4, we saw that the Levi’im were counted from the 30th year to the 50th year in the census as substitutes for the 1st-born and to serve in the Tabernacle. Chumash says that from their 25th year to their 30th they were in an apprenticeship. In reality, Levi’im were ALWAYS in service to Aharon and his seed as the Kohanim served Y’hovah. Q&C

B’midbar 9.1-14 – There are 3 major events in ch.9: the Pesach in the Wilderness [good Pesach, y’all!], including the giving of the 2nd Pesach; Y’hovah’s acceptance of the Mishkan and his settling his Shekinah over it; and reiterating the commandment concerning breaking and pitching camp. 

Y’hovah commanded Moshe that Israel should keep the Pesach in the 14th day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt. As we saw in Lev.23, this was to be done yearly. This Pesach in ch.9 is the only one that is recorded in the Wilderness Adventure, but that doesn’t mean it was the only one they kept. Torah is not meant to be an exhaustive record of everything Y’hovah’s people did for the 2500 years of history it covers and it seldom repeats itself. It is probably that THIS one is only mentioned because of the men who were defiled and therefore could not keep the Pesach, but WANTED TO. This provision is made for the faithful. Only 8 years ago, I needed to take part in a 2nd Pesach due to traumatic injury (I was kind of ‘on a journey afar off’), and Y’hovah blessed me and my family by providing a place where we could do so among friends. THEY were celebrating Pesach on a different calendar than we were, but that was not important to us. Y’hovah had them celebrate it on the proper day for the 2nd Pesach for me, which may be the reason he led them the way he did – just for me. I am uncertain if they are still following that calendar, but I am grateful they did then. Y’hovah’s provision for those who would be faithful to him does not go unnoticed by those whose eyes are open. 

V.13 is pretty clear that if one is clean and not on a journey will either observe the Pesach in all the provisions that he had previously specified, or be cut off from Israel and shall bear his sin, that is, the physical consequences of it. If a ger who lives among us wants to keep Pesach, he is to be allowed. The ger may celebrate with us as long as he does so in accord with the Pesach instructions in Ex.12. It says there that the ger needs to be circumcised before he may partake in the Pesach. In Ex.12 this was definitely to be taken literally. But does it need to be still? If that were the case, I think it would have been specifically addressed in the Jerusalem Council. Now, I think that by the time the gerim had gotten through the Torah in the synagogues once or twice, they would have been moved on by the Ruach to want to be circumcised, but it was NOT required of them for acceptance into the fellowship in the synagogue, which I assume would include celebration of the Feasts of Y’hovah. It is clear to me that Rav Sha’ul was not going to be a ‘circumcision cop’ at Pesach, making the new gentile converts ‘drop trou’ to prove their worthiness to participate. 

Vv.15-21 – As soon as the Mishkan was erected, the pillar of fire/cloud covered the Mishkan proper. This was the sign to Israel that Y’hovah accepted the Mishkan and proved that the priests had rebuilt it properly. In Deut. we are told of 42 camps in the Wilderness Adventure. There MAY have been more, but these are the ones mentioned. When Y’hovah moved, the camp moved. When Y’hovah stopped moving, Israel pitched their camp and the pillar of Y’hovah’s presence covered the Mishkan. This calls to mind Ezek.1

20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. (Ezek.1.20-21)

As the living creatures of Ezek.1 moved when the Ruach moved, so b’nei Israel moved when Ruach moved. When He went, they broke camp; when he stood, they pitched camp; when Ruach lifted up, the wheels within wheels of the Israelite camp lifted up with him. If the pillar remained on the Mishkan, whether for a few hours or for a few years, camp remained, but when Shekinah went up from the Mishkan, Israel moved until the pillar stopped. Q&C


ZecharYahu 4.1-14 – ZecharYahu was not asleep. He was awakened ‘as a man is wakened from sleep.’ The most important words in prophecy are ‘like’ and ‘as’. ‘As’ means, ‘in the same manner’ as something else – not the same thing, but the same manner. ‘Like’ means, ‘having the resemblance or appearance of an event’ or thing. Being wakened ‘as out of sleep’ means he was awake, but unaware of his surroundings – in a trance or having a vision. The action never stopped from his vision of ch.3, but the subject and location of the visions did. He has left the Kodesh Kadashim and is now in the ‘plain old’ Kodesh Place. 

Y’hovah Yeshua who appeared in ch.3 as the angel of Y’hovah and Y’hovah Tzavaoth now appears as the 7-lamp candlestick. The 7 lamps of the menorah correspond to the 7 eyes in the Stone of 3.9. Moshe Koniuchowski, in the footnotes of the Restoration Bible says this about the Stone in 3.9:

The Stone is Moshiach, and the seven eyes are symbolic of perfection, and perfect spiritual vision.

Where else do we see 7 eyes? 

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent forth into all the earth. Rev. 5:6

Where else do we see the 7 spirits of Elohim?

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;  Rev. 1:4 

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of Elohim, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Rev. 3:1 

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. Rev. 4:5

Are these 7 spirits enumerated any where? To whom are they given? 

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: [2] And the spirit of Y’hovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Y’hovah; [3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Y’HOVAH: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. [5] And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Isaiah 11:1-5 (KJV)

There is a reference to the BRANCH in 3.8, just before the Stone with the 7 eyes. I think we can safely equate the 7 lamps to the 7 eyes and to the 7 Spirits of Elohim, and the recipient of this 7-fold Spirit of Y’hovah is none other than Yeshua haMashiyach. 

The 2 olive trees represent the 2 houses of Ya’acov, Yisrael/Ephraim and Yehuda. Again, from the notes on Zech.4 in Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scriptures:

He saw two olive trees, both being congregations of Yisrael, both representing the Father, both sending forth an anointed witness, both producing an individual witness to prophecy and together both representing the whole people of Yisrael.

These two olive trees are the Two Houses (Isaiah 8:14, Jeremiah 31:31, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Nations (Ezekiel35:10), Two Chosen Families (Jeremiah 33:24), Two Backslidden Sisters (Ezekiel 23:2-4), Two Olive Branches (Zechariah 4:11-14, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Sticks (Ezekiel 37:15-28), Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-4), Two Lamp Stands (Revelation 11:3), Two Silver Trumpets for the whole Assembly (Numbers 10:2-3), Two Advents (Hebrews 9:28), Two Cherubim (Exodus 25:18-20), Two Spies from Efrayim and Judah (Numbers 13: 6, 8), Two Congregations (Rev. 1:20), based on the principle that one lampstand equals one assembly.

That’s a lot of 2s! I had (when I first wrote this) never before considered that the 2 witnesses of Rev. could be the 2 houses of Ya’acov, and not two prophets of Tanakh. It’s an interesting scenario. And it fits this interpretation of the identity of the two olive trees, as we’ll see in Rev.11. 

When the Angel asked Zach if he knew what the olive trees were, Zach answered in the negative. When he asked, he got what seemed an answer to a different question. He’d asked ‘What are these?’ and got the answer ‘This is the Word of Y’hovah to Zerubabel…’ The angel had told Zach that the people would see Zerubabel keeping the building of the Temple after the will of Y’hovah (and of the people back into faithful sons of Y’hovah) with the plumb line of the Word and the eyes of Y’hovah keeping watch over their building efforts. Yah had their backs. Every little thing that got done brought them closer to the goal of a new Mikdash. Y’hovah would see them through it. 

Zach had to wade through that and after asking again (twice!) what the olive trees were, he got another question from the Angel (You STILL don’t know?), as if the answer he’d given should have opened Zach’s mind to the knowledge. The final answer was about the 2 anointed ones. In context, I think it refers to Zerubabel (ch.4) and Yehoshua (ch.3). Zerubabel was of the tribe of Yehuda and family of David, in the lineage of Yeshua (Mat.1.12-13). Yehoshua was the Kohen haGadol, a picture of the righteousness of Y’hovah. Kings and priests are both anointed, so they could very well be the 2 anointed ones Zach is being told about. I do subscribe to the 2 house doctrine, but this seems a plausible interpretation, as well. The kingdom, given to Yehuda, and the righteousness, given to Ephraim’s sons (represented here by the Kohen), was reunited in Yeshua haMashiyach. Yeshua is our MelechTzadik, King and Righteousness. The lampstand being fed by the two olive trees is a very good picture of this. The 2 olive trees, one of royalty and one of righteousness give themselves completely to, and lose their separate identities to Yeshua. Seems it’s all about redemption from exile, eh?  Q&C

Tehillim 101 (sounds like a freshman college course) – The mercy and judgment of Y’HoVaH ties this Psalm to our passages about the menorah. As discussed earlier, the menorah was of one piece of gold beaten into shape – as Y’hovah Yeshua was beaten for our transgressions. It also burns with the righteous judgment of Elohim, fed by the oil of the Ruach haKodesh of Y’hovah. 

V.2 makes this a psalm that points to the first advent of Yeshua haMashiyach, who behaved himself wisely (Lk.2.52), and walked among his own house (Yehuda) with a heart that was perfect (tamiym).

We need to beware of his saying in vv.4-5, 7-8, that we not have a froward – a perverted, false heart; a heart that says one thing in your face, but another when you’re not looking. When he says he doesn’t know them, he means that he doesn’t become intimately familiar with them. They will not be his family or friends. We also need to be careful to walk in a tamiym way before him so we can benefit from our service with and to him. Q&C

Gilyahna 11 – In light of the temple, see who the builder is in 

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Y’HOVAH Tzavaoth, saying, Behold the man whose name haNetzer, the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Y’HOVAH: 13 Even he shall build the temple of Y’HOVAH; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his [Y’hovah’s] throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zech.6.12-13).

There’s that BRANCH again. He not only builds Y’hovah’s Temple, but then he sits on Y’hovah’s throne and rules from there. Hmm!? Do you suppose this might be Y’hovah? But it is a man! How can that be? And how can a King also be a priest? Aren’t those separate offices that belong to separate tribes of Yisrael? Of course, we’ve already discussed this in our look at ZecharYah, but I just had to bring it up again, since there is confusion in Messianic circles about the person and nature of Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiyach. Notice BRANCH and LORD are both in CAPS in the KJV. That is NOT a coincidence. The only use of ALL CAPS in KJV is to denote the covenant Name of Y’hovah.

John was ordered to measure the temple and given a reed to do it with, but then doesn’t do the measurement. I have no doubt that he did the measurement, but the results are not recorded. The next measurement is of the New Yerushalayim in ch.21. I think we already have the measurements of the Temple John saw in Yechezkel 40ff. I COULD be wrong .… But I doubt it.

42 months/1260 days is used twice in this chapter, once to discuss the time that the Gentiles will control the outer court and once to discuss the ‘ministry’ of the 2 witnesses. The amount of time is the same, so I believe these are contemporary to each other. There is also a reference to 3½ days that the witnesses lie dead in the streets of Yerushalayim. 42 months and 1260 days; each = 3½ years. Is there a connection? Could be, but I don’t know what it is. Any help from the peanut gallery would be appreciated. 

The 2 olive trees are not a problem to understand, as we’ve discussed earlier. But the 2 candlesticks are. There was only one candlestick in the tabernacle, there were ten in Shlomo’s Temple and there is no record of how many were in the 2nd temple. Why 2 here? We have a possible answer in 

And I saw no temple therein: for Y’hovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the temple of it. Rev. 21:22

That’s just a thought. It really COULD be wrong. Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scripture notes say this:

The two witnesses are Judah and Efrayim, as both houses are ordained to rise up and teach truth during the Day of Y’hovah, during Yisrael’s 70th week. We know that these two witnesses are the two houses, because they are called two lampstands, or two menorahs. The seven congregations in Asia are called seven lampstands in Revelation 1:20. So each congregation of believers is one menorah. Therefore two lampstands are two congregations, or groups of believers. This confirms the entire revelation to Zachariah in chapter 4 of the two anointed olive trees who stand before Y’hovah. From each of these two houses comes one witness, or two individuals who represent the two houses. Moses from Judah(?), since Lewi was part of [the nation of] Judah(?), and Elijah from Efrayim. They do their ministry for 3½ years before being killed and then rising in Jerusalem. Y’hovah will never allow any true biblical witness in the earth without both Judah and Efrayim being the two chosen and faithful representatives of His truth.

That seems a plausible interpretation, except for 2 things, 1) that Moshe was not from Yehuda. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to include Moshe among Yehuda just because Levi sojourned more in Yehuda’s inheritance than Ephraim’s, especially after the division of the Kingdom 500-600 years after Moshe’s death. I guess I’m just a stickler for context. Also, 2) if the lampstands are two congregations and we are using Rev.2-3 as the basis for that interpretation, which 2 congregations are they? Thyatira and Laodicea? Smyrna and Philadelphia? It’s a stretch to use this scripture as the basis of your interpretation and then change the identities of the congregations to Yehuda and Ephraim, names that show up nowhere in the text. I am not saying it CAN’T be right, only that I see it as a stretch. I have no problem with the trees being Ephraim and Yehuda. Neither do I have a problem with the candlesticks being Ephraim and Yehuda. I have a problem with them being ID’d as Moshe/Eliyahu AND Ephraim/Yehuda. Especially since neither Ephraim nor Yehuda spouted fire. I know that they perform the same miracles that Moshe and Eliyahu did, but does that mean they are Moshe and Eliyahu? Is there anywhere in scripture that SAYS the two are M&E? Not that I recall. That has been an interpretation of the church for a lot of years – centuries, even; and it may even be right (blind squirrel?). But it ain’t certain. Let’s not make our interpretations into certainties. We may be disappointed and lose faith, as WILL happen when the pre-trib rapture turns into a bust for those expecting it.

The 2 witnesses are killed by the beast that ascends from the pit – Abaddon. 

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. Rev. 9:11

The beast and false prophet have no such power, and are foiled throughout the Great Tribulation until this destroying angel, Abaddon, kills them. Abaddon is from the root word H3 abad אבד, ‘to lose valuable possession’. It COULD be that, if the two witnesses are Ephraim and Yehuda, all of us (IF we are the 144K) will be killed and lie in the streets of Yerushalayim 3½ days, only to be resurrected and called up to meet Y’hovah in the air. If this is right, the date will be Yom T’Ruah, the day of trumpets, some year soon. BTW, it just occurred to me that the 144,000 who had been killed and resurrected at the end of Elul in the year of the Final trumpet blast announcing Yom T’Ruah, COULD be the angels that Yeshua will send to gather the remnant of his seed to witness his offer of Shalom to the olam hazeh [Ps.27.4-5] and then to wipe out [abad – lose valuable possession] all those who refuse. Even those whom Yhwh’s angels destroy are His valuable possession.

While the 2 witnesses/144K are lying around the city awaiting their [our?] awakening, everybody who has had to endure the judgments are throwing parties and sending gifts all over the world in celebration, watching us lie there on worldwide HDTV, taunting us (as if we could hear – or CARE). FEDEX, DHL and UPS will be making a ‘killing’, pun intended, on our deaths. The party will end abruptly when we all stand up and are called audibly, taken up into heaven and disappear from their sight – all in vibrant living 4G HD color for everyone to see. Everyone will probably say in unison, “Ooo! THAT can’t be good!”

At that exact moment there will be an earthquake like there never was before in Yerushalayim. 7000 die in it. That number is unthinkable in a modern, first-world, western city. It prompts the remnant to give glory to Y’hovah. This remnant cannot be unbelievers who lived through the quake, they MUST be the believers who are left after the 2 witnesses were killed. Imagine the depression that might come over believers when their champions are killed and left in the streets for 3½ days. Then, suddenly they are resurrected and at that exact moment a 10.0 quake strikes to punctuate the event! If you were one of those believers, I think you would sing praises to Y’hovah just to let the pagans know who is REALLY in charge.

And just to make the point that much clearer to us, v.14 tells us the last woe is coming quickly. And what does the angel say? He ALSO gives glory to Y’hovah, telling the inhabitants of the earth that all the kingdoms of the earth are in HIS control, not theirs. As the believers were elated, the pagans must go into a funk. Even their champion can’t kill the witnesses and make them stay dead. Despair must abound.

Meanwhile in heaven, the 4 and 20 are worshipping and announcing the glory of Y’hovah, which is about to be revealed in his wrath – the 10 days of awe before Yeshua’s final return to the Mount of Olives to defeat the world’s armies at Har Megiddo. Reward and punishment are on the horizon.

Why is the ark exposed in heaven? I think it’s because all the judgment that’s about to come down on the inhabitants of the earth, all the wrath that Elohim has been storing up for all these millennia, will be tempered by the compassion shown at Y’hovah’s mercy seat. Even as wicked as the earth has become, and as much worse it will become in the Great Trib, Y’hovah’s mercy is going to temper his wrathful judgment, and the pagans will not receive even a small fraction of the wrath they’ll deserve – even as we haven’t received a minuscule fraction of the wrath that we deserve. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study/Midrash


Shabbat Bible Study for March 17, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 17, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 1 

Numbers 6:22-7.89 – [no prophet] – Tehellim100 – Romans 12:1-21


B’Midbar 6:22-7.89- – Y’hovah told Moshe to tell Aharon and his sons to bless Israel. Aharon and Moshe did not have the juice to bless Israel in their own strength, but they were delegated the authority to do so by the only person who actually COULD bless the nation – Y’hovah himself. As such, when Aharon was blessing Israel in fulfillment of this command, he stood as the mediator of Y’hovah to his people. There is only one mediator between Y’hovah and us, the man Mashiyach Yeshua. This command was given to the Kohanim specifically. This blessing should not be given ‘willy-nilly’ by those who are NOT sons of Aharon. Were it not for the Golden Calf and loss of the blessing of the 1st-born to the Levi’im, this may have been the intended duty of every 1st-born. For now it was commanded to Aharon. When the New Covenant is in full force (I think), after the 2 houses are reunited on earth, the original intent will be back in force – the 1st-born of each family will be its priest, and he will exercise this right, duty and honor over his family. This 1st-born duty and honor will go to the one best suited, as everywhere in the Messianic lineage (beginning with Abel/Seth), not necessarily the physical 1st-born. In my physical family, that would be me, though I am the 4th-born son of Peter A. 

The Aharonic blessing is 3-fold. There are 3 distinct blessings pronounced on Y’hovah’s people. Y’hovah bless you and keep you pronounces that Israel will be blessed generally and that Y’hovah will ‘keep’ Israel. The word shamar means ‘to protect, to distance from danger’. The idea of a hen shielding her chicks from a storm or a fire comes to mind.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shield and buckler. (Psalm 91.4)

Be merciful unto me, O Eloha, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalms 57:1)

Imagine the care Y’hovah takes over those who trust him, and then the sorrow his heart must experience when his own will not accept his blessing and protection, freely offered.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34, Mat.23.37)

Y’hovah make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you says that Y’hovah will smile on everything his children will do under his wings. Have you ever looked at what little kids do and how they discover stuff and how they take delight in it and you just find yourself smiling about it, delighted with their delight? I think that’s a part of what Y’hovah is talking about here. But it also means that he graciously intervenes supernaturally on our behalf. He helps us out and then delights in our delight when we understand what happened. I think he delights over my limited understanding of the hedge he placed around me 8 years ago, and the delight I have knowing how he loves me. He smiles on me and mine every time I rehearse it and am awestruck by his protection. There was nothing I did that deserved that protection. But he provided it anyway. And he will do so again. And again. And again. As many times as I need it and until he calls me home. And he will do so for YOU, TOO! You can put THAT promise in the bank and collect the interest on it, and there’s a MUCH better insurance policy in place than the FDIC -Y’hovah Yeshua Mutual has this policy and it has a DYNAMITE retirement plan, too.

The 2nd blessing also has to do with his blessing of Torah, which is the embodiment of his light that shines to the world. When he enlightens us with his Word, he gives a blessing not just to us, but also to that part of the world that we contact. And as we illuminate that part of the world, it also helps to illuminate the part of the world that IT contacts. And so on. And so forth. For as long as there is someone through whom he can pass on his light. And he does so through YOU TOO! And that accrues more blessing back to you, though that is not why we do it. We do it because if we did not, we would burst at the seams. 

7c I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of Y’hovah was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (Jeremiah 20:7c-9)

Y’hovah lift up his countenance upon you and grant you Shalom. When Y’hovah lifts up his countenance, it shows that he is purposely doing that which he is not obliged to do. He has promised that he will recompense sin, but here he purposely forgives our debt to him and graciously pardons us for our disobedience to him. However, he does not forgive our sins and wrongs against our fellows until we have reconciled with them. 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

And when we reconcile with our brother, he establishes Shalom between us and also between himself and us.

And they shall put MY Name upon b’nei Yisrael and I will bless them. This can be seen as Y’hovah blessing Yisrael through the Kohanim OR blessing the Kohanim for their obedience to the command; or BOTH (which is actually how I see it). Personally, I think this means that the Kohen is to actually pronounce the Name of Y’hovah over Yisrael, not a title or a circumlocution of his Name. That is the simplest sense in which this command can be understood. He made sure to pronounce his Name 3 times in the Bruchah, so I think the command is unambiguous. Q&C

7.1-9 – The day on which Moshe set up the Mishkan the 1st time was seen in Ex.40.1. Here’s the opening of my commentary on Ex.40.1 from Sept. 2, 2017:

B’yom Chodesh harishon, b’echad lachodesh “In the day of the first new moon, on the first of the month” can only mean the biblical Rosh HaShanah is the first day of the 1st month, not the first day of the 7th month, because Y’hovah had commanded Moshe in 

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)

So, the Mishkan was to be inaugurated, built, anointed and offered at on the 1st day of the 2nd year out of Egypt. In vv.1-16 we see the order that the service would have on the 1st Rosh HaShanah in the Wilderness. This was, by the way, the ONLY Rosh HaShanah, they were intended to spend in the wilderness. The Adventure was supposed to end when they came to Kadesh (Num.13), only a few weeks hence.

So, between the day Moshe came down off the Mount for the 2nd time – about 80 or so days from the Exodus – and the 1st day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt, The Tabernacle was built and all its parts anointed, and all the animals and stuff needed for that transport were gathered up or made by craftsmen of the tribes.

It was on this day that the elders of the tribes of Israel brought the carts and the oxen for the service of the Levi’im in transporting the Mishkan from camp to camp. The elders themselves brought the carts and oxen, not any deputy, so I assume this was how the commandment was sent. There are 12 oxen, which corresponds to the oxen on which the laver was set in Shlomo’s Temple, 4 sets of 3, each set facing the cardinal direction in which the camps were placed around the Mishkan. There was a cart for each 2 elders and one ox per elder. A detail that is not mentioned is which yoke of oxen pulled which cart and how they decided. I think there was probably a reason behind it, but we don’t have biblical reference to it, as far as I know. The sons of Gershon were given 2 carts and 4 oxen and the sons of Merari were given 4 carts and 8 oxen to carry their respective Mishkan parts and accoutrements. Ithamar was in charge of the Mishkan for transport through the elders of the Gershonites and the Merarites. The Kohathites are to carry the Mishkan furnishings on their shoulders. These were NEVER supposed to see the back of a cart. 

Vv.10-83 – The elders also brought their offerings to be offered for their tribes to the Mishkan. It looks like the tribal offerings were similar and were offered one offering per tribe and each tribe’s offering on a successive day. They came up in order of their place in camp, I think, or in the order in which they left when it was time to break camp, or perhaps both. Yehudah, Issachar and Zevulon came up the 1st 3 days and in that order. Reuven, Shimon and Gad came up the next 3 days to offer their offerings. The third 3 days came up Ephraim, Menashe and BenYamin, and the last 3 days came up Dan, Asher and Naphtali.

Each tribe brought the same things for the offering – a silver charger (a large plate to place under a plate or bowl in formal settings) weighing 130 shekels; a silver bowl weighing 70 shekels; a gold spoon weighing 10 shekels; 1 young bullock (steer), 1 ram, 1 lamb of the 1st year for a burnt (freewill) offering; 1 kid for a sin offering; and 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 he-goats and 5 lambs of the 1st year for a peace offering. So, there was a lot of precious metal and a whole bunch of animals to slaughter, and just the volume of animals tells me why this took 12 days to complete. The Chumash could well be correct in claiming that the reason it took 12 days was to make each tribal offering as singular as could be, since they were all identical. To offer all 252 animals at once might look like just a jumble. 21 animals with their meal offerings and oblations would be quite enough for each day, I would think. 

The tabernacle of the congregation was not the same as the Mishkan, though they were only separated by a veil. The tabernacle of the congregation was the tent of meeting – ohel moayd. This is where Moshe met with Y’hovah. Even Moshe was not allowed behind the veil. There is another Tabernacle of the Congregation (ohel haMoayd) spoken of in Ex.33 where Moshe met with Y’hovah outside the camp while the Mishkan was being prepared. As soon as the ark of the testimony was finished, it was brought to the ohel. Moshe was almost always there until the Mishkan/ohel was anointed and furnished. Q&C

Tehellim 100 – This is a song of thankful praise. Hariyu laY’hovah kal haAretz. KJV translates eretz a number of different ways; land is the most frequent, earth is next. I lean towards earth, rather than lands here – not that that means a whit, as I know only enough Hebrew to hurt myself. But I see this as a song of praise and rejoicing at the arrival of Mashiyach to deliver his people from captivity and to take his throne. As such, we who are awaiting his coming to rule will naturally serve him with gladness and come before his throne singing his praises. Even those who have come in unbelief through the tribulation that precedes his coming will rejoice and be glad that the time of troubles is over. Everyone, believer and unbeliever as well, will know that Y’hovah is the Eloha who made us. That he even has to mention ‘not we ourselves’ tells me that the idea of secular humanism and denial of Eloha, that man is the measure of everything, was around in David’s day. Our last few generations do not have a lock on abject stupidity. There is truly nothing new under the sun. The word todah is in v.4, as well as in the title, but this time it’s translated thanksgiving. In the title it says ‘praise’. The only real difference is the prefix. In v.1 it says L’todah and in v.4 it says b’todah. So, why the difference? L’todah is simply to thank or praise, and this psalm is a song to give thanks and praise, so B’todah is simply in or with thanksgiving. We enter his house with a thankful attitude to praise him. The 2nd use of thanks in v.4 is the Hebrew word hodu, which is to exalt or lift up. From beginning to end, Ps.100 is an exercise in lifting up Y’hovah, exalting his Name for the wonderful things he does and is.

Romans 12.1-21– This study in Romans 12 (to be seen in conjunction with Num.6.21-7.89) is taken from my study of Romans that was taught over a period of about 4 years as a weekly or bi-weekly bible study. It is extensive, but not exhaustive.

Rom.12 needs to be seen in light of ch.9-11. It doesn’t 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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach, as seen in 11.28-32. We were not graffed in by any merit of ours, but by the merit of Yeshua haMashiyach. 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 in human flesh. 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 Eloha’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 Eloha.” 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 Yeshua, 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 Mashiyach, 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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach. 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 Mashiyach’s mind;

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the scroll written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O Elohai: yea, thy Torah 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’ 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

V.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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach. Bob Dylan is probably the most famous American I can recall who has had a conversion to Mashiyach 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 Nazirite 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. (“Sha’ul. Sha’ul of Tarsus, Agent 001. Licensed to oppress.â€) 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 Iuaidoi religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the kahal of Elohim, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Iuaidoi 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 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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach in Arabia! On Sinai, perhaps [Gal.4.25]?

Have you ever wondered why Sha’ul 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 March 2018, 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 Mashiyach, and by that I mean not just the local assembly, but the entire organic body of Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach:

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 Ken or Patti or Tzfat have to say.

V.5-8Every 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’ #

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 Eloha 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 Eloha 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 Eloha, 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. [Mat.6.24-34]

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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach above ourselves, as Mashiyach 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. 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 Sha’ul, would not allow his men to speak badly of him because Sha’ul, as king, was Y’hovah’s anointed – mashiyach. 1Sam24

1 And it came to pass, when Sha’ul was returned from following the Plishtim, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David in the wilderness of EnGedi. 2 Then Sha’ul 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 Sha’ul 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 Sha’ul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Sha’ul’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 hamashiyach of Y’hovah. [1Sa 24.1-6]

In this passage there are a couple of things that are interesting. One is that mashiyach 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. Kanaph כנף, means ‘to cover, to conceal from view’. Yeshua had healing in his kanaph, his covering, 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. I think of the mother hen kanaphing her chicks under her wings.

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.16Be 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.17Recompence 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 Y’hovah Eloha 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.18-21If 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.19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance 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 set limits, to shape. 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 into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible Eloha, 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 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.1.11-17]

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

End of Midrash notes.

Shabbat Bible Study for March 10, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 10, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 2 Sabbath 52

Numbers 6.1-21 – Judges 13.2-5 – Psalm 97-99 – Luke 1.8-17

B’Midbar 6.1-21 – A Nazirite was to swear off all grapes and grape products, whether fresh or fermented, and any type of vinegar, because vinegar is a fermented product of whatever fruit it is made from. A Nazirite therefore has sworn off all fermented products – anything that has or has ever had alcohol in it. If you remember Eph.5.18:

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Ruach; (Ephesians 5:18)

That MAY have to do with a Nazirite vow, but I infer from this verse that drunkenness is a cheap counterfeit of the filling of Ruach. It does not say that being drunk is a sin, but it reinforces the idea that habitual drunkenness is decidedly foolish.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.(Proverbs 20:1)

29 Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (Proverbs 23.29-32)

The Nazirite not only swears off anything that can intoxicate, but he does not cut his hair, so that people will know that he has the vow. The one who has taken the Nazirite vow is to be acutely aware of the testimony of his lifestyle and guard his heart and mind so that people will see and glorify Y’hovah. Not cutting or trimming his hair would set him apart from the average Israelite. So, that stuff about Yeshua having long hair is probably a lie foisted on us by the church of the Middle Ages. V. 7 says ‘consecration’ in the KJV, but ‘crown’ in Stone’s translation. The unshorn hair could certainly be likened to a crown.

The vow was for a set time, during which he may not defile himself in any way – even due to the death of his parents or siblings. If the Nazirite is inadvertently defiled with a dead body, the days of his vow are forfeit. If he vowed a year-long vow and 364½ days go by and then a guy walking down the street in the opposite direction suddenly dies and brushes the Nazirite on his way to the deck, the Nazirite forfeits those days and has to begin again. When the purification week ends (cf.19.19) and he is clean, he must shave his head and on the 8th day bring two turtledoves or pigeons, one for his sin offering and the other for his burnt offering. Chumash’s comment on v.10’s turtledoves says they represent the renewing of the Nazirite’s vow and his readiness to start again, kind of like the mythological Phoenix rising from the ashes and soaring toward the heights. The 8th day symbolizes new beginnings for the Nazirite vow, as well. His head is once again hallowed and his days of consecration begin anew.

When the Nazirite fulfills the days of his vow, he brings an offering to the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation consisting of a sheep of the 1st year, an ewe of the first year and a ram, all without blemish. The priest offers the sheep for a burnt offering, the ewe for a sin offering, and the ram for a peace offering. Burnt and peace offerings are freewill offerings, but the sin offering is for sins committed inadvertently or without the sinner’s knowledge – so in this case it’s a ‘just in case’ offering. He also brings a basket of unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil and the associated meal offerings and oblations. Once all the offerings are accomplished, the Nazirite shaves his head again and places the hair on the fire that’s burning his ram peace offering. Then the priest takes a wafer and a cake from the basket, along with the cooked foreleg of the ram and places them on the hands of the Nazirite and waves it all before Y’hovah as a wave offering. The foodstuffs of the wave offering are for the priest to eat in addition to the regular priest’s portion of the peace offering. 

Now the Nazirite may partake of grapes and anything fermented, once again. Why is he still called a Nazirite after his vow is complete? Probably for the same reason that a military member retains his title after his retirement. He’s EARNED it! (I am Mark Pitrone, AT1 USNR-R, Ret.) The Nazirite took a vow and honored it. Imagine if he took a vow for a year, and then there was inadvertent defiling of that Nazirite 3 different times. He is not released from the vow until it is successfully completed. He may have served that vow for 3½ years to finally finish it. No matter how long the term of his vow was, he saw it through to the end. That faithfulness will be recognized forever. Q&C

Shophtim 13.2-5 – In light of Num.6, Manoah’s wife is told by a prophet that she would bear a son and that they were to ensure that he never tasted grapes or grape products, and that his hair was uncut because he was to be a Nazirite from the womb. Shimshon never drank wine or ate a grape, nor did he cut his hair until Delilah browbeat him to find out the source of his strength. Although he didn’t have a heart after Y’hovah, as can be seen in his manner of life, he at least kept to the letter of the Nazirite vow, and Y’hovah honored that. 

V.2 says a man named Manoach [his name means ‘from or of rest’] of Tzorah [from the root tzarga צרע, which means ‘to erupt’, like tzara’ath] a city in the inheritance of Dan [root means knowledge]. Putting that all together gives us an inkling of the judgment that is about to come down on Israel’s oppressors. One who proceeds from rest will deliver Israel by inflicting the same kind of judgment on the Plishtim that they had inflicted on Israel for the last 40 years – only the Plishtim would get the payback in only 20 years.

Manoach had a barren wife, meaning she was incapable of bearing children. I does not say why this was the case, whether it was a physical impossibility for her to ovulate or if she to this point had just never conceived a child. It just says she had never borne a child. That could mean that conception had never occurred by whatever means or that what had been conceived never implanted and grew within her womb. This wife is never named. Manoach may have had other wives or concubines who DID bear. We just have no record of any. Manoach may have been entirely monogamous. which would be very different in the Israelite culture as related in the book of Shoftim to now. 

In v.3, we see THE angel of Y’hovah appearing to Manoach’s wife [she’s the only woman for whom we have an antecedent in this chapter]. I think this is a post-incarnate appearance of Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiach and I will explain why a bit later; but I will continue my comments with this as my premise. He said, “See? NOW you are barren, having not born a child: but you SHALL conceive and bear a son.” I love that word, shall. It is a word that you can put your trust in when Y’hovah pronounces it, because it is His PROMISE of His future performance. It isn’t His WILL, it is His SHALL! There is NO WAY that He will not perform it. 

Then, in vv.4ff, He delivers on that promise. It isn’t 2 seconds since He pronounced her barrenness, but here He says [Mp], “NOW”, as in from this second forward, “beware that you don’t partake in any way of fruit of the vine or eat anything unclean, because [v.5] the boy you will bear will be Notzrei, Nazirite, from his conception. You may not cut his hair nor give him any grape anything to eat or drink, even through your milk that you feed him.” That last phrase was added in my paraphrase, because it makes very good sense, given the next context. She was going to conceive by purely natural means, like Sarah and unlike Miriam of Natzreth, but she would do so at her next [and perhaps first] ovulation, which I assume was immanent. Everything “grapey” must be out of her system before she can conceive this child, because the baby will be living off her system from the moment of conception, and he MUST be Notzrei from then. If that were not so, if he was to be Notzrei from birth ONLY, she would not have to live as a Notzrei NOW. The word translated ‘beware’ is hiyshamri, which has the root shamar. to guard or keep, and in this case means to be careful to do what I urgently ask, ‘pray thee’ [v.4], to do. 

Notice that even here, Y’hovah is not commanding her, but asking her in urgency, to not partake of any ‘grapey’ or unclean thing. Our Master is NOT a bully. He sets up the parameters of kadosh, set-apart or holy, living and expects us to live by them, but He does NOT force us to obey His commands. He then rewards or punishes us commensurate to our obedience. But Y’hovah KNEW that she and Manoach would shamar to do as He asked. This is obviously a couple who lived their lives in accord with His Torah, and He was about to bless them with the son who would begin the process of turning Israel back to His ways, a thing that they were probably both urgently supplicating Him for. And here is our take away in this matter; be careful what you pray for. And if you do ask Y’hovah for anything, like the return of His and our people to His Ways or that someone receive anything from Him, be ready to be a source of the fulfillment of your requests. He’s laid it on your heart to pray; He may lay it on your heart to be the answer. If He DOES lay it on your heart to answer, do NOT hesitate. 

Tehellim 97 – No matter how bleak the circumstances look, there is always reason the rejoice, because Y’hovah reigns. We need to stop trusting our lying eyes and fully trust the Truth of Y’hovah. Clouds and darkness speak of the inability of our eyes to see Y’hovah. It is through his Word, his righteousness and judgment that are revealed therein, that we can clearly see that Avinu rules over the affairs of men. Our physical eyes and emotions see and react to things in the world, but our spirits know that it is Y’hovah’s Truth that rules over all. The enemy does everything he can to usurp Y’hovah’s position, but he is allowed to go only so far and no further, and THAT for his elect’s sake. They who are a part of the conspiracy against Y’hovah try to point people away from their plans to establish their power, saying that if there were really a conspiracy of a tiny cabal to rule the earth, it would certainly have been accomplished by now. And, if it were only THEY who were working, they might be right. BUT Y’hovah is allowing only so much of their effort to pay off with the intent of getting his people to repent and start going HIS WAY. He is allowing them to see some progress toward their goal now, but just as they think they are about to take complete control, he will come through the clouds to stop them and bind their spirit leader for 1000 years.

The hills refer to the kings of the earth, who will literally melt like wax at his return

12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Y’hovah will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. (ZecharYah 14.12)

Not exactly a nice way to go, IMO. They would be much better off to accept his offer of Shalom. The heavens DECLARE his righteousness and his glory, so that noone has an excuse. There must be more than just points of light out there, for them to be a clear “Declaration of Righteousness.”

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)

Even the ‘gods’ that foolish people worship will bow the knee to him. How much more the people who worship those false gods?

Wherefore Eloha also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth; 11 And every tongue should confess that Yeshua haMashiach Y’hovah, to the glory of Eloha the Father. (Phil.2.9-11)

The psalm opens talking about the darkness and clouds, and ends with his light and gladness. We have come from darkness to light, from clouds to gladness by thinking on the power, glory and righteousness of Y’hovah. And all within 12 verses. Q&C

Tehellim 98 – Every time Tanakh says ‘new song’ the Hebrew words are identical – shir chadash (H2319). The root word for ‘new’ is chadash (H2318), which is vowel pointed differently than the word we are using, H2319, though the pronunciation is the same. H2318 is the root verb, an action word, meaning to renew or rebuild. When Yeshua returns to the earth he will renew the Covenant he made with Avraham and give it as a new thing to Avraham’s seed, which, in the Gal.3.16 sense, is all who believe and put their trust in Y’hovah.  When we have that New Covenant where we can actually see it with our eyes and feel it in our hearts is when we will see Yeshua as he is, the strong right hand and set-apart arm of Y’hovah and sing his praises to the housetops so the new song will spread out over his whole creation. 

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face-to-face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (I Corinthians 13:12) 

Y’hovah’s salvation is shown when his righteousness is shown before the heathen. That is, when we walk in his righteousness, his salvation is on display in and through us. Yochanan the Immerser was teaching his talmidim one day:

And looking upon Yeshua as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of Eloha! (John 1:36)

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:6)

In v.3, his salvation is also seen as Y’hovah’s remembrance of his mercy and truth toward the whole house of Israel. When Y’hovah ‘remembers’ he is not recalling something he temporarily forgot. Hebrew is a language based on action, not concept. Every Hebrew word has a verb root, every word is based in action. ‘Remember’ for Y’hovah is to consider something and act on it in a positive manner, to work to fulfill what he is remembering – in this case his mercy and truth. How does one ‘act’ truth? The root of emunah is aman – to “depend upon” or “rely upon”, which engenders the adjectives trusty and trustworthy. I will go out to do something and get sidetracked and stay busy all day doing stuff and completely forget to do what I intended to do when I started out. And I sometimes won’t remember it until the next time I’m at the place I needed to go to do that thing, Y’hovah will bring it back to mind for me and THEN I’ll do it, while I’m thinking about it. If I don’t do what I’m thinking of doing immediately, I may just space it out of my mind. Y’hovah does NOT forget. Y’hovah does NOT get sidetracked. He is an action kinda guy. He doesn’t have to remember, as in RECALL to his mind, like we do. When he remembers something, he is acting on it IN HIS TIME, the perfect time for it to come to be. 

All of history can be likened to a chess game with Y’hovah as one of the players (or perhaps BOTH of the players). He has his game planned down to the individual moves. The pieces on the board do not move themselves and Y’hovah’s opponent cannot make a move that Yah has not anticipated and already countered. Y’hovah is right this minute finishing the set up for his end game. In the not too distant future, you will see it begin. I pray that we will see his ‘checkmate’ with our physical eyes so that we can praise him and glorify him as he gets the victory in time and space and move into his Kingdom on earth. He judges righteously, using his truth as the standard, and noone is ignorant of his Truth. Once more

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)

That word, ‘Godhead’ is from G2305, theoteis, rooted in G2304, theos, literally ‘divinity’ or divine nature. It refers to the immutable and unknowable, in our flesh, Almighty Ayn Sof, the very essence of Y’hovah Elohenu. This psalm is prophetic of that day of righteous judgment and how Y’hovah’s people will respond. Q&C

Tehellim 99Y’hovah malach = Y’hovah has reigned, is reigning and will reign. The root verb is used and is past tense, as all Hebrew roots are (because Hebrew word roots always refer to completed action – if this were greek, it would have the aorist tense, timeless action). I think it is for this reason that there are 3 different ways that he is proclaimed to be kadosh. First he is ‘high above all the people.’ This isn’t just a position above us in space, but a condition in time, space and energy/matter (different aspects of the same thing – matter is condensed energy). He sits on the kheruvim, so his great and awesome Name is declared kadosh, for which reasons the people tremble before him. 

The King’s strength is Mashiach and Mashiach’s footstool is the earth and his enemies thereon. 

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

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

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith Y’hovah: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)

Mashiach ha Melech is kadosh, as well.

Moshe, Aharon and Sh’muel were all men of Y’hovah, whose lives were generally in conformity to his will and plan, but each had their lapses into sight-walk. Y’hovah forgave all their sins, though he chastised them for it with the intent and also the total triumph of making them (and us, when he does it in our lives) conformed to his own image. Y’hovah’s Ruach brought their shortfalls to mind every time they were tempted to go that way again, I am sure. I’m sure because he does that with me. And I am sure he does the same to y’all. Just another way he remembers us, by recalling it to our memory when we are tempted to repeat a sin that he’s already forgiven a few hundred times. Q&C

Luka 1. 8-17 – ZecharYah (Y’hovah remembers), husband of Elisheva, Miriam’s cousin, was working his course (AviYah – Y’hovah is my Father) in the priesthood as the acting High Priest, whose duty it was to trim and clean the Menorah, and offer the incense offering on the Golden Altar every day at the morning and evening sacrifices.

7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aharon lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before Y’hovah throughout your generations. (Ex.30.7-8)

I think that ZecharYah was praying for his and Elisheva’s greatest desire – a son – while he was offering the incense. The people were also praying outside the Temple at the same time. They were probably praying for Mashiach to come and set up his Kingdom and throw off the rule of Rome. The combination of the two at this time would be too cool not to imagine it. While ZecharYah is praying a messenger appears to him in the Holy Place of the Temple at the right side of the altar of incense. The right side speaks of strength, but it also is the side where the Bread of the Presence is and that gives my speculation even more credence. This angel is carrying the people’s prayers into Y’hovah’s presence. 

Zach said to himself, “Self?! Where did this guy come from?” The angel said, “Your prayer is answered, Zach.” Zach WAS praying for a son. V.15 shows that Yochanan was a Nazirite from the womb, like Shimson and Sh’muel. Yochanan’s ministry was 3-fold: 1) To turn Ephraim [children of the northern kingdom, Israel?] back to Y’hovah Elohehem, 2) To turn the hearts of the Fathers in Yehudah to the returning repentant Ephraimites, and 3) To turn the disobedient in Yehudah back to Y’hovah and Torah obedience (wisdom of tzadikim) – all with the purpose of making the people ready for Mashiach’s arrival. 

Kind of a nice way to have your prayer answered, eh? Q&C 

End of Shabbat Bible Study


Shabbat Bible Study for March 3, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for March 3, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 2 Sabbath 52

Numbers 5:11-21 – Hoshea 4:14, 1Shmuel 1.7-11 – Tehellim 96 – 2 Kefa 2:1-22

Links:  This link no longer works

B’Midbar 5.11-31 – This is the passage about the jealous husband/the wife he suspects has been unfaithful. Schottenstein’s Chumash will be a valuable resource in seeing the pashat of this passage, the ‘whys and hows’ of the whole process. Its overview on p.35 is very good. My question had always been, what is it that made the husband jealous? Basically, what does the KJV mean by ‘commit a trespass against him’ in v.12? Vv.13 and 14 make it clear that there is NO WITNESS to any adultery. V.14 says that she may be defiled or she may NOT be defiled – noone has any clue except the wife and the suspected ‘other man’, if he exists. 

Rashi, according to the Chumash notes, says that she was seen with another man and that they were alone for a sufficient time that adultery COULD have occurred. When, this questionable activity came to the husband’s attention, he warned her to not do it again. But THEN she was seen with the other man again, and again they were alone for a long enough period of time that adultery could have occurred. NOW, the husband had ample reason to be jealous and the procedure he was to put himself and his wife through was designed to either prove or disprove the accusation. 

Beginning in v.16, we see the ordeal of the bitter water. I take inference that she may have been brought into the sanctuary, the Holy place, for this procedure because 1). She was brought ‘before Y’hovah’ and 2). the priest put some ‘holy water’ (laver or red heifer water of purification?) in an earthen vessel and added dust from the ground of the Tabernacle. How would she know that the dust was actually FROM the Tabernacle if she didn’t see him take it from there? Either she was taken into the sanctuary, or perhaps, only to the outer veil of the Kodesh place. If that’s the case, they probably used water from the laver and the priest could just reach in and grab a handful of dust from the floor. After working that one out in print here, I lean toward the latter, but still see the possibility of the former. 

In v.18, the priest uncovered her head. The head covering symbolized her husband’s protection from the wrath of Y’hovah, as she symbolized the Bride of Mashiach. Uncovering the woman’s head symbolizes the removal of that protection, leaving her vulnerable to personal judgment and condemnation. If she is innocent, she has nothing to fear. The priest explained what the water’s purpose was and what would befall her if she were guilty, but that, if she was innocent, she had nothing to fear. If she was guilty, however, the priest had explained the horrific suffering she would endure on her way to death. 

Now, here’s the kicker. IF she was guilty of adultery and confessed, she would be divorced for cause (setting up Dt.24.1-4), but since there was no judicially acceptable evidence against her, she would have no judgment or penalty imposed on her by the court. So, confession was the logical way for her to go if she were guilty. And, if she was innocent, she had nothing to fear. The innocent woman would drink it down and the guilty woman would probably confess, not wanting to die the horrendous death described by the Kohen. 

Quoting Chumash, pg.35, 

“This is the only halachic procedure in the Torah that depends on a supernatural intervention…. The purpose of the ordeal was 2-fold, 1). To punish adultery and help uproot immorality in Yisrael, and 2) to foster trust between husband and wife. Once a husband has come to suspect his wife, he will not trust her, even if a court rules that he is wrong… Only Eloha’s own testimony would be convincing enough. Eloha permits the blotting out of his Name and performs a miracle to set the suspicious husband’s mind at ease.”

I wonder if this was the circumstance that confronted Yeshua in Jn.8.1-12? If it was, where was her husband? And were the accusers acknowledging Yeshua’s authority to judge as the tzadik rebbe, Mashiach? I seriously doubt that, but that this MAY be the circumstance that brought the incident to bear I do not doubt. It explains why the man is not there, and it’s just a small stretch from the ‘alone together’ causing jealousy to the jealousy ‘creating’ the sin in the minds of the accusers. Perhaps she had been brought to the priest and had refused to drink the water, all the while maintaining her innocence of this crime. 

If you would like to see an excellent presentation of the penalty of the adulterous wife being paid in full in the events of Pesach and the death of Yeshua on the tree, see Eddie’s excellent treatment of it at He discusses the water of jealousy, all the curses involved and also the inability of a man to remarry a divorced wife who had been married to another man (which symbolizes a believer slipping into idolatry). Q&C

Hoshea 4.14 –  The curse that Y’hovah puts on Israel is as a result of his observation in v.6.

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy Eloha, I will also forget thy children. 7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: will I change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. (Hosea 4.6-8)

Y’hovah’s people are damah, made dumb or silenced, not destroyed. Our lack of da’at -knowledge – is not due to unavailability, but refusal to see or hear it. We reject da’at. And so, he turns us over to our desire, which is to be fooled. Is that not what has been going on for 1800+ years of Constantinian religion in the West? It’s gotten to the point that he doesn’t even chasten us when we go a-whoring after other gods. He just lets us go. Y’hovah will never pressure us to obedience and faithfulness to him and his Word. He will send chastisement for a while, but the more we refuse to acknowledge it, the more we reject it, the less he expects our repentance and the more he gives us over to our lusts. I have just described the United States of America and the whole Xian world. He has all but given up on this world as a result of the ‘church’ a-whoring in public, and he is about to allow us to reap what we’ve sown. I sincerely hope y’all who are listening can understand, and that you will repent and turn to his Way.

1 Sh’muel 1.7-11 – Hannah gave her son, Sh’muel, to Y’hovah; made a Nazarite vow unto Y’hovah on behalf of her son. The difference between Shimshon and Sh’muel, I think was in their training as children. It looks like Manoah and his wife indulged Shimshon, while Elkanah and Hannah raised Sh’muel to fear Y’hovah and prepared him for service. 

Grammarically, the ‘he’ in v.7 is Y’hovah, as He is the last 3rd person masculine singular noun used. What it says is that Moed to Moed [if my thinking above is correct], Y’hovah is shutting up her womb and she was fasting and praying with tears to have a child. Meanwhile, Peninnah is doing with Channah as Hagar had done with Sarah centuries before, mocking and rubbing Channah’s face in her barrenness [parallel]. 

And in v.8, Elkanah says maybe the worst thing he could to her; “Am I not better than 10 sons to you?” Lemme tell you, guys; in these circumstances, that is not exactly going to endear you to the better half. But it looks as though it did get her to eat and drink something, since v.9 indicates that she may have done so with Elkanah before she got up to go to the sanctuary. Of course, it could ALSO be that the “they” in the verse were Elkanah, Peninnah, and their kids. KJV says she went to the Temple, but of course Shlomo, who built the temple, is yet 100 years in the future. So this had to be just a large edifice, probably the ohel. Eli was sitting in the structure near one of the doorposts. The judge might sit in the gate of the outer court to be of service to worshippers or people coming up to offer an offering. As she entered the sanctuary of Y’hovah [v.10], she was in great bitterness of soul and weeping, perhaps uncontrollably, and Eli probably noticed this and checked on her periodically. 

In her overwhelming desire to have a son to serve Y’hovah, she entered into a vow before Y’hovah Tzavaoth [v.11] that if He would give her a son, he would be dedicated to Him from the womb as a Naziri, as “a razor shall not touch his head”. TSK says this about Channah’s gift of her son to Y’hovah:

Sh’muel, as a descendent of Levi, was Y’hovah’s property, from twenty-five years of age till fifty; but the vow here implies that he should be consecrated to Y’hovah from his infancy to his death, and that he should not only act as a Levite, but as a Nazarite.

Channah gave her son, Sh’muel, to Y’hovah’s strong right hand; made a Nazarite vow unto Y’hovah on behalf of her son. The differences between Shimshon and Sh’muel, I think was in their tribal heritage and training as children. It looks like Manoah, a Danite, and his wife indulged Shimshon and trained him not a whit, while Elkanah, a Levi, and Channah raised Sh’muel to fear Y’hovah and prepared him for service. Q&C

Tehellim 96 – I love vv.1-3 here. Do you see how there are 6 phrases that work together to bring glory to Y’hovah’s Name, and that it all centers on the Hebrew word Y’shuato, which means His Salvation or Deliverance? We are to witness to Y’hovah’s Deliverance from day to day to day to … You get the picture. Remember the little monk named Frank who said, “Always preach the gospel! When necessary, use words.” That’s how we are to preach Y’hovah’s Salvation, by our manners of life that will make us stand out like sore thumbs while maintaining a verbal witness, as well. If our lifestyle does not reflect our words, we will witness only to our hypocrisy, not the glory of Y’hovah. 

V.4 speaks of the fear of Y’hovah. Now we have discussed the fear of Y’hovah before, and I have said that it is not just ‘reverential awe’, like the Constantinian majority loves to say, but includes the abject terror that his disfavor can inspire. But we’ve also discussed the idea that ‘fear’ of Y’hovah is the opposite of ‘despite’ of Y’hovah. To despise is not to hate or dislike something, but to think that it is without value, worthless and of no consequence or power. So, to fear Y’hovah in this sense is to think of him in all we do, which will show in the way we live. What ought to be despised in v.5 is the gods of the nations which are adept at counterfeiting what looks to the eyes like power but in reality is no power. They have no real power, only sleight of hand. Fools are ‘fooled’ by the counterfeit. But Y’hovah made all that is by the Word of his mouth. 

All honor and majesty belong to Y’hovah Elohenu, the Tzadik Rebbe, Yeshua haMoshiach, who is the beautiful blending of the righteous power of Y’hovah’s Spirit and the merciful love of Y’hovah, our Father. It is Y’hovah whom we must honor, glorify and worship in the beauty of holiness. Vv.8-9 speak of offering Y’hovah worship in the beauty of holiness. An offering was made to set us apart unto Y’hovah so that he could look upon us as beautiful.  THAT is, I think, the beauty of holiness. 

We will be called upon, if things keep trending as they are, to glorify Y’hovah before the heathen and declare his sovereignty over the earth and all things therein. Be prepared to glorify Y’hovah before men, and he SHALL judge the people of the earth, who judge us unrighteously because we are set-apart unto him. Notice that the world is judged in Y’hovah’s righteousness, and the people are judged according to his Truth. His Torah is the expression of is righteousness, according to which all shall be judged. If you are his, you have already been judged righteous in him, and receive no condemnation

therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Mashiach Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [Rom.8.1]


2Kefa 2.1-22  – This whole chapter is about false prophets. The ‘damnable heresies’ Pete speaks of are a result of ‘private interpretations’, using something other than scripture to interpret scripture. That is not to say that there is no other source of truth. All scripture is true, but it is not ‘all truth’. By that I mean that in order to know what an author is referring to, you may need to know historical and cultural context. As an example Sha’ul says;

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Kefa before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Galatians 2:14)

He wasn’t admonishing Peter for keeping Torah, as our Xian brethren like to interpret, but for compelling the Gentiles to live according to the oral law of the Pharisees. (BTW, I think that the incident Paul refers to in Gal.2 may have been the spark for the Jerusalem Council in Acts15, because this is the very issue they discussed then.) The incident was early in Sha’ul’s Netzari ministry while they were in Antioch of Syria, probably between the 1st and 2nd missionary journeys. The Jerusalem council was near the end of the 2nd

False prophets, past, present, and future, twist truth to their own ends and draw even the elect away from the narrow Way. The number of followers a man has does not determine his godliness or lock on truth. Witness Benny Hinn, for example. False prophets are after your money, your stuff or your life. False prophets of the past have received judgment on everything around them, while the faithful have been delivered, either by miracle or by personal preparation for the judgment to come. Noach prepared for the judgment to come. Lot was delivered miraculously out of the judgment against Sodom. It would have been so much better if Lot had been prepared to get his family out and to keep his personal witness intact, like Noach did.

V.5 speaks of Noach as the 8th preacher of righteousness, which I think speaks of the MelechTzadik priesthood. I don’t know for sure who the 1st 7 were (though I think among them were Adam, Seth, Enoch and Methuselah), but the 9th, IM[not so]HO, was Shem, 10th was Ya’acov, 11th was split between Yehudah (Melech Gen.49) and in Ephraim, Yoseph,  (Tzadik Gen 48). The 12th and ultimate MelechTzadik priest IS Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach, who will be manifested as such on his return to rule and reign in righteousness. 

Vv.7-8 speak of Lot’s being vexed with the wickedness of Sodom. Lot kinda spiraled down in a 6-step process towards his citizenship in that city, beginning in Gen.13

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before Y’hovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of Y’hovah, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:10-12)

In vv.10-11 he was 1) desensitized by his choice to leave the only godly man he knew and walk by sight and 2) fed the lust of his eyes in v.11. Then in v.12 he chose to 3) dwell in the cities of the plain and 4) pitched his tents so he could look on them, further feeding his evil inclination. Then in 14.12, he was actually 5) living IN Sodom (the choice he’d made long before he moved in), not in a tent outside of town. Then he 6) became an elder of the city because the Sodomites knew that position and wealth were the driving forces in his life, and that he would decide according to his lust rather than righteousness. 

Lot did not have the personal commitment to Y’hovah to be delivered THROUGH the trial, as Noach did. He needed to be delivered FROM it. In the judgment to come against the whole earth, those who have prepared both spiritually and physically for it will be delivered through it – the 144K come to mind. Those who are NOT prepared spiritually and physically will be delivered from it, probably through physical death. Y’hovah will not allow his elect to suffer the judgment coming against all flesh. 

There will be those who feign godliness who will suffer in the judgment and dare to say, “Master! Master! Have we not….” These are the ‘natural brute beasts’ of v.12, who ‘utterly perish in their own corruption’ – the false prophets of v.1. These natural brute beast false prophets are exposed in v.15 as prophets for hire, like Ba’alam. Now not all false prophets will exhibit all of the characteristics of vv.12-17, but if you see a teacher or a ‘prophet’ who exhibits any of them, SERIOUSLY consider going the other way. Q&C

The ‘mist of darkness’ sounds like darkness that can be felt, like the Egyptian plague. And that could be, since the words ‘mist’ (G2217 – zophos) and ‘darkness’ (G4655 – skopos) BOTH mean darkness – ‘to whom ‘DARK DARK’ is reserved forever’ is how it CAN be translated. ‘Dark dark’ is where the light does not exist. This is not a shadow, because for there to be a shadow there HAS to be light, and some matter to block it to form the shadow. Therefore a shadow is not ‘utter darkness’ because there is necessarily light all around the shadow. The holy of holies might illustrate this, because there is no outside source of light within the Mishkan proper. Y’hovah is the light of it. If he is not there, it is ‘dark dark’ inside it. 

I love the phrase ‘great, swelling words of vanity’ that describes the speech of the false prophets. Calls to mind the commercial from the “Crystal Cathedral” back in the 90s and 00s, Bobby Shueller saying in his most stilted, oracular and oratorical tones, “DON’T just sta-a-and ther-re. DO-O-O-O something!” Made me want to vomit. False prophets play to people’s flesh, promising, “God wants to make you RICH!”, when all he’s really promised us in this life is food and clothing, like the sparrows and the grass of the fields. Yeshua didn’t have the proverbial pot, no place to rest his head. These are NOT things we need to strive for. He may give us more than we need when we are content with what we have. 

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, the words of our Master Yeshua haMoshiach, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. (I Timothy 6:3-6)

‘They’ in v.18ff = the false prophets. ‘Them’ in v.19ff = those who were clean escaped, but are now captured by something even worse – idolatry. This is very much the same idea as Paul [or one of his close talmidim] touched on in Heb.10

23 Let us hold fast the profession of faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some; but exhorting: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully 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 God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb.10.23-29)

Let’s also not forget that the grafted in branches can be broken off again according to Rom.11. 

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Q&C  End of Midrash notes.


Shabbat Bible Study for February 24, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for February 24, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

B’Midbar 4.17-5.10 – 1Sh’muel 6.1-21 – Tehellim 94, 95 – 1Corinthians 12

Num.4.17-20 – Y’hovah was concerned that the Kohathi would do something inadvertent that would cause them to die, like bumping into the ark when they put their shoulders to it, or got too close to the Kadosh Kadashim and saw the ark uncovered even in the corner of their eyes. They would have their boundaries set by Aharon and ElAzar, and would not be permitted into the Kodesh Place while the coverings were being placed on the furnishings for transport. From the website:

Moses and Aaron were responsible for planning and supervising the work of the Kohathites, so that they did not commit any capital offenses in carrying out their duties. Each of the 2,750 eligible Kohathites, by name (v. 32), was given a specific task to be performed in a specific order, so that there would be no accidental overstepping of boundaries, which would bring death. (V.20) Aaron and his sons were required to wrap the holiest items, and then the Kohathites could carry them, without being able to look upon them.

There is a debate about what the problem was: were the Kohathites afraid to perform tasks for the Tabernacle, and therefore had to be assigned definite tasks? Or were they so eager to do the work, that they had to be assigned limited tasks so as not to accidentally push too far and die?

I think it was a case of ‘mind your own business’, the Kohanim had the right to go into the Kodesh Place during their service to Y’hovah, but not at any other time. They had two one-week periods of service every year in which they could go into the Kodesh Place to serve. None of them had any business there at any other time. Only Aharon’s family had the right to be in the Kodesh place daily, and even that had to be in compliance with their duties in the service of Y’hovah. Nadav and Avihu found that out the hard way, going unbidden into the Kodesh place and performing what Y’hovah had not commanded, offering ‘strange fire’. Aharon, ElAzar and Ithamar had learned that lesson, as well. It was the Amramite’s job to cover the furniture and set the poles for transport. It was the Kohathites’ job to shoulder the furnishings during transport.

4.21-28 – The Gershonites got to tear down and set up the coverings of the Tabernacle itself, after the furnishings were covered. Each of the families within the tribe of Levi had a specific burden assigned by Y’hovah through ElAzar. I think they were given burdens commensurate with their numbers and abilities to carry. There were 7500 Gershonites from the age of 1 month, 2630 of age to serve in the Mishkan. Most could bear some load during the journeys from camp to camp and in the land. I think they got the coverings for the Kodesh and Kadosh Kadashim because they were of a greater weight than the curtains of the outer court and it may have been more labor intensive than packing up the outer court or it’s furniture. There were 2 wagons to carry the heavy stuff (Num.7.3, 6-7). Ithamar was the captain to whom Gershon reported during any movement. 

4.29-33 – The Merarites had the burden of the outer court hangings and the poles and boards of the Tabernacle. Because they were the smallest family, 6200 from 1 month, 3200 of age to serve in the Mishkan, and got the lions share of the weight (the hangings of the outer court, the poles of the outer court and the Tabernacle and the boards of the Tabernacle) they got 4 wagons to carry all the heavy stuff (Num.7.8). More than ½ the Merarites were able to perform service in the tabernacle. Merari also reported to Ithamar.

The Kohathites were the largest tribe at 8600 from 1 month, but with only 2750 of age to serve in the Mishkan. Their job in transit was to actually carry the ark, the table of showbread, the altar of incense and the 7 light lampstand/menorrah. The Kohathites reported to ElAzar.  What do all these numbers mean? I haven’t a clue! But they are important and are dripping with substance or Y’hovah would not have revealed it to us. It could have to do with the numbers 8600 and 2750 both adding to 14 – 2×7. The gematria is a fascinating, and extremely deep and mysterious method of interpretation of scripture, one into which I am not equipped to delve. So, I will leave it to better-trained minds than mine. 

5.1-10 – Anyone who was defiled or unclean was put without the camp until such time as they were made clean again. For some it would be a matter of a mikvah and wait until evening. For others it would take quite some time, if it ever happened. The leprosy, tzara’ath, was a symbol of sin in the camp, which is why the leper was put out of the camp until such time as he was healed and could show himself to the priest. Y’hovah would not have sin or anything that defiles in his presence. 

The restitution made for a trespass was to be made for the benefit of the one who committed the trespass, as well as for the victim. It was important that the restitution be made to impress on the trespasser what the fleeting benefit actually cost him. I don’t think the money was the issue, but the spiritual cost of trespasses. That is why Y’hovah made provision that if there was no next-of-kin to whom to give the restitution; it was to go to the priests as unto Y’hovah. Y’hovah certainly didn’t need the money, so it must have been to show the spiritual cost of stealing, and that it was ultimately stealing from Y’hovah. Again, from the website:

The Torah is here teaching that it is forbidden for us to take anything that Eloha has not given to us, whether great or small, whether from a wealthy person or someone whom we think “owes us”, or anything we have dedicated – such as tithes separated but not distributed.

The person, who would serve Eloha, must have this heart attitude to desire holiness. Continual repentance is a requirement to be clean. Saying, “If I have sinned, forgive me,” is insufficient toward Eloha or man. One needs to seek Eloha’s word to show him his errors, and make restitution, and correction of his ways.  Q&C

1Sam.6V.1 – Y’hovah MUST have waited for a while to start bringing the plagues of the mice and rrhoids on the Plishtim gen-pop, because the ark was in Plesheth for 7 months [v.1] before they sent it away. If those plagues had come upon chol Plesheth from the beginning, they would not have kept it a week. Well, *I* wouldn’t have, anyway. I’d have been 100% ready to send it away when Dagon was turned into a plain old headless fish after the 2nd night; and I’d have been more than 50% sure after the 1st night. 

But the Plishtim had a DI-lemma on their hands. They knew that they had REALLY ticked Y’hovah off and wanted to get the plagues shut off NOW! Maybe just sending the ark back to Israel wouldn’t be enough and the plagues would continue. So [v.2] they got all their prophets, pastors and evangelists together to work through all the doctrinal folderol and figure out how to appease Y’hovah. 

At least SOME of these men of GAW-AWD must have been regular prophets for hire, like Bila’am, because they came to a conclusion quickly [which would NOT happen at ALL if they were all 21st century CE Christian and Messianic leaders]; they would send the ark of Elohim on a freshly built cart [v.7] made with freshly milled wood and drawn by 2 milk-cows which had never before been yoked for work. WITH it they would send a trespass [vv.3-5] offering of 5 golden mice and 5 golden rrhoids in a wooden box; one mouse and one rrhoid for each of the kings of the Pentapolis [v.8]. These guys were the corporate leaders of their fiefdoms, like the commanding officer of a ship of the line in the US Navy. Each of the kings, WAS the city like each of the ships’ COs IS the ship. When ANY CO of ANY Navy ship steps aboard or off any ship, his own or another, he is piped aboard or ashore as “USS X, arriving/departing.” So, each king of each city had a golden rrhoid and a golden mouse made and placed them in the wooden box. I assume there was one mold made of the rrhoid and one of the mouse and the kings provided the gold to be cast in them, though it COULD be that each king had to have a replica of his own personal rrhoid made to place in the box/coffer. I ALSO assume that each king then placed his rrhoid and mouse of gold into the box himself, the images consecrated by each of the kings unto Y’hovah, the Elohim of Israel. This was SERIOUS; these kings HUMBLED themselves before Y’hovah AND their own people [at least the sculptor who fashioned the rrhoids]. KJV says they made a ‘coffer’ into which these kings put their ‘golden jewels’, double entendre NOT intended – but still kinda funny. The word that’s translated ‘coffer’ in KJV is H712 argaz [ארגז], which is probably from the root H7364 ragaz [רגז], which means to quiver or tremble in fear. These kings were literally quaking in their boots – well … sandals. BTW, the word argaz is used 3 times in TNK, all in this chapter [vv.8, 11 and 15]. This word was coined specifically for this story IM[not so]HO. The point is, the Plishtim kings were scared spitless. 

The prophets for hire also recommended a way to know if this stuff was truly from Y’hovah or if it was just happenstance [v.9]. The test would be that they would put the ark and the box with the trespass offerings inside on the new cart of newly milled wood and then yoke the milk cows to the harness of the cart, point it in a neutral direction and just let the yoked cows go where they would. If they got to the road and turned toward Israel, the whole incident was a judgment from Y’hovah. If they just went straight ahead into a field or turned away from Israel, the whole thing was just happenstance and the kings could get their gold back. 

Vv.10-12 says they did exactly that and the milch-kine went by the quickest route toward BethShemesh, the nearest Israeli city to Ekron, Plishtim kings following at a respectful distance [v.12&16]. The cows made the typical bovine ‘lowing sound’ as they went, I assume so get the Israelis attention to the return of the ark.

Well, that worked, because the Bethshemites who were out reaping their wheat fields [v.13] saw the ark and shouted for joy at the ark’s return to Israel. That they were reaping the wheat, I think, times this to sometime before either Shavuoth or Sukkoth. When the cart got to Israel, they stopped in the field of Yehoshua, a BethShemite, in which field was a large stone [H68 – even] on which the men of BethShemesh offered burnt offerings of the milch-kine using the wood of the cart for the fire [v.14]. The events of v.15-18 must have preceded those of v.14, since the Levi’im had to remove the ark and the coffer before the men could tear the cart up to use to burn the offering of the cows. Now, the Levi’im were probably not there immediately upon the ark’s return to Israel and did not move the ark or the box before the event of v.19, because I don’t think the Levi’im would have allowed the men of the town to remove the kapporeth, had they been there. But the men looked INTO the ark, so they HAD to remove the mercy seat/cheruvim from it. For this bit of foolishness, I also blame Eli and his sons, as well as the local Levi’im, because if Torah had been properly taught to the people they would not have chanced Y’hovah’s wrath. 50,070 men died in this particular plague sent by Y’hovah for their temerity. So, joy turned to mourning that day in BethShemesh. I think news of this incident would have cured Israel of any such foolishness in the future. The BethShemites certainly learned a lesson that day. Perhaps it is still alive in the corporate memory of the town? The Bethshemites learned that Y’hovah is not One with Whom to trifle. They learned to ask if such actions were permissible, first, before taking their lives into their hands again. They learned the lesson well enough [v.21] that they sent embassage to KirYath Je’arim to come and get the ark and take it up their way. Notice that they didn’t admit to KiriathYe’arim WHY they wanted them to come get the ark. They were as frightened as had been the Plishtim.


Ps.94.1-6 – This psalm illustrates the passage in Is.43.5-10. The exiles are crying out to Y’hovah in vv.1-11. Basic compassion is a thing of the past, because their religion is false and unclean:

Pure religion and undefiled before Eloha and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

Abortion and Infanticide are commonplace among the people of the world. So-called ‘ethicists’ in America have decided that killing a perfectly healthy newborn who would live in poverty is morally right. The words ‘ethics’ and ‘morally right’ have become lies to mollify the consciences of the wicked and convince them of their righteousness. Those in exile see this perversion of the wicked and cry out for Y’hovah’s deliverance.

Vv.7-11 – speaks about us all at times. Even those of us who are called by his Name choose to NOT recognize his omniscience and omnipresence. Even WE sin in the false notion that he will not see or hear us, don’t we? I do. When we forget or ignore his omni-everything; THAT is when we sin. But he created the eye and the ear! Are we STUPID? Or are we just arrogant? Fear of Y’hovah is keeping him in the forefront of our thoughts in all that we do and think; not to relegate him to some recess of our brains only to be trotted out when we need something. 

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with Eloha. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Master knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (1Cor.3.18-20)

The exiles recognize their error in vv.12-15 and make teshuvah, repentance, and I think this refers to the believing remnant in both Yehudism and the ‘church’. Though individuals have and will be broken off from the natural olive tree due to their personal unbelief (Rom.11.16ff), the whole nation of Israel has never been and never will be forsaken by Y’hovah, regardless the replacement theology of modern Xianity. Replacement theologians pick and choose the part of the metaphor of the root, olive trees and branches that Paul uses in Rom.11 (all of which is ancient Hebrew ‘mystical’ thinking – mystery, or sod). They grab the root and branches, but disregard the trees themselves. It follows, as spring follows winter, that if the root is Messiah (and it is), and the branches are individuals that partake of the fatness of the root (and they are), then the trunk of the tree must be chol Israel from which SOME of the natural branches were removed to make room for the wild branches. And if SOME of the natural branches were removed, then SOME or MOST of the natural branches remain in the trunk that carries the fatness of the root to the various branches, or members of the tree.  

Whence comes the ‘wild tree’? From the ‘cutting’ that Sennacharib took and planted into the foreign ground in Assyria when he carried off the 10 northern tribes of the nation of Israel. That cutting took root and then cuttings from it were taken throughout the world, where they took root, as well. That ‘the church’ has the ‘graffed in’ revelation painted quite clearly by Rav Sha’ul, she is, therefore, even MORE accountable than was Israel and MORE likely to be broken off for unbelief than was Israel. 

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if Eloha spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (Rom.11.18-21)

In vv.16-23 the repentant become witnesses to his truth. Will YOU and I stand up for him and his truth? Will we call out the unrighteous and their works to and for all who will hear or listen? If you WILL stand and speak for him, Y’hovah will be your strength, and his mercy towards those to whom you speak will hold you up, when you are in danger of slipping. When you are in the midst of troubles and the enemy puts various and contrary thoughts in your head, it is Y’hovah’s comfort that will delight your soul. 

Vv.20-21 describe our satanic world system to a ‘T’. The governments of the NWO system pass new laws every day that make more and more of things we do in everyday life new crimes. Is this NOT what they did to Daniel in 6.5 of that book?

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Dani’el, except we find it against him concerning the law of his Eloha. (Daniel 6:5)

That’s what they are outlawing in America today with Congressional broad-brush regulations and the presidential ‘end-arounds’ of Executive Orders as if he were the sovereign king of the United States. When they come for you, and it is likely they will, maintain your INNOCENCE and your 1st Amendment RIGHT to freely practice your sincerely held beliefs, which MANDATE you to call out their wickedness for all to see and hear. YOU stay faithful to Y’hovah’s Truth and pray him to help you hold it up for all who can to see and hear. He will be your defense and your Rock of Refuge. He will bring swift judgment against your persecutors in his time. Let HIM bring the judgment and the condemnation on them. You proclaim his Truth, as he gives you the utterance. 

Ps.95 – More of the witnesses to truth witnessing to truth. The first 6½ verses are the witnesses praising Y’hovah for his mercy and grace in delivering them from the exile. Then in v.7b he changes direction by pleading with the redeemed to hear Y’hovah’s voice and not harden our hearts as our fathers did at Sinai. Those who were graffed into Yisrael’s olive tree, made members of her Commonwealth, and made partakers in the vine could be removed as easily as they were added. The generation that hardened their hearts were the ones who had lived under the Egyptian thumb and been partakers of the Egyptian culture and religion. They hardened their hearts because they knew the Egyptian system and incorporated it into their worship of Y’hovah. We need to guard against this same type of hardening, or their end may be ours – denial of the rest we are promised due to our unbelief.  Q&C

1Cor12 – The engrafted Gentile children of Ephraim had gone after ‘dumb idols’, the very thing the psalmist warned us about in 95. “When you see a ‘wherefore’ or a ‘therefore’, look to see what it’s there for.” It is BECAUSE we were led away by dumb idols that Sha’ul takes the time to address spiritual gifts. There is a possibility that the gentile Ephraimites might return to the pagan Satanic counterfeits of the Y’hovah given spiritual gifts, which are very real (both the counterfeit & true). Just because something ‘spiritual’ is happening doesn’t mean it’s of Y’hovah. That is a truth many don’t or won’t understand. 

Spiritual gifts are given for the profit of the entire body of Messiah, not primarily for the profit of the individual (vv.7, 12). Each is given ALL of the gifts, some gifts being stronger in one individual than others, but each having a primary gift for the edification and profit of the entire body. Each needs the other in order to function. If I have the gift of prophecy and you have the gift of healing, what profit has the body if I die because I didn’t come to you because you are not a prophet? The point is that we ought not be proud of how Yeshua is using us and our particular gift (as if it was due to our efforts), we ought to be about using our gifts to the profit of the entire body, Ephraim and Judah. 

Acts 5.1-16 – ChananYahu (Ananias) lied to the Spirit of Y’hovah by SAYING they were giving the total of what they’d sold their possession for when they actually held some back. This was a sin of covetousness, which they tried to cover with the lie. ChananYahu’s wife was a conspirator with him in the covetousness and the cover-up. As with the provocation spoken of in our 1Cor. passage, there was only one way to deal with it. To quote Barney Fife, “Ya gotta nip it in the bud, Andy. Nip it in the bud!” The sin could not be in the camp. Y’hovah made extreme examples of ChananYahu (Y’hovah has favored) and Sapphira to protect the infant body of Messiah from the infection. The next few verses show what happens when the camp is pure and set-apart – the immediate result is fear of Y’hovah and there is great growth in both the spiritual maturity and numbers of talmidim. As a side effect, the power of Abba is seen in the miracles that follow the talmidim’s proclamation of the gospel of peace.

Juxtapose the 1Cor12 passage on ‘spiritual gifts’ to the signs that followed the schlichim of Yeshua. When Sha’ul said ‘best gifts,’ what did he mean? In Acts 5, it seems the best gift was that of healing. It was an unmistakable sign of the power of Y’hovah and it caused people to ‘fear’ him. I think that ultimately to ‘fear’ Y’hovah is the opposite of despising him. When you fear Y’hovah, you consider him and his will in your every move or thought, as we spoke of earlier. When people started thinking about Y’hovah’s will for them and that he cared enough to touch them individually, Ruach brought many to knowledge of himself. I think the case can be made that, at that time anyway, healing was the best gift. Perhaps today it is the discerning of spirits, or prophecy. I believe that each era has its own ‘best gift’ – and not just each era, but each little congregation has its own best gift. But I think Yeshua told us what the best gift is:

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? [13] Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. [14] If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. [15] For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. [16] Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. [17] If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:12-17)  

Service is the best gift. That was the point of the Torah portion for today – the Levites and their service.


Shabbat Bible Study for February 17, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for February 17, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 2 Sabbath 49 

Numbers 3:1- 4.16   –   YeshaYahu 43.1-13  –   Psalms 92&93  –   Ivrit 12


B’Midbar 3.1-10Vv.1-4 – Here we see Moshe and Aharon and Aharon’s sons named as priests of Y’hovah. V.1 named all the sons of Aharon ‘on the day that Y’hovah spoke to Moshe on mount Sinai’, which I take to mean on Shavuoth, when he gave them the 10 commandments. Only Aharon’s sons are numbered here, not Moshe’s. Moshe’s sons, Gershom and Eliezer, are not listed in this chapter – in my opinion, because they are not in the camp of Moshe and Aharon. In fact, there is no mention of them in the books of Moshe after Ex.18. I think that Moshe’s sons are back in Midian with Tzipporah and Yithro. They are not named anywhere in this passage, though the Schottenstein’s Chumash postulates that v.27 names Amram’s sons and that this includes Moshe’s sons as sons of Kohath. However, v.17 names all the same names as sons of Kohath, and that is also how they are listed in v.27, not as Moshe’s sons. Would these be the sons of Tzipporah? Or the sons of Moshe’s mysterious ‘Ethiopian (H3571 Kushiyth or  Cushite) wife’ that ticked Miriam and Aharon off so in ch.12? My opinion is that Moshe married one wife, Tzipporah, and that her umpty-ump grandmother was Avraham’s wife/concubine Keturah who was possibly a dark-skinned woman, as her name means “that makes the incense to fume”. If that were the case, Tzipporah could easily have been a dark skinned Midianite. This is all speculation on my part, but it is also speculation on the parts of all the rabbis consulted in the Chumash’s commentary, for there is NO EVIDENCE to work with in this matter anywhere in Torah. 

V.4 tells us that Nadav and Avihu, who died for offering ‘strange fire’, offering incense out of time and out of order, had no sons. In fact, Elezar’s and Ithamar’s sons are not named here, either. We hear little, if anything, about them until Zimri, the Israelite, takes Cozbi, a Midianitish woman, into the Tent of Meeting to have forbidden sex in a forbidden place in Num.25, and Pinchas, Elezar’s son, ran them both through with a javelin, thus staying the plague that had broken out. Pinchas became the successor to Aharon as High Priest as a result. No Levite is ever anointed except the Kohen haGadol, and that only after the predecessor, well …. deceases, dies. Pinchas got the distinction of having his sons appointed as priests in perpetuity 

10 And Y’hovah spake unto Moshe, saying, 11 Pinchas, the son of Elezar, the son of Aharon the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. 12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: 13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his Eloha, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. (Num.25.12-13)

I see a connection here to the Satanic counterfeit in Rev.13, where the False Prophet/junior Beast is able to do miracles in the presence of the Beast, as Aharon’s sons Elezar and Ithamar minister before Aharon. 

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Rev.13.11-17)

Of course all that so-called ‘spiritual power’ is satanic sleight of hand and human reverse engineering of demonically inspired technology at work. It will fool the gullible and unaware, even among folk we assume are among the elect. So be watchful. Trust only Y’hovah, and no man. 

Vv.5-10 – The Levites are appointed as the servants of the Kohanim and the Tabernacle, as the Kohanim are appointed to the service in the Tabernacle. Each is to jealously guard his office, to sanctify it from b’nei Israel, who sinned in “The Golden Calf Affair” (sounds like a movie title). This is where our Constitution found a separation of powers in government as a very good thing. Congress should be putting a stop to the ‘rule by executive order’ the President has enjoyed for over 150 years. Only Congress can guard its power, as only the judiciary can guard its power, as only the executive can guard its power. Congress’ failure to guard its power from both the executive and the judiciary is the main problem with our American Republic today. Levi is not just given to Aharon as servants in the Mishkan, they are n’tunim n’tunim,“PRESENTED presented”, to Aharon and his sons for service (KJV says ‘wholly given’). Y’hovah doesn’t repeat himself in this way very often. He does it to make it unequivocally known that this is their calling and noone else’s. Q&C

Vv.11-38vv.11-13 – Here is the only thing even close to ‘replacement theology’ you’ll find in scripture. Levi ‘replaced’ the physical bikkurim. V.12 says, in a Mark ‘pigeon-Hebrew’ translation, “And I, behold, I have taken to me the Levi’im from among the children of Israel in place of all the firstborn that open the womb (pether rechem) among the children of Israel…” KJV seems to be very close to right on the money (it usually is). It was for the sin of the Golden Calf that the firstborn of Israel were no longer counted as the firstborn of Y’hovah and Levi was appointed the substitutionary, or ‘replacement’ firstborn. The firstborn were supposed to have performed all the service to the Aharonic priests and the Tabernacle, so they had been set apart by Y’hovah when he DIDN’T kill them in Egypt on Pesach, and now again he sets them apart with the loss of reward for their sin. As always, the loss of reward as consequences of our actions serve to remind us to remain true to Y’hovah’s Word. 

During the Wilderness Adventure and the first few Kohen G’dolim in the Land, they stayed true. After the division of the nation in Reho/Jerobam’s day, the decline went rapidly in the sanctity of the priesthood. There had been some that were less faithful than others up to that time, but as a general rule, the High Priests and the Levites were truly sanctified men who ruled their own houses and the religion well. I think the reason we know about the rotters among the priests and Levites in the historical narratives of Judges, Kings and Chronicles is to make the point that they were ‘just guys’, like the rest of us, if they didn’t work at their sanctity through obedience to Torah. The vast majority did. Those who didn’t were ‘set-apart’ in their own right by getting mention in the historical narratives and especially later in the prophets. The further the priests and Levites got from their personal sanctity, the further Israel and/or Yehudah slid into spiritual adultery with false elohim. We who take it on ourselves to teach others are worthy of the double honor when we stay truly set-apart to the Word in our walk and our words. We are also worthy of double judgment when we stray from our sanctity in walk and word. 

Vv.14-16 – The census of the Levi’im is commanded. This is also a way that Levi was sanctified by Y’hovah – they were counted from one month old and there was no limit to what age they could be counted. If there was a 125-year old Levite male, he was counted. If a male Levite child was at least 30 days old, he was counted. It does not say, of the 1st month, but 1 month old. If the child lived that long, his chances were excellent to live to serve, barring unforeseen circumstances, like war, famine or disease.

The Levites were to pitch their camps in close proximity to the Mishkan, to guard it from improper approach by the other tribes of Israel. Levi’s sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari, were the houses of Levi, which were further broken down into families. The Levite houses were to be assigned general duties in service to the priests and the Mishkan. The families were assigned their special duties, which are not enumerated by family. There were 8 families in the 3 houses of Levites. Gershon, being the firstborn of Levi was the house counted first, then the house of Kohath and finally Merari. 

Vv.17-26 – The house of Gershon, which camped on the back, or west, side of the Mishkan (closest to the Holy of Holies), between it and Yoseph’s camp, consisted of the families of Livni and Shimei, and totaled 7500. Gershon’s zachan, elder, was Eliasaph (my Mighty One gathers), whom I assume camped closest to the Mishkan on the west. His job was to oversee taking down (gathering) and building back up the Holy place and the court, including all the hangings, door curtains and cords appertaining thereto. 

Vv.27-32 – The house of Kohath, which camped on the left, or south side of the Mishkan, between it and Reuven’s camp, consisted of the families of Amram, Izhar, Hevron and Uzziel and totaled 8600. Kohath’s zachan was Elizaphan (my Mighty One treasures), whom I also assume camped closest to the Mishkan on the south. His job was as lieutenant to Elezar, who had overall command of the movement, while Elizaphan actually had charge of the work of ‘carrying’ all the furnishings of the Mishkan; ark, altars, Menorah, tables, the instruments used in the sacrificial service and their coverings. The Kohanim actually placed the coverings over all the stuff used, but the non-priest Kohathites carried them from camp to camp. 

Vv.33-37 – The house of Merari, which camped on the right, or north side of the Mishkan, between it and Dan’s camp, consisted of the families of Mahli and Mushi and totaled 6200. Merari’s zachan was Zuriel (My Rock is the Mighty One), whom I also assume camped closest to the Mishkan on the north. His job was oversight of the boards, with their bars, sockets and fillets as well as the tent pegs and cords (like guy wires) to tether the poles to the ground for both the Mishkan and the court. 

Vv.38 – On the front, or east side of the Mishkan, before the entrance veil of the Tent of Meeting, was the camp of the Kohanim: the prophet Moshe, and the Priests Aharon and his sons. Moshe did not have a sukkah of his own, but actually dwelt in the Tent of Meeting, in the presence of Y’hovah. It was the Kohanim’s job to guard the Mishkan from all interlopers who got passed the 2 wheels (ophanim) of defense. As we will see in a couple of months, even though he had not been anointed Priest, Pinchas took his charge of guarding the sanctity of the Mishkan seriously and, using his trusty javelin, stayed the plague that Y’hovah unleashed upon Israel in Num.25. 

The definition of ‘stranger’ is different in different places. The word here is H2114 zur, which Stone’s Tanakh translates as alien. In this case, it means anyone who is NOT a Kohen. If a non-Kohen Kohathite tried to get into the Mishkan, Aharon or one of his sons, or even Moshe was to stop him by whatever means was necessary. If a Danite, even if it was the elder of Dan, tried to get into the Levite wheel, it was Merari’s job to stop him from going any further, and so on around the camp. The last defense in the outer wheel was the elder of the Camp – Nachshon, in Yehudah’s case. If the non-Levite got passed the zachan of the outer camp, it was the Levite’s job to stop him from going further. 

In Num.25, when Zimri took Cozbi into the ToM, he not only attempted to defile it with his own non-priestly presence, but with a complete alien who didn’t even belong in the Camp of Israel, much less the Court or the Mishkan itself. IOW, noone in the camp tried to stop the desecration of the Sanctuary. Now you might get an idea of why Y’hovah had sent a plague that killed over 32,000 Israelites in a few minutes. He was about to wipe out the entire camp. Pinchas LITERALLY saved Israel from annihilation, IMHO. Q&C

Vv.39-51 – If we take the totals of each camp of Levites, we see that it adds up to 22,300 Levi’im. But v.39 is specific in saying there were 22,000. V.39 is not wrong, since 22,000 are certainly contained in the 22,300, but why is there such a blatant discrepancy? 

Schottenstein’s Chumash gives a reasonable explanation on pp.20-21. Among the Kohanim there were firstborn of the Kohanim who needed to be redeemed by a 5 silver shekel offering. Their dedication to the service of Y’hovah could redeem one person, but not 2. If he was counted as the redemption of the physical firstborn of another Israelite family, he could not redeem himself, and so had to pay his own redemption price – 5 silver shekels. 

Perhaps the 300 had a physical blemish that made them ineligible to serve in the Mishkan as it says in Lev.21.16-24;

16 And Y’hovah spake unto Moshe, saying, 17 Speak unto Aharon, saying, Whosoever  of thy seed in their generations that hath blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of Elohaiv (his Eloha). 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aharon the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of Y’hovah made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of Elohaiv. 22 He shall eat the bread of Elohaiv, of the most holy, and of the holy. 23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I Y’hovah do sanctify them. 24 And Moshe told it unto Aharon, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel. (Lev.21.16-24)

There may be other possibilities, but those come to mind readily. We are not told right here in the immediate context why the discrepancy, but it is for good reason, I’m sure. Q&C

4.1-4 – The next thing Y’hovah commanded Moshe to do was to take another census of all the Kohathites between the ages of 30 and 50, the ones who would be used in the service of the Mishkan and who would actually carry the articles of the Mishkan from camp to camp. Moshe and Aharon are sons of Kohath, so what the Kohanim did when the Mishkan moved was given here. 

When the order came to break camp, the first thing the Kohanim did was the cover the ark with the veil that hung between the ark and the Altar of Incense. Only the anointed Priesthood was allowed to see what lay within the Mishkan. This would be the only time Elazar or Ithamar would see the ark, and that for the briefest time while they covered it with the veil. This veil was perhaps 4-6 inches thick and made of gold thread, Techeleth, purple and scarlet wool and fine twined linen, cunningly woven to portray the angels of heaven in service in Y’hovah’s throneroom. The Mishkan itself, the inner covering of the Most Set Apart place, was made in the same fashion as the veil, so that when the Kohen Gadol went inside to sprinkle the blood of the goat on the Kipporah, he would see the angels ministering all around him in the ceiling and veil and the reflexions in the gold walls. They would cover the ark with the veil, which was covered with the badger’s skin and then that was all covered by a techeleth colored wool covering. The Hebrew word xlated badger in the KJV is tachash, which the Chumash explains was a beautiful multi-colored antelope that has since gone extinct. The tachash, or badger (KJV), naturally had a ‘coat of many colors’ that would link it to the Tzadik, Yoseph. Since there are two covers of 2 different materials that need to be coupled together it COULD be that they represent the House of Yehudah and the house of Yoseph, rejoined in Yeshua, our MelchiTzadik High Priest. 

When they finished with the ark, they moved to the Table of the Bread of the Presence, which had a techeleth woolen cloth spread over its surface and the plates and utensils associated with it laid out on top of it along with the Bread of the Presence arranged on it, which was then covered by a scarlet woolen cloth, all of which was then covered with tachash skin and the staves inserted in their gold rings. This is the only thing that has any scarlet covering, signifying that Y’hovah sees us through the Tzadik’s coat of many colors, which he also sees through the blood of the Lamb, Yeshua.

Next they would cover the Menorah with a techeleth blue woolen cover under which would go all the cups, snuffers, and such utensils as were prescribed for use with the candlestick. Then all those accoutrements and the menorah were placed in a covering of tachash skin and the poles affixed to it. 

Next they spread a techeleth blue cover on the Golden Incense Altar and then cover the whole thing with tachash skins and place the staves for carrying. The menorah, Table of bread of the Presence and the Golden Altar were covered first with a woolen blue cloth, signifying the divine nature of all the ministries done there. Even the Incense Altar, which incense represents the prayers of the saints, is a ministry of Y’hovah for us. From my study of Romans 8,

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, do we with patience wait for. 26 Likewise Ruach also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Ruach itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what the mind of Ruach, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to Eloha. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Eloha, to them who are the called according to purpose. (Rom.8.24-28)

Ruach helps our infirmity, our longing for the completion of our redemption, by interceding with Avinu on our behalf with groanings so deep that they can’t even be spoken. In other words, if you think YOU can’t wait for your resurrection and adoption as Avinu’s sons, Yeshua’s and Avinu’s Ruach longs even more so. 

Vv.27-28 – I think the mind of the Ruach in v.27 is speaking of the spiritually minded man (v.6), or the one who is walking after Ruach l’Elohim. Ruach searches our hearts and makes intercession for us in keeping with the will of Elohim. I don’t know if you see it this way, but this is saying that even when we are NOT praying in the will of Elohim, Ruach l’Elohim is. Our prayers are not answered the way we think they should be because WE are petitioning Y’hovah outside of his will. But Ruach prays IN the will of Y’hovah and THAT prayer IS answered perfectly. And so, all things work together for good to us who love Y’hovah and who are the called according to his purpose because Y’hovah’s will is being performed in us, whether we like it or not. Our circumstances may seem tumultuous and terrible, but Ruach in us is interceding for us so that it will all work to our ultimate good and to his glory.

The tachash skin that reminds me of Yoseph’s coat of many colors, also suggests that everything that Y’hovah sees from his throne is seen through our Tzadik rebbe, Yeshua. 

Once all the furnishings of the Mishkan were ready for transport, the Kohathites could come and do their duty of carrying it all to the next camp. All they had to do was wait their turn to march. 

The weight of the ark is variously estimated at between a couple of hundred to 500 pounds in itself, but once the 4-6 inch thick Mishkan and veil and their tachash skin covering laid on top of it, it HAD to go more like 750-1000 pounds. I seriously doubt that 4 Kohathites could even lift it, much less walk anywhere with it. It would be difficult for world-class power-lifters to lift it. I think the rabbis’ speculation is correct; Y’hovah did all the heavy lifting, carrying the ark and its coverings, as well as the priests themselves, from camp to camp. The priests’ of course, had to walk as if it was needed, even though their feet never made contact with the ground, like Yisrael did when she crossed the Red Sea [and the Yarden] ’dry’. Q&C

YeshaYahu 43.1-7 – The first 7 verses of the Haftara deals with chol Yisrael. Now chol Yisrael includes both Houses, Yehudah and Yoseph. When Ya’acov was returning to haAretz from Charan, he encountered Y’hovah and they wrestled all night. After the original “WRESTLEMANIA!” Y’hovah told Ya’acov that he was changing his name to Yisrael. Now Y’hovah had told Avraham what his son’s name would be, but he’d never changed a man’s name due to the man’s refusal to let him go without receiving his blessing. Yisrael means, “He shall be a Prince of El”. Hence, “I have called you by name.” This can be applied to all those who are the called according to his purpose, who endure unto the end. Yisrael had brook Jabok and the Yarden to cross before he was home baAretz, and Y’hovah promised him that he would carry him through (that could be our tie-in to the Torah portion). We get to walk through the fires of tribulation to try our faith and faithfulness. He will see us through all of them if we trust in him and not our own strength. As Yeshua said,

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. (Matthew 10:19)

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11)

11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Lk.12.11-12)

If the time comes that we are taken captive for our faith, just don’t worry about what you’ll say to them. Praise Y’hovah that you get to be his witness and pray that he will speak through you. He’s already promised you that he will be with you, as he was when Ya’acov met Ishmael, and when Rav Sha’ul met the CCers in Antioch, and when Kefa met the Chief priests in J’lem. None of us has the power to stand like they stood, but He can do it through us, if we’ll get out of the way and let Him. 

To prove that He is for us, he says that he gave Egypt, Ethiopia and Sheba as ransom for the nation Israel. Then he backed up that ransom by delivering us through the trial of the Wilderness Adventure, even though we’d murmured against Him as many times as we had tribes in the desert. He’s done so once, and he will do so again, as he says in v.4-5. Why are we honourable? Is it for something we’ve done? Or is simply because we are precious in his sight? As he gave Egypt, Ethiopia and Sheba, so he will give men and peoples to deliver us from the 4 winds who have called on his Name. He created us, NEW creatures, made for HIS glory.

Therefore if any man be in Mashiyach, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

I take that to mean that when one trusts Y’hovah, he is made new, as was Yeshua upon his resurrection. We may not see it now, but we will when he calls us from the 4 winds.

Vv.8-13 – Blind and deaf are allusions to people in exile from Y’hovah’s presence. So the blind who have eyes and the deaf who have ears are those who have the ability to see and hear, but who will not. This is an allusion to Armageddon at the end of THIS ‘age’ and also to the final and ultimate Gog uMagog rebellion at the end of the Kingdom Millennium. At least at Armageddon there will be exactly this kind of offer made to the armies that come against Yeshua haMoshiach at his return to deliver His people in Israel. 

4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. (Isaiah 27.4-5)

Those who come against him will be given a choice to take, keep on against Yeshua and choose death or turn to him in faith and choose life, making Shalom with him. Those who choose life SHALL have Shalom, and go into the Millennium to replenish the earth. The ‘former things’ in v.9 is literally rishon (same root as reishith, rosh) – ‘the first’ or ‘beginning’, as in the original creation. He challenges them to bring their personal witness to the beginning, OR shut up and agree that he is Truth Incarnate. We who agree are his witnesses and his chosen servants, who know that he created all that is and who also sustains it. 

In v.11, Y’hovah says I, I am Y’hovah, and there is no Saviour but me. He has declared, delivered and shown when we were faithful to him, as no other people have EVER been. THAT is why he has never forsaken Yisrael. THAT is why he will deliver us again, and call us back to him from the 4 corners of the earth, and noone will slow him down. Q&C

Tehellim 92.1-5a – “To give thanks to Y’hovah and to sing praises to Elyon’s Name is good”, is as literal a translation as can be made to v.1. It is a mitzvah, a righteous act, to give thanks and sing praises to his Name. We are supposed to do mitzvoth, to bring praises to the Most High’s Name thereby, to ‘prove’ to ourselves and to those who see our good works ‘what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elyon’ (Rom.12.2). No good deed will go unpunished (by the world), or unrewarded (by Y’hovah). When we show his faithfulness to deliver on his promises to us, we generally tick the world off and it tries to shut us up, which brings even MORE reward from Y’hovah, if we remain faithful to him. HaSatan hates it when Y’hovah gets the hodoth (glories) and zamriym (praises). So when we sing his praises we get a double blessing; the blessing from Y’hovah and the attack of the enemy, which results in more blessing from Y’hovah, if we endure it with patience, trusting him to lead us, to flank us and to cover our 6 (there are those 4 camps again, seen from a different angle). 

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (Psalms 142:7)

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psalms 32:7)

In what do we triumph? We triumph in the works of Elyon’s hands, not our own. He receives our praises in the same manner in which we offer them; in the how AND in the why. V.5 is a transition from our praise to Y’hovah for his works to our wonder at Y’hovah for his ways. 

Vv.5b-9 – When it talks about Y’hovah’s thoughts being deep, the Hebrew word is machsh’vothecha which has a root chashav (H2803) that means ‘to weave a plan’. Isn’t that exactly what he does? He pronounces a judgment for example against YechonYah’s seed that none will prosper on the throne of David – and none ever does. But he’s also promised David that his seed would rule a worldwide kingdom. How can these BOTH be true?! By the plans of Y’hovah, who weaves the thread of his truth around all the seemingly insurmountable judgments that he has pronounced on his unfaithful children, like he had Bezale’el work the gold and fine linen with the woolen yarn in the Mishkan and the High Priest’s vestures. 

YechonYah certainly will have none of his seed prosper on the throne of David. And David will certainly have his Seed rule a worldwide Kingdom. And it will be true, both in metaphor and in physical fact. Y’hovah is a wise painter, who will not paint himself into a corner. We may not see the escape route in advance, but rest assured that it is there. 

The carpenter of Nazareth, Yoseph, was the legal heir to David’s throne by direct father-to-son inheritance through the seed of YechonYah, as can be seen in Matthew’s genealogy. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that Y’hovah’s judgment was in full force at that time. 

But in Luke’s genealogy, we see Miriam’s lineage through a different son of David. So Yeshua IS a literal, physical son of David through Miriam’s umpty-ump prophet grandfather Nathan, and legally the Seed of David through Yoseph, Miriam’s husband, the rightful heir to the throne through his umpty-ump grandfather, YechonYah. Yoseph’s act of naming the boy at his CC and his dedication conferred all the rights and privileges of the firstborn on his adopted son, Yeshua. Y’hovah’s thoughts, his machsh’vot are very deep indeed – intricately woven and of cunning work, like the fabric of the Mishkan and Aharon’s vestures. The man who sees only the pashat, which is like a skin of flesh, without seeing the deeper truths; the bones, meat, and sinews that the skin of pashat covers; may know the works of Y’hovah, but will not know his ways:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Y’hovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

And so we begin to understand why the wicked prosper, when we understand that there is a natural law of sowing and reaping, that what we do has consequences, whether for good or ill. We reap what we sow. The most wicked man who ever lived has done some mitzvoth, even if by accident, and MUST reap the rewards of those mitzvoth. This is why the wicked live better than they deserve in this life, because they have no eternal life in which to garner the reward for their mitzvoth. V.9 says they will be scattered, yithpardu. I think this speaks of the utter dissolution of the wicked in the Lake of Fire. This is also why the righteous seem to suffer more than they deserve in this life (especially when seen in light of the wicked living well), because they will receive no condemnation in the olam haba, the world to come, and MUST therefore reap the harvest of their fleshly deeds in the flesh. 

Vv.10-15 give us a preview of the great blessing that comes to the righteous in the olam haba. It is also briefly described in Rev.21-22.

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from Eloha out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of Eloha is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and Eloha himself shall be with them, and be their Eloha. 4 And Eloha shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21.1-4)

1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of Eloha and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of Eloha and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Rev.22.1-4) 

Tehellim 93 – There just isn’t much I can add to the pashat of this psalm. Y’hovah, the King of the Universe, is invincible. Those who are his are as invincible as he, because he has promised that he will guide and guard his own in his strength. What have we to fear? The Creator of all that is, also sustains his creation and is in complete control of it. He doesn’t micro-manage it, except as he uses it to bring judgment against those who call themselves his own and still disregard or despise what he says. The whole creation speaks of his power, and those who claim to be his ought to know better than to despise or misrepresent who he is. Q&C

Ivrit 12.1- – Wherefore means ‘for this reason.’ The chapter previous is called the “Faith Hall of Fame” and tells about the tribulations endured by the heroes of the faith once delivered to the saints – the faith of the Patriarchs. Let’s just look at the last few verses of Ch.11.

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah; David also, and Samuel, and the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and mountains, and dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 Eloha having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Heb.11.32-40)

Because all the heroes of Tanakh were heroes, even with all their shortcomings, they are or will be witnesses to our walk of faith. We ought to take heart even in tribulation that we will receive like reward to theirs in the resurrection, if we stay as faithful as they did. 11.39 above talks about faith. But faith, in the Hebraic sense, is not just acceptance of a fact or doctrine. Biblical faith includes actions that are commensurate to our belief. An old pastor from 35 years ago once said, “Our belief is that by which we live. Belief = live by.” What he meant was if our faith doesn’t change the way we live, it is only a ‘said faith’, not real faith. 

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: the gift of Eloha: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Mashiyach Yeshua unto good works, which Eloha hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph.2.8-10)

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Jas. 1.21-25)

So, because we are surrounded by witnesses who have already lived through the kind of stuff we are beginning to see all around us and we know that they were able to handle everything the enemy threw at them by the mercy and grace of Y’hovah, we should KNOW that we are also able to withstand the enemy’s onslaught. We should KNOW that we CAN run the race with patience.

Vv.2-3 agree with 

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Eloha perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1Jn.2.6)

We look to Yeshua as our standard, who knew no sin, who kept Torah, and whose Ruach empowers us to do the same. And our walk should reflect that power to obey. And when we get our minds and eyes off Yeshua and his Word and fall short, we know that he will be faithful to forgive us when we confess and repent our sins.

V.4 is interesting, because it is in context of looking to Yeshua. When did he resist sin unto blood? Beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane that was all he did on that Passover about 1985 years ago. From the first drop of blood he sweat out that night to the last drop of blood he shed on the tree at evening offering time, as the passover lambs were being slaughtered, he was resisting unto blood. We MAY have to resist unto blood. No matter to what degree we will need to suffer, if at all, he will be there to strengthen both us and our resolve to stand fast in him. Q&C

Vv.5-8 refer not only to the cloud of witnesses, but also to the purpose of the letter, the fact that the Hebrew believers in Mashiyach were considering going back to the sacrificial system because their lives were so much harder as the Netzari branch of the Hebrew religion was being persecuted in the Temple and synagogues by the CC faction. The author (I think it was Sha’ul or one of his close talmidim) tells them that what they are experiencing is chastisement for their sins in the flesh. Just because we are in Mashiyach does not mean we are exempt from the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. We will have eternity to enjoy the rewards we garner in this life, but have only this life to receive recompense for the sins we enter into by acts of volition. If we receive no chastisement for our sins in the flesh it is a good indication that we are counterfeit believers. 

We may also suffer at the hands of wicked men because of our walk in Mashiyach, which makes them uneasy. When THAT happens we need to 

… count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jas.1.2-4)

Vv.9-13 – If our human parents chastise us for disobedience, and we honor them for it, why would we NOT honor Y’hovah Avinu for the same reason? By the way, in the context of the great cloud of witnesses, the KJV translation leaves something to be desired. The translation is a good literal translation, but there is another perfectly acceptable literal translation that better fits the context. KJV has “Father of spirits”, but it could as easily read “spiritual fathers”; i.e., Avraham, Yisrael, the patriarchs and prophets of Y’hovah, who comprise the “cloud of witnesses”. I think it could go either way or, more likely, both ways. Whatever, the choice before us is life, which is our commanded choice in 

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20 That thou mayest love Y’hovah Elohecha, that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which Y’hovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deut.30.19-20). 

Our human fathers chastised us according to their standards, but Avinu’s Word holds us to a perfectly righteous standard. And as we said earlier today, 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Eloha, to them who are the called according to purpose. (Rom.8.28)

He chastises us for the purpose of making us fit to be partakers of his holiness. We take no pleasure in it while we are subjected to it, but his chastisement has a yield of the fruit of Shalom with him, which is the purpose for which we were created in the 1st place.

So, IN the chastisement, praise him for it, lift up your hands and your hearts to him and thank him for the chastisement and suffering he puts us through, because when we endure it by his power, we become more like his beloved Son, Yeshua haMashiyach. 

V.13 tells us to make straight paths to walk on – it says nothing about finding a straight path, but MAKING one. We already know what the straight path is – Torah. We need to consciously walk in it, having strengthened our ‘feeble (paralyzed) knees’ so that we can walk without a limp, which would naturally lead us off the narrow way. ‘Feeble knees’ gives me the impression of fright – knees knocking so badly that we can’t walk a straight line. It’s kind of like failing a field sobriety test. But if you aren’t drunk (or afflicted with vertigo as a result of kissing 1000 lbs. of falling tree), you should have no problem passing a field sobriety test. Even I can walk a straight line (though it ain’t easy). I take this as a picture of our walk in Mashiyach. It is sometimes a struggle for me to walk in a straight line, the more tired I become, the more likely I am to ‘wander a bit’. I cannot work in construction as a carpenter, because that would take climbing ladders and walking scaffolds. But I don’t have trouble staying on the strait and narrow path to life; Torah – unless I get in myself, which will wear me out quickly. Then my knees get feeble, my balance gets off and I have to work harder to stay on the straight Torah path to life. That’s when I need to remember to rest in Mashiyach’s power and let my batteries recharge. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study.


Shabbat Bible Study for February 10, 2018

Shabbat Bible Study for February 10, 2018

©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 2 Sabbath 47

Numbers 1:1 – 2.34 – Hosea 2:1 – Psalm 91 – Luke 15.1-7, Revelation 7:1-17


I had a mix-up last week, when had us in Num 1. We’ll make up for it now. Num.1 and Lk.15.1-7 from last week’s study portions are herein added.

Numbers 1:1-54 – Everything that has transpired between Ex.12 and Num.1 has taken 1 year and about 2 weeks. Generally, the events in Torah are to be seen as chronological, unless there is something in the text to indicate otherwise. Ch.9 tells of the first Passover in the Wilderness Adventure, which was 2 weeks before this census. V.1 tells us the date is the 1st day of the 2nd month of the 2nd year out of Egypt when Moshe was told to number the men of Israel from the 20th to the 60th year, men of war, according to their tribes and families. The elders of each tribe were to go with Moshe and Aharon throughout their tribal encampment to number all the men of war-fighting age. That this is given in other than the normal order sets it apart. The reason for this anachronism is not stated, but I think it was to make the point that their defense was not an afterthought, but the first order of business.

I think the order that is given in vv.5-15 are the actual order they were counted, beginning with the sons of Ya’acov’s wife Leah, then the sons of Rachel, followed by the sons of the concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. The sons of Ya’acov’s wives are listed in birth order, though the sons of the concubines are not counted in any particular order, not even by where they pitched in the camp. Perhaps the camp was not ordered for battle or march as yet. We’ll see that in next week’s parsha. Perhaps this census was used to determine how the camps would be arrayed. Perhaps the anachronism is to have the order of the camp presented before the chronological narrative takes center stage, so there won’t be an unnecessary interruption in its flow.

This was an actual headcount, a direct order from Y’hovah superceding Ex.30.12-13, just this once;

12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Y’hovah, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of Y’hovah. (Ex.30.12-13)

In every other census, they were to simply count the amount of silver that was offered by the souls and divide by 2 to arrive at the full number. But looks as if Moshe and Aharon personally spoke to each man of every family in every tribe, that each man personally gave his name and lineage to Moshe.

18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

This certainly seems like a personnel inspection conducted by the CinC (Moshe) and his executive officer (Aharon), with the commanding general (elder or zachan) of each tribe accompanying him. If this is right, every soldier would get a personal few seconds or minutes of face time with the Prophet Moshe. I do not know how much time Moshe had had with ANY of the men of Israel, other than the elders, up to now. It is possible that this was the first face-to-face between the vast majority of b’nei Israel and Moshe. There were so many men in each of the tribes, it is possible that this was the first face-to-face between the zachanim and the men of their tribes. This would be a good thing in the long view, as now the elders and the leaders would have seen the face and heard the name of each man being sent into war, and that would make for as little war-fighting as practicable. The armies now had human faces, they were more than just numbers. This might be a good practice for every CinC. It might make for less military adventurism in political leaders. A CinC must not be afraid to use his military, when required, but he also must not be quick to use it except in self-defense. Israel had already fought defensive battles with Amalek at Rephidim. As long as the cause was just and they were in right standing, Y’hovah protected Israel in battle. If there was sin in the camp, the protection was lifted. It would ever be so in Israel’s/Yehudah’s history. 

The number of men of war in each tribe is the subject of the next portion of the chapter. I infer from v.18 that the character of each elder is expressed by his name. Reuben had 46,500 led by Elitzur, whose name means My El Fortifies; Shimon had 59,300 led by Shelumiel, whose name means El is my Peace; Gad had 45,650 led by Eliasaph, whose name means My El gathers; Yehudah had 74,600 led by Nachshon, whose name means enchanter (this may tell us why Kalev, that dog of a gentile, soon became the elder of Yehudah); Issachar had 54,400 led by N’thaniel, whose name means El is my Gift (or Giver); Zevulon had 57,400 led by Eliav, whose name means My El is Father. Yoseph was broken down by his 2 tribes, Ephraim and Menashe. Ephraim had 40,500 led by Elishama, whose name means My El hears; Menashe had 32,200 led by Gam’liel, whose name means El is my reward, so that Yoseph has a total of 72,700. BenYamin had 35,400 led by Avidan, whose name means My Father judges; Dan had 62,700 led by Achiezer, whose name means My brother helps; Asher had 41,500 led by Pagiel, whose name means El is my intercessor; Naphtali had 53,400 led by Achirah, whose name means My brother is wrong or evil, but whose father’s name, Eynan – the last name listed means ‘Having Eyes’, for a total of 603,550 men of war in Israel. If we juxtapose the first and last names, Elitzur and Eynan, it says that Elohim protects by watching. His protection goes before and he’s watching our 6. 

Levi was not numbered with the other tribes because they were not men of war, but were instead the substitutes for the first-born of each family in Israel. They were to minister in the Mishkan and bear it and its accoutrements in their 42 moves from camp to camp, and into haAretz.

The tribes were to pitch according to their tribes and their standards all around the Levites, who encamped just outside the Mishkan so they could be in close proximity to their charge, and be the last line of defense of the Mishkan, if need be. The order of the camp had not been specified, yet. We’ll see that in a few minutes, Y’hovah willing and the creek don’t rise. Q&C

B’midbar 2:1-34 – Each Tribe had its own standard, H1714 – degel, a banner or flag by which the families were to pitch their sukkoth, each family in the camp corresponding to his tribe. I assume that each camped according to his family, as well. The ‘ensign’, H226 – oth, of his father’s house was the individual tribal banner. So the degel of the House of Yehudah was the ‘Standard’ of Yehudah’s camp, which included the tribes of Yehudah, I think flanked by the tribes of Yissachar and Zevulon, each camping under their oth. I picture them in my military mind leaving camp by ranks; the center rank being Yehudah, followed by the right rank of Yissachar and then the left rank of Zevulon; and so on through the camps. It could also be that Yehudah camped to the East side of the camp, then Yissachar immediately to his west and Zevulon between Yissachar and the camp of Moshe, Aharon and their families. The Mishkan was at the center of the camp, as we discussed last week. The camp’s leading tribe’s oth, Yehudah’s in our example above, was also the camp’s degel, or main banner, I think. Schottenstein’s Chumash has a good note on v.2 concerning the banners and ensigns on pg.9-10. So the eastern camp was under Yehudah’s banner and ensign. Which led off when they broke camp, followed by Yissachar and Zevulon. The Chumash notes that the camp had a radius of not more than 2000 cubits, or the outliers would be unable to go to the Mishkan on Shabbat. I do not think that is correct, because getting all 2.5 million Israelites into a circle of at most 4000 cubits diameter, or an area of about 12.5 million square cubits, including the Mishkan and its court and the adjacent camps of the Levites, would be very tight. There were no hi-rise Sukkoth. 

The tribal camps correspond to the main constellations of the zodiac/Mazzeroth, and the main camps correspond to the 4 creatures of Revelation and the 4 sides of Ezekiel chapter 1’s chariot. Here’s how I think it looks:

Judah – Aries

Issachar – Taurus           East Camp   –   Lion’s face

Zebulun – Gemini


Reuben – Cancer

Simeon – Leo                   South Camp  –  Man’s face

Gad – Virgo


Ephraim – Libra

Menashe – Scorpio        West Camp   –   Ox’s Face

Benjamin – Sagittarius


Dan – Capricorn

Asher – Aquarius           North Camp  –  Eagle’s face

Naphtali – Pisces


This order of tribes and their corresponding constellations is exactly how they appear in the heavens. The Mishkan and its furnishings and the aron, or ark was central to the nation both in the camp and in the 42 moves during the Wilderness Adventure. Yehudah’s camp moved first, followed by Reuven’s camp, followed by the Levi’im and the Mishkan, followed by Ephraim, Menashe and BenYamin, the sons of Rachel’s camp, followed lastly by Dan’s camp. Chumash says that there is a dispute about where the Levites were in the marches, but v.17 looks pretty unambiguous to me; the Mishkan, priests, and Levite attendees went after Reuven and were followed by Yoseph. We’ll get a good look at the Levites’ camps next week. Q&C

Hosea 2:1 – Hoshea’s wife, Gomer, represents the world’s religions, beginning w/Judaism and mainstream Xianity but including all the pagan/heathen belief systems. It is ‘syncretism’, or mixing Y’hovah’s Torah with the religions of the world, that he hates and must address in his children. It was the official syncretism of Yerovoam’s national religion, mixing the pagan practices with the Name of Y’hovah that eventually got the 10 northern tribes of Israel exiled from their inheritance baAretz, in the land. It was the same syncretism in the leadership of Judaism that got Yehudah exiled, which exile is STILL experienced by MOST of the practitioners of the religion. If we were not all guilty of this syncretism, we would have long since been recalled to our tribal inheritances baAretz. The Jews who have gone back to haAretz are there trying to force Y’hovah’s hand, IMHO. They are not there in answer to his call, but in reaction to the Satanically driven anti-Semitism they’ve experienced throughout the world. They reason that they will always be discriminated against in the goyim nations of the world, so they need a homeland of their own, and stepped out ahead of Y’hovah’s call. This has NEVER worked out for Avraham or his seed. And the goyim are doing everything in their power to make this most recent attempt fail, as well. I think it is only a matter of time before Israel will be overrun by the goyim nations, almost to the point of utter destruction. It will only be when they have their backs against the wall, with absolutely nowhere else to turn that they will call out, “Hosheanu”, to Y’hovah for his deliverance. And he SHALL answer with Y’hovah’s Salvation – Yehoshua haMashiyach. Yehudah will then see him whom THEY pierced, repent of their 2000-year rejection, and JOYFULLY proclaim in fulfillment of prophecy, “Baruch haba b’Shem Y’hovah”, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of Y’hovah!” 

And that is when we’ll see our Haftarah proclaimed by Avinu,

Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruchamah.

Call your brethren, “My People” and your sistren, “Mercy”. I think that will be the call on the heathen nations’ armies to repentance and to change sides to Yeshua, as he says he’ll do when he returns to deliver Zion,

4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers, thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, he may make peace with me; he shall make peace with me. (Is.27.4-5)

I look forward to him offering his mercy, grace and shalom to the goyim arrayed against him, and accepting them as his people, if they turn from their ways to come to him. That goes for all the armies and also all the outright pagans and all the syncretists among them. Q&C

Tehellim 91 Vv.1-4 uses 3rd person to describe Mashiyach and how he deals with his own, and then in vv.5-15 he uses 2nd person to speak comfort to Mashiyach’s people in tribulation and exile. The psalm applies to all who dwell in the secret place of Y’hovah. What else would the secret place be, but the Kodesh Kadashim? And who else would be in the secret place but his Bride? We need to remember, even when the whole world turns against us and all looks bleakest, that we are hidden in Mashiyach, he is our refuge and fortress. He will deliver me from the snare – even if I get caught in a secret trap, Mashiyach will deliver me; even when there are dread diseases running rampant in the world, he will deliver me from them, either by surviving it or not contracting it. One of the most grievous pestilences of my generation has been AIDS, from which I have been delivered by practicing the only safe sex there is, total monogamy. Funny thing … my wife has also been delivered from AIDS and all other STDs by the same practice AND we have helped to deliver each other thereby. Isn’t it interesting that Y’hovah protects his people who follow his commandments? It’s very simple, though often not easy. He even protects those who are NOT his people when they follow his commandments. Curious, no? If we’ll trust him even in the bad circumstances, not thinking them anything that can truly harm us, he’ll deliver us through it all. Torah observance is our defense (even in court). 

Vv.5-15 – What follows speaks of our tribulation(s). Compare the tribulations in 6-9 with the horsemen of Revelation, of whom we should have no fear. Y’hovah will provide all his Bride’s needs through tribulation. Do you seriously think that 1000 enemies will fall at our side and 10,000 at our right hand because WE had anything to do with it?  

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. (Psalms 73:23)

In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. 4 I looked on right hand, and beheld, but no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. 5 I cried unto thee, O Y’hovah: I said, Thou my refuge my portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. 7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (Psalm 142.3b-7)

Look at 3b, “In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.” This is how the Beast system will be able to persecute and prosecute believers, they will make laws against keeping Torah. It is how they have ALWAYS worked. 

4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find against him concerning the law of his God. (Dan.6.4-5)

They make laws that create new classes of criminals where there was no such class or law before. Every new rule or regulation makes otherwise law-abiding people guilty of another crime. It may be that the new criminal is completely unaware of the new regulation or rule he is ‘privily’ guilty of breaking – like the USAPATRIOT Act did. THAT is setting a ‘fowler’s snare’ (91.3). When they bring you up on charges for anything that is contrary to Torah, you may truthfully plead, “Innocent” (do NOT plead ‘Not Guilty’ – maintain your INNOCENCE). They created laws for the specific purpose of charging us (and others like us) with made up crimes. If you are truly keeping Torah in every place it applies to you, you are innocent before the Supreme Judge of the Universe. We who make Y’hovah our dwelling will not experience the rewards of the wicked, we will only see our adversaries rewarded therewith. And then he will wipe away all tears from our eyes and all those memories of wickedness from our minds 

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21.4)

What blessings follow those who follow Y’hovah’s Torah? Remember last week’s Torah portion, Lev.26.3-13? Let me refresh your memories:

3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your Eloha, and ye shall be my people. 13 I am Y’hovah Elohenu, which brought you forth out of the land of Mitzraim, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

And what does David describe in Ps.91.5-15? Now, the political ‘powers that be’ may imprison and/or mistreat you for your faith, but only YOU can make yourself their bondservant/slave. You do that by surrendering to their will and not submitting to Y’hovah’s will. Remember Andy DuFraine in The Shawshank Redemption. He’s a great metaphor for this thought. Like Yoseph in Mitzraim, he was in their custody, but he was never their prisoner. They controlled his body, but they could not control his mind without his active cooperation, which he never gave them. If (or perhaps WHEN) the time comes, it is YOUR attitude and where YOUR trust lies that will decide if you are in exile/prison or merely in custody. Do not be insolent or arrogant. But do not willingly comply with their iniquity. Y’hovah will repay our persecutors and will reward our faith and  

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (Ps.91)

Here we have Y’hovah speaking of Mashiyach/Yisrael (pashat), who was in all points tested like we are, and also Mashiyach of his Bride/Yisrael (sod). Q&C

Luke 15.1-7 – 165). Parable of the Lost Sheep – Remember that he used the last passage to weed out the show seekers, those who were just hanging on to see miracles, and who are really not seeking after the Father. 

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have  to finish? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14.25-35)

So here we have publicans and sinners, who heard what he just said, coming near to him. They were hearing a message of hope for themselves that they never heard from the Jews, the leaders of the Hebrew religion. The scribes’ and Pharisees’ attitude toward them was clear in v.2. These were the scum of the earth, as far as the Jews were concerned, and never mind that they were sons of Avraham as well. The Jews, the political/religious leadership of the Hebrews, didn’t offer the gospel of the kingdom to the gentiles like they were supposed to, and now we know why. They didn’t even offer it to sons of Avraham that they deemed unworthy, so why offer it to Goyim? I mean, besides the fact that they were commanded to preach the gospel of peace between Y’hovah and man 

44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. (Ps.18.44) 

9 Y’hovah preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. (Ps.146.9)

1 For Y’hovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. (Is.14.1) 

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold Elohechem! (Is.40.9) 

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Elohecha reigneth! (Is.52.7) 

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. (Nahum1.15) 

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom.10.15) 

Yeshua begins to preach the gospel in a parable that noone could misunderstand. If you have a flock of 100 and 99 are always nearby, but 1 strays, you go looking for him, right? You’re relatively certain the 99 will still be near the sheepfold when you return from your search, so you go looking. Now, will not Y’hovah do the same? When he has a flock of 100 and 99 of them don’t stray from the safety of the fold, but one goes missing, he looks for that stray until he finds him. The publicans and sinners must have rejoiced to hear this parable. It told them that Y’hovah had not and would not forsake them, anymore than he’d forsake you. Jn.10.27-30 speaks to this end. Yeshua and Abba will not leave us nor forsake us. We may backslide, we may forsake him, but he will not forsake us. He will look for us until he finds us. He will not, however, force us to return, but, like the father of the prodigal son (Lk.15.11-32), will give us time to repent and return to him. The implication is that the Father sends his Spirit to seek us, and he calls us to repentance. It is then up to us to heed the call and turn to him. When we turn to him and begin to approach, he takes hold of us and carries us into the safety of the fold. And then he throws a rip-roaring party. The key is the repentance, the change of mind from that which we want to that which he wants for us. This is occasioned by the renewing of our minds by the application of the Word of Y’hovah, and transformation thereby into the likeness of Moshiach, the living, breathing Word, so we can “PROVE that good and acceptable and perfect will of Eloha”. As the old saying goes, ‘The proof is in the putting,’ or in the doing of the will of Avinu. Q&C  

Revelation 7:1-8 – Imagine for a minute what it would be like if there was no wind. What conditions would it take to have no wind? I got this from the source of ALL objective truth; Wikipedia 

“Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air… In meteorology, winds are often referred to according to their strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. Short bursts of high speed wind are termed gusts. Strong winds of intermediate duration (around one minute) are termed squalls. Long-duration winds have various names associated with their average strength, such as breeze, gale, storm, hurricane, and typhoon. Wind occurs on a range of scales, from thunderstorm flows lasting tens of minutes, to local breezes generated by heating of land surfaces and lasting a few hours, to global winds resulting from the difference in absorption of solar energy between the climate zones on Earth… Wind is caused by differences in pressure. When a difference in pressure exists, the air is accelerated from higher to lower pressure.”

So, what conditions would it take to have no wind? Pretty much all of those processes would have to stop operating for a relatively long period of time. Y’hovah is going to have 4 spirit beings exert that kind of power over the physical creation (4 is the number of creation according to Bullinger’s Number in Scripture). Whether that power is special for just that time or is the spirit’s normal ministry is not clear in the text. Shadim have shown the ability to affect physical things in their attempt to counterfeit Y’hovah’s power. According to eyewitness testimony, physical objects have vanished from their normal place and reappeared in another by the actions of shadim. Y’hovah may not work that way most of the time, but he most certainly CAN if he wants to do so. I will not try to stop him, anyway. 

Another angel comes from the east, whether terrestrial east or celestial east it doesn’t say, and tells them to not do their ministry until the servants of Y’hovah are sealed in their foreheads. This is a reference to the ultimate fulfillment of

2 And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. 3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which the writer’s inkhorn by his side; 4 And Y’hovah said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezek.9.2-4)

I think this will be the ultimate fulfillment of the outpouring of the Ruach haKodesh on a Shavuoth in the not very distant future. The 144,000 will be 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel listed. If you look at the entry for this week, you will see a comparison of the tribes as listed in B’reishith 29 and Rev.7. makes a valid point that Ephraim is possibly not listed for the same reason as Dan in Rev.7 – both were seats of Yerovoam’s ‘golden calf’ worship in the Name of Y’hovah. However, both Ephraim and Menashe are of Yoseph, so Menashe is effectively listed twice here. Remember that Ephraim was taken by Ya’acov as his bachor instead of Reuven. Perhaps this is what Ya’acov alluded to in B’reishith 48

19 And his father refused, and said, I know my son, I know: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. (Gen.48.19-20)

In the British Israel theory, Ephraim = England and Menashe = America. But England, more precisely the Cities of London and Westminster, is, in MY opinion, the seat of the Beast political and economic systems and prominent in the Beast religious system, as well, and that it uses the USofA as its military ‘right arm’ today. Wiki has some good articles about the City of London and the City of Westminster, where Buckingham Palace,, originally known as the Queen’s House, where Elisabeth I first resided as Queen, is. The Cities are across the river Tyburn from each other, both have the Thames as their southern borders. It is possible, though speculative on my part, that the reason Ephraim is not in the list of tribes in Rev.7 is its prominence in the Beast System. 

V.4 says that there are 12,000 from ALL the tribes of Israel. Of those listed, only Yehudah, BenYamin and Levi were NOT carried off to Assyria and lost in the world. Only Y’hovah really KNOWS who is of what tribe, if any, among the gentile nations. Only Y’hovah can direct the angel to place his mark on the foreheads of those people. I believe that I am of one of those tribes, but I do not KNOW certainly, because the records for those tribes after the Assyrian captivity are lost to history. As of today, there is a 2800-year gap in the genealogies. For instance, who can KNOW they are of the tribe of Asher or Yissachar? It MAY be possible to trace your ancestry to Yehudah, BenYamin or Levi, but even THAT would have to be open to some doubt. But Y’hovah KNOWS. And he will guide the angels to mark the right people. 

I think that the 144,000 will live through at least the majority of the ‘Time of Trouble’, and perhaps all the way through to the return of Yeshua, when they will be either translated or resurrected to teach Torah to the nations.

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Y’hovah’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people (amiym, Heb root) shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Y’hovah, to the house of the Eloha of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go Torah, and the word of Y’hovah from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)

1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, the mountain of the house of Y’hovah shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations (goyim, Heb. root) shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Y’hovah, and to the house of the Eloha of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for Torah shall go forth of Zion, and the word of Y’hovah from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1&2)

The prophets YeshaYahu and Micah were contemporaries and quite probably knew each other through the school of the prophets. These prophecies’ similarities are striking. The people of their day got 2 witnesses from 2 men who were both known to be prophets of Y’hovah. I think it is possible, perhaps probable, that as the amim hagoyim come up to Zion for instruction, they will be assigned one of the 144,000 as their tutors in Torah, as well as their vice-regents and judges under Torah’s authority. The people of the nations will be coming up to Jerusalem at least once every year for the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech.14). Perhaps they will have ‘speed of thought’ transport with their tutors? Q&C

Vv.9-17 – The multitude that no man can number that stand before the throne of Elohim include the souls who are under the altar in ch.6

9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they should be fulfilled. (Rev.6.9-11)

Those under the altar are given their white robes as an earnest of the promise given to them. Those who stand before the throne are the brethren who are those who shall be killed for the testimony. It is a subtle difference, but those under the altar have been killed for their testimony and will join those who shall be killed for their testimony. The 5th seal of Ch.6 is clearly seen as happening chronologically before the 7th seal is opened revealing the great multitude of Ch.7. The 1st is included among the 2nd and ALL are praised for their faith and faithfulness to Yeshua and Avinu. There is a difference, although very subtle between the 2 groups. The saints beneath the altar in ch. 6 are given clean white robes, while the multitude washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, which implies that they paid the price AFTER the saints had already received the earnest of their inheritance. Were that not the case, the time reference wouldn’t make any sense. What we are seeing in 7.9ff MAY be the scene after the last saint dies for the testimony of Yeshua and keeping Torah. I think that will happen very shortly before his return to haAretz, perhaps during the last few days of the Jewish month of Elul here on earth. 

Washing robes is seen in Torah during the offering of the Red Heifer, and other things that make the one touching it unclean until evening after a mikvah. I assume the mikvah was done while wearing the clothes to be washed. This can be seen 26 times in Lev.11, 13-17 and Num.19. I think they washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb by accepting death by martyrdom rather than denial of the Lamb who bought them. I pray that this is the testimony of all who hear this today who are NOT of the 144,000. May all y’all (and me, too) be faithful to Y’hovah Yeshua. The multitude that stands before the throne in ch.7 will dwell in the New Earth, as I read v.15.

I think v.12 may be another reference to the 7 Spirits of Y’hovah, as seen in ch.1, 3-5, as well as 

And the spirit of Y’hovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Y’hovah; (Isaiah 11:2)

In v.13, one of the elders speaks to Yochanan. This is one of the elders referenced in 4.10

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (Revelation of John 4:10)

It is possible that this refers to the 24 elders we will see in the next few weeks when we see the camp of the Levites around the Mishkan. All the sons of Levi + their sons + the grandsons of Aharon = 24. The traditional Christian interpretation may also be true, 12 tribal patriarchs + 12 apostles, as in the foundations and gates of New Jerusalem. 

The multitude is made up of people who suffered enough during the tribulation of Ya’acov that they will never suffer any pain of any kind. The list of things they will not ever experience again may be instructive of the types of pain they were subjected to in the attempt to get them to deny Yeshua and Y’hovah Avinu. 

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. (Rev.7.16)

They were deprived of food and/or water and/or subjected to pain of burning by sun and/or other means. And they were strengthened in their spirits by the power of Ruach haKodesh to endure unto the end. Determine that, if it comes to it, you will rely on the power of Y’hovah’s Spirit to endure the hardship and then if it comes, give your body to him as a living sacrifice. HE will carry you through and only have to endure what he knows you can endure and then he will personally wipe all tears from our eyes and all memory of the abuse at the hands of men. Q&C 

End of Shabbat Bible Study