June 20, 2015 Shabbat Midrash

©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Sabbath 15 – 20 Jun 2015

Numbers 25:10-26:51 – Malachi 2:1-9 – Psalm 113 – Matthew 23:1-12, Ephesians 4:1-16 Links:


B’Midbar 25.10-18 – Because Pinchas was faithful and zealous for Y’hovah, his Name, and his kavod (honor and glory), and for the nation’s continued existence, Y’hovah blessed him with the covenant of Shalom. The implication in v.11 is that Y’hovah was about to wipe Israel out with the plague that had killed ≥24,000 already. In v.13 Y’hovah elaborates on the covenant of Shalom, and says that he is appointing Pinchas and his sons as priests forever. Up to this time, only Aharon and his sons had been appointed priests. Now the priesthood was further defined, as I read it, to the sons of Pinchas, the son of Elazar because he had made atonement for chol Yisrael by killing Zimri and Cozbi. This foreshadows the priesthood of believers in Moshiach, our High Priest. 

As I read the text, Zimri was the head of the tribe of Simeon and Cozbi was the daughter of a Midianite prince named Tzur. By examining the names, we can arrive at an idea of Balak’s intended plan to restrain Israel’s ability to conquer the land. Remember that he’d tried to get Bilaam to curse Israel, but Bilaam was more frightened by Y’hovah’s wrath than Balak’s, though he STILL coveted the power and position Balak had to offer. And so Bilaam suggested that Balak send Moavite women to entice b’nei Israel to sexual perversions and idolatry, and to send Midianite princesses to entice the priests and, failing that, the princes of Israel to perversion and idolatry. 

Zimri’s name (H2174) means ‘I accompany, as playing music’, from the word zimrah H2172, which derives from the root zamar H2167, to strike with the fingers, as the strings of a harp. Cozbi’s name (H3579) means “I lie or deceive”, from the root kazav (H3576), to lie or deceive. Cozbi was the daughter of Tzur (H6698), whose name is identical to H6697 and means ‘a cliff or sharp rock’, both taken from the root (H6696) tzur, to cramp or confine. So Zimri ‘accompanied’ Cozbi in her ‘deception’ to ‘confine’ Israel’s influence or cause Israel to fall off idolatry’s ‘cliff’ and dash them on the ‘sharp rocks’ of perversion below. And it would have succeeded, except for Pinchas’ zealous and quick intervention. This was Bilaam’s counsel to Balak when they commiserated at the end of ch.24.

2 can play that commiseration game, though, and Y’hovah now commiserated with Moshe, telling him to vex Midian. Israel had purposely circumnavigated Midian because Midian was Yitzhak’s 1/2 ‘brother’ through Keturah, Avraham’s 2nd wife after Sarah died (Gen.25.2). Israel had been honorable throughout her journeys through the kingdoms of the land, asking permission to use the King’s highway and pledging to pay any damages to Edom, Moav and Ammon. It was only when those nations attacked Israel that they fought with them and took their territory by right of conquest. Remember that Edom came out to defend her territory, but did not attack Israel. Ammon had already taken land from Moav and Israel went around what Moav still held and through the conquered land on the north of brook Arnon to traverse Ammon on the King’s highway. Sihon of Ammon came out on offense against Israel and Israel wiped them out. Then Og of Bashan, against whom Israel did not even pose a threat, as she intended to cross Yarden south of Brook Jabbok, came out to attack Israel and he and they in turn were wiped out, Israel occupying that land as their own by right of conquest. Had all the Arab nations on the East bank of Yarden left Israel alone, none would have died or lost their lands. BTW, after entering the Covenant w/Y’hovah, Israel never suffered even a hangnail in battle until Ai. Now, Midian and Moav had attacked Israel’s character – hamotzi shem rah, creating an evil name for Israel and thereby ‘sowing discord among brethren’. By this Y’hovah is abominated. Q&C

26:1-51 – Y’hovah ordered a census taken of all the warriors of Israel, from the men beginning with the 20th year with no age limit. This speaks to the vitality of the average Israelite. Remember that Aharon lived strong and vital right up to the moment of his death, as did Moshe. Avraham and Yacov lived as vital men until the last few days before their deaths. It was how they knew their time was short – their vitality abated. I think that this census is the basis for our selective service system’s waiting until a man turns 19 before actually drafting him for service. He is actually 19 years old on the day before his birthday and begins his 20th year on his 19th anniversary of birth. The day he was born was actually his 1st birthday, wasn’t it? The common way of reckoning age in our culture is just not true. The Bible’s way of reckoning age is absolutely true. That Y’hovah ordered the census of warriors immediately after the order to vex Midian should tell you what Y’hovah now planned for Midian … (drum roll) “Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee! … WIPE OUT!” (MAN! AM I OLD?!)

Reuven numbered 43,730. When they took the census last time, Reuven numbered 46,500, for a net loss of 1870 over the Wilderness Adventure, largely Dathan and Abiram’s families. Shimon numbered 22,200, when they had had 59,300 coming out of Egypt, for a net loss of 37,100 warriors. Gad numbered 40,500 in this census, but 45,650 40 years before, for a net loss of 5,150. In all, Reuven’s camp totaled 106,430, a net loss of 44,120 warriors over the entire Adventure.

Notice that Hezron and Hamul were the sons Pharez, Yehudah’s elder son by his daughter-in-law Tamar. Pharez’ sons became the kinsmen redeemers for Er and Onan, Yehudah’s sons who died childless. Y’hovah is not mocked. Yehudah numbered 76,500, but coming out of Egypt, they numbered 74,600 for a net gain of 1950. Issachar numbered 64,300, but 40 years before had numbered 54,400 for a net gain of 9,900. Zevulon numbered 60,500, but in the 1st census numbered 57,400, for a net gain of 3100 men of war. Yehudah’s camp totaled 201,300, a net increase of 14,950 warriors over the entire Wilderness Adventure.

The camp of Rachel’s children Yoseph, as Yacov had claimed Yoseph’s sons Ephraim and Menashe as his own heirs, and Benyamin,  also showed an net increase. Menashe numbered 52,700, when they had numbered 32,200 at the foot of Sinai, for a net gain of 20,500 men of war. Ephraim numbered 32,500, but had 40,500 in the 1st census, for a net loss of 8,000. BenYamin now numbered 45,600, when they had had 35,400 coming out of Egypt for a net gain of 10,200. Ephraim’s camp therefore numbered 130,800, a net gain of 22,700 over the time of the Wilderness Adventure.

Dan now numbered 64.400, when they had 62,700 warriors 40 years before, for a net gain of 1,700. Asher numbered 53,400 men of war just before the Yarden crossing, but had 41,500 for a net gain of 11,900. And Naphtali now numbered 45.400, when they started the Wilderness Adventure with 53,400 for a net loss of 8,000 warriors. Dan’s camp therefore numbered 159,300, a net gain of 5600. So, chol Israel numbered 601,730, a net loss of 1820 men 20 years and older during the 38+ years since Kadesh and the lashon hara of the 10 tourists, who’d shouted down Y’hovah’s 2 men of war, whom I believe were the youngest of the ‘spies’. 

Some stuff that actually belongs in NEXT week’s triennial portion – These 601,730 warriors + the 5 daughters of Zelophehad would divide up the inheritance of the land. The inheritances were, I think, more or less equal per warrior of Israel. The smallest tribe would have the smallest tribal inheritance, the largest, the largest. Each tribe would divvy up its inheritance according to the sizes of the families. 

The time that Israel spent in Egypt can be approximated by the time the Levites were there. Kohath went down into Egypt with Levi and Ya’acov. Kohath’s wife bore Amram, who married Yocheved, Levi’s daughter who was born in Egypt. That’s right – Levi’s grandson, Amram married his daughter, Yocheved, Miriam, Aharon and Moshe’s mother, in the land of Egypt. Miriam was the eldest, possibly as old as 128-130 at her death, perhaps as young as 125. Aharon was 123 when he died less than a year before Moshe died at 120. Assuming that Yocheved married at the usual time that girls did then, about 14-16 years of age, and that she was born within a year of the Yacovson’s going down to Egypt, they were only in Egypt for about 100 or so years, and therefore were only slaves there for about the 80 years of Moshe’s life before the Exodus. Yocheved was very likely only in her 20s when she bore Moshe to Amram. Verse 64 tells us that Kalev and Yehoshua were under 20 when the 1st census was taken, because THEY were not numbered in that census. NONE who had been numbered in Num.1 was counted in this census – so Kalev and Yehoshua were just youngsters at the time of the Exodus and perhaps 58-60 when they crossed the Yarden. And THAT would explain their mention as the 3rd and 5th leaders among the ‘spies’ – they were younger than the other tribe’s spies, regardless their prowess as military leaders. Q&C

Malachi 2 – Malachi 2 doesn’t stand alone, and to understand what Y’hovah is saying, we need to get the background of at least the last verses of ch.1. In understanding scripture, context is king. One verse, standing alone, can be made to say almost anything. This is at least part of what Kefa was saying in 2Pe.1.20 – not of ‘private interpretation.’ 

In Mal.1, Y’hovah is speaking to the Levitical priesthood, but particularly to the High Priest, as the supreme judge in Israel and the final arbiter of Torah disputes, having the Urim and Thummim by which he can take a dispute directly to Y’hovah. In 1.10c-14, Y’hovah gets to the heart of the matter he has with the Priest. 

10c I have no pleasure in you, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name great among the heathen, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of Y’hovah is polluted; and the fruit thereof, his meat, contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness! and ye have snuffed at it, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth; and ye brought torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith Y’hovah. 14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto Y’hovah a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, and my name dreadful among the heathen.

The reason Balak wanted to have Bilaam curse Israel was his terror at what he KNEW Y’hovah could do to Moav and Midian, if he had a mind to – Y’hovah’s Name was ‘dreadful among the heathen”. Now, the High Priest of Israel had allowed the legitimate authority he had been blessed with to become a curse from Y’hovah Tzavaoth – not a guy you really want to tick off! The CinC of the hosts of heaven, whom I believe is Moshiach ben David, was speaking to his earthly angel (2.7). If Y’hovah’s Bride (personified in the High Priest) will not honor his Name, who will? Us gentiles, that’s who (1.11)! His high priests, his angels on earth, will not sanctify his Name, so he takes it to the Gentiles, and we WILL sanctify it. 

I also think that the passage in 1.10c-14 lines up perfectly with Yochanan 2.13-18,

13 And the Jews’ (not Y’hovah’s) passover was at hand, and Yeshua went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

The peddlers of sacrificial animals were selling the dregs of the flock, blemished lambs and such for offerings, and they were doing it from within the Temple proper. Had they been outside in the court of the Gentiles, it would have been less of an affront to Y’hovah, but that the Priests would allow less than perfect animals to be offered showed their contempt for Y’hovah’s Name. Basically, except for a few years when the Maccabees were the High Priests, there was no regard for Y’hovah among them. It was certainly no different in Yeshua’s days in Yerushalayim. With that background, we’ll better understand what Y’hovah is trying to tell the priests of the period @ 400BCE. (Did you notice that Yisrael went 430 years between the Avrahamic Covenant and the Exodus, and then, seemingly coincidentally, Israel went about 430 years from Tanakh’s last prophetic Word from Y’hovah to the death and resurrection of Moshiach ben Yoseph? I just think that’s really interesting.) Q&C

Mal.2.1-17– Y’hovah is speaking directly to the HIGH priests, who are the COs of the Hebrew religion – it’s their ship to run aground and they WILL be held accountable. He opened ch.2 by saying (in a Mark paraphrase) “LISTEN UP, PRIESTS! If you refuse to hallow my Name, I will turn your blessings into curses.” 

The high priests filled their offices for an average of about 35 years each from Aharon to YehoZadok (Y’hovah is Righteous) at the Babylonian captivity – a period of about 900 years. According to a traditional listing of the High Priests found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kohanim.jpg, there were 25-30 priests in those 900 years. After the Babylonian Captivity until the destruction of the Temple there were at least 50 high priests in only about 500 years, and MOST of those filled the office from Herod’s days until Titus destroyed the Temple. There were periods of time when the high priest would only fill the office for a year or 2. I don’t think there were a lot of folks who even WANTED the position near the end. I think they had not been trained in HOW to offer the sacrifices properly, and Y’hovah took them out because they didn’t bother trying to find out how to properly execute their office. He had certainly given them fair warning in the prophecy of Malachi. 

In v.3, he gets pretty specific, 1) corrupt seed (perhaps birth defects), 2) rub the crap of YOUR solemn feasts in your faces (not Xmas and Ishtar – those could never be confused with his feasts, but what THEY did in celebration of HIS feasts – think Yochanan 2.14-18). They are keeping HIS feasts in their own way, for their own pleasure and convenience. The one that comes to mind immediately is calling Unleavened Bread “Passover.” These are separate moedim, according to Vayikra 23.5&6. Passover is a day set apart as a preparation day for the miqra kodesh of Chag haMatzoth when the passover is eaten. They were calling the whole thing ‘Passover’, and still do (Kosher for Passover). 

That the covenant was with Levi and why can be seen in 

26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Y’HOVAH’s side? unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. (Ex.32.26)

and, speaking specifically to Pinchas,

11 Pinchas, the son of Elazar, 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: (Num.25.12)

In v.5, we see that Y’hovah is speaking specifically OF Pinchas

5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. (Mal.2.5)

It was Pinchas’ action in killing Zimri and Cozbi that stayed Y’hovah’s judgment on chol Yisrael, and he performed it under inspiration of Ruach haKodesh to keep Y’hovah’s Name set apart before the heathen. 

Y’hovah tells the priests of Malachi’s day that their lips should guard knowledge of Y’hovah, even as Pinchas had, because the high priest is the angel of Y’hovah, his messenger to the people. The priest’s in Malachi’s days were not after his Way, they thought the ritual and laws of the priesthood were a pain in their collective posteriors. They had caused many to stumble at Torah. That word ‘stumble’ is H3782, kahal, a root meaning to falter or waver due to weak ankles. The Septuagint uses the Grk diaphteirate, of the root ptaio, which we discussed briefly last week in our study of Yacov 3,

The legitimate purpose of the police and armed forces is to act as sheepdogs, protecting the flock. LTC Grossman doesn’t pull punches and he may offend you (hurt your feelings). If he does, you need to do some re-evaluation of your premises, because the world is getting more dangerous all the time. 

We NEED sheepdogs, even when their personalities make us uncomfortable. Sheepdogs sometimes offend the sheep. Oh, well! Better they have their feelings hurt than they be eaten. ‘Hurt feelings’ is not the ‘offense’ that Yacov is talking about here. The word is G4417, ptaio, and means to trip or cause to stumble, not to “hout someone’s wittow feewings”. If I have to hurt your feelings to get you off the siding and onto the main track, stand by; you’re going to experience some discomfort. That discomfort will have as its purpose to awaken you to danger, not to bring division but to bring you into the fold and under the protection of the Shepherd. Remember that he who sows discord among brethren is an abomination to Y’hovah’s soul (Prov.6.16, 19). The pile of Kimchee that guy is in is deep, sticky and stinky. May he not be any of us. 

The tongue that Ya’acov is speaking about is not what we assume in our modern way of thinking. It is the one that leads the sheep astray so they are more easily taken and devoured, not one that merely offends someone’s sensibilities.

The priests in Mal.2.8 were causing their flocks to stumble in their application of Torah – they had become the wolves in sheepdog’s clothing that we spoke of last week. They had become false teachers, false prophets. They had become partial in their application of Torah (v.9), applying it differently for Y’hovah’s people than for the priests, much like a US Congress that passes laws to which its own members are exempt. Vv.10-11 amplifies this rebuke, like focusing the sun’s light through a magnifying glass to kindle a fire with pinpoint accuracy. They were causing Israel to break their covenant with Y’hovah and to join herself with false elohim. Y’hovah will cut off the person who commits idolatry/adultery, and he will hold the false teacher doubly responsible for causing people to stumble at  his Covenant – possibly for EACH brother he causes to stumble (Yacov 3.1). The priests are getting a very stern warning here – repent, or ELSE … 

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev.2:5, 16)

The ‘them’ in Rev.2.16 is speaking directly to the priests, as they were among those who held to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans – the word literally means ‘conqueror of the people’ or one who lords it over the people. A pastor or priest leads by serving and building up the flock, not by beating it down. Y’hovah will cut off the pastor/priest from the tents of Yacov – put him outside the camp of the saints – who causes his flock to stumble at guarding his covenant. It doesn’t matter how much show or how much noise the priest or pastor makes, if he doesn’t repent and return to the Way of Y’hovah – Derech Hashem – Y’hovah will disregard the offerings he makes, whether his own or the people’s. He has no regard for Y’hovah, and Y’hovah will reciprocate. 

The priest asks, “Why?!” and Y’hovah says, “Because you are unfaithful to the wife of your youth, I will not regard your offerings. I made the 2 of you 1 flesh, as I had made you and myself one Spirit. You show your disregard for me by going the way of another elohim. I will not, therefore, regard your offerings. You are, in effect, murdering innocent animals, and I will hold you responsible for their blood, as well.”

When Y’hovah says to ‘take heed to your spirit’ (v.15), he is speaking in regard to the spirit of the 2 made 1 in marriage (had he meant yours alone, he’d have said ‘thy’). Marriage is the pashat relationship that typifies the sod relationship of the faithful priest to Y’hovah. If you deal in treachery against the wife of your youth, how much more quickly will you deal treacherously with Y’hovah? He takes notice of all treachery, He has a record of it all and he shall require it of you at either the bema or GWT judgment. 

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:10)

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Eloha; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev.20:12)

Y’hovah hates ‘putting away’, sending away the wife of your youth. There is provision for a man to marry a second wife, but there is no Torah provision for divorce.

If he take him another wife ; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. (Exodus 21:10)

No man, wishing to obey Y’hovah in all his covenant, will marry a 2nd wife, for he will not be able to provide his ‘duty of marriage’ to both wives. (That verse doesn’t out and say it, but it certainly implies – to the thinking man, anyway – that multiple wives in NOT Y’hovah’s ideal for a man’s family.) Vv.17-18 say that Y’hovah is tired of our excuses for being treacherous with him. Y’hovah does NOT take delight in our evil doings, but in our obedience. And he IS an Elohim who will judge in tzedikah. “Grace” does not make evil good. Grace makes the inveterate evildoer ABLE to do good (Eph.2.10). Q&C

Tehellim 113 HalleluYah! Hallelu av’dei Y’hovah! Hallelu et Sheim Y’hovah!  The use of the untranslated word et, spelt aleph, tav, does 2 things; 1) it points to the direct object of the sentence and 2) focuses our attention on the main theme of this short Psalm –  in both cases, the Name of Y’hovah; the Almighty, the first and the last, the point man and the rear guard (not to mention covering our right and left flanks). 

I am Aleph and Tav, the beginning and the ending, saith Y’hovah, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)

Saying, I am Aleph and Tav, the first and the last: … (Revelation 1:11a)

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Aleph and Tav, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 21:6)

I am Aleph and Tav, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)

We, the servants of Y’hovah, praise his Name and bless his Name forever. How can we praise and bless his Name unless we actually know his Name? When Y’hovah walked the earth in a body of flesh, his name was Yeshua. From waking until sleeping, ‘from can see to can’t see’, we praise and bless Y’hovah’s Name. Y’hovah is bigger and more powerful than all the nations of men, and he will prove it soon enough. Who compares to Y’hovah, who has to humble himself to look at the stars he created. IOW, he looks DOWN (figuratively) to the stars from outside of this time/space/matter universe. We would be lower than the worms of the earth, except that Yeshua, who is the very Word of Y’hovah and Y’hovah in the flesh, humbled himself and came to this planet to redeem us to himself. 

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let ^this^ mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua: 6 Who, being in the form of Eloha, thought it not robbery to be equal with Eloha: 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 cross. 9 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 things in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth; 11 And every tongue should confess that Yeshua haMoshiach is Y’hovah, to the glory of Eloha Avinu. (Phil.2.4-11).

17 Israel shall be saved in Y’hovah with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith Y’hovah that created the heavens; Eloha himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I Y’hovah; and none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I Y’hovah speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto an el that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? hath told it from that time? have not I Y’hovah? and no eloha else beside me; a just Eloha and a Saviour; none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I Eloha, and none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall men say, in Y’hovah have I righteousness and strength: to him shall come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In Y’hovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. (YeshaYahu 45.17-25)

Did you notice that Y’hovah addressed himself in both the 1st and 3rd persons there?

Y’hovah will take the most submitted believer to lead his people – by his example, not as a lord or lady over them. Let’s juxtapose vv.7-8 with Ps.109.15-16, 22

7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; 8 That he may set with princes, with the princes of his people. (113.7-8)

15 Let them be before Y’hovah continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. 16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart… 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. (109.15-16, 22)

If a pastor, teacher, rabbi or president is acting as a lord and master over you, Y’hovah will cut off the memory of them from the earth BECAUSE they did not exercise the chesed of Y’hovah, but despised the poor and broken hearted. Because Y’hovah walked the earth in the human flesh of Yeshua, he has very real compassion for our situation – he’s lived the war that we live and knows how hard it is to be after his heart while in this sack of flesh. 

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Rav Sha’ul expresses it best, from our perspective, in Rom.7.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of Eloha after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank Eloha through Yeshua haMoshiach Adonenu. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of Eloha; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom.7.18-25)

Y’hovah will change the situation of those who overcome wickedness through the gracious power of his indwelling Ruach haKodesh (Eph.2.8-10). He will make even the physically barren to raise up spiritual seed and remain thereby in the house of Y’hovah forever. HalleluYah! Q&C

Matthew 23.1-12– The Scribes and Pharisees (S&P) have just been shut down in their examination of the Lamb by a simple question that they could not answer according to their doctrine.  

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Moshiach? whose son is he? They say unto him, “of David.” 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Adon, saying, 44 Y’hovah said unto Adonai, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Adon, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any from that day forth ask him any more. (Mat22.41-46)

And now, before the S&P can get away, Yeshua turned to his talmidim and the crowd that had gathered for the show, and started telling them about the S&P’s false doctrines. First, he says that the S$P sit in Moshe’s seat, alluding to Torah-centered judgment, and that that is a valid place for them to judge from. But he goes on in this chapter to show that they don’t base their judgment on Torah alone, but on their own false doctrines, as well. And if there is a dispute between Tanakh and their doctrine, the doctrine wins out. If that isn’t almost exactly the position of the ‘mainstream evangelical church’ today, I’ll eat my hat. Today’s ‘Pharisees’ are the average pastors and ‘prophets’, who hold to their false doctrines in the face of Torah’s bedrock truth. Yeshua told the crowd that when the S&P make a decree based on Tanakh, to do it, and the same holds true of the average pastor or teacher today. The problem with the average pastor today, as it was with the S&P in Yeshua’s (and our) day, is that they only know what Tanakh they can use or twist to fit their traditions. These are the ‘heavy burdens’ that the S&P lay on the people, while not lifting a finger to do them themselves. Juxtapose v.4 here with

28 Come unto me, all ye 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 is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat.11.28-30)

Y’hovah’s yoke is Torah – about 600 instructions for godly living, which he helps us to bear (hence the yoke). 

The S&P’s ‘works’ are designed to make them LOOK righteous, the teffilin and tzitzioth were ostentatious and drew attention to themselves. It was not wearing the teffilin or the tallitoth that was wrong, but the showiness and drama of it all. The purpose of them, in context, seems to be to draw invitations to grand events, to be given special recognition and honor in the eyes of men. Y’hovah wants us to be servants, not masters. He will exalt whom he will exalt – those who will abase themselves – and abase who exalts himself. He who exalts himself, like the S&P, is exemplifying discord among brethren (Prov.6.19). 

Eph.4.1-16 – Chapter 4 is where Sha’ul starts applying the principles he’s laid out for the 1st 3 chapters. He’s telling us to help each other along – to yoke to our brethren as we walk in Torah. To walk worthy of our vocation, we urge onward and bring along those who need help and support them as one in Moshiach, AND we acknowledge our own need for help in walking out Torah, as well. Lowliness = humility, meekness = not easily provoked or offended, to the end of eventual unity in Ruach’s Covenant of Shalom. Beginning with the word ‘unity’ in v.3, count how many times Y’hovah uses that principle in our passage. 7 times he says, ONE. Do you suppose that ‘Shema Yisrael’ was in the forefront of Paul’s mind? If we have Shalom with Y’hovah, we are one with him, so Shalom is echad; peace is unity. We do not strive for unity at all costs, but unity in the echad Spirit of Y’hovah. The 7 things Sha’ul enumerates in vv.4-6 express the spiritual echad of Y’hovah and the Body of Moshiach. In v.11, Paul enumerated the 5 gifts he spoke of in v.8. The 5 gifts are given for 3 purposes, as Sha’ul enumerated in v.12 – to perfect the saints, to work the ministry of and to edify the Body of Moshiach. All the things (7) are given (5) for the purpose (3) of the unity he shows us in v.13 until WE become the ‘perfect’ man. The gift of Moshiach (v.7) + the body of Moshiach (v.12) = the fullness of Moshiach (v.13). 

Vv.4-13 is what Paul means in 2Tim.3.16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Eloha, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of Eloha may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The more ‘perfect’ (mature in Moshiach) are to help the less ‘perfect’ (children) to grow until they are ‘throughly furnished’ for the vocation to which they are called, until we all, as ONE new man (2.15) obtain Shalom. The more ‘perfect’ the Body becomes, the less we will be tossed about by the ‘winds of doctrine’ (v.14). The more grounded in Tanakh we become, the less we will be fooled by the ‘sleight of men’ who use ‘cunningly devised fables’ (2Kefa 1.16) to deceive ‘silly women’ (2Tim.3.6) and children (v.14) in the faith. 

We are to speak the truth in love. Torah is Truth. Yeshua is Truth. We are to build up the Body of Moshiach out of love for Y’hovah Yeshua and for each other. V.16 shows us that each member of Moshiach’s body is needed to help the rest of the Body grow, mature and perform more efficiently. You may be the right hand of Moshiach’s body, and I the left buttock, but if I am not working efficiently and freely, the Body is not going to be able to perform as well as if I am fit. We might not be able to get you to where you are needed in a timely fashion. Each part is necessary for proper function. You are as, or even more, important than I am in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Q&C

End of Shabbat Bible Study.


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