Friday, September 16, 2016

Up on the Roof | Parashat Ki Teitzei | By His EVERY Word

The Prophetic Fall Holy Days Begin!

Adonai's "Appointed Times," found in Leviticus 23 paint a profound prophetic picture and set the cyclical rhythm revealing the glorious Redemption Story. 
In the Spring moedim we find amazing prophetic fulfillment with the coming of Yeshua, Messiah, our Passover, the Lamb of God! 
Yeshua is also the First Fruits of Resurrection, our  forerunner in the Great Resurrection promised to all who hope in Him.
 In Shavu'ot, we find the birth of the ecclesia in Jerusalem—a parallel to the birth of the ecclesia at the foot of Mount Sinai—an event also attended by fire!
The Fall Moedim hold the expectation of Yeshua's return and the final ingathering, the restoration of all things!

Yom Truah יום תרוה —Day of Blowing Trumpets / Rosh Hashanah—Head of the Year (traditional)
1 Tishrei 5777 | October 2 at twilight—October 3 twilight
The civil calendar changes to a new year. 
This is a special sabbath, falling midweek.  (Leviticus 23:23-25)
"In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a Sabbath, a reminder with loud blasts of trumpets, a holy convocation." Lev. 23:24
The blast from the shofar is a call to wake up from your slumbers and prepare! It may be your King is soon to arrive ... it may be war. It may be time for the judgment of the world!
We are surely in trying times, yet most of us sleep.
Many are "at ease in Zion," self-concerned, self-absorbed, building our own kingdoms.
Yet a heavenly shofar blasts: "remember!"
Remember what?
Watch! Pray! Live with expectation of His imminent return!
Are you ready? 
Do YOU hear the sound of the shofar?

The Prophet says:
Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55:6,7
As we enter the Yamim Noraimימים נוראים
the 10 Days of Awe from the Feast of Trumpets
(traditionally known as Rosh Hashanah)
to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement,
may we seek the LORD
and turn from any ways
that trample underfoot His glorious Name
or the testimony of His holiness.
Let us rejoice in His gracious forgiveness!  

Who is a God like You,
who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act
of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.
He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea.
You will give truth to Jacob
And unchanging love to Abraham,
Which You swore to our forefathers
From the days of old.
Micah 7:18-20

The Lord bless you!
His EVERY Word Ministries

Shabbat | 14 Elul 5776 | 17 September 2016
Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10
Brit Chadashah: Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

In last week's Parashat, Shoftim (Judges), YHVH impressed the high concept of justice upon His people, Israel.  Justice is righteousness as it is an attribute of the Divine. Justice—Divine justice—will flow from His land, and be known among His people. 
"Justice, justice, shall thou pursue," (Deut. 16:20) is one of the many gifts of Israel to the world, even as it has been woven through the fabric of civilization, forming the bedrock of western judicial systems, while Israel's children have been denied that very same justice from the nations to which they were scattered. No nation has benefitted more (and until very recent times reflected more) from Israel, both spiritually and practically, than the United States.

This note from John Adams, second President of the United States expresses it well:
"I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization." Letter to François Adriaan van der Kemp, 16 February 1809
With Parashat Ki Teitzei, we see Adonai continuing to mold and shape His people to serve Him in His holy land. Many are His commandments, statutes, and judgments. Some are practical and wise (by our exalted intellectual standards!), some seem non-sensical, while others may offend our sensibilities. 
Somehow, His commandments, statutes, and judgments all express His love, justice, mercy, and gracefrom His vantage point—from a place outside of time, with vision and knowing beyond anything we can comprehend. He cares about details. He loves His creation!

Consider how YHVH teaches Israel to be tender to their animals ... 

Deuteronomy 22:4: “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them..."
This instills a sense of concern for the animal, not just doing a good deed in the sight of another man. God wants us to "see" what He sees, and our hard, selfish hearts to be spiritually circumcisedconformed to His own heart.
Deuteronomy 22:6-7: “If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely send the mother away..." 
We are not to take the eggs or young of a bird out of its nest without sending the mother bird away due to the stress it causes her. Adonai has formed the protective mothering instinct into each animal—He wants us to be aware of that. 
Deuteronomy 22:10: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together."
Yoking two different animals together would be a hardship to the animals. 

Deuteronomy 25:4: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain."
It is forbidden to prevent an animal from eating while it is working in the field.
In the barbaric ancient world, animals and people were simply worked to death. This detailed care and kindness was revolutionary! Animals are even to be given a Shabbat rest! (Exodus 20:10)
What Does a Parapet Have To Do With the Bible?
Another interesting commandment is found in Deuteronomy 22:8. Spending most of my life in the Southwest, I'm very familiar with traditional adobe houses with flat roofs. These are not unlike the ancient desert dwellings in Israel.
Much life takes place up on the roof—from drying grain, to sleeping on hot nights. A characteristic of nearly all flat-roofed dwellings is a small wall or facade around the perimeter—some simple, some elaborate.

This is a parapet, and they are even on roofs that are inaccessible for use—perhaps for the safety of an occasional worker—perhaps it is simply traditional design. But how did it come about?

Our loving Creator was concernedlike any parent. He gave instruction to His children, who have a tendency toward foolishness:
“When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring blood on your household if anyone falls from it." 
Incidentally, there is hint regarding the charge of manslaughter in this verse as well. Israel also defined the difference between intentional taking of life (murder) and unintentional (manslaughter) by the wisdom of her Creator.
Rules, Rules, Rules... Aren't We Freed From the Law?

“You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.”
Deuteronomy 22:11

More than once, in discussion with a pastor, I have found myself defending the place of the Mosaic Law in the life of the "church age" believer.

Frequently, when attempting to discuss the subject of whether or not Yeshua (Jesus) cancelled the Torah, I have been challenged with this question:
“Do YOU wear any clothing that contains two different fabrics? I’m sure you do. And if you do, YOU are not Torah observant yourself, are you?!” And with a goodhearted laugh, this weighty and deserving discussion is generally dismissed at that point.
However, when one actually LOOKS at the referenced texts found in Deuteronomy 22:11 and Leviticus 19:19, we find this old argument is without merit... and simply threadbare.

The Word itself—as always quite specific—is where we need to focus. The Hebrew word around which our argument centers is sha`atnez, and refers to a garment made by weaving linen and wool together.

Strong’s Concordance (Hebrew #8162) has this to say, in brief:
Mixed/material: shah·at·nāz' שַׁעַטְנֵז
  “linsey-woolsey” — cloth made by weaving linen and wool together

It is clear that the commandment found in either text is not speaking of all fabrics, but a specific mixture of wool and linen. Why does YHVH require this? While our Creator chooses not to make the answer to that question crystal clear, there are many suppositions.

In the end though, He is God Almighty. He has His reasons—even if it is as simple as calling His people to be separate and unique from a world that does not claim Him as their God. How could anyone think this too much to ask for all He has given us!

I like Matthew Henry’s commentary on this text:
“God's providence extends itself to the smallest affairs, and his precepts do so, that even in them we may be in the fear of the Lord, as we are under his eye and care. Yet the tendency of these laws, which seem little, is such, that being found among the things of God's law, they are to be accounted great things. If we would prove ourselves to be God's people, we must have respect to his will and to his glory, and not to the vain fashions of the world. Even in putting on our garments, as in eating or in drinking, all must be done with a serious regard to preserve our own and others' purity in heart and actions. Our eye should be single, our heart simple, and our behavior all of a piece.”
So, do I wear sha`atnez garments? No, not knowingly. I check the labels. I purpose to live my life, by His grace, according to His revealed Word. I do this not out out of fear of Divine punishment, or to enhance the glorious gift of salvation. No, I do this rather out of reverence and love for my Master.

As Yeshua said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” And His commandments are not for those in need of redemption. They are for the redeemedthose who love Him.

If there is a spiritual lesson to take away from this text, it is to grasp the serious error of mixing the profane with the holy—the base things of this fallen world and men’s traditions with the sacred ways of God. MIXTURE … COMPROMISE … ADULTERY …

Read the surrounding text, or context if you will, and see if you don’t agree.

God’s shepherds and teachers were to teach God’s people, “...the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezekiel 44:23)

But how could they? God describes their spiritual condition vividly: “Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.” (Zephaniah 3:4)

And again, we see this priesthood through the eyes of YHVH: “Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” (Ezekiel 22:26)

These teachers had no regard for the Torah of Adonai, therefore, they did violence to HIS law, and profaned HIS holy things. They were not teaching God's people, “the difference between the unclean and the clean.” And by diminishing His Torah, the great “I AM” was profaned among His people.

Isn’t this exactly what Yeshua accused the pharisees of doing as well?

He didn’t correct them for obeying the Torah, but rather: “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. ...You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” Mark 7:8,9

Yeshua made it clear that He did not come to “to abolish the Law,” but to “fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

Strong’s Concordance explains what “fulfill” means from the original Greek: 
πληρόω plā-ro'-ō
  • to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise (sic)
  • of matters of duty: to perform, execute
  • to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment
And just in case we are still vague on this point, Yeshua elaborates: “...truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19)
Clearly, heaven and earth have not passed away.

And it is just as clear that Yeshua does not intend His followers to diminish or disobey the Torahor teach others to be like those pharisees who taught traditions of men rather than the commandments of God.
So this is our challenge. How do we respond when someone—perhaps even a church leader—is teaching or defending their belief in abandonment of obedience to the Torah?
First, respond in love. It was the Messiah who said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)

And this was recorded by the same apostle who later wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

Second, know your position. If you’re not sure how to answer, then don’t. Simply say you’ll get back to them later with the information—just be honest.
Then be a Berean. Study the “Law and the Prophets,” as Yeshua, Paul, and all the first century believers called the Old Testament Scriptures. Those are the ONLY Scriptures the Bereans had to test against what they had been taught by Saul, a Pharisee, now known as Paul the Apostle. (Phil. 3:4-6)
Third, share your position—with humility and much prayer that the Holy Spirit of God will be your teacher, and the teacher of your hearers as well. (1 John 2:27) We all have much to learn. Learn from them and may they learn from you.

Fourth, realize that the church tradition of abandonment of the Mosaic Covenant or Law is firmly entrenched in traditional Christendom. Sadly, many will never see the error in this. So, be patient, be gentle, and pray for enlightenment. Both for yourself and others.

Fifth, never forget that YHVH is sovereign, revealing Himself to those He wills, whenever and in whatever fashion He chooses. He has His plan for each and every one of us. (Psalm 139:16)

So be faithful to His Word. Study it, live it, proclaim it as you know best. 

And leave the rest to our magnificent God and King, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever!   

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”
Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Oh, that we would hear His heart concerning HIS holy Word...

For the last couple of weeks our Beyond Love blog has not been what you have been used to seeing. Normally there has been commentary on the scheduled weekly reading of the Torah, in addition to the accompanying Haftarah and Brit Chadashah. All together that’s production of roughly 2500 to 3500 words of text every week. When you combine the research, writing, editing, formatting and miscellaneous other factors that  adds up to a pretty labor intensive week by week task. So we are taking a bit of a break to get some much needed Rest and Refreshing.

Speaking of “refreshing,” let me take a moment for those who may not know and address how this blog has obtained its new name.

This blog from its inception has been called Beyond Love, taking its theme from Romans 8:38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our belief has therefore been and will always be, that as much as any one of us could possibly love another at the human level, there is always that greater love available to us—a love beyond human love—and that is a love that only our God can produce within us. It is a love that is, Beyond Love. And with that belief ever before us we have sought to write of that God quality of love that can be shared with one another and our Master as it is unfolded in the weekly Torah, Haftarah, and B'rit Chadashah portions.

But you have been seeing for a while a new title, one that is not only the header for this weekly offering, but one that now names everything produced at this sight. You saw it when you logged into Beyond Love. Instead of that familiar title appearing, another was in its place, By His EVERY Word. This may be a good time to share again how this name change came to be. 

Well, as co-contributors to the work of this blog we both sought to unfold Adonai’s love for and through His human creation by expounding His Word from both the Old and New Testaments. But there was a difference. Sarah has always believed that the Old was just as relevant for today as the New. I on the other hand, had believed it was just the New that was the standard for faith and practice for the believer today.

For me the Old Testament was certainly God’s Word. It definitely revealed who Adonai was and how He worked in the affairs of men. It spoke of the nation of Israel and what YHVH had in store for it as history was to unfold. But it provided wisdom and illustration ONLY of how the Church age saint—or New Testament believer—was to live. It in and of itself WAS NOT authoritative as to how I was to live my life today. You see, from my point of view Christ by His death on the cross, had temporarily set aside the mandate to live in obedience to the Law until He would reinstitute it again at the inception of His Millennial reign. From the time I was saved and for fifty years thereafter this is what I was taught. This is what I taught others. It was this belief system that I would have gone to my death defending.
But something dramatically changed in my life. To call it simply, “a change in a point of view” would be to terribly trivialize such a major realignment of thinking. Now, reading the words of our Savior and the various New Testament writers, they have a clarity and depth, yet simplicity that I had not previously seen. Still a sinner saved by grace solely by placing my faith in the once for all sacrificial work of Christ on the cross I now see the Law, the Mosaic Covenant if you will, as a valid rule of life for all of mankind today, in this Church Age, in what some have come to call the Dispensation of Grace.
Thus the change in title of this blog. Where once those responsible for this humble offering approached their work from two very different points of view, now they walk the same path. Now they BOTH believe His every word to be as valid for today as it ever has been, as it ever will be, even until heaven and earth shall pass away. 

So the past emphasis in this blog on God’s love will not be abandoned in favor of something else. Rather it will be incorporated into a new emphasis. And that new emphasis will be a joint proclamation of what Moses himself proclaimed, that, “ lives by EVERYTHING that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3) Oh how the Messiah speaks with that clarity and depth when He speaks the simple truth that Moses proclaimed long ago, “...Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt.4:4)

So here is our invitation to you. Read along with us as we examine HIS EVERY WORD.  Each week the Torah portion will open insightful understanding into just how the Law can and should be lived today. Then the Haftarah portion bringing further insight into the principles set forth in the Pentateuch. And the B'rit Chadashah, the dovetailing of Church Age truth (1,050 commandments in the New Testament) into Mosaic Law (613 commandments in the Old), some suspended for a time and others very much for us to incorporate in to our lives as saints in His Church today.

We hope you will continue to drop in on us each week—under the familiar address: There you will find some interesting things we have been working on which hopefully will encourage all of us to deeper growth and a heightened service to our Lord and Savior. And as always, we welcome your feedback!

So until our return to the table that offers the normal full course meal enjoy the hors d’oeuvres. God’s Word, His EVERY Word, is delicious to the taste, satisfying to the soul, and energizing to His service. 

Shabbat shalom!
His Every Word Ministries