September 26, 2015 Shabbat Midrash
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
September 26, 2015 – Year 3 Sabbath 28
Devarim 6:1-7:26 – [no prophet] – Tehellim 125 – Matthew 4:1-25
Devarim 6.1-3 – Moshe begins with a short introduction and then starts explaining the purpose to the rest of the mitzvoth, chukim, and mishpatim that Y’hovah had given to Moshe on the mount back in Exodus 19-32, with a few additions that were not revealed to us in the narrative of the Wilderness Adventure. I will try to mark these as we go. No promises. It seems that the purpose for all the instructions are to give us a healthy fear of Y’hovah. Now this fear is at least 2-fold; 1) abject terror at the FACT of what he can do to us if we disobey, and 2) absolute reverence at the FACT that he has delivered us from bondage even though he knew that we tend more readily toward rebellion than obedience. Schottenstein’s Chumash has excellent notes on all the first 9 verses. Here’s what it says about 1-3 on pg.45;
When he says he will bless us with prolonged days, he isn’t speaking of our individual lives so much as our national life in the land we are going in to possess. Moshe admonishes us to both hear and obey, so that Y’hovah can shower blessings on us and that we stay forever in the land he’s promised father Avraham. He promised that if we would obey, he would bless us with physical multiplicity in every area of our lives in haAretz.
V.4 – The central truth of everything is that Y’hovah is echad. Echad means a lot of things. One is that he is the only Eloha, that all other so-called elohim are not ‘elohim’ but imposters, which are ultimately powerless against Y’hovah and Y’hovah’s. See pp.45-46 of Schottenstein’s Chumash for some very good explanations and illustrations of Y’hovah’s echad nature.
The adversary, haSatan – who lusts to BE an el in place of Y’hovah, has no power over what belongs to Y’hovah without clear permission from Y’hovah to exert some power.
7 And Y’hovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Y’hovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And Y’hovah said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Iyov, that none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth Eloha, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered Y’hovah, and said, Doth Iyov fear Eloha for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And Y’hovah said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. (Iyov 1.7-12)
31 And the Master said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Lk.22.31-32)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (I Peter 5:8)
The enemy has only that power over us that our Father allows him to have. “THIS far and no further…”, says Y’hovah. Even Iyov’s latter end was greater than the former because he was ultimately faithful to Y’hovah. So shall it be with us, regardless the circumstances, if we remain faithful to Y’hovah. Keep this in mind, as the evil day approaches. There shall be a glorious day to follow and, remaining faithful, we shall experience Iyov’s end, as well.
Another aspect of echad is that Y’hovah is an absolute ONE, there is no changeableness or division in him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Yacov 1:17)
Yeshua haMoshiach, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)
For I am Y’hovah, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)
Did you get that? If he could change in the least, he would have wiped us out and started fresh. But his Word is his bond, as ours should be.
Echad also has the aspect of oneness in plurality, though not a ‘trinity’, per se. We see many attributes and manifestations of Y’hovah, but all are different aspects of his character and power, not separate ‘persons’. W1828 defines ‘godhead’:
1. Godship; deity; divinity; divine nature or essence; applied to the true God, or to pagan deities.
Every time the KJV uses the term ‘Godhead’ (all 3 uses of the term), it speaks of all the aspects/manifestations of Y’hovah’s character. Pagans saw these manifestations as different elohim, not aspects of the one true Y’hovah:
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of Eloha, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:29)
Sha’ul speaks of the general revelation of Y’hovah in his creation:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20),
and specifically of Yeshua’s body being empowered by Y’hovah’s indwelling Ruach haKodesh:
For in him [Yeshua] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
I would not be surprised if there are other ways of understanding the phrase Y’hovah echad that I have not delineated, as he is truly indescribable in human terms. His immortal and infinite nature truly IS unknowable in its essence to our finite mortal minds.
Vv.5-9 – V.5 is the subject of the 1st tablet of testimony that Y’hovah gave to Moshe – to love Y’hovah with our whole self. This is ‘the great commandment’ according to Yeshua
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked, testing [G3985 peiradzo, to test] him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Yeshua said unto him, Thou shalt love Y’hovah Elohecha with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt.22.34-40)
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tested [ekpeiradzo, to test thoroughly] him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love Y’hovah Elohecha with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Lk.10.25-27)
There is not much else to say, is there? The central truth is that Y’hovah is echad and the most important commandment is to love Y’hovah with everything we’ve got. Y’hovah Yeshua tells us that if we love him, we will keep his commandments;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:6)
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:10)
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
I could take up another page of notes just searching the words “love, keep, and commandments”, but I don’t think we need to keep beating that dead horse. Anyone who says differently is deceived. We were delivered from the bondage of death so that we could show our love for Y’hovah by obeying his commandments (Eph.2.8-10).
Vv.6-9 begin to break down the overarching commandment of v.5 into specific commands that we are to observe. We are to teach our children these commandments, not merely by our words, but by our lives. If you LIVE the Word that you preach, it will take root in your family and friends. Our LIVES show forth our true beliefs. This week was Yom Kippur. Did you fast (assuming you are physically ABLE to fast for a whole day without getting ill)? Did you make teshuvah for those sins that you have committed? Did you confess them to Y’hovah?: to those people against whom you’ve sinned? All sins are against Y’hovah: some sins are against our fellows, as well. We need to seek reconciliation with everyone we’ve wronged to manifest the Spirit of echad.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)
If you wish to wear teffilin, there is no sin in it, but the spirit of this commandment is to show forth our faith by doing and thinking according to Y’hovah’s Torah, not by wearing an ornament. Same is true of the mezuzah on our doorposts. To have one is not a sin, but the reality is on the doorposts of our hearts, not the frame of the door to our homes. We ought to model Torah observance to everyone so that they will see our knowledge of Y’hovah (wisdom + understanding).
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (I John 2:3-5)
Vv.10-13 – Y’hovah was about to bless our socks off by giving us a land that literally flowed with milk and honey; that had cities and homesteads that were already established; farms that were already producing, that we only had to go in and take the gift Y’hovah was giving us. He warned us that after we’d received this wonderful gift, had eaten of it and were full, that we not forget the Y’hovah who gave it to us and provided all the plenty without any work beyond conquering the land and dividing its spoil. This is the source of our giving thanks; remembering Y’hovah; for our daily sustenance AFTER we eat and are full. This is one of those that we were NOT told to observe in Ex.20-33 (I remembered!). This is another way by which we show our fear of Y’hovah, by remembering to thank him AFTER we are satisfied, as we blessed him for his provision BEFORE we ate.
V.13 speaks of ‘swearing by Y’hovah’s Name’. The word xlated ‘swear’, thishaveiah, is from H7650, shabah, meaning to complete or ‘to 7’ oneself.
Vv.14-25 – We are to diligently serve Y’hovah and eschew the false elohim of the Canaanite squatters we displaced, or of the other nations whose land was not ours, like Moav, Edom and Egypt. When he says in v.15 that he will destroy us from the face of the earth, he means that he will bring us to nought and remove us from the land he was giving us. If he were to ‘destroy’ us in the modern understanding of that word, he would have to renege on his promise to Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov. See above – ‘no shadow of turning.’ Instead, we are to diligently keep his Toroth, doing what is right and good in HIS sight (not our sight) so that he can bless us with all the spiritual (and physical) blessings that he has promised us in our fathers; Abe, Yitzy and Jake: so that he can drive out all the pagans from before us. Then, when our children ask about the Toroth that Y’hovah commanded us, we can tell them that Y’hovah delivered us out of Egypt by his power and NOT our own, that he delivered us through the Wilderness Adventure DESPITE ourselves, and that he could deliver us into this wonderful land full of blessings so that he can delight in our delight at his marvelous provision. And if we diligently keep his Toroth they will be ‘our righteousness’, we will be tzadik, working tzedikah by his grace in us.
The whole paragraph from v.21 speaks to US who are alive today as if we were there in the Egyptian Exodus, as if we crossed the Red Sea, as if we received the Covenant, and as if we crossed Yarden w/Yehoshua. And, in Moshiach, we were because every of us is an Yisraelite, a member of the Commonwealth, whether a physical descendant, a spiritual seed of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov, or both – chol Yisrael in Moshiach. Q&C
7.1-5 – Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, a Xian study aid, says this about the 7 nations we were commanded to drive off or destroy from the Land;
With respect to the situation of these nations in the land of Canaan, Calmet remarks, that the Canaanites chiefly inhabited Phoenicia; the Hittites, the mountains south of the promised land; the Hivites, mount Ebal, and Gerizim, and towards Hermon; the Girgashites, beyond Jordan, towards the lake of Gennesareth [Galilee], the Yevusites, about Jerusalem; the Amorites, the mountains west of the Dead Sea, and part of the land of Moab; and that the Perizzites were probably not a distinct nation, but villagers scattered through the country.
We are to have no fellowship with paganism. We are not to marry someone of a different ‘faith’; anyone who does not love both Moshiach and Torah; as we will have to make some accommodation for the unlike belief or the false god of our spouse. Shlomo either forgot or ignored this command in his desire to enter into political alliances with all his neighbors. He ended up building altars and offering on them with his wives. Y’hovah only kept the nation together for Shlomo’s father’s sake. He rent 10 tribes from Rehoboam shortly after Shlomo’s death. David’s reign over Yehudah began about 1010 BCE; over chol Yisrael began about 1003-2 BCE. Shlomo croaked about 930 BCE. Israel went into Assyrian exile about 721-2 BCE, and Yehudah went into Babylon about 587-6 BCE – roughly 430 years from David’s ascension to the throne of Yehudah to Yehudah’s exile. So, Avraham was promised haAretz about 430 years before Yehoshua took chol Israel across Yarden, and the Davidic Kingdom lasted about 430 years. I just think that is interesting enough to notice. There may be a prophetic or a sod level application there. Had Shlomo NOT taken strange wives and had he modeled Torah before his children (David, too, on this count with Absalom and Shlomo), the Davidic dynasty might still be in power in Israel; there might never have been a loss of Israelite influence in the region, and there might never have been a rise of Moslemism, or even anti-Torah Xianity.
Notice that there are only 7 nations that need to be moved out of Y’hovah’s land. Avraham was told of 10 Amorite nations that would be dispossessed;
16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full…18 In the same day Y’hovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Gen.15.16, 18-21)
I think the reference to the Amorites in v.16 might be a more general statement of which the 10 nations named in 19-20 are a microcosm. Perhaps the Hivites in Dt.7 are the Rephaims of Gen.15, and the Kenites, Kennizites and Kadmonites were dispossessed by the other 7 nations. This may a foreshadow of the prophecy in Daniel 7
20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (Dan.7.20-24)
Let’s see: ISIS, formerly called the Moslem Brohood, has deposed 2 major kings in Moslemland, Mubarak and Khaddafi, and they are STILL in process 4 years later of trying to take down Assad. Will that be it? Will that be enough to consolidate power to the Moslem Brohood Caliphate/ISIS? Is ISIS under the covert authority of the ‘little horn’, and is that Iran’s Imams? Or is that ‘little horn’ actually ‘lightning from the heights’ – Barak Obama? Or is it someone else entirely? Only time will tell; or when someone receives a direct Word from Y’hovah.
We were to utterly destroy any Canaanite in the land who would not meet our conditions for Shalom; to eschew their false elohim and serve Y’hovah with their whole heart and mind and strength. If the Canaanites would accept the authority of Y’hovah and destroy the carved, graven or cast elohim, they could become members of the Commonwealth. The Canaanites must turn to Y’hovah, not Israel to the false elohim. If the people of any city refused Israel’s offer of Shalom with Y’hovah, they were to be wiped out or driven from the land grant and their altars, images and any accoutrement of paganism destroyed. If any of it were left, the temptation would be there to use those idols and altars ‘in service to Y’hovah.’ This Y’hovah declared to be accursed in ch.12
2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their elohim, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: 3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their elohim, and destroy the names of them out of that place. 4 Ye shall not do so unto Y’hovah Elohechem. 5 But unto the place which Y’hovah Elohechem shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shall eat before Y’hovah Elohechem, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein Y’hovah Elohecha hath blessed thee… 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14 But in the place which Y’hovah shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee… 29 When Y’hovah Elohecha shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their elohim, saying, How did these nations serve their elohim? even so will I do likewise. 31 Thou shalt not do so unto Y’hovah Elohecha: for every abomination to Y’hovah, which he hateth, have they done unto their elohim; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their elohim. (Deut.12.2-7, 13-14, 29-31)
If you think about it, ISIS is following this commandment, after a fashion, in obedience to the false god that they espouse. The militant Moslemists wipe out all the gods of the foreign areas they conquer. The difference between their god and Y’hovah is that Y’hovah is jealous only for his land, the land grant he promised to Avraham’s seed. He did not expect Israel to conquer the entire earth by force of arms, but by a desire to accrue to themselves the same blessings he would bestow on Israel. And he didn’t command Israel to conquer the world and force the other nations outside of his land grant to convert or die. Moslemism and its RCC mother is a satanic counterfeit of Israel, doing by force what Y’hovah does by blessing his people. Some may not want to see the distinction, but to me, at least, the distinction is stark and bold. Q&C
Vv.6-16 – We were not chosen for our numbers or for our character, but because he keeps his Word. Avraham was chosen because of his openness to the thought that the true Creator of everything that exists is so far beyond our comprehension as to be indescribable in our minds or by our hands. We were chosen because Y’hovah keeps his oaths and because he loves us in Avraham. Because he had promised Avraham, he delivered us from bondage in Egypt by his mighty hand and stretched out arm when we called out to him for his Yeshua. He keeps covenant with them who love him (Avraham) to the 1000th generation, and repays them individually who despise him to their face. Because of this 2-fold purpose of Torah, we need to walk in it. He has promised to keep us in his covenant if we keep his mitzvoth, chukim and mishpatim. If we do, he promises to bless us with both spiritual and physical multiplicity, and freedom from diseases that are common to the nations [this is done largely by following his dietary instructions]. But to have all those blessings, we need to remove the pagan influence from our midst, and to do that we must either utterly drive them out or utterly destroy those who will not meet Y’hovah’s conditions. We are not to show pity to them, for we gave them opportunity for Shalom with Y’hovah and us – reject the false gods and accept Torah and Y’hovah’s yoke, from which Moshiach bears most of the burden
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)
Vv.17-26 – if we follow what our eyes tell us, and not what our experience has taught us, we will be defeated – so don’t believe your lying eyes! Y’hovah promises to have our back. REMEMBER what he did to Egypt: remember what he did to Paroh and his army: remember what he did to Amalek at Rephidim: remember what he did to Sihon and Og: remember that we suffered not a hangnail in all those battles because Y’hovah had not just our rear guard, but also the point and both flanks. HE plans the battle: he commands in the field: all we need to do is what he tells us to do. To know what to do we need to study Torah, chol Toroth including nevi’im, kethuvim and the Apostolic texts. His specific instructions will NOT contradict his Word. Those who hate us will be on the receiving end of a lot of painful annoyances (hornets) until they flee or are destroyed by them – or us.
Speculation Warning!!! Watch for striking lightning!!
He will not allow the people of the nations to flee all at once, but as we approach them, so that the land doesn’t revert to its natural, unorganized state. He is giving us land that is cultivated, tamed and ordered, after a fashion. Do you think the Kingdom will be allowed to go to complete entropy before we take it over under Moshiach’s headship? Not a chance in my mind. As it was in the Exodus, so it will be in the Kingdom. As he conquered every nation that came against Israel to battle in the Wilderness Adventure, so Y’hovah Yeshua will conquer the armies of the nations who come against him and Zion, but those nations survivors will be there to keep a semblance of order, I think. They will be offered Shalom with Y’hovah Yeshua, and I think most will accept his yoke. Those who will not accept Yeshua’s yoke will be quickly, mercifully, and decisively destroyed. Perhaps THIS is what Ezekiel 39.12-16 alludes to?
12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the earth. 13 Yea, all the people of the earth shall bury; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith Adonai Y’hovah. 14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the earth to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. 15 And the passengers pass through the earth, when seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog. 16 And also the name of the city Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the earth. (Ez.39.12-16)
Every instance of the words ‘land’ or ‘earth’ in that passage is the same, H776, eretz, which can be xlated as land or earth.
776 ‘erets eh’-rets = There are 2504 uses of ‘eretz’ in Tanakh. It is translated in KJV- land 1543, earth 712, country 140, ground 98, world 4, way 3, common 1, field 1, nations 1, wilderness+4057 (bamidbar baaretz 1Ki.9.18) 1.
In the case of the Armageddon fulfillment of Gog uMagog, I think it means the whole earth, so that the Millennial Kingdom will be established in the whole earth within those 7 months (a 13th month in that year, perhaps?). With the Moshiach coordinating in Yerushalayim and his resurrected saints to command in the field, I imagine it COULD be done even quicker, except that there are going to be LOTS and LOTS of bodies to bury. His resurrected field commanders will offer every nation, city and town Shalom on the same order as we are seeing in todays parsha; “tear down your altars, destroy your idols, worship and obey the King and his Abba and you may live among us. If you refuse, or agree and then renege, you WILL be destroyed.” THIS time, it will be done right and there will be a 1000 year cessation of conflict, after which there will be one last battle followed by the GWT. END of speculation warning. HalleluYah! if no lightning has struck.
The last 2 verses describe Achan’s sin at Yericho and its result at Ai. I don’t think we’ll see any of that in the 7 months described above. Q&C
Tehellim 125 – Why did the KJV translators add the words they added. They do NOTHING to the clarity of the text
1 They that trust in Y’hovah, as mount Zion, cannot be removed; abideth for ever.
As mount Zion cannot be removed; as mount Zion abides forever; so are they who trust in Y’hovah. As the mountains surround Zion, so Y’hovah encircles his people. The wicked branch cannot hold down or control the portion of the tzadikim, or they might be tempted to do what is unlawful. So David tells Y’hovah to do good to the good and upright in heart. And for those who turn from the good to wickedness, Y’hovah will give them the outcome of their unrighteous actions. Y’hovah ALWAYS gives us what we want. If we want iniquity, he will give it to us; if we want to obey him, he will make it easier for us to obey. Y’hovah will NEVER force us to do anything. He watches us and gives us what we truly want. Shalom l’Yisrael! Q&C
Matthew 4.1-25 – What follows is taken from my Bible Study notes on The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach – an Hebraic Perspective, ©2001-2015. 48). The temptation of Yeshua – Mat.4.1-11, Mark 1.12-13, Lk.4.1-13 – In Mark, Yeshua is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, while in Matthew and Luke, he is led by the Spirit. The whole tone of Mark is different from the other gospels. He shows Yeshua as a tireless servant, having at times no time to eat, working miracle after miracle to prove the divinity claimed by the author in 1.1. Relative to the other gospels, it seems as if the author is just getting the preliminaries out of the way so he can get to his main point. The audience is probably Roman or gentile believers, who would not know the OT prophecies and for whom they would be superfluous. Mark does not refer to anything close to the number of prophecies that Luke, Matthew, or Yochanan do. He is trying to show the suffering Son of Eloha. As usual, any minor differences in the fine points of the narratives are matters of perspective of the author or of the intended audience.
Luke and Matthew both mention the 40-day fast, Mark only that Yeshua was in the wilderness 40 days. All the writers say that he was tempted of HaSatan for the entire time; Matthew even says the temptation was the reason for his going there. The details are very similar in Matt and Luke. The third last temptation has to do with Yeshua hunger for food, his need to feed his body. First HaSatan questions Yeshua’s divinity, ‘If thou be the Son of Eloha’, as if he could get him with the same ploy with which he’d gotten Eve. Then he worked on physical weakness, or rather, was depending on it and the lust of the flesh to defeat the Eloha who’d created him. But, as anyone who’s fasted any length of time can tell you, the body may be weak, but the spirit and mind are sharp as a knife at that time. Yeshua answered him with the Word of Eloha [we will look at it next week],
Deut. 8:3, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Y’hovah doth man live.”
The lesson for us is obvious. When confronted with sin we should rely on the scriptures to pull us out. Rom.6 says we are dead to sin and alive to Moshiach. If we reckon ourselves dead to sin we will have an easy time defeating it in our lives. This battle is constant, because our sin nature is and will be still with us until the resurrection. But reckoning ourselves dead to sin must be done every time we are tempted to sin, and, I confess that I often forget this simple way to avoid sin. But Eloha has made provision for us in this as well.
1 Yochanan 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua haMoshiach the righteous (hatzadik):”
The next 2 temptations are given in opposite order in the accounts of Matthew and Luke. The details of the temptations are nearly identical, but the order is switched. Why? Look to the purpose for writing and the intended audiences. Luke first goes to the mountaintop to show the kingdoms of the world, and he adds a detail that Matt leaves out. The gospel was written to the Edomite son of king Herod who was asking for a history of the Netzari sect, ‘most excellent Theophilus’, and the appeal to power and glory would be more personal to him. Also Luke points out the fact that HaSatan is the prince of this world system in which Theophilus is a leader. Of course, being the Word of Eloha, Yeshua answers with the word of Eloha –
Deut. 10:20, “Thou shalt fear Y’hovah Elohecha; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.”
In order for us to be able to answer the temptations in our lives with the Word of Eloha, we must have it readily available. We can’t safely open a bible and search for a passage while driving on the road, or in any number of circumstances in which we may find ourselves. For this reason we must memorize scripture. It is not that difficult to do. We could try the 3X5 card with a passage written on it, kept in a pocket or on the visor of the car and work on that one until it is solid in memory. Then start another. In this way, it will not be difficult to memorize 1-2 passages a week. It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed into the image of Moshiach. Yeshua said that we speak what we think about. What kinds of words escape your mouth on a regular basis?
Philip. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things honest, whatsoever things just, whatsoever things pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatsoever things of good report; if any virtue, and if any praise, think on these things.”
The only source for true, honest, just, pure, lovely things of good report that are virtuous and praiseworthy is the scripture. When you memorize, meditate – think about what you’re memorizing. Ask Eloha to illuminate your mind so that you can see what he wants you to see in that passage.
Matthew, on the other hand, goes directly to the pinnacle of the temple. He is writing to Jews to try to convince them that Yeshua is the Moshiach. HaSatan here quotes a well known Messianic prophecy from
Psalm 91:11-12, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
HaSatan says (in a Mark paraphrase), “Well, I know the scripture every bit as well as you, better in fact! If you’re the Moshiach, jump! Eloha has promised to protect you! Don’t you trust Him?” Yeshua did not ‘fall’ for this one either (do you suppose that’s the source of that idiom?). He wanted Yeshua to misapply scripture, just like he wants, and often gets, us to do. But Yeshua knew the CONTEXT of the verse (Ps.91), and that HaSatan wrested it, as usual. The Psalm refers to how Eloha will protect us as we walk in him, but the main subject of the Psalm is Moshiach. Noone else fulfills the description of the one who completely trusts in Eloha. Yeshua wasn’t fooled for a minute, because he knew the scripture.
At times each of us realizes this kind of protection and guidance from Eloha. Though we are always under his wings we do not always experience or feel the wonder of his providential protection. He has been protecting us all our lives, to bring us to this day and hour for his service. The better we understand this, the more humble we become. Eloha is my personal protection. No president, no king, no Mafia don has ever had security like we have in Moshiach. The Secret Service doesn’t know security like Eloha does. He keeps us because we walk with him. And vice-verse.
Did you notice what HaSatan left out of the quote? “To keep thee in all thy ways” is prominent by its absence. What more proof do you need that HaSatan may know the scriptures, but not believe them? If he believed them he never would have tried using this passage against Yeshua. For it says, “in all thy ways.” Since Yeshua is the fulfillment of this verse there’s no way he’ll apply it improperly, for ALL his ways are kept, that is guarded, by Eloha. And it is an admonition to us, as well
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6)
HaSatan’s next temptation in Matthew is designed to give the world over to the Moshiach out of due time. He offers the kingdoms of the world that have been promised to Yeshua, he just offers them a bit early. It’s as if HaSatan is saying, “They’re going to be yours soon, anyway. Why not take them now?” Remember Abram and Sarai? Eloha promised that they would have a son, from whom would come a great nation, but they were both old and ‘well stricken in years’. So Abe and Sarai decide to help Eloha out by way of Hagar. Now you don’t suppose haSatan had anything to do with that, do you? Eloha is teaching the lesson of waiting on Y’hovah, and deferring gratification until his time. Yeshua is still waiting for the fulfillment of a bunch of prophecies that he SHALL fulfill – more in fact than were fulfilled during his life on earth. But he is waiting on the Father’s timing and not on his own, or in the case of this temptation, HaSatan’s. You make that application to your own life. Q&C
Matt.4.13-16 – Yeshua left Judea and went directly to Galilee (Monopoly had yet to be invented, so he neither passed ‘Go!’, nor collected $200). What he did do was to teach in Capernaum every Sabbath for weeks. In fact, Capernaum became his base of operations for the next 2 years.
The passage in Matt. partially quotes Isaiah 9:1-2,
“Nevertheless the dimness not such as in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”
They were lightly afflicted when they did not utterly destroy the inhabitants of their land in the time of Joshua and the Judges. They were more grievously afflicted when they worshipped pagan elohim.
They indeed saw a great light, for Yeshua taught them on the Sabbaths from this time forward, when he was there of course. It says nothing here about teaching in the synagogue, just that he taught them. Perhaps he taught them after the meeting at synagogue in the corner deli. Or it may have been in synagogue, but I doubt it. I don’t think the leaders there would want to buck the rabbis in Jerusalem. One thing is certain. Yeshua taught with authority, not as the rabbis. The word ‘power’ in greek is exousia, which quite literally means out of his own or his self. The rabbis taught with knowledge, which can be dry, but Yeshua taught with his own authority and the people were delighted and amazed. The greek word for astonished, ekplesso, gives the idea of slapping your forehead or cheeks in amazement. OY VEY!!
As an aside, Zebulon and Naphtali were often listed together when it came time to fight the gentiles in Judges. Barak’s army that fought Sisera was entirely made up of Zevulon’s and Naphtali’s people. Of course, if they’d obeyed the Word of Eloha from the mouths of Moses and Joshua and totally annihilated the gentiles in the land, they would never have had to fight Sisera or the Philistines, et al., and all the problems we live with today in that area would have been averted.
Addendum – The chronology of Thompson’s Chain seems to skip over a couple of important verses in the gospels. But in each of Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels there is one verse left out of the chronology, Mat.4.17 and Mk.1.15. These have to do with the gospel that Yeshua was preaching. It was somewhat different from the gospel we generally preach today. Yeshua was preaching the gospel of the kingdom, which is the gospel to national Yisrael (all twelve tribes), typified in different trees, the fig and the olive. The olive tree typifies believers, while the fig tree typifies unbelievers. The gospel we preach; Moshiach crucified, buried and resurrected; is to the individual who is then ‘graffed into the olive tree’, as we see in Rom.11.17. To be graffed into the olive tree at this time, one must believe the gospel, which is given in 1Cor.15.3-6. In Yeshua’s day, the gospel was to repent and believe that Yeshua was Moshiach the King, offering himself to Yisrael as such. These are not actually 2 different gospels, but aspects of the same one. The overarching gospel is summarized in the sentence, “You can have Peace with Y’hovah instead of the enmity you naturally have.” 1Cor.15.1-3 is not the actual gospel, but the means by which it is attained – the death, burial, and resurrection of Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach haMelech. He now offers himself to each individual as such, and one day soon he will once again offer himself to chol Yisrael who will say, ‘Baruch haba b’shem Y’hovah.”
2 Tim. 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto Eloha, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The divisions of the Word of Eloha, the set times, must be taken into account while studying it. The gospel itself hasn’t changed, but the manner in which it was offered has, from corporate to individual (though individuals were always able to trust Y’hovah for their deliverance). I don’t know that the Thompson editors saw that when they compiled the harmony of the gospels. Q&C
63). Mat.4.18-22 – Four disciples called – Actually they are recalled. These four, along with Nathanael, were called while going from Jerusalem to Cana. They must have gone home to provide for their families, for Yeshua finds them working their trade and business, I think at a pre-appointed time. Peter and Andrew were partners with Zebedee and his sons. The fishing season must have just ended. Now it was time for these men to ply their trade in different waters; the sea of humanity. When the master called them, they left everything without hesitation. I think they were waiting for Yeshua’s call, and that their partners knew it. I would imagine that the miracles they’d witnessed and the words of Yeshua were the main points of conversation during null periods at work, and all four were saying on a regular basis, ‘I can’t wait until I see the Master again.’
But Thompson’s time line is a bit askew, for the next division (#64), the miraculous catch immediately precedes the recall of Peter. It may be that Peter was having second thoughts about his changing professions and leaving his family for long stretches of time, or perhaps his wife was asking him to stay with his family.
Where would I get such an idea? Look at Lk.5.1-9. As Yeshua was walking by the Lake Genneseret, another name for the Sea of Galilee, the crowd was pressing upon him. If you’ve ever been in a crowd, you know how uncomfortable the close quarters can be, almost claustrophobic. Well, he saw two boats there, one Pete’s and the other Zebedee’s. Evidently Pete was well to do and had a crew to do the work, for he was in the boat while the fishermen were cleaning the nets. So, after requesting permission to come aboard, Yeshua stepped into Pete’s boat and asked him to let some slack out of the anchor rope and just drift out a few feet. From there he could comfortably teach the crowd.
What he taught that day we don’t know, but when he was finished teaching he asked Peter to launch out into the deep water for a draught of fish. The workers must have returned while Yeshua was teaching, and having just washed the nets were probably none too pleased at hearing that request. Neither would Peter be, having to pay them for their time to sail out and fish and clean nets once again. Pete even told him, I think he was trying to save money (that would be my reason for saying such a thing), because they’d been unsuccessful at that night’s attempts. But Peter obliged him, knowing who he is. I also think that Zeb and his kids shoved off to stay with Peter and Yeshua and were just far enough away for safe sailing. They were at least watching, for they saw their partner beckoning for help.
When they dropped their nets and inclosed a huge school of fish, enough to sink both boats, Pete knew beyond doubt that Eloha was in his boat. He fell at Yeshua’ knees. Why was Yeshua on his knees? Was he praying, or helping with the catch, or both? But Pete fell at his knees. Fell is from the greek word prospipto, which means to fall prostrate before or towards. Peter asked Yeshua to leave him because he (P) was unworthy to be in his (Y) presence. Astonished is from the greek word periecho which means to get your mind around a concept. They grasped the idea immediately that Yeshua is Eloha. They also got their minds around the idea that they probably wouldn’t have to fish anymore this year. To use the vernacular, they had just ‘cracked the nut’ for this year. There was no necessity to stay to provide for their families. Yeshua had just seen to that.
Has Yeshua made your way clear financially so that you can serve him? Have you balked at that service for fear that your family would not be provided for? I have and it was sin in my life, the sin of pride, believe it or not, and of failure to trust the promises of Eloha. If I didn’t provide for my family, who would? Eloha has promised that he would take care of me and mine, but I often fail to trust him, even still today. Yeshua removed all their valid arguments to following him with that draught of fish. How has he done the same for you? Have you forsaken all, just left it, to follow him? Q &C
Vv.23-25 – So now, with at least 4 talmidim in tow, Yeshua does the itinerant preacher bit, delivering the gospel of the Kingdom we spoke of earlier. We are not told anything he said, but we are told what he did that taught the gospel of the Kingdom of Eloha without him having to say a word, if his audience knew the sod of Torah – he healed all manner of sickness and disease among the people. Physical illness is a metaphor for sin, and healing the sick and diseased is a metaphor for taking the sin away. Yeshua was modeling the New Covenant in metaphor
31 Behold, the days come, saith Y’hovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith Y’hovah: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Y’hovah, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Y’hovah: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Y’hovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 35 Thus saith Y’hovah, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; Y’hovah of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith Y’hovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. (Jeremiah 31.31-36)
The people who were being healed and bringing their friends and loved ones for healing may not have understood the metaphor, but the scribes and Pharisees did, whether they publicly acknowledged it or not. And news of a healer definitely got to the Sanhedrin and the political leaders, both secular and religious.
V.24 gets a bit more specific as to the manner of sickness and disease that he healed. Devil possessed, lunatick, and the palsy, all are types of different sins. Some who were devil possessed (daimonidzomai – demonized, affected by demons) were healed, or rather had the devils driven from them. In Matt. 8.28-34 Yeshua casts out a slew of devils into a herd of swine, which is immediately driven over a cliff into the sea. The swineherds (what a job to have in Yisrael) ran away to tell their bosses, the swine ranchers, what happened. The ranchers came out to see if the wild story their employees told was true, and, upon seeing Yeshua, begged him to leave their coasts. Do you suppose they were more interested in the profit from the swine than the spiritual condition of the devil possessed men who were their neighbors, and possibly acquaintances and relatives? No doubt. Who do you suppose were the swine ranchers? Perhaps Herodians or Sadducees, members of the Sanhedrin? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t doubt it. How many preachers today sell all types of merchandise, including what they know to be corrupt bibles and all sorts of talismans [prayer cloths come readily to mind], to make a profit? The point is that the devil possessed men are cleansed of their tormentors and the ranchers don’t much care; they really just want their pigs back.
Lunaticks (selenidzomai – affected by the moon) were moon struck, that’s what the greek word means, considered to be crazy. Today they would be called epileptic, believe it or not. In fact, the margin of the Thompson Chain has a reference to Epilepsy here. They weren’t crazy so much as given to seizures of varying degree. When the seizures came on them, they’d do things that were taken for crazy, for no one would do them being in his right mind (cf.Mat17.14-15). The epileptic has no control of himself during a grand mal. And there does seem to be some minor difference in the seriousness of the seizures at different times of the month, according to epileptics I’ve spoken to. Could it be moon phases having a physical effect on the person’s brain, like it does with the tides of the ocean?
The palsy was a reference to paralysis, the greek word is paralutikos or paralytic. The word literally means to loosen beside and therefore to have no use of muscles in a portion of the body. This could be caused by nerve damage, stroke or any number of things. Yeshua healed all of these things to bring glory to Eloha thereby. He literally fixed severed nerves, repaired portions of the brain affected by stroke and epilepsy, and sent devils packing, never wishing the glory for himself, always giving glory to his Father in heaven. How about you and me? Do we want Eloha to get the glory for what he does through us, or do we want the credit? And this was so amazing to the people that many just followed wherever he went to witness the power of Eloha being sent forth through him. The power that he displayed gave witness to the power of his words in comparison to the rote dogma taught by the rabbis (or pastors). As we said a couple of pages ago, he taught with authority from himself, not just parroting what the teachers, sages and rabbis of blessed memory said. Rote dogma is usually dry and uninteresting. When Yeshua spoke, it was always as fresh to them as newly fallen snow. Q&C
End of Midrashic bible study.