Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blessings and Curses | Parashat Ki Tavo | His EVERY Word

Portion Ki Tavo ~ Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
Blessings and Curses
A cursory read through this week’s portion invariably leaves a sober imprint of the verses regarding God’s promise of blessings for obedience, and especially His dire warning of curses for disobedience. 

Here we find Israel coming into Adonai’s chosen land. Through this tiny peoplethe “least” among nations, the Almighty would reveal Himself and work His redemption for the world. From Jerusalem, where Adonai has placed His Name forever, His glory, holiness, justice, lovingkindness, and mercy would be made manifest to the nations. All this through Israel, even in her fall. “For salvation (Yeshua in Hebrew) is from the Jews.” Deut. 7:7, 1 Kings 9:3, 2 Chron. 7:16, John 4:22 

All redemptive prophecy begins and culminates with and through Israel. Jesus is not a new paradigm, separate from the people of His lineage. Right up to very end, throughout the book of Revelation, He is the [Passover] Lamb, “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” and He Himself proclaims: “I am the root and the descendant of David.” Revelation 5:5, 22:16
There is a grave misunderstanding among those who love Jesus. This week’s portion throws a spotlight on Scriptures that often compound this misunderstanding. 
We must understand that every kingdom has a king. And every kingdom has laws, regulations, and statutes that identify it uniquely among the nations.

YHVH is God Almighty over all kings and kingdoms. His ways are beyond ours—high and lifted up—wisdom surpassing the wise—lovingkindness, grace, mercy, and justice in unfathomable measure. And He is holy, holy, holy

Into a barbaric world, He desires to show His attributes through Israel
“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? Deuteronomy 4:5-8 

Israel was already a “redeemed” people, “chosen by God’s grace,” “set apart” for His purposes. 

The “Law,” or Torah was two-fold:
  1. Torah means teaching. It taught God’s people HOW to live as a redeemed people—that the world would learn of the One True Living God and His Kingdom.
  2. It contained the system for a temporary remedy for sin until Messiah, the final sacrifice, and the end of the sacrifice system. (And transition to the new priesthood.)
Consistently throughout the Scriptures, obedience to God’s commandments carried with it the issue of relationship, love, faithfulness, and earthly promises so that the nations would see His goodness. Disobedience was tantamount to infidelity (in the sight of the nationsmocking His Nameand idolatry, whoring with other Gods. This reaped earthly disaster.

God pleaded with Israel to be faithful and live under His protection and blessing. 

“This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. The Lord  has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.” Deuteronomy 26:16-19

“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God; Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country…” Deuteronomy 28:1-3
Disobedienceunfaithfulness to God, was a conscious choice. Knowingly turning one’s back on the goodness of God while living in His Kingdom was folly. (Like living in a country illegally, taking the benefits, but not abiding by its laws. Yet far worse, considering this is God Almighty who bestowed His Kingdom and untold blessings upon us!) YHVH clearly delineated the spiritual laws of His Kingdom—as real as the physical laws of our world. If one jumps off a building, he is subject to the laws of gravity.
“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country…” Deuteronomy 28:15-16

The Tenakh is replete with such warnings. And yet, we are told that the accounts in the Old Testament happened as an example and were recorded FOR US, FOR OUR INSTRUCTION. 1 Corinthians 10:11 
So where does this idea come from... that after YHVH spent the lion’s share of the Bible using Israel (and severely punishing her) TO INSTRUCT US on how important His commands are TO HIM ... and Jesus reiterated the authority of Torah in Matthew 5:17-20 ... and Paul said the Law is “holy, and just, and good,” ... the Law “is spiritual” (Romans 7:12,14) ... we “establish the Law” (Romans 3:31), etc., ...that God suddenly did away with His Torah for the life of the redeemed who carry His Name?! Where DOES this idea come from?
I propose He didn’t. We change and waver, but He is trustworthy, unchanging, immutable. “For I, the LORD, do not change…” Malachi 3:6

“The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:11

Blessed be His Holy Name, forever, amen!

Shabbat shalom!
His EVERY Word Ministries


Friday, August 11, 2017

The Creative Force of Love | Parashat Eikev | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Eikev 

פרשת עקב

“If You Follow”

Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
B'rit Chadashah: Romans 8:31-39

Shabbat | 12 August 2017 | 20 AV 5777

The Creative Force of Love
It’s clear from the beginning, Adonai is a God of love. He loves us far more than we love Him. 
The testimony is resplendent. The immeasurable expanse of the universe, populated with innumerable magnificent heavenly bodies, and an infinitesimal measure of particles, discretely balanced to present a singular planet in a singular solar system, a singular habitation to sustain His beloved creation ... that we may come to know “the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you. Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it.” Deuteronomy 7:21, 10:14
In the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament), we are instructed regarding love from Torah:
  • “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37
  • “ shall love your neighbor as yourself...” Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39
It’s an unfortunate misjudgment of the Almighty that to many Christians the Old Testament is believed to be all about judgment, in contrast to the the New Testament, which is believed to be all about grace.
The creative force of YHVH is LOVE The LOVE of God bestowed forgiveness through His chesed חסד, grace, and taught man to LOVE and forgive. 
This radical ideal changed history, and set standards for ethics and morality that stand to this day. 
One of the great Hebrew sages taught: “The world rests upon three things: Torah, service to God, and bestowing chesed (grace and lovingkindness).” Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers

The Divine LOVE with which God manifested creation is a standard for humanity: LOVE your neighbor, LOVE the stranger, show forth His charity, His compassion, and His justice. Build a world that conforms to the blueprints of His LOVE!
For the LORD your God is God of gods 
and LORD of lords,
 the great God, mighty and awesome, 
who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 
He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, 
and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 
Therefore love the stranger, 
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 
You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, 
and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 
He is your praise, and He is your God, 
who has done for you these great and awesome things 
which your eyes have seen.” 
—Deuteronomy 10:17-21

You say, “but wait, there’s an ‘if’!” 
“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.” Deuteronomy 7:12-15
Yes, Adonai constructed the universe with spiritual laws as immutable as the natural laws He created. Like gravity, they are purposeful and beneficial. When disregarded (such as jumping off a building), one must be aware of the consequences. 
The LORD has given us His Word that His beloved creation may know how to live a pleasing life before Him and be blessed. This is what He desires for us
"When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is for all humanity." Ecclesiastes 12:13 
His spiritual laws express His LOVE. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” I John 5:3

The law of LOVE is just, ethical, and balanced with grace and mercy. The plumb line is extended from Heaven. Let us look upward to His higher way and be humbled and transformed by the prescient LOVE that first apprehended us. “We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
The LOVE of God is faithful, transcendent, and triumphant, as our B'rit Chadashah portion proclaims: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,” (Romans 8:39) which we receive through our Messiah Yeshua.

Our Haftarah portion, also reminds of the faithful LOVE of God. When Israel thought herself forsaken, Adonai answered, Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:15-16

In Isaiah 50:1 Adonai even challenges: “Where is the certificate of divorce? In spite of initiating the certificate of divorce against His adulterous bride, Israel (Jeremiah 3:8), His LOVE, mercy, and faithfulness will overcome His anger, and He will restore His bride for His Name's sake.
YHVH defined LOVE with the most astonishing revelation: In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” I John 4:9

The GOSPEL in the Genealogy of GENESIS 5

Now here is a question for you to ponder. How did one become a member of God’s family prior to the death and resurrection of Yeshua? Post resurrection, now that is easy.  One, realizing they are lost in their sin and consequently on their way to an eternity separated from God, looks back to the work of Yeshua on Calvary’s tree. Seeing they are without any righteous merit of their own they put their faith in the Messiah’s once and for all work for them. They place their absolute belief in the fact that the death and resurrection of Israel’s redeemer, Jesus of Nazareth, paid the price for all their sins. His work of redemption and their faith in it makes them a member of God’s family. Romans 10:9-11

But for those seeking that family membership prior to the Messiah giving His life on the cross, what was the process for them? Some might say that all one had to do was keep the Law, but we know that wasn’t the case. Paul said, “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20-21 
God's Law was given for the redeemed to live by, it identified what sin was. It was not to trust for one’s eternal destiny. So if not by keeping the Law, what then?
Well, others will say that family membership was accomplished by simply “believing” God. Here Abraham is pointed to. And Genesis 15:5-6 is that cornerstone text, “And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. But was this the first, the once and for all act that gave Abraham family membership? Hebrews 11:8 tells us of an act of faith by Abraham that predates the Genesis 15 story. So if he already was in the family, what got him there? Paul throws some light on yet another possibility. 
In Acts 26:22-23 he says, “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."
Here two points are made by Paul. The first is that the prophets and Moses spoke of a future event. The second is that the event of which they spoke was the future death of the Messiah and His resurrection from the dead. Sounds strangely like a forward view of the gospel message we speak today, a message whether looking forward to it or as in our case back on it, places sinners in the family of God by exercising faith in it. 

The gospel message is indeed found in the Old Testament. Was belief in it what placed one into the family of God? Was this the way Abraham and indeed all other Old Testament saints were made children of Adonai? We’ll let you ponder that one. 
What follows is one example of the gospel in the Old Testament. Genesis five, written by Moses, is not only a lineage but a presentation of the gospel as well. You’ve got to look for it, but it’s there. The Hebrew reader had to of had a clear understanding of what was being said as he would know what each of these names meant. All he had to do was put it together. So join us in the exercise and see what you think. 
(We find the Genesis 5 genealogy also in Luke 3:36-38 in reverse. It ends with Adam, making the point that he alone was a son of God. From Adam on, all are sons of Adam, sons of man.)

Adam אדם
Adam means man, mankind. (Genesis 1:26) Interestingly both the first man and the first woman were “Adam.” (Genesis 1:27) Eve was not named until after the fall. (Genesis 3:20)

Seth שת
Adam's son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said of her son: “"For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed."” (Genesis 4:25)

Enosh אנוש
Seth's son was called Enosh, meaning mortal. From the root anash, it speaks of an incurable wound, grief, sickness, or wickedness.

Kenan קינן
Enosh's son was named Kenan, which is believed to mean sorrow. (It is believed that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)

Mahalalel מהללאל
Kenan's son was Mahalalel. Ma’halal means blessed or praise; and El in Hebrew is God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Biblical names often include El, the name of God, as Daniel,  which means, “God is my Judge.”

Jared (Ya’red) ירד
Mahalalel's son was named Ya’red. The Hebrew word, yaradh, means shall come down.

Enoch (Chanoch) חנוך
Jared's son was named EnochChanoch in Hebrew, which means teaching. “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). He did not see death, Hebrews 11:5 tells us, for he pleased God. Jude 1:14-15 also mentions Enoch prophesying the return of Yeshua: “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Methuselah מתושלח
Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who died the year of the great flood. His name means His death shall bring.

Lamech למך
Methuselah's son was named Lamech, meaning despairing. The root word forms our own English word, lament or lamentation. 

Noah (Noach) נח
Lamech is the father of Noah. Noah means rest or comfort, for Lamech said when naming him, “This one will comfort us...” (Genesis 5:29) The Hebrew word for comfort is nacham  נחם, and not only means comfort or rest, but interestingly, it also means repentance.

Putting it all together:
Man [is] appointed [to] mortal sorrow; [but the] Blessed God shall come
down teaching; His death shall bring the despairing rest, or comfort.

We encourage you to enjoy the following video teaching by Chuck Missler explaining this profound portion of text:

As you might imagine the production of the weekly Parashah is a rather labor intensive process. Consequently some much needed "R and R" accounts for a brief offering from time to time. Since we have grown to love our communication with you, we will still endeavor to have some "challah" to share around the Lord’s Shabbat table. Hopefully they will pique your interest and be spiritually enriching. It is our joy to study and write. Because of you it has been our blessing to minister in this very special way.

Richest blessings to you this Shabbat!
In Messiah's Love,
His EVERY Word Ministries

Friday, July 28, 2017

Journey's End | Parashat Devarim | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Devarim
פרשת דברים

Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
B’rit Chadashah: Acts 9:1-21

Shabbat | 29 July 2017 | 6th of Av 5777

Tisha B’Av—the 9th of Av
24 hour fast: 
Through TUESDAY, August 1, at SUNDOWN

Our Wilderness Journey Ends...
     And What Have We Learned?

Beyond the Jordan...
We open the book of Deuteronomy to find the Assembly of Israel encamped in Moab, beyond the Jordan. It has been forty years since Adonai redeemed the Children of Abraham out of Egypt, and they are finally poised to take possession of the Land promised to their forefathers.  

Hmm... that’s not entirely accurate. Actually, the generation that came out of Egypt perished in the wilderness, with the exception of Joshua, Caleb, and Moses. And Moses has little more than a month before he will climb Mount Nebo and die, only having seen the Land from afar.
The Greek word Deuteronomy comes from the Hebrew word, devarim  הַדְּבָרִים, which means words. The opening sentence of the Book of Deuteronomy gives us the theme: “These are the words which Moses spoke...” אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה “Eleh devarim asher dabar Mosheh.”
Moses longs with every fiber of his being to accompany his People Israel into the Divine inheritance, but Adonai is intractable. The last mission of our prophet and deliverer will be to prepare the congregation to live as a redeemed people before their God. Moses’ divinely inspired words lay essential foundations and reveal prophetic paradigms that perfect and guide all who lay claim to the Name of the LORD.

As mentioned last week, we have been in a season known as Between the Straits, the three week period preceding Tisha B’Av, or the 9th of the month of Av

Tish'a B'Av / תשעה באב
“...mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 NIV

Tisha B'Av (Hebrew: תשעה באב or ט׳ באב, "the Ninth of Av,") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, as well as many other major catastrophes throughout Jewish history.

Tish'a B'Av begins at sundown on Monday, July 31, in 2017.
This is a time of mourning for the Nation of Israel, in which joy and celebration is minimized. The sting of Divine judgement is acutely felt. Weddings and public celebrations are put off as pleasure and frivolous activity gives way to introspection and repentance.
The day of Tisha B’Av is commemorated in synagogues around the world by the reading of the book of Lamentations and the recitation of prayers of mourning. The Torah cabinet is draped in black.

Major Catastrophes That Occurred on Tisha B'Av:
  • The 10 Spies‘ evil report of the Promised Land was accepted by the congregation of Israel in the desert, bringing severe judgment forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel (1312 BC)
  • The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled (586 BC)
  • The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews were slaughtered. Another one million were exiled (70 AD)
  • The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. More than 100,000 Jews were slaughtered (135 AD)
  • Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina by Rome. The Temple area was plowed under, Jews no longer were allowed access, and Jerusalem became a pagan city as all traces of the God of Israel were erased 
  • Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade. Untold masses of Jews were murdered (1096 AD)
  • The Jews were expelled from England (1290 AD)
  • The Jews were expelled from France (1306 AD)
  • The expulsion of Jews from Spain under the Spanish Inquisition was completed on Tisha B'Av in 1492
  • WWI broke out on the eve of Tisha B'Av in 1914, setting the stage for the Holocaust
  • The mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to extermination camps began on the eve of Tisha B'Av in 1942
We encourage you to pray earnestly for the Jewish People during this time of mourning and historic tragedy. And stand for Israel and the Jewish People.

Please keep Israel and the Jewish People in prayer as anti-Semitism continues to rise at a frightening pace. 

We highly recommend watching:

Covenant and Controversy Part One: The Great Rage
Produced by Frontier Alliance International
Director: Dalton Thomas
Produced by FAI STUDIOS, exploring the history and theology of the enduring controversy over the Jewish people, the Land of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem. 

'The Great Rage' features Dalton Thomas, Stephanie Quick, Michael Reynolds, Joel Richardson, Dr. Michael Brown, Barry Horner, and Scott Volk.

Covenant and Controversy Part II: The City of the Great King 

A city known by many names, Jerusalem is a central character in the biblical narrative and redemptive history, yet she is burdened by competing ambitions. 'The City of the Great King' is the second installment in this five-part series, examining the age-old controversy over this city so inextricably knit to the Everlasting Covenant. Is grace enough to save these ancient hills so marred by sin, blasphemy, war and covenantal infidelity?
Directed by DALTON THOMAS 
Director of Photography MARC ASH
The issues seem complex and it seems gross deception grips many in the western world. Perhaps the most perplexing and heartbreaking is antisemitism (cloaked in anti-Israelism) coming from the church. Consider the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voting on banning the the word "Israel" from prayers and hymns ... as if their active support of BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) campaigns against Israel aren't enough of a statement.... 

For an articulate simplification, Pat Condell sorts it all out: 

The inception of the curse upon this date throughout history (according to Jewish commentary) was the grievous betrayal when Israel believed the evil report of the spies returning from the Promised Land, and cried out against the LORD and His servants: 
“And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’” (Numbers 14:2-4 )
Thus Caleb and Joshua would be the only ones of their generation to be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Even Moses and Aaron would be denied this privilege. 

Much like Esau, who did not value his inheritance, but quickly traded it away for the promise of temporal worldly comfort, this generation of Israel that came out of Egypt spurned the Divine Land—their inheritance from Adonai. The cost they paid was immeasurable. 

What have we learned? 
The Book of Deuteronomy promises a glorious existence to Israel—blessings above all the nations of the earth—if she is faithful to Adonai. Dire warnings also, are painstakingly described, of her fate if she is unfaithful to her LORD and Divine protector. 
She chooses to go her own way, as is the nature of man, and for nearly 2,000 years suffers dispersion among the nations—scattered, “among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other,” to nations where she will “find no rest,” and have “anguish of soul.” (Deuteronomy 28:64,65)
Yet, our Gracious God has restored the Land of Israel, and is gathering His remnant from the four corners of the earth, where they were scattered. Where are the Joshuas and Calebs of this generation who will stand unafraid in the face of giants (world sentiment) for the LORD, and treasure their Divine inheritance? 
The LORD is zealous for Zion with a great zeal, and has promised that when He restores Zion, old men and women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, her streets full of children playing. This is happening now. He will save and gather His people from the east and the west ... this is happening now. Prosperity has once again come to the Land, and God is calling to His People to turn to Him and seek righteousness ... even promising to turn the fasts of Israel, including Tisha B’Av to, “joy and gladness and cheerful feasts.”   
Yes, through triumph and tragedy, faithfulness and transgression, redemption and diaspora, God has loved Israel with an everlasting love, (Jeremiah 31:3) and will exalt her in the end for the sake of His Holy Name. “Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.” 
“Thus says the LORD of Hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the border of a Jewish man's garment, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:1-23)

Deuteronomy 1 ~ The First Discourse of Moses
“These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. On this side of the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law...” (vs. 1-5)
 “Law, or Torah  תורה in Hebrew, means law, direction, instruction.
The Israelites in the wilderness were plagued with unbelief. Reason and fear clouded their faith. Here on the far side of the Jordan, Moses will remain, having lost through disobedience, the supreme privilege of leading the Tribes into their inheritance. How? Because Moses robbed Adonai of His Glory before His People at the waters of Meribah. This momentary act of disobedience misrepresented the Holy One of Israel—a serious thing!
Moses now recounts to the Israelites their journey from Horeb to Kadesh-Barnea—and reminds them just how close they came to possessing the Land a generation past—had they not listened to the evil report and turned against God and His servants. 
Defiance of their Glorious God and King ... shocking disobedience and rebellion after all Adonai had done ... we can only shake our heads in disbelief at these “stiff-necked” Jews. 
Yet, are they any different than us?
Matthew Henry sees a commonality between the Israelites of antiquity and all people of faith in his commentary on Deuteronomy 1:
“An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith.” —Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
It’s unfortunate that most Christians have a fairly negative knee-jerk reaction to the words “law” and “Torah.” It’s doubtful that the Holy Spirit would inspire this aversion to any portion of God’s Holy Word.  
What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? Certainly not!” Romans 7:7 

Quite possibly there has been misunderstanding regarding how a Gentile believer might relate to the Torah. But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it lawfully...” 1 Timothy 1:8 

What would be the Torah’s “lawful” use? The Torah is not and never was a means of salvation. The Torah was given to an already redeemed people (chosen and redeemed by grace), to teach how a redeemed people shall live before a Holy God. 
The Hebrew word Torah does not and never did mean “Law.” It means, and always has meant, “Teaching” (Herford). The word Torah may refer to moral guidance, or to a single specific teaching, as in Proverbs 1:8, ‘forsake not the teaching (torah) of thy mother.’ It is also applied to a body of religious precepts of teachings—such as form the central portion of the Book of Deuteronomy. Often it denotes the entire sum of Israel’s religious doctrine and life—the Torah of Moses.” Dr. J.H. Hertz, PENTATEUCH AND HAFTORAHS, SONCINO PRESS, 1936
Blood sacrifice on the altar dealt with the problem of sin. (Leviticus 17:11) From the time of the rebellion in the Garden, there has been a need for blood sacrifice to remedy the problem of sin. Adonai provided the first sacrifice when he covered Adam and the woman with the skin of an animal. In the Torah, YHVH instructed the Priesthood to provide blood sacrifices to cover the sins of His People. 

In the fullness of time, He sent Yeshua, His Son, the Lamb of God, the once-for-all sacrifice, who covers our transgressions—which are outlined in His Wordfrom Genesis to Revelation

A large portion of commandments in the Torah—the first five books of the Bible—are not allowed to be done today as there is no Temple or Priesthood in Jerusalem. But the moral commandments transcend time, and lift the redeemed above the lawless, godless, and hopeless of the nations—identifying them as citizens of the Kingdom of Light.
Our God has inspired us to delight in and treasure His Word—including the Torah/Law
  • "My son, do not forget my Torah, but keep my commands in your heart." Proverbs 3:1
  • “The Torah of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul...” Psalm 19:7
  • I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your Torah is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
  • Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your Torah." Psalm 94:12
  • “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your Torah.” Psalm 119:18
  • Great peace have those who love Your Torah.” Psalm 119:165
  • “For the commandment is a lamp, And the Torah a light.” Proverbs 6:23
One may say, “Ah, but that is the “Old” Testament—Paul speaks against the Torah in the “New” Testament!” But does he, really? It is confusing.
Paul never departs from scrupulous observance. What he does is continually correct every instance of erroneous dependance upon Torah observance for justification. Salvation is through Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice alone. How one lives as a member of the redeemed community is another story. 

Paul did not tell the Corinthian church to stop keeping the biblical feasts, but he did instruct them how to keep the feast as a new creation—with regards to Passover, for instance: keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:8)
How does that square with: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)? Or Galatians 5:3 for that matter—that any man who is circumcised is a debtor to keep the whole law?
Well, obviously there has been a problem with the interpretation. Once again, Paul is addressing those who rely on the circumcision or the keeping of the law for their salvation. They must keep the law perfectly, or they are lost! (Which they are— Yeshua alone was able to walk this earth as a sinless man.)
Why would Paul be so inconsistent as to tell believers to be obedient to the most ungodly earthly rulers, (Titus 3:1) and at the same time instruct them to be rebellious to Almighty God? (A teaching, by the way, that would utterly contradict the explicit Words of his beloved Lord, Yeshua...) 

Answer: he didn’t... When read in context, we can see Paul doing much the same as Yeshua—bringing light, understanding, and correct interpretation. 

Context is essential to understanding the perceived conflicting words of Paul. Paul said too many positive things about Torah for us to believe that it was his intent to create a church that would be disrespectful to God or any portion of His Word, in essence embracing lawlessness.
  • “Do we then make void the Torah through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.” Romans 3:31
  • “Therefore the Torah is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Romans 7:12
  • “For we know that the Torah is spiritual...” Romans 7:14
  • “For I delight in the Torah of God according to the inward man.” Romans 7:22
Are you rolling your eyes? Are you compiling a list of difficult (or what may seem ridiculous) commandments to keep—such as not mixing wool and linen in the same garment? If so, I would ask why you can trust Yeshua’s sacrifice to atone for some sins but not others, such as that which is commanded in the first five books of the Bible

Only the mind set on the Spirit can discern these truths 

Paul explains: 
"...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:7,8
The early church were fruitful branches grafted into the original root and tree being Israel. They worshiped the God of Israel and His Messiah, Yeshua, the Root of Jesse, and Son of David. Erroneous influences had to be addressed such as gnosticism and the notion that Gentiles could not be saved without conversion to Judaism first. And we are still coming up with a plethora of brilliant but flawed ideas to this day

History reveals that anti-Semitism (not biblical exegesis), formulated abominable theology born of the accusation that the Jews “killed God,” and thus were without expiation for eternity. As expressed by the early Church Fathers, this belief system inspired the dictates forbidding Christians from observing the Sabbath, the feasts in Leviticus 23, or any of the “observances of the odious Jews.” The modern church has inherited that antipathy to the Torah, but thankfully it has not adopted the rabid anti-Semitism on the over-arching scale that characterized the councils of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. 

Many theologies have been developed to reconcile what seems to be a vast change in Adonai BUT, this is God, “who changes not.” (Malachi 3:6) 

Has our God, the Sovereign of Creation who calls all who love Him to obey His commandments—in both Old and New Testaments, really changed? Or is it perhaps man that attempts to change Him to conform to our sensibilities?
We set ourselves above the Holy Spirit, and judged the foundations of Holy Writ to be unworthy. That accomplished, we found ourselves freed. No anchor, no manifest, no ruler. Each man his own, answerable only to conscience and reason. Good humour and godly intent succumbed to self preservation, and selfish pursuit as the seas of life drowned the Eternal’s small voice, and storm-tossed vessels lost their bearings for want of anchor, rudder, and alas, the Almighty’s guiding Hand.” (Unknown)

We have seemingly exalted lawlessness—rejection of Torah—as if it were a noble thing to do. 

Yet lawlessness and rejection of Torah is the very thing the bulk of Scripture teaches us grieves the heart of God, and cost the Israelites inconceivable hardship. 

Has the Almighty changed? 

Not according to 2 John 1:6:

“This is love, 
that we walk 
according to His commandments. 
This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, 
you should walk in it.” 
Trust, obedience, faith, hope, and love—these will keep the earnest pilgrim on track, lead by the light of the Spirit of the Holy One, blessed be He, amen!

Haftarah Devarim
Isaiah 1:-27

Our Haftarah portion for this week is Isaiah 1:1-27.  There are a couple of points to be made as we examine this passage. The first is a reminder. You’ll recall what was said last week regarding the theme of the weekly Haftarah selection no longer corresponding to that of our Torah portion. 

“From this point on the sages, who originally selected the Haftarah text, looked to a different end. Up to now they wanted a passage that dove-tailed into or embellished the Torah portion, but now and in the future texts the Haftarah will reflect the horrific events of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.”

This week is no different. In our Isaiah text we once again see Jerusalem and its impending destruction as the wrenching subject Isaiah must deal with. And, there is that second point as well. It is to be found in the act of repentance, with one additional and certainly essential element. So lets move on.  

We must start out in the sixth chapter. The book of Isaiah is not chronological so let's see how it is that Isaiah can say the things that he did. We’ll see it all starts with him recognizing his inadequacy to do the job God has called him to do.
“In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’" (vs. 6:1-5)
Can you even begin to imagine such a sight? No wonder Isaiah saw how utterly insufficient he was for the task of delivering Adonai’s message to His people. But God does not send us out unprepared for any mission to which He calls us. That certainly included Isaiah. And so... 
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (vs. 6:6-8)
Having been thus prepared Isaiah now launches into the message of chapter one. In verse one we are told that Isaiah delivered this message during the reigns of four different kings of the Southern kingdom. The discourse concerned that kingdom, Judah, and its crown jewel, the holy city of Jerusalem. We do not know the exact time of this message’s delivery. It may have been spoken just once, or in an episodic manner, or continually through the reigns of all four kings. No matter though. What is important is its condemnation of Israel and their impending destruction for their rebellion against Adonai and His Covenant with them. Just imagine being in a crowd observing Isaiah as he delivered these stinging words.
“Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master's manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand.’ Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him. Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion?” (Isaiah 1:2-5a)
The sin here is rebellion, rebellion that as you’ll recall this nation’s history has been demonstrated repeatedly. And God has dealt with it, but this nation refuses to recognize its owner—as an ox would, or its proper place in its Master’s house—as a donkey would. They refuse to recognize and live the simplest of truths and so Isaiah describes them as follows.
“The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil.” (Isaiah 1:5b-6)
Israel—and Judah specifically here—has been “beat up” time and again for their rebellious ways. So now they are described as having bruises, welts and raw wounds. But they have refused to have these wounds attended to. They do not bandage them or soften them with oil. Here is a people that would rather live with the results of the chastisement of God unattended to; this rather than repent, or...tend to their wounds.

Now notice that even though rebellious, they continued the outward appearance of worshiping their God. However, so significant was their rebellion that God would have none of it.
What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?’ says the LORD. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.’”  (Isaiah 1-11-14)
This is not a denial of the sacrificial system. After all that very system had been established by Adonai Himself. No, this was God’s condemnation of religious worship that went no further than its outward appearance. There was no substance to these actions, only form without content.

Did you see in verse one that the message that followed—what we have just looked at—was given to both the Southern kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem? In verses twenty-four through twenty-seven Judah and Jerusalem are again specifically referred to (a faithful city in v.26 and Zion in v.27), and in 2:1 both are again mentioned. It is both the nation and its holy city that Isaiah says God is going to judge. And this judgement will come because of rebellion in the hearts of its people.

Interesting though, even while rebelling, even after hearing of the impending punishment for that rebellion, these people still went through the motions of worship. But as we have seen it was to no avail. God would have none of it, for He is not interested in form, but rather in content. And we know the history, don’t we. In 586 BC King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. Thus the nation and its city fell to God’s judgement.

Now that we have seen Isaiah speak of the impending fall of Judah and Jerusalem, what of that second point we mentioned in our opening, that of repentance. Did you read verses 15b-20? Might we find there God’s offer of a stayed hand if these people would only repent of their sin?
“‘Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:15b-20)
Yes, there it is. Repentance would have been the answer, but these people let sin overrule. I wonder if this is so very different in our lives today. We don’t have a Temple and there is no sacrificial system involving animals and other offerings today. But! But, each and every one of us as believers in Yeshua as our Lord and Savior ARE identified as priests. I Peter 2:9 says we are members of, “a royal priesthood.”
As a royal priest we too must repent of our sin and live as our Master would have us to live. Then the sacrifices we have to offer will be acceptable to Him. (Hebrews 13:15-16)
Repentance from sin in our lives is surely important if God is to stay His judgement upon us and accept our sacrifices to Him. The Nation of Israel did not repent and judgement was brought upon them. How can any of us think that our lot would be any different if we did not repent of our sin? (Hebrews 12:3-11, I John 5:16) Would our sacrifices be of any value without repentance? Wouldn’t our service to Him be looked upon as only form, but having no substance? And what of that additional and certainly essential element of repentance mentioned above? 

Paul, in I Corinthians 7:8-12, wrote of that element in repentance —“sorrow.”
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation...”
Repentance, Godly repentance, in Hebrew, teshuvah, is turning away from the wrong we are doing and heading in a different direction, God’s direction. And sorrow over the wrong we are turning away from is the attitude we have toward that particular wrong or the feeling we have about that wrong from which we are turning. It is then and only then that as His priests we will be able to offer sacrifices acceptable to Him—those sacrifices that will have substance as well as form
Consider again what the great YHVH, the God of the Israelites and our Heavenly Father, said to His people when they were in need of repentance...
“'Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken."    (Isaiah 1:18-20)
How is the mouth of God... speaking to you?

B’rit Chadashah Devarim
Acts 9:1-21

Our text for this B’rit Chadashah is Acts 9:1-21. This text is the story of a man who while known as Saul of Tarsus was introduced to his Messiah on the road to Damascus. In 5 AD Saul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia located in what is now present day Turkey. His father was a Jew, in fact a Pharisee himself. (Acts 23:6) 

To add to his political stature Saul was a Roman citizen, and a Roman citizen by birth, not by purchase. This was to give Saul special standing as he traveled about a world ruled by Rome. (Acts 22:25-29) 

Saul was raised in Jerusalem from his youth on. (Acts 26:4) There he had the best of education, eventually studying under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a leading Pharisee himself and a renowned teacher of his day. Gamaliel’s position of respect is highlighted in Acts 5:34-40a where he gives counsel to both the Sanhedrin and the High Priest. (Acts 5:21) 

Saul was a man of credentials. He had political standing because of his Roman citizenship obtained by birth. He had family history, his father before him being a Pharisee. He had an educational pedigree, having been educated by the best in Jerusalem. And he now had religious status, having obtained the position of a Pharisee. (Acts 23:6)  
With this as his background Saul says of himself, “...and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” (Galatians 1:14) One might well ask just how it was that Saul exhibited his zeal for his ancestral traditions? 
That answer is to be found in Galatians 1:13 where he says of himself, “For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it...”

It was this man who was on the road to Damascus. It was this man who had full intention of reeking more havoc among those following the One who had claimed to be the long awaited Messiah. This was the man who had looked on and consented to the murder of the first martyr of those known as, “believers in the Lord.” (Acts 5:14, 8:1) It was this very man that Jesus stopped on the road to Damascus... and changed his life forever.
Little did Saul know what was ahead of him. He had been a man pressing forward in his ongoing mission to bring an end to this movement known at the time as, the Way. (Acts 9:2) Now it was all going to change. Blind, he had to be led by the hand to his destination. The voice speaking from the light that had blinded him identified Himself as, Jesus. This had to have been the shock of Saul’s life. It was the followers of this very Jesus—this One who had claimed to be the coming Messiah—that Saul had dedicated himself to eradicate. Somehow, Saul must have known that from here forward everything would change. But how?
It was three days later that the first hint of how this would happen was revealed. The Lord spoke to a follower of His, who himself proclaimed the Way, and told him to go and minister to Saul. In these instructions Jesus opens a window on just how Saul’s life would change. The Messiah said to Ananias, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." (Acts 9:15-16)

In this one short statement the rest of Saul’s life is laid out. He would witness. He would suffer. And so much could be said of the rest of Saul’s life, but of the suffering, Saul—now known as Paul—sums it all up this way:
“ far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27)
In these United States, we as believers in Yeshua, as followers of the Way, do not know of suffering for our faith such as this. But we dare not be fooled into complacency or disbelief. All we must do is look around the world to see fellow believers suffer so for His name’s sake. Is this uncommon or unexpected? Of course not. What do our fathers in the faith, inspired of God the Holy Spirit, instruct us on this topic so grievous to our flesh?
Peter, that, “son of thunder,” who died crucified upside down on a Roman stake says this: 
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
The Apostle Paul, once known as Saul and persecutor of the Way for which he would later suffer beheading, says this to one of his many sons in the Faith:
“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
And the Apostle John must be heard for he brings reason and hope to these warnings. He recounts the words of comfort from the One who blinded Saul and launched his life of witnessing and suffering. It was our Great God and Savior that said: 
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Suffering to one degree or another, it seems, is to be a part of the life of every dedicated   follower of the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of our souls. But our sure hope is in Messiah’s words, that in Him we can have peace because, He has overcome the world. 
The Apostle Paul has much more to say on the topic of persecution for the Faith, but perhaps we can conclude with this last thought, one of his own. In writing to his son in the faith, Timothy, he says this: 
“Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:10-12)
It’s got to make you think on the suffering your experiencing for the Faith right now...or...perhaps on the fact that you’re NOT suffering… even a bit.

I don’t know about you.
But I’ve got to ask myself, 

“If persecution is the gauge,
then how is my desire to live a godly life in the Messiah 

really being measured?

May you have a blessed Shabbat!

In Messiah's Love,

His EVERY Word Ministries

Wherever we stand,

We stand with Israel!