August 8, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 21
Numbers 34:1-35:8 – Ezekiel 45:1, Joshua 21:41 – Psalm 119a – Ephesians 1:1-2:22
B’Midbar 34.1- – The southern border of haAretz begins in the Wilderness of Zin, which is from the ‘outmost part of the salt sea’, which I think means the Eastern edge of the southern coast of the Dead Sea. Chumash agrees. The map there shows a town called Ma’aley Akrabbim about a mile east of the southeastern corner of the Salt Sea. If we were to draw the Dead Sea like a long rectangle, I infer it to mean where the east coast of the Sea turns almost entirely westward towards the ‘great’ or Mediterranean Sea. The line would be drawn roughly west southwest to a few miles south of Kadesh Barnea passed the village of Adar (remember Adar, who came out against Israel and took some prisoners?) to Azmon, and then just north by northwest to the mouth of Wadi el Arish as it empties into the Med. As an alternative, it could go more west by northwest to the easternmost mouth of the Nile near Tahaphanes (completely encompassing what we now call the Gaza Strip) where Jeremiah was taken by his captors and where Nebuchadnezzar followed them, destroying that city in 586 or so BCE. The ‘goings out of it’ (v.6) seems to indicate the islands visible from the shore were also a part of haAretz.
The western border is the Mediterranean or ‘Great’ Sea.
The northern border begins at the Med near Mt. Hor. This is NOT the Mt. Hor where Aharon died. THAT Mt. Hor was south of the land. There is a Mt. Washington in Main and another in Colorado, so it is not unheard of that there be 2 mountains of the same name in one nation. There are 2 places called ‘Mt. Baldy’ in the Cleveland, Ohio area. There is another Mt. Hor in Syria, near present day Aleppo. Thompson Chain’s inspired maps have Mt. Hor as lying between Tyre and Sidon in Lebanon. The border runs east from Mt. Hor towards Hamath (root is H2346 chowmah – wall, so Hamath = walls) and then on to Zedad, whose root means to sidle (kind of insinuate towards, as in “he sidled up to her”). From there it moves eastward to include Ziphron (root means fragrant) ant ends near Hazar Enon (the village of springs). I infer that these springs are the headwaters of the Yarden River. Thompson Chain’s aforementioned inspired maps includes Mt. Hermon in the borders of the land, and turns south from a mile or so northeast of it.
The Eastern Border begins at Hazarennon, just northeast of Mt. Hermon, to Shepham (bare spot) and from there to Riblah (beautiful/fertile). From Riblah they moved to Ayin (eye or fountain, as the eye of the landscape) and from Ayin to the east shore of Chinnereth, the Sea of Galilee. From there it followed Yarden to the Dead/Salt Sea and closed the loop at Ma’aley Akrabbim and the southeast corner of Sea.
It was THIS land that was to be divided among the 9½ tribes that were to inherit on the west side of Yarden. The job of dividing haAretz was assigned to Elezar, the high priest and Yehoshua, son of Nun. Y’hovah hereby gives Yehoshua the same level of authority as Elezar and Moshe held and makes it known once again that Yehoshua is Y’hovah’s man, as Moshe had been. The tribes were to send their elder’s/firstborn to the priest and prophet to receive the inheritance on their tribe’s behalf. I infer that the inheritances were assigned in the order they are listed in vv.19-28. Yehudah must have been selected first by Elezar via the Urim v’Thumim, Simeon 2nd and BenYamin 3rd. I think it’s interesting that the territory assigned to what would become the nation of Yehuda after the Rehovoam/Yerovoam split was divvied up first, and the other 6½ tribes would share the north. The zachan/bachor of each tribe was to then divvy up the inheritance family to family according to the size of the families – more land to larger families, less to smaller. Q&C
35.1-8 – Y’hovah commands that the Levi’im be given 48 cities to be their homes within Israel, with 3 cities on each side of Yarden of the 48 designated as cities of refuge, where a man who inadvertently kills another (manslaughter, not murder) may flee for his own life. These 48 cities were given including their ‘suburbs’, the area approximately 1 km (3000 feet) from the walls or gates of the city proper. The suburbs were measured out from the cities walls 2000 cubits (v.5) east, south, west and north. The suburbs were for the Levite’s livestock. The only time an animal would come within the city’s walls, I assume, would be to deliver any burden it was carrying that could not be carried a short distance by hand or handcart. If the animals came into town as a matter of course, the city would become filthy in very short order – animals, like horses, sheep and cows, are not particular as to where they defecate. In fact, one of the reasons disease was rampant in the days of the horse and buggy was for this very reason. It will not be long after the automobile becomes too expensive for the average person to keep on the road (and it is getting pretty close NOW) before pestilence visits the large cities once again. I would suppose that small communities will implement some prohibition concerning animal traffic and perhaps short-haul freight companies will operate trucks for commercial traffic in larger towns. Man-powered carts for short-haul of freight and passengers might prove a viable small business in smaller towns, perhaps alongside liveries for the animals.
In vv.4&5 there LOOKS like a contradiction, which Rashi, Rambam and Ramban have explanations for that are slightly different, but similar. All of them see the suburbs a bit differently. All agree that the city is that within the walls. Ramban sees the suburb as 500 cubits outside the walls all around, giving a total of 1000 cubits without the city for the suburb. Rashi sees 1000 cubits for the livestock and another 1000 cubits for fields and vineyards, while Ramban sees the city and suburb the same way, but a 2000 cubit area outside the suburbs for fields and vineyards. All these ideas fit the numbers of the narrative, Ramban being the most conservative of the inheritance, and Rambam the most liberal. And I think Rashi has the right idea. The suburb = 1000 cubits around the city and then another 1000 cubits around the suburbs for fields and vineyards.
The 48 cities were to be given according to the tribe’s ability to give. BenYamin, who had the smallest inheritance, gave up the fewest cities to the Levi’im, while Menashe, with the largest inheritance (total between the 2 ½ tribes) gave up the most. IOW, it was not 4 cities from each tribe, but according to the number of cities they had within their inheritance.
Ezekiel 45:1 – In the future Messianic Kingdom, there will be a special land offering in the midst of the land set apart for the use of Levi, for the Palace and for the Temple. The size of the place will be 20K x 10K reeds. The reeds are defined in ch.40 as 6 royal cubits, which royal cubits = 1¼ normal cubits, or about 7.5 common cubits. A normal cubit = about 18 inches, so this royal cubit would be about 22½ inches. 22.5 x 6 = a reed of about 135 inches. 10,000 reeds = 1,350,000 inches or about 21.37 miles wide (north to south). The offering is also 25K reeds (east to west), or 53.27 miles long. It’s a good bet that the Temple will fit in the center of that without much problem.
Joshua 21:41 – This chapter specifies which families of Levi got which cities and this verse says that the 48 cities were given with their suburbs. Q&C
Psalm 119.1-88 – We will look at these acrostically, as David wrote them, in octrains ( a term I just coined, to the best of my knowledge, by replacing ‘quat’, meaning 4, with ‘oct’, meaning 8 – quatrain is a word that can be found in any dictionary), or eight verse stanzas, according to the letters that begin each line.
Vv.1-8 (aleph) – Of the 176 verses in the 119th Psalm, 173 speak directly to walking in Y’hovah’s commandments, statutes, judgments or ordinances. And the other 3 allude to the same. Walking in our own ways defiles us, but if we are walking in Torah, we will be undefiled on THE way, which just happens to be what the early Notzrim called their sect of Yehudism. Vv.1, 3, and 5 all speak of Y’hovah’s way or ways.
Yeshua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2)
This man (Apollos) was instructed in the way of Y’hovah; and being fervent in Ruach, he spake and taught diligently the things of Y’hovah, knowing only the baptism of John. (Acts 18:25)
And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of Eloha more perfectly. (Acts 18:26)
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)
And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. (Acts 19:23)
The PTW (powers that were) in Sha’ul’s day were the Pharisees, who adhered to Oral traditions + Torah. It certainly seems that keeping his Torah is how we walk in Y’hovah’s Way, and the Prushim didn’t like the reminder.
Vv.9-16 (bet) – When you find yourself harboring sin, the procedure for cleansing your way is to do Y’hovah’s word. Once you’ve found him, ask his help to keep your eyes looking at the goal – Y’hovah. That is the ONLY way you can keep from wandering. The more of his Word you KNOW, the less you will wander into sin. V.12 is not a request. It is an imperative statement – Baruch atah Y’hovah! Lamdeyni chukecha! Remember our study a few weeks ago about the chukoth – decrees that didn’t seem to make sense, like tzitzioth? David wants Y’hovah to teach them to him, so he’ll understand the question; “Why?” He declared all the mishpatim l’Y’hovah. When we say his word out loud, we have a triple witness – thinking and/or seeing them, speaking and hearing them.
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him (the one who prevailed); and a threefold cord is not quickly broken (the one who was prevailed against and the two that withstood the one who at first prevailed). (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Piqudeycha = Y’hovah’s precepts. Precepts are mandates, they are mandatory. Meditating on Y’hovah’s mandates will teach us to respect his ways. He doesn’t do things for the same reason or in the same way as we do. But he does them, and if we will think about them, using his Word as our frame of reference, we will have respect for his ways. We know about his works, but we do not, by and large, understand his ways. The more delight we take in his statutes, the better we will remember his Word.
Vv.17-24 (gimel) – Another imperative from David to Y’hovah, so that he may live to guard Y’hovah’s Word. David has laid some groundwork to make these demands on Y’hovah by reminding him of how he has disciplined himself to walk in Y’hovah’s ways, that he is ever mindful of Y’hovah’s requirements for him and the promises that Y’hovah has made to him. Now he is reminding Y’hovah to fulfill his Word for those who have guarded his will and his Word. “Deal bountifully”, “Open mine eyes”, “hide not thy commandments”, “Remove reproach and contempt.” Because I have made it my lifestyle to keep, meditate on and teach your Word to others, you now have a promise to fulfill – to keep me, to protect me, to help me to know you better – to know your ways.
Vv.25-32 (daleth) – David says his soul has cloven to the dust, which means that his soul has cloven to his flesh, so he tells Y’hovah to quicken his spirit as he has promised so that he can overpower the soul’s attachment to things of the flesh. Y’hovah has heard David teach his own ways, so David tells Y’hovah to teach him his statutes and precepts, so that he can walk in Y’hovah’s ways and talk of his mighty works. He is truly repentant, knowing his own ways and how it hurts Y’hovah, so he tells Y’hovah to strengthen him. He knows it isn’t in him to live an obedient lifestyle and wants Y’hovah’s strength. More imperatives based in his desire to live a life pleasing to Y’hovah; “Quicken me”; “teach me”; “make me understand”; “strengthen me”; “remove”; “grant me”; “Put me not to shame”. David KNOWS this is Y’hovah’s will for him, and so he CAN make imperative statements to his Creator – he is holding Y’hovah to his own promises. Look at vv.30-32. David tells Y’hovah that he’s kept his Word ever before him so that he can walk in them, and then he tells Y’hovah that when he enlarges (strengthens and empowers) David’s heart, he will keep on striving to obey and please Y’hovah.
Vv.33-40 (hey) – More imperatives from David to Y’hovah. Have you noticed that it started out in the bet stanza with 1 imperative, then in the gimel stanza there were 4, then in the daleth stanza there were 7? In the hey stanza, there are 9 imperatives; teach, give, make, incline, turn, quicken, stablish, turn away and quicken. All these imperatives are made so that Y’hovah will empower David to live a life pleasing to Y’hovah. David is not after more financial blessings or power, but for the heart of Y’hovah to be his own. This is the key to issuing imperatives to Y’hovah – they must be motivated by a desire to live righteously and to build up Y’hovah’s Kingdom – for Y’hovah’s glory and not our own.
Vv.41-48 (vav) – David leaves off the imperatives and makes some promises of his own. If Y’hovah will show his mercies to David, David will give all glory and praise to Y’hovah’s Name. He acknowledges that he has nothing that is not directly attributable to Y’hovah’s mercy towards him. He is thoroughly unable to answer the reproaches of men except for Y’hovah’s mercy, in which he trusts, and his Word on which he trusts. David’s liberty is completely dependent on his walking in Y’hovah’s Torah and seeking his precepts. Precepts are his piqudim, his mandates. David is seeking them out to be more like Y’hovah. The more of his mercies that are bestowed on David, the more he will speak of them before the kings of the earth, the more he will take delight in and praise Y’hovah for his commandments and meditate on his chukim, his decrees that are hard to understand, whose purposes are not readily understood, but are imperative to obey, nonetheless; such as looking to the brazen serpent for deliverance from death by the serpent’s bite. Q&C
Vv.49-56 (zayin) – Folks, HERE is an octrain that we might be well to memorize and apply with an understanding of the meanings of the words I’ll expound, hope and remember, because of the times that are coming. This is an octrain that we will be well to pray back to Y’hovah both daily and every time we think of it. Remembrance from Elohim’s perspective is not recalling something from memory, because Y’hovah just IS; he doesn’t have to recall because he is, at the moment of his ‘remembrance’ of his promise, present at the giving of his promise. There is ultimately no difference between his utterance of the Word and his performance of it. When he ‘remembers’ his promise for one of us he is simultaneously acting on his fulfillment of that promise. His frame of reference is himself, and is outside of the time/space/matter universe – he just IS. David tells Y’hovah to act on his Word, in which he has placed his hope. Biblically, hope means an earnest expectation of deliverance of Y’hovah’s Promise. Y’hovah has caused David to hope, to earnestly EXPECT him to deliver. Do you see how our hope is dependent on Y’hovah’s remembrance and that his remembrance is the same as his fulfillment? David’s comfort lies in Y’hovah’s past performance of other promises, including David’s certain knowledge of his spiritual quickening. No matter how much derision was piled on him for trusting Y’hovah’s Word, David remained faithful to Torah. David’s horror is NOT on the wickedness against himself of those around him that have forsaken Torah, but on their certain judgment, if they fail to repent, and turn from their own ways and back to Y’hovah’s. He sings Y’hovah’s chukim, rolling them around in his mind and heart, chewing on them in order to assimilate them into his own frame of reference. When David remembers Y’hovah’s Name in the night he rehearses his Torah. In the last 2 lines there are 2 different words used for ‘keep’, natsar and shamar. Both mean to ‘guard’, but they have 2 different applications. Shamar (v.55) means to hedge it about, build a wall around it. I think this is where the Prushim got the idea of building a hedge around Torah of traditions that keep us from breaking them. But I don’t think that’s what David was thinking. I think he built the hedge around Torah AND himself, so he could not escape from it, to keep himself in close proximity to Torah so he could almost not help but to DO them. Natsar (v.56) means to build a wall to defend what is within, which includes both Torah’s mandates and David. When we DO them, we are simultaneously defending them. And people notice, hence the derision AND the jealousy that ultimately drives it.
Vv.57-64 (cheth) – This octrain actually opens with, “My part is Y’hovah, I said I would keep your Word”. I think David says that if he keeps Y’hovah’s Word, Y’hovah will receive David unto himself. The word xlated ‘intreat’ is H2470 chalah, which shows the attitude of gratitude and love for favor bestowed, like a dog licking his master’s hand. When he remembered his life, David quickly and finally turned to Yah’s Way. No matter how the wicked rob us of our stuff; if we keep our minds set on doing Y’hovah’s will and Word, he will be our portion, as well. We will not dwell on what we’ve lost, but on what Y’hovah has promised us. Y’hovah’s mercy is seen in that he gives us the companionship of other people who also fear Y’hovah, whom we can both encourage and by whom we are encouraged.
Vv.65-72 (teth) – Y’hovah takes care of our needs according to his promises. Keeping his mitzvoth gives us right perception and knowledge (da’ath), which is the synergy of understanding and wisdom. Our afflictions, the chastisement the wise receive as a result of our disobedience, are designed to bring us back into a right relationship with our Master Y’hovah. Foolish people will speak lashon hara, the evil tongue, against us for actually doing his piqudim. Our place is not to call them out publicly, but to keep doing what he has mandated for us and let Y’hovah deal with it. The result will be that their heart is thick and resistant to Y’hovah’s prodding, perhaps so thick as to not even perceive it – like Paroh’s was, but you will delight in his Torah. Have you ever watched one of your children or grandchildren taking delight in playing with something or coming to an understanding about something, and couldn’t help but smile in delight yourself – kind of taking delight in their delight? THAT’s what I think he’s talking about here. When we delight in his Torah we understand how good his chastisement was, because it brought us to wish to learn his chukim (the commands that don’t seem to make sense to us), because his doing and understanding his instructions is better than possessing all the gold, silver and precious commodities that David gathered to build the Temple. Compared to understanding the chukim of Y’hovah, earthly riches are like silver was to Solomon
And all king Solomon’ drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. (I Kings 10:21)
Vv.73-80 (yud) – Since Y’hovah planned the whole of creation, learning his Word, which did the creating, needs to be our greatest desire and should be our first mitzvah. People who fear Y’hovah will be happy to see us, because we are waiting on (hoping, in the biblical sense of earnestly expecting) his promise. When people are not glad when they see you, you need to ask yourself 2 questions; 1) Are THEY earnestly expecting Y’hovah to fulfill his promises? 2) Are YOU earnestly expecting him to fulfill his promises? Why else would they not be glad to see your witness? Once again, our afflictions are designed to get us back on the Way. When we turn back, his mercy to us is our comfort and his instructions our delight. The proud are those who stubbornly go their own ways, even through the chastisement Y’hovah brings to draw them back to him. They deal with the saints according to their own ways while the saints meditate in Y’hovah’s mandates (piqudim). When we do not react to their mistreatment in a fleshly manner, it heaps coals of fire on their heads. Those who fear Y’hovah are those who ‘know know’ his witness. When Y’hovah strings the same word together like that it signifies a certainty, as much of that word as can be applied. Often the first use of the word is translated ‘very’, which means ‘everything the following word means, all thrown together’. Folks who have a complete knowledge of Y’hovah’s mighty works and inscrutable ways just naturally fear him. When our hearts are sound, or complete (tamiym), in his chukim, we will not be ashamed.
Vv. 81-88 (caph) – We prepare for Y’hovah’s deliverance by our expectantly awaiting his fulfillment of his promise to us. Our eyes also expectantly ask, “How long, Master”, before you fulfill your promise, as do the saints under the altar?
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Master, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation of John 6:10)
We are truly like closed bottles in the smoke, little points of clear truth amidst all the deception, for we do not forget his chukim. Do you see here that when we keep even his seemingly senseless commandments, we stand out because we are so different from the pollution around us? It’s also why we are so irritating to the smoke-blowers. Oh, HOW they hate us! They make laws for the specific PURPOSE of making us criminals [as in Dan. 6]. They tune their laws to make our obedience to Y’hovah’s Torah criminal. Y’hovah has already judged this so-called justice and will bring major condemnation against those who perpetrate this perversion and persecute us via their false ‘justice’. They would force us to submit to their wicked legislation, but his remnant will not forsake Y’hovah’s orders. David ends the 11th octrain with a demand that Y’hovah quicken his heart and mind so that he will not turn away from his testimonies.
So, I see that David had a theme for each stanza. They are, to my mind; Aleph – defiled or cleansed depends on our actions, Bet – our cleansing comes from obeying his Word, Gimel – we are cleansed so that we may guard his Word, Daleth – our quickened spirit allows us to overcome the flesh, Hey – that power helps us to live in a manner pleasing to Y’hovah, Vav – our liberty completely depends on us walking in his Toroth, Zayin – When Y’hovah remembers us, we remember his Word, Cheth – our attitude is affected by his favor towards us, Teth – understanding that Y’hovah takes care of our needs according to his promises is better than all the precious possessions the world has to offer, Yud – Those who fear Y’hovah will not waver in their obedience to his Word, Caph – we expectantly await Y’hovah’s fulfillment of his promises to us. Q&C
Ephesians 1.3-6 – Remember whenever you are reading or studying Ephesians, or any other of Sha’ul’s epistles, that the pronouns Sha’ul uses are VERY important. ‘We’ means men who, like Paul, were born Jews, i.e.; of the tribes of Yehudah, BenYamin or Levi, and have come to the faith of Yeshua (there may have been a very small percentage of the house of Israel living among them in Yehudah). ‘You’ means men who were born Gentiles who have come to the faith of Yeshua (it is likely, IMO, that a large percentage of these were descended from one of the 10 tribes of the House of Israel – it had been 750 years since those tribes dispersion and assimilation into the world system). ‘Us’ means all the we’s and you’s who are now one in Moshiach Yeshua’s Netzari sect of Judaism. The spiritual point of this epistle is the unity of the body of Moshiach as the two houses, Yehudah and Ephraim, become one. The epistle was written to a synagogue in Ephesus that included ‘Jews’ and ‘Gentiles’, some from each group having come to the faith of Yeshua. It is also likely that the makeup of the synagogue was becoming more heavily salted with Gentiles as time progressed in Ephesus because the influx of new Gentile converts to the Netzari sect of Judaism was likely greater there than the influx of new traditional Jews. By this time the Jerusalem council was a piece of history and the 4 guidelines passed down from it were known in the diaspora.
Sha’ul begins with a blessing on the Almighty Y’hovah Elohenu, whose Ruach HaKodesh quickened the egg of Miriam and indwelt Yeshua from his conception, as he indwells us from our ‘spiritual conception’ in Moshiach (v.14). The Almighty has blessed us with ‘all spiritual blessings’. Here’s a sample of his spiritual blessings and of his identity,
And when Avram was ninety years old and nine, Y’hovah appeared to Avram, and said unto him, I am (El Shaddai) the Almighty Eloha; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1)
And Eloha Almighty (El Shaddai) bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; (Genesis 28:3) (Yitzhak to Yacov)
And Eloha said unto him (Yacov), I am (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; (Genesis 35:11)
He that dwelleth in the secret place of (Elyon) the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai). (Psalms 91:1)
I am Alpha and Omega [Aleph and Tav], the beginning and the ending, saith Y’hovah (Yeshua), which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Shaddai). (Revelation 1:8)
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Y’hovah (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:8, quoting Is.6.2-3)
And I saw no temple therein: for Y’hovah (El Shaddai) Eloha Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)
I think that last ‘and’ shows that Y’hovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the identical Ruach haKodesh, the latter being Y’hovah El Shaddai in human flesh – that there is ultimately/spiritually no difference between them.
He blesses us with all spiritual blessing ‘according as he has chosen us in Moshiach’. My online dictionary defines the phrase ‘according as’ to mean ‘depending on whether’. That means that Y’hovah has blessed us with all spiritual blessings depending on whether he has chosen us in Moshiach. I think it would be well if we were to look into Paul’s meaning of ‘chosen in Moshiach’. I studied Paul’s progression in Rom. 8
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Eloha, to them who are the called according to purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom.8.28-30
What follows is my understanding of this passage, as gleaned from elsewhere in Romans.
Vv.29-30 – Here’s a ‘hard saying’ of Sha’ul, like Peter talks about in 2Pe.3.16. But I think the reason is that we use numbered sound bites instead of looking at the context, like Peter says, wresting it. Remember that ch.8 is the foundation for the arguments of the rest of the book. These verses say,
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
These 5 words; foreknow, predestinate, call, justify and glorify; are all verbs, and they seem to indicate a progression of actions taken upon believers by Y’hovah. If we see evidence of these things occurring in us, we can be pretty well assured that we are his. The church has done all kinds of mental and scriptural gymnastics trying to explain the seeming inconsistencies of this text in juxtaposition to others. But if we’d just look elsewhere in Romans for Sha’ul’s usage of these words in like context, it would clear right up for us.
Whom did Y’hovah foreknow? The answer is given in Rom.11
1 I say then, Hath Elohim cast away his people? Elohim forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Avraham, of the tribe of Binyamin. 2 Elohim hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Eliyahu? how he maketh intercession to Elohim against Israel, saying, 3 Master, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of Elohim unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. (1Ki.19.18)
This tells me that Paul spoke of those who followed Y’hovah (the 7000 faithful) as those whom Y’hovah foreknew. This includes us, if we have not bowed the knee to Baal.
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
He is speaking specifically of believing Israelites, but it extends to all who worship Y’hovah in Spirit and in truth, without intentional or known compromise. Kind of gives new impetus to “Come out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing,” doesn’t it?
Now, whom he foreknew he did also predestinate. Predestination is a tough saying of Sha’ul because it seems to contradict free will. But it really doesn’t, and here’s why.
Paul has a definite meaning for predestination, and he shows it in ch.11.
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Now the word ‘shall’ is much more powerful that the word ‘will’. Y’hovah can will something, and it not come to pass. After all, he wills none to perish and that ALL should come to repentance, but that isn’t what actually happens. But if he says, “I SHALL do such and such,” you can put that in the bank and collect the interest. It is an unconditional promise to perform. It is predestined. The promise is that it shall be done. We just have yet to see the performance. The 2008 US Senior Open was at the Broadmoor course in Colorado Springs. There were people who had purchased their tickets and reserved rooms at the hotel in 2005. That is an earnest expectation and belief in a promise. I have my ticket to the show, but the performance is yet in the future.
ALL ISRAEL shall be saved also refers to the return from exile in Babylon and Assyria, from which only a remnant of Judah and Benjamin returned along with so small a number of the other tribes that they could not be considered even a remnant and were counted as parts of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In the future redemption, ALL Israel SHALL be saved. It is predestined.
Those who are predestined are the ‘called according to his purpose’. We see this in – you guessed it – ch.11.
28 As concerning the gospel, enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance.
Believing Yisrael is called of Elohim. Did you notice the jump from v.5 to v.25 in ch.11? I hope so. The verses in between 5 and 25 show HOW Israel means those who believe Y’hovah and are the called according to his purpose in 8.28.
What does Paul mean by ‘justified’? He tells us in – you guessed it again! – ch.11.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed Elohim, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Justification is the outworking of Y’hovah’s mercy in that we don’t get what we deserve; i.e., destruction. We could not justify ourselves before him, so he had to work a plan where he could show his mercy and justify us freely by his grace (3.21-26).
Those of us who believe Y’hovah and do not bow the knee to Baal are predestined to partake of his glory. We do not now look as if we are glorified, but these promises (8.29-30) are past tense. He HAS glorified us and we can put that in the bank and collect the interest, too.
So, whom did he foreknow? Who has been predestinated? Who has been called? Who has been justified? Who has been glorified? Chol Yisrael – All Yisrael are the foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified children of Elohim. Does this mean that every physical descendant of Avraham is included? Rom.9 says,
6 Not as though the word of Elohim hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Avraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh (Ishmael/Esau), these are not the children of Elohim: but the children of the promise (Yitzchak/Ya’acov) are counted for the seed.
According to Eph.2.11ff all believers are of the Commonwealth of Israel, and according to Rom.11.6-24 all believers are graffed into the Root of Yisrael. So Yisrael must therefore mean all believers who are not walking after the flesh, but after Ruach of Elohim (8.1), whether Jew or goy.
So, whether Jew or goy, Yehudah or Ephraim, physical descendant of Avraham or a whomsoever who has the faith of Yeshua, all those 5 verbals apply to you; foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified – all of it, according to v.4-6, accomplished in Moshiach ‘before the foundation of the world’, ‘according to the good pleasure of his will’, and ‘to the praise of the glory of his grace’. I’d say we’re in a pretty good situation if we ‘love Elohim and are called according to his purpose.’ (Rom.8.28) Q&C
Vv.7-23 – Our redemption is through the blood of Moshiach, who, as the last Adam, paid the debt owed by the 1st Adam, ‘propitiated’ his sin, and overcame the penalty that was passed on to his offspring. I don’t know about Adam’s passing a sin nature to us, but that his decision to accede to his evil inclination may have passed a genetic tendency to the same accession is not an unreasonable possibility to me. As we inherit our father’s ‘stuff’, we also, if we are honorable men, will see all his debts paid, if there are any. It is the spiritual debt that we, as it were, ‘inherit’ from Adam and that is propitiated by Yeshua’s death on the tree. W1828 has this definition for propitiate
1. To conciliate, to appease one offended and render him favorable.
Propitiation is the act of making reconciliation for the offender to the offended, to appease his wrath and make him ‘propitious’ (kindly affectioned, favorable). Yeshua’s death did not merely propitiate Adam’s sin, but the sins of the whole world.
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
Herein is love, not that we loved Eloha, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I John 4:10)
It is by this propitiation that we obtain Y’hovah’s forgiveness. The payment has been made and the debt no longer exists for us who have turned to Y’hovah for that redemption. It was Y’hovah’s gracious personal payment of our debt through the death of Yeshua on the tree that made known the mystery of his will, ‘that in the dispensation of the fulness of times’ he would reconcile all things to himself in Moshiach. Yeshua’s death as propitiation for us is the linch-pin in his plan. Many dislike the word ‘dispensation’, but I believe it perfectly describes how Y’hovah works his ‘shalls’. He dispenses his grace over time, working through his Word,
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [those] weaned from the milk, drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This [is] the rest ye may cause the weary to rest; and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of Y’hovah was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Is.28.9-13)
That which is dispensed is not varying degrees of grace, as the church erroneously teaches, but varying degrees of understanding of his plan and the ‘shall’ of it (precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little). If we knew the details of each step he would take along the way to fulfilling his ‘shall’ for us, we would do like Avraham did, and go in unto Hagar to help Y’hovah fulfill his will. I believe that the ‘Hebrew Roots’ ‘movement’ is an example of the ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ by which he is gathering the lost to himself, including those who are ‘lost’ or, better said, ‘fenced in’ by the false teachings of ‘dispensationalist’ ‘replacement theologians’. That so many are recently being awakened to this is, I think, among the last moves of Y’hovah toward the ‘fulness of times’ and ‘the fulness of the gentiles (Rom.11.12, 25)’, which phrases are synonymous to my mind. Yacov, of course, spoke of this in his blessing on Ephraim,
19 And his father refused, and said, I know, my son, I know: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Gen.48.19)
‘Multitude of nations’, melo hagoyim’ can also be translated ‘fulness of gentiles’, and I think it is this to which Sha’ul refers here when he says ‘fulness of times’ in v.10. Paul says that the fullness of times will bring about the reconciliation, not only of us to Y’hovah, but also of the ‘you’s’ and ‘we’s’ to each other. If Ephraim has indeed become a ‘multitude of nations’ or the ‘fullness of the gentiles’, does that not mean that the nations of the world are full of Ephraimites?
As you remember, from our look at Rom.8.28ff, ‘we’ are predestinated; ‘we’ referring to Avraham’s seed, both physical and spiritual. But in vv.11-12 he is speaking specifically of Yehudah, through whom the world has received the oracles of Eloha. In this light, he then tells the Ephesian kahal that it was the Yehudim who first trusted Moshiach. He MAY be speaking of the Yehudim who trusted Yeshua through the words of the schlichim about Yeshua haMoshiach after his resurrection and the pouring out of Ruach on Shavuoth, but I think he was actually thinking about all the Patriarchs, prophets and people of Yisrael from the days of Adam. On this I COULD truly be wrong … but I DOUBT IT! And I doubt it because Y’hovah Yeshua will judge the whole world by the same standard – Torah! Torah is known to every person in the world, whether he understands that fact or not. And he knows to whom he will answer, whether he wishes to admit it or not.
In vv.13-14, Sha’ul shifts to speaking to the gentiles specifically, saying that the Gentiles (ye) have now trusted the same Moshiach that believing Yehudah (we) has been trusting for millennia. And, as an earnest of that, that the promises made to Avraham are now shared with ALL of Avraham’s seed (Gal.3.29), he tells them of Ruach of Y’hovah that seals them. Ruach haKodesh in us is our proof of the fact of our reconciliation to Y’hovah by the blood of Moshiach until the physical redemption of the whole of creation unto Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. If the earnest is an indwelling and sealing Ruach haKodesh NOW, isn’t it true that it also was before? I think so (Heb.13.8). I think the patriarchs and prophets were all filled and sealed with Y’hovah’s Spirit, like believers are today. I see no reason to think or assert that they are not. There are no 2nd class citizens of Y’hovah’s Kingdom, which is the point Sha’ul is trying to make with this letter to the Ephesian kahal; indeed, the case can be made that this is the central theme of the apostolic texts – no more Jew or Greek, no more male and female, no more bond and free – all are one, as “Y’hovah Elohenu, Y’hovah echad”.
Paul has taken notice of all the gentiles who are coming to the faith of Yeshua and are coming to the synagogues to hear the Torah read and discussed, that he knows of their love for ALL the saints; Jew and gentile, male and female, bond and free; and he intercedes for them upon his every remembrance of them. I think this ‘love for all the saints’ is that to which Yeshua refers as their 1st love;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Rev.2.2-4)
It looks as though Sha’ul’s prayer for them was answered, but they let their knowledge and understanding of Y’hovah got to their heads by the time of Yochanan’s Revelation, and they’d become rather judgmental. This was not the case in the early 60s CE, but was by the early 90s CE. The difference may be that the 1st generation of saints was dying out and the new generation, who’d grown up in the kahal, did not have the memory of life before Yeshua’s propitiation – like is prevalent in today’s kahal.
The hope of his calling in v.18, speaks of the earnest expectation of Y’hovah’s deliverance of his promised inheritance in US! We are Y’hovah’s inheritance (v.18) that he has wrought in Moshiach (v.20) by resurrecting him from death! It SHALL come. Y’hovah has promised it. You can put it in the bank and collect the interest. He will not deny himself the inheritance he has worked so hard to re-acquire after Adam’s sin. Y’hovah has set Yeshua haMoshiach as his right hand. The preposition ‘at’ is translated from the Greek word en, which literally means IN. Y’hovah has set Yeshua IN his right hand. He is Y’hovah’s executive officer, set FAR above every other power in creation, executing Y’hovah’s will over it. Do you remember the “Tree of Sefiroth”? (www.tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm) In it, Moshiach, the tzadik rebbe who perfectly melds the just righteousness of Elohim with the merciful grace of Y’hovah, is the center stand (like in the menorah), and he is standing on the World of Action, the Kingdom. Quite literally, the World is his footstool.
Thus saith Y’hovah, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is Eloha’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. (Mat.5.34-35)
As his footstool, the world of action is under his feet. Right now, the Adversary is allowed control of the world of action, but when Yeshua haMoshiach takes his Kingdom, the scriptures will be fulfilled,
Y’hovah said unto Adonai, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalms 110:1)
For David himself said by Ruach haKodesh, Y’hovah said to Adonai, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Mark 12:36)
The chapter ends with another look at the ‘fulness’ we spoke of earlier. His fulness will be the fulness of the nations, his Body. Q&C
Eph.2.1-3 – Again remember the pronouns, YOU = gentile converts, WE = Yehudim converts, US = all the converts together as one body. In this sentence that encompasses all of the 1st 3 verses, Shaul begins drawing the You’s and the We’s together as Us/We All. He is primarily addressing the former gentiles in vv.1-4. They were drawn naturally to the sins of the flesh, having had no Torah to teach them Y’hovah’s Way. But he also includes himself and his Yehudim brethren in the same boat, because Sha’ul was nothing if not brutally honest. Just as the gentiles were slaves to their lusts according to the directions of the flesh and possibly (though not certainly) with the influence of haSatan, so were the Yehudim. Remember that in Rom.7 Sha’ul said he was made aware of just how covetous he was when he actually thought about the 10th commandment for the first time.
What shall we say then? Is Torah sin? Eloha forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except Torah had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)
Do you suppose it was/is the same with most Yehudim? I would be willing to wager, without MUCH chance involved. I don’t think his problem was lusting over OTHER people’s stuff, but lusting for what he already had,
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, the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the [oral – M] law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in Torah, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Messiah. (Phil.3.4-7)
[I still Paul was the rich young man who coveted his stuff; ^ THIS ^ stuff.]
Vv.4-7 – “But Eloha” are quite probably the sweetest words in scripture, aren’t they? As wicked as we can be without even knowing it, Y’hovah is knowingly that merciful towards us, full of love for which we are throughly undeserving. He, by his gracious favor, quickened us together with Moshiach Yeshua when he raised him from death, and seats us in eternity in Moshiach and through him allows us to inherit in his Kingdom.
Vv.8-10 – It is by his gracious favor to usward that we are delivered by the faith of Moshiach. This faith needs to be seen in the Hebraic sense that faith is both mental assent to truth and obedience working out that truth. Remember that it is not OUR faith that secures our deliverance from the law of sin and death, but the finished work of Moshiach Yeshua on the tree, in the grave and upon his resurrection.
Even the righteousness of Eloha which is by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:22)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yeshua haMoshiach, even we have believed in Yeshua haMoshiach, that we might be justified by the faith of Moshiach, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law… I am crucified with Moshiach: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Moshiach liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of Eloha, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:16, 20)
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Yeshua haMoshiach; that we might receive the promise of Ruach through faith… But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach might be given to them that believe. (Galatians 3:14, 22)
My brethren, have not the faith of our Master Yeshua haMoshiach, the Master of glory, with respect of persons. (James 2:1)
And now, we haltingly obey his commandments as we submit to his Ruach haKodesh, who supplies spiritual power we need to comply and to thereby overcome the wicked one – our/my own fleshly self and, on occasion, haSatan. We ARE his workmanship. He has created us IN Moshiach UNTO obedience. W/O Moshiach, we could not obey. I purposely left out the references of our faith IN Moshiach, because I didn’t want to confuse the issue. But suffice it to say that our faith is IN Moshiach in exactly the same way the WE are IN Moshiach. It is not OUR faith in Moshiach that saves us, but HIS faith, the faith OF Moshiach that delivers us from death to life IN HIM. We English speakers think that faith is mere belief, while Hebrew speakers understand that every word is based in ACTION, not concept. If you claim to be in Moshiach and you understand that concept to be true, but your understanding hasn’t affected your life and produced the effect of obedience, your faith is useless; your faith is dead.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone… For as the body without Ruach is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:17, 26)
Vv.11-13 – Here are our pronouns again, and put to good use. YE (former gentiles) WERE afar off; w/o Moshiach, goyim, gerim, hopeless, w/o Eloha though surrounded by elohim; but are NOW brought near by Moshiach’s blood. He is OUR shalom, having made the two (Us and Ye) echad. Now; today; in the physical world, we still have 2 houses extant, comprised of Yehudah, who have been conditioned to distrust Xians and will not accept that many are being drawn to Torah by Moshiach, and Ephraim and full goyim, who have been conditioned to distrust Yehudah by the same anti-Jewish Xian fathers who perpetrated the crusades, inquisitions and pogroms that made the Yehudim distrustful of all things that name Yeshua as their Moshiach. But IN Moshiach there is no Jew/Greek, no bond/free, no male/female dichotomy. All are echad in him as Y’hovah is echad.
The middle wall of partition, friends, is the oral traditions that keep us from breaking Torah, while also keeping us from obeying Torah. The context of the sentence also shows that that middle wall is the enmity that stands between us. Yeshua abolished that middle wall (that, in the Temple, passed which a gentile could not enter) and the enmity it represents between Yehudi and goyish believer in the same Y’hovah Elohenu by his finished work on the tree. By that work, as we said before, he made of the 2 one body. See that he reconciled us to Eloha – we are one in Eloha, as well as in Moshiach by Yeshua abolition of enmity between goyish and Yehudi believers. The enmity was not just between goy and Yehudi, but also between BOTH human houses and Eloha, and Shalom Yeshua brings is BOTH between us 2 human houses AND between both houses and Y’hovah. <<< THIS is why I say that the gospel in a nutshell is, “You can have PEACE with the Creator of the universe.” What better news could there be to a world lost and dying? All we need to do after they see that their problem is enmity with Y’hovah is to show them the delivery vehicle of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection.
And so, we former gentiles are made citizens in the Israelite Commonwealth and members of Eloha’s family, built on the foundation of the sent out prophets of Y’hovah and the cornerstone of Moshiach.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. (Psalms 118:22)
In that day shall there be an altar to Y’hovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Y’hovah. (Isaiah 19:19)
The HEADstone of the corner describes only one stone I can think of – a pyramid’s CAPstone, as it is placed at the head of the pyramid and stands over ALL 4 corners of it. In Moshiach, all the body, from the 4 corners of the earth will be brought together as echad and in him we will be one as Y’hovah is one – absolute Shalom. Q&C
End of Midrashic Study notes.