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.