Shabbat Bible Study for April 30, 2016
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
April 30, 2016 – Year 1 Sabbath 4
Genesis 5:1-6:8 – Isaiah 30:8-15 – Psalm 4 – Matthew 23:1-39
Genesis 5:1-6:8 – There begins in ch.5 a ‘new’ story. Chapters 1&2 had to do with Elohim’s acts of creation; 3&4 told of the fall and the resulting wickedness of the non-seed line of Chavah. Ch.5 gives us the first details about the line of Chavah’s seed, through Sheth, and the whole rest of scripture chronicles that seed-line, culminating in Yochanan’s book of Revelation with the reign of Y’hovah Yeshua on the New Earth l’olam va’ed, the world beyond time.
KJV begins with the ‘generations of Adam’. By the word ‘generation’ is NOT principally meant a specific time frame, like we usually use it today. Biblically, a generation is something that had its origin in something or that was generated; in this case, Adam’s and Chavah’s seed-line. Scripture seldom speaks of a generation as a period of time; like 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, regardless what some bible dictionaries or exegetes say.
Y’hovah created Adam in his likeness, male and female, and called THEM Adam. So the seed of Chavah is also the seed of Adam, her husband. I may at times slip and say ‘seed of Adam’ when speaking of the seed-line. Please excuse the slip and understand that when I speak of the seed, I am generally speaking of the seed of Chavah and the line of Messianic descent. As always, context should rule.
Chumash has a good commentary on the chapter on pn.25-26. Having read that, consider
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the Y’hovah Elohecha, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and Y’hovah Elohecha shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it… 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, and 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 Avraham, to Yitzhak, and to Ya’acov, to give them. (Deut.30.15-16, 19-20)
Ye shall walk in all the ways which Y’hovah Elohechem hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. (Deut. 5:33)
Our vernacular use of the word generation just doesn’t apply to the Messianic seed-line. Shem lived for an incredibly long time, post flood; all the way into Ya’acov’s days. In fact the Rabbi’s think, and I acknowledge the good possibility that they are correct, that Ya’acov was a talmid of Shem for man extended period of time on his way to Uncle Lavan’s. So, I think Ramban had a good point, and science seems to bear him out – creation science that is. They use what we know of the healing nature of hyperbaric chambers and oxygen assimilation in them and hypothesize that those were likely the conditions before the flood. I have no doubt that even the men in the seed-line were not universally righteous and that the physical conditions had more to do with long lives than righteousness. But the most righteous men in scripture DID live extra-long lives after the flood; men like Shem, Avraham, Yitzhak, Moshe, Aharon and Miriam, the prophetess Channah and the prophet Shimon in Yerushalayim at the time of Mashiach Yeshua’s birth.
Beginning in v.3, we can get a VERY good chronology of time, not only to the flood, but right up to Ya’acov entering Egypt. The time that Yisrael was in Egyptian bondage cannot be ascertained from the narrative but we CAN approximate the anno mundi (year of the world) of the Exodus from Y’hovah’s promise to Avraham that his seed would take the land from the Amorites after 400 years.
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;… 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:13,16)
So, it was Ya’acov’s great-great grandchildren that were the generation of the Exodus from Egypt 400 years after that prophecy.
I think that Adam began to age after the fall, that he was in the abiding presence of Y’hovah Elohim while in Gan Eden and was, therefore, not subject to time, even as Moshe was not while in the mount, the Tabernacle or the tent of meeting. Therefore, I think that the chronology begins at the fall, not at the creation. On that I truly COULD be wrong. But I DOUBT it. And the time difference is really negligible, anyway, I think. There is no way to KNOW how long Adam and Chavah were in Gan Eden. It could have been a matter of days, weeks or years by our reckoning, but, as I stated, I don’t think they were subject to time while in the garden. And I suspect it was not more than a few weeks, if that long, so it doesn’t matter to the times stated in this chronology. We’ll arrive at the anno mundi of each generation’s births by adding the years given in the text. Q&C
In the 130th year after the fall (anno mundi or AM), Chavah bore Sheth, who was ‘appointed’ by Y’hovah to be the seed of the woman (3.15). In AM 235 (130+105), Sheth’s wife bore him Enosh. As we said last week
And Sheth had a son named E’nosh, whose name derives from the root anash, which literally means ‘frail’ or ‘feeble’, and hence E’nosh means ‘mortal’.
In AM 325 Enosh begat Ca’inan, whose name means ‘fixed’. In AM 395 Ca’inan begat Mahalal’el, whose name means ‘praise from Elohim’. In AM 460 Mahalal’el begat Yered whose name means ‘to come to or descend’. In AM 622 Yered begat Chanok, whose name means ‘initiated’. Here’s what I shared last week on Ca’in’s Chanok;
Chanok means ‘to initiate’. Chanok was the first son of Ca’in, presumably the 1st grandson of Adam and Chavah AND the name of the first city on record.
As Chanok, Ca’in’s son, initiated a lot of things, so Chanok of Sheth’ line initiated something. He is not recorded to have died, but walked with Elohim and was ‘taken’ by Elohim. In the Kings and Chronicles we see that EliYahu was likewise taken by Elohim.
In AM 687 Chanok begat M’thushalakh. His name means ‘man of a branch’. It has been said that his name means ‘When he dies, it comes’. M’thushalakh did die in the year of the flood and before the flood, perhaps only days or hours before the rain started to fall. I think it’s very interesting that it is revealed right in the narrative that Chanok walked with Elohim only AFTER he named his son M’thushalakh and that that walk with Elohim was close enough that Chanok was ‘translated’, or somehow bypassed a recorded physical death, to enter what I can only assume to be the ‘glory’ of eternity. Cf. Chumash on v.24, pg.28.
In AM 874 M’thushalakh begat Lamech. Lamech is the last of Chavah’s seed-line that Adam had a chance to speak with. As we saw last week in our brief study of Ca’in’s line, Ca’in’s great-great grandson’s name was Lamech, and there is no translation given of his name, which is itself an unused root word. Here’s my thinking, taken from last week’s study, on the meaning of Lamech’s name – this really COULD be wrong:
There is no definition of the root word, Lamech. Going back to the pictographs, a ל lamed represented a shepherd’s staff, used to direct sheep by pushing or pulling them. It was also used as a defensive weapon to protect the sheep from predators, both 4 and 2 legged. The מ mem represents the sea, water, mighty/massive and chaos, which was how the early Hebrews understood the sea. Many ‘question’ words begin with a mem; mah? (what), meh? (who), and etc. The ך Kaph represents an open hand (the bent palm) or to be bent to another’s will. Perhaps it means to be protected from the chaotic uncertainty of doing another’s will, or guided mightily by being bent to another’s will. Lamech, the 7th generation, including Adam, thru Ca’in, may have been mightily guided to another’s will, namely haSatan’s. SPECULATION WARNING: I would not be surprised to find that the city of Chanok was a center for the genetic experimentation that developed the Nephilim. END SPEC WARNING
Sheth’s Lamech is in the Messianic seed-line, so I assume he was of a different character than that of Ca’in’s seed. All of these men may not have been as righteous as Chanok, but they were certainly all of more righteous character than Ca’in’s Lamech. Sheth’s Lamech was, to my mind, probably a spiritual mirror image of Ca’in’s; protected from the confusing influence of haSatan and his ministering spirits and mightily guided to the will of Elohim by Ruach haKodesh. In AM 1056 Lamech begat Noach, whose name means quiet or rest.
There is a really cool QUOTE ‘revelation’ UNQUOTE that has been making its rounds of the Xian church for the last 20 years or so that lists the names and meanings of the names in Noach’s genealogy as a kind of narrative. It is cool as it is presented, which is like this:
Adam = Man
Sheth = Appointed
Enosh = Mortal
Ca’inan = Sorrow
Mahalal’el = the Blessed Eloha
Yered = Shall come down
Chanok = Teaching
M’thushalakh = His death shall bring
Lamech = Despairing
Noach = Comfort/Rest
The sentence created by the meanings of the names as given = Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow; the blessed Eloha shall come down teaching; his death shall bring [the] despairing comfort/rest. Like I said, it’s a cool teaching, but I don’t think it’s correct. Adam means ‘red’, as it is the same root as Edom, the difference is in the vowel pointing. Adamah = ground. Adam DOES mean ‘man’, as in son of man, ben Adam. But Adam was named Adam because he was formed from the ground. The word iysh almost always means man. Ca’inan means ‘fixed’, ‘built’. There is little to suggest that it in any way means sorrow. It more properly means ‘nest’ or ‘cell’. We’ve already seen that Chanok means ‘initiated’. If you take the roots meth, which means to die, and shalach, which means to send, you ‘can’ get “his death will send”, except that the mem is a prefix, not part of the root. We’ve seen that Lamech is from an unused root and has no certain meaning. My exploration of the pictographs is better than the flyer the originator of the above story took. It is a basic story made up to preach the gospel to Sunday schoolers. As such, it’s pretty good, but as fact it leaves a lot to be desired. Using the root word meanings I gave above, maybe I can construct a story like the one above:
Adam = dust of the ground
Sheth = appointed or set
Enosh = mortal
Ca’inan = fixed or built
Mahalal’el = praise of or from Elohim
Yered = to descend or come to
Chanok = to initiate
M’thushalakh = man who is sent
Lamech = mightily guided by a hand
Noach = comfort or rest.
The dust of the ground was appointed [to] mortal[ity], [but by] fixing praise on Elohim, he [Elohim] came to initiate men sent and mightily guided by his hand to comfort and rest.
There is every bit as much assumption in my story as in the other, but it is truer to the actual meanings of all the names there. Q&C
6.1-8 – What we saw in ch.4 was the line of Ca’in, I believe up to the flood; and in ch.5 we saw the line of Sheth up to the flood. In these verses we are going to see “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, as it were. Remember my speculation from last week that I quoted above, that Chanok, the city Ca’in built, may have been the center of the genetic manipulation that gave us the Nephillim. That is the subject, in my opinion, of this short passage of ch.6. I do not believe it is possible for two different species to procreate, which is what would have to be true if the sons of Elohim spoken of in v.2 were angelic beings. I think this is the reason that the sages quoted in Chumash hold that the sons of Elohim are the children of Sheth and the daughters of men are women of Ca’in. If these are spirit beings, they are not only 2 different ‘kinds’ in the B’reishith sense, they are of 2 different realms of existence, the physical and the spiritual. I believe it is possible for angelic and even demonic beings to ‘manifest’ in physical form, but I do NOT believe it is possible for them to procreate a ‘trans-realm-of-existence’ and unlike kind offspring.
However, I DO believe it is possible for the demonic/angelic spirits to communicate directly with the human spirit and pass knowledge of things unknown to man in their physical or scientific experience. THIS MAY BE WHAT RAV SHA’UL WAS SAYING IN EPHESIANS 6
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; [Eph.6.10-18]
I believe this MAY have been the influence on the mind of Adolf Hitler and/or his advisers when they were conducting their ‘eugenics’ experiments on their Jewish victims in the camps during WWII. It would be just like haSatan to use the chosen of Y’hovah for such reiteration of his pre-flood plans. And now, I would not be surprised to find that the greatest minds of today’s eugenicists are from AMONG Y’hovah’s chosen who do not even realize that the ‘new ideas’ they seem to be having are being implanted in their human spirits by their enemy or/and his ‘ministering spirits’.
We saw throughout ch.5 that the only sons named were the seed of Chavah and Adam, but the progenitors all lived for a long time, begetting sons and daughters. Remember that part of the blessing of Y’hovah on Chavah was physical multiplicity; she would have few, if any, single births. I infer also that this was passed on to her daughters AND that this blessing was on both seed-lines, Ca’in’s and Sheth’s. Adam and Chavah had other sons and daughters, as well. I would be unsurprised to learn that the population of the earth just before the flood was as large or larger than ours is today. Assuming an age of puberty about the same as today, there could be a new human generation by our reckoning in as few as 13 years. Given multiple births per pregnancy the population would grow quickly. That would be approx. 125 generations. Given 1 pregnancy per year and 3 children per pregnancy, Adam and Chavah could have 2787 children born to them. Assuming equal distribution male and female, that would make for 1380 family units with 3 children apiece, Adam and Chavah would have 4140 grandchildren in the first generation of them. And this would be repeated by each succeeding pregnancy of 3 children each, so that beginning in AM 13 there would be Adam and Chavah’s 39 children and at least 3 grandchildren. AM 14 would see 9 more grandchildren and 3 more children for Adam and Chavah. AM 15 would produce 24 more grandchildren and 3 more children for them. The population growth would be exponential. 5-10 billion living descendants in AM 1656 is not beyond the realm of possibility. AND, there were probably direct sons of Adam and Chavah who perished in the flood. If the genetic modifications began early, like as soon as the city of Chanok was founded, the size of the population of Nephillim could be quite a large percentage of that number, as well.
If v.2’s b’nei haelohim, or sons of the gods/rulers, are, as I suspect, the product of genetic engineering and are renamed the Nephillim/giants of v.4, it looks like these GM ‘giants’ had no respect for merely human men and women. They took what women they chose to take for ‘wives’ (v.2). The offspring of the Nephillim/human conjugations became the ‘mighty men’ of old, men of renown (v.4). It was these ‘mighty men’ that were altogether wicked and whose imaginations and thoughts were ‘only evil continually’. We’ll see in a few weeks how Nimrod ‘began to be a mighty man’ before Y’hovah, which I think refers to him being the first of the Nephillim ‘giants’ to be made manifest after the flood. By this I infer that at least 1 of the passengers on the ark had some vestige of the GMs in her DNA (I think it was Ham’s wife or perhaps Noach’s wife with whom Ham had relations for which the offspring, Canaan, was cursed). Y’hovah decided that they would have 100 years in which to repent [juxtaposing 5.32 with 7.11].
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. [Gen.5.32]
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. [Gen.7.11]
I think the Nephillim were the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. The Chumash’s commentators (v.8, pg.31) think that Noach did not teach men that Y’hovah had decided to destroy the earth and that they needed to turn from their wickedness and go Y’hovah’s way. I don’t see how that could be. Here’s a guy building a barge 450 feet long 75 feet wide and about 45 feet high in a place where it had never rained and there was no water deeper than the river, and he wasn’t going to have to answer questions? Even if he weren’t on a street corner in a sandwich-board sign announcing ‘the end of the world is at hand’, people would see the ark and ask what it was and why he was building it. Noach got his chance to preach righteousness, even if he didn’t go anywhere to do it. It amazes me that they could think that a tzaddik would not open his mouth to speak the Truth of Y’hovah. Q&C
YeshaYahu 30:8-15 – I don’t think that YeshaYahu was the 1st prophet to prophesy in words like these. I think that was Noach’s job, and I think he was faithful in it. He was already seen as a nut-case, building a barge the size of a WWII escort carrier whose draft would be deeper than the nearest river and length probably unable to make any of the turns it would need to make to get to the ocean seas where it might be useful. So why NOT add the preaching of the impending judgment to come upon the earth and its peoples, races and governments? There isn’t anything new under the sun, and I doubt there was by Noach’s days. Anyone standing on the truth of Y’hovah’s Word MUST be as nutty as a fruitcake, wouldn’t you think? In that light, let me share this link to a recent  news story, www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=13577 that is quoting (no www.) healthland.time.com/2013/03/28/can-your-child-be-too-religious/. Obviously, Time says, “Yes”. The basic gist of the story, according to the psychologists quoted by the author, is that people who are so gullible as to believe the Bible are nut-cases who are dangerous to themselves and others. That would be you and me, folks. What we are dangerous to is their power-base, like Yeshua was to the Pharisees. But applying it to our Torah parsha for today, do you think it likely that Noach was considered to be dangerous to HIMself and others? So, if they’re going to declare you a nut-job who needs to be committed, give them a good reason to commit you and preach the Word with boldness. Q&C
Tehellim 4 – “Hear” in v.1 is not from the root sh’ma, but ‘anah’ and it more properly means to “answer”, that is to hear and respond in the same way that sh’ma means to hear and to obey. David expects a positive response to his cry for deliverance in the face of his enemies because Y’hovah had done so in the past and promised to do so for as long as David lived in him. KJV’s ‘enlarged’ is better translated in the Artscroll translation as ‘relieved’. The root word ‘rachav’ carries the idea of removing boundaries to joy. David must have been feeling the weight of circumstances and needed relief from the cares of daily life. In “History of the World”, Mel Brooks said, “It’s GOOD to be king!” Well, in GOOD times it probably is. In bad times, it’s gotta suck for the conscientious king. No wonder O’bummer is having the time of his life while his people suffer. To him, these ARE good times.
‘B’nei iysh’ (v.2) is different from ‘b’noth haadam’ in Gen.6.2. I infer that b’nei iysh speaks specifically to the sons of wicked men, while b’noth haadam speaks of the daughters of humanity in general. It was the wicked that were causing David all his distress; turning his glory to shame by their vain and worthless deceptions. Sounds like the media, doesn’t it? In v.3, David warns those deceivers that Y’hovah is listening to his cry for help and has his back. Then in v.4 he advises those wicked men to search their hearts at the end of each day and make their hearts right before Y’hovah and still their hearts and minds before him. Then they will be able to walk in his righteousness as they trust in him. Many ask, “Who will show us how to walk?” David says that Y’hovah will shine his light on the heart that seeks his face and make his will known to them by his Word. When Y’hovah has done this for David he has put more joy and gladness in his heart than all the harvest festivals in the bumper-crop years. And no matter how bad the circumstances may get, David is assured of his place among the righteous and knows that he will have his abode in the eternal ages with them and with Y’hovah. Q&C
Matthew 23:1-39 – What follows is from my study of “The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach”, which was shared as a weekly bible study when I was still in the church’. I have touched it up some, but there may be things I no longer believe in here. The S&P [scribes and Pharisees] is NOT a general term, but specific to those who had made themselves enemies of Yeshua’s. There were many tzadikim among the S&P.
195). Woes pronounced against the Pharisees (Mat.23, Mk. 12.38-40, Lk.20.45-47) – We will concentrate on Matthew here, since he goes into MUCH greater detail. The phrase “Moses seat” indicates that the scribes and Pharisees had actual authority in the affairs of Yisrael, both religiously and, by extension, governmentally. These were teachers of Torah and deserved the honour and respect due a teacher of Torah, even as the President of the United States deserves honour and respect as such, whether or not the man deserves any respect in his own right. Therefore, in matters concerning Torah and its observance Yisrael was to follow their rules. But that did not mean that the people ought to follow the Pharisees and scribes examples.
They were excellent teachers of Torah, but lousy doers of Torah. Our example of obedience to Torah is Yeshua, who kept all of Torah, as well as all of the traditions that were in keeping with Torah, perfectly. If we would do the Word, we should do as Yeshua did
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.(1Jn.2.6)
There is NOTHING in scripture that says the rules have changed. The only changes have been in our traditions, passed down to us for centuries, even millennia, by our ‘church’ fathers. We need to examine our practices in light of revealed truth in the Word of Y’hovah and discard the traditions of men we’ve come to accept as normal and, therefore “biblical”, but have merely become normal in our experience. Just because the traditions have become normal to us does not make them scriptural, any more than the traditions Yeshua is about to pronounce woes against were scriptural.
The warning Yeshua gave is as valid today as it was then; the fathers have given us grievous burdens that Y’hovah never intended. We are people of the covenant and, therefore, we ought to study it and keep it. We can only keep faithful to our covenant by the gracious power supplied by Y’hovah through his indwelling Ruach haKodesh, the Spirit of Separation and of Peace with him. If we attempt it in our own strength, as the scribes and Pharisees did, we will stumble and fall and the Rock of offense (Mt.21.44, Lk.20.18, 1Pe.2.8, Is.8.14) will grind us to powder (Dan.2.34-35, 45, Ex.32.15-16, Dan.8.25); while if we rely on Y’hovah’s strength to live the covenant we will fall on it, make it our foundation, and it will break us to his will, and his will is that we do it.
We see the Rock of offense in Rom.9.33 as well. In context we see that the ‘law of righteousness’ is different from ‘the law’. The law of righteousness is declared a good thing, but works of the law are seen as not so good, and relying on works of any kind is wickedness (Remember our recent discussion on the church’s misconception of the phrase, “Under the Torah” – 16Apr. Study). What is the difference? Are works of the law different from the law of righteousness? Must be!
Could it be that ‘works of the law’ are things done according to the law that ‘was added’ in Galatians 3:19, [remember that wherefore = for what purpose]
“Wherefore then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”?
The transgressions were failure to keep the covenant that we agreed to at the foot of Sinai by worshipping the golden calves and all the wickedness entailed in it, while Moshe was receiving the covenant written by the hand of Y’hovah. I think the covenant was the ‘law of righteousness’ in Rom.9, while ‘the law’ refers to the law that was “added because of transgressions.” The phrase ‘works of the law’ is used 5 times, all by Sha’ul, in Rom.9.32, Gal.2.16, 3.2, 5 and 10.
Since the ‘law of righteousness’ is different from ‘the law’, “works of righteousness” or ‘good works’ are different from “works of the law.” Now, there are no works of our own by which we can be saved, for ‘all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags’ (Is.64.6). The phrase ‘works of righteousness’ appears but once in Titus 3:5,
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of Ruach ha Kodesh;”.
Our works of righteousness, then, have nothing to do with our salvation. They do have to do with our witness to the lost, and, according to Eph.2.10 and Tit.3.8, we were saved to do ‘good works’ or works of righteousness. Do you suppose Sha’ul would tell the Romans one thing and the Ephesians and Titus something contrary? Good works, or works of righteousness, are things we do in obedience and according to the covenant by the power of Y’hovah’s Spirit in us. Works of the law are those things that were necessary to do until Mashiach came to fulfill the law that was ‘added because of transgressions’ of the covenant (and that will be necessary for those who do not trust their king Mashiach during the kingdom age; and they will be MANY). Clear? Yes? No?
The scribes and Pharisees made a great show of religion, observing works of the law rather than works of righteousness. The church doesn’t do that, now do we? As the Pharisees made ‘broad their phylacteries’ and enlarged their tzitzit, so does the average ‘televangelist’ make a great show of ‘miracles and signs and wonders’. They are wonderful entertainment, like professional wrestling, but they are very weak on doctrine (what they do) and truth (what they teach), like professional wrestling. Sleight of hand is nothing new to the average ‘televangelist,’ like the professional wrestler. If you’re looking for signs and wonders you’ll see them, and be taken in by the lies. If you’re looking to be true to Y’hovah and his Word, you’ll see what’s really there – bombast, smoke and mirrors. And when you shine the light of truth on the lies, you’ll see them scurry for the shadows of even more lies and deceit, like so many cockroaches, as if piling more garbage on top of what they’ve been selling will make the truth and its light go away. Those who want what these men sell will believe the lies, while those few followers of Yeshua in that crowd who have been momentarily deceived will see the truth and come out of the darkness into his marvelous light. In every group or congregation of ‘Xians’ there are a few believers, a faithful remnant, and a vast majority of Eloha fans – ‘Rah! Rah! Siss! Boom! Bah! Yea-eahh….GOD!!’. And, just in case you haven’t noticed, its becoming the same in the Netzarim movement. Q&C
These same Pharisees loved adulation and praise and recognition, especially out in public where people who had never known them before could be impressed with their importance. The really important rabbi’s would arrive at a feast or celebration ‘fashionably late’ or in the nick of time so they could ‘bump’ someone to a less preferred seat and make a great show of their arrival, in the meanwhile making the guy who had arrived first look like a usurper, when in fact he was just on time. Even if the prompt individual had been burned before and took the lower seat, the rabbi would be led to the front of the room with pomp and circumstance to receive the worship and adulation of the rabble. And if the host was no respecter of persons and tried to seat the rabbi in the back of the room, the rabbi could make a big scene and still garner all the attention to himself, even as he left the party.
We are not to seek adulation, to be called Master or Teacher or to be singled out as a great ‘Man of Gaw-awd.’ There is a need for us to acknowledge that what we know and what we do are a result of the grace of Y’hovah in our lives. I, for one, am annoyed at adulation and praise from people. I get the impression that they are either trying to get me to think of myself more highly than I ought, and are therefore unwitting (or witting) tools of haSatan, or that these people really think this way of me (which says something about their discernment, and it AIN’T GOOD) and are trying to buy their way into my good graces. A simple thank you goes a lot further with me than effusive praise. I am just a guy. Please treat me as such. I prefer to be the guy who serves through study and sharing his observations and limited understanding than the guy who runs the show.
The woes pronounced over the Pharisees and scribes begin in v.13. In the first, the Pharisees are not only not going into the kingdom, but refusing entrance to those who would go. Can you imagine being so pig-headed, and I use that phrase knowing what the pig was to the Pharisee, as to try to keep people away from Eloha’s kingdom just to prove you can? How do you suppose they did this? They made it an excommunicable offense to follow Yeshua, for one. They denied access to Torah to the people for another, by teaching only what they wanted to teach, traditions of men, which was what became Talmud, not Tanakh. This was something that galled Yeshua to no end. BTW, this is NOT to say Talmud cannot be used to further our understanding of Torah; it CAN! It IS to say that Talmud isn’t scripture any more than this bible study is. Both are useful; but neither is scripture or on a par with it.
The second woe, for ‘devour(ing) widow’s houses’ refers to the command to take care of widows and orphans, which is a condition of the covenant (Ex.22.22-24, Dt.14.29, 26.12-15, 27.19 – not an exhaustive list). Y’hovah took the care of the poor and helpless very seriously. The Pharisees oppressed the poor, they stole their property by charging interest on money loaned, taking a widow’s property as collateral for the loan, and then pretending to be following after Y’hovah with long-winded prayers that impressed only those who wanted the same kind of adulation the Pharisees and scribes had attained. These men who knew the scriptures and disregarded them will get their comeuppances in the end.
The 3rd woe is pronounced on them because they would go to the ends of the earth to get a gentile to convert to their brand of Yehudism, but train them to be even less gracious in their interpretations of Tanakh than they were themselves. The Pharisee’s Talmidim (disciples) were even more rabid, stricter followers of tradition than the Pharisees themselves. A strict construction of scripture is one thing, but to be a strict constructionist on matters of oral tradition or argumentation is something else again. As has been said before, tradition is good if it lines up with scripture. We are to interpret our tradition in light of Y’hovah’s revealed truth, not interpret scripture by our traditions, as our friends in the RC denomination (among others) do. Had the Pharisees trained their talmidim to observe scripture they would not have had this woe pronounced on them. Q&C
The 4th woe is pronounced on the ‘blind guides’. In Mat.15 we see a similar phrase, “…blind leaders of the blind.” The context is interesting. The Pharisees had just rebuked Yeshua for not rebuking his talmidim for eating without washing their hands up to their navel, and Yeshua had replied that it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man, not what goes in. It was not that washing the hands was a bad tradition, in fact it was probably more needful then than now, but that they considered it to be sinful to not wash before eating. The Pharisees had elevated this tradition, which they’d acknowledged as such, to the level of the commandments, then had not required adherence to actual commands of Y’hovah. They were blind to the goodness of the truth, and saw too clearly the goodness of their traditions. They dishonored their parents in the traditional application of ‘Corban’, but, since their tradition allowed them to do so in ‘Corban’, it was OK by the Pharisees. It was in direct violation of not only Torah, but the covenant. They were to guide Yisrael into the truth of Y’hovah, but they only saw what was to their advantage. They saw no spiritual wickedness in themselves, hence ‘blind guides’.
It was likewise better to the Pharisees to make an oath by the gold of the temple or the sacrifice on the altar, than by the temple or the altar itself. It wasn’t that the temple or the altar were of actual value in and of themselves, but their purpose was for the worship and service of Y’hovah, as Yeshua points out in his third example about heaven and the throne of Y’hovah, and Y’hovah himself. It is the purpose that sanctified the altar and the sacrifice on it, it was the temple that sanctified the gold in it, and it is Y’hovah that sanctifies his throne and heaven where they are. Even so, it is the covenant upon which the traditions are based that sanctifies the tradition, not the other way around.
The 5th woe is against the religious leaders trusting that paying the tithe would ensure entrance to the kingdom, while forgetting the more important matters. The Pharisees used the tithe as a sort of bribe to Y’hovah so he’d look the other way at judgment time. Y’hovah promised blessings to those who tithe, but to expect those blessings in this life, or to expect that tithing would ensure ones entrance into the kingdom was wrong-headed. One does not bribe Y’hovah. He will judge in his righteousness, not in ours. He will provide his righteousness to us, if we’ll trust him. This trust is what Yeshua refers to. Once we’ve trusted him to do what he said he would, he enables us to do what he told us to do, including tithing. We do not tithe to curry his favor, but because he commanded us and gives us the grace to do it. We obey because he empowers us to obey by his indwelling Spirit and we want to please him thereby. If we are tithing in expectation of reward, we are tithing for the wrong reason. If we tithe in his grace and out of obedience to him the reward will come, but it will come in HIS timing, probably in his appointed time (MO-AD).
Expectation of immediate reward from Y’hovah for doing what he’s commanded is not scriptural. Job never did anything to deserve his trouble. He maintained his integrity in the face of withering criticism from his own wife and his so-called friends, but still suffered until Y’hovah’s appointed time of deliverance. Yoseph never did anything to deserve his sale to the Midianite traders, or his stay in the dungeons of Egypt, but he endured trouble until such time as Y’hovah saw fit to deliver him. We must not expect anything else in our lives. We may suffer troubles that we don’t deserve, we may not receive our reward for our service to Y’hovah at all in this life, but the promised blessings will come in his appointed time for each of us. Meanwhile, we wait and serve to our best ability, expecting that Y’hovah will reward us when and if he sees fit.
Blind guides – remember what Yeshua said about blind leaders of the blind. In this case he’s talking about blind men who know they’re blind trusting other blind men, whom they’ve assumed can see, to lead them over rough, stony ground. Kind of like the folks in the RC denomination who follow after men who are even more lost than they are themselves. The blind guides don’t know they are blind. In fact they see just fine with their eyes, but their hearts and spirits are blind to the truth. They start out trying to walk down the narrow way and lead their followers through the strait gate, but they can’t see well enough to navigate. They end up off the way, wandering in the dark. They cross the narrow way once in a while, but the further they stray from it the more difficult it is to get back. And the further away they are when they start back the more perpendicular the crossing and the shorter their time actually in the way. Of course, the blind guide is too proud to admit he’s blind; his followers might leave him. Then he’d be blind and alone. So he goes on leading people off the way of righteousness and on the way that leads to destruction.
To strain at a gnat but swallow a camel is such a brilliant metaphor, even the Pharisees had to get it. They were sweating the minor infractions, expecting the big things to take care of themselves. I mean, anyone can keep from murder, right? How hard is it to know that you’re committing adultery or robbery or lying? So they worried about minor infractions of man made rules, while allowing actual commandments of Y’hovah, the covenant itself, to be broken without a whimper of protest. They turned a blind eye to it, hence the epithet, ‘Blind guides’. Q&C
The sixth woe, as well as the seventh, is to outward expression without inward reality. The sixth has to do with what is taken in, while the seventh has to do with what the essential life is like. Just what is it that you eat? What kind of spiritual food do you feed yourself? Does it look good on the outside, but actually feed your OSN/evil inclination? Are you taking in garbage and strengthening the putrefying stuff that is your natural man? The cups and plates of the sixth woe hold the trash that feeds the remains in the seventh. The cups and plates are full of ‘extortion and excess’ by which the people are oppressed, and the sepulchres are filled with the deadness of traditions that we Pharisees make to look like following the Word of Y’hovah by sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors. Yeshua spoke to this very thing in
7 Hypocrites!, well did YeshaYahu prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat.15.7-9)
9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For Y’hovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13 Wherefore Adonai said, Forasmuch as this people draw near with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid. (Is.29.9-14).
Do you think Yeshua got this one in context?
We need to be careful not to fall into the same trap. Our traditions are somewhat different, but they have the same effect on our spiritual lives. ‘Xian’ traditions, like Easter and Xmas, give us the outward appearance of holiness, but there is no spiritual nourishment in them. They are, in fact, wicked unbiblical practices that tear down our strongholds, exactly the opposite of what Y’hovah graciously empowered us to do in
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Elohim to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of Eloha, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Mashiach;” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
We need to find the strongholds of unbiblical tradition in our lives (Xmas & Ishtar, unclean foods, etc.) and separate ourselves from them, before they separate us from the way of righteousness, as it had in the lives of the S&P.
The S&P protest in the eighth woe that if THEY had been there, THEY would not have killed the prophets as their fathers had done. Hindsight! In a few days they are going to ‘fill up the measure of their fathers (v.32).’ Their cup was not full yet
But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)
And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of Eloha, who liveth for ever and ever. (Revelation of John 15:7)
The men who killed the prophets had been filling the vial of the wrath of YHVH with the bones of the prophets (a possible allusion to the pretty cups and plates of the 6th woe). The S&P, to mix a metaphor, were about to put the ‘capstone’ on the cup, as it were, by causing the crucifixion of the Mashiach. Woe unto them, indeed! And we modern day Pharisees say, “We would never have killed Mashiach!” Hindsight! You watch what happens when the 2 witnesses appear on the scene. Even the televangelists will be trying to persecute them.
The woes are NOT pronounced against the people of Yisrael, only against their religious leaders. The majority of the people we see in the gospels are following Yeshua. Multitudes followed him, while small cadres challenged him. The small cadres wielded enormous political and religious (are they any different, really) power, but they feared the influence Yeshua had over the rabble. Hence the intense opposition to him and the intensity of his proclamation of woes. Yeshua expressed Y’hovah’s righteous indignation against them. Are we really any different than the S&P?
Just imagine what the religious leaders felt like less than a week later when Yeshua was in the grave and the people, who were expecting him to take the kingdom, wandered about trying to figure out what to do and who to follow. How they must have gloated, “I AM, huh? Blasphemer! Usurper! Rabble-rouser! Woe to ME, huh? What do you say NOW?!”
I assume he’d have said, “Wait ‘til the end of the third day!”
“Serpents! Generation of vipers!” I think the serpent was a well known type of haSatan. I think this was the real bridge burner. He has taken the mantle of the righteous judge and is pronouncing their doom. He strongly implies that they will not escape damnation. Remember he is reacting to their pronouncement that they would never have persecuted the prophets. Now he is prophesying their future, and they would soon fulfill it.
He told them that he would send prophets, wise men and scribes and that they would persecute and beat and kill them. He in effect told them here that he was the same Y’hovah who had sent the prophets for all those years, and that they were the same kind of jerks that killed them. The lesson for us here is something I alluded to earlier; we ought to be very careful of how we react to the actions of the Sanhedrin. We would probably do the same thing to the prophets that they did.
How do you react to someone who teaches something different from the established and so-called ‘orthodox’ traditions? Do you call them heretics? Or false prophets? Or false apostles? We ought to be really careful about checking out their doctrine against scripture, and see if what they say is truer than what we’ve come to accept as truth. If a tradition we hold doesn’t line up with a clear reading of scripture, it ought to be tossed aside like so much moldy bread. Moldy bread may fuel your system, but it will also make you sick. The Pharisee’s traditions had done this to them. And our traditions do this to us today. We need to discard traditions that have no valid basis in scripture and try to line ourselves up to the revealed Word of Truth. Remember that if we judge ourselves we will not be judged (1Cor.11.31, Jn.14.15, 15.10, 1Cor.2.9-16). The basis on which we judge ourselves is the Word Of Y’hovah, our Mashiach and King Yeshua, who is the Word of Y’hovah incarnate. Q&C
Matthew 23:35, “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.”
Who is this guy ZacharYahu son of BarachYahu? You may be surprised to learn that he may have been the father of Yochanan the Immerser.
As the story goes, and I personally believe it is true, when the Parthian wise men came to Jerusalem to inquire as to the whereabouts of the ‘one born King of the Jews’, they asked Herod who in turn asked the priests. Herod asked when the Wise men had seen the star and ascertained that it had been about 1 1/2 or 2 years before. He then asked if there had been any unusual circumstances that surrounded any births at that time. When he heard the story of ZacharYahu and Elisheva he figured that if anyone was Mashiach, King of the Jews, it MUST be Yochanan ben Zacharyahu haKohen (no way he’d expect a baby born in a stable to a couple of poor peasants 90 miles from their home to be Mashiach, King of the Jews. Probably noone knew about that birth). The circumstances surrounding Yochanan’s birth had made headlines.
So he sent the Temple guards to find out where the boy was from ZacharYahu, who was working in his course at the Temple (at Shavuoth time). When he refused to reveal the whereabouts of his son they killed him right in the Holy Place, between the altar of incense and the veil. The Temple guards were under the direct authority of the Sanhedrin, not Herod. For them to do this it had to be by order of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin would have done this for a couple of reasons; 1) to curry favor of the king, since they were no better than any other politicians, and 2) to try to avert the resulting massacre of the innocents that followed. Why should all the children die to save one child? Gamaliel explained their resort to expediency later, when speaking of the demise of Yeshua; ‘It is better for one man to die than to have Rome destroy us all’ (Mark paraphrase). Either way and in any event, they were guilty of the blood of ZacharYahu.
Where Yochanan was at that time is a matter of speculation, but the account in Luke gives a few clues. 1) Zach and Liz lived in a city in the hill country of Judea (Lk1.39), 2) Yochanan was ‘in the deserts until the day of his shewing unto Yisrael’ (Lk.1.80), 3) to the best of our knowledge, Yochanan went to Jerusalem only for the presentation feasts (as did Yeshua), but ministered in the wilderness of Yarden, not very far from the Dead Sea. These facts give rise to the idea that the family may have lived among the Essenes near Qumran.
Good luck to anyone attempting to find someone in those caves and hills who does not want to be found. David fled from Saul for years in those hills. Hence the Temple guards asking for the child’s whereabouts, Zach’s refusal to comply, and the murder of all the innocents of 2 years and under.
Yeshua then, in vv.37-38, lamented over Jerusalem and applied all those kingdom parables that had to do with Abba sending servants and his son, and the workers abusing and murdering them, to the city (and, by extension, its leaders). He said he’d tried to get them to come to him for comfort and protection, but they’d refused, so He then pronounced their doom, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” That means he was leaving them to their own devises, because that was what they wanted. He left it to them to protect and comfort the people without the help of Y’hovah. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible study.