November 28, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study

November 28, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study

©2015 Mark Pitrone, Fulfilling Torah Ministries

(Devarim (Dt) 18.14 – 20.9; Yirmeyahu (Jer) 29.8; Tehellim (Ps.) 134; Galutya (Gal) 5.1 – 6.10)

Devarim.18.14 – Yehovah tells us before he prophesies about ‘that Prophet’ what kind of prophet NOT to listen to – observers of times and diviners. These are those who seek to tell the future by supernatural, pagan means. Other passages call them soothsayers, witches. Israel was not to go after them.

Devarim 18.15–19 speaks about ‘that Prophet.’ That Prophet is Moshiach ben Yoseph. We see this in v.19, where ‘that Prophet’ is made responsible for those who will not hearken unto Yehovah’s words through that Prophet. Yehovah requires that Prophet to answer for the sins of the faithless, that Prophet takes the punishment for the disobedience of the children of Yisrael. 

We see this in John’s gospel concerning that Prophet: 

Yochanan1:19-27 (KJV)  

    And this is the record of Yochanan [the Immerser], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? [20] And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not Moshiach. [21] And they asked him, What then? Art thou EliYahu? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. [22] Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? [23] He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of Yehovah, as said the prophet YeshaYahu. [24] And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. [25] And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Moshiach, nor EliYahu neither that prophet? [26] Yochanan answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; [27] He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 

The Jews sent priests and Levites (v.19), who were Pharisees (v.24), to enquire of Yochanan. This is an interesting turn of phrase, don’t you think. The priests, Levites and Pharisees were NOT the Jews, though they may have been ‘Jew wannabes’. The Jews controlled them. They demanded an answer, as if they who sent them had power over both themselves and Yochanan. The Jews then must be the political leaders of the Hebrew religion; not your average, everyday Israelite–in–the–street, but the ones with the real power – the Illuminati of 1st c. CE Jerusalem, as it were. 

By the time of Yeshua and Sha’ul, the land of Israel (Judea and Samaria) had been part of the Roman Empire for several decades. The first emperor, Julius Caesar, granted rights to Jewish communities because their ancestral laws predated Rome. Jews had legal privileges as a collegia (defined by Roman law as religious & legal entities), giving them the right to assemble, have common meals and property, govern and tax themselves, and enforce their own discipline.  All of this authority was placed under the auspices of the Synagogue and its legal body, the Sanhedrin.

The Jewish religion was the ONLY religion afforded these rights, as well as the right to have a presence in Rome itself. This caused GREAT animosity among the Roman citizenry and the other cultures Rome ruled with an iron fist. The Jewish religion was on equal legal footing, therefore, with the religion of Rome. Did you notice in vv.26-27, that Yochanan says ‘there stands one among you’, in reference to Yeshua? Was he of the Pharisee party, or was he educated among them? It could be deduced that way, though not ascertained. 

Back to Devarim 18.20–22. If a false prophet arises, he is to be stoned. Now any time there was a matter that would be adjudicated by capital punishment, there had to be a thorough investigation and at least 2 corroborating witnesses to the same act that had received a death penalty. If the accused says, “Thus saith Yehovah” and his word doesn’t come to pass, or if he proclaims something in another eloha’s name, whether or not it comes to pass, he is a false prophet. 

Deut. 13:1-4 (KJV)  

    If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Q&C

Dev.19.1–13 deal with cities of refuge. These were cities to which a man who has committed an accidental manslaughter could flee to safety until the death of the high priest, when he was free to return home. Please notice that this chesed and rachamim is for both the one who accidentally killed and the one who would avenge the dead man’s blood. It was a safe haven for the killer, so he would not die. But it was also a mercy on the avenger, so that he would not make the matter worse and shed innocent blood. The killing of the man who killed accidentally would be murder in Yehovah’s eyes, and the whole nation would suffer the consequences until society removed the murderer’s genes from the human pool. However, if a murderer resorts to a city of refuge and he is found out, he was to be sent packing so the innocent blood could be avenged. Please note that the genes of the one who sheds innocent blood are removed from society as a whole. This is yet another reason that America is doomed to Yehovah’s wrath, since it routinely disallows the execution of unrepentant murderers of all types.

V.14 tells us not to remove landmarks. The reason is that Yehovah had set those landmarks, as surely as he set the boundaries of the seas and the heavens.

Deut. 32:7-9 (KJV)  

    Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. [8] When El Shaddai divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. [9] For Yehovah’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 

Vv.15-21 show how to deal with a false witness and the rules of verbal evidence. Noone was to answer for any capital offense on the word of just one man. There must be 2 or more eyewitnesses WHOSE ACCOUNTS MUST BE REASONABLY IDENTICAL for the matter to be decided for a death sentence. If the witnesses accounts did not match, the accused MUST be found innocent of the charges. Also, a man was not to be tried again for the same crime; no ‘double-jeopardy’, except in the game show.

If there was only one witness, whose account is believable enough to warrant a trial, the Shoftim were to inquire diligently, examining anything with close scrutiny that doesn’t exactly fit the other evidence, before an execution order could be passed. If the witness is proven to be false, he is to receive the sentence that the accused would have received. This is the context of the ‘eye for eye, hand for hand, tooth for tooth, life for life’ quote that unbelievers just LOVE to grab hold of to show how draconian Torah justice was. It was nothing of the sort. It was gracious and merciful, for it was a deterrent to false accusation and perjury, and that was indeed its purpose (v.20).  Q&C

Dev.20.1-9 – When it was time for battle, the whole boatload of leaders would stand before the people who were about to go into the fight. First the priests would assure them that Yehovah would fight for them, and they would see great victory and wonders that day, as Yehovah went to battle. Yehovah used the leadership to whittle the numbers down to ensure that noone got the impression that Yisrael was responsible for the victory He was about to achieve. Next the officers, I think we’re talking about the war chiefs, or generals of each tribe, would pose a few questions to ensure that noone would lose everything he had. Did you just finish a house and not dedicate it? Are you betrothed? Is your crop just planted? Are you afraid? No recriminations. If any of this is true of you, your heart and mind won’t be in the battle. We want only men who are committed to victory above all else. If there is ANYTHING that will divide your attention, go home. After all that, the generals would pick the best men that were left to lead the brigades and platoons. 

A man whose mind is on his wife who is in the throes of childbirth is worse than useless on the field of battle. Indeed, he may get his whole company killed. Better to be shy a few bodies than to take the chance that the unfocused mind will be the guy next to you. Now, get ready to send in the PC police, because I am going to give my anything but humble opinion. This is one reason why it used to be illegal to carry women on combat ships, or to have women in combat battalions. Intimate relationships of any kind are a distraction from the job at hand, at best. At worst, the relationships that will develop, even if they are only in the minds of the males, are detrimental to unit cohesion and may be the wrench in the works that causes the loss of a battle, a ship or a war. 

Women are more than capable of doing the combat job. Indeed, they may even be better than men at it. But to put men and women in the same foxhole or shipboard fire-fighting party is inviting disaster. The brass says, “These are professionals. They can discipline themselves and not be rutting animals.” The brass has been proven wrong. More than 50% of the women, on average, that deploy on Navy ships for a long deployment are sent home during the cruise due to pregnancy. It’s not in the water. It’s in the hormones and instincts. Again, ANYTHING that detracts from focusing on the job at hand may cause the battle to be lost, or make the victory more costly than it need be. It is the wisdom of Yehovah to weed out what may be trouble before it can rear its ugly head. Q&C

Yirmeyahu 29.8 – The context of this verse is a prophecy from Yehovah by Jerry that after they are carried off to Babylon, they are NOT to listen to the prophets and diviners in Babylon.

 DIVINER, n.

  1. One who professes divination; one who pretends to predict events, or to reveal occult things, by the aid of superior beings, or of supernatural means.

Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, the various OTHER Eastern pagan religions, and even some of those who name the Name of Yehovah use divination. These are NOT after Yehovah’s heart, but their own wallet, or power over you – or both.

They were neither to pay attention to the dreams that they caused themselves to dream. Have you ever been so immersed in things you were doing that you ended up dreaming about them at night. I have. Well, if you were a Jew in exile in Babylon, and were always thinking about going back to haAretz, you might work yourself into dreaming that you actually were back. Then you might think the dream to be prophetic of what was definitely going to happen, regardless the fact that Jerry had already told you that you were going into captivity for 70 years. I think we see a lot of this today. Lots of folks who claim to be prophets and to have prophetic dreams are just so desirous of it to be true that they convince themselves their dreams are truly prophetic – “I dreamed it! It’s going to happen ‘cause Yehovah told me in a dream.” The only way to know if it’s truly prophetic is when it comes to pass exactly as you dreamed it. 

Yirmeyahu’s warning is in perfect alignment with Torah, isn’t it? It’s almost a quote of our Torah portion today. That was how they could tell that what Jerry said was truly prophetic. It lined up with Torah. Q&C

Tehellim 134 – 5 mentions of Yehovah’s covenant Name in 3 verses. All refer to Yeshua, of course, since they all tie to the last mention in v.3. After the servants of Yah bless him in his house while watching by night, and bless him with hands held high, he returns the blessing out of Zion. This is a clear reference to Yeshua in his Kingdom reign. This passage deals with redemption only. But why would we bless him for his redemption if we hadn’t been in an exile from which to be redeemed? Who are the servants who are blessing Yehovah in the night watches in his sanctuary? The priests and Levites. Q&C

Galutyah 5.1-6.10 – Let’s contextualize this a little, shall we? This letter is written to the brethren in the congregations of Galutyah, which was a region of north central Turkey. Where do you suppose the believers met in Galutyah to hear this letter read? They were going to the synagogues on Shabbats to hear Torah and the prophets read, so there’s a likely place. And when do you suppose Sha’ul first went to Galutyah? He went shortly after the Jerusalem council of Acts 15, 1st mention of Galatia is in 16.6. Do you suppose he went exactly against the decision of the council so soon after they had found for his side of the dispute? I kind of doubt it. In Acts 16, Sha’ul is traveling with Titus, who was his test case in the Jerusalem council, the guy he said shouldn’t have to be fully converted to Judaism first and who the council said didn’t have to be fully converted to be accepted as a believer. But when he comes upon Timothy in Lystra, he has him circumcised “because of the Jews,” who knew Tim’s papa was a greek. What is that about? Titus, who is a full greek need not be circumcised, but Tim, who was ½ Jewish – kinda; biblically, Jewish-ness passed from father to child, not mother to child – had to go under the knife (v.3). Kind of bizarre. Especially when in the VERY NEXT VERSE Luke says they were carrying the decrees of the council to all the cities and their congregations. Gentiles need not be full proselytes to be saved, just follow the 4 decrees and attend synagogue. A heart truly after Yehovah’s would take care of the rest. Do you think maybe his tirade v. Peter in Galutyah 2 may have had something to do with his own reaction to the Jews and Tim’s circumcision in Acts 16? It doesn’t say that he petitioned Yehovah for direction in the Timothy case, just that he went ahead and did it “because of the Jews”. Let’s remember that even the Sholiach Sha’ul was human (like Kepha, Bar-Navi and Yochanan Moshe), and could be mistaken when he failed to consult Ruach before he did something.

Chapter 5 says to ‘stand fast therefore.’ When you see a ‘therefore’, look to see what it’s there for. We stand fast in the knowledge that we are sons of the free woman, which we are told in 4.26 is the Jerusalem which is above; the New Yerushalayim wherein is our citizenship. Notice also, that Hagar is likened to Sinai AND the Jerusalem that now is, and she is in bondage with her children. I think the Sinai being spoken of here is the Oral Torah that the Jews, the leaders of the religion in Jerusalem, said was received by Moshe on Sinai at the same time the written Torah was received. This is a tradition, which may or may not be right. (Not all tradition is bad. What makes it evil is when WE make it equal to or superior to the KNOWN will of Yehovah, which is the written Torah.) If I am correct (which I doubt not), the Oral Torah is likened here to the pagan religions of the gentiles. This is scriptural in that ANYTHING that draws glory from Yehovah is pagan and abomination. Yeshua castigated the Jews for their adherence to traditions of men. 

So we are to stand fast in the liberty we have in Moshiach and against the yoke of bondage to 1) pagan traditions, if we are gentile or 2) Jewish traditions, if we are Jews.  One of the big deals in Judaism is that a man is not considered a Jew until he has been circumcised; either on the 8th day, as one born into the family, or upon a ger’s completion of the rigors of becoming a proselyte. That is the basis of vv.2-4. We are made one in Moshiach due to the Covenant being written on our hearts [vv.5-6]. If a man puts his trust in either Jewish tradition or self-justification in the written Torah, Moshiach is ineffectual to him because he has not availed himself of Yehovah’s grace. He has chosen the yoke of bondage rather than the yoke of Moshiach, which is his grace.

Matthew 11:29-30 (KJV)  

    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.

It is very important to notice the use of pronouns in this book. 1st person plural, ‘We’ = ‘free’ Jewish believers, 2nd person plural Ye’ = gentile believers and 3rd person plural ‘They’ = Jewish believers who think that gentiles need to be full proselytes to Judaism before their admission to the ‘Way’ of Moshiach. Now, ‘they’ were trying to influence ‘ye’ to submit to Jewish traditions to which the Jerusalem council had decreed ‘ye’ did not have to submit. So the ones who were trying to influence the Galutyot were Jews who were either NOT believers or who had not shema’d [heard and obeyed] the decree of the council. Rav Sha’ul was confident that the Galutyot to whom he was writing would see ‘their’ error and come back to the faith once delivered to the saints. 

In v.11, Sha’ul says that his persecution would end if he’d only submit to the traditions of the Jews. He uses circumcision as a generalization to mean the traditions of the Oral Law and the Gentile’s full proselytization. He says that he wished ‘them’ cut off – excommunicated, blotted out of the Book of Life – who would have their brethren placed under the yoke of slavery to the traditions of men. We have been called to liberty, not bondage; to the New Yerushalayim, not the old one.

Look at vv.13-14 – We are called to liberty, we are to use our liberty in service to others, and this Fulfills Torah in that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Oh, yeah! Torah is bondage all right. Our liberty is in Fulfilling Torah by loving our neighbors. If you aren’t loving your neighbor, you are probably destroying him. Be careful not to be destroyed along with him.  Q&C

v.16ff is about Fulfilling Torah by walking after Ruach haKodesh. Look quickly at Rom.8.1. Read the WHOLE verse, not just part a. 

Romans 8:1-4 (KJV)  

    There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Moshiach Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after Ruach. [2] For the law of Ruach of life in Moshiach Yeshua hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after Ruach. 

No condemnation for those in Moshiach who walk after Ruach, and the righteousness of Torah fulfilled in us who walk after Ruach. 

Before we can walk after Ruach, we need to mortify our flesh. By mortify I mean to reckon the flesh dead, not to actually kill it. He mentions the works of the flesh, most of which we are ALL familiar with. When we reckon our flesh dead, we will not practice these 17 works of the flesh. Notice that those who DO those things will not inherit the Kingdom. This points to the Hebraic meaning of doctrine and faith, which are complementary. In Hebraic thought, doctrine is what we DO about that in which we place our faith. James tells us about faith without works being dead. Sha’ul is speaking here about considering our flesh dead. Dead faith produces dead works. Living faith produces works that give life to those around us. This ties us back to vv.13-14, service in Moshiach and Fulfilling Torah thereby.

The fruit of Ruach is manifested in our service to others. Each of those works that are the fruit of Ruach are service gifts. If we have received life from Yehovah Yeshua’s Ruach, we ought to be manifesting the fruit of the Ruach of Emet (truth). 

Galutyah 6.1-10 – Still giving practical application to the works of Elohim’s Ruach. We are to reconcile Yehovah’s own to him. Meek does not mean weak. W1828 says this:

2.  Appropriately humble, in an evangelical sense; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations.  Moshiach says, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.” Matt.11.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matt.5.

The reason for our meekness is to guard ourselves against the sin for which we are reconciling the one taken in a fault, for we are of the same failings as he. It is really interesting that Webster used Mat.11.29 as an example of meekness, since it is EXACTLY what Sha’ul refers to in v.2 – bear the other’s burden, as Moshiach bears ours when we yoke ourselves to him.

Vv.3-5 need to be read together, for in themselves they are nearly unintelligible. They speak of the man who thinks he is ‘all that and a bag of chips’. If you think you are something special, you are exhibiting pride, not meekness. You will bear your own burden and be the only one who rejoices in your success. You won’t rejoice with others in another’s victory over the flesh and sin, and you will be the only one rejoicing in what you consider personal victory. Can you imagine reading the Word and getting a really cool insight, but having noone with whom to share it? That’s what will happen if you live in your pride, thinking yourself better than your brethren. 

It is important that we teach others as we are taught. We are not entities unto ourselves, but a part of the Body of Moshiach. What Yehovah Yeshua teaches us we need to teach others because they may NEVER have that truth revealed to them otherwise. When we teach others what Yehovah has taught us, we are sowing good things in them and will reap the rewards that are commensurate to them. For these reasons, the reward and the edification of others, we are encouraged to do good and to teach our brethren what Yehovah has revealed to us in his Torah. Q&C

End of Bible Study

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