February 9, 2013 Shabbat Midrash
©2013 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
February 9, 2013 – Year 3 Sabbath 46
Devarim 29:10-30:10 (H29.9)- YeshaYahu 55:6-58:8 -Tehellim 143 -Romans 10:1-21
Devarim 29.10-15 – This whole episode began in 27.1, where Yehovah had Moshe tell all the children of Israel that after they crossed Yarden, they would gather, 6 tribes on mount Ebal and the other 6 tribes on mount Gerezim to pronounce blessing and cursing, blessing on those who would obey their Yehovah and cursing on those who would go their own way. The blessings and cursing were more completely delineated in Ch.28.1-29.9, where the thesis of Ch.27 is restated as the summary, “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.” This is really the theme of the entire Midrash today.
Now Moshe is telling them that they are without excuse, if they fail because the whole house of Ya’acov, which included the strangers within their camps, was present to hear the whole thing. The strangers in their camps seems to mean that when a stranger came among the Israelites to identify with them and their Yehovah, he chose a tribe to be a part of and he was accepted. He would willingly accept the covenant and physically become a part of the commonwealth of Israel in exactly the same way that we do spiritually today. The rabbis don’t accept us physically unless we submit to the traditions of the elders as well as Torah, but Yehovah accepts us when we repent and go His way (Eph.2.11-22).
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Moshiach, being aliens from the commonwealth of Yisrael, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: 13 But now in Moshiach Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Moshiach. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto Yehovah in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of Yehovah; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua haMoshiach himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in Yehovah: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of Elohim through the Spirit.
Do you see that reference in italics? Who were these strangers in Dev.29.11, if not strangers from the covenants of promise? Until they identified themselves with B’nei Yisrael, that is. Now they were joint heirs with the physical seed of Avraham. There was no middle wall to be broken down.
What was this enmity? This law of commandments contained in ordinances? Was it not the “Oral Torah” that was supposedly (according to orthodox Yehudism) given to Moshe on Sinai at the same time as the tables of stone? Smile and Nod. Yeshua came to call us back to the faith of the fathers, the ONCE delivered to the saints faith (Jd.3). It is the traditions of the elders that the Jews (not the common folk, but the leaders of the Temple religion) were constantly accusing Yeshua of breaking. It was the traditions about which Yeshua always accused the Jews of holding in higher esteem than Torah. What is this ONCE delivered to the saints faith? The covenants of promise.
Who are the saints to whom the promises and the faith were delivered? Eph.2.19,
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of Yehovah.
To which saints was Sha’ul referring? Yisraelites who were faithful to Torah and with whom the gentiles to whom he wrote were made ‘fellowcitizens’. In our passage in Devarim, the saints were the physical seed of Avraham AND the strangers in the camp.
Yehovah was establishing ALL the saints as a people set apart unto himself. And not just those to whom Moshe spoke audibly was he establishing; but also those of us who would be made fellowcitizens with the saints all these thousands of years later by the preaching of the gospel of peace. I think[i] Sha’ul had this Devarim passage in mind when he wrote both Eph.2 and Rom.11. The similarities are striking. Q&C
Vv.18-30.10 – Going after other Elohims is the root of bitterness spoken of in Heb.12.15, which is a companion passage to this one in Devarim. In Dev.29 we are being admonished to look diligently to our walk in Torah to keep a root of gall and wormwood from springing up, as we are in Heb.12.15. Both gall and wormwood are exceptionally bitter. W1828 has:
Gall, 2. Anything extremely bitter. 3. Rancor; malignity. 4. Anger; bitterness of mind.
Wormwood, … It has a bitter, nauseous taste; but is stomachic and corroborant.
What does Yehovah say is the natural consequence of this root of bitterness? We think, “Yehovah wouldn’t bring the curses to bear on ME! I have peace! So what if I go my own way and not his; if I walk after my own imagination (a word that is NEVER used in a positive context in scripture); if I am gluttonous in my imbibing of ‘feel good’ stuff! I have peace! (Famous words that we hear all the time and that are supposed to make you believe that the person has heard from Gaw-Awd. What it usually means is that the person has had his conscience cauterized against any more ‘bleeding’ of guilt, he’s convinced himself that he’s ‘holy’. Of course, that’s not ALWAYS true.) I have peace!”
Not with Yehovah, you don’t! You get to deal with the curses of Dev.28.15ff. You get to deal with the curses of Dev.29.20&21 – your name blotted out from under heaven. This is serious stuff here, folk. Separated unto evil OUT of the tribes of Israel = EXILE. Peace with Yehovah is not a feeling or a lack thereof. It is a position. One is closer to peace with Yehovah when he ‘feels’ guilt for his sins than when he feels ‘peace’ in his sins.
Do you see the tie in with Heb.12 here? Look at v.11, the ‘peaceable fruit of righteousness’, which comes by enduring chastening for our sins, and making straight paths for our feet to walk on. Straight paths = Torah. We cannot have peace with Yehovah while following our own paths. And if we have no peace with Yehovah, we will have no peace with our neighbors, either. Peace is NOT cessation of hostilities. Peace is agreement with and obedience to Yehovah. Once real peace is achieved, cessation of hostilities will follow, as spring follows winter.
When we have peace in our sins, we will have chastisement at best – judgment at worst. If we fail to grasp our condition and turn in repentance, we will eventually be given over to our sin. Then the other nations of the earth will wonder at why Yehovah would abandon us after doing such wonders in our behalf. Then men will say (and not necessarily righteous men), “They went after idols and Yehovah gave them what they wanted.”
When we repent and call on Yehovah’s Name and ask him to deliver us, he will do it. It’s one of the promises he made and of which we are made joint heirs. Q&C
Yeshayahu 55.6-13 – Last week we talked about Yehovah LEADING and GUIDING us into exile when we go our own way, and that he is therefore right alongside us when we come to ourselves and repent. So, when is it that he can no longer be found? When will we be unable to seek him and call upon him? V.7 tells us what seeking and calling entail, namely, forsaking our way and thoughts, and repenting. So, we will no longer be able to seek him and call on him when we are no longer alive. He MAY choose to give us over to our sin before we die, but for certain our time is up when we croak. Who within the sound of my voice has a guarantee on his or her next breath? Yehovah forbid it should happen, but the possibility exists that someone listening to me right now will die before we are finished with the midrash today. Consider it yourself right now. Do you have a ‘root of bitterness’ in your life? IOW, do you have ANYTHING in your life that is not given to Yehovah and counted in your life as dung? Here’s a good way to find out. Imagine that the jihadists have taken over America and have taken you and your family prisoner. They have you tied securely to a chair and they bring your children, one at a time, before you and say, “If you will just say ‘Allahu Akhbar’, we will let your child live. If not, we will behead him right now before your eyes.” What do you do? (BTW, you can substitute anything here – a car, a pet, a TV show. I just wanted to bring the point abruptly before your eyes.) And if you say the words, EVEN IF YOU DON’T REALLY MEAN IT, does that not constitute denial of Yeshua before men? And what does he say about those who will deny him before men? What will he do before his Father in heaven? This is serious stuff, guys. Look at Matt.10.32ff.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt.10.32-39)
It may literally come to this, so be prepared for it. You may literally have to decide between your child’s life, or your spouse’s, and faithfulness to Yehovah. May he grant us all the grace to endure it.
You may not believe he’d allow such a thing, but look at v.8 – his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. We are to think HIS thoughts after him, to follow HIS ways (Torah). We think we’re all that and a bag of chips, but his ways are further from our ability to comprehend than ours are to an amoeba.
Yehovah’s word does to our lives what the rain and snow do to the earth – cause it to bring forth new life, and sustain that which already is. His word accomplishes his purpose. Always! If we seek him and call on his Name, his word will cause us joy, peace, singing, the clapping of hands in praise to him. The very Creation will hallel him. Q&C
YeshaYahu 56 – Keeping judgment and doing justice is likened to keeping Shabbat and our hands from any evil. In the parallelism, Shabbat = judgment, hands from any evil = justice, and we are blessed if we do them by laying hold of them. How do we keep from polluting Shabbat? By treating it differently from all other days of the week. On the other days of the week we are to work our living, but not on Shabbat. This was pictured in Ex.16, where we were to gather manna on the 6 days of the week, but on Shabbat we were NOT to gather manna or even go out to the field to find it (It wasn’t there anyway). We are to set it apart by not working our livings (to abstain from ALL work is technically impossible – getting out of bed is work, picking up food is work, munching is work), even as Yehovah had set it apart at least 5 ways in Ex.16 (for 6 days leftover manna rotted, stank and bred worms; double manna on 6th day; no manna on Shabbat; the left over of 6th day’s manna didn’t rot, stink or breed worms; manna again on the 1st day.).
The first tie in to today’s Torah portion is in v.3, where the stranger in the camp is to be treated as one of the physical B’nei Yisrael. In this case, I thinki it is the physical seed that HAS been separated from Yehovah, for the stranger has joined himself to Yehovah. If Yehovah has separated him who has joined himself TO Yehovah from the people, then it must be the people who have separated themselves from Yehovah. Same with the eunuchs, who Yehovah says ‘keep my sabbaths, choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant.’ Yehovah says he will bring both the eunuchs and the strangers that go after him to his set-apart mountain. Yehovah gathers strangers and eunuchs, outcasts from Israel, into his holy mount. This seems to fly in the face of Dev.23.1, where a man who has his ‘privy member cut off’ is excluded from the kahal. So is the stranger who lived in Canaan, but would not identify with Yehovah (Dev.31.16). And not just these, but others even more vile than eunuchs and strangers. Like me … and you.
Vv.9-12 sounds like the vast majority of the ‘church’ today – blind watchmen, ignorant, dumb dogs that can’t bark (raise an alarm), lazy, asleep, greedy, looking for their own interests and not the kahal’s or Yehovah’s, who say they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, but who really are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Q&C
Yeshayahu 57 – V.1 says that noone considers why the righteous die, that they are being delivered by Yehovah from the wrath he is about to pour out on the wicked and on those who believe he is, but have forsaken his ways. The ones who have forsaken him are described in vv.3-13a. Look at some of the descriptions; sons of the sorceress, seed of the adulterer and the whore (the wicked offspring of human reasoning and pagan religion, I thinki), children of transgression, seed of falsehood, etc. They slay their children under the clifts of rock (in the Tophet caves of the Hinnom Valley – see topic ‘Hinnom’ in Easton’s), pouring out drink offerings to smooth rocks of a stream (an altar), set their beds in high places (where the altar is set up, temple prostitution). V.9 shows Israel covering her sores and the stench of her adulteries with perfume and ointment, hoping the king will accept her. She keeps relying on her self-righteousness in vv.10-11. Yehovah says the righteousness of their works is unprofitable. Yehovah won’t answer in your trouble if you fail to acknowledge him when times are good.
Vv.13b-21 contrast with 3-13a, showing the profit of those who put their trust in Yehovah, having forsaken their own ways. ‘Cast up, cast up’ is a reference to Yehuda and Ephraim putting their trust in Yehovah and clearing the way for others to follow. Wherever Yehovah dwells is high and holy, and that is usually where people are contrite and humble, whose spirits he revives. His wrath will not last forever; he will heal the believer who has gone his own way, if that believer will but humble himself. If he stayed angry with us, we would all utterly perish. His love and mercy provides our escape from his wrath, and guarantees that he will not remain angry with us. He offers peace to both houses of Jacob; the one far off (Ephraim) and the one nigh (Yehuda) and then heals HIM (Jacob). Carefully note the order in which that happens, please. Peace first, then healing. Q&C
YeshaYahu.58.1-8 – Ch.58 concerns Yom Kippur and the whole house of Ya’acov. Vv.1-5 show our yoke. If the burden isn’t Yehovah’s there is no grace to deal with it. The people delight in approaching Yehovah, fully aware of their sin. This describes both the body of Moshiach today and me. We should not delight in approaching Yehovah when we should be afflicting our souls in the fast of Yom Kippur. When we see that he takes no delight in our going through the motions, we complain about it, and he says we do it to please ourselves, not to approach him on his terms. We seem to expect Yehovah to perform for us because we’ve gone through the motions and jumped through the right hoops. It is our attitude in the fast that makes it of no value. We fast for strife and debate, trying to show Yehovah our ‘holiness’. No, our reason for fasting does not agree with Yah’s reason for calling a fast. It seems that we do it to be seen of men, to get praises and adulation from others, not to afflict our souls in misery of our sins.
Vv.6-7 is Yehovah’s yoke and show the 8 reasons for Yehovah’s calling this fast. It is very interesting that this is almost exactly (6 of 8) what Yeshua addressed (2X) in the ‘Olivet Discourse’? Matt.25.32ff.
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, master, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, master, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mat.25.32-46)
After we do the works of Torah that are listed in Yesh.58.6-7, then our light shall break forth as the morning, and our health shall spring forth speedily, our righteousness shall go before us and the esteem of our Elohim will be our re-reward. Our righteousness is Yeshua. Yeshua is the glory of Yehovah. So he leads by taking the point AND he guards our flanks. Nothing can harm us, IF we are going after him and DOING the Word. Q&C
Ps.143 – Remember v.2 when we get to the B’rit HaDashah portion today. In vv.1-2, David is in tribulation and is asking for Yehovah to hear and answer his cry for deliverance. He’s asking that Yehovah look at his trust in Yah and not his works, for he knows that if Yehovah enters into righteous judgment over him he will in no wise be justified.
In vv.3-6 he lays out before Yah his tribulation and predicament, his enemies having it all over him in the flesh. We have more than one enemy, though. David speaks of his physical enemies, but there is an enemy that is ever present that can be inferred here. That enemy is the flesh. It persecutes our souls, beats our spirits down to the ground, and makes us dwell in darkness as if we are dead (both conditions of spiritual exile). Then David remembers all the wondrous works of Yehovah for Israel in the past and recalls it to Yehovah’s remembrance, while letting Yah know that he wants only a morsel or sample of what he performed for Israel.
In vv.7-12, He makes 12 supplications to Yehovah and the reasons he’s asking them. He expects Yehovah to grant his supplications and deliver him from tribulation. We don’t actually SEE Yah’s deliverance, but David expects it and we can infer Yah’s positive response. Q&C
Rom.10.1-21 – While looking at ch.10, let’s remember that the foundational, most basic truth of scripture is the Shema, “Hear Oh Yisrael, Yehovah our Elohim, Yehovah is One.” The Shema is seen in the ‘unity of the faith’, that Yehovah is the Elohim of both the Jews AND the Gentiles (3.29), the natural oneness of Yehovah so that all in Moshiach are one, etc. It is seen in nature and the nuclear family. The atom has 3 basic particles, neutron, proton and electron. Matter has at least 4 states, solid, liquid, gaseous and plasma. Time is both past, present and future. The nuclear family consists of Father, Mother and Children. The examples are numerous that Yehovah has pointed to his echad nature in his creation. Echad does not mean merely absolute oneness, but unity in and through plurality.
Earlier in our study, Sha’ul told us that Elohim is not merely the Elohim of the Jews, but of the Gentiles also (Rom.3.29). He treats all people in the same manner, and he always has. For him to expect different things of different people or to expect different things of the SAME people at different times would be to compromise his echad nature.
The Jewish mystics see Yehovah manifested in at least 10 ‘emanations’. They are seen in 3 sublevels, each consisting of 3 attributes, headed by the absolute Truth of Yehovah that no mere human can really comprehend. You can see allusions to this in Paul’s writings.
His statement to ‘behold the goodness and the severity of Elohim’ (11.22) is also an allusion to the 10 emanations of Yehovah. The goodness of Elohim is seen in his mercy to usward (the right side of the figure on the page). His mercy is an emanation that balances his emanation of severity (the left side of the figure), which is his absolute justice. The emanation of beauty (the body of the figure) is the one that binds all his emanations into a unity in the ‘Ain Soph’; the endless, unknowable truth of Yehovah. It is the Ain Soph that we will spend eternity studying and never find an end of discovering and understanding (another emanation of Yehovah).
All of that to give you just an inkling of the Unity in Plurality of Yah, which is pictured for us in the unity in plurality of his people. We need to bear this in mind as we move into ch.10.
Vv.1-3 – Sha’ul addresses his brethren, which context will show is all of the Roman believers, both Jew and Gentile. At various times, he specifically addresses his Jewish brethren and at others the Gentile brethren. The subject is Yisrael, but the message is for the Gentiles, as well as the Jews. Remember the importance of personal pronouns in Paul’s writing. We = Jewish believers; ye = gentile believers; they = what the church calls ‘Judaizers’, but are contextually called ‘circumcisers’, Jews of rabbinic tradition who believe that one must fully convert to Judaism, the last act of which is to be circumcised, before they can be accepted into the fellowship. Acts 10 and 15 stand in contrast to that false belief.
His desire is the salvation of chol Yisrael. As we’ve seen already in our explanation of 8.29-30[ii], all Yisrael shall be saved. What we’re discussing now is the body of the argument Sha’ul started way back then.
Israel has a zeal for Yehovah, but they are blinded in part (2Cor.3.14 – they can’t or won’t see Moshiach in the Tanakh), ‘not according to knowledge’. To what were they zealous? Look at Acts.22.3.
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward Elohim, as ye all are this day.
Sha’ul tells his audience in Jerusalem that he was taught the ‘Oral Torah’, the law of the fathers, perfectly and was zealous toward it and toward Elohim. This is what he alludes to in Rom.11.2. They knew the ‘law of the fathers’ better than the written Torah, and held to (and still to this day hold to) those traditions and interpretations of Torah as a HIGHER truth than the written Torah. They have a zeal toward Elohim, but they don’t know what his true requirements are, being more zealous for the ‘Oral Torah’ than Yehovah’s written word; zeal not according to knowledge. This is exactly what Paul says in a nutshell in v.3. They are ignorant of Elohim’s righteousness, which is living according to Torah’s instructions, but go about establishing their own righteousness, which is going after ANYTHING else – whether it’s in addition to living according to Torah or in place of it. Doing Torah, remember, is not how we are saved or how we maintain our salvation. It is what we do to keep from sin AFTER we are justified which PROVES our justification.
Noone knew this better than Rav Sha’ul, who was very zealous, as he himself testified in Acts 22.1-10. Paul did what we all do when confronted by a new paradigm that shows either we’ve been mistaken, fooled or lied to – he attacked the very truth he was convinced of, but in his pride would not acknowledge. I have been there myself, and so has everyone else who is reading or hearing this study. Once we are convinced of our own mistake or delusion, we need to come to grips with it and stop fighting it. That is what Yeshua said to Paul in Acts 9.5, “I am Yeshua whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” The truth that we know but won’t acknowledge keeps pricking us until we repent of our pride and stop kicking.
In Hebrew mysticism, knowledge is the highest level a student of scripture can attain in this life. It connects understanding and wisdom. Israel has an understanding of Torah, but little or none of Moshiach. The ‘church’ has the wisdom of Moshiach, but little or none of Torah. Few of either has the knowledge that Moshiach and Torah are one, as Yehovah is one, as we are told in the Shema. There are those who have some knowledge without either understanding or wisdom. These may actually brand us heretic because we would say that Yeshua is Torah, even though John 1 plainly says that Yeshua is the Word. The last time I checked, Torah was still in the Canon. Q&C
Paul said in v.3 that they have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim. What is the righteousness of Elohim? Jer.33.16 gives one of the Names of Elohim as “Yehovah Tzidkenu”, Yehovah (Yeshua) our righteousness, and Deut.6.25 says that it is our righteousness to be in submission to Yehovah – in obedience to his commands. Can you see that ‘they’ in v.3 means both Jews and Gentiles, who comprise Israel (without the Y)? Jews have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim … how? I thought they had an understanding of Torah. They do, but they submit to the righteousness of their man-made traditions OVER Torah. That was Yeshua’s main point to them; he was calling them to repentance from tradition and toward Torah. They would not acknowledge that Yeshua is Torah.
Every Christian understands that, but they don’t usually see how THEY have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim, either. They have accepted Yeshua’s free gift to them, but have not submitted themselves in that they have rejected 2/3 of Yehovah’s revelation as binding on them. They know that Yeshua is the Word of Yehovah, but then reject the authority in their lives of 2/3 of his very Words. So, both Jews and Gentiles, which are shown by Sha’ul to be Yisrael in Eph.2.11ff and in Rom.11.5-24, have rejected … what? Both have failed in submission to Yehovah’s Word.
Now, remember that works of Torah justify noone. Works of Torah naturally follow him who has repented of his sins, trusted in Yehovah Tzidkenu (Moshiach) and studied his Word; for without knowledge of his Word, he cannot know what sin is (Rom.7.7).
In Aramaic, the Word = the Memra. The Memra in Hebraic mystical thought is the Creative force of Yehovah. Creation is not a one-time thing in an absolute sense. He did finish his ex nihilo creative work in 6 days, but he must be constantly creating to uphold his creation. If he stops speaking, the universe will dissolve.
9 Yehovah is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of Yehovah will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Then all these things shall be dissolved, what manner ought ye to be in holy conversation and Godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of Elohim, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2Pe.3.9-12)
The creation has no intrinsic being; doesn’t exist of itself. If it did, IT would be Yehovah, like the evolutionists believe it is. Creation is the object that was created by Yehovah, without whose Spirit’s energizing, it would just stop moving. As an example, a ball is inanimate, it cannot move by itself, it needs an outside source of energy to move it. When something pushes the ball it moves as far as the energy exerted on the ball will move it. Likewise, creation. If Yehovah had just created it and left it to itself it would be just like our ball. Now, if Yehovah creates something, but then forgets about it, what will happen to it? It will cease to exist (like our forgiven sins that he decides to not remember, Jer.31.34). He must keep on creating it, keep on speaking it into existence or it will cease to be. His ex nihilo creation was a one time affair, but his sustaining creation will go on until after the GWT judgment when death and hell are thrown into the Lake of Fire, which itself may be an allusion to the ultimate dissolution of all matter.
Yeshua is the Memra/Word of Yehovah by whom all that is came into existence, consists and is sustained;
15 Who is the image of the invisible Elohim, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Col.1.15-17).
John says it in the first verses of his gospel.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. 2 The same was in the beginning with Elohim. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1.1-3, 14)
John understood the concept of the Memra as an emanation of Yehovah, the very Son of Elohim, Yehovah Yeshua haMoshiach. Q&C
V.4 is one of the most misunderstood verses in scripture. It is misunderstood because most in the church see the word ‘end’ to mean ‘doing away with’ or perhaps just to make useless or vain. Yeshua does not make Torah vain. He fulfills another meaning of ‘end’ – he is Torah’s purpose. A Christian friend of mine with whom I have a disagreement about this very subject once said he was going out street preaching. I said, “To what end?” He said to be used in the witness of the Word. He knew the meaning of end, as it is used in this verse, but he assumes through his learning and the teachings of many good men who sincerely had it wrong that it actually means Yeshua = the abolition of Torah.
Moshiach is the purpose of Torah, not its termination. Torah points to Moshiach. He, in fact, IS Torah in a very real sense. Moshe DESCRIBES the righteousness which comes by living Torah. Look at Dev.30.11-14 (I know it’s in next week’s Torah portion, but bear with me.) Start in v.9 to get the context:
9 And Yehovah thy Elohim will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for Yehovah will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: 10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Yehovah thy Elohim, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book Torah, and if thou turn unto Yehovah thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
The righteousness of Torah, which Yehovah requires of us if we desire NOT TO SIN, is right with us, not off in the far blue sky or beyond the far blue sea. We KNOW how we are to live. This is the faith once delivered to the saints (Jd.3). Biblical faith is not mere belief or mental assent to a series of theological truths. It is DOING what Yehovah requires. The Israelites that Sha’ul was speaking of in vv.1-2 were zealous, but not for this righteousness. They had works of righteousness, unmixed with faith.
In reality, Torah is still in force and has the same dual nature it has always had; it convinces us of death and evil while it brings life and good to those who trust Yehovah and follow him (Dt.30.15). If that were not true, my Xian friend would not go street preaching, for that is HIS (that is, both my street-preaching friend’s and Yeshua’s) end in doing it – to convince folks of the death and curse of disobedience in going their own way and to show them the life and blessing that comes from repentance and obedience to go Elohim’s way.
Vv5-6 – V.5 continues the thought in v.4,
“For Moshe describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”
Does it say that we live eternally BY keeping Torah, or that Torah is the guide by which we live our lives? I think the latter, ‘for by works of law shall no flesh be justified.’
V.6 begins with the word ‘but.’ The Grk word is de, which can be translated any of 5 or 6 ways, including and, or, but, also, moreover, now. If the author meant ‘the opposite’, he would probably have used alla as he did in Rom.1.21, ‘neither were thankful, BUT’. It means to go the exact opposite direction to that prescribed. Alla is always negation, while de denotes affirmation.
So, the ‘righteousness which is of faith’ speaks to the righteousness we perform because we have faith, which according to Eph.2.9 is a gift from Elohim, not of ourselves lest we boast. But what does the righteousness which is of faith say? (Notice the # of the pronoun)
Dt.30.10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Yehovah Elohecha, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto Yehovah Elohecha with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Why is the Word nigh unto thee? It is so that you can do it.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1.22)
The pronouns are all 2nd person singular. Yehovah, through Moshe, was speaking to each of us, individually. Notice that when the objects of the verses (thee, thou, thine, etc.) speak, they use the first person plural. Each was looking for a corporate justification, sanctification and glorification, when Yehovah gives all that to individuals who THEN become parts of his body and corporately receive rights and privileges. We are graffed into the root of Yeshua individually, but the graffing makes us members of an assembly. Each is taken from one group; i.e., the lost, to become a member of another; i.e., the found, the justified.
So let me disabuse you of a grievous error of the church; Torah observance was NEVER about salvation. The Hebrews did NOT have to keep Torah perfectly in order to be saved. Had that been true then all those animal sacrifices were just useless cruelty imposed by Yehovah – a thing that is impossible. A sacrifice was needed to make the offerer blameless before Yehovah. ‘Blameless’ is the key. The blame was transferred to the offering. Remember that the apostle Sha’ul was blameless according to Torah
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Moshiach. (Phil.3.4-6),
as were Elisheva and Zacharyah, parents of Yochanan the Immerser;
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named ZacharYah, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aharon, and her name was Elisheva. 6 And they were both righteous before Elohim, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Master blameless. (Lk.1.6).
Let’s look at the word blameless.
In 1Cor.1.8 (also 1Tim.3.10 and Tit.1.6&7), the Greek word is anengklaytos, unaccusable, irreproachable: literally uncalled out. This implies that we are not always blameless. We are made blameless by the application of 1Jn.1.9 – confession and repentance. In Philippians, the word is amemptos, irreproachable, without fault. In 1Tim.3.2 (also 5.7), the word is anepileptos, from a negation of epilambanomai, literally unarrested, not seized. In 2Pe.3.14, the Greek word is amometos, without censure, unable to discredit. Notice please, nowhere does the word mean innocent. It means that we are unchargeable with any crime or wrongdoing. Our blame has been transferred to another so that we are found ‘Not Guilty’ in Yehovah’s court. This was the purpose of the animal sacrifices in the Temple. Those of us who are in Moshiach have no need for the animal sacrifices; in fact, we would be sinning grievously to perform one for a sin offering because we’d be saying that Yeshua’s once for all offering was insufficient in our eyes. Heb.10 says,
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
That was the whole point of the book of Hebrews, for the believing Jews in Jerusalem were actually considering going back to the Temple to offer sacrifices for sin. Everything that came before was for the express purpose of getting here, and everything that follows illustrates it. Paul was telling them that the sin sacrifice in the Temple is so much wasted effort; there is no more sacrifice for sins (v.26). Not only that, but to offer a sin offering when one knows that Yeshua’s offering was sufficient was walking all over him, counting his offering unworthy and thinking the Spirit of grace of no value. If you can find a better definition of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, I’d love to see it.
The nation was saved by the blood of the Lamb at Passover, as are we. They were to shema Torah, that is to hear it and obey it (kill the lamb and spread its blood on the doorposts and lintel) because Yehovah saved them from physical Egyptian exile, as Yeshua (who is Yehovah) saves us from our spiritual Egyptian exile (in the world), and will do so again physically when the ‘greater Egypt’, the NWO and the Anti-Moshiach Satanic system, imposes itself on us, demanding our worship. Our salvation and their salvation was, is and always will be by the same means: trusting Yehovah to deliver on his promises by the instrumentality of his Moshiach. Yeshua’s ONE offering both saves us and ATONES for us, making us all more than blameless before Avinu. He makes us clean. He reconciles us to Abba. We still need to repent and confess when we sin, but there is no more need for sacrifice to make us blameless. Our reconciliation and propitiation has been made. Q&C
Vv.7-9 – Paul is making another Midrashic point. He is quoting De.30.10-14 and applying it to going after Moshiach. Moshiach Yeshua IS Torah, so the application is absolutely valid (as if it needed my endorsement, eh?). The point of the whole passage is that those who were in the wilderness (like us) and about to go into the Promised Land (like us) had Moshiach right there in their hearts and minds in the form of Torah for the purpose that they (and we) obey it and him. Look at De.30.10 and 14 again. What are we supposed to hearken to? The Voice of Yehovah; the Memra. What is it that is very nigh? The Word; the Memra. Yeshua is the Memra of Yehovah, his Word and his Voice. He was right there with them in the Shekinah.
So, in v.9, what is it that we confess? Yehovah Yeshua haMoshiach; the Memra; the Voice and the Word of Yehovah. What do we believe? That Elohim has raised Yeshua from the dead. A parallel passage to this is Phil.2.10-11,
10 That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Moshiach is Master, to the glory of יהוה the Father.
That is another Midrashic application of Is.45.23 to Yeshua. That passage from Isaiah is also recited every day by the Orthodox Jews in their Aleinu prayer (We shall extol).
All the world’s inhabitants will recognize and know that unto thee every knee should bend, every tongue should swear (Isaiah 45:23). Before You, Yehovah Elohenu, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Thy Name they will render homage and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Thy kingship that Thou mayest reign over them soon and eternally.
For then shall the words be fulfilled, “Yehovah shall be king forever” (Exodus 15:18) and “Yehovah shall be king over all the earth; on that day shall there be one Yehovah and His Name one.” (Zechariah 14:9).
Paul is showing the Jews in Rome and in Philippi that Yeshua is the answer to that Aleinu prayer that they had been reciting for about 500 years by the time he wrote his epistles.
In v.9-15, Paul describes justification. Remember to put this passage in its overall context. The Roman believers are mainly gentiles who are attending one of the synagogues there for biblical instruction. Remember also the Jerusalem council in Acts.15, where the gentiles were told that their justification is valid and they needed to hold to a few requirements to attend the synagogues. Look at Acts.15.19-21.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Yehovah: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moshe of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
Please notice that it was expected of them that they go to the synagogue on Shabbat to receive more instruction in righteousness (2Tim.3.16, 17), which comes from Torah (Moshe). There was no need to require but the most basic things of the gentile converts. If they were really after the heart of Yehovah, they would hear his Torah and obey it. The gentiles were justified at the time they trusted Yehovah Yeshua, as were the Yehudim who asked the question of the council in the first place. Now they needed some instruction, as they could not be expected to know all Yehovah’s righteous requirements for living in an instant of time.
In vv.9-10, we see what proves our justification – belief and confession of Yehovah Yeshua. Then in v.11 we see that those who are truly justified will not be ashamed of their justification, which shows in the public confession of belief. Everything from then on requires Torah instruction.
Vv.10-13 – So which is the formula, confess and then believe (v.9) or believe and then confess (v.10)? The answer is … YES! They work in conjunction towards our justification – the one complementing the other, like soup and sandwich, spaghetti and meatballs, cheese and wine, Rowan and Martin, Martin and Lewis, Lewis and Sullivan, Starsky and Hutch, etc.
V.11 quotes Is.28.16, kind of, again. Isaiah says that he that believes shall not make haste. We spoke of this earlier. If we get ahead of Elohim, trying to help him out, like Avraham and Sarah did, we run the risk of messing it all up and Yehovah will have to deliver us supernaturally, as he did Avraham and Sarah. They believed his promise, but were impatient for his fulfillment. This almost always spells trouble. The verse from Isaiah that Sha’ul misquoted midrashically at the end of ch.9, he misquotes again right here. Paul again makes it clear that Yeshua is the Rock of Offense. The important word in v.11 is ‘whosoever’, because Sha’ul defines it in v.12 – No difference between Jew and Greek. Why? There is no difference because they each serve the same Yehovah who calls them. Both Jew and Gentile are saved by calling on the same Yehovah. Q&C
Vv.14-18 – Paul is still speaking of Israel, his brethren after the flesh. But he is making the case here that ‘they’ are without excuse, which is the reason he is torn up about their having missed Moshiach Yeshua and the Kingdom that he offered. They were thinking in the pre-conceptions of their rabbis, much like I used to think in the pre-conceptions that I learned in Bible school. I thank Yehovah every day that he didn’t let me finish and go on to Cemetery, where they add a lot of hardener to the mud. I had an instructor who said, “Gentlemen, your minds are moosh. It shall be my job to form and aggregate them.” He was going to take my soft heart and shape it the way HE wanted and make that form unbreakable, i.e., hard. The rhetorical questions Paul is asking here are not to the Roman Xians whom he is trying to encourage to preach Yeshua to the Jewish unbelievers, though that may also be a valid application. It is to prove that Israel after the flesh KNEW what their calling was and that they failed in it.
Israel was to be different from the nations in a number of ways to show that they served a different Elohim. The things that made them distinctive were designed to make the nations jealous (and it succeeded where it was applied). If Israel would DO what Yehovah told them and maintain the distinctions, Yehovah would bless them beyond reason. The blessings would be so readily apparent that the pagans would naturally want to know why and Israel would be able to do the work of the evangelist: “We serve the Elohim of the universe, not a local deity. We plow the same ground that you plow, but we have a garden and you have a desert because the Elohim we serve blesses us with abundance for no other reason than that we serve him and are called by His Name.”
Is that what Israel did? Some did I’m sure, but for the most part they were just like you and me – on again, off again. And the more they were off; the harder it was to turn back on; corrosion on the wires or something. Have you ever tried to start your car when there is a great buildup of corrosion on the cables? Sin corrodes. You have to clean the connection before the juice can flow. When there’s sin on your heart, it needs to be cleaned so the Spirit can move through you. Yeshua cleans the crud. Israel’s pagan neighbors never heard of Yehovah because Israel kept the blessing to itself. Instead of encouraging them to come to assemblies to learn of Yehovah’s Torah, they shut them out. Do you see a ‘Court of the Gentiles’ anywhere in the blueprints for the Mishkan (tabernacle)? How about the Beit haMikdash (Temple)? Is Elohim the Elohim of the Jews only, Or of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the gentiles also (3.29).
The idea was that people were to live for Yehovah and show their distinction in their obedience and the blessings that accrued therefrom. This would engender jealousy and a desire for the same blessings. This would make the called out people of the nations ask. If the pagan comes to you to ask what is reason for the hope that is within you, he already believes that you have a knowledge that he needs and he wants that knowledge. Yehovah has pre-qualified him for you. So you get to tell your pagan buddy about Yehovah Yeshua. So you get to teach him Torah so he can go out and preach in the same manner, by his new and distinct lifestyle of obedience to Yehovah. And the cycle will continue.
The gospel we are preaching is the simplest thing in the world. Yehovah has given all mankind a blueprint to follow. It is called Torah – instructions. If we follow the instructions, he blesses us. If we don’t follow the instructions, he curses us. Do all the people who are called by the Name of Yehovah Yeshua obey? Will every pagan who asks obey? No way. But if they believe what you say about Yehovah, they will obey; they will have Shalom with Yehovah, and all the blessings that follow. And that will encourage them to keep on in obedience, which will bring the same blessings and perhaps even more. And that will bring people to them who want to know. And the cycle continues.
So who calls upon whom? Yes! He calls us to call upon him. How can one call on Yehovah’s Name if they never hear (Sh’ma) it? If an unbeliever knows his Name, and speaks it, he is as guilty of taking his Name in vain the same as a believer is if he denies him or acts outside of his character. How can they hear if noone tells (kara) them? How can one tell who isn’t sent (sholiach)? In v.16 we see that not all obeyed the gospel of peace. It does NOT say ‘not all believed’, but ‘not all obeyed’. OBEYING the gospel is biblical faith. BTW, if not ALL obeyed, SOME must have obeyed – RIGHT? So we first get peace (justification), then healing of our sinfulness (obedience). The one follows, indeed necessitates, the other. No peace/no fait
V.17 says that FAITH is by hearing, which is by the Torah of Elohim. ‘Hearing’ would be translated from Hebrew ‘Shema’, which is not just receipt of an auditory message. It includes receipt and acknowledgement of the receipt by doing what the message says. Israel knew their present predicament was coming, if they believed Moshe. Unfortunately, most didn’t. Moshe had told them that provocation would come from ‘not my people’ (Lo Ammi? Hos.1). Then they failed to heed the Nevi’im, as well, for Yeshayahu said that these ‘Lo Ammi’ would find Yehovah when he manifested himself to them, while Israel would not hearken to Yehovah’s repeated attempts to call them to repentance and obedience. The “Lo Ammi” would not replace Israel, but be graffed into the root of Moshiach, as we can see in Romans 11. Another time.
Now Yisrael in v.18 DID Shema. All the earth heard their report. Some believed; some didn’t. When I say the whole earth heard, I mean the whole earth. During the reigns of David and Shlomo, the Israelite/Lebanese navies (Phoenicians) went all over the world. They set up fortress cities in strategic places to keep the world’s treasures to themselves. Carthage, in Africa, was an Israelite garrison, as were Cadiz and Majorca in Iberia/Spain. The Carthaginian navy guarded the Straits of Gibraltar to keep other Mediterranean powers IN, and any extra-Mediterranean powers OUT. As the Phoenician navy went all over the world, they carried the gospel with them. Q&C
Vv.19-21 – Who is the foolish nation? First of all, what is a fool in biblical parlance? Ps.14.1 and 53.1 say respectively
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no Elohim. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Abominable works = disobedience.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no Elohim. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. Iniquity = Torahlessness.
So, a fool is an Elohim unto himself. He thinks there is no ‘higher power’ to which he will answer. So a foolish nation is one that believes IT answers to no one. Sounds like – US!
Who do you suppose those who are no people could be speaking of? Hos.1.8-9 says
8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. 9 Then said Elohim, Call his name Lo-Ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your Elohim.
Hosea is written specifically to the northern 10 tribes of Israel who were carried afar off and assimilated into the nations of the earth. They eventually migrated all over the known world, and remember that the whole world was known to the sons of Jacob. SO! A foolish nation who is not a people will provoke the Jews to jealousy. Who would that be?
It had been Yehudah’s and Israel’s job to follow Yehovah and receive his blessings so they could provoke the nations to jealousy. Israel went after other Elohims and was divorced from Yehovah and sent into exile ‘afar off’, but Yehudah also went after other Elohims but was NOT divorced and a believing remnant was kept ‘nigh’. But even the believing remnant went astray. They kept fealty to Yehovah’s Torah, but they also trusted the ‘Oral Torah’ – and some trusted ‘oral torah’ more than Yehovah’s written Torah. These were nigh, but not on Derech Hashem, the way of Yehovah. Now look at Eph.2.11-22 keeping all that in mind.
In v.20, Sha’ul tells us that in 65.1 Isaiah was speaking about US, gentiles after the flesh and in v.21 he says that in 65.2 Isaiah is speaking about the Jews, Israel after the flesh.
I am sought of them that asked not for me ; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. (That’s us, Israel) 2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people (That’s Yehudah), which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
That sounds like Hosea 1.10, where Yehovah says he will call those who are NOT his people ‘My people’, and those who have not obtained mercy, ‘Mercy’. And Paul has shown us in Eph.2 that Yeshua’s purpose was to call gentile Israel to himself after their 750-year exile and to call Yehudah away from the siding they’d gotten themselves onto.
The Jews got themselves all puffed up with their position in Yehovah’s kingdom plan. When they refused to listen to their Creator when he came to speak to them pan’yim l’pan’yim, face to face, he left them to their prideful attitude – but he did not forsake them. He left them a faithful remnant, as he always had, who trusted him and not their own wisdom. Then, he set about to fulfill his promise to ‘provoke to jealousy by a nation not called by his Name’ – gentile-ized/paganized descendants of the 10 northern tribes and some mixt multitude gentiles. Now the believers in Yeshua have been made the head and not the tail (Dt.28.44), instead of Yehudah.
We do not have to do the will of Yehovah. We can do our own thing. We have free will. But, if we do our own thing, we get to be the tail and not the head, the debtor instead of the lender. To quote Mel Brooks from The History of the World, Pt.1, “It’s good to be King!”
However, we need to be careful not to do what Yehudah did in pride of our being made partakers of the Commonwealth of Israel and graffed into the root of Yehovah Yeshua. It is the Commonwealth of YISRAEL, not of the gentiles. The root is Yeshua, but the olive tree is YISRAEL. We’ll look at this in greater detail in ch.11 – another time. Q&C End of Bible Study
[i] An italicized I think denotes an educated (or not so) guess. I COULD be wrong … but I doubt it.
[ii] Pg.56, top of page