March 15, 2014 Shabbat Bible Study
©2014 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Deut. 25:17-19 – 1 Sam. 15:1-34 – no Psalm – 2Thes. 2:1-17
Devarim 25.17-19 – Amalek! Y’hovah commanded Israel to remember Amalek for the purpose of destroying him, completely wiping his memory off the earth so that noone else would EVER remember him. Unless I misunderstand scripture here, this is the root of ALL the problems of the Middle East today – Israel did not remember her charge, which was given her less than 2 weeks before she crossed Yarden to enter her promised inheritance. She was to destroy Amalek and his memory from the earth. When Moshiach comes in his glory, HE will remember this command that he gave Israel and he SHALL carry it out, with cool deliberation and dispatch.
Amalek was one of the ‘Dukes of Esau’, Esau NOT being a county in Tennessee, nor did he drive a beautiful, built-up stock car and lead the rebellion, good-natured as it was, against Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe ‘PEEE’ Coltrane. Amalek was a seriously bad duke, and, if it was possible, his progeny got worse as it progressed through time. Amalek was Esau’s grandson, the son of Eliphaz and Timna. Eliphaz’ mother was Adah, whose name (H5711) means ‘ornament, or morning’, but the root of whose name (H5710) means ‘mange, scab (as sheathing or excrescence) or, in Arabic[i], broad stone for covering a grave’. So Eliphaz’ (H464 – my god [el-H410] I gold [pazaz – H6337]) wife, (gravestone-like scab) bore him Amalek. BDB has no meaning for Amalek’s name, as if Y’hovah has never taken enough thought of him to characterize him. Names are important in scripture, because they tell you their owners’ character. This is why it is so incredible, to me anyway, that Y’hovah actually WANTS to give us his Name – it denotes the gift of a change of character. I don’t know about y’all, but I surely need it.
In Ex.17, immediately after the gift of manna [which followed quickly after the water gushed forth from the rock at Rephidim], Amalek attacked Israel at Rephidim. Had they attacked BEFORE the manna had been given, I suppose that Israel would have despaired for lack of strength to fight. This is what Y’hovah referred to in our Torah passage. Amalek came up against the stragglers, usually the old or injured who were least likely to put up a vigorous fight. It is a particularly cowardly way to fight, something like the rotten Amalekites who struck down the Israeli family in their sleep last week – including the 4-month old infant girl. That little girl looked just like my grandson Micah did at her age. Of course, all babies look pretty much alike – Winston Churchill, sans cigar. But that fact should drive the point home to each of us who is a parent or grandparent (hard to be the latter without being the former) that the scum that perpetrated that cowardly attack truly deserve to die an ignominious death.
Here’s what Y’hovah has to say about Amalek after the battle at Rephidim:
14 And Y’hovah said unto Moshe, Write this a memorial in a book, and rehearse in the ears of Yehoshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Y’hovah-Nissi: 16 For he said, Because Y’hovah hath sworn Y’hovah war with Amalek from generation to generation. [Shemoth 17.14-16]
In light of Moshe’s words in Ex.17, it looks like the promise to ‘utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven’ is a prophecy for the end of days.
Besides king Agag, whom we’ll see in a few minutes for our haftarah reading and study today, who else of prominence in Israel’s history was an Amalekite? The first name that comes readily to mind is Haman (p-tui), a distant son of Agag (Esther 3.1), which is kind of topical since it is Purim time.
And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, the people of Mordecai. (Esther 3:6)
Is this not the Moslemist creed today? To the Moslemist, the only Satan greater than the United States is Israel. Please hear this, because it could very well tell you a person’s character. If a person sees Israel or Jews as the greatest evil on earth, an evil that needs to be wiped off the earth and their very memory removed from the earth, think ‘Amalekite spirit’. In that light, you can see that the spirit of Amalek and the spirit of Esau/Edom are one and the same – haSatan, the adversary of Y’hovah. Isn’t it interesting that the Amalekite and the Israelite are of diametrically opposed spirits, Israel of Y’hovah, the Spirit of Liberty and Amalek of Allah, Y’hovah’s adversary, the spirit of conquest and domination? I think haSatan really thinks he stands a chance BECAUSE Y’hovah will not force compliance on his children, like he does on his. Q&C
1Sam.15.1-21 – It was time for Israel to do Y’hovah’s will with Amalek, to thoroughly remove even his memory from the earth. And that is the instruction Y’hovah gave through Schmu’el – nothing that drew breath was to live in all of Amalek. Sha’ul numbered his troops – not really a census, so no need to pony up the ½ shekel for the Temple. Why the differentiation between 200K footmen and 10K men of Yehudah? Were the footmen all from Ephraim? Were the Yehudim mounted? Perhaps the Yehudim were all captains? So there are 210K soldiers of Israel to go against Amalek. Sha’ul wisely told the Kenites to get out of Dodge, so the innocent would not be condemned with the guilty. The Kenites had NOT done to Israel what Amalek was being condemned for.
“Utterly destroy” means utterly destroy. Nothing of what Y’hovah told Sha’ul to destroy was to remain. These marching orders were clear and concise. There was no room for asking questions or creating loopholes. When Sha’ul started the smiting, he kept it going until he got almost to the border with Egypt. I think this may have been in the area we now know as “the Gaza Strip”. It was here that Amalek was soundly defeated and everyone but Agag (and presumably his children) was killed. Now that ONE exception would come back to haunt the Israelites in their captivity when Ahasueras (Artaxerxes) of Persia came to power and had as his vice-regent Haman (p’tui), the Agagite, as well as today in the Moslemist hordes.
Sha’ul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, etc., and WOULD not utterly destroy them. This was not a mere slip, or a pang of conscience at the bloodshed. This was willful disobedience, disguised as reverence to Y’hovah. Sha’ul had become too big for his britches, and the people had decided that they knew better what Y’hovah wanted than he did himself. What it REALLY was was the same kind of thorn in the flesh that Paul had – covetousness. They weren’t coveting what the Amalekites had, but what Israel already had. Paul coveted his position as a Jew, a Pharisee and likely successor to the chief rabbinate of J’lem. That was his motivation in persecuting the Way, I think. As to Sha’ul and the people in 1Sam.15, why give offerings to Y’hovah out of their own flocks, when these were perfectly good, clean and acceptable (in the people’s eyes) animals to offer to Y’hovah? The answer lies in David’s response to Ornan’s offer of his threshingfloor free of charge in 2Sam.24
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD Elohai of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (II Samuel 24:24)
As David would not offer that which had cost him nothing to Y’hovah, so should Israel not have been offering someone else’s flocks to Y’hovah. These flocks were NOT theirs to offer as Y’hovah had commanded them to be slaughtered along with all of Amalek. Weren’t these flocks Y’hovah’s to begin with? Had he wanted these animals offered to him, would he not have said so? What they’d done was destroyed the Amalekites’ ‘traif’ [unclean garbage] and kept the good stuff for themselves.
Y’hovah told Schmu’el that he repented of making Sha’ul king. Had Sha’ul stayed true to the course Schmu’el had started him on, what would have been the result? I think Yehonathan would have made an excellent king of Israel. Schmu’el loved Sha’ul, there can be no doubt, and he had very high hopes for him and his line. Schmu’el interceded for Sha’ul through the night. When Schmu’el arose the next AM from his intercession, he was told that Sha’ul had gone to Gilgal, one of the places in which Schmu’el judged Israel (7.16), so it looks like Sha’ul had no idea that what he’d done was sin, because he drove all those sheep before him to offer them to Y’hovah through Schmu’el. I think haSatan’s spirit of Amalek was already upon him and deluding him.
But the Ruach haKodesh was upon Schmu’el. When Sha’ul said, “I have performed the mitzvah of Y’hovah” with the accompanying satisfied grin, Schmu’el said, “Then what’s all this bleating and lowing that I hear?”, implying strongly, “You were told to kill everything that breathes in Amalek.” Sha’ul answered (I assume kind of ‘taken aback’ by the condemnatory tenor of Schmu’el’s words), “The people saved the best of Amalek’s animals to offer to Y’hovah?” Schmu’el interrupted the king, knowing that what he said was an excuse. He said, in effect, “Shut up, and LISTEN to what Y’hovah told me last night.” Sha’ul said, “Go ahead.”
Schmu’el said, “You were humble once. What happened to the man who I anointed king? Y’hovah sent you out with a simple mission: utterly destroy the Amalekites and their property. Why did you take their property as spoils of war, when you were told to kill all the Amalekites and their field animals that took breath?” But Sha’ul protested, “I DID exactly what Y’hovah said, and I brought Agag, their king and killed all the Amalekites. It was the PEOPLE who took the spoil to sacrifice it to Y’hovah in Gilgal. That’s what we came here for!” This, as I read this passage, was true, but it was not righteous. Do you see that distinction? What Sha’ul said was true – their motive was to offer all these animals to Y’hovah, not to keep them for themselves. But behind their motive was their covetousness over what they had. Why offer what has cost you time and energy to acquire, when you can offer the fruits of someone ELSE’s labor, which happens to ALSO be theirs as spoils of war? Schmu’el should have changed Sha’ul’s name to ‘Buck’ at this point, because he was so good at passing it. Q&C
Vv.22-34 – To obey is better than sacrifice. Y’hovah didn’t ASK for sacrifice, He commanded the utter destruction of Amalek. If we obey, we have no need to sacrifice anything. And this particular sin was rebellion against the command of Y’hovah, which is exactly the same to Y’hovah as witchcraft. And then trying to excuse it was as bad as lawlessness and idolatry. Sha’ul and the people had made themselves gods this day. Schmu’el told Sha’ul, “Since you’ve rejected Y’hovah’s Word, he has rejected you as king.”
Now that he’d been called out, Sha’ul was remorseful, but the remorse was over his punishment, not that he’d sinned and truly desired repentance. He said in v.24 that he’d transgressed Schmu’el’s words, as if Schmu’el was concerned about people obeying him. I can’t help but think that Schmu’el was getting sicker and sicker of Sha’ul’s fawning and brown-nosing with each word that left his mouth. He actually asked for Schmu’el’s forgiveness and that Schmu’el turn WITH HIM! But who is Schmu’el to forgive Sha’ul’s sin? Sha’ul was completely deceived by the evil spirit; to the point of thinking Schmu’el would turn away from Y’hovah’s commands with him and follow after the spirit he was after. The sin was transgression of Y’hovah’s Word.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also Torah: for sin is the transgression of Torah (I John 3:4)
Schmu’el could not step into Y’hovah’s place and pronounce him guiltless. Schmu’el got it, now.
As Schmu’el turned away from Sha’ul, Sha’ul grabbed his mantle. This MAY have been his tallith Gadol, the skirt of which is ‘kanaph’, the same word translated as ‘wings’ in
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)
The kanaph is the hem of the tallith, as we see in Mat.9:
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour [Mark edit – that instant].
When Sha’ul grabbed his mantle, it ripped. Ruach used this as an object lesson, “So has the kingdom been rent from you and given to a friend of yours.” Of course, David had yet to meet the king, as far as we know, so Sam is speaking in the ‘prophetic perfect’, as if it had already occurred (it won’t until the NEXT chapter). Schmu’el told Sha’ul that Y’hovah would not repent of this decision. He MAY forgive the sin, but the decision was made and would not be changed. Sha’ul was the last of the Benyamite dynasty in Israel. Yehonathan would not sit on the throne of Israel. The Strength of Israel = Moshiach Yeshua, the right arm of Y’hovah, the Word of Y’hovah, the Lamb of Y’hovah and the Lion of Yehudah.
In both vv.15 and 30, Sha’ul calls the Almighty, “Y’hovah Elohecha” and not “Y’hovah Elohenu”. The distinction is really quite glaring. Sha’ul did not worship Y’hovah in spirit and truth, but in the flesh. Schmu’el knew that Sha’ul would not carry out the Word of Y’hovah in regard to Agag, perhaps out of fear that if he raised his sword against a king, it might portend the same for him. So Schmu’el had Agag brought before him. Agag, the ever-jovial tyrant, says “Hey! Sam! Good to see you! Put her there, old chum!” So Schmu’el did – he put his sword about 2½ feet deep into Agag’s chest and sliced him into pieces. Maybe he did the same thing tradition says Shem did to Nimrod, and sent his pieces all over the known world as a warning to fear Y’hovah and NOT men. So, Schmu’el went his way to Ramah and Sha’ul to Gibeah, and never in this world would the twain meet again. Q&C
2Thes.2.1-5 – The chapter opens with Rav Sha’ul admonishing the Thessalonians about what people are saying he said that may be contrary to what he told them when he was with them. Someone had told them that Moshiach had gathered the dispersed of Israel and they were ‘Left Behind’ – he’d forgotten about them. So Paul had to do some damage control. Recent news has been pretty bad, and I take all the news in the world as warnings of judgment from Y’hovah that has the purpose of causing his people, both Jew and gentile, Yehudah and Ephraim, male and female, bond and free, to repent of going our own ways and to turn back to His Way. Recent world events should NOT be causing us to fear that he is not faithful to us, but is evidence that he IS faithful to his Word and that, if we will walk in it, he will also be faithful to keep his promises to us. What we need to remember is that, even if this is marking the beginning of the Great Tribulation, these are but the beginning of birth pangs. There will be about 3½ years of sorrows to follow and they will get worse and worse until Moshiach bursts through the clouds to cut short the days of judgment before ALL life is destroyed. The Thessalonians, being very new believers, and not well-grounded in Tanakh, were easily shaken by the twisting of the scriptures perpetrated by Paul’s antagonists – the Judaizers, or more properly, the circumcisers. These Pharisees were not so worried about teaching the truth of Tanakh, as in assuring that these gentiles be traditionally proselytized and CCd into Judaism BEFORE being allowed membership in the Netzari kahal. These guys were still mad at Paul for abandoning his enviable place as the chief talmid of Gamaliel and, I think, his possible position as the next chief rabbi of Jerusalem.
The day of Moshiach was not ‘at hand’. That phrase means ‘immanent’. He told them not to worry that that day was close or had already happened, but that there were signs that MUST be fulfilled before the Day of Moshiach was on the horizon. The BIG one that Sha’ul had told them about was the ‘apostasy’, the ‘great falling away’, that had to take place and also the revealing of the ‘man of sin’ [MoS] or ‘son of perdition’ [SoP]. I think this is speaking of the anti-Moshiach [A-M]. Anti can mean against, but it can also mean a counterfeit – one who LOOKS like Moshiach, but is NOT. V.3 says he must be revealed, and v.4 tells us what to look for – that which will reveal him. The anti-Moshiach will go into the Temple of Y’hovah and sit in the Temple, showing himself that he is Elohim. Of ALL the furnishings in the Temple, is there anything on which one can sit? The Menorrah? The Incense Altar? The Table of Showbread? The Ark with the Mercy Seat? UH-OH! There it is. The Mercy Seat, on which the blood of the goat and bull of Yom Kippur is offered.
How will sitting on the mercy seat show the son or perdition that he is Elohim? Remember when David wanted to bring the Ark up to Jerusalem?
And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of Elohim, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of Y’hovah was kindled against Uzzah; and Elohim smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of Elohim. And David was displeased, because Y’hovah had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day. (II Samuel 6:6-8)
Now, what should happen if the SoP, MoS, A-M actually sits on the mercy seat? Well, if history were to repeat itself, he should be struck dead on the spot. If he wasn’t killed on the spot like Uzzah was, this would be a powerful witness to the deity of Anti-Moshiach for those who are not intimately familiar with prophetic scripture, wouldn’t it?
Of course, the glory had long since departed the mercy seat:
Then the glory of Y’hovah departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.19 And the cheruvims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also beside them, and stood at the door of the east gate of Y’hovah’s house; and the glory of the Elohim of Israel over them above. (Ezekiel 10:18,19)
23 And the glory of Y’hovah went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel.11.23)
Ruach haKodesh left the Temple and never returned until it came in the body of Yeshua haMoshiach ben Yoseph, but never took up its proper place between the cheruvim then. Anti-Moshiach will take that seat, if my guess is right, based on our passages in Ez., and here in 2Thes.2. Ruach will return to the Millennial Temple in the person of Yeshua ha Moshiach ben David. Q&C
Vv.6-12 – So, “what withholdeth”? The canned Xian response is, ‘The Holy Ghost’, but I think that’s forcing a meaning on the text. What is the purpose of that which withholds, unless it is ‘that he might be revealed in his time’? I think it’s the ‘mystery of iniquity’ that is holding back the revelation of MoS, SoP, AM, because that is the most natural flow of the letter. Why would the mystery of iniquity be withholding the revelation of AM? Thinking out loud, here. Iniquity = Torahlessness. Perhaps the refusal of the apostates to consider Torah relevant to them makes it unnecessary for the AM to be revealed. Maybe haSatan hasn’t needed to reveal himself in man by lying wonders, sign and spiritual power because the church has made iniquity a watchword of what they call faith, which is really just an excuse to live in disobedience to Y’hovah. This shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of the whole church, but definitely it is for most, if not all, of the ‘pop-culture’ church that’s on TV, the web and radio that I’ve seen. Now that some of the church is coming out from among them, becoming separate and refusing to touch the unclean things, haSatan will have to show some miraculous events at the hands of his personal Beast and False Prophet (who you will remember I think are the counterfeit of Y’hovah, Moshe and Aharon) to keep the church complacent.
Are vv.8-9 saying that Yeshua’s coming is waiting for haSatan’s revelation of power? The word ‘after’ MAY mean ‘in accord with’ or ‘seeking’, as in ‘after my own heart’, or it could be a time reference. If it is a time reference Yeshua will not come until after haSatan shows his power by the unrighteous deceit of the Beast (MoS, SoP, AM – all designations of this Amalekite spirit of haSatan) and the False Prophet, and that is exactly what we see in Rev.13-19. Them that perish are those who believe the deceitful power of haSatan is actually the working of Y’hovah. And Y’hovah will allow them to believe that lie because they have no love of Torah, which IS the Truth of Y’hovah. The fact that they do not love Y’hovah’s Torah is why Y’hovah will make the working a haSatan look truly miraculous, perhaps so that even HE thinks he can work miracles like Y’hovah can. When you know that you are a charlatan, but begin to believe that the illusions you perform are really spiritual power, you are the most deceived of all. I think it may be true that even haSatan will believe he has creative power because of the strong delusion Y’hovah sends into the earth – otherwise, why would he have any idea that he has a chance to defeat Yeshua and his Abba in the ultimate Gog uMagog rebellion at the end of the Millennium? Strong delusion indeed!
Vv.13- – Do you see that Y’hovah has chosen all his children from the beginning to salvation through setting us apart by his Ruach and the accompanying love of the truth – his Torah? If you have no love of the Truth, you can pretty well be assured that you have no spiritual life in you. If that is your situation, turn from your wicked ways, abandon your iniquity and turn to the Living Torah of Truth, Yeshua haMoshiach, to walk in the same manner that he walked while he lived on this earth – in complete submission to his Father by the leading of his Ruach haKodesh. V.14 says he called us to salvation by ‘our gospel’ or ‘preaching’, to be to the kavod, glory, of our Master Yeshua haMoshiach. In v.15, Paul makes mention of ‘the Commandment’ that they were taught. Paul did not have time in Thessalonica to teach them Talmud/Mishnah traditions. He was only there for 3 weeks, so they got a crash course in Ex.20 and some specific commands that came under the 10 ‘outline headings’, I’m sure. This is the 2nd letter we have in our possession, but there is evidence of a possible 3rd letter to Thessalonica. In his closing to this chapter, Sha’ul gives them more comfort which is what he has tried to do throughout. They had heard from some CCers that Moshiach had already returned and left them, which is what Paul started out to try to calm. In comforting them, he gave us a pretty brilliant treatise on what MUST happen before AM is revealed, which occurs, according to the rest of scripture about 3-3½ years before Moshiach comes at the end of this age. And they can take consolation in the fact that they love Y’hovah’s truth and walk in it, and so ARE established in every Word of Torah and in their performance of it as evidence of the same. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study
[i] Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew/English Lexicon