Friday, June 29, 2018

A Prophet for Profit | Parashat Balak | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Balak  פרשת בלק

Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9
Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8
B’rit Chadashah: Romans 11:25-32

Shabbat | 30 June 2018 | 17th of Tamuz 5778

The Greatest Blessing

How lovely are your tents,
O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!
As for me, O God abounding in grace,
I enter your house to worship
with awe in Your sacred place.
I love your house,
Eternal One, the dwelling-place of Your glory;
humbly I worship You,
humbly I seek blessing from God my Maker.
To You, Eternal One, goes my prayer:
may this be a time of your favor.
In Your great love,
O God, answer me with Your saving truth.
The Ma Tovu Prayer

Some have marveled that Moses, Israel’s own deliverer, leveled anger and rebuke, while Balaam  (whose name in Hebrew, Bil’am, means “not of the people,”) gushed forth rapturous praise: “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!” Numbers 24:5 

Perhaps Proverbs 27:2 most aptly explains the incomprehensible choice of Adonai to use this heathen sorcerer and iconic evil pariah, to pronounce the blessing of the ages, the Ma Tovu, upon Israel: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” 
The account of Balaam is a vital story to both Israel and the church. Unfortunately it has degenerated to little more than an amusing anecdote, focusing on a talking donkey, and a fun excuse for children to use the word “ass,” obscuring the powerful and profound message woven into this iconic story. 
Balaam is a type and figure Adonai uses as an example to warn His people. Why is he so important? What does he represent? 

Perhaps he is more relevant than we think, personifying the same seductive influence today, that caused Israel to stumble so long ago. 

From the most abominable mockery of God, our parsha moves into one of the most inspiring prophetic utterances. 

Montefiore says Micah 6:8 is “the purest expression ... and out of the corruption of the age there shines like a star the purest light of prophecy.”
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” 

  • None So Blind
  • The View from a Desolate Height
  • With Eyes Wide Open
  • With Eyes of Lust Israel Falls
  • God's Critical Warning Through Balaam for TODAY

A quick intro for some of our newer readers: What’s a Torah Portion, why are we commenting on it, and what relevance does it have to us?
In a nutshell ... Luke 24:27 tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) revealed Himself through the Old Testament Scriptures, beginning with Moses and the Prophets.  From the time of Ezra, the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) has been read in a yearly rotation by Israel, and this tradition is still observed today. 
In Yeshua’s time, a complimentary portion from the Prophetsthe Haftarah portionwas added to the weekly rotation of readings. Thus, for over two millennia, the children of Abraham have kept this unifying rhythm of studying the same Scriptures throughout the yearalong with commentaries from the sages, including those who influenced the Apostle Paul, such as Hillel. It is therefore enriching and enlightening to delve into these foundational treasures, unearthing the riches of hidden insights revealed in the original Hebrew language or “listening” through the ears of Yeshua’s contemporaries to gain a fresh understanding of this faith sprung from Hebraic soil, and purchased with Jewish blood, by a Son of Israel, the King of the Jews. 
Join us now at the Father’s table as we keep the rhythm of Israel for more than two millennia, anticipating fresh manna from our God and King. As followers of Messiah we have added a corresponding New Covenant portion reflecting the fulfillment and crown of the Torah. 

Numbers 22  None So Blind

“Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. So Moab said to the elders of Midian, ‘Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.’ And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: ‘Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed’” (vs. 2-6).

Our text says that Balak, the king of Moab, was overcome with fear and dread because of the Israelites’ victory over the Amorite kings. Although his fear was baseless (Deuteronomy 2:9), Balak sought a powerful sorcerer to curse God’s People. 
Balak, Baal’aq בלק in Hebrew, means “destroyer,which gives us a little hint of his purpose in the scheme of things... 
Balaam, or Bil’am בלעם in Hebrew, means “not of the people.” He is a well-known heathen prophet and sorcerer.
Hebrew commentaries suggest intransigent hatred that has haunted the Jewish Nation played at least a minor role in this drama. The Hebrew word quwts קוץ, here translated sick with dread, also means to abhor or loathe. Balak could have asked Balaam to bless the Moabites with strength and victory, but chose to curse Israel—a common theme throughout history. 
Rabbi Shraga Simmons notes: “Before the Torah was given, people built their lives on a subjective concept of right and wrong. But at Mount Sinai, it became clear that there is one God Who sets moral standards for humanity. 
And with that, the Jews became a lightning rod for those opposed to the moral message. The Talmud even points out that the word Sinai is closely  related to sinah, the Hebrew word for hatred. In other words, the very source of morality—Sinai—triggers a great hatred from those opposed to its message. 
Amazingly, the evil Hitler gave this reason for persecuting the Jews, by saying: ‘I free mankind from the restraints of conscience and morality.’”
By the end of our parsha, we will find the playing field leveled. Not due to Balaam’s curse, but due to the curse of the fall of man. Israel will be lured from her high ground, mocking the LORD from whom she had just received Divine blessing.
“So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner's fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. And he said to them, ‘Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me.’ So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. Then God came to Balaam and said, ‘Who are these men with you?’" vs. 7-9
Moses had spent many years in Midian, and his father-in-law, Jethro, was a Midianite priest. Therefore, Rabbi JH Hertz also asserts, “The plot of the Moabites and Midianites against Israel was thus the outcome of causeless hatredsinat chinam שנאת חנם,’" the source of the most terrible cruelties in human relations.

"Who are these men with you?" (v. 9) Similar to Genesis 3:9, when Adonai called to Adam, “Where are you?” this does not indicate the Omniscient One lacks the answer. He is drawing Balaam into discourse.

Balaam, seemingly nonplussed at the Voice of the True Living God, explains the nature of the request of his guests. “And God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they [are] blessed.’” v. 12

Although Adonai said, in no uncertain terms, that Balaam shall not (in this case, a fact, not a commandcurse the people, for they are blessed,” he is deceptive, diminishing the Word of the LORD in his answer—claiming it was a temporal issue of permitting him to go with them
“So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, ‘Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you.'” v. 13
Balak thought Balaam was simply driving a hard bargain, and sent more princes of higher stature—appealing to his pride, and enticed this prophet for hire with greater profit—the wages of unrighteousness.
“Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.” vs. 16-17
Balaam’s answer to the servants of Balak is puzzling. He refers to Adonai as, “the LORD my God,” and seems to have a fear of transgressing what God has said. Then however, he invites the company to stay over, hinting that Adonai may give new instructions. “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.” vs. 18-19
Perhaps it’s not so puzzling. How many of us have said, or known someone who said, “The Lord told me (this or that)...” and then a little while down the road He is purportedly saying something entirely different? 
As a pagan sorcerer, Balaam may not have known how to treat Adonai as holy, but we should. A false prophet strengthens the hand of evildoers, but a true prophet turns His People away from wickedness and evil deeds. Adonai declares that He is against false prophets, who speak in His Name. Destruction awaits them. Jeremiah 23
Adonai did speak to Balaam that night, as Balak’s princes slept: If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to youthat you shall do. v. 20

Hebrew commentaries note that Adonai knew the unquenchable longing of Balaam’s heart was to wrest His consent to journey to Moab. In obtaining it (with conditions!) Balaam was plunged into destruction (as we often are when we force our own way). 

Balaam was thrilled! He rose up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and joined the princes of Moab on their return journey.

“Then God’s anger was aroused because he went...” v. 22

What? Why would God be angry? Didn’t He just give His permission? Yes, but it was conditional. He said Balaam may go if the men call him. However, Balaam was so excited to get his own way, that he just jumped up, saddled up, and off he went ... on his own way! Adonai who discerns the thoughts and intents of men’s hearts, knew the double-mindedness of Balaam.

“...and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.   

 Then the Angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there [was] no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.” (vs. 22-27)

Consider, this is a man who has made his living through the divining of omens and interpreting “signs” ... how could he be so blind as to not realize something unusual was hindering him? It’s an interesting statement that a donkey, considered among the lesser intelligent of beasts, was given sight to see the Angel of the LORD, while this so-called prophet was utterly without perception. Boorishly, he simply continues to beat the poor creature. 

Finally, the LORD opened her mouth and the donkey spoke to Balaam. He didn’t seem surprised, but carried on the conversation in his anger!
Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?’ And Balaam said to the donkey,’Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!’ So the donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?’ And he said, ‘No.’” vs. 28-30
When the LORD finally opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD, He was standing in the narrow way with His sword drawn and in His hand! Balaam immediately bowed his head and fell flat on his face. v. 31
“And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.’” v. 32
The word perverse in this verse is yarat ירט in Hebrew, which would be better rendered reckless or destructive. The Angel of the LORD has actually saved Balaam from destruction through the poor creature he was beating.
“The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live. v. 33
“And Balaam said to the Angel of the LORD, ‘I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back...'" v. 34 
There are differing opinions over Balaam’s repentance: Is it over beating his donkey, as cruelty to animals is strictly prohibited in the Torah, or did he realize that he had transgressed Adonai’s conditions, and shouldn’t have been on the journey ... or both?

The Angel of the LORD told Balaam to go with the princes of Balak, “but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” v. 35

When he arrived, Balak greeted Balaam with a barrage of questions, still believing his hesitancy was a ploy for greater rewards. “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?” v. 37

Balaam, seemingly ready to submit to the will of Adonai, indignantly retorted, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak...” v. 38

“Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him. So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.” vs. 40-41

Numbers 23 The View from a Desolate Height

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?” —Numbers 23:8 

In the Babylonian tradition, altars were erected for Balaam—seven altars, seven bulls and seven rams. Then Balaam tells Balak to stand by his burnt offering, and went off by himself to a “desolate height,” saying, “perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” v. 3
And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth. He told him Balaam, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” v. 5
What Satan Meant for Evil...
When Balaam returned to Balak, all the princes of Moab were with him. What Balaam told him was not what he expected to hear. Balaam, seeing through the eyes of the Divine, breaks forth into enraptured blessing:

How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? 
And how shall I denounce [whom] the LORD has not denounced? 
For from the top of the rocks I see him, 
And from the hills I behold him; 
There! A people dwelling alone, 
Not reckoning itself among the nations. 
Who can count the dust of Jacob, 
Or number one-fourth of Israel? 
Let me die the death of the righteous, 
And let my end be like his!” 
vs. 8-10
“For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him; There! A people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations. Numbers 23:9
Israel has always been a people unique among the nations, for she was formed by the Hand of the Almighty for a Supremely Divine purpose. Through Israel the world will know the One True God. Through Israel His Holy Word will come forth. Through Israel all the families of the earth will be blessed on every level—above all, with salvation through Yeshua—Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world.  
From 70AD, when Jerusalem was sacked by Rome, the Jewish People have had none of the unifying factors of community or national identity. Scattered to the four corners of the earth, persecuted, hounded, annihilated, and isolated, they developed many different languages and dialects. Without a homeland for nearly two thousand years, how have they remained “a nation?”  
“This was the question R. Saadia Gaon asked in the tenth century, to which he gave the famous answer: ‘Our nation is only a nation in virtue of its laws (Torah).’ They were the people defined by the Torah, a nation under the sovereignty of God. Having received, uniquely, their laws before they even entered their land, they remained bound by those selfsame laws even when they lost the land. Of no other nation has this ever been true. Only in the case of Judaism is there a one-to-one correlation between religion and nationhood. Without Judaism there would be nothing (except anti-Semitism) to connect Jews across the world. And without the Jewish nation Judaism would cease to be what it has always been, the faith of a people bound by a bond of collective responsibility to one another and to God. 
Bilaam was right. The Jewish people really are unique. What makes Jews ‘a nation dwelling alone, not reckoned among the nations,’ is that their nationhood is not a matter of geography, politics or ethnicity. It is a matter of religious vocation as God's covenant partners, summoned to be a living example of a nation among the nations made distinctive by its faith and way of life. Lose that and we lose the one thing that was and remains the source of our singular contribution to the heritage of humankind. When we forget this, sadly, God arranges for people like Bilaam ... to remind us otherwise. We should not need such reminding.”  —Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of Great Britain
Not Only Israel
As Believers in Yeshua, we too, are to be sanctified, set apart from the world, fulfilling His Divine purpose, as we wait for Yeshua, “...who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:14 

In each generation, we are, “...a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,” (I Peter 2:9), that through us His light would shine in the present darkness out of which we were rescued. The apostle Paul calls us strangers and pilgrims, and indeed we should reckon ourselves as such, as we navigate the tempestuous seas of this fallen world. “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul ... For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer  of your souls.” I Peter 2:11,25
Balak was horrified. “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!” v. 11
But Balaam answered, “Must I not take heed to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth?” v. 12
Balak thinks maybe a change of venue is what is needed. Ignoring the simple truth that Balaam has proclaimed, he suspects Balaam was simply impressed by what he saw from his overlook. Balak asks Balaam to come to another place where he shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there. v. 13

So Balak brought Balaam to the top of Pisgah, and once again built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Once again, Adonai put a word in Balaam’s mouth, which he proclaimed to an impatient Balak, surrounded by his princes:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, 
Nor a son of man, that He should repent. 
Behold, I have received a command to bless; 
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. 
He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, 
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. 
The LORD his God is with him, 
And the shout of a King is among them. 
God brings them out of Egypt; 
He has strength like a wild ox. 
For there is no sorcery against Jacob, 
Nor any divination against Israel. 
It now must be said of Jacob And of Israel, 
‘Oh, what God has done!’” 
vs. 23:19-23

Balak was frantic! He bid Balaam: “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!” v. 25

But what was done, was done. Balaam reminded Balak that he had told him, “All that the LORD speaks, that I must do.” v. 26

In desperation, Balak makes another vain attempt, taking Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking a wasteland, rather than the encampments of Israel, and sets up the seven altars and the seven sacrifices.

Numbers 24 With Eyes Wide Open

Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. Then he took up his oracle and said: 

‘The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
 The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened, 
The utterance of him who hears the words of God, 
Who sees the vision of the Almighty, 
Who falls down, with eyes wide open: 
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! 
Your dwellings, O Israel!’” 
vs. 1-5
Verse five, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!”  is the first sentence of the Ma Tovu prayer, the opening sentence of every Jewish Synagogue service. 
Balaam’s attempt to curse the Israelites turns to blessing in the grips of the Spirit of Adonai. Thus his inspired utterance forms the only words of prayer used in Jewish liturgy from a Gentile. The remaining text is derived from the Psalms.
“...he took up his oracle...” (v.3) We relate the word oracle with divination and the occult, such as the Oracle at Delphi, a shrine where the god Apollo was worshiped, and a priestess communicated with the gods. Strictly forbidden, why would Balaam take up his “oracle” as the Spirit of Adonai came upon him?  
The word translated oracle in this verse is actually mashal משל, the Hebrew word for proverb, parable, words of ethical wisdom. The KJV, ASV, DBY, and HNV all use the word parable rather than oracle.
Balaam went on, empowered by the Spirit of the Almighty:

“Like valleys that stretch out, 
Like gardens by the riverside, 
Like aloes planted by the LORD
Like cedars beside the waters.
He shall pour water from his buckets, 
And his seed shall be in many waters. 
His king shall be higher than Agag, 
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brings him out of Egypt; 
He has strength like a wild ox; 
He shall consume the nations, his enemies; 
He shall break their bones 
And pierce them with his arrows.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion; 
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?'
 "Blessed is he who blesses you, 
And cursed is he who curses you.”
vs. 6-9

Balak raged at Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!” (v. 10) He tells Balaam to depart without his pay, and to blame Adonai for his lost wages.

Before he left, Balaam once more fell into a prophetic ecstasy after advising Balak: “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak?’ And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” vs. 12-14

“So he took up his oracle and said: ‘The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; The utterance of him who hears the words of God, And has the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open...” vs. 15-16

Balaam proceeded to speak of King David, and of Yeshua, King Messiah, Son of David, of the end of Moab, of the glory of Israel, and the end of days...

“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; 
A Star shall come out of Jacob; 
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, 
And batter the brow of Moab, 
And destroy all the sons of tumult. 
And Edom shall be a possession; 
Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, 
While Israel does valiantly. 
Out of Jacob One shall have dominion,
 And destroy the remains of the city. 
Then he looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said: 
‘Amalek was first among the nations, 
But shall be last until he perishes.’ 
Then he looked on the Kenites, and he took up his oracle and said: 
‘Firm is your dwelling place, And your nest is set in the rock; 
Nevertheless Kain shall be burned. 
How long until Asshur carries you away captive?’
Then he took up his oracle and said: 
‘Alas! Who shall live when God does this? 
But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus, 
And they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber, 
And so shall Amalek, until he perishes.” 

“So Balaam rose and departed and returned to his place; Balak also went his way.” v. 25

Apparently, in spite of Balaam’s transcendent experience with the Almighty, he “returned to his place” as sorcerer and soothsayer, and gave Balak some handy advice on how to defeat Israel having failed at cursing them...

Numbers 25 With Eyes of Lust Israel Falls

With no explanation, chapter 25 opens with Israel in a horribly fallen state. They are encamped at the last staging area on the Jordan, across from Jericho, before entering the Promised Land. 
“Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel” vs. 1-3
Wow! Just like that? Adonai just pronounced these glowing blessings on them through a pagan prophet, “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel” (Num. 23:21-22), and they just decide to go off seeking the Moabite women and their idols? ...Really?!
Well, it wasn’t quite that simple. We find in Numbers 31:16, that a snare was laid through evil counsel from the supposedly reformed Balaam—he “whose eyes are opened!” In Numbers 31:8 we find this cost him his life, fulfilling his own prophecy in 24:9, “cursed is he who curses you.”
“Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.Numbers 31:16
What Balaam and Balak were unable to accomplish through sorcery and divination, the women of Moab were able to doand perhaps more—by appealing to men’s sin nature. Twenty-four thousand Israelites died in the plague which they brought on themselves by their detestable idolatry and moral depravity. 
Verse 4 describes the anger of Adonai as “fierce,” when he instructs Moses to take all the offenders out into the sun to slay them. The infidelity this sin represented was heartbreaking to Adonai, and their choice irreparably separated them from Him. 

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness;
 I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.
 But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame,
And they became as detestable as that which they loved.”
Hosea 9:10

What happened at Peor was appalling, and it was recorded in the Holy Text for our understanding. The dynamics involved traverse time, being common to the character of man. Idolatry and sexual immorality are closely intertwined in the sight of God.

They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods...” (v. 1) Many commentaries maintain a scenario wherein the Israelites accepted the Moabites’ invitation not knowing what they were walking into. Although they knew it was a pagan festival, they thought they could eat, drink, and be merry ... and leave unscathed. However, once in the overtly sexual festival, the lust of the eyes and the flesh made them vulnerable and they succumbed to the seduction. Once bound to these pagan women, they followed them to their own moral and spiritual ruin. 
How many of us believe we can party with temptation?

There is nothing new under the sun. This story plays itself out repeatedly throughout the ages, in many different languages and settings, but the program is redundant

Break down the fence of sexual purity, and you have broken faith with Adonai. 

What fences remain? 
Fences staked in shifting sand. 
To indulge the sinful desires of the flesh, you must turn your heart from God—or believe Him to be an unholy god
This is idolatry
The Ba’al of Peor is the god of the Moabites, worshipped at Peor with licentious, sexual rituals. The name in Hebrew, Ba’al Peh’or  בעל  פעור, means lord of the gap or opening. If there are wicked entities behind these ba’als of the pagan world, perhaps the name suggests this demonic force takes advantage of any opening or gap to infiltrate a person’s mind and heart. 
In the ancient world people had to be lured to their festivals. In today’s digital world, the ba’als have access into every home through television and the internet. Popular recording artists deluge our youth with salacious, obscene, and often perverse videos and lyrics, desensitizing themsearing their conscience. 
With radically lowered standards, even children raised in godly homes are reached through highly provocative magazine and DVD covers at every market checkout counter.  
About “the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world,” Matthew Henry said: “It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian's all, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.”
The apostle Paul says this is possible. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I Corinthians 10:13-14

God is faithful and will help us stand, but the first step is ours. We must decide to turn away from that which feeds the sinful nature. Therefore, Paul exhorts, “keep yourself pure.” I Timothy 5:22

It’s not easy to be holy. We live in a time of flagrant disregard for morality. Even among believers, there seems to be a continual disintegration, as if staying just a little less decadent than the world is okay. It’s a deception. We need to be ruthless with sin, for it brings only destruction and grieves the heart of God.

The deplorable sin that entered the camp of Israel brought a devouring plague that wasn’t stopped until one righteous man made a shocking but bold demonstration against the corruption.
“ of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.” vs. 6-9
Zimri, who was a prince of the Tribe of Simeon, flaunted his immoral relationship with one of the Midianite women before Moses and all the families of Israel, exhibiting blatant disregard for Adonai and the brethren. In Psalm 106:30-31, Phinehas is lauded for decisively dispatching the couple in their tent, and thus stopping the plague: 

“Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, 
And the plague was stopped. 
And that was accounted to him for righteousness 
To all generations forevermore.”

God's Critical Warning Through Balaam for TODAY
In the New Covenant, Balaam is used as a serious warning to the Believer. Yet what is the “way of Balaam,” the “doctrine of Balaam,” and the “error of Balaam?” If it is important to Adonai, it is important for us. Let’s look at the pertinent Scriptures:
2 Peter 2:12-16: “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.  
They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet. 
These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.  
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  
For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”
Jude 1:11-13: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Revelation 2:14: “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”
  • Balaam was a deceiver. One moment, Balaam claimed submission to Adonai, then his loyalty shifted to Moab (the world)
  • Balaam’s true love was money, honor, and the praise of important men
  • Balaam caused God’s elect to stumble/sin, bringing destruction on them (and himself). This is all too common, even though not done purposefully or for gain. Today’s seeker-friendly church environment often shies away from speaking boldly about sin and holiness—discipling Believers. Churches are filled with people that live no differently than the lost—in total defiance to God and His clear commandments. It’s a grave situation. The Bible says of those leaders who are promoting such false doctrine: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).
  • Balaam knew the way of righteousness, yet chose to turn back. 2 Peter 2:12-16 says that people who have committed their lives to the LORD and then turned back to “the pollutions of the world” are worse off than had they never known the way of righteousness. With grand doctrines—“great swelling words of emptiness”—they may justify lawless living as “Christian liberty,” but that liberty is a snare. Sin becomes a bondage unto destruction.
  • Balaam was a spiritual prostitute. He would do anything to get what he wanted. The love of the things of the world, the lust of the eyes, and the the lust of the flesh will inspire many to compromise to get what they want. Having an appearance of godliness, they enflame others to pursue greed and worldliness. They have forsaken the right way, and their heart is trained in covetous practices. Clouds without water, living water does not flow from them—like ornamental trees that promise fruit, they neither nourish nor sustain.
  • Balaam taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Here’s one to ponder. Some say this has to do with the doctrine that came into the church teaching Believers to reject the Law of God. Too large a subject to cover here, it is certainly something to pray about. The entirety of the Bible is the Word of God, and thus is Holy. We are so privileged to receive it from the Almighty. 
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, 
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 
that the man of God may be complete, 
thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 
2 Timothy 3:16-17

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully...” 
1 Timothy 1:8

The Torah never provided salvation—it was given to an already redeemed people as a guidelinehow to live as a redeemed people. Adonai mercifully provided the blood sacrifice system to remedy (temporarily) man’s sin until the perfect sacrifice, Yeshua the Messiah laid down His life, once for all. A large portion of the commandments in the Torah are for the Priesthood and the Temple, not for daily life among God’s people. There are far more commandments in the New Covenant. As imperfect human beings, “whose frame is but dust” (Psalm 103:14), not one of us can live perfectly by all Adonai has called us to from Genesis to maps. That’s why we need a Savior

I have always felt it best however, to treasure the whole of His Word, walking in it as He enables, and He gives this imperfect servant the grace to stumble along ... first agreeing with Him ... that whether I can attain it all or not, His Way is perfect.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? 
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You; 
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 
Your word I have hidden in my heart, 
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As [much as] in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Psalm 119:9-16

Haftarah Balak
Micah 5:6-6:8

Our Haftarah portion for this week is found in Micah 5:6-6:8. Micah like all of the prophets is bold in his message, but unlike many of the prophets he actually states his purpose.

...I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the LORD—and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8) So...let’s dig in and see what he has to say.

Micah, ministering in the latter half of the 8th century BC, declares his message during the reigns of Ahaz, and Hezekiah, both of the Southern kingdom—Judah. He was on the scene at the same time as Hosea (who preached in the Northern kingdom), and must have personally known Isaiah as they share some common material. It was a time when this prophet would speak to the people of Judah rather than to the King as Isaiah did. It was not only the king but the people that would  greatly suffer the consequences of the king’s and their own disobedience to Adonai’s Covenant. 

We find in Micah 6:5 the answer as to why this is the Scripture portion for our Haftarah. There a reference is made to Balak, king of Moab, and Balaam, who also prophesied of the coming Messiah. This mention is the only connection with our Torah portion, but is important in the flow of the text. Now on to the verses at hand.

 A Look at the Future

To grab a hold of the context let’s start with 5:2-3. There we read:

v.2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." 

 v.3 “Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel.”

Micah actually names the birth place of the coming Messiah. It is the same place where King David was born (I Samuel 16:1), and when questioned by Herod these verses are referred to by the chief priests and scribes as Messiah’s birth place (Matthew 2:1-6). Micah confirms the Godhood of this One to go forth when he speaks of His eternality and says, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” 

This eternal Messiah, Micah goes on to say, will one day shepherd His flock and His greatness will be known to the ends of the earth. (v.4) This is a view to the end of the Great Tribulation when Israel will be regathered and Messiah returns for the second time to establish His Millennial reign. (Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-46). He will be Israel’s protector from Assyria, Micah says. Why just Assyria you may ask? Probably because Assyria was the totality of Israel’s military problem at the time of this writing. The Jewish reader would understand that Micah was referring to any and all of Israel’s attackers. For them to read “Assyria” meant all of her enemies at that time. And what time is that? 

At that time... when this protection will take place... is at the end of the Great Tribulation, a time when the sixth Bowl Judgement is poured out. Put another way it is what is commonly known as the Battle of Armageddon, which actually is a series of campaigns. Revelation 16:12-16 

This campaign comes to a conclusion shortly before the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom when as Messiah He appears, and brings final victory.

This theme runs from 5:4 through 5:9. Note v.4, “He will be great to the ends of the earth.”; v.6, ”And He will deliver us from the Assyrian (Remember, that’s all of their enemies.); v.8, the young lion who tramples down and tears, “And there is none to rescue.” v.9, “...all your enemies will be cut off.” 

In fact, to best see what Micah envisioned in the future, read through verses 4-9.

From Micah's Perspective ... Present or Future?

Verses 10-15 is our next section. Verse 10 presents a problem. It reads, “'It will be in that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘That I will cut off your horses from among you and destroy your chariots.’” Do you see it? It appears as though Micah records the Lord as saying that when the Lord returns at His second coming He has a list of things He will do to Israel. And there not good things: v.10 - kill horses, destroy chariots; v. 11- cut off Israeli cities and bring down fortifications; v.12 - no more sorcerers or fortunetellers (Well, that’s a good one though.); v.13 - get rid of idols and Israel’s idol worship ( Another good one.); and v.14 - destruction of Israeli cities. Now there is a list, but when will this happen?

There are two points of view here. One is that verses 10-15 refer to that immediate setting. Because of Judah’s sin God would bring the Assyrians to destroy this Southern kingdom. As well, the destruction and deportation to follow would alter if not eliminate the sinful practices. This would be a result of Judah recognizing all of this as a consequence of their sin.  
Some feel that the phrase, “ that day...” merely represents a break in thought dividing two sections of Scripture and the different time periods they speak of. Therefore, verses 10-15 actually address the impending doom Judah faces from the nation of Assyria right at that time.  
Another perspective is that verses 10-15  will occur at the end of the Tribulation when Messiah returns. This would be consistent with, “in that day” of verse 10 as it would refer to verses 4-9. There will be an unsaved element among the Jews that will not yet have received Messiah as the Savior from sin that He is. They will presumably be involved in some or all of the things addressed in verses 10-15—thus the cleansing consequences. And they would not enter the Millennium unless they were to be among the regenerated. Will this happen? Yes. 

Zechariah 13:8-9 states that of all the Jews entering the Tribulation two thirds, “...will be cut off and perish.” They will be killed either as believers and martyred, or as nonbelievers and victims of the judgements of God upon the earth.The remaining one third, or remnant, will be brought, “through the fire,” so as to refine them as silver and, “test them as gold,” and they will eventually, “call on My (His) name.” This remaining one third of the original number will be recipients of the pouring out of the Spirit of grace and of supplication (Zechariah 12:10-13:1) and they all will turn to the Messiah. There will be a national confession of sin (Isaiah 53:1-9) and a fulfilling of the promise of Romans 11:25-27 where Paul says:
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.’ ‘THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.’"
Only regenerated Jews and Gentiles (those having accepting the work of Messiah on the tree for salvation from sin) will enter the Kingdom. And all living Jews will have been regenerated. So, after the campaign of Armageddon all others will be sent to that literal location we know as Hell ( Matthew 25:41-45) to await the Great White Throne judgement  which will take place at the conclusion of the Millennial period of 1,000 years. Revelation 20:11-15

Of the two views my personal opinion is that the second is the more consistent and true to the text. This I think, is a view to the future. What do you think? How about sharpening me with some of that “iron.” 

Indicted by God 

The book of Micah next includes two indictments of Israel by Adonai. We will look at just the first, found in Micah 6:1-5.  In verses 2 and 3 God says, 
“'Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute. ‘My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.’” 

This is a challenge to Israel to defend her actions. But of course there is no defense for the sin this nation has allowed itself to fall into.

How does one defend sinful actions in light of the good care God has taken of them? Verse four says He removed them from Egypt, bought them out of slavery, and gave them hand picked leadership. In verse five God speaks to His demonstration of righteousness in the handling of Balak and Balaam. And so Israel admitting its guilt by its answer offers restitution. 

But it is insufficient. Burnt offerings, yearling calves, (6:6) thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil, their first born for their rebellious acts, or the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul. (6:7) All were insufficient, all missed the mark, all were only fleshly works or material possessions, nothing God wanted. Micah responds to this weak offer of restitution with what Adonai really wants of His people, right then, right there. 
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” 
Micah 6:8
Did you catch it?

  • Be just...
  • Be kind...
  • Be humble before God...
There’s a formula that would have gone a long way to sidetracking destruction and stopping deportation. Simple and straight forward, but it had to come from within, out of a nature and will that was godly, not from worldly gifts and actions generated by a rebellious nature. And so judgement ultimately came.

Is there a lesson for us in all of this? Maybe at least two. The first is that God will remain faithful to His word. Here in spite of the ongoing sin of His people in the tribulation yet to come, He IS still going to save a remnant of them. And for us as believers in this period of the Church, He must as well remain faithful to His word. We may sin and some of us may sin badly, but our security in Him is forever sure.
 “...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
Chosen and sealed, that’s God’s word. That is something you can count on.

And in light of our being chosen and sealed as a pledge to always keep us, how should we live? By offering up fleshly works or material possessions? Or as conducting our lives as just, kind, and humble before God.

I think the answer must be as plain as the ... as the words of Micah. 

Brit Chadashah Balak
Romans 11:25-32

Our B’rit Chadashah study this week is Romans 11:25-32. And it ties in beautifully with the Haftarah portion of Micah 5:6-6:8. You will recall that in our Micah study we saw that Adonai was going to punish Judah for its sin. Assyria was knocking at the door and destruction and deportation were being threatened. 

Prophecy was interwoven into this story. Ahead for Judah—the Southern Kingdom, and Israel—the Northern, was a time of tribulation, the Great Tribulation. At its conclusion was to be restoration for the nation and salvation for all Jews still living. 

What we might wonder though, is what happens between the punishment and the restoration. Lets think about this for a minute. After the reigns of David and Solomon the one kingdom of Israel is divided into two. This happens about 930 BC. The Northern KIngdom never has a righteous king and is in almost continual sin. As punishment Adonai raises up Assyria which in 740 BC begins a twenty year process of conquering and then deporting Israel. The Southern Kingdom is not much different. Though there is a sprinkling of a few good kings it too is ultimately deported. The God of Judah raises up Babylon who conquers this nation and takes it into captivity in 605 BC.

While there is no clear return of the Northern Kingdom it is speculated that parts of those tribes—sometimes known as the lost ten tribes—returned to Judah when the return of the Southern Kingdom took place in 536 BC. The Jews maintained a visible identity in the Land in one form or another until 136 AD when they were forbidden to enter Jerusalem for roughly the next 500 years. Since then they have been in and out of  the Land until 1948 AD when Israeli statehood was declared. However, no clear identity of the individual tribes has ever been reestablished.

After the deportation of the Southern Kingdom to Babylon, its return, and the rebuilding of the Temple, the next major theological event in the story of this Jewish nation is the first coming of Jesus to make an offer of Himself as the Messiah of Israel. Matthew 4:17 speaks to this when it says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’" This would be an offer rejected by the Jewish nation and Messiah would be sent to the cross where He would die for the sins of mankind. Matthew 16:21 tells us, “ From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.”  Thus we have the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:13-53.

And so now we come to our Romans 11:25-32 passage. Leading up to these verses the Apostle Paul has addressed Israel’s past center stage role and their present rejection in the plan of God. In chapters 9,10, and 11 Paul opens his heart to share his anguish over Israel being set aside for a time so that God might accomplish another work, the grafting in of the Gentiles. (11:15-20) God’s intent in this was announced when it was said to Abraham: 

“Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said,  ‘In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’" 

God would reveal Himself not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well, each at specific times.

The vehicle for this revealing of Himself to the Gentiles would be called a “mystery.” It is not a mystery in the sense that it is mysterious or hard to be understood. No, it simply means something that was previously unknown, but now is made known. Let’s look at a few places where Paul speaks of this mystery.
“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,” 
Here in Romans 16:25 Paul speaks about something previously unknown from the beginning of time up until now. Now it is to be revealed.
“...that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;” 
In Ephesians 3:3-5 Paul says this mystery that was made known was not known by other generations, but it is NOW being revealed. And who has it now been revealed to? It is revealed to the apostles and prophets. But what was it that had been a mystery but  now is not?
“ be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel 
...To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” 
In Ephesians 3:6,8 and 10 Paul declares what that mystery was. It was that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs and that this was to take place through the church. 
Now, coming to chapters 9,10, and 11 of Romans we see just how this was to be done. Paul’s theme is that Israel is set aside for a time. The purpose of this is that the mystery might be fulfilled, that the Gentiles would be grafted in. 

In Chapter 9 Paul  speaks to God’s sovereignty in His choice to set Israel aside for a time, for their unbelief (11:20), and bring in the Gentiles. Verse 18 tells us God does as He desires. “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Verses 25 and 26 address God drawing in a people who had not yet been drawn, the Gentiles. “ As He says also in Hosea, ‘I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, 'MY PEOPLE,' AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, 'BELOVED.’ AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, 'YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,' THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD." And verse 27 states that only a remnant of Israel will be saved while He works in the Gentiles. “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED.” Though the number of Jews existing during the time of church is compared in quantity to the sand of sea only a small number are being saved. This is set next to that number which will be saved when Israel is grafted in, yet in the future. And when does the grafting in take place?
We find the answer in Romans 11:25. “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”  

The future grafting back in of Israel will take place only when the fullness of the Gentiles has been accomplished which is at the end of the Great Tribulation. 

Romans 11:26 and 27 state three events will occur simultaneously. (1) “The Deliverer will come from Zion.” (v.26b) This is a reference to the Messiah’s return at the end of the Great Tribulation and the institution of the Millennial reign. (2) “...and thus all Israel will be saved...” (v.26a) At the time of the end of the Great Tribulation every Jew still living will be saved. There will not be one Jew looking upon the returned Messiah that will not recognize Him for who He is and respond appropriately. (3) And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (v.27) This is the institution of the New Covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Jeremiah 31:34 says in part, “...I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” This can only come at the end of the Tribulation and the institution of the Millennial reign.

So, when these three events occur that signals that the fullness of the Gentiles has been completed. Since these three events happen at the end of the Great Tribulation it will not be until then that Israel can be considered as grafted back in.
We began by considering the period of time that Israel has not been considered as the center of God’s plan. We must not think though that Israel was ever forgotten by Adonai. During this mystery period of the Church which began in Acts 2 He has always had His hand upon them to accomplish His work in themthe remnant for salvation through belief in the work of Messiah on the tree for them—and through them—as in a testimony to the truth of God’s Word as it specifically applied to them. 
So now in our B’rit Chadashah we see the beginning of God’s end time plan for His Jewish people. It is that upon the completion of the fullness of the Gentiles, every single Jew still alive at the end of the Great Tribulation will be saved. That is to say that they will be grafted back in. The New Covenant, solely theirs, will be instituted. This will forgive them of all sin and place God’s Word—all of it—in their heart so that they will not need any one teaching them again. And they will reign with their long awaited Messiah in His Millennial Kingdom for one thousand years. 

No wonder Paul concluded this section of Scripture with these words...

“Oh, the depth of the riches 
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are His judgments 
and unfathomable His ways! 
For who has known the mind of the LORD,
or who became His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him
that it might be paid back to Him again?
For from Him
and through Him
and to Him
are all things.
To Him be the glory forever.
—Romans 11:33-36

Shabbat Shalom!
In Messiah's Love,
His EVERY Word Ministries