Shabbat Bible Study for June 24, 2017
©2017 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Shemoth 26:31 – 27:19 – Yechezkel 16:10-19 – Tehellim 58 – MattitYahu 23:1-28
Links for this week:
Shemoth 26.31-37 – From last week’s study:
Vv.31-32 – The veil that separates the Kadosh from the Kedoshim was of linen and techeleth, purple and scarlet interwoven cheruvim and was 10 cubits by 10 cubits. The veil in the 2nd Temple was larger by 4x, twice as wide and twice as high, and reputed to be 4 inches thick and made a LOUD noise when it was torn from top to bottom. The cheruvim of cunning work in techeleth, purple and scarlet probably made it obvious that the tear was in that direction. The Mishkan’s veil was hung on 4 pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold (4 = the divine perfection of Creation). What the priest could see when he entered the Kadosh Kedoshim on Yom Kippur, was the cheruvim all around him as reflected from the pure gold boards in the light of Torah and the kavod of Y’hovah. With NO LIGHT source other than the kavod of Y’hovah and the light of the Torah within the Ark, not even the menorah that was on the other side of the veil, the priest was in the brightest lit place on earth. I assume that the light from the menorah would have been dark by comparison.
Vv.33-37 – The veil is to the Sanctuary as Havdallah is to the Shevua, separating the most kavod from the merely kavod; the Shabbat from the workweek. The Mercy Seat was placed on the Ark within the veil; the table of the Bread of the Presence went next to the north wall of the Holy Place, and the menorah next to the south wall. The Incense altar that we’ll see in a couple of weeks goes near the veil. A 2nd veil was to be made of linen and embroidered with techeleth, purple and scarlet figures to be a ‘door’ for the Kadosh that would hang on 5 gold plated pillars with brass (not silver) sockets to set them in (5 = the gracious provision of Y’hovah to us; gold = the spiritual perfection). The brass sockets signify the closeness to the world and the judgment that was executed within.
Last week [23June], we saw the ‘congregation’ (Moshe, Aharon, Nadav and Avihu with the 70 elders) in the presence of Y’hovah. This week we see the table of the Bread of the Presence. The congregation was encamped on the eastern side of Horeb, looking west toward the mount of Y’hovah. The plateau on which Y’hovah received the embassage last week, and the Table of the presence are both on the north side as we approach Y’hovah to our west and with our backs to the rising sun. In Isaiah 14, the Adversary said, “I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” Do you think that he was saying that he would sit in the place of Y’hovah on the plateau AND the people of Yisrael on the Table of Lechem haPanay? Is he likening the Table to the ‘sides of the North’? This table is where the people of Israel are spiritually in Y’hovah’s presence all the time, enlightened by the 7 Spirits of Y’hovah and offering our prayers to him like the sweet savour of incense. I don’t know, but that is the way my mind is working right now.
Shemoth 27.1-8 – The Altar (miz’bayach) is next to be revealed. This is the altar on which the blood of all the offerings had to be sprinkled, the oblations poured out and those parts to be offered had to be burnt. It was placed about ½ way between the gate to the court and the entrance to the Mishkan, centered about 25 cubits from the gate. It was built of shittim wood, 5 cubits square and 3 cubits high. 52 = grace x grace, and 3 = completeness in our time, space and matter universe. The numbers speak volumes to the gracious provision of forgiveness and reconciliation of Y’hovah to usward. I wonder if the stake Yeshua was hanged on was of Shittim wood? It would not surprise me to learn that it was. The Altar was not solid, but hollow in the center. The ‘horns’ of the Altar were not pointed, but were protrusions above the corners, and probably square or rectangular and flat topped. Their dimensions are not specified, but the Chumash says that the priests would set the basins of blood or whatever oblation was to be offered on top of the horns until it was time to pour it out. The entire altar was overlaid with copper or brass (an alloy of copper and zinc). Brass has a similar color to pure gold, and when the gold vessels were taken from the Temple by conquerors (or sent to appease an invader or end a siege), brass was used as a substitute for those vessels. They looked the same to the casual observer, but did not make the same statement as the gold had. Gold speaks of spiritual purity; brass speaks of judgment for spiritual impurity. Whether they knew it or not, when the kings sent the Temple gold to bribe the invaders and replaced it with brass, they were showing their own heart’s spiritual condition, failure to trust Y’hovah’s deliverance and then making a cheap show of worshipping Y’hovah. All are guilty of this from time to time.
That the altar was overlaid with brass shows that judgment was made and the sentence carried out. The fact that the atonement was accepted is seen in the dimensions of the Altar – grace x grace x physical completeness. There is another Altar we will see in a couple of weeks – the Golden Altar of Incense, which is placed right at the center of the inner veil and close to the veil, representing the prayers of the saints rising up to Y’hovah as a sweet smelling savour. The offerings on the Brazen Altar also rose to the nostrils of Avinu as a sweet savour, but the difference was in the purpose of the 2 offerings. The burnt offering on the Altar in the Court was to show repentance and sorrow over the sin that made the offering necessary. That offering was a sweet savour to Y’hovah because he could again commune with the repentant sinner. The incense offering was to show gratitude and trust in the provision of Y’hovah’s Ruach that makes it possible for us to NOT sin and to commune with him. Both are good, but the latter is better. We don’t want to live on the brazen altar, but the incense Altar.
The Brazen Altar was hollow inside, and a brass grating was made with loops affixed at the corners to fit onto a hook of some type that was attached to the inside of the Altar itself (v.4&5). The fire would be built under the brass network grating. The Chumash says that the Altar was hollow to allow it to be anchored by earth from the site where it was set up – there isn’t anything that says there was a bottom or base. I think it more likely that they dug a 5 cubit square trench into which they would place the boards overlaid with brass. The network of the brass grate is where I think they would place the pieces parts to be offered as a burnt offering, like the grating over the charcoal of your backyard grill. The grate was suspended about 1½ cubits below the top of the Altar. Once again, the detail is pretty good, but not total, as Y’hovah told Moshe, “Make it like the one I showed you on the mount.” Moshe didn’t reveal everything about every detail to the congregation, but he DID tell the craftsmen exactly what they needed to know to build it right. Y’hovah gave those craftsmen supernatural ability to follow Moshe’s instructions to the letter, as he gives us the same ability to live Torah, if we will just submit to him. All the tools, utensils and anything that would come in contact with the offering itself, the fire or the coals from it were made of brass, both to withstand the heat and/or the weight of the things to be handled and to picture what we deserve, but which Y’hovah has always put on another in his gracious provision, first on the lamb/goat/bull and finally on Yeshua haMoshiach.
Vv.9-17 – The north and south sides of the Court were 100 cubits long, with 20 pillars each and sockets of brass. The West side was 50 cubits long and had 10 pillars and sockets of brass. The hooks and fillets were made of silver. Fillets are decorative bands separating moldings, and the hooks are what the linen curtains were hung from. Now, at first glance it looks like there are 20 pillars to hold a 100-cubit curtain, so the pillars must be 5 cubits apart. But that isn’t quite right. If the pillars were equidistant at 5 cubits, the total span would only be 95 cubits – a pillar at either end and 18 in between, making 19 5-cubit spaces between pillars. So, either there were additional pillars or the spaces between pillars were more than 5 cubits – 5.26 cubits, or 7.89 feet to be exact (assuming an 18” cubit). I lean toward the numbers given being correct and the total number of pillars being 60 with the distances between pillars ≠ 5 cubits. This would ESPECIALLY be true of the gate, which spans 20 cubits with only 4 pillars that had to be spaced 7 1/3 cubits, or 10.95 feet, apart and the west wall, where the spans were likely 4.54545 cubits or less than 7 feet. The point is that the details are not always what they seem. What this all means is beyond me right now, but I know that it is not, as the old saying goes, the devil in the details. It’s the mind of Y’hovah. The hangings for the court proper are simply fine linen without adornment of any kind. The hanging for the gate was of fine linen with embroidery in techeleth, purple and scarlet threads. Linen is the fabric of healing signifying our rest in Y’hovah’s imputed righteousness. I think the embroidery was probably like that of the outer veil of the Mishkan, but we are not told and I actually COULD be wrong in that assumption – more detail for Moshe to reveal to the craftsmen. These details are what the rabbis say was the oral Torah that Moshe passed on by word of mouth to the elders. I think they were just not the congregation’s business, and were not necessary for us all to know. Q&C
Yechezkel 16.10-19 – The entire chapter speaks of the entire people of Israel, Yehudah, Ephraim and those full gentiles who would sojourn amongst Yisrael. But it is more specifically to 2-Yisrael and 10-Yisrael. A gentile woman is taken to wife by Y’hovah and clothed in His splendor but after a while trusts in her own beauty, thinking that the gracious provision of Y’hovah is actually hers by right, not by gift. She becomes so used to the blessing that she thinks it is all of and by herself. Then she takes those gifts and treats them as common things, to be used for idolatry and adultery. Our passage today describes the splendid garments of Y’hovah’s bride; He clothes her in the same manner as he does his Mishkan.
In v. 9, after finding us covered with our own menses, he washed us clean by the water of his Word, removing the vestiges of our filthiness, and anointed us with his fine oil, setting us apart unto himself. Then in v.10 he begins to describe the clothing he’s given us.
He clothed us with broidered work, like the gate of the court and the door to the Mishkan. He gave us shoes of the same stuff as the covering of the Mishkan, the tachash skin. Remember that the tachash is traditionally a now extinct animal with a natural skin of many colors. From last week’s study on Ex.26.14:
Next there was a covering for the ohel (tent to cover the Mishkan) of red-dyed rams’ skins and another of ‘badger’ skin. The Hebrew word xlated badger in the KJV is tachash, which the Chumash explains was a beautiful multi-colored animal that has since gone extinct. If it really existed, it 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, joined in Yeshua, our MelchiTzadik High Priest.
Feet shod with the clothing of the world’s most righteous tzadik, except Yeshua? Talk about signifying a righteous walk, eh? He girded us with fine linen, as he did the Mishkan’s court, and the Mishkan itself. He then covered us with silk. Please notice that Y’hovah does all this for us. That we could be as arrogant as to think it is our right to have such things is mind-boggling. He clothes us with the best and feeds us all the best foods because we are his, and the heathen marvel at our beauty because we are made perfect by HIS comeliness, not our own.
And how do we repay him for all the grace he bestows on our sinful hides? Vv.17-19 tell us. We used it to chase after other gods, we took the gold and silver and made ‘images of men’, the kind of ‘toys’ that can be found in “Adult Stores”, and to commit whoredom with them. That is graphic language, saying exactly what we made from the things Y’hovah gave us. We went after false gods with the gifts Y’hovah gave us to set us apart. Remember what we said ‘images’ were? Let me remind those of you who were with us October 19, when we discussed Gen.35.1-8 with this quote from my notes there:
AllonBachuth means oak or plain of weeping. The root of allon (Heb 437) is ayil (Heb.352), which is strangely similar to ilah, the Arabic word for mighty, from which Allah was contracted, as we saw earlier. Ayil means strong, hence the translation as ‘oak.’ Any Hebrew word beginning with the letters aleph, lamed will have the idea of strength in it somewhere, but alon, spelled aleph, lamed, vav, nun is only used a few times in scripture. When it’s used in the prophets it invariably is speaking of illicit shrines, as in Hos.4.13,
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow [darkness] thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
Or as felled, as in Is.6.13,
13 But yet in it a tenth, and shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance in them, when they cast the holy seed; the substance thereof.
In both the above instances, oak is from allon, and elm/teil is from elah, strong or mighty. In Is.44, the same tree is used to warm the house, cook the food and to make a god from
13 The carpenter stretcheth out rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man [same toy from the same roadside business]; that it may remain in the house. 14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish. 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
How incredibly stupid can one be? In case you haven’t figured it out, an image in scripture is a phallic symbol, and a grove is a tree representing a woman’s pudenda – they are worshipping fertility gods therewith. Allah, and all pagan gods, are, in reality, representations of sexual apparatus – not likenesses of a human body, but of a part of a human body.
Among the gods Jacob’s family hid under the oak were the images Rachel had stolen from Lavan. What Ezekiel is saying in this passage is that we have taken the gold and silver with which Y’hovah has gifted us and made them into phallic toys with which to worship false gods – we have made likenesses of our sexual organs and taken to worshipping sex and perverted acts of it. We took all the finery that Y’hovah had given us, removed all the fine clothes and laid them on the pagan altar. Then we laid on them and allowed the false gods to be our spiritual lovers. After that we took those clothes we’d lain upon to commit our adulteries, and draped them over our idols to hide them from our Elohim. Does that offend you? Imagine how Y’hovah feels about it. He ain’t exactly turning cartwheels for joy. Q&C
Tehellim 58 – I think this psalm is prophetic of the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble. It speaks of great wickedness on the earth and Y’hovah’s vengeance on its account. The wickedness is so great in v.1, that your average wickedness is considered good. Like … TODAY! In v.2, we are weighing OUR wickedness against his wickedness and saying “See?! I’m not so bad!” That from which they are estranged in v.3, even from the moment of their birth, is the truth:
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jeremiah 16:19)
The wickedness has become genetic. Those in v.4 won’t be persuaded by truth, because lies are all they’ve ever known and they cannot shema, hear and obey, the truth. They have been given over to lies. In v.5, they won’t listen to anyone’s wisdom, but continue to destroy the upright who will not follow in their wickedness, as in Rev.13;
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.
The teeth of the young lions are what they use to raven and devour their prey. Only Y’hovah can break their great teeth (sometimes he uses 1000 lbs of locust tree to do it!). We need to trust Y’hovah to deliver us, especially when it looks like he will not deliver in time for us. He WILL deliver those who wait on him. I promise. Even better, HE promises.
Wait on Y’hovah: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on Y’hovah. (Psalms 27:14)
Wait on Y’hovah, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. (Psalms 37:34)
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on Y’hovah, and he shall save thee. (Proverbs 20:22)
They, in v.7, are the wicked who would destroy the upright. V.7 has a LOT of added words in the KJV. Here it is sans add ons:
Let them melt away as waters run continually: he bendeth his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
That word translated ‘bendeth’ is better rendered ‘draweth’ in its context. And who is Y’hovah’s arrow? Yehuda is his bow.
Snails don’t actually melt (v.8), but if you watch one moving on a hard, polished surface, it may seem that they do because they glide on a layer of mucousy slime, leaving a trail. David is asking Y’hovah to remove his enemies from his life, as if their mothers had not carried them to term.
V.9’s opening phrase is hard to grasp on the surface. “Before your pots can feel the thorns”? “Pots” “feel” “thorns”? The word translated ‘your pots’ = ciyrothecha, the root being ciyr or ciyrah. This word seems to have transliterated directly into greek cirros, because the word means boiling in both languages and is where we get the name for those high, whispy, cirrus clouds we see at the leading edge of a cold front announcing an impending change of weather. The word xlated ‘feel’ = biyn, and means ‘discern’ in our passage. The word xlated ‘thorn’ = atad, meaning to make fast. The idea is that there is some impending doom, the situation is very serious and before some irreversible calamity occurs something needs to be done. If we are looking at the end of Jacob’s trouble, this calamity is likely the near-total destruction of human life on earth at the hands of anti-Messiah and his false Prophet, under the direction of haSatan. The pots = the nations of the world and the thorns = AM and his image, and JUST before they bring haSatan’s plan to destroy the entire human race to fruition, Yeshua will return both conquering the nations of the world and delivering both the Beast and his image alive into the abyss and binding haSatan for 1000 years. Yeshua is our righteous one, our tzadik, who will rejoice when he finally takes his vengeance on haSatan, the Adversary, and sets up his glorious Kingdom.
1 The Spirit of Adonai Y’hovah upon me; because Y’hovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of Y’hovah, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim; (YeshaYahu 61.1-2b)
1 Who this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah: this glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in Tz’dikah, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and none to help; and I wondered that none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. (YeshaYahu 63.1-6)
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
4 Fury 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. (YeshaYahu 27.4-5)
V.12 compares our Tzadik with Elohim, and there is certainly a reward for him, for he truly judges the earth in truth and righteousness. Q&C
MattitYahu 23.1-28 – The chapter begins with the word ‘then’, which tells me that the action never stopped from the end of the last chapter. So, it is a good idea to get the context by looking at an overview of ch.22. Actually, the day begins at the beginning of ch.21, where Yeshua enters the city on the 4th day before Pesach/ULB, or the 10th day of the 1st Covenant month that year. Y’hovah had told Moshe that the month of spring would now be the beginning of months for Yisrael. This day was the one in which, for 1500 years, the High Priest had gone down to BethLechem to choose the Pesach Lamb for the nation and bring it up to J’lem and ‘into the house’, or the Temple, to examine for blemishes of any type. This was the weekly Shabbat before Pesach that year, and Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim slain from the foundation of the earth, was going to be ‘in the House’ for the next 4 days to be examined by the various sects of the Jews for blemish. He would be examined and noone would find any fault in him. The last group to examine him was the scribes and Pharisees in chapter 22. When he answered their examination, he turned the tables and examined them in public about their core doctrines, and left them scratching their heads about how they could use his own words against him (Mark 12.13, Luke 20.20). When he stopped the mouths of the Scribes and Pharisees, he began showing the people who they actually were. The S&P were still there listening as Yeshua pronounced his woes on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was looking them in the eye as he pronounced them.
He began by saying they ‘sat in Moshe’s seat’. There is a stone seat in Capernaum that some people call Moshe’s Seat, but Yeshua pronounces these words ‘in the House’ – the Temple in J’lem, so I don’t think that’s what he was referring to. I think Moshe’s seat = Torah. He was the one who communed with Y’hovah on Mount Horeb and in the Mishkan. When Y’hovah spoke to the people, by their own request it was through Moshe. And when any dispute was too great for the lower courts that had been set up, they would take that dispute to Moshe. And if it was too great for Moshe to pronounce upon, he would take it to Y’hovah himself for divine judgment. Moshe’s seat must be the ‘supreme Torah court.’ Yeshua was telling the people that when the Pharisees are speaking of the Torah, to listen to them, because they knew Torah backwards and forwards, but when they spoke of their oral traditions, they were teaching men’s words, not Y’hovah’s. The Scribes are also called ‘lawyers’ in Luke’s gospel. I found this at a Xian site online:
“By the seat of Moses, it meant that they had the authority to teach the law. And Jesus affirms that they should be listen[ed] to as they read Moses’ law for it was the Scripture. But then He tells the people not to act the way they do “for they say, and do not do.” They went beyond the law (called the tradition of the elders in Mk.7 where they made void the commandments of God by their own laws which became the tradition they obeyed.)
In other words do as they say (as long as it is Scripture) but don’t do what they do (living in their tradition).”
Another good (6 page) article, by Tim Hegg, about the Nehemiah Gordon position on Moshe’s Seat can be found here:
Yeshua speaks about ‘heavy burdens’ the S&P lay on the people, which is reference to the Pharisees’ ‘oral law’. He then says their public works of righteousness were mostly for show. Now, I think that Yeshua observed the oral law as well as Torah, because he’d told his cousin Yochanan that it ‘becometh us to fulfil all righteousness’ (Mat.3.15). I think he did just that, fulfilling both the righteousness of Torah and also of the oral traditions. That is why they never found fault with him. Mk.7 is typical,
1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?”
Notice that they didn’t say, “Why do YOU not walk according to the tradition of the elders?” There is no command to wash hands before eating (though it is a VERY good idea), but there IS a tradition to do so. It isn’t any ONE thing that creates a heavy burden, but taken as a whole, those traditions WERE grievous to bear. This is what I believe Yeshua referred to when he said,
28 Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke easy, and my burden is light. (Mat.11.28-30)
Now, the original intent of the oral traditions was good, but over time the sheer weight of them became oppressive, and we’ve seen over the last few weeks just what Y’hovah thinks of oppression and oppressors.
Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:21)
Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’ hand, ye shall not oppress one another: (Leviticus 25:14)
Y’hovah is NOT pleased with the oral traditions that have made his people’s lives more religious drudgery than spiritual delight. And he pronounces his woes on the S&P, in their hearing, for their hand in oppressing his people. Q&C
Vv.9-28 – When Yeshua says to ‘call no man father’, I don’t think he’s talking about your physical father, but your teacher or leader of your community or congregation. To not call your mother’s husband who begot you ‘father’ or some cognate of ‘father’ is to deny reality, and is probably the manifestation of a religious spirit. I called my father, “Pa”, ‘papa’ or ‘dad’, and I don’t think Y’hovah has any problem with any of that. But if I were to refer to my pastor or congregational leader as ‘papa’ (or expected people to call me ‘father’ or ‘rabbi’), that would be tantamount to putting him (or me) in the place of Y’hovah, who is my spiritual ‘Father’ in the heavenlies, a form of idolatry. The same goes for ‘Master’. I was raised Catholic. Why would I trade one black-robed priest called Father, for a bearded rabbi (my Great One). Y’hovah ordained that Peter Angelo Pitrone would be my physical father on earth. He ordained Himself to be my spiritual Father in ‘heaven’, and he will ‘brook no quarter’ (won’t allow mercy) on that title. The S&P LOVED to be called special titles like rabboni and people’s adulation. Yeshua was saying that they coveted approbation, and covetousness of any kind is sinful. It leads to idolatry, which is spiritual adultery.
The S&Ps priorities were askew, as well (vv.16-22). Yeshua says they are blind men trying to lead the sightless over territory through which they’ve never traveled themselves. They teach people that the gift itself is more important than the one who sanctifies it or the purpose for which it is given in the first place. This translates in present day Xian religion (and it has spilt over into the HR crowd) as ‘the prosperity gospel’. Have you ever noticed that the Xian Televangelism Telethons are always around the time of the PBS telethons? There must be a ‘telethon spirit’ running rampant in the world at that time of year. The PBS telethons are more honest, though, in that they don’t lie to you about where the money is going or who is going to benefit from it. They don’t lie to unsuspecting Xians about the tithe and ‘seed money’ and other such rot. Do you see the connection? The televangelists say, “You made a pledge to give so much to our ministry and you haven’t done so. You say you recently became unemployed and can’t give now. But the ministry says, “You can’t afford to NOT give, because if you give sacrificially, God will surely keep giving to you so that you can continue to supply the ministry’s ‘needs’.” What I say to that ministry and her ministers is, “ You LYING OPPRESSOR of Y’hovah’s people! You play on people’s guilt to convince them that they are sinning if they DON’T give you a gift they can’t afford to give – you are ROBBING the widows and the fatherless, and thereby you are robbing Y’hovah, because THAT is the purpose of bringing the tithe into the storehouse – to feed the poor, to provide for them so they won’t have to go to the government for their needs. And you rob everyone in society because THEY have to pay for the government programs through the legalized theft the government perpetrates by way of income taxes.” It is my opinion that Xian televangelists are among the basest of sinners. I hate them with a perfect hatred.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, thine enemies take in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Y’hovah, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. (Ps.139.20-22)
That having been said, there is NOTHING wrong with anyone sending a gift to a ministry. The sin is, in my opinion, for the ‘minister’ to rob Y’hovah of the tithes meant to feed the oppressed and the poor by demanding that he send it to his ministry.
In vv.23-24, Yeshua gets specific with the S&P, showing how they make a big deal of tithing mint, anise and cumin, but miss the purpose of the tithe. Do you notice, please, that the tithe is of the produce of their labors in the field – NOT OF MONEY?!
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept (shamar). Return (shuv – repent) unto me, and I will return unto you, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth. But ye said, wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, this whole nation. 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 not enough. [Mark edit – inference is that we won’t be able to contain the blessings, and will share them] 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth. Mal.3.7-11
Remember, tithes in the storehouse were for the purpose of feeding and supplying for the poor who could not supply for themselves. The tithe Malachi speaks of in ch.3 has little or nothing to do with gifts to ministries. If one would bring his tithe to the storehouse in the Temple (I don’t know of a Temple right now, so there is no storehouse, unless it is personal) Y’hovah will provide his rain in its due season (Dt.28.1-14). The tithe was brought to the Temple in J’lem during the presentation feasts, when all the males were to present themselves before Y’hovah 3 times a year. Do you see the Torah in ZacharYahu 14 now? If you aren’t going up for Tabernacles you aren’t carrying your tithe to the storehouse to care for the needy among the people.
The tithe has NOTHING whatever to do with giving to the ministry of your church. That MIGHT be an offering, but it is NOT a tithe, biblically. Please also notice that the blessing is promised to the one who tithes AND who offers offerings. Your offerings and tithes are unto Y’hovah, and MAY be channeled through ministries, though it is most efficient to make the provisions directly to the objective need. If Y’hovah lays a burden on your heart to provide for a need, that is where you ought to make the offering or tithe. If not, and you know of a reputable agency that makes provisions for the needy in your community, you ought to consider making offerings there. Research the agencies to see what their overhead costs are – if the agency is not sending out 85-90% (or more) of donations to those they are benefiting, find one that is. Operating costs of more than 10-15% are an indication that someone(s) is living high on the generosity of others and potentially robbing Y’hovah.
Vv.25-28 – These verses bring us back around to the giant phylacteries and the long tzitzioth on the HUGE tallitoth. Now, they are making a show of their fasting and looking ‘O, SO religious!’ But it is all for show to gain approbation of those who don’t know scripture and their own place in the Kingdom. We need to do our duties unto Y’hovah, and not so others can see us doing them. What are we commanded to have as an outward sign of our difference from the world? Are we supposed to wear phylacteries in public? When it says in Devarim 6,
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes,
does that mean we need to do this physically, or does it mean we ought to live Y’hovah’s words and that our actions [sign upon our hands] should show that they are ever present in our thoughts [frontlets between our eyes]? Other people are always watching us, to see if we will actually live according to what we say we believe. When they see that we do, they will ask us about what is different about us, the root of the hope that guides us [1Kefa 3.15]. Yochanan, the one whom Yeshua loved, wrote:
6 He that saith he abideth in him [Messiah] ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1Jn.2.6)
Frank, an Italian guy from Assisi, lived a long time ago. He was a monastic type who loved to witness his Creator in his Creation. He loved to look at the physical world and see all the wonders that Y’hovah performed in it. Frank said one time, “Always preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.” Q&C
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