Readings and Commentaries
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-three (January 4, 2003)
Yayiqra (And He called): Shemen zayot (Oil of pressed olives), commonly called Leviticus 24 (Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 3 "Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before Yahweh continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 4 "He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lampstand before Yahweh continually.
2 Amen* 5 "Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. 6 "And you shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before Yahweh. 7 "And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to Yahweh.
3 Amen* 8 "Every Sabbath day he shall set it in order before Yahweh continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel. 9 "And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from Yahweh's offerings by fire, his portion forever."
4 Amen* 10 Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman's son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. 11 And the son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12 And they put him in custody so that the command of Yahweh might be made clear to them.
5 Amen* 13 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 14 "Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. 15 "And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If anyone curses his God, then he shall bear his sin. 16 'Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.
6 Amen* 17 'And if a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. 18 'And the one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 'And if a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.
7 Amen* 21 'Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 'There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am Yahweh your God.'" 23 Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel did, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.
Psalm 87 A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song.
1 His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2 Yahweh loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah. 4 "I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia: 'This one was born there.'" 5 But of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; And the Most High Himself will establish her. 6 Yahweh shall count when He registers the peoples, "This one was born there." Selah. 7 Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, "All my springs of joy are in you."
1 And after these things Yeshua was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Tabernacles, was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing. 4 "For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6 Yeshua therefore said to them, "My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune. 7 "The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8 "Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come." 9 And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. 10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret. 11 The Jews therefore were seeking Him at the feast, and were saying, "Where is He?" 12 And there was much grumbling among the multitudes concerning Him; some were saying, "He is a good man"; others were saying, "No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray." 13 Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews. 14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Yeshua went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" 16 Yeshua therefore answered them, and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself. 18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. 19 "Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" 20 The multitude answered, "You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?" 21 Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel. 22 "On this account Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. 23 "If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? 24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." 25 Therefore some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? 26 "And look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Messiah, do they? 27 "However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Messiah may come, no one knows where He is from." 28 Yeshua therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 "I know Him; because I am from Him, and He sent Me." 30 They were seeking therefore to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 But many of the multitude believed in Him; and they were saying, "When the Messiah shall come, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?" 32 The Pharisees heard the multitude muttering these things about Him; and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. 33 Yeshua therefore said, "For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. 34 "You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come." 35 The Jews therefore said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? 36 "What is this statement that He said, 'You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come '?" 37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified. 40 Some of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." 41 Others were saying, "This is the Messiah." Still others were saying, "Surely the Messiah is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" 43 So there arose a division in the multitude because of Him. 44 And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. 45 The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, "Why did you not bring Him?" 46 The officers answered, "Never did a man speak the way this man speaks." 47 The Pharisees therefore answered them, "You have not also been led astray, have you? 48 "No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? 49 "But this multitude which does not know the Law is accursed." 50 Nicodemus said to them (he who came to Him before, being one of them), 51 "Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?" 52 They answered and said to him, "You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee." 53 And everyone went to his home.
(V.1) In the previous chapter, we saw the “appointments with Yahweh”, the Holy Days, from Unleavened Bread to Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day Assembly. In this chapter, we start with the menorah, with its olive-oil burning lamps, at the dedication (hanukkah) of the Holy Place.
Today, we still celebrate Hanukkah following all the Holy Days. Though we do so in remembrance of the rededications of the Holy Temple, the origins are with the beginning of the Tabernacle. It is this menorah that plays a significant role in Hanukkah – the Hebrew word meaning dedication.
is the light of the Holy Place. Its center* lamp is called the shamish –
the servant: as its fire is used to light the other lamps, it represents Yeshua,
the Light of the World (John 8:12), who gives us light to illuminate the world.
John tells us (Revelation 1:12-18) that the center lamp is Yeshua: “in the
middle of the lampstands one like a son of man”.
From this original Tabernacle in the Wilderness, Moses brought God’s words and judgments to the people. Moses sought the glory of Yahweh, not his own glory. Thus Moses represented Yeshua: “Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among you, from your countrymen: you shall listen to Him” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
In fulfillment, Yeshua came to glorify Yahweh. Jewish leaders sought to put Yeshua to death, but the people marveled at His teaching. Yeshua answered the people how they should judge whether His words were from God: (John 7:18-19) “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
“Did not Moses give you the Torah”. . . in seeking God’s glory, “ and yet none of you carries out the Torah?” because they sought their own glory – power and position and recognition.
Clear olive oil is the first from lightly pressed olives, before they are crushed and the oil contains sediment. “Continual” means that the lamps would be lit every day, not that they never went out; this is like the “continual elevation offering”, one being burned every morning and evening.
The previous chapter concerned the Holy Days, which represented various high points in God’s caring for His people. This chapter deals with the menorah and show bread, which represent God’s daily caring for His people.
The show bread was twelve large unleavened loaves, baked each Friday and placed on the Sabbath. Each loaf was baked from two omers (more than a gallon) of fine wheat flour, and shaped like a rectangle with the corners turned up. They were placed in two stacks of six, the lower two resting on the flat table top, and each higher loaf being supported by golden rods of a rack which was the upper part of the golden table. A bowl of frankincense was placed on top of each stack.
The frankincense was the only part of this offering that was burned on the altar. The loaves were divided among the priests on the following Sabbath: like the Sabbath, the loaves were called an eternal covenant, and were the only offering described this way. It is recorded that the loaves were always as fresh baked loaves at the end of their week.
As the Sabbath provides for the rest of the week, so the loaves symbolized God’s provision for His people for their millennial week on this earth. We are taught to not be anxious about our provision here.
“Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” ( Matthew 6:25-34).
So, our concern here should be to seek God’s glory, and then (and only then) we can trust Him to provide our every need. We should seek to spread His word, not our own thoughts. We need to continually seek correction, of our thoughts and ways, from God’s word.
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-four (January 11, 2003)
Yayiqra (And He called): B’har Sinai (In Mount Sinai), commonly called Leviticus 25:1-38 (Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 1 Yahweh then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, 2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a Sabbath to Yahweh. 3 'Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to Yahweh; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 'Your harvest's aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.
2 Amen* 6 'And all of you shall have the Sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. 7 'Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat. 8 'You are also to count off seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven Sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. 9 'You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. 10 'You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.
3 Amen* 11 'You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. 12 'For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field. 13 'On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property. 14 'If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend, or buy from your friend's hand, you shall not wrong one another. 15 'Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops. 16 'In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years, you shall diminish its price; for it is a number of crops he is selling to you.
4 Amen* 17 'So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am Yahweh your God. 18 'You shall thus observe My statutes, and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely on the land. 19 'Then the land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it. 20 'But if you say, "What are we going to eat on the seventh year if we do not sow or gather in our crops?" 21 then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years. 22 'When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in.
5 Amen* 23 'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. 25 'If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. 26 'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property. 28 'But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property.
6 Amen* 29 'Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year. 30 'But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee. 31 'The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee. 32 'As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession. 33 'What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel. 34 'But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.
7 Amen* 35 'Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 'Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 'You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. 38 'I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God
6 "So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of Yahweh to the people in Yahweh's house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.
6 And Jeremiah said, "The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 7 'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, "Buy for yourself my field which is at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it."' 8 "Then Hanamel my uncle's son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of Yahweh, and said to me, 'Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word of Yahweh. 9 "And I bought the field which was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle's son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 "And I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 "Then I took the deeds of purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle's son, and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 "And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, "Take these deeds, this sealed deed of purchase, and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time." 15 'For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, "Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land."' 16 "After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, then I prayed to Yahweh, saying, 17 'Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, 18 who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. Yahweh of hosts is His name; 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20 who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. 21 'And Thou didst bring Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror; 22 and gavest them this land, which Thou didst swear to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 'And they came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Thy voice or walk in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do; therefore Thou hast made all this calamity come upon them. 24 'Behold, the siege mounds have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine, and the pestilence; and what Thou hast spoken has come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it. 25 'And Thou hast said to me, O Lord God, "Buy for yourself the field with money, and call in witnesses "-- although the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.'" 26 Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 "Behold, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?"
1 Then the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says Yahweh God, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5 "And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. 6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill, and My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth; and there was no one to search or seek for them."'" 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 8 "As I live," declares Yahweh God, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 10 'Thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I shall deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them."'" 11 For thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13 "And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing ground, and they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares Yahweh God. 16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. 17 "And as for you, My flock, thus says Yahweh God, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18 'Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19 'And as for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet, and they must drink what you foul with your feet!'" 20 Therefore, thus says Yahweh God to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 "And I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken. 25 "And I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 "And I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. 27 "Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit, and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 "And they will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29 "And I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore. 30 "Then they will know that I, Yahweh their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people," declares Yahweh God. 31 "As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God," declares Yahweh God.
Psalm 88 A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
1 O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before Thee. 2 Let my prayer come before Thee; incline Thine ear to my cry! 3 For my soul has had enough troubles, and my life has drawn near to Sheol. 4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength, 5 forsaken among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom Thou dost remember no more, and they are cut off from Thy hand. 6 Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. 7 Thy wrath has rested upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah. 8 Thou hast removed my acquaintances far from me; thou hast made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out. 9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon Thee every day, O Yahweh; I have spread out my hands to Thee. 10 Wilt Thou perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise Thee? Selah. 11 Will Thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Thy faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Will Thy wonders be made known in the darkness? And Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But I, O Yahweh, have cried out to Thee for help, and in the morning my prayer comes before Thee. 14 O Yahweh, why dost Thou reject my soul? Why dost Thou hide Thy face from me? 15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on; I suffer Thy terrors; I am overcome. 16 Thy burning anger has passed over me; Thy terrors have destroyed me. 17 They have surrounded me like water all day long; they have encompassed me altogether. 18 Thou hast removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness.
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 "And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure of speech Yeshua spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7 Yeshua therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. 11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 "He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. 13 "He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. 17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." 19 There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words. 20 And many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?" 21 Others were saying, "These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?" 22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly." 25 Yeshua answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me. 26 "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 "I and the Father are one." 31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Yeshua answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."
The Sh’mittah – the Sabbatical Year.
A history: The commandments were all given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. But we see many of them detailed to the people later, in a logical progression. Moses gave the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, which the people joyfully followed. Then Moses gave the instructions for offerings and purification, which were needed upon completion of the meetingplace for appointments with God. After those instructions, we now see the laws given for sh’mittah and other things that applied after reaching the Promised Land.
Last week we considered how that God gave annual appointments showing His occasional acts of greatness toward us – such as redemption and resurrection; and also how He gave the Menorah and Show bread indicating His continual caring for us. This week we are looking forward to an eternal home.
(V.2) “When you come to the land that I give you”. With the Tabernacle being a functional reality, the people are now to look forward to the Promised Land”. “That I give you” is in the present tense – not like a give-and-forget gift, but rather as God continually keeping His promises to His people.
God provided for His original creation, and will provide for His renewed creation.
Genesis 2:4-15 “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for Yahweh God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And Yahweh God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Yahweh God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Then Yahweh God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
(V.2) “Then the land shall have a Sabbath to Yahweh”. The Sabbatical year is related to the weekly Sabbath: its basic purpose is not for the earth to replenish itself, but to worship God, showing faith. Israel may have never trusted God enough to forgo sowing and reaping – and that is a lesson to us in how we should trust. Israel experienced expulsion from the Promised Land because of this lack of faith. Sabbatical years, like Sabbath days, are not times for idleness or worldly pleasure, but times for worship and spiritual growth. (V.3) “Six years you shall sow . . .”, as in “Six days shall you labor” (Exodus 20:9). The seventh year, like the seventh day, is dedicated to God.
In the Sabbath Millennium, the seventh-thousand years when Yeshua reigns, “the day when all will be Sabbath”, God will provide for all of our needs. Then, when the earth is restored, He will provide for us from the Garden of Eden – also called Paradise. By comparing Genesis and Revelation, we can see the details of this restored Garden.
So we see three parts to our faith: We are to trust Yahweh for our salvation from sin (that is the meaning of the name Yeshua), we are to trust God to provide all things for us to fulfill His work that we are here to do, and we are to trust Him for a future eternal glorious home. We show our faith in three corresponding ways: repentance and observing His appointed Holy Days, setting aside the weekly Sabbath for worship and spiritual growth, and resting in a sure hope of future glory that is not dependant upon our worldly efforts such as sowing and reaping to build wealth.
The Yovel – the Jubilee Year.
(V.8) “You shall count for yourself”. After the Passover seder, we are commanded to count each day, and each of seven weeks, until the fiftieth day – Pentecost. Likewise, the Sanhedrin (the commandment is singular) is commanded to count each year, and each of seven Sabbaticals, until the fiftieth year, and then proclaim the Jubilee. This year does not begin on the Festival New Year (Nisan 1), but on Yom Teruah / the Day of Trumpeting (Tishrei 1), which is also called Rosh haShannah / Head of the Year (Ezekiel 40:1). The land may not be worked that year – beginning with Rosh haShannah, but slaves are not fully free until the tenth day – Yom haKippurim / the Day of the Atonements.
This would seem to relate to our final redemption (Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:14). At the Last Trump on Yom Teruah, Yeshua will return and the righteous dead will be raised. But Yom haKippurim, ten days later, represents the purification of the redeemed.
Today’s Psalm is one of those that are obviously messianic. We can hear Yeshua, from the tomb, saying (v.6-7), “Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. Thy wrath has rested upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah.” We can hear Him, from the cross, saying (v.14), “Why dost Thou hide Thy face from me?”
But, in another sense of this Psalm, Israel may be heard, crying, as a result of punishment for faithlessness – faithlessness shown by planting and harvesting and selling on the Sabbatical Years and Jubilee.
Jeremiah tells the result of this faithlessness (v.32:17-24):“Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. Yahweh of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. And Thou didst bring Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror; and gavest them this land, which Thou didst swear to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. And they came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Thy voice or walk in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do; therefore Thou hast made all this calamity come upon them. 'Behold, the siege mounds have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans”.
In John 10 we learn that the
redemption and provision and future world apply to “His sheep”. If we are
of His sheep, we will hear Yeshua’s voice. He gave His life for us
willingly, He came to give us abundant life, and He will not let anything
take us away from Him. This is the Word in which we can trust, and be of
faith concerning our destiny.
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-five (January 18, 2003)
Yayiqra (And He called): V’ki amuk (If impoverished), commonly called Leviticus 25:39 – 26:2 (Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 39 'And if a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service. 40 'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.
2 Amen* 42 'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 'You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God. 44 'As for your male and female slaves whom you may have-- you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.
3 Amen* 45 'Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 'You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
4 Amen* 47 'Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger's family, 48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself.
5 Amen* 50 'He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him. 51 'If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption; 52 and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption.
6 Amen* 53 'Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. 54 'Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. 55 'For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.
7 Amen* 26:1 'You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am Yahweh your God. 2 'You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am Yahweh.
2 And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor.
Psalm 89 A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I Will sing of the lovingkindness of Yahweh forever; to all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth. 2 For I have said, "Lovingkindness will be built up forever; in the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness." 3 "I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations." Selah. 5 And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O Yahweh; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies is comparable to Yahweh? Who among the sons of the mighty is like Yahweh, 7 a God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Yahweh God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty Yahweh? Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee. 9 Thou dost rule the swelling of the sea; when its waves rise, Thou dost still them. 10 Thou Thyself didst crush Rahab like one who is slain; Thou didst scatter Thine enemies with Thy mighty arm. 11 The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; the world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them. 12 The north and the south, Thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Thy name. 13 Thou hast a strong arm; Thy hand is mighty, Thy right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; lovingkindness and truth go before Thee. 15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Yahweh, they walk in the light of Thy countenance. 16 In Thy name they rejoice all the day, and by Thy righteousness they are exalted. 17 For Thou art the glory of their strength, and by Thy favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to Yahweh, and our king to the Holy One of Israel. 19 Once Thou didst speak in vision to Thy godly ones, and didst say, "I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 "I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, 21 with whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 22 "The enemy will not deceive him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 "But I shall crush his adversaries before him, and strike those who hate him. 24 "And My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, and in My name his horn will be exalted. 25 "I shall also set his hand on the sea, and his right hand on the rivers. 26 "He will cry to Me, 'Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.' 27 "I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth. 28 "My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29 "So I will establish his descendants forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 30 "If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, 31 if they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, 32 then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 "But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 34 "My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35 "Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 36 "His descendants shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. 37 "It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful." Selah. 38 But Thou hast cast off and rejected, Thou hast been full of wrath against Thine anointed. 39 Thou hast spurned the covenant of Thy servant; Thou hast profaned his crown in the dust. 40 Thou hast broken down all his walls; Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all his enemies rejoice. 43 Thou dost also turn back the edge of his sword, and hast not made him stand in battle. 44 Thou hast made his splendor to cease, and cast his throne to the ground. 45 Thou hast shortened the days of his youth; Thou hast covered him with shame. Selah. 46 How long, O Yahweh? Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever? Will Thy wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember what my span of life is; for what vanity Thou hast created all the sons of men! 48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. 49 Where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, which Thou didst swear to David in Thy faithfulness? 50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 with which Thine enemies have reproached, O Yahweh, with which they have reproached the footsteps of Thine anointed. 52 Blessed be Yahweh forever! Amen and Amen.
Galatians 4:1 - 5:1
1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. 12 I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; 13 but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14 and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Messiah Yeshua Himself. 15 Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness, that if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out, in order that you may seek them. 18 But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Messiah is formed in you-- 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23 But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24 This is allegorically speaking: for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. 27 For it is written, "Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more are the children of the desolate Than of the one who has a husband." 28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman." 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. 5:1 It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians) Paul is speaking of slavery and freedom; but, what slavery and what freedom?
If we come to the Scriptures with a preconceived doctrine that “Law” is slavery and “lawlessness” is freedom, then we can interpret this passage to bolster our doctrine. Many translators, having this doctrine, have accordingly slanted some of the most popular versions of the Bible. This makes such an interpretation much easier, and harder to correct.
Firstly, I would like everyone to be aware that nowhere in Galatians (or anywhere else) did Paul use any word that could reasonably be translated “Judaizers”, though such a term is often attributed to him in sermons condemning Torah observance.
Secondly, I would like everyone to see that the word “lawlessness” is correctly and frequently used, and always condemned. The Greek word is anomia, meaning (a) no - (nomos) law - (ia) ness.
Yeshua said, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’ ” (Matthew 7:23).
Paul said, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification” (Romans 6:19).
Paul taught, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
God said, concerning Yeshua, “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions” (Hebrews 1:9).
John taught, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; for sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
Thirdly, I would like to remind everyone that Yeshua said He did not come to abolish the Torah / Law (Matthew 5:17). But, Paul taught that Yeshua set us free from the Law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). The Law of sin and death is “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
So, Yeshua did not set us free to practice things that are against Torah - lawlessness. He set us free from the sting of death, our just punishment, so that we could be free to serve Him lawfully, not continuing to serve sin.
Through Torah obedience, we learn to serve God, and overcome sin.
Now, there were certain false religious promoters in Judaism, as there are today in Christendom, who insisted that salvation was based upon ones own merits. By fearfully abstaining from certain acts and carefully performing others, one might hope to obtain eternal life; the alternative would be death for sin. (V.17) “They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out, in order that you may seek them.” (V.21) “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?” Being “under the law” here means being a slave to it under penalty of death. Some, who themselves do not possess the kind of faith taught in Torah, wish to hold others to their kind of works for salvation. But, as Paul is saying, this is really contrary to what Torah is about: “do you not listen to the law?”
Abraham had a son, Isaac, by the fulfillment of God’s promise. We are sons of God by the fulfillment of God’s promise. God sent forth His Son to redeem us. Through His Spirit we long to worship Him, rather than the worship the base things of this world. His Torah is our instruction (Torah means instruction), carried by prophets and teachers, to bring us to maturity (Ephesians 4:13).
And, Abraham had a son, Ishmael, “after the flesh”. This son was without faith, fully enraptured with the natural world. Therefore, he came under the condemnation of “the soul who sins will die”. The commandments, which are to show the way of a fulfilled life to the faithful, became his judge of death.
(V.5:1) Messiah set us free from the penalty of death for sin, if so be that we have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). Therefore, we should not let anyone convince us to seek salvation by our own works, which would lead to a death penalty for failure. But, on the other hand, if we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we will not follow “lawlessness”, but Torah instruction to grow in righteousness.
Leviticus 25 speaks of how we are to treat someone who has become impoverished. We are not to deal with him in severity, but we are to revere God. We are to seek his welfare, and his restoration to independence.
In Isaiah 24, God speaks of the time when men have polluted the earth, by grossly breaking His laws (v.5). There will be no difference between a commoner and a priest, between a slave and a master, between a borrower and a lender (v.2): all will be gathered like prisoners in a dungeon (for 1000 years), and later punished (v.22). Yahweh of hosts (armies) will reign on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (v.23). The stated reason is . . . lawlessness!
[Isaiah says “Yahweh of Hosts” will reign on earth; John so describes the Sabbath millennium (Revelation 11:15-17 and 20:6).]
We sing, from Psalm 89, I will sing of the lovingkindness of Yahweh forever; to all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth. For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; in the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness – ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah.”
(V.30) “If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah (Meditate on that).
Incidentally, Psalm 89:15 says, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Yahweh, they walk in the light of Thy countenance.” The “joyful sound” is a translation of the Hebrew teruah: how blessed are the people who walk in His light, rehearsing on Yom Teruah / the Day of Trumpeting, knowing the sound of the last trump! They shall recognize the announcement of Messiah return!
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-six (January 25, 2003)
(And He called):
Im bekuqutay (If in My
statutes), commonly called Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34
1 Amen* 3 “ ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, 4 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. 5 Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. 6 I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. 7 But you will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword; 8 five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. 9 So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. 10 And you will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. 11 Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you should not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
2 Amen* 14 ‘But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up. 17 And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you. 18 If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And your strength shall be spent uselessly, for your land shall not yield its produce and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit. 21 If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. 22 And I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted. 23 And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me, 24 then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. 25 I will also bring upon you a sword which will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied.
3 Amen* 27 ‘Yet if in spite of this, you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, 28 then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins. 29 Further, you shall eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat. 30 I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols; for My soul shall abhor you. 31 I will lay waste your cities as well, and will make your sanctuaries desolate; and I will not smell your soothing aromas. 32 And I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled over it. 33 You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. 34 Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. 35 All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your Sabbaths, while you were living on it. 36 As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them and even when no one is pursuing, they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall. 37 They will therefore stumble over each other as if running from the sword, although no one is pursuing; and you will have no strength to stand up before your enemies. 38 But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies' land will consume you. 39 So those of you who may be left will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies; and also because of the iniquities of their forefathers they will rot away with them.
4 Amen* 40 ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me-- 41 I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies-- or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land shall be abandoned by them, and shall make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, shall be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am Yahweh their God. 45 But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am Yahweh.’ ” 46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which Yahweh established between Himself and the sons of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai.
5 Amen* 27:1 Again, Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When a man makes a difficult vow, he shall be valued according to your valuation of persons belonging to Yahweh. 3 If your valuation is of the male from twenty years even to sixty years old, then your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 Or if it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels. 5 And if it be from five years even to twenty years old then your valuation for the male shall be twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6 But if they are from a month even up to five years old, then your valuation shall be five shekels of silver for the male, and for the female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if they are from sixty years old and upward, if it is a male, then your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 8 But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be placed before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the means of the one who vowed, the priest shall value him.
6 Amen* 9 ‘Now if it is an animal of the kind which men can present as an offering to Yahweh, any such that one gives to Yahweh shall be holy. 10 He shall not replace it or exchange it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good; or if he does exchange animal for animal, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. 11 If, however, it is any unclean animal of the kind which men do not present as an offering to Yahweh, then he shall place the animal before the priest. 12 And the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as you, the priest, value it, so it shall be. 13 But if he should ever wish to redeem it, then he shall add one-fifth of it to your valuation. 14 Now if a man consecrates his house as holy to Yahweh, then the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand. 15 Yet if the one who consecrates it should wish to redeem his house, then he shall add one-fifth of your valuation price to it, so that it may be his. 16 Again, if a man consecrates to Yahweh part of the fields of his own property, then your valuation shall be proportionate to the seed needed for it: a homer of barley seed at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he consecrates his field as of the year of jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand. 18 If he consecrates his field after the jubilee, however, then the priest shall calculate the price for him proportionate to the years that are left until the year of jubilee; and it shall be deducted from your valuation. 19 And if the one who consecrates it should ever wish to redeem the field, then he shall add one-fifth of your valuation price to it, so that it may pass to him. 20 Yet if he will not redeem the field, but has sold the field to another man, it may no longer be redeemed; 21 and when it reverts in the jubilee, the field shall be holy to Yahweh, like a field set apart; it shall be for the priest as his property. 22 Or if he consecrates to Yahweh a field which he has bought, which is not a part of the field of his own property, 23 then the priest shall calculate for him the amount of your valuation up to the year of jubilee; and he shall on that day give your valuation as holy to Yahweh. 24 In the year of jubilee the field shall return to the one from whom he bought it, to whom the possession of the land belongs.
7 Amen* 25 ‘Every valuation of yours, moreover, shall be after the shekel of the sanctuary. The shekel shall be twenty gerahs. 26 However, a first-born among animals, which as a first-born belongs to Yahweh, no man may consecrate it; whether ox or sheep, it is Yahweh's. 27 But if it is among the unclean animals, then he shall redeem it according to your valuation, and add to it one-fifth of it; and if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation. 28 Nevertheless, anything which a man sets apart to Yahweh out of all that he has, of man or animal or of the fields of his own property, shall not be sold or redeemed. Anything devoted to destruction is most holy to Yahweh. 29 No one who may have been set apart among men shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death. 30 Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is Yahweh's; it is holy to Yahweh. 31 If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. 32 And for every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to Yahweh. 33 He is not to be concerned whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; or if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. It shall not be redeemed.’ ” 34 These are the commandments which Yahweh commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai.
19 “O Yahweh, my strength and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to Thee the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit.’ ”
20 “And the inhabited cities will be laid waste, and the land will be a desolation. So you will know that I am Yahweh.”
19 “If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; . . .”
Psalm 90 A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. 3 Thou dost turn man back into dust, and dost say, "Return, O children of men." 4 For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. 5 Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades, and withers away. 7 For we have been consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath we have been dismayed. 8 Thou hast placed our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy presence. 9 For all our days have declined in Thy fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. 10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of Thine anger, and Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee? 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom. 13 Do return, O Yahweh; how long will it be? And be sorry for Thy servants. 14 O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad according to the days Thou hast afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. 16 Let Thy work appear to Thy servants, and Thy majesty to their children. 17 And let the favor of Yahweh our God be upon us; and do confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends, if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ 26 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
(John 15:11) Yeshua said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
(Psalm 90:11-12) “Who understands the power of Thine anger, and Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee? So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.”
We must go into today’s reading with the following understandings: Our redemption and eternal destiny is a matter of grace, the evidence being a faith that produces fruit – good works. This life is a process of sanctification – growing in faith and knowledge through the Word of God and the Spirit of God. We will have discipline in this life if we are His: we also will have trials of our faith that are not disciplinary.
(John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”
Ultimately, we live in Yeshua, the true vine, and bear fruit. Or, we can live by the world’s ideas, and get clipped. That relates to our eternal state – whether we are or are not of the redeemed.
(John 15:6) “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Today’s readings concern this present life. They relate to the present state of those who are God’s chosen – those who are redeemed. They show us the great distinction between living by faith (in truth, not blindly), and living by our own feelings.
If we are redeemed, we will be disciplined until we learn obedience. We can live a prosperous life by walking with God, or we can live under increasing difficulties by fighting for our own rights. A prosperous life means that, in serving God, He will provide every need for His work. There is great satisfaction and peace in serving God. A difficult life means that, in serving self, He will provide increasing penalties to turn us around. It is greatly to our advantage to submit quickly.
The Psalmist asks God to teach us quickly, because our days on this earth are short. We may all wish for God to teach us gently, rather than show his great fury in our lives. If we have a heart to learn and comply, we may experience God’s peace and joy for more of our lives.
The Torah portion is dramatic:
(V.3) “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you . . .”.
(John 15:8 “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.”
(V.14) “But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, I, in turn, will do this to you: ”.
(V.27) “Yet if in spite of this, you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins.”
(V. 40) “If they confess their iniquity . . .” (v.44) “I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them . . .”.
(John 15:2) “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
Contrast today’s portions of the prophets:
Ezekiel says: “And the inhabited cities will be laid waste, and the land will be a desolation. So you will know that I am Yahweh.”
Jeremiah says: “O Yahweh, my strength and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to Thee the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit.’ ”
Isaiah says: “If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; . . .”
We need to constantly consider our position before an holy God, and make daily confessions of our erroneous ways and wrong attitudes. God has promised to fill us with His Spirit, and righteousness, if we ask. This is the path for answered prayer, and a fulfilled life, and full joy, and a greater future life.
(Luke 11:9-13) Yeshua said,
“And I say to you, ask, and it shall be
given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to
you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him
who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by
his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will
he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will
he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who
Leviticus 27 ends the Book of Leviticus. It teaches of redemption valuations for people, animals, crops, and property, offered to God.
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-seven (February 1, 2003)
Bamidbar (In the wilderness), commonly called Numbers 1 (Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head 3 from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies. 4 "With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father's household.
2 Amen* 5 "These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6 of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7 of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8 of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9 of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16 "These are they who were called of the congregation, the leaders of their fathers' tribes; they were the heads of divisions of Israel."
3 Amen* 17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name, 18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as Yahweh had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
4 Amen* 20 Now the sons of Reuben, Israel's first-born, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 21 their numbered men, of the tribe of Reuben, were 46,500. 22 Of the sons of Simeon, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, their numbered men, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 23 their numbered men, of the tribe of Simeon, were 59,300. 24 Of the sons of Gad, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 25 their numbered men, of the tribe of Gad, were 45,650. 26 Of the sons of Judah, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 27 their numbered men, of the tribe of Judah, were 74,600.
5 Amen* 28 Of the sons of Issachar, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 29 their numbered men, of the tribe of Issachar, were 54,400. 30 Of the sons of Zebulun, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 31 their numbered men, of the tribe of Zebulun, were 57,400. 32 Of the sons of Joseph, namely, of the sons of Ephraim, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 33 their numbered men, of the tribe of Ephraim, were 40,500. 34 Of the sons of Manasseh, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 35 their numbered men, of the tribe of Manasseh, were 32,200.
6 Amen* 36 Of the sons of Benjamin, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 37 their numbered men, of the tribe of Benjamin, were 35,400. 38 Of the sons of Dan, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 39 their numbered men, of the tribe of Dan, were 62,700. 40 Of the sons of Asher, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 41 their numbered men, of the tribe of Asher, were 41,500. 42 Of the sons of Naphtali, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 43 their numbered men, of the tribe of Naphtali, were 53,400.
7 Amen* 44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each of whom was of his father's household. 45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, 46 even all the numbered men were 603,550. 47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe. 48 For Yahweh had spoken to Moses, saying, 49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel. 50 "But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the tabernacle. 51 "So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death. 52 "And the sons of Israel shall camp, each man by his own camp, and each man by his own standard, according to their armies. 53 "But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony." 54 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which Yahweh had commanded Moses, so they did.
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." 13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" 14 And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. 16 "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes."
(Numbers 1) Listings of the twelve tribes:
29* Numbers 1** Revelation 7***
*Genesis here records the birth order of the sons of Israel.
** Joseph fulfilled the part of priest (instead of the firstborn), and was used to save all the family: therefore he was given a double portion through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, who are also named in this chapter. Levi is shown last, because Levites were to keep the Tabernacle, and not be counted for warriors.
***Benjamin was left with Judah in the divided kingdom, and the rest went into captivity. Manasseh represents the second portion to Joseph.
(Hosea 2:1) Say to your brothers, “Ammi (My people),” and to your sisters, “Ruhamah (obtained mercy).”
God’s people were not chosen for any worthiness in themselves. They are the ones chosen before the world began, and shown mercy – redemption from slavery to sin, forgiveness, cleansing, and future glorification.
Psalms 90 through 100 were written by Moses: “A Prayer of Moses the man of God” (Psalm 90:1). Each was written for one of the tribes – Simeon being excluded (see Deuteronomy 33). Psalm 91 is for Levi.
This Psalm describes the state of the person who walks with God – be it Moses, the Israelites (and we who worship their God), or Yeshua.
(V.1) “He who sits in the secret place of the Most High, shall dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.” Consider the three interpretations: literal, spiritual, and prophetic.
· This can refer to the Levites, who served in the Tabernacle, and dwelt next to it.
· This can also refer to God’s people (whom we are, if we are of the faith). He who seeks God’s holiness and wisdom need fear neither man nor natural harm: whatever befalls him is for his good (And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose – Romans 8:28). In this world there is darkness, where man does not see the light of God: but we can dwell here, fully protected by God, without the understanding of the world.
This can also refer to Yeshua, who
applied this Psalm to Himself (see v.11-12 below).
· God fills everything, being omnipresent (Psalm 139:7); yet He dwells in the Tabernacle / Temple / Synagogue in a special sense, where man can come to “meet” Him at appointed times (Leviticus 23).
· God also dwells in the hearts of His people.
· And His fullness dwelt in Yeshua (Colossians 2:9).
(V.2) Whenever a person sets out to walk with God, demonic forces struggle to block the way – with such weapons as other people, one’s own emotions, and worldly events. So, Moses said as he climbed Mt. Sinai, “Yahweh is my strength and my fortress – My Elohim, I will trust in Him.” Not only did Moses trust God as Yahweh for mercy (forgiveness) and grace (unmerited favor), but as Elohim for true justice.
(V.3-6) In justice Elohim will deliver from the enemies’ snares, and in grace Yahweh will cover us – His truth will be our shield and armor. We will not fear “terror of the night” – unseen danger, nor “the arrow that flies by day” – dangers that we can forsee. We will not fear “pestilence that walks in gloom” – disease that we may be susceptible to in inclement weather, nor “the destroyer who lays waste at noon” – an attacker who comes when all seems well.
(V.7-8) We will see many fall, but we shall be upheld by God’s hand (Psalm 37:24). We will only see the destruction of those who spurned God, none of the harm will befall us.
(V.9-10) For those who proclaim, “Yahweh is my refuge”, and make the Most High their dwellingplace, no evil will befall them, and no plague will come to their home.
(V.11-12) “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” We see here that God provides guardian angels – He did so for Moses on Mt. Sinai, He does so for us, and He did so for Yeshua (as Satan quoted to tempt Yeshua to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple – Matthew 4:6).
(V.13) The word translated lion means a large mature lion, and the word for viper means an old vicious snake. The young lion and the snake are two creatures that hate each other, and arouse each other to murderous fury. Those who walk with God can trample on both at the same time without danger! This may easily be seen as a reference to Yeshua in the midst of different kinds of enemies at the same time. It can also apply to our spiritual standing in the midst of various spiritual enemies.
(Read balance of Psalm.)
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