Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 4

Josh 10.1-27 deals with Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, and four other kings who will come against Joshua and Israel. He will be a picture of the False Messiah. Jerusalem will be a picture of the human heart that will know no peace until Yeshua reigns there. The False Messiah will oppose Yeshua as he comes to take the land (v 1-5). It will also deal with Joshua’s conquest of the land.

The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to come and help them, so Joshua went from Gilgal with all the people of war, all the valiant warriors (10.7). This alludes to the point when we realize that only Yeshua can save us and we are weak in ourselves. Yehovah said to Joshua, “Do not fear them for I have given them into your hands.” Satan could not defeat Yeshua alone, so how can he stand now that he is resurrected and has an army. This also alludes to when Yeshua comes with his army of glorified believers to take possession of the land from the False Messiah.

As Joshua confronts these kings, he devastates them. God threw great hailstones from heaven against them, and more died from the hailstones than from the sword. God’s power will also manifest itself in the birth-pains and will be available to those who believe. Yehovah even made the sun stand still in an answer to a prayer by Joshua. This gave him more time to defeat these enemies. Yeshua and the Kahal (believers in his congregation) will also overcome numerous nations during the conquest of the land during the birth-pains (10.12-15).

The five kings fled into a cave in Makkedah (place of shepherds) in the Shephelah (lowland, foothills) Valley or hilly lowland. Caves were used as burial places, so this is a type of “burial.” The flesh always tries to hide from Yeshua. But Joshua found out and rolled large stones against the mouth of the cave. Yehovah and Yeshua are both seen as a “stone” or “rock” in the Scriptures. This also alludes to having the flesh imprisoned and cutting off its activity, and we must guard against its escape.

After the fighting was over, they came back to the cave in peace. They opened the cave and brought out the five kings. They will be judged openly before the people, and they stepped on their necks. He tells them not to be afraid in future battles because the Lord is going to do this to all their enemies. Joshua kills them and hung them on trees until evening (Deut 24.23). They took them down and put their bodies in the cave they had been hiding in, and buried them. This alludes to what will happen at the end of the birth-pains as Yeshua makes his way to Jerusalem. He confronts the “king of Jerusalem” (the False Messiah) and those with him. He will defeat them and they will be judged before the people. Joshua continues to defeat the inhabitants in the south (10.29-43) and after this was done, he returns to Gilgal with the army.

Josh 11.1-23 deals with the conquest of the northern parts of Canaan. The kings in the north came together against Israel. This army of the enemy is going to be much larger than what Israel had seen before. But the Lord told Joshua to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. This teaches us to have no confidence in worldly might and wisdom. So, Joshua attacked them suddenly and the Lord delivered them into their hands and no survivor was left. In our spiritual battles, we need to attack suddenly with truth and the word will judge the unbeliever so that they cannot stand (John 12.47-48). If the enemy can’t stop your faith (Joshua’s victory in the south, the direction of faith, then he will corrupt our wisdom (the north is the direction of wisdom and reason).

Joshua hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots according to the word of the Lord. This tells us that we are not to rely on the weapons of the world, but on the word of the Lord. The Joshua turned back to defeat Hazor, the head of the northern kings. He utterly destroyed them all and all the cities of the kings. The word was obeyed and it gave them the victory, just like when we obey and we have victory over the world. Israel did not burn their cities that stood on mounds, except Hazor. Joshua is following the pattern set in Exo 23.29-30 by taking the land “little by little.” All the spoil of these cities, the cattle and other things, the sons of Israel took as plunder. We shouldn’t be afraid of taking the spoils. These are things in this world that we can use for the Lord and for what he calls us to do.

Now, the Lord had commanded Moses, and Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses is a type of the Messiah who leads the people out of bondage, and Joshua is a picture of the resurrected Messiah (crossed the Jordan) who leads his people into the Olam Haba.

In Josh 11.16-20 it says Joshua will have a complete victory over the land of Canaan, just like Yeshua will. Let’s look at some of the names here and spiritually apply them. He had victory over the mountain country, a picture of earthly power, and the Negev (south is the area of faith). He also took Goshen so that we can “draw near to God.” The lowland (valley) is where we serve and bear fruit. He took everything from Mount Halak (smooth, bald) in the south (the area of faith) to Seir (shaggy goat), even as far as Baal-Gad (Lord of the troop, a type of worldly reason) in the valley of Lebanon (whiteness, self-righteousness)) in the north, at the foot of or under Mount Hermon (devoted to destruction, banned). So, spiritually this alludes to our life being between reason (Baal-gad) and faith (Mount Halak) and it is in our control. Satan rules over the “troops” (Baal-gad) who are in service (the valley) in self-righteousness (Lebanon). But they are devoted to judgment (under Mount Hermon).

There was not a city which made peace with Israel, except the Hivites in Gibeon, they took them all in battle. It was of the Lord to harden their hearts to meet Israel in battle in order that he might destroy them and that they receive no mercy. This is similar to what the Lord did with Pharaoh in order to fulfill his purposes in Egypt.

Josh 11,21-23 says that Joshua came and cut off the Anakim from the mountain country. Anakim means “long-necked” and this is symbolic of pride. He also cut them off in Hebron (communion) and from Debir (word). He also cut them off from Anab (grape, fruit bearing). What is this saying spiritually to us? Pride (Anakim) has no place in the life of our communion with God, his word and our fruit-bearing. There was no Anakim left in the land of Israel, only in Gaza (strong), Gath (wine-press, a type of sensual joy) and Ashdod (I will spoil). Spiritually, the Philistines (“wallower”) are a type of apostasy and it is alive and has power and is strong. It gives us a false, sensual joy and spoiling men by wallowing in false doctrine (2 Pet 2.22).

Joshua took the whole land according to all the Lord spoke to Moses. Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes, and the land rested. Yeshua’s victory does this also, and as the land rested under Joshua, so will the whole earth rest under Yeshua in the Olam Haba.

We will pick up in Josh 12.1-24 in Part 5.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 3

In Josh 8.1-29 turns his attention again to Ai and defeats them. This is seen as a type of the coming judgment of the world when Messiah comes. Joshua sends out 30,000 warriors at night. The number 3 is the number of resurrection and only those who have passed from death unto life can participate in the defeat of the world’s system with Yeshua, and Yeshua overcame the darkness to bring the victory. Joshua tells some of the men to wait to ambush the city from behind, and this speaks of how we need to wait on the Lord in our spiritual battles, as well. God is going to deliver the city by his word and power and there will be a complete victory.

So Joshua sent the men away and put them between Ai (heap of ruins) on the east and Bethel (house of God) on the west. This is the spiritual position of every believer waiting at “night” with the world (Ai is a heap of ruins) on our east (away from God) and Bethel, the house of God, on the west (approaching God). Joshua spent that night in the valley. Yeshua was sent into the valley of death at night, also.

Now, the King of Ai (type of Satan) saw Israel he went out to meet them at the appointed place. Satan tried to stop Yeshua at the appointed place of Golgotha. Joshua acted like he was defeated (v 15) and it appeared that Yeshua was defeated also. The king sent out all the men to confront Joshua as he was running away, but that was the plan, as soon as they left the city God told Joshua to stretch out his javelin towards the city and God would give it to him, and so Joshua did.

When the army of Ai left, Israel set fire to the city, the rest of the army saw the smoke, turned around and utterly destroyed the army of Ai who were pursuing them. They captured the king alive and brought him to Joshua. Satan will be brought to Yeshua and bound (Rev 20.1-3), and the army of Ai was killed, as will the unbelievers when Yeshua returns. 12,000 men and women fell from Ai that day, and the number 12 is the number of Divine government. Israel took all the cattle and the spoil from the city, just like Israel will inherit the wealth of the nations. They hanged the king on a tree until evening, and then at sunset he was taken down and they threw it at the entrance of the city and raised a heap of stones over it. The gate is a place of government, and this showed his government had ended.

In Josh 8.30-35 we learn something interesting. Joshua has built an altar on Mount Ebal, just as Moses commanded him (Deut 27.1-26), and they offered korbanot on it. Then it says that Joshua “wrote down” a copy of the Torah in the presence of the people. No hint of an Oral Torah here. Then he read “all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not one word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the stranger who were living among them” (Josh 8.34-35). There is no hint of an Oral Law even in existence in these verses.

As we can see, Joshua is a type of Yeshua the Messiah. Israel has come out of Egypt (sin), drossed the Red Sea (immersion and resurrection into a new life), gone into the wilderness (the world), crossed the Jordan (death) and entered Canaan (the promised land in a hostile world). We are in the midst of the chapters that deal with the conquest of the land (Chapters 6-12). Then we will have the distribution of the land (Chapters 13-21, the separation of the peaceful tribes (Chapter 22) and the parting address of Joshua (Chapter 23-24).

The Canaan side will be a picture of the realm of faith where the flesh still exists. God’s purpose for Israel was not only to bring them out of Egypt, but to bring them into the promises. Canaan does not picture “heaven.” It had giants, enemies and walled cities. The Lord doesn’t just save us from sin, but he will deliver us in our lives as we battle opposing armies and forces.

Josh 9.1-27 tells us the story of the Gibeonites, but lets look at some idioms. In 9.1 the hill country (mountain) symbolize a place of separation and can mean powerful kings or kingdoms. The valley is a symbol of fruitfulness and service. The sea is a type of the unconverted masses (Isa 57.20) and Lebanon means “white” and is a symbol of righteousness. It is in the north which is a type of worldly wisdom. We have already gone over the meaning of the nations mentioned there.

Now, the news of the victorious Israelites has spread, and the inhabitants of Gibeon heard that Joshua was coming, and that Jericho and Ai had fallen. So, they disguised themselves and deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them, allowing them to live. Joshua did not seek the counsel of the Lord. Israel was given the task of destroying the inhabitants of the land and they just made a covenant not to do what God wanted. This is going to cause a lot of trouble in the coming years (Deut 27.10-18).

How often have we as believers hurt ourselves by having relationships that are not consistent with the Torah? We enter into covenants with people who support false religions, worldly people and worldly designs. These relationships will always hinder us. The Gibeonites gave a false profession and human reasoning will hinder our joy and peace. They showed Joshua their crumbled bread, which is a fitting symbol of the spiritual food of an unbeliever (9.12).

Joshua eventually finds out that the Gibeonites deceived him, but because of the covenant, he will not kill them. So, they make them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, the Mishkan and later the Temple. The Gibeonites said they feared Israel and their lives, and they were in Joshua’s hands. But, in a way, this is also a picture of the unbeliever coming to Yeshua. So, let’s look at this event at a different angle.

They appear before Joshua in worn-out rags, which pictures the unbeliever appearing before Yeshua in the filthy rags their self-righteousness. The moldy bread of false religion will not keep them alive or sustain them. They admit they are in need of some help and have a healthy fear of Joshua, and will be servants. Joshua (Yeshua) makes a covenant of peace with them. Even though Joshua curses them in v 23 after he finds out about their ruse, we don’t believe he speaks for God here. The Lord protects them from angry Canaanites in Chapter 10 and they will serve the Mishkan and called the “Temple servants” or Nethanim” in 1 Chr 9.2, Ezra 2.43, 58, 8.20. The Mishkan will eventually be set up in Gibeon (2 Chr 1.13). Now, they are going to be a picture of the believer coming to the Lord and serving. They believed the word of God and they had a healthy fear of God (9.24). They placed themselves into the hands of Joshua and were submitted to him and cut wood and drew water for the congregation and the altar. We have placed our lives into Yeshua’s hands and we “cut wood” (humanity must be cut down by the word) and “draw the water” of the word which cleanses. This is our ministry in the assembly.

We will pick up here in Part 4.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 2

The priests will enter the Jordan on Nisan 10 (Josh 1.11, 3.2, 4.19) and Nisan 10 is the day that Yeshua rode into Jerusalem as the Passover lamb, and it will be the exact half-way point of the Birth-pains. The False Messiah will also enter Jerusalem and kill the two witnesses (Rev 11.1-14). Then he will declare himself God and “Jesus” in the Temple. Israel will flee into the wilderness of Jordan, from Pella to the south of Petra for the remaining 1260 days of the Birth-pains.

But, in Josh 3.12-17 we have another picture. It is springtime and the Jordan River has overflowed its banks (3.15). The people at Jericho know that a large army is approaching their city but they felt temporarily secure because they did not think anyone could cross the flooded Jordan. But as soon as the priests touched the edge of the Jordan the waters stopped flowing down, and they rose up in a heap going all the way back to a place called Adam, which is by Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Arabah and the Dead Sea (3.16). This enabled Israel to cross the Jordan opposite Jericho. Now, what is being communicated here.

The flooding of the waters is a picture of death that has flooded mankind, but Yeshua (Joshua) has stopped that going back to Adam, the first man, which is by Zarethan, which means “distress” and man dwells beside “distress” and is always close to death (Jordan). But death has been cut off (3.16) for those in faith going all the way from Adam to the Salt Sea, called the Dead Sea or Lake of Fire (3.16). But, there is only one place to cross, only one way to enter death safely, and that is with Yeshua (Joshua) leading us (John 14.16; Acts 16.31). One day we will all come to the Jordan. Without Yeshua there is no safe crossing place..

Josh 4.1-24 has the story of the twelve stones that were taken from the middle of the Jordan. The stones were symbolic of the twelve tribes and were taken and placed where Israel lodged after crossing the Jordan. They were set up as a “mazavot” or memorial. In Matt 3.9 Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist) is immersing people in the Jordan and he says that “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Many believe the stones he is referring to are the twelve stones for the twelve tribes placed there by Joshua near the Jordan.

The place they were set up is called Gilgal (4.19-20) on the eastern edge of Jericho. This memorial was there to inform their children that “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” In Josh 5.1-12 we learn that Israel is going to be circumcised a second time (5.2). But when were they circumcised the first time? This alludes to the “circumcision of the heart” (Deut 10.16, 30.6). Those circumcised were the ones born in the wilderness (5.5). This circumcision is done at Gilgal, which means to “roll away” (5.9). Gilgal is related to the Hebrew “gulgoleth” (Num 1.2; 1 Chr 23.3, 24; 2 Kings 9.35) and the word “Golgotha” where Yeshua was crucified. It was called that because it was a little knoll “rounded” like a bare skull. His death “rolled away” our sin and the curse of the law (death). We are no longer “under arrest or indictment” and we can have the “circumcision of the heart.” Being “born again” is synonymous with the circumcision of the heart.

In Josh 5.13-15 we learn that Joshua is near Jericho when he see a man with a sword drawn. Joshua asks him if he is for Israel or their enemies. The man tells him that he is the captain of the armies of Yehovah. Joshua is to remove his sandals because he is standing on “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground” because this place had a kedusha on it because Jericho has been set apart to God and will be given to Israel. This being is called the “captain of the armies” and could be an angel sent by God as a shaliach (agent), or this is a “theophany” where God appears in human form, like he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses Aaron, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. We believe this is a theophany. God could be seen and heard and he took upon himself a literal physical form. He is called Yehovah in Josh 6.2. However, a theophany is not an incarnation because even though it was all God, it was not all man in the flesh. The incarnation is “very God and very man.” Joshua falls down and worships this captain, which one is never to do if it is an angel (Rev 22.8-9).

Josh 6.1-27 tells us about the fall of Jericho. Jericho symbolizes the world and the seven day siege here is a picture of the Birth-pains where we have the destruction of the non-Jewish powers before entering into the land of the Messianic Kingdom. Israel was to march around the city once a day for six days with the Ark. Yeshua will be presented for seven years before final judgment falls in the seventh year. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, then they were to blow trumpets of ram’s horns (the shofarot symbolize their testimony in pronouncing judgment). After that, the people were to shout (teruah) and then the wall of the city would fall flat (6.3-5). So for six days the people did what was commanded. The armed men (believers armed with a thorough knowledge of the word) went before the ark, then seven priests with trumpets before the ark, and then a rear guard. They were not to shout or let their voices be heard until the right time which tells us that our message is to be nothing more or nothing less than what God tells us to say. They continued to do this for six days. Then it came to the seventh day, which was the seventh day of Hag Ha Matzah. This was Nisan 21, the seventh day of the festival and the city was put under a ban (Lev 27.28-29). All that is within the city belonged to the Lord, except Rahab and all who are with her in the house (6.17).

The city was seen as the “first fruits” to God from the land, so the people were to avoid taking anything for themselves. All the silver, gold, bronze and iron would go into the treasury of Yehovah (6.19). The people took the city and Rahab and her family are delivered (6.23). In Josh 6.26 Joshua made the people take an oath, “Cursed before Yehovah is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his first-born he shall lay its foundation and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” Hiel is from Bethel and he tried to rebuild Jericho during the reign of King Ahab hundreds of years later, and this curse was fulfilled (1 Kings 16.34). This does not mean that Jericho would never be built again because the curse only referred to the one who attempted to rebuild it.

Josh 7.1-26 tells us the story of Achan (troubler) and why Israel was put to flight after Jericho at a city named Ai (7.1). This will teach us the concept of “communal responsibility.” Joshua sent some of the army against Ai and they were defeated. But the number didn’t matter, they could sent one and Ai would have been defeated. The point is, they went as God directed. Thirty-six (6 x 6 = six is the number of man and sin) Israelis were killed and Joshua inquired of the Lord about what happened. Joshua learns that it was not God’s unfaithfulness that was the problem, it was that Israel violated the ban on Jericho by taking something. Notice he says, “Israel has sinned” not just one man. A little leaven can leaven the whole loaf (1 Cor 5.6). Someone took something that belonged to God. Joshua tears his garment because there was a “tear” in the righteousness of Israel.

As a result of this sin, they had no power before their enemies, so this needed to be dealt with. The Lord begins a process of identifying the guilty party by passing before the Lord, starting with the tribe, then the family, then the household, then the individuals. A man named Achan is identified as the one who took something that was under the ban, and he confesses. Thirty-six people died because he took a Babylonian garment. This alludes to the Babylonian religion and its false righteousness (garment) which has caught the eye of many, despising God’s word about it (false religion), two hundred shekels of silver (a type of man’s effort to enter into the redemption) and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels (gold is the metal of deity). 1 Tim 6.10 reminds us about the love of money being at the root of all kinds of evil. Achan felt terrible after he got caught, but maybe he should have felt as terrible before he did it. Maybe we should all feel as terrible before we commit a sin as we do after we do it! Joshua has a word play on his name in verse 25, and lived up to his name. Achan is stoned in the Valley of Achor (trouble), along with his possessions, because of the singular (“you, you, him, him”) in 7.25-26, and the use of the plural in 7.24-25 (“them”) refers to his possessions and not his children.

We will pick up here in Part 3.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 1

We are going to take a look at the book of Joshua and pick up some foundational concepts found there that will help us in our study of the Tanak. We have gone over the Torah in a foundational way and we are going to continue with that process in dealing with the Prophets (Nevi’im) and the Writings (Ketuvim).

As before, this will not be a verse by verse study, but we are going to pick up on selected portions to examine. In doing so, we will see many messianic passages and be able to apply them in our overall study of the Scriptures. To understand the Gospels and Epistles, we must have a foundational understanding of the Tanak. The book of Joshua is a study on spiritual warfare and some of the battles in Joshua will parallel later battles in history.

Israel has left slavery and have returned back to the land, and this also happened in 1948. Og and Sihon have been defeated and we will see that the campaign in Jericho will take six days. This will parallel the defeat of the Arabs after Israeli independence had been declared, and then we have what is called the Six Day War in 1967. Then they came to a city named Ai and Israel lost 36 men in a battle, and the army was shocked. This was the result of the people not listening to the Lord. This will parallel the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was overconfident and lost 3600 men. These are just a few examples of how three battles and situations in the past will give us insight into the future.

Joshua has taken the place of Moses and he is from Ephraim (Josh 1.1), so he is a descendant of Joseph and a type of the Messiah Ben Joseph. He will fight Amalek, a type of the False Messiah. His name is related to the “Yeshua” and that is by design. We know that Moses symbolized the Torah, and the Torah is often called “Moses” (John 5.45-47; Luke 24.27; Acts 21.21). But, we also know that Moses could not take the people into the land, only Joshua could. What does that mean? The Torah (Moses) cannot save us and it stops at the Jordan (descender), a type of death. Only Yeshua (Joshua) can take us across death (Jordan) into the promised land (The Olam Haba).

Josh 1.8 tells us what Joshua learned all these years. He learned that no obedience means no success (Num 14.30-39). There will also be a phrase that is repeated in Josh 1.6-18 and it is “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua was to be strong and courageous and be equipped in the Torah, then he will be a force to be reckoned with. Josh 1.10 takes place on Nisan 7 because they will cross the Jordan three days later on Nisan 10 (Josh 4.19). The enemy will try to move him out of where he was going and try to get him off track. This is the strategy that the enemy will use against us.

In Josh 2.1-24 we learn that Israel is coming up to the city of Jericha (city of the moon). This is significant because they have just spent 38 years in Kadesh Barnea which means “desert of wandering.” Kadesh Barnea is known today as Wadi Rum, which means “valley of the moon.” Now, the moon is a picture of the believer (the bride) who reflects the light of the sun (the Messiah-Psa 19.4-5; Mal 4.2). The New Moon festival is called the festival of the “Born Again” because the moon begins to reflect the light of the sun, thus being born again every month.

As Israel approached, the king of Jericho will try to stop them. Spies had been sent out by Joshua and they stop at the house of Rahab (2.1) and the king found out. Satan also knew that Yeshua had come to destroy his kingdom also, and tries to stop him. Rahab will hide the two spies some flax that was stacked on the roof, and flax is symbolic of righteousness and worn in the garments of the priests (2.6). We are hidden from eternal death by the righteousness of Yeshua.

Rahab believes that Yehovah is with Israel and she saves the men. They promise to save her when the time came. She lets them down the wall by a rope, and she is told to have a cord of scarlet (shanni) hanging from her window. If she does this, she and her house will be spared (2.18). The scarlet thread is the color of blood and it is used in the garments of the High Priest. This cord of scarlet was “suspended between heaven and earth” just like Yeshua was “suspended between heaven and earth” at the crucifixion. This phrase is an idiom for “judgment.” If she obeys the word of the spies, she will live. If she doesn’t, she will die. She did as she was told which results in her salvation. The two men return safely to Joshua and they told him everything that had happened.

The scarlet cord, therefore, is symbolic of the blood of Yeshua and it was used in several stories in the Bible.. It is used in the cleansing of the Metzora (leper) and it was used in Gen 38 to designate which boy was the first born (Zerah). Scarlet thread was also used in the curtains of the Mishkan (Exo 26.1) and in the ephod of the High Priest (Exo 28.6). It is also used in the ceremony of the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer). The scarlet cord of Rahab worked for her and her house, the same way the blood of the lamb placed on the door worked in the Egyptian Passover.

In Josh 3.1-17 we learn that Joshua “rose early in the morning” and he made ready to cross over the Jordan. This is alluding to the Natzal (rapture) when believers will rise early in the Day of the Lord (the first day or Yom Teruah, Tishri 1) and cross over death unharmed (1 Thes 4.16-18). We learn that the Ark of the Covenant will go before the people at a distance of 2000 cubits because they have never gone that way before. This is a clear allusion to the 7000 year plan of God, and it alludes to Jewish eschatology where the last 2000 years of the Olam Ha Zeh (6000 years) is called the Yomot Mashiach, or “days of the Messiah.” Yeshua came 2000 years ago and we entered this last 2000 year period before the Atid Lavo (future coming), or “Day of the Lord.” Yeshua has gone before us into the Olam Haba (the promised land) in order to lead us there.

Joshua tells the priests who are carrying the Ark to come to the edge of the Jordan and stand still. The waters (of death) will be cut off (3.8, 13). There will be seven (number of completion) nations that they will need to dispossess in order to take the land, and they are are symbolic of the people who will confront us as we go on to posses the promises in this life (3.10). There will be Canaanites (merchants, traffickers) who want your money by selling their religious merchandise and making you think they are true teachers, but they make their living off people who buy their wares. The Hittite (terror) are those who will put spiritual fear on you for the wrong reasons, and misinterpreting the Scriptures to immobilize you in order make you dependent on them (“If you reject our teaching you will be lost” etc). The Hivite (a liver) is one who tells others about “life” but have no life themselves. The Perizzite (rustic squatter) are those who think they are born again but are on earth without a legitimate claim to the Kingdom of God. They are the ones who just come and sit, doing nothing. The Girgashite (stranger drawing near) are those who come around bible studies and congregations but have no place there. The Amorite (sayer, talker) are those who are all talk on spiritual things but do nothing. The Jebusite (trodden down) are those who have no regard for the spiritual things in the Torah like Jerusalem, the Sabbath, the Temple and so on.

In Part 2 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Conclusion

Deut 34.1-12 is the last chapter of the book and it deals with the death of Moses. Given the nature of Israel and how the nation came to be out of a land of idolatry it was possible that the children of Israel would have “deified” Moses. They may have turned his burial into some kind of idolatrous worship center, so where Moses is buried is unknown to this day. But his death and burial is a picture of the death and burial of Yeshua, which we will touch on later.

Another aspect of the life of Moses is the price that must be paid for true leadership. Moses had a life of loneliness and the higher one rises in leadership, the lonelier it will be. Moses had few peers. Aaron was gone and Joshua was appointed by him as his successor. People can expect as they rise in leadership that the peer structure will get smaller and smaller. You will discover that;s the way it is supposed to be. He knew the Lord face to face, how could anyone relate to that, except for Yeshua. So, it is probably fitting that when it comes to the time to die, he is alone with God on a mountain, like it all started.

Moses still speaks today and he teaches us about the Messiah. He gives is instruction (the meaning of Torah) and guidance. He tells us about the name of God, his character and qualities. He teaches us about the Redemption and faith. He also teaches us about the plan of God. Yeshua links himself with Moses by saying, “had you believed Moses you would have believed me” (John 5.46). Yehovah uses Moses to teach us about Yeshua (John 5.47). That should be the goal of anyone who walks with the Lord, to see Yeshua for who he really is.

On the flip side of that, anyone who thinks he can know God and believe in Yeshua without understanding Moses is deceived. If we follow Yeshua, we must know Moses and his basic instruction to us. According to the Rabbis, there are Psalms that are written by Moses (Psa 90 through 100). So, we are going to take a brief look into the death of Moses in Deut 34.5-12 and pick up some things about Yeshua.

It says that Moses was the servant of God (Yeshua is the servant in Isa 40-66) and he died in the land of Moab, according to the will of the Lord. Deut 1.37 says that the Lord was angry with Moses “on your account” and it is the same with Yeshua. God’s anger was for the sake of the people (Isa 53.4-6: Rom 4.24-25). Deut 34.6 says God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab. Moab means “seed of the father.” Moses took care of Joseph and God took care of him. His burial place is unknown today. This teaches us that just as nobody knows where Moses is buried, neither will we know where Yeshua is buried. People knew in the first century, but not now. Don’t waste your time going to the Garden Tomb in Israel. That is not where he was buried.

Deut 34.7 says that Moses was 120 years old and his eye was not dim nor his vigor abated. That means his death was not by natural causes, just like Yeshua. In Deut 34.9 it tells us that Joshua was filled with the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had named him as his successor, and Israel listened to him. He represents the risen Yeshua, the captain of the armies of God who leads us into the promised land of the Olam Haba (the world to come). Deut 34.10 says no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew “face to face.” That is until Yeshua. The Torah ends with the people in the wilderness with Moses as their guide. We are in the wilderness, too, and the Torah (Moses) is our guide. Moses still speaks to us today. Our “Joshua” (Yeshua) will lead us into the promised land (Rom 10.4; Psa 119.105).

There is a traditional blessing that is said at the completion of a study. It goes like this, “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek.” This means, “Be strong, be strong, let us be strengthened.” We have received instruction form the Torah. Stand up in that strength and rise to the next level. In other words, be doers of the word, not just hearers. Take these commandments and turn them into a way of life. Choose the “kedusha” (holy) over the “chol” (common), the “tahor” (clean) over the “tamai” (unclean) and walk humbly before the Lord.

Don’t ever stop learning and renewing your mind. Only when Yeshua returns will we find out how great the Torah really is, and Yeshua will teach us himself. Life is a preparation for that day and we will all sit under his instruction.


* Hatikva Ministries Jerusalem Temple Series notes
* Mesorah Publications “Bereshit” p.527
* Wikipedia article on “Moses”
* “Arguments against Al-Lawz not being Sinai Refuted” by Steve Rudd, Bible.CA (Internet)
* Bible Review, “Mount Sinai in Arabia?” Allen Kerkslager
* “Philo of Alexandria and the Exodus Route: 50 AD”, Bible.CA by Steve Rudd
* Bible Hub, “Benjamin Tudelensis”
* NASB and KJV
* Strong’s Concordance
* Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament
* Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion by Werblowsky and Wigoder
* Shamah-Elim. Info on the name meaning on the seven Canaanite nations
* “The Greatest Truth Never Told” at goecuk 321.blogspot
* Pentateuch and Haftorahs by Joseph Hertz, p. 158, 214, 217, 352
* “The Exodus You Almost Passed Over” by David Fohrman
* Artscroll Sukkot Machzor, p.802-805
* The Works of Josephus
* John Gill COmmentary on Gensis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
* Wikipedia article “Sanhedrin” and the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”
* Herodotus, History, 2.148-149
* “Seven Little Known Wonders of the Ancient World” by Evan Andrews
* Strabo “Geography” 17.1.37-38
* “The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt” by Crystalinks
* “Pharaohs and Kings-A Biblical Quest” by David Rohl
* “The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman
* Koren Tanak
* “The Tabernacle of ISrael” by James Strong
* Temple Institute.Org
* “Pattern For Living” by Alex W. Ness
* Mishneh Torah by Moses Maimonides
* Measure the Pattern” by Joseph Good, Hatikva Ministries
* Ovadiah Soforno commentary on Exo 20.11
* “The Beast That Crouches at the Door” by David Fohrman
* “Understanding Asherah” in Biblical Archeology Review
* “Asherah” article in Jewish Encyclopedia
* Artscroll “Ezekiel” p. 77
* Got Questions.Org
* Midrash Bershit Rabbah 18.6
* Talmud, Yoma 39b
* “The History of the Jewish People; Second Temple Period” p. 153
* “Guide to the Perplexed” by Maimonides
* “The Crimson Worm” by Calvin Evans
* “Everything Kabbalah Book” by Mark Elber, Chapter 11
* “Ancient Israel” by Roland Devaux
* “Simple Pleasures in the Land of Milk and Honey” article in Haaretz
* Bible Review, August 1992
* “The Gold of Exodus” by Howard Blum
* The Biblical Repository and Classical Review” by James Manning Sherwood, John Holmes Agnew, Walter Hilliard
Bidwell, p. 746
* “Coming Out of Egypt: The Journey Out of Idolatry Begins” by K.C. Stricker, Vol 1, p. 121, 422
* Talmud, Avodah Zarah 9a
* Artscroll “Bershit” p.357
* Artscroll, Yom Kippur Machzor, p.336-337
* Artscroll “Vayikra” summary of the laws of Korbanot, p. 326-331
* “Flesh and Blood” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, Oct 14, 2011, Answers in Genesis.Org
* Lion and Lamb Torah series
* Various videos by Nehemiah Gordon on the name of God on Youtube
* “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemiah Gordon
* “The Book of the Divine Name” by Eleazar of Worms
* “A Disastrous Misunderstanding of the Name of Yehovah”, Nehemiah’s Wall
* “Biblical Tabernacle is Nothing Like You Would Think says Bible-savvy Engineer” article in Breaking Israel News-
* Mishnah tractate “Sotah”
* “The Temple” by Alfred Edersheim
* “Caleb the Goy” article by Dean and Susan Wheelock
* “Women and Tzitzit” by Rav C. Hartley
* “Was Mary a Levite, Making Jesus Both KIng and Priest” by Shana Abbott
* “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again” by Nehemiah Gordon
* “Caleb the Gentile?” by Avram Yehoshus, Seed of Abraham.Net
* “The Key to the Original Gospels” by George Lamsa
* “The Trinity-Evidence and Issues” by Dr. Robert Morey, p. 110-111

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 34

Now we come to the last Torah portion called “V’zot ha Brachah” “This is the Blessing.” It goes from Deut 33.1 to 34.12. Moses will shift his focus again to the blessing, which is a good way to end any teaching. Moses has assembled with all the tribes at Mount Nebo and they will form a procession line, and he walks up to the mountain. As he proceeds, he is rendering a blessing unto all of the tribes, a series of goodbyes. At the end of Genesis Jacob did the same thing with his sons (the tribes). When he gets up on the mountain he turns and he can see the promised land. Moses will die before he finishes what he began, and this will be the same for us.

We have all had “mountain top” experiences that got through to us. But our assignment will not be fully accomplished until the next generation, or even after. What we have been a part of is multi-generational and can’t be accomplished alone. Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished in our lifetime. So, with that said, we are going to go through Deut 33.1-29 and try to bring out what Moses is saying here.

There will be an eschatological aspect to what is being said here. This portion (33.1-34.12) is read in Simchat Torah (rejoicing in the Torah). We will give the verse and our commentary will be in parenthesis. This will make it easier to understand as we go through. This will not be an exhaustive commentary, but will it will help us understand what is being said here.

Deut 33.2…And he said, “Yehovah came from Sinai (Hab 3.3) and dawned (with the light of understanding) on them from Seir (Edom). He shone forth from Mount Paran (Edom-Isa 63.1; Hab 3.3-7) and he came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones (Angels-Psa 68.17; Jude 14; Zech 14.5; Rev 1.7-8). At his right hand there was a flashing lightning (a fiery law-Deut 4.6, 5.19-23; Matt 24.27; Hab 3.3-4) for them (their benefit).

Deut 33.3-4…Indeed, he loves the people, all thy holy ones are in thy hand (John 10.28), and they followed in thy steps (sat down at his feet to learn-Acts 22.3); everyone receives of thy words. Moses charged us with a law (Torah was called “Moses” because the Lord gave it through him (John 1.17, 5.39-47), a possession for the assembly (the kehilat, congregation) of Jacob.

Deut 33.5…And he was king in Yeshuran (meaning “upright one” and a term for Israel, until Israel wanted another king in 1 Sam 8.7. It is a form of “Yeshua”), when the heads of the people were gathered, the tribes of Israel together.”

Deut 33.6…”May Reuben (“see, a son”) live and not die (continue, not be extinct) nor his men few (he was the first-born but lost that status to Joseph).”

Deut 33.7…And this regarding Judah (“praise”), so he (Moses) said “Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah (when he goes to battle in prayer and praise. They were the first to undertake the conquest of the unconquered part of Canaan), and bring him to his people (after a battle) with his hands be contended for them (in war); and may you be a help against his adversaries.” As a side note, Simeon’s blessing is included with Judah’s (Josh 19.1-9; 2 Sam 19.43).

Deut 33.8…And of Levi (“to join”) he said, “Let thy Thummim (perfections) and thy Urim (lights) belong to thy godly man (the High Priest), whom you did prove at Masseh, with whom you did contend at the waters of Meribah (Exo 17.1-7; Num 20.1-13-The people murmured against Aaron in particular).

Deut 33.9…Who said of his father and his mother, I did not consider them and he did not acknowledge his brothers; nor regard his own sons (he was impartial in judgment), for they observed thy words and kept thy covenant.

Deut 33.10…They shall teach thine ordinances to Jacob and thy law to Israel (they were the teachers (Lev 10.11; Num 8.24-26; 2 Chr 17.9, 31.4; Ezek 44.23). They shall put incense before you, and whole burnt offerings on thy altar.

Deut 33.11…O Lord, bless his substance (which came from tithes, first fruits, etc) and accept the work of his hands (in offering incense, korbanot and whatever administrations they do); shatter the loins of them that rise up against him (like Korah, Dathan and Abiram did), and those who hate him, so that they may not rise again (the enemies of the priests and Levites are the enemies of God).”

Deut 33.12…Of Benjamin (“son of the latter days or right hand”) he said, “May the beloved of the Lord (the first king was from them) dwell in security by him (the Temple was in his territory), who shields him all the day, and he dwells between his shoulders (supported by the Lord).”

Deut 33.13…And of Joseph (“he will add”) he said, “Blessed of the Lord be his land (he got the birthright of the first born) with the choice things of heaven, with the dew (influence of heaven in favor and goodness) and from the deep lying beneath (wells of water will make the land flourish and be fruitful), and with the choice yield of the sun (needed for growth and would make the land valuable), and with the choice produced from the months (the moon, and the good things produced every month),

Deut 33.15…and with the best of things of the ancient mountains (vines, figs and olives),

Deut 33.16…and with the choice things of the earth and its fullness (corn, grass and the cattle that feed on it, oak trees of Bashan) and the favor of him who dwelt in the bush (the shekinah of God), let it come to the head of Joseph, and to the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers (sold into Egypt but had the status of first born).

Deut 33.17… As the first born of his ox (comely and majestic), majesty is his and his horns (the power and strength of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh) are the horns of the wild ox (they push and destroy those who hurt them) and with them he shall push the people, all at once to the ends of the earth (they will spread their dominion to the ends of Canaan), and those are the ten thousands of Ephraim and those are the ten thousands of Manasseh).”

Deut 33.18…And of Zebulon (“to dwell”) he said, “Rejoice, Zebulon, in your going forth (out to sea to do business in foreign parts), and Issachar (“my hiring”) in your tents (they stayed home and were involved in farming, taking care of the animals, etc).

Deut 33.19…They shall call peoples (both Jewish and non-Jewish) to the mountain (to the Temple on Mount Moriah. They are joined together here because they had the same mother. Zebulon is the youngest of the two, but mentioned first); there they shall offer righteous sacrifices; for they shall draw out the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand (produced glass at Acre, pearls, corrals, gold, silver and metal).”

Deut 33.20…And of Gad (troop, invading) he said, “Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad (Yehovah); he lies down as a lion (bold, secure) and tears the arm (the power of the enemy), also the crown of the head (the king of the enemy).

Deut 33.21…Then he provided the first part for himself (the portions of Sihon and Og were conquered first), for there the rulers portion was reserved (Moses set it aside for them), and he came with the leaders of the people (to ask for his portion on the east side of the Jordan, but would cross over to assist his brothers in the conquest of Canaan); he executed the justice of the Lord and his ordinances with Israel (he did what he promised and he carried out the righteous judgment of God on the Canaanites).”

Deut 33.22…And of Dan he said, “Dan (“judge”) is a lion’s welp (bold, strong) that leaps forth from Bashan (Bashan was a mountain area where lions lived. They had to be because the Danites were the first ones that enemies encountered when coming from the north).”

Deut 33.23…And of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali (“my wrestling”), satisfied with favor (of men and God) and full of the blessing of the Lord, take possession of the sea (of Galilee) and to the south (of Dan).”

Deut 33.24…And of Asher (“happy”) he said, “More blessed with sons is Asher (large numbers), may he be favored by his brothers and may he dip his foot in oil (have plenty of oil to not only anoint the head, but the feet).

Deut 33.25…Your locks shall be iron and bronze (their land yielded much of this) and according to your days, so shall your leisurely walk be (as easy when you are old as it was when you were young).”

Deut 33.26…There is none like the God of Yeshuran (Israel-Deut 32.15), who rides the heavens to your help through the skies in his majesty (like with hail, thunder and lightning upon the Egyptians, etc).

Deut 33.27…The eternal God is a dwelling place (refuge) and underneath is the everlasting arms (God supporting his people); he drove out the enemy from before you (Canaanites) and said, “Destroy” (Deut 7.1-2).

Deut 33.28…So Israel dwells in security (with the Canaanites being cast out they should be safe), the fountain of Jacob (the Israelites who sprang from Jacob) secluded in a land of grain and new wine (Canaan was a land of abundant with grain and wine), his heavens also drop down dew (to water the fields and make it plentiful).

Deut 33.29…Blessed (happy) are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the Lord (and redeemed by him out of Egypt), who is the shield (the magen and protector-Prov 30.5-6) of your help, and the sword of your majesty (to destroy your enemies)! Your enemies shall cringe (to save themselves from fear) before you, and you shall tread upon their high places (their cities, fortresses, temples, altars and necks of their enemies).

In the conclusion we will pick up in Deut 34.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 33

In Deut 32.7-14, Moses gives a lesson from history. He tells them to remember the past (v 7) and to ask the fathers and they will instruct them about all that happened. The Lord gave the nations their inheritance and separated mankind and set the boundaries after the flood and Babel (v 8). This also alludes to twelve nations in Canaan (Gen 10.15-18), and Jacob had twelve sons. Canaan had enough room for all the tribes of Israel.

But the Lord;s inheritance is his people. He found Jacob (Israel) in the desert (Egypt-Ezek 16.1-14, 20.36) and encircled him by instruction. He guarded his as the pupil (“little man”) of his eye. Physically, the pupil is guarded by the orbit of the eye, eyelids and eyebrows. In other words, a guard upon a guard (v 9-10). Like an eagle (v 11), he hovered over Israel and caught them in his wings (Psa 91.3; Luke 13.34-35). It was the Lord alone who guarded them, no other gods (v 12).

He made Israel ride high and they ate the produce of the field (Josh 5.11). In v 13 it says he made them suck honey (from bees) and palm trees that grew out of the rock, and oil from a rock (olive oil that grew on the hills-Job 29.6). Curds of cows and milk from the flock with fat of lambs, and rams, with the finest of wheat and grapes. This shows their prosperity, but Israel showed ingratitude in v 15-18.

Israel got so fat and weighed down by the blessings they forsook the Lord and missed the point. They had the “system” in the Torah, the liturgy, the Temple, the priesthood and Levites, but they grew complacent and sick of it. They rejected the weightier measures of the Torah, like justice, mercy, kindness, compassion and faithfulness (Isa 1.11-17; Hos 12.6; Mic 6.8; Amos 5.21-23; Matt 23.23). They had become a “religious” people (dead). The problem with religious (dead) people is they won’t stay in the “coffin.” They keep walking out and keep coming back like religious “zombies.” They treated God lightly and what he had to say didn’t mean much. They thought because God had blessed them they were in the right. They made him “jealous” with their idolatry, so God made them jealous by including non-Jews into the covenant with them (Num 9.14, 15.14-16; Rom 10.19).

Deut 32.19-33 tells us they deserved punishment. They became a nation lacking counsel and understanding. They were out of the blessing, out of the “obedience business” and did not believe in the Lord or Yeshua when he came. They didn’t believe Moses, so they didn’t believe or understand Yeshua either (John 5.39-47).

Deut 32.34-43 goes on to say that God will punish them, and when their strength is gone, they will turn to the Lord and his Messiah (Hos 5.15 through 6.3; Ezek 39.22; Isa 37.1-3; Jer 30.4-8, Isa 35.3-4). Yeshua said in Luke 21.36 to pray for the strength to stand because Moses prophesied this was going to be a rough time. We need to come to terms with Deut 32.39. God is in control and in the latter days we better be hiding in the rock. In v 43 it says that God will avenge his servants and render vengeance on his adversaries, and he will “atone” for his land and for his people, a clear allusion to the return of Yeshua on Yom Kippur (Matt 24.29-31).

In Deut 32.44-51 we learn that Joshua’s (Yehoshua) name is changed back to “Hoshea.” He was called this originally (Num 13.16). When Moses added the “yod” it made his name “Ye’hoshua (Yeshua), and Moses was saying “Yehovah save you” from those who would harm you in the future. But now he is his own man, chosen by God, he has kept the faith, so Moses changes his name back to just Hoshea again because he can stand on his own before the Lord. He was a leader with Moses now. We need to take what Moses has said and take it to heart because it is our “life” (v 45-47). The Torah may be a “theological” exercise to some, but our lives depend on it (Rev 12.17; Matt 7.21-23, 19.17; Prov 10.27).

The Lord tells Moses to go up Mount Nebo (v 49), and this word is related to the word “prophet” in Hebrew (Navi). Now, the Lord said he could go up Nebo and he could look upon the land of Canaan at least. He tells Moses he would die on the mountain and be gathered to his people, as Aaron died on Mount Hor. This was the result of Moses breaking faith with the Lord at the waters of Meribah when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. The Lord said he did not treat him with the kedusha that rested upon the Lord in the sight of all the people (Num 20.8-13). Here is the heart of the matter.

The people looked to Moses to meet their needs, not God. Moses knew what was going to happen, and that God was going to give them water, but he played a little game with them. That’s the problem with knowing the future, people will manipulate prophecy to their own advantage. Just look at what happens when someone thinks God spoke to them about an event, either past or future. They develop a ministry, get invited to prophecy conferences and exploit the people by selling tapes, books, videos and themselves. Moses was the “shaliach” (agent/messenger/sent one/apostle) sent by God to lead the people out of Egypt, to Mount Sinai, and then to the land of Canaan. He spoke for God and he did not do what the Lord told him to do. It wasn’t like he misunderstood what the Lord said because Moses spoke with the Lord face to face. Surely, if anyone had their ticket punched to the promised land it was Moses, right? But the Lord is not partial to anyone. This cost him his trip into the land because he did not speak to the rock, but he struck it.

Moses was angry with the people and he resented the fact that they were giving him a hard time, and always coming around when they needed something. So he was going to show them what a great guy he was and give them water when they didn’t deserve it. This only reinforced their belief that Moses was their provider, not the Lord. They didn’t think God heard them. The Lord had to correct this misconception. It wasn’t Moses who provided the water for them, it was the Lord Moses dishonored the Lord before the people, so the Lord dishonored Moses before the people, and he could not go into the land with them. In this instance, Moses would embody Israel when Yeshua came. They did not trust the Lord, they trusted their teachers and leaders. They trusted their own good works to save them. Yeshua was the shaliach of God and they would not listen to him, and they “struck” (crucified) the rock, just like Moses did, and this cost them the promised land, too.

In Part 34 we will pick up here with the last Torah portion called “V’zot ha Berachah” or “This is the blessing.”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 32

The next Torah portion is called “Ha’azeinu” and it means to “give ear.” It goes from Deut 32.1-52. Moses knows the people will rebel against the Lord and he tells the people to assemble before him and he will tell them about the evil that will befall them in the “latter days.” Deut 29.14 this was written to a future generation also.

The Ha’azeinu is very eschatological and it was sung by the Levitical choir when the drink offering was poured in the Temple on the Sabbath and Mussaf (additional offerings on Sabbath). It has six sections (verses 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-28- 29-39 and 40-43) and one section is sung every Sabbath.

Here is an important concept to remember. If you want to see what prayer and worship really is, study the Temple services. If you lived in the first century and wanted to know what prayer and worship was, you went to the Temple. Num 28-29, 1 Chr 28.11-19 and Ezek 43.10-12 says that God gave the services to the people to teach these concepts, so it is important to know what is being prayed and when.

The Temple is a choreographed epic on a stage. The Torah is the script and the music, and the priests and the people are the actors. There was a set time when everything is done, with no impromptu demonstrations. For example, you can’t start the Tamid service till sunrise. The priests would look south towards Hebron to see if the sun was up. If it was, then they said, “Bar Chai” (sunrise), and that was the signal to start the morning Tamid service. Now, why was Hebron significant? You could see other towns in the area from the Temple, so what made Hebron so special?

The cave of Machpelah is there and that is where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried. Rachel is buried near Bethlehem. It is the belief that the resurrection of the righteous will begin there in Jewish eschatology. Every dawn is a rehearsal for the resurrection. The people “sleep” and then arise to a brighter day. Everything during the Tamid service is timed, conveying a message.

After the mizbeach (altar) is cleansed, the priests go into the Lishkat Ha Gazit (Chamber of Hewn Stone) for certain prayers. Why do they go to the Chamber of Hewn Stone? The mizbeach was not to be made of hewn stone (man’s action) because whatever business was conducted there was all of God. Man’s works and judgments were not recognized, but it is a place of God’s judgment. But the Chamber of Hewn Stone conveys man’s action, man’s self-evaluation and judgment. They were the “living stones.” But, not all business was conducted in the Temple.

There is a place on the Mount of Olives called “the Seat of the Shekinah.” Another name is “Ha Rosh” or “the head.” Ezek 8 through 11 tells us the Shekinah departed from the Temple and rested on the Mount of Olives for three years, waiting for the people to repent, but they didn’t. So, The Shekinah lifted into heaven from the mount. The Mount of Olives had four significant things happen there. David went over the mount when he fled from Absalom. He wept over the city like Yeshua did, in the same place (1 Sam 15.30; Luke 19.37-41). We also have the departure of the presence of God, as we have said, in Ezek 8-11, and the Shekinah departed just like Yeshua did in Acts 1.4-12. Lastly, we have a ceremony called the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) performed at the Miphkad (appointed place) Altar outside of the Temple, on the Mount of Olives. David’s altar was there and both of these altars were seen as part of the Temple (1 Chr 21.24-26; 2 Sam 24.18-25).

Previously, we talked about, “Hear, O Israel” and how the people were instructed to “choose the blessing, not the curse.” But here we have a special Torah portion called the “Song of Moses.” Like David, Moses sings at certain times. In Exo 15 we have another song called the “Shirat ha Yam” or the “Song at the Sea.” This was sung after Israel was delivered from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. Both of these songs are very eschatological and were recited in the Temple. The Shirat ha Yam is sung in the Temple on the Sabbath, but it may be sung in Rev 15.1-4 when Israel is victorious over the False Messiah. But, this is a prophetic song and it is in seven parts which allude to the seven thousand year plan of God, and it is called a “new song” in Jewish thought (Hertz Siddur, p. 449). But, let’s get back to the Ha’azeinu.

Israel is entering the land and Moses is at the end of his life. He has done what the Lord asked and has seen a whole generation die in the wilderness. Now, their children are getting ready to cross over the Jordan into Canaan and into the promises of God. Deut 29.14 has already told us that this was spoken to a future generation and Deut 31.29 says this is also about the “latter years.” Deut 32 contains a message for this future generation.

This was one of the first things prayed daily in the Temple. It begins with an appeal to the universe (v 1-3). Teaching in the Scriptures is seen as drops of rain and the “dew” (tal). Rain and dew are seen as “resurrection” also because it brings life. Moses is telling the people to not look elsewhere for truth. His teaching (Torah) is seen as the dew (resurrection/life). Mic 5.7, Isa 45.8, Isa 26.19, Joel 2.23 and James 5.7-8 also will convey this idea. We have three types of rain in Deut 32.2 and this alludes to three types of student. Moses is saying that the Lord will punish Israel at the “end of days” or the “latter years” but they will be resurrected with true teaching (Hos 6.1-3).

In Deut 32.4-6 we have the faithfulness of the Lord. The word “rock” (tzur) will be used in verses 4,15,18,30 and 31. Now, the “rock” is a clear allusion to the Messiah in Gen 28.10-22, Isa 51.1, 1 Cor 10.4 and Matt 16.18. The “rock” was also an issue that most strongly affected the life of Moses. He did not honor the rock correctly by striking it instead of speaking to it in Num 20.8-12. He could not enter the promised land because of this interaction with the “rock.”

There are several other words for “rock” in the Scriptures. One is “cela” and that is a clefted rock (Num 20.8), which is different than “tzur” (Exo 17). Also, the word for “stone” is “aven” which consists of an aleph, beit and nun. If you take the first two letters (aleph, beit) you spell “Av” or “father.” If you take the last two letters (Beit, Nun) it spells “Ben” or “son.” The Father and the Son are alluded to in the concept of the rock/stone. Moses is a person who most embodied Israel, and Israel will “strike the rock down” (Messiah) in the future, and they will eventually be driven out of the land also (Acts 2.36, 3.14-15, 5.30). The rock is God in Psa 18.2.

Deut 32.4-5 tell us also that God’s work is perfect and his ways are just. There is perfect justification for what happens in the world, even when we don’t see it. We must try to understand that certain events are beneficial for us. His work is perfect, which also includes the Torah. But, the people acted corruptly towards the Lord and they are not his children because of this defect. The word “defect” alludes to the marks people make on their skin or foreheads with paint in various colors to their favorite gods. They are a perverse and crooked generation (their works, and natures-Matt 17.17). Their ingratitude and lack of wisdom led to rejecting him (Deut 32.15). Deut 32.6 Moses says, “Do you thus repay your Father who has bought you (from Egypt)? He has made you and established you.” This verse has the first usage of “Father” in the Tanak.

In Part 33, we will pick up here with Deut 32.7-14 of the Ha’azeinu.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 31

In this teaching, we will pick up with Canto III in Salmon Ben Jeruham’s criticism of Rabbinic Judaism and their views on the Oral Law.

“Canto III: Where do you flee, O Fayyumite (Saadiah), to hide thyself from utter ruin? Let us rather come together for judgment; increase thine army of arguments and come out to battle. I have seen also in the Talmud, which you Rabbanites regard as if it were your main supporting column, and which is made by you a partner to the Law of Moses, and is held beloved and desirable in your hearts,”

“the bellowing of the School of Shammai against the School of Hillel, to controvert their words, as well as that of the School of Hillel against the School of Shammai, to refute their interpretations of the Law. This one invokes blessings, and that one heaps curses upon their heads, yet both are an abomination in the sight of the Lord. The words of which one of the two shall we accept, and the views of which one of the two shall we condemn, seeing that each one of them is attracted a great congregation of adherents, and each one of them turns to say, ‘I am the captain of the ship?'”

“Incline thine ears, if you desire pearls of wisdom; the matter cannot be both ways. If their words require interpretation with words of men of understanding, then this Mishnah cannot be the Law of the Master of masters. If the Mishnah be the Law of Moses, God’s servant, why do they not mention therein the name of Moses only? And why do they mention in each chapter of the Mishnah the names of teachers other than he? And why do they not say, ‘Thus said the Lord’ and ‘Thus said Moses’ after his meeting with the Lord? If you would yet double the rascalities, and would utter more error and falsehood, and would say, ‘They used to engage in scholarly discussion, in awe of him who dwells in glory.’ Remember that many fell slain among them in their stumbling.”


“God forbid that I should remain silent; rather will I establish the strongest proofs in the world, and I will refute you and despoil you of your claims, with the help of him who causes men to become rich as well as poor. The text of the seven written arguments which are set down in your commentary on Genesis, if at all times you did mention them publicly in order to seduce men’s hearts, yet now they will become like spears and swords over the head and the heart.”

“(1) May thy steps be hampered in walking, when you say that my congregation has need of the Mishnah in order to know the precise measurements of the ordinances of the ritual fringe, the lulav and the booth, and that is why they arranged it and set it down in writing. You have written lies, for not all ordinances have a definite measurement, and that is why the length of the fringe is not specified in the Law. If one should forcefully exhibit this argument, how will you distinguish, and what answer will you make to him, out of the words of the Divine Testimony?”

“(2) To heap up more lying words, you have written and set forth further, and has said, secondly, that the Mishnah is ancient, because in it is explained the precise amount of the heave offering, so that Israel might know what part of what part they are to give. This argument is identical with the preceding, and the answer to the former argument applies to the latter as well; no precise amount or sum has been specified for it; rather each person is to give as much as he wishes and will meet with no complaint.”

“(3) You have said, thirdly, that we have a need for the inherited tradition in order that we might know what day of the week is Sabbath, so that we might keep it holy. But the Sabbath is known to all the inhabitants of the world as a day of rest, from the factual knowledge and reasoning, not merely by reckoning by three, five, and six.”

“(4) You have turned from the right road and has labored much, when you have said, fourthly, that we need the Mishnah to know which vessel is capable of becoming ritually unclean. But you have erred, for you have not considered the verse, ‘whatsoever vessel it be, wherewith any work is done’ (Lev 11.32). All such vessels are specified in the Law, if you would but turn thy heart to it.”

“(5) Still you hold fast to broken arguments, and has said, fifthly, that there are ordinances which we must observe, and which are not explained in the Law, such as prayers, and other ordinances, yet the prayers are not mentioned in Scripture. Your mouth has not considered the verse, ‘and ye shall pray unto me’ (Jer 29.12); and prayers are mentioned also in many other places. Thus, you have not remembered, when you have spoken, the prayer of Daniel, the man greatly beloved of God. Therefore, I reject from before me all ordinances and statutes which are not written in the Law.”

“(6) Your flag fell from your bastion when you have said, sixth, that we need the tradition, and pride ourselves upon it, in order to know the number of years elapsed since the destruction and cessation of the Second Temple. I will answer you in this matter, and thy glory will wilt, O you who bindest together silly things without wisdom! In which sacred book is it written that it is our duty to know the reckoning of how many years shall elapse between the destruction of the Temple and the Dread Gathering?”

“(7) With much labor, but uselessly, you have written, seventh, and has said that we need the tradition, and pride ourselves upon it, to know the date of the period of the redemption of Israel, and the appointed time of the resurrection of the dead. In the song of the Prophets and other seers, all these things are already mentioned and are contained therein; they are bound and fastened therein as firmly as with ropes, and they do not follow from thy words and thy worthless traditions. Here ends my words concerning the Mishnah.”

To date, only the first three chapters of “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” have been translated into English. The rest of the book deals with various points of rabbinic law and some of the corrupt calendar practices of Rabbinic Judaism, which are still practiced today. He also deals with their blasphemous personification of God.

Deut 31.24-26 says that Moses finished writing (not oral) the words of this law (Torah) in a book until they were complete (nothing left out, like an “oral law”). The book was taken and placed beside the Ark of the Covenant so that it might remain there as a witness against the people because Moses knows the people would rebel after he is gone.

In Part 32 we will pick up with the next Torah portion called “Ha’azeinu” which means “Give ear.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 30

We are going to pick up with Canto II from Salmon Ben Yeruham’s “Book of the Wars of the Lord” where Salmon is tearing down the main pillars of Rabbanism (Rabbinic Judaism) and the “Oral Law.”

“I have discovered in my heart another argument, a handsome one, and majestic enough to be placed as a crown for the Karaites, to be their ornament, pride, and glory. I have looked again into the six divisions of the Mishnah, and behold, they represent the words of modern men. There are no majestic signs and miracles in them, and they lack the formula: “Thus the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron.”

“I therefore put them aside, and I said there is no true Law in them, for the Law is set forth in a different manner, in a majestic display of prophets, of signs, and of miracles; yet all this majestic beauty we do not see in the whole Mishnah. I have seen an end to every human purpose, but there is no end to the speaking about the majesty of his ordinances and utterance. Blessed by the Creator of what is below and of what is above, and may his blessing rest upon his people. Selah!”

“I am young in days, and you are older than I. Had not the blackguard (Saadiah) intruded among the scholars I would never have written this epistle. I have turned again to my first argument, to fortify it with truth and uprightness, without falsehood, and with might and power, like the power of Samson; however, the best answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

“I have set the six divisions of the Mishnah before me, and I looked at them carefully with mine eyes. And I saw that they are very contradictory in content, this one Mishnaic scholar declares a thing to be forbidden to the people of Israel, while that one declares it to be permitted. My thought therefore answer me, and most of my reflections declare unto me, that there is in it no Law of logic, nor the Law of Moses the Wise.”

“I said, perhaps one of the two did not know the right way, wherefore he did not know how to reason it out with his companion; perhaps the truth lies with his companion; let me look into his words; perchance I will find relief from my perplexity. But instead I found there other men, sometimes they say, ‘Others say’ while none of the scholars issue a decision, agreeing with the one or the other, but contradicting both.”

“Had I been among them, I say, had I been among them I would not have accepted the words of these ‘others’ and ‘scholars.’ Rather would I have weighed the words of the Lord with them and I would have judged accordingly every word which they had contrived. Gird thyself with thy strength and hearken, and step up to me, and let the scholars of my congregation of Israel judge between us, and let them place our words upon the scales, so that I may walk in truth upon the road of my life’s course.”

“Know that there is no difference in learning between them and me. When they say, ‘Rabbi so-and-so said thus-and so’, I answer and say ‘I too am a learned so-and-so.’ Thine escape has been cut off by this argument, else answer me, if thou canst. His (Saadiah) heart is overlaid with stupidity as with fat, and I know well what he says and speaks, as he has set it forth in his written scroll; therefore will I turn my face toward him and do battle with him, and I will shake his loins and strike down his sword.”

“He has written that the sis divisions of the Mishnah are as authoritative as the Law of Moses, and that they wrote it down so that it would not be forgotten. I shall answer him concerning this, for I will not be silent, lest the blackguard (Saadiah) think that he had uttered an unanswerable argument. He who remembers forgotten things and knows what is hidden, had he deemed it proper to have them skillfully written down in order that they might not be forgotten upon the earth, he would have ordered his servant Moses to inscribe them, with might and power in a book.”

“If it is proper for men like us, who have none of the Holy Spirit in us, to turn the oral Law into a written Law by writing it down, why would it not be right for us to turn the written Law into a Law preserved only in our mouths? Hearken unto me and I will speak further: If thou should say, ‘This took place in the days of the Prophets and in the days of Ezra’ why is there no mention in it of these Prophets in the same manner as the names of the Prophets are recorded throughout Scripture?”

Be silent, and I will teach thee wisdom, if it be thy desire to learn wisdom. It is written: The Law of the Lord is perfect (Psa 19.8). What profit be there for us, then, in the written Mishnah? Moreover, if the Talmud originated with our master Moses, what profit is there for us in ‘another view’, and what can a third or a fourth view teach us, when they tell us first that the interpretation of this problem in law is thus-and-so, and then proceed to explain it with ‘another view?'”

“The truth stands upon one view only, for this is so in the wisdom of all mankind, and right counsel cannot be based upon two contradictory things. Now in this one thing he has fallen down and cannot stand up: If the Talmud is composed of the words of the words of the Prophets, why are contradictory views found in it? Now it is evident that this view of Saadiah’s is foolishness, and the words of fools. So testify to all mankind.”

In Part 31 we will pick up with Canto III in Salmon Ben Jeruham’s argument against Rabbinic Judaism and their view of the Oral Law. Again, we are presenting this because it is relevant to believers today because there are many teachers who say the Oral Law is applicable today to those who follow Yeshua. Again, all of this applies as part of our commentary on Deut 31.9 where it says, “So Moses wrote down this Law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 29

There has been an ongoing conflict between several groups in Judaism. One group is called ‘Karaism” (meaning “readers”) and the other group is called Rabbinic Judaism. This conflict has been going on for centuries. Basically, the Karaites accept what is written in the Tanak and the “Rabbanites” accept an Oral Law, along with what is written in the Tanak. At times, the Rabbanite view of the oral Law supersedes the words of Moses.

We would like to include an article that brings out some very interesting points on the subject of the Torah and the need for an Oral Law. The article can be found on the website called “The Karaite Korner” and the name of the article is called “Karaism versus Rabbanism in the writings of Salmon Ben Yeruham.” The article says, “The brilliant Karaite Bible commentator Salmon Ben Yeruham (10th century) wrote a devastating criticism of Rabbanite Judaism in his book ‘Sefer Milhamot Hashem’ (The Book of the Wars of Hashem). Salmon directed his polemic against Rabbanism in general and the Rabbanite leader Saadiah al-Fayyumi (known in Rabbinic circles as Rav Saadiah Gaon) in particular. In the three chapters presented below Salmon tears down the main pillars of Rabbanism and the “Oral Law.'”

“Saadiah Gaon was Salmon’s older contemporary and was notorious for his vicious writings against Karaism. Salmon
repeatedly rejects arguments of an unnamed foe with such formulas as “He says”, “You say”, etc. This unnamed opponent was none other that Saadiah Gaon who is also called by Salmon “The Fayyumite” (since Saadiah was from the Egyptian town of Fayyum), ‘The Black guard’, and “A man devoid of a good heart.’ Salmon had a detailed knowledge of Saadiah’s infamous anti-Karaite writings and towards the end of the third chapter he systematically refutes seven arguments presented in Saddiah’s ‘Commentary on Genesis.'”

‘The Book of the Wars of Hashem’ is written as a series of acrostic poems, opening with the letters of each stanza forming, in sequence, the Hebrew Alphabet (i.e. the first stanza opens with Aleph, the second stanza opens with Bet, etc). Salmon alternates between acrostics which start at the beginning of the Alphabet (Aleph) and work their way to the end (Tav) and those which start at the end of the Alphabet and work their way to the beginning. Salmon tells us that he wrote his work both in Hebrew and Arabic, although only the Hebrew version has survived.”

“To date only the first three chapters of ‘The Book of the Wars of Hashem’ have been translated into English. The rest of the book deals with various points of Rabbanite law, laying special emphasis on the corrupt Rabbanite calendrical practices and their blasphemous personification of God” (We are not going to include the Table of Contents in this article, but we will start with the following excerpts from the “Book of the Wars of Hashem” by Salmon Ben Yeruham). “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” remained in manuscript until it was published together with a commentary by Israel Davidson under the title “The Books of the Wars of the Lord”, New York 1934 (Hebrew). The present translation of the first three chapters of “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” were rendered into English by Leon Nemoy in his book “Karaite Anthology”, Yale University Press, 1952, pp 71-82.”

“Canto I: To you I call, O men-hearken to my explicit words, reinforced, clad, enveloped, and robed with proofs as solid as onyx and sapphire. When I was at the age of vanity, I did search for the right road for my course, that I might learn, as well as teach, in the midst of my Karaite congregation, and I sought to clear the stones from my path. I was a stranger in a foreign land, investigation and searching the ways of the Law. And I saw in the midst of the Jewish congregation a man (Saadiah) devoid of a good heart and straying away from justice.”

“He bent his bow to write complaints and to remonstrate in all languages, to tear up improved roads and to pervert with nonsense and trifles the highway of understanding. I understood his purpose and was overcome with apprehension, and my wrath was kindled like a burning fire; and I was seized with zeal for the sons of Judah, and for the Almighty, and for the Book of the Testimony. And I was afraid of the Day of Judgment and retribution, lest his wrath should burn with anger. Therefore I composed a double rejoinder against him, in the languages of Eber (Hebrew), and also in that of the sons of Dumah (Arabic). This is my consolation in my exile, that there are learned men to investigate my words fairly, who will know that I speak out of zeal for God, so that the men of my congregation might not be led astray.”

“He stated in him misleading discourse, and he did utter the assertion, that the Almighty chose to reveal himself to Moses at Mount Sinai, to give him two laws for his chosen people. The commandments of the one Law were set down in writing, while the commandments of the other were kept upon the tongue. Moreover, they were both to be, into everlasting eternity, an heirloom for the congregation of the seed of the perfect ones. My spirit advised me to reply to him in this matter, and to place my answer among my congregation in a written epistle, in order to remove the stumbling block, and to clear the path of stones, so that the flock of Israel would not go astray into the waterless desert of heresy. But rather that they would study it attentively, so that my congregation might not be seduced by what is hidden from them. And I hope that is my reward God Almighty will let me behold his good tidings in Zion.”

“We firmly believe that the Written Law was in truth given to Israel by the right hand of the Almighty, according to the testimony of the whole congregation of the Lily (The Children of Israel), who are scattered in every land. All of them, believers as well as unbelievers, divided as they are by language and tongue, all Israel, from the east to the westernmost ends of the world, testify to the sanctity of the written Law, all of them, the little and the great. This testimony has become firmly established in their midst, by their united and universal consent, without challenge. Likewise, the signs and the miracles which the Dweller of the heavenly abode has wrought are written therein and are explained for them who wish to understand.”

“Selah! They remember the splitting asunder of the Red Sea, and they do not deny the words spoken by the Almighty on Mount Sinai; and with their mouths they sing of the glory of the Law and the other miracles. Israel and all other nations peak of this as one. Now if Israel and Judah are all united concerning the validity of the oral Law which is, as they say, perfect, let them offer their testimony, and let their voices by heard; if not, then they Fayyumite’s (Saadiah’s) words are void and his tongue has been silenced.”

“I shall begin here with another argument, which I shall mention now, without delay, and I shall ask and demand a reply to it from everyone who holds to the oral Law and has given his preference to it. You say that the Rock (God) has given Israel two laws, one which is written, and one which is preserved in your mouths. If this is as you say, then indeed your deeds are but falsehood and rebellion against God. The Holy One has given you an oral Law, so that you could recite it orally, for, you say, he had deemed it, in his wisdom, a laudable command. Why, then, did you write it down in ornate script?”

“Had the Merciful One wished to write it down, he would have written it down by Moses. Now did he not give it to you to be studied orally, and had he not ordained it not to be inscribed in a book? Yet they altered God’s alleged words and wrote it down, and instead of studying it orally they transferred it into writing. How, then, can their words be believed, seeing that they have offended grievously? They wrote down both Laws, thus contemning the commandment of the Almighty. Where, then, is is the oral Law in which they place their trust? Their words have become void and meaningless, and out of their mouths have they testified that they have drawn God’s wrath upon themselves.”

In Part 30, we will pick up with Canto II and more excerpts from the “Book of the Wars of Hashem” by the Karaite Salmon Ben Yeruham in which he critiques the Rabbanites (Rabbinic Judaism) and their view of an oral Law.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 28

The Sadducees looked at themselves as the guardians of tradition. Quoting from the Joachim Jeremias book, p. 265-266 it says, “They held strictly to the literal interpretation of the Torah, in particular to the precepts on the cultus and the priesthood, and thus found themselves in direct opposition to the Pharisees and their oral halakah which declared that the rules of purity for priests were binding on the pious laity, too. The Sadducees had formulated this theology in a fully developed halakah based on exegesis (Matt 16.18 and the “teaching of the Sadducees). In addition, they had their own penal code, and we have much evidence of its extreme severity. We have already met a Sadducee tribunal of chief priests, and we are reminded in several places of sentences passed according to Sadducean laws (Ant. 20-199; b.Sanh 52b). This makes the existence of Sadducean scribes quite definite.”

“Whereas the Torah laid down rules of purity and rules on food for the officiating priests alone, the Pharisaic group made these rules a general practice in the everyday life of the priests and in the life of the whole people. In this way they meant to build up the holy community of Israel, the ‘true Israel’ (for this is the meaning of the word ‘Pharisee’, see p. 246). The Sadducean group, on the other hand, was conservative and held that the priestly laws were limited to the priests and the cultus, in conformity with the text of Scripture.”

“The conflict between the Pharisees and the Sadducees sprang from this opposition. It dominated the profound religious revolution in Judaism between the Maccabean wars and the destruction of Jerusalem, and we may judge for ourselves the bitterness of the conflict by reading the Psalms of Solomon. The champions of the ancient orthodox theology and tradition, inflexible defenders of the letter of the written biblical text wrestles with the champions of the new tradition, the unwritten law.”

“The struggle became particularly severe because social opposition was added to religious; the old conservative nobility, i.e. the priestly as well as lay nobility, opposed the new ruling class of scriptural interpreters and community members who were drawn from all walks of life, but especially from the priestly bourgeoisie. They voluntarily submitted themselves to rule and thus prepared the way for a universal priesthood.”

“We see, therefore, that doubtless the Pharisees were the people’s party; they represented the common people as opposed to the aristocracy on both religious and social matters. Their much respected piety and their social leanings towards suppressing differences in class, gained them the people’s support and assured them, step by step, of the victory.”

In Biblical Archeology Review magazine, Sept/Oct 1998, p. 50, in an article called “Ancient Israel’s Stone Age” it says, “Laws of ritual purity and impurity are of biblical origin during the Second Temple Period. However the rules were greatly expanded. Most of the purity laws relate to the rites in the Temple, but the territory of the Temple was at least metaphysically “expanded” beyond the Temple confines, and ritual cleanliness was not limited to the bounds of the Temple, but spread through the Jewish community.”

Now, this brings up some questions. If its an “oral law” why did they write it down? Isn’t that rebellion if God wanted it oral in the first place? Doesn’t it now violate Deut 4.2 where it says they were not to add to or detract from the written word he was giving them? In truth, the oral law is just the words of men. There is no “Thus says the Lord” or signs or miracles in relation to it. One person says something is permitted, and another says it isn’t. If the oral law is inspired, why are their disagreements and controversies? Why doesn’t it quote “Moses” all the time if God gave it to him on Sinai instead of quoting different rabbis? The bottom line is this, there is no divinely inspired oral law.

This is important to understand because many believers in Yeshua blindly follow the rabbis and their oral laws, not knowing about these controversies. They don’t understand that these laws are not biblical and as we have said, we are only dealing with the purity laws. We haven’t even touched on other areas like the food laws, festivals, immersions and sprinkling and the Temple itself. That is why we are p[resenting some of the dissenting views because we can pick up some very interesting concepts.

In Deut 31.16-18 the words for “the holocaust” is found in Hebrew. It is the words “Ha Shoah.” You take the letter “hey” from the word “Moshe” and count 49 letters. Then you take the next letter “Shin” from the word “shama” and count 49 letters again. Then take the “aleph” and count 49 letters again. Then take the “hey” and put it together. It spells “Ha Shoah” or “the holocaust.”

This is what the text says where “Ha Shoah” is found in English, “And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the lands, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake me and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they shall be consumed and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day, “is it not because our God is not among us?” But I will surely hide my fave in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.”

In Part 29 we will pick up here and we will talk about an on-going conflict between Karaism (“the readers”) and Rabbinic Judaism, founded by the Pharisees. This has been going on for centuries. Basically, the Karaites is a branch of Judaism that accepts what is written in Scripture. The “Rabbanites” (Rabbinic Judaism) accept written Scripture, but they also accept an oral law in addition, as we have seen. At times, the Rabbanites will say the oral law supersedes the words of God himself (“The Stove of Akhnai” in the Talmud, Bava Metzia 59a-b).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 27

The next reading in the Torah is called “Vayelech” meaning “And he went.” It covers Deut 31.1-30. As we have said before, this is the last counsel of Moses and he is 120 years old. IN other words, this is his “dying declaration.”

In Deut 31.1-8 we have the concept of succession. There is no way around it, the Scriptures are violent and the Lord is going to destroy the nations that are in the land. Moses will not be taking Israel across the Jordan into the land to face these nations, Joshua will. Spiritually this tells us that Moses (Torah) cannot save us, only Yeshua (Joshua) can. Now, Moses will call Joshua publicly to succeed him, and the Torah (Moses) reveals Yeshua publicly. Moses does this so his (Joshua’s) authority cannot be challenged. Same with the Torah. It reveals Yeshua in ways that cannot be challenged by anyone else or any other religious person, book or entity.

In Deut 31.9-13 we have the concept of the written Torah versus the oral Torah of the Rabbis. In Deut 31.9 it says that Moses “wrote this law and gave it to the priest.” There is no hint of an Oral Torah here. This law was to be read every seven years in front of all the people. Again, no hint of an Oral Law (v 10-13). These verses talk about exposing our children to the Torah and to teach our children loyalty to God. This cannot be done in one day. We can walk in God’s ways before them and they will see what we do daily.

Now, the Torah is against a “divinely inspired oral tradition.” Some verses to go over about this concept are Deut 31.9-12, 4.2; Jer 8.8; Exo 24.1-12; Josh 1.8; 1 Cor 4.6; Heb 9.19; 2 Chr 30. 18; Deut 32.46-47, 27.2-8, 30.10, 17.9 and 28.58. Deut 17.18-20 says that a copy of the written law was to be written by the king and carried with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life. Deut 31.24-36 says Moses wrote the words of the Torah in a book until they were complete. No hint of an oral law.

Hilkiah found the written law and when the king heard the “words of the book of the law” he tore his clothes (2 Kings 22.8-11). If there was an authoritative oral tradition in Josiah’s day there is no indication of it. It was the written law which God used to work spiritual reform (2 Chr 34.14-30; 2 Kings 22.8 to 23.3). Josh 8.31-35 says that there was not a word of Moses (Torah) that he commanded which Joshua did not read before the congregation. Again, no hint of an oral law or tradition. Ezra read all the law to the people in Neh 8.1-18. All that Moses commanded was written on Mount Ebal on stones (Deut 27.1-4). Josh 23.6-8 says if an oral Torah existed, why didn’t the Lord command Joshua to cling to it along with all that was written?

His word is clear and each generation was to follow the written Torah as God led them. There was not to be a fixed, established interpretation (Deut 30.11-14, 31.9-13; Rom 10.6; Luke 10.26; Deut 17.9; 1 Cor 4.6). We are not to exceed what was written. Yeshua found no problem with the oral Torah when it provided helpful insights or an explanation of the written Torah, He also had no problem with it as long as it did not contradict the Torah. The rabbis say the Oral Torah is the “spaces” between the written words of the Torah. The idiom “reading between the lines” comes from this concept. But we are commanded to obey and teach Moses, not the spaces between what Moses said.

Rabbinic Judaism was not around in the days of Yeshua but there were “Judaisms.”. It showed up after the destruction of the Temple, about the same time Replacement Theology Christianity was forming. Its first rabbi was Yochanon Ben Zakkai who said, “Prayer, repentance and good works will avert the evil decree.” That is the basic foundation of Rabbinic Judaism but it is not the teaching of Moses. Rabbinic Judaism does not teach Moses, they teach Talmud, Mishnah and rabbinic thought through the oral Torah. If they taught Moses they would know about sin and the Messiah., and they would know who Yeshua is (Psa 40.7; John 5.39-47). An example of this is ritual purity, so let’s look at this one concept to see how it was influenced by oral tradition.

In the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs, p. 475, it says that the purity laws were to prohibit anyone from coming into contact with the Sanctuary (Temple) in an unclean state. On p. 459 he says, “It is to be noted that most laws of purity and impurity apply only in reference to the Sanctuary and the holy objects connected with it. They did not apply in ordinary life, or to persons who did not intend to enter the Sanctuary.” And yet, these laws are still being practiced and even added onto by the rabbis and their oral traditions.

In the book, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus” by Joachim Jeremias, on p 265-266, it goes into the fact that the Sadducees held on to a literal interpretation of the Torah. The oral tradition was seen as the spaces between the words, as we have already said. The oral tradition began to have precedence over the written (Isa 29.13; Mark 7.6-8). The rabbinical “fences” moved out and out, leaving the Torah in the open to get run over by religious people and the traditions of men.

In Part 28 we will pick up here with more information from the Jeremias book, and bring out more concepts on the written Torah versus the oral Torah.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 26

In John 3.7 it says “You must be born again” and Yeshua then asks Nicodemus why he didn’t understand this concept, being “the” teacher of Israel” (Jn 3.10). The concept of being born again is not an original teaching of Yeshua or of the Gospels and Epistles. It is not the launching point for some new “Christian faith” that Yeshua, the Talmidim (students) or Paul was forming. Being born again is a fundamental teaching of a Torah-based faith that has always been the message of the Torah. Yeshua never taught anything that couldn’t be proved in the Tanak.

Deut 30.11-14 was the background for some other things Yeshua told Nicodemus in John 3.12-13. He says that no one has ascended to heaven (including Elijah) but the Son of Man has descended to the earth. He has now linked himself with the Torah (Rom 10.1-8). Yeshua descended from heaven and concluded this discussion by pointing out the story of the bronze serpent (Nechushtan) found in Num 21.6-9, and by looking at it how the people were healed and “lived.” He then says he would be lifted up just like the serpent in the wilderness, and that Nicodemus should look to him and “live” (John 3.14).

No man has or ever could go up to heaven and bring the knowledge of divine things back to earth (Deut 30.12, John 3.13). Only Yeshua has been in heaven and has “descended” with that teaching and can be the only teacher of these things. We must listen to him only as believers. People who do not have a Torah based faith in Yeshua and embrace Replacement Theology Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism or any other religion, are not listening to the words of Yeshua, but the words of men. How was David saved? Heb 11 says he was saved by emunah (faith). He followed the Torah (Psa 119.22, 51, 56, 102, 121). H had documented sin (murder, lies, adultery) and David knew he was saved by God’s mercy and grace (Psa 119.159) and that he could turn back to God. Psa 119 shows David asking God to save him so that he could follow the Torah. That is why David asked, and why God judged David by his faith and desire to follow the Lord through his teaching, the Torah. It is also not based on David’s ability to keep every fine point of it.

Nobody was ever “saved” by their own ability to keep the Torah, nor has that ever been an option for salvation because the Torah never taught that. Paul makes a comparison with Deut 30.11-14 (Torah) and Yeshua in Rom 10.1-8. There is a continuation with the Torah and Yeshua because God has not changed. Deut 30.15-19 says that the Torah reminds us to “choose life.” There is much to enjoy and living requires participation. Now, let’s talk about a little known concept.

There is a “dual nature” or “roles” to the Torah, and they are the Judicial and the Educational role. In the judicial role, the Torah shows us how sinful we really are and that we stand condemned. It is our “tutor” (Gal 3.25) keeping us in custody until we come to faith through conversion in Messiah. It identifies us as sinners and it demands our punishment for sinning against God. The Torah holds us “under arrest” or “under indictment.” Knowledge of the Torah and it high standards increases our moral awareness and personal responsibility, so ignorance is not an excuse for anyone (Rom 1). Now sin becomes really sinful and it demands our death (Rom 7.5, 5.2; 1 Cor 15.56).

But the good news is this, once we come to conversion through the Messiah, the Torah’s role as “custodian” and keeping us “under arrest” is abolished. No longer can the Torah demand our death, for Yehovah has declared us “not guilty.” The Torah no longer declare us as transgressors, for the record of our sins has been expunged (blotted out) and the indictment is removed. The curse of the law (death) has been removed (Gal 3.13). That brings us to the second role of the Torah.

The Educational role of Torah now takes precedence. It reveals to us God’s way of life and the path he desires that we follow. It expresses the good and perfect will of God, not only explicitly through its many commands that call us to obedience, statutes and judgments, but it expresses it implicitly through the historical narratives, accounts and stories.

In other words, in its judicial role, the Torah shows us that we have sinned and that the Torah demands our death. We are under arrest or indictment. But once we are saved, we are no longer under arrest, indictment or a “tutor” and the record of our sins is blotted out. Now we are under the educational aspect of the Torah which teaches us what pleases the Lord, how to live and walk before the Lord in a life that is pleasing to him. It gives us his good and perfect will (Rom 12.2). Gal 3.23-27 talks about the function of the Torah as a tutor. This only applies to those who have not come to Yeshua by emunah (faith). However, once we do come to him in faith, we are no longer under the tutor, or under the law in its judicial role. Now we can live in the instructions found in the Torah’s educational role.

Deut 30.20 says we are to love the Lord, obey the Lord and cling to the Lord “for “he is your life “literally. This is similar to Deut 11.22. Many people get the “loving” part but never get to the “obeying” and “clinging” part. Obeying is surrendering our will to the Lord and following his revealed will found in the Torah. Chessed (grace) enables us to obey, and when we sin he knows our heart and that we are intent on him. Clinging to him means when our world falls apart emotionally, physically and literally, we hold fast, don’t break ranks and “defend the pass” like the Spartans did at Thermopylae (Eph 6.14). It means we don’t stop following the Torah because we get some pressure from the world, our families and the enemies of God. Israel in the Birth-pains will know this concept first hand. Even nature won’t be working as usual, and everyone and everything will be coming at them. But the people will remember the days of old and of Moses and they will return to the Lord and believe in Yeshua as a nation (Rev 12.17).

In Part 27 we will pick up with the next Torah portion called “Vayelech” which means “And he went.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 25

We have mentioned this before, but we wanted you to notice how many times “today” is used. Since what Moses is saying is so important, we should see what he says to us “today.” In Deut 29.10-15 he says that this covenant is not only for those standing there “today” but it is also with those who are not “with us here today.” That includes those who believe “today.”

Deut 29.16-21 says you have heard about the nations and their idolatry, and you have heard about the blessings and the curses. They knew all this, but Moses says he has something else to tell them, which includes those who are not there “today.” Should there be anyone who says “I shall have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart” the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel according to these curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law. How is that applied? That is like people today who say, “I am saved and I am free from the law. I don’t have to obey the Lord in the Torah. I have the peace of God on this in my heart and I will not do what God commanded.” So, what happens? His name will be blotted out from under heaven. The anger of the Lord will burn against that person.

Anyone who says they have called on the name of the Lord, received salvation, has the Spirit/Shekinah within them, has assurance of salvation and peace with God, but is stubborn and says, “I don’t need to (or have to) obey the Lord in the commandments, will not learn, and does whatever they “feel” has a big problem. We don’t believe that accepting Yeshua once and that’s it is correct, God must “know you” also (Matt 7.21-23). God has the power to save, and his mercy and forgiveness covers you but we must get up every morning and make the decision to trust and believe in him, and walk in his commandments as they apply.

We better hope that’s what the grace of God recognizes. Our hearts must be inclined towards walking in the Torah, and his grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness continues to keep us (Jude 24; Col 1.17). Don’t think that when we stand before the Lord we are going to to be able to argue bible verses and theology with God. He won’t argue, he knows our hearts and whether or not we are inclined to his Torah or to evil (no Torah or “lawlessness”).

Let’s make this clear. If it wasn’t for his great mercy, we are all lost. We are not to trample underfoot the things of God (Heb 10.28-29). Rom 6.1 asks, “Shall we sin (break the commandments) so that grace may abound?” The answer is “No. God forbid.” Yeshua paid the price for those who have faith and believe. Do we value his sacrifice and treat him as Lord? Moses is very specific on how to treat him as Lord.

The purpose of the adversity in Deut 29.21 is to get the person to repent. They realize, “I am not getting the blessing, so I must not be walking in the truth. Something is not right.” Remember, he is Lord and we are mere men. Salvation is not a license to disobey the Torah. We should not believe that we have got it all figured out, either. We need to be a part of this great salvation because we won’t make it if we are not. Having a desire to keep the commandments is the evidence that we have life (Jam 2.14-26). Just saying, “I have peace in my life and I know God and believe in “Jesus” or “Yeshua” won’t get it done. The Devil believes (Jam 2.19). There better be more than that in our hearts. We should have a desire to keep the Torah, and that is a good sign God has given us eternal life (Jer 31.33).

Deut 29.22-29 was spoken over 3500 years ago and the nations have said these verses for over 2000 years. Moses knew they would turn away from the Lord and would be scattered. This happened with Babylon, and later with Rome. The “secret things belong to the Lord” is how and why he has dealt with Israel the way he has (Rom 11.35-36). The Scriptures contain many secret things and many revealed things. We have no control over the hidden evil of others, but we are not to ignore the open evil that can destroy a society. Today, we are living in a time where homosexuality is accepted and taught to our children, where children are murdered in abortion and corruption is everywhere. We must stand up against these evil things in light of God’s word.

Deut 30.1-10 is a very important passage. Various forms of the word “shuv” (return) is used. This is the basic word for repentance (teshuvah). The ultimate goal of teshuvah is completion and perfection in the Lord. But, every uses here is talking about our teshuvah, and sometimes it is the Lord heart doing the returning (v 3). This called the redemption.

In these verses, Israel has been banished to the nations. Then they call to mind the blessings and curses and return to the Lord, then the Lord will restore them from captivity. But how can Israel be able to obey God in “all that I have commanded” when Israel has no Temple, priesthood, korbanot, festivals and they live outside the land? They were to obey what applies to them at the time, and God considers it obedience to the whole.

In Deut 30.6 it says, “Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, in order that you may live.” The word “live” is used in a spiritual sense and it means “born again” or “born from above” and this shows us that this is not a new concept in John 3.9-10. Being “stiff-necked” (Deut 10.16) is the same as not having faith (Exo 32.9, 33.3-5, 34.9, Deut 9.6, 2 Chr 30.8, Acts 7.5). So, circumcision of the heart means “born again” in the Epistles (Rom 2.29; Col 2.11 for instance).

In Part 26, we will pick up here and get into Deut 30 and John 3 and see what Yeshua told Nicodemus about being “born again.” Deut 30 will be the background for other things that Yeshua told Nicodemus, and we will show that the concept of being born again is based in the Torah, and has always been the message of the Torah. Nicodemus was scolded by Yeshua for being “the” teacher of Israel and not knowing these concepts.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 24

The next Torah portion is called “Nitzavim” and it means “you are standing.” It goes from Deut 29.10 to 30.20 and this one of the last portions in the Torah. Nitzavim suggests an act of the will, a physical statement of “here I am” and Israel is getting ready to answer the call.

We are coming to the end of the life of Moses and our legal system considers the last words of a dying man to be most truthful. It is called a “Dying Declaration.” Moses knows that these were his last words and a dying declaration. This day was very important to him because you will see how many times he says “today.”

Nitzavim is related to the word for “tziyun” which means “monument” in Hebrew, and Moses was leaving and there would be no one like him until Yeshua. The people gather around him like stones, gathered for a monument or an altar, and they are a living monument (1 Pet 2.4-10). So, before we move forward, we need to go back and discuss a covenant found in Deut 29.1 to 30.14. This covenant is called the Covenant at Moab, and Moab means “seed of the Father.” What many do not realize is there are many covenants in the Torah, and this covenant was made with Israel “besides the covenant which he made with them at Horeb” (Deut 29.1).

This concept is so important we are going to develop this covenant out because it is found at the end of the previous Torah reading (Deut 29.1-9) and them picks up in Deut 29.10 in Nitzavim and so we want to deal with it as a whole. We are going to cover some amazing concepts.

There are two main covenants in the Torah, and what many people do not realize is that the Torah is a work of grace. We are going to use several terms to differentiate between these two main covenants. We will have the covenant at Sinai, mediated by Moses (Exo 19.7) to those present that day (Deut 5.1-5..”in your ears”). Then we have the covenant at Moab, made at Mount Nebo (meaning “prophet”) in Moab (“Moav” meaning “seed of the father”) shortly before they entered the land of Canaan.

We learn in Deut 29.1 that the covenant at Moab was made “besides” the covenant at Sinai. The people said they would keep the Sinai covenant (Exo 24.7) but they didn’t, so there was a need for another covenant. It is not like the covenant at Sinai because this had promises made with everyone, even those who were yet unborn (Deut 29.10-11, 14-15). The covenant at Sinai was made with people who were going to die in the wilderness, and the covenant of Moab was made “in the seed of the father” and it will be Yeshua who will lead the people into the Olam Haba. Yeshua is the mediator, or the “surety” of this covenant (Heb 7.22, 8.6, 12.24) and ratified in his blood (Heb 9.12-24, 13.20).

The covenant at Moab had blessings and curses. Israel would be honored in the earth, the land would prosper, their enemies would be defeated and they would be the head and not the tail. It will be centered around teshuvah (Deut 30.2,8) and promises. They would be regathered after captivity (30.3-4) and they would have a circumcised heart (30.2,6). Israel is God’s people and he is their Elohim (29.13), the land is promised (30.5) and so is life (30.6,15,19). Israel must repent from idolatry and return to Yehovah alone, keep the commandments and then the Lord will fulfill his above promises. This covenant includes Torah observance.

Jeremiah spoke of this covenant. In Jer 11.2-4 he quotes Deut 27.26 and the curse that was on the people for failing to give heed to the covenant at Sinai. He warns them this curse was coming (Jer 25.9-12, 26.6-7, 29.10). In connection with this return Jeremiah speaks of a “new” covenant (31.31). The new (or renewed) covenant is the covenant at Moab. That means there are two “Mosaic” covenants.

Now, how does the covenant at Moab compare with the new covenant? First, the covenant at Moab is repeated in Ezek 36.22-38. We should do a comparison between Deut 29.1 with Jer 31.31-32; Deut 30.2,6 with Jer 31.22, 32.40; Deut 29.13 with Jer 32.28; Deut 30.3-5 with Jer 32.37. That means the “new” covenant is Torah based (Deut 30.10) and everlasting (Jer 32.10) which gives everlasting life (Deut 30.6,15,19) and it is not inconsistent with the covenant at Sinai. It is part of it and that is why the word “new” is “chadash” and it means “renewed.” It related to the word “chodesh” which is the word for month. The “new moon” is Rosh Chodesh and it means a renewed moon, not a totally different or “new” moon. The “new” covenant is to be understood in the same way. It is a “renewed” covenant not a totally different covenant like Replacement Theology Christianity teaches.

At the end of the 70 year curse, Daniel was in Babylon and he was studying the prophecies of Jeremiah (Dan 9.2). He knew that the curses in the Torah had come with God’s reply, and Israel would fall into a 490 year cycle (Dan 9.13, Lev 26.14, Deut 28.15). He also knew that if there was no repentance it would be seven times worse (Lev 26.18-28). In Daniel 9.3-23 he prays for mercy because he knows Israel has failed to repent and he knows seven times seventy is four hundred and ninety years. Gabriel comes with God’s reply, Israel would fall into a 490 year cycle. In Dan 9.24-27 Messiah is prophesied to come after 483 years of that cycle and be “cut off” (killed). They would need to repent and turn to the Torah, and keep a complete sabbath cycle (seven years) and at the end of the 490 years they would enter into the new covenant.

Yeshua began his ministry in Luke 4.16-20 and he read the haftorah for Nitzavim (our Torah reading with the covenant at Moab) and he began with Isa 61.1-2, and he said that it was “fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4.21). In Isa 60.22, there is a rabbinic interpretation that says God would hasten the restoration of the kingdom of God, or let it come in its due time, depending on what Israel does. The offer for the kingdom began with Yochanon Ha Matvil (Matt 3.2, 4.17). The kingdom of God is the restored kingdom of Israel (1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8; Jer 23.5-6; Isa 9.6-7; Acts 1.6-7). However, the kingdom was rejected and Yeshua compared this rejection to those who would not dance (Matt 11.12, 16-19). In Matt 26.27-29 it says his blood ratified the “new covenant” at Moab. We learn the offer of the new covenant and the kingdom of God was extended in Acts 3.12-26 if there was a national repentance, but they didn’t. In Acts 28.17-28 the offer expired because there was no “corporate” repentance.

Paul comes along and he contrasts the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit (an element of the covenant at Moab in Deut 30.6) with those circumcised in the flesh alone (an element of the covenant with Abraham and Sinai-Gen 17.9-14; Deut 10.16). He talks about the “renewal of the Spirit” of the new covenant with the “oldness” of the “letter” of the Sinai covenant alone (Jer 31.31-34). In Rom 7-8 he contrasts the two Mosaic covenants. The covenant at Moab and the Torah of God, with the law of sin in the flesh (Rom 7.25). Walking by the covenant at Sinai alone is of the flesh, but the new covenant is “of the Spirit” (Rom 8.4-5) because the Lord writes it on the heart, not on stone, by the Spirit (the Lord) that we may live (Deut 30.6, 15,19).

In Rom 10.4-8, Paul says that the people who live by the righteousness which is by the Torah shall live by that righteousness (10.5). He then compares that with the righteousness that is by faith (10.6-8) by quoting from the covenant at Moab (Deut 30.11-14) in Rom 10.6-8. He says that this same covenant is the “word of faith we proclaim” (10.8). In Gal 3, he alludes to the two covenants. He says Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law, which is the penalty for sin (Gal 3.10-13). Rashi tells us the word “besides in Deut 29.1 distinguishes the covenant of Moab from the curse of the law. In Gal 4.16-31 Paul plainly contrasts the two covenants.

Hebrews is filled with references to these covenants. Heb 8.1 begins with the “main point” and then quotes all of Jer 31.31-34 regarding the new covenant in Heb 8.8-11. Throughout the book the writer compares the first covenant with the second (Heb 8.6-13, 9.1,15 and 10.9). Now, keep this in mind, this also relates to the comparison in Hebrews with the Olam Ha Zeh and the Olam Haba. Just as one is “better” than the other, this second covenant is “better and differed from the first in several ways. The covenant at Sinai was written on stone and ratified by bulls, and the covenant of Moab is written on the heart and ratified by the blood of Yeshua (Heb 9.12-24). The covenant of Sinai was made in the Olam Ha Zeh, but the covenant of Moab will help the believer enter into the Olam Haba.

The Torah was not changed by the new covenant at Moab, it was “renewed and repeated” with better promises (written on our hearts in Deut 30.6). In Heb 3.7 through 4.10 the writer says the “rest” we enter into is like the entry into the land which took place at the death of Moses, after making the covenant of Moab. Look at the names in Deut 34.1-12, it is the same place as the covenant at Moab.

It all comes back to Moab (“seed of the father”). In 2 Mac 2.1-8 it says that Jeremiah his=d the Mishkan and the Ark in Nebo. There is an allusion to Jeremiah and the new covenant which places the Torah in our hearts. Again, this is tied in with Moab, where Nebo was, and the covenant with Moses. According to this book, all these items will be revealed again at the regathering, a clear allusion to the new covenant at Moab (As a side note, we don’t believe that the Mishkan and the Ark are at Nebo because of the concept of kedusha. We believe that they are in the Temple Mount).

So, let’s go over the basic concepts here. There are covenants in the Torah. The “new” or “renewed” covenant is distinguished from the first covenant at Sinai in several ways. This covenant at Moab is tied to the work of Yeshua who is the “surety” of this covenant. It involves a change in the heart and inner desires to become Torah observant and to be involved in a Torah-based faith in Yeshua, planted there by the Ruach Ha Kodesh to guide us in those desires to follow Torah (Jer 31.31-34).

The covenant at Moab has been offered to Israel collectively on at least three occasions. First, it was offered to Israel upon entering the land (Deut 29.1 through 30.20), upon returning to the land (Jer 29.10, 31.27-34) and at the first coming of Yeshua (Matt 26.27-29). While Israel may not collectively enter this covenant until the Birth-pains, individuals may enter into it beforehand, becoming citizens in the kingdom of God/Israel before it has been established.

The new covenant is God writing his Torah (teaching/guidance) on our hearts. He did it by his blood and work on the cross, being the pure “seed of the father” (Moab), who ratified it (Heb 9.12-24; Luke 22.20). This fulfills the Lord’s promise to Abraham, where his “seed” (singular) would bless the nations (Gen 12.1-3; Gal 3.16). The Ruach Ha Kodesh was “poured out” in Acts 2 and on the non-Jews (Acts 10) and the new covenant was written on the hearts of believers. The Torah and the desire to keep it was placed in the heart. It was cut and ratified like the covenant with Abraham, not with the blood of bulls, goats, sheep or birds, but with Yeshua’s pure blood (1 Pet 1.19) and repeated in Ezek 36.22-38. The ultimate outcome of this covenant does not depend on Israel or their obedience, but on Yehovah and his faithfulness when he regathers Israel as his people after the Birth-pains from all the nations.

We will pick up here with more concepts in Part 25.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 23

The Scriptures tell us that Yehovah is a God of judgment, so the question is, where was God and why was he silent during the Holocaust? Either God is dead or we accept the testimony of Scripture that God was silent because of sin. The Holocaust was judgment and not an “accident” or an “abnormality.” God uses nations to accomplish his will, and as rods to chastise another. Without this, we would have no fear of God and we would not be able to answer the “whys” of history or the Holocaust.

We have lost the point of view that God is a judge. His wrath and judgment makes his power known, but this idea offends our religious sensibilities and how we would like God to be. One “holocaust” is meant to save us from another one. How far will God go to teach us this, and to save us from the Lake of Fire? Just look at the what happened at the cross, or the Holocaust.

If we accept the premise that the Holocaust was judgment, then we have to ask “What was God judging?” Survivors and spokesmen for the Holocaust have been asked to consider that the sufferings in Israel’s history were prophesied in the Torah and they will say, “I refuse to consider that.” This summarizes man’s self-exaltation over and against God. It begins with the word “I.” Human arrogance will exalt its own opinion, thoughts and will above God’s every time. To refuse to consider the Word of God in why the Holocaust happened is to exalt ourselves above Yehovah. This is a sign of sin and a falling away from the truth. The root cause of the Holocaust is God’s judgment on the sin of self-exaltation of man at the expense of God’s truth and word (Isa 5.11-12, 13-24).

The Holocaust must also be seen in light of Israel’s past. They had a covenantal obligation and God sees us as incorporated into the destiny of the whole nation (Deut 29.14-14). If a covenant doesn’t bring blessings, then we are equally under the penalty of the clauses that bring a curse. If Israel was banished from the land for failing to live under the demands of the covenant we are studying about, how can Israel go back into the land to possess it without considering that the God of Mount Sinai and his covenant (see Lev 26.14-46 and the “vengeance of the covenant”).

We must acknowledge our sins and the sins of the fathers and realize that the judgments of the past were right and just before he will remember his covenant (Lev 26.39-42). We need to see a whole people brought into judgment and that we are joined to the past, and unresolved sin. This legacy must be broken. The justification for the relentless hunt for Nazi war criminals becomes our own indictment (Jer 7.24-26) and God brings the past into the present (“until this day”-Jer 7.25). We must acknowledge our personal guilt and responsibility in what the fathers have done that we can break ourselves from them.

What Israel has suffered historically is the judgment of God (the exiles, persecutions, pogroms, forced conversions, crusades, the Inquisition, terrorism). These should all be viewed in the larger context of covenantal unfaithfulness. Jeremiah hints at this unbroken cycle of sin in Jer 8.5, “Why then has this people, Jerusalem, turned away in continual apostasy? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return.”

Our fathers were involved in the murder of the Messiah (Acts 2.36, 3.11-15) and this has been exploited, but it remains true. This truth has not been spoken to the Jewish people in compassion or in a redemptive way. It has not been spoken with hearts that understood that it was for all sin (even the sins of the accusers) that implicated them also in his death. There is a great sin that needs to be acknowledged (Hos 5.15 to 6.3; Jer 3.25) and Yehovah is waiting to comfort Israel. A broken spirit and a contrite heart he will not despise (Psa 51.17).

Anyone with a basic understanding of the Scriptures, and of God, knows that God testifies against Israel. We as a people have chosen to believe a secular, educational, social or a political explanation for the Holocaust. They refuse to believe that the answer for it can be found in Yehovah. In Deut 32.1-43 we have what is called “The Song of Moses.” It is a specific warning prior to coming in to the land about the Holocaust. It warns about judgment. In seeking to understand the Holocaust, we do not consult the Scriptures.

There is a controversy that has asked, “Why didn’t the Allies bomb the concentration camps, railroad tracks and other facilities that supported the death camps?” The answer to that question is found in God. When he brings a judgment, he will bring it with the fullness he intended (totally), through men and in spite of men. Deu 32.20 says, “I will hide my countenance from them.” This means no man can deter it until God is finished.

This song should be known by heart and it would have saved the Jewish people from the destruction that is spoken about and predicted there. We preferred a kind of religion that we believe is “Judaism” but it did not provide this biblical analysis, and many believers in Yeshua today accept Rabbinic Judaism. The tragic absence of that forewarning and understanding is a testimony against Rabbinic Judaism’s efficiency.

Interpreting the catastrophe of the Holocaust is totally disagreeable to current Jewish analysis and assessment. The way that we perceive and justify ourselves is not going to save us from judgment that must come on the Lord’s terms. If you want to see his judgments, then look at the Holocaust and the Messiah. That is the Lord judging, and if you don’t see it then what we have been saying id the underlying cause is true. When we don’t see the hand of God in our judgments, we blame men. Man thinks that if God delays and withholds his judgments, that the calamity, when it comes, is no longer related to the sin.

Judgment can also be seen as mercy. It can be God’s final provision to unrepentant men, when every other grace to get our attention has failed. Then he will restore us in his mercy. The nations are also a part of this judgment. If they don’t repent, then they will receive God’s judgments, too (Isa 13.1-22). The people of the covenant is Israel, and with that comes the greater judgment and the passage of time means nothing. God has not changed and his mercy is to call us to repent (teshuvah) before the fulfillment of what is prophetically said in his word (Isa 13.6, 65.6-7; Dan 12.1; Joel 2; Amos 8.8-10; Zeph 1.2; Zech 14.1-5).

As we study prophecy, it is clear that this generation of Jewish people is going to suffer devastation on a world-wide scale this time. Demonic hatred will be released on every nation, not just one, and that includes the United States. It will be like in Germany, with no place to hide. Then the Jewish people will go back to the land for the Birth-pains and the coming of the Messiah. We have dealt with this extensively on this website.

This last days sifting will be intense, but the Lord will restore (Amos 9, Ezek 20.33-49). Yehovah has chosen Israel to be a statement of who we are as humans. Israel is a “witness” in whom the Lord reveals himself. He will be revealed when Israel is virtuous, and when Israel is sinful. God wants to convert Israel to himself and to life and the true nature of God, not to Replacement Theology Christianity (Jer 3.17). Jeremiah and Ezekiel adhere to the recognition of calamity as judgment because it is the fulfillment of God’s own word. When we recognize that, then revelation and hope can be found.

In Deut 29.1 we will learn about another covenant “besides the covenant he made with them at Horeb (Sinai).” This is the basis for the “new (meaning “restored”) covenant” spoken about in Jer 31.31-34. This covenant was ratified in the blood of Yeshua and Yehovah is waiting for Israel to acknowledge the death of Yeshua the Messiah and set in motion their salvation. If they plead exemption in any measure, then they are lost.

As we have said before, there is a final correction of Israel coming, followed by redemption and glory. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel did, we must present without hesitancy the case that the catastrophes of Israel was the result of the wrath of God. The judgments of Deuteronomy and the prophecies in Scripture have been validated by history. Suffering before the glory is the center of Israel’s history, but only a remnant will survive what’s coming (Luke 24.26; Ezek 37; Isa 35.10, 51.11).

The State of Israel known today will fail (Isa 49.17-19, 52.9; Jer 30-31; Ezek 36.33-38). Isa 51 and 52 reads like the crucifixion of a nation at the hands of God, with phrases like, “cup of his fury” and “rebuke of they God” or “at the hand of the Lord.” In their direct need, the Lord call Israel to “awake” (Isa 51.17-23, 52.1-2). God’s severest judgments are always redemptive in nature, and his severity is mercy (Heb 12.5-11). To be chastised is not his final say on the matter (Jer 31.10-17). There is hope (Isa 54.2-3; Zech 8.22; Isa 55.5; Isa 56.7-8; Isa 60.1-3). Isa 60 tells us that Israel will eventually be honored and recognized among the nations. Their “light” is not human or “Rabbinic” but it is because they “know the Lord.” The righteousness of God will be imputed in the future (Isa 60.21, 61.11, 62.3-5; Psa 102.12-22).

In conclusion, what about personal restoration? Peter made it clear that all of Israel was culpable in the death of Yeshua, whether they were present or not, willing participants or not (Acts 2.36-38). Yeshua said we are implicated in the sins of our fathers (Matt 23.29-36). Only repentance can save us (Rom 10.12-13; Acts 4.12; Matt 1.21) and that is only in Yeshua (John 1.29, 12.27). Yeshua is the prophesied Messiah (John 5.39-46; Isa 52.13 through 53.12). We must humble ourselves and confess Yeshua and be saved (Rom 10.9-13). If the God of the Babylonian Captivity and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is the God of the Holocaust, then it is vain to condemn the rod of his fury as the cause, rather than the instrument of that wrath.

We will pick up in Part 24 with the next Torah portion called “Nitzavim” which means ” you are standing.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 22

Now we are going to begin to talk about the Holocaust, which comes from the Greek word “holokauston” which is a translation of the Hebrew “Olah” meaning “burnt offering, in light of Deut 28.15-68 and how this event was part of a continuing cycle of covenantal discipline and judgment. The “hedge” that surrounded the Jewish people was removed, exposing the people. The rabbis have interpreted portions of Scripture that discuss the sufferings of the Messiah, like Isa 53, as applying to the people of Israel. This can be expected from people who reject Yeshua, but this also exalts the people to a messianic level. They find a way to interpret the catastrophes of the past so that they come out vindicated rather that chastised.

Rabbinic Judaism has exalted itself against the knowledge of God. During the Holocaust, Poland was a religious center and hard hit. The ones who seemed the most religious (Ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews) suffered the greatest. The bottom line is the religious leaders exalted what men said over what Moses said. What we think is impressive and “spiritual” does not mean that God sees it that way. The word “religious” does not mean “knowledgeable” and “Rabbinical” does not mean “Biblical.”

Israel failed to understand what really happened in 70 A.D. and the destruction of the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans. If the people understood what happened, it would have been the foundation of a great repentance on the truth, but they didn’t (Luke 19.41-44). This gave rise to Rabbinic Judaism. The revelation of Yeshua saves us from mere concepts about God and the the things man conceives.

Man did not conceive God or is man the the standard of what we think he is. God reveals himself on his terms, at his will and he is not made in our image. A god in our own image does not make any demands on us, but is convenient. These false gods tell you that you are special just the way you are. He comforts you when there is trouble because you are not to blame, right?

In the first century, Yeshua came and tried to penetrate the man-made systems (there was not one “Judaism” at the time but many) of his day and they killed him (Acts 3.13-15). He challenged everything that was held dear. He was born in a sukkah with parents of no reputation. He grows up in Nazareth, a town that was despised in the Jewish writings and lived a hidden life for thirty years. He was falsely accused by some of the religious leaders from Beit Shammai and the Sadducees in particular, and dies the death of a criminal near the city dump. That is Yehovah, our God. But some say that God would never do that, that it just can’t be, right?

In a sense, Yeshua was the burning bush and the people turned away from him and refused to “turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight” like Moses did (Exo 3.3). By refusing to see the “holocaust” or “olah” (burnt offering) of Yeshua, the next holocaust was inevitable in 70 A.D. Yeshua predicted this would happen (Luke 21.10-24), and yet the people refused to acknowledge that the events of 70 A.D. and the total destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was in any way connected to their rejection of the Messiah.

By refusing to interpret correctly the tragedies that the people themselves set in motion, they were susceptible to the next tragedy. The worst deception of all is that the people had an incorrect perception of God. If you miss that, you miss who he really is. We must know the Lord in truth, in his judgments and his mercies. We are not talking “theology” here but “reality.”

To understand the Holocaust, we must understand how the Jewish people celebrated the German civilization. We have already touched on this briefly, but we need to repeat it because these concepts are important to us in our lives. The Jewish people in Europe, especially in Germany, had an exalted view of man, and this “enlightened” civilization systematically attempted to annihilate the European Jews. It was this very civilization that the Jews idolized and admired above all other nations that was the tool of this destruction. The music, the culture, the science, the education, the theological schools and the depth of their logic could not save European Jews.

Biblical truth about the coming of the Messiah, prophecy, sin and the true redemption was lost long ago. The Rabbis had systematically ordered that the people should not study these things anymore because of all the false messianic expectations the people had in the past that led to three wars with the Romans. They even pproclaimed you could not say the name of Yehovah anymore. For the non-religious Jews, Germany became the very fulfillment of any messianic expectation they might have had. The Jewish exaltation of man was validated by the “humane” and “civilized” German people wherever they lived. This is why, we believe, that God “required” that Germany be the ones to bring the horrors of the Holocaust (like he did with the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans in the Scriptures).

To be a German Jew was the highest dignity that could be afforded to you. When Polish Jews came to Germany as immigrants, there were German Jews who would look with contempt upon them for being crude, too religious and they were farmers with long beards. In fact, some German Jews were ashamed to be associated with them in any way because they thought of themselves as superior. Some of the greatest German Jewish scholars in psychiatry, physics, music and science lacked the true understanding of human depravity and did not anticipate the evil that man was capable of. As a result, that exalted German society actually became the instrument of Jewish destruction.

And yet, the Jewish people had no concept of sin and they did not think they had committed a transgression of any kind that would justify the judgment of the holocaust. Rabbinic Judaism celebrates Jewish life as superior in every way moral and ethical. But these recent events must bring everyone to the realization that man has failed. Israel acts like anyone else in the world, and there is violence in the land, corruption in government, they mistreat strangers and do whatever it takes to answer today’s problems.

However, we know that Israel’s biblical destiny is going to be fulfilled in spite of this. God’s name Yehovah, his covenant with the fathers and his honor is at stake. However, their arrogant self-assurance will cause the Lord to require Israel to be broken again, without hope and defeated in the Birth-pains of the Messiah until they acknowledge him (Ezek 37.1-28; Hos 5.15 to 6.3).

So, what is God’s view of Mankind? There is not a righteous person on earth, according to his word (Ecc 7.20; Psa 53.3-4, 130.3, 143.2). The problem is nobody wants to agree with him. The flesh is sinful and does not always exalt itself in crimes like murder, rape and thefts. It can also express itself through the intellect, music, art, business, science, politics, sports, entertainment and accomplishments. There is no way around it, the human flesh is wicked and rotten all the way through.

There exists a self-exaltation of Jewish life in the area of human accomplishment and brilliance that is a lie. What will it take to test this to reveal the flaws? Failing to obey the Torah and the word of God regarding our human condition is pride, and this will bring the judgment of God. Being a sinner makes it hard for us to see ourselves as a sinner! If we are going to see ourselves as a sinner, God must confront us as a judge who is righteous. This concept is plainly seen in the crucifixion of Yeshua and the Holocaust. It is in the depths of despair and darkness that we realize we are a sinner. Remember this concept, sin will refuse to call itself sin, and being a sinner makes it hard for us to see ourselves as a sinner!

The greatest revelation of sin can be seen in the price God paid for the propitiation of sin, and that price can be seen in the “Olah” (Holocaust) of Yeshua. What reveals “sin as sin” is the judgment that results from that sin. What reveals the mercy of God was his own willingness to bear the sins of many himself. What is the price of refusing to consider that act? If we do refuse to consider this, we have lost the one, great provision sinners have to understand their own condition before the Lord, and the price that was paid for us. To dismiss either the crucifixion or the efficacy of the one raised up on the cross as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, is the same mindset in those who refused to look at that serpent on a pole in the wilderness, and they died. It is also the same mindset that revisionists use when they dispute or reject the historical accuracy of the Holocaust.

In Part 23, we will pick up here

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 21

Deut 28.15-68 tells us about the curses, which was bad news if Israel didn’t go after the blessings. What we are going to talk about now in relation to these curses will be hard to express because these verses sadly tell the history of Israel. We do not enter into this discussion lightly. In the wilderness, they wanted to go back to Egypt, and later the curse got so bad that Israel was devalued and nobody wanted them. In 70 A.D. with Titus and in 135 A.D. with Hadrian, they tried to sell Jewish slaves to Egypt and Egypt didn’t want them.

In the 1700’s there was a move in Germany to move away from aspects of Orthodox Judaism and the Torah. This movement is called “Reform Judaism.” Jews assimilated into the nations around them and they wanted to be accepted. The Holocaust, also known as the “Shoah” (calamity) was the result of what Moses warned about in these verses. He pleads with the people to choose the Lord and the Lord.

After all these years, and all that Israel has been through, they still don’t get it, and that’s the problem. But the world is like this, too. God has been rejected for 6000 years and they have no heart to know, eyes to see or ears to hear the word of the Lord. So, what happened in the Holocaust? How could something like this happen?

The subject of the Holocaust (Shoah) has caused many to ask those questions. What we are going to present will be hard to accept by many who will read this, but it is the truth regardless. The biggest curse of all is to have no sense of being part of a curse. From these verses in Deut 28.15-68 we will attempt to answer the above questions of what happened i the Holocaust and how could it happen. We are also writing this as Jewish believers in Yeshua, who had many distant and unknown relatives who lived in Europe (some of the ancestors came over as early as the late 1600’s) who may have perished in the Holocaust, so we do not enter into this lightly or flippantly. Had Yehovah placed us in a different “space and time continuum” in his plan, we may have perished also.

We ask that you read what we are going to present with an open mind. We do not mean to hurt anyone or cause anyone distress, but we want to accurately interpret the Holocaust in light of what Moses said in Deut 28.15-68. If the God of 586 B.C. and 70 A.D. is the God of 1933-45 A.D., then it is vain to condemn the rod of his fury (Germany) as the cause rather than the instrument of his wrath.

How could Israel be systematically slaughtered by the most civilized people on earth (Germany)? They were not some ignorant, uncivilized society. The Jewish people had a long and prosperous relationship with Germany, even celebrating it as the Messianic ideal. And it wasn’t only the Jews who believed this, Christian theologians had been looking to German theologians as the ideal source for their theology and understanding, going back all to Martin Luther. Many Jews thought that if the rest of the world could be like Germany, then it would be like the coming of the Messiah.

In an article called “Germany–the Jewish Motherland” from Aish Ha Torah, it says, “Late in the nineteenth century, the Jews living in Germany and Austria denied they were in any way “chosen.” In fact, they believed that the non-Jews among whom they lived were the true chosen people. ‘Berlin is our Jerusalem!’ they loudly proclaimed. Gentile society was their social environment of choice, and Germany was their beloved motherland. Did anti-Semitism disappear? Well, we know the answer to that question. Following their espousal of their host nations’s culture, German and Austrian Jews experienced the most vicious outpouring of anti-Jewish hatred in recent history. Precisely when and where Jews rejected their claim to ‘chosenness,’ they suffered the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism.”

Why would they say that? Because Jews had lost the Messianic expectation a long time ago and would settle for anything that was ethically, morally and culturally as grand. To be slaughtered by that nation is not something that should be lost on our sensibilities as we study this subject. There is a message in this and the fact that Jews have not sought or obtained the meaning of that message means they will experience it again.

The Holocaust is like trying to swallow something that is to big to digest. It is the most devastating event of modern times, not just for someone who is Jewish, but for the modern world. If the reason for the Holocaust is not properly digested, the Jewish people will have a loss so large it cannot be numbered. There is something about suffering that opens up the issues of truth and reality like nothing else. When we go through something devastating, it brings out many issues that need to be dealt with. The most tragic part of this study is being part of the curse and not knowing you are part of the curse, and the curse comes from God. Most people cannot bring themselves to the realization that God was the author of the Holocaust, according to Moses and the Torah. He was behind the Babylonian Captivity in 586 B.C and the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

There has not been an event in recent history that has generated more research, literature and discussion than the Holocaust. These works would fill libraries. We not only study the casualties, but how they made the gas and the rise of the Nazis. The history of anti-Semitism is discussed and many other things have been weighed in the balance. But, there is a very significant void in all this research, and that is the literature that deals with, “Where was God and why did he allow this?”

Everyone knows how it was done (by man) but nobody can say “why.” We need to know that there is a great gulf between those two issues. We can give an answer to “how.” Historians have gone through the records and have documented how it was done. They can answer why in the sense that the rise of the Nazis and Hitler’s anti-Semitic hatred of the Jews, but that does not answer the biggest question, and there are no books that do.

What the Holocaust tells us is that people have naively accepted the most romantic and traditional notions about Yehovah. Those notions have caused emotional, mental and spiritual dilemmas within us because we think that the God we “know” should have revealed himself in power, and didn’t. It insinuates that God has a moral defect within him and isn’t really concerned with suffering, or he is powerless to stop the suffering of his chosen people, or he doesn’t exist at all.

The Jewish people are a brilliant people and the writers of many books. The Jews are even called “The people of the Book” but the real issue is, Jews don’t really know the book for which they are known. Even religious Jews don’t know it as they should because they have occupied themselves with rabbinic commentaries rather than studying Moses and the book for themselves. The Jewish people cannot come to the place to believe that the God who inspired the Bible is able to give us insight to its meaning through his Spirit. But, we need to understand the calamities in history already referred to, and the Holocaust, and see that they point to future calamities and “birth-pains” predicted in what the Scriptures have already written.

The Scriptures are very clear about this. Few investigators look to the Bible to find an explanation for the Holocaust. Instead, Jewish and non-Jewish people raise money for Holocaust museums because there is a hope that through education and knowledge they can avert another calamity. It is never considered that the Holocaust happened at the hands of the most educated nation on earth. They are convinced (but wrong) that the education of man will avoid another Shoah, all the while avoiding what the Scriptures had to say about why it happened. Even Yochanon Ben Zakkai, who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the first century, said that anti-Semitism is not a normal phenomenon but it comes when Israel fails to obey the Lord (Talmud, Ketubot 66b).

This study is not given to satisfy a historical question, but it does have present and future applications. Disasters like the Holocaust cannot go unexamined or we make room for another one. The history of the Holocaust must be examined in light of the Scriptures. To fail to come up with the right answers as to why the Holocaust happened is worse than denying it ever happened at all.

In Part 22 we will pick up here and discuss how the Holocaust was part of what is known as “covenantal discipline and judgment” and how Yehovah removed the “hedge” of protection at some point, exposing the people.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 20

Now we come to the next Torah portion in Deuteronomy called “Ki Tavo” meaning “When you enter in.” It goes from Deut 26.1 to 29.8. There are two Torah portions that strike fear into the heart of every God fearing believer, “Behukatai” in Lev 26.3 to 27.34, and this one.

Themes are being tied together by Moses now, so he goes back to Genesis and recalls how they got to where they were and that it was the Lord who orchestrated it all. Now they are about to receive the land and promise, so he gives them instruction. They are the same instructions for us, too, as we receive the promise of the Olam Haba.

In Deut 26.2-11 they were told to give back because they have received the promise. That is one of the real signs we have received the promise, giving. That doesn’t only mean money, but it can include the giving of your time, studying to teach others, and so on. The Lord sees this as really receiving. Where a man’s heart is, there his treasure will be also.

When people are really with a congregation they will serve in some capacity. They will participate and attend groups and give of their increase. They will give materially, of themselves, of their talents and gifts. The giver decides the value of the gift. After all, The Father gave Yeshua, didn’t he? But, here is a problem. We must also learn to receive before we can give. Once we realize just how great a salvation we have, and what he has saved us from, then our hearts are ready for commandments.

Yeshua is the first fruits of those who believe. This whole thing is way to say, “Thanks.” What have we got to be thankful for? Yeshua paid the price of redemption for us, and we have eternal life, the forgiveness of sin and peace with God!

This portion on giving (v 13-15) is a way of saying, “I have not forgotten.” It teaches us to take responsibility for our actions and to elevate our spiritual status. If we did something, admit it. Adam blamed Chava and Chava blamed the Nachash. We all claim that we did nothing wrong at times. An aversion to apologize is widespread in western society. Psychology has done all it can to remove “guilt” from our language. They say it is “unhealthy” to feel guilt. We try to suppress it and this leads to other problems, however. Sometimes we say the commandment that we just fulfilled back to the Lord. This is an important commandment to remember, and that is what is being conveyed in Deut 26.13-15.

In Deut 26.16 we have the statement “this day.” It is also used in Deut 27.9 and Deut 29.4. Repetitions mean something in the Scriptures. What are we to understand and realize by the phrase “this day?” Deut 27.1-10 has another procedure they were to do once they enter the land. We learn that they were to set up large stones and coat them with white lime. Then they were to write all the words of “this law” on them (no hint of an oral tradition here).

They were also to build an altar without using an iron tool on it. This altar must be made by God, so they were to have uncut stones but they could plaster over it. The word for “uncut” here is “Shelemot” and it means “peace, whole or complete.” Now, this altar by the command of God is a far cry from the altars we have all seen on TV or in churches where prayer requests are put. Sometimes they have cut concrete stones and burn the “debt” or the bills of an unsuspecting contributor. These are made from materials from Home Depot or Lowe’s (cement blocks in most cases) or the “altar ” is made out of wood. These are not biblical altars at all, they are invalid.

An altar is a testimony to all who see it that the earth is the Lords, and it was made by the Lord. An altar is God’s ownership mark and where he does “business” with man. Altars do not necessarily symbolize a korban (offering), but they are brought there. Now, how can you know who owns the land they are going to possess? The answer, whoever is the one who can put restrictions on it.

In Eden, God put restrictions on what happened there. He told Adam and Chava what trees they could eat from, and what trees not to eat from. When they ate from a tree that was forbidden to them, they were challenging God’s ownership, and they were evicted. The Lord owns the earth and his altar must be of uncut stones. When they brought their peace offerings, they were to eat them there (Deut 27.5-7). In the same way, the Lord owns the land they are going in to possess. There were restrictions on the land and certain things were commanded. If they did them, the land and the people were blessed. If they disobeyed the commandments, then the people would be evicted just like Adam and Chava were.

In Deut 27.11-26, the people are at Shechem (“shoulder”). Six tribes stood on Mount Gerizim (Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin). The other six stood on Mt. Ebal (Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulon, Dan and Naphtali). Then the Levites spoke to all Israel and gave twelve curses. The people were to answer “Amen.” These are not new commandments and there is something about these twelve that indicate they have received the promise. These are sins that are done in “secret.” People can obey publicly, but what about when no one sees us?

Let’s look at Deut 27.26, “Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.” This is exactly what Yeshua said in Matt 5.17-20. He told us that we were not even to think he came to do away with the Torah. He came to fulfill it, or give it meaning and a true interpretation. However, people today not only think it has been destroyed, but they teach it (that the Torah has been done away with)! The Torah applies as long as there is heaven and an earth (Matt 5.18), and to every individual, in every generation. We live in a society that says we are not to obey the commandments of the Lord, and we are reaping the curse.

In Deut 28.1-14 we have the blessings for obedience. The Lord would set Israel “high above all nations” (v 1) and when we look at Israel’s contribution to mankind, it far exceeds that of any other nation. That is because the blessing was upon them. However, Israel is the living example of the curses also. If they obeyed the Lord, the blessing would overtake them (v 2). They would be blessed in the city and blessed in the country (v 3). Their offspring and produce from the ground, and their animals, would be blessed (v 4). Their basket and kneading bowl would be blessed (v 5)). They would be blessed coming in and going out to war (v 6). The Lord would cause their enemies to be defeated, and flee before them seven ways (v 7). The blessing would be in their barns and in everything they did (v 8). God would establish them as a people set apart to him (meaning with a kedusha) if they obeyed his commandments (v 9). All the peoples of the earth would know that they were called by the name of the Lord, and be afraid of them (v 10). He would prosper them in their body, in their animals and in the ground (v 11). They would have rain when needed, lend to nations and not borrow from them (v 12). They would be the head, not the tail, above and not beneath, if they listened to the commandments and observed them (v 13).

In Part 21, we will pick up here with the curses in Deut 28.15-68, and what would happen to Israel if they disobeyed the Torah. We will then get into some information about the Holocaust and why it happened. It was the result of what Moses warned Israel about here. Moses will be pleading with the people to choose the Lord.

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