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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 12

Genesis 15:1-21   -   Zephaniah 3:1-19   -   Psalm 11   -   Romans 4:1-13
 

Sivan 23, 5764 / June 12, 2004 

Sivan 23, 5767 / June   9, 2007

Sivan 23, 5770 / June   5, 2010

Sivan 23, 5773 / June   1, 2013

Sivan 26, 5776 / July   2, 2016

 

B'mecheza / In a Vision to Say   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Genesis 15

(V.1-5) Avram had just returned from defeating four armies. God promised to be his shield: he need not fear reprisal from his enemies. God also promised him great reward: now, reward is wages. Avram had acted in Yahweh’s Name, eliminating fomenters of terror, and was to be rewarded.

 

Then Avram replied, “O Adonai Yahweh” – my Master, the Gracious One. This is the first recorded time anyone called God “Adonai” – Lord or Master.

 

And Avram had a question: If he received a reward, who would inherit it? He had no children; would his servant be his heir? And God responded: no, Avram would have innumerable children (offspring).

 

(V.6) Avram trusted God – took Him at His Word, and that was accounted to Avram for righteousness. This imputed righteousness was not part of the wages for Avram’s work; it was a gift from his Gracious God. Avram had shown faith in God when he went after the four armies, and greater faith when he trusted Yahweh’s Word for the supernatural concerning having children though he and his wife were beyond childbearing. (Avram knew Noah, who had children at 500! Avram was 75, and Sarai was 65, but they never had the natural ability to bear children.)

 

When Avram’s seed (which we are by faith) are obedient, they are like stars (v.5) – above earthly powers. But when they are disobedient, they are like dust of the earth (v.13:16, 28:14) – to be trampled (Megillah 16a).

 

(V.11) When the animals to symbolize the Covenant were laid out, birds of prey descended upon them, but Avram drove them away. When evil spirits / nations try to nullify the Covenant, such as by taking the Promised Land, the Covenant will remain. (The subject of taking the Land is large in the news today.)

 

(V.13) God foretold to Avram that his seed would be slaves in a foreign land (Egypt) for four-hundred years, but then they would be freed and have great wealth. The four-hundred years is calculated beginning thirty years later, when Isaac was born. Isaac never had the permanent home or position that his father had, and his offspring were considered aliens, even in the time they spent in the Land. The actual time in Egypt was 210 years, with the last 116 spent in the prophesied servitude, and the final 86 in harsh oppression.

 

(V.16) In the fourth (dor) period – four generations after the Egyptian exile, the Canaanite nations would be expelled, their ‘cup of iniquity’ being full. In the fourth (dor) period – four millenniums after the Egyptian exile, there will be an even greater fulfillment of this prophecy: in the final war, which begins just before the Millennial Sabbath of peace, and culminates afterward – when the nations from Babel will have their ‘cup is filled to the double’ (Revelation 18:6) – they will be permanently expelled.

 

Around the beginning of the seventh millennium – the Great Sabbath – Israel (believers) who have died will be resurrected and with Yeshua will reign on this earth for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-5).

 

An ancient Hebrew understanding is that we will be resurrected at Jerusalem; this is why “Jews” want to be buried close to the Temple mount – so that they will be first there at the resurrection. (I present this only as an interesting view.)

 

With most of earth’s population being killed prior to the Great Sabbath, there still may be more than a billion people remaining alive – most being unbelievers. My understanding is that believers will reign – with Messiah – over these unbelievers. Does this mean we will rule from Jerusalem – which would imply an exodus? What part of earth will various peoples inhabit? Lots of questions!

 

Jeremiah 16:   14 "Therefore behold, days are coming," declares Yahweh, "when it will no longer be said, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,'  15 but, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.  16 "Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares Yahweh, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.

 

Jeremiah 23:  2 Therefore thus says Yahweh God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," declares Yahweh.  3 "Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.  4 "I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares Yahweh.  5 "Behold, the days are coming," declares Yahweh, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.  6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, 'Yahweh our righteousness.'  7 Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares Yahweh, "when they will no longer say, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,'  8 but, 'As Yahweh lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

 

The theme of the Seventh Day of Unleavened Breads is: after God delivers His people, the wicked try to take them back, but then God destroys the wicked. This happened at the Passover in Egypt, and it will happen in this world’s last millennial day.

 

On this date the Israelites came to the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army caught up to them. The people greatly feared, but Moses said, “Stand still and see Yeshua Yahweh” (the Salvation of Yahweh).

 

But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of Yahweh which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever’ ” – Exodus 14:13.

 

On this Seventh Day, Israel entered the Red Sea miqvah – baptismal water (on dry ground), and came up the other side, but the Egyptian army was drowned.

 

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Corinthians 10:1-2.

 

This day is known as "The Day of Faith." The Talmud teaches that, at the Red Sea, some had faith to jump off the banks before the waters parted and landed on dried seabed, while others entered after seeing the parted waters. All had greater faith after crossing and seeing the Egyptians killed (Exodus 14:31).

 

Three kinds of faith are distinguished in the Hebrew Bible:

·         Emunah b'moach - Intellectual faith (belief in a fact or historical event - such as Yeshua's crucifixion).

·         Emunah b'lev - Faith of the heart (trusting one's safety or security to something - such as salvation by Yeshua's work).

·         Emunah b'evarim - Faith that encompasses one's entire being (the controlling factor of one's thoughts and activities).

 

The final deliverance: Yeshua will reign on this earth, with those whom He has delivered, for a thousand years.

 

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Yeshua and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years” – Revelation 20:4.

 

At the end of the Sabbath Millennium, the armies of the world will gather for “the final solution” – to destroy the Holy City, but fire from heaven will destroy them.

 

When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them” – Revelation 20:7-9.

 

David sums up the end in Psalm 11:6-7

Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For Yahweh is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.

 

Romans 4

(V.1) What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

Abraham lived almost two-thousand years before Yeshua was born. But Abraham is used as a prime example of how we are saved: there has been no change in the method of salvation from sin!

 

(V.2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

If we are good enough to merit eternal life, then we are better than others, and have basis for boasting before men. If we have done something that is required to compensate for our sin, then we have done something to boast about. If we have faith that is of our own doing, we have something to brag about before men!

 

(V.4) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. When one works, wages are his due: wages are not a favor. But for any of us, to earn eternal life is well beyond possibility.

 

(V.3,5) What does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

For an unrighteous man to be accounted righteous is an unearned favor from God – grace. When we display the faith that is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), then we are reckoned righteous.

 

David lived almost one-thousand years before Yeshua’s birth. He described then how one was saved.

(V.6-8) Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin Yahweh will not take into account."

 

Paul goes on to explain to Romans that this blessing is not only for Hebrews, but also for gentiles. Circumcision is not a prior requirement, but a symbol after the fact.

(V.9-13) Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness." How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

 

Isaiah 1 may need a word of explanation, as it is often misused.

Yahweh says (v.11-13), “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.”

There is no offering for intentional sin. When people intentionally live in sin, these offerings for unintentional sin are worthless! They are a farce! They are not being brought to fulfill God’s intended purpose of leading the guilty out of sin. If people today studied the Biblical offerings, they would not misconstrue this to say that God had changed His mind about offerings.

 

God says (v.14), “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts”. God is not saying that He hates “His” appointed feasts, but those which the people have corrupted. This does not represent a change in God’s “eternal” feasts.

 

God says (v.15), “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen.” Does this mean that God no longer desires for us to pray? He says what it means! (V.16-17) “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.” When we seek His righteousness, then our offerings, our feasts, and our prayers, will be acceptable. This is all about the righteousness which is of faith. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1* Amen 1 After these things the word of Yahweh came to Avram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Avram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great." 2 Avram said, "O Lord Yahweh, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Avram said, "Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir."

Reader 2* Amen 4 Then behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir." 5 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." 6 Then he believed in Yahweh; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Reader 3* Amen 7 And He said to him, "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it." 8 He said, "O Lord Yahweh, how may I know that I will possess it?" 9 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."

Reader 4* Amen 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. 11 The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Avram drove them away. 12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Avram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.

Reader 5* Amen 13 God said to Avram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15 "As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.

Reader 6* Amen 16 "Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." 17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.

Reader 7* Amen 18 On that day Yahweh made a covenant with Avram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite 20 and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim 21 and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite."

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Zephaniah 3:1-19

 

Reader 8* Amen 1 Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the tyrannical city! 2 She heeded no voice, she accepted no instruction. She did not trust in Yahweh, she did not draw near to her God. 3 Her princes within her are roaring lions, her judges are wolves at evening; they leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men; her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law. 5 Yahweh is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail. But the unjust knows no shame. 6 "I have cut off nations; their corner towers are in ruins. I have made their streets desolate, with no one passing by; their cities are laid waste, without a man, without an inhabitant. 7 "I said, 'Surely you will revere Me, accept instruction.' So her dwelling will not be cut off according to all that I have appointed concerning her. But they were eager to corrupt all their deeds.

Reader 9* Amen 8 "Therefore wait for Me," declares Yahweh, "For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal.  9 "For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of Yahweh, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder. 10 "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, My dispersed ones, will bring My offerings. 11 "In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; for then I will remove from your midst your proud, exulting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain. 12 "But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yahweh. 13 "The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble."

Reader 10* Amen 14 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 Yahweh has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is in your midst; you will fear disaster no more. 16 In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: "Do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp. 17 "Yahweh your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. 18 "I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts – they came from you, O Zion; the reproach of exile is a burden on them. 19 "Behold, I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth.

 

Isaiah 1:1-17

 

Reader 11* Amen 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for Yahweh speaks, "Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. 3 "An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master's manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand." 4 Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned Yahweh, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him. 5 Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. 6 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. 7 Your land is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your fields – strangers are devouring them in your presence; it is desolation, as overthrown by strangers. 8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a watchman's hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. 9 Unless Yahweh of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah.

Reader 12* Amen 10 Hear the word of Yahweh, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah. 11 "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says Yahweh. "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. 12 "When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13 "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. 14 "I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. 16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

 

Psalm 11 (to be sung)   For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

 

1 In Yahweh I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain; 2 for, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" 4 Yahweh is in His Holy Temple; Yahweh’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. 5 Yahweh tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. 6 Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. 7 For Yahweh is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.

 

Romans 4:1-13

 

Reader 13* Amen 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blesses are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8 "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account."

Reader 14* Amen 9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, "Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness." 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. 13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)