Deut 1.32 tells us that this was about trust in God or not. The Torah is about trusting others in the administrative and judicial system that was set up. It goes over key events and battles so that they will trust God for protection. It also teaches us to trust God for our provision.
There are some who say that the Torah is a means of salvation, and that was what some thought in the First Century (Rom 9.30-31). The underlying view is that love and law (Torah) are different, and love (or grace) can replace the law as a way to be saved. But this book shows us that love and law are linked and that was the concept being expressed in John 1.17. The Torah and the work of Yeshua compliment each other. A believer who says, “I do, or I will” keep the commandments is giving a statement of love or belief (John 14.15).
The next Torah portion in Deuteronomy is called “Va’etchanan” and it means “And I pleaded.” It goes from Deut 3.23 to 7.11 and you can see right away the word “chanan” in the phrase “Va’etchanan” and all forms of this word signifies a free gift. Each Torah portion is named after a word or phrase in the first verse of that particular section. They did that because when they memorized scripture, when someone said the opening verse of a particular portion it would help the people recall the rest of the portion. Yeshua did it on the cross when he said “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani” only with a twist. So, let’s look into this for a moment. We will be quoting from the book, “A Key to the Original Gospels” by George M. Lamsa, P 102-104 and this is a very important concept to go over, and Lamsa explains this misunderstood saying very well.
Lamsa begins to explain the above statement by Yeshua on the cross by saying, “All versions of the Gospels have retained these words in the original tongue and given them a different meaning. Matthew, according to Eastern version, does not translate them, because he wrote to the people who had seen Jesus and heard him preaching. It also seems probable that the later writers did not agree on the exact meaning when they translated them into Greek. This term even at present is only used by the Aramaic-speaking people in Assyria, the same language which the Galileans spoke at the time of our Lord. This phrase in Aramaic means, “My God, my God, for this I was kept (this was my destiny; I was born for this).”
“Jesus did not quote the Psalms. If he had he would have said these words in Hebrew instead of Aramaic, and if he had translated them from Hebrew he would have used the Aramaic “nashatani” which means “forsaken me” instead of the word “sabachtani” which in this case means “kept me.” Even the soldiers who stood by the cross did not understand what Jesus said in that hour of agony and suffering. They thought that he was calling on Elijah because the word Elijah in Aramaic is “Elia” which is similar to that for God, “Eli.”
“In those last minutes of suffering Jesus watched the crowd, which was composed of Rabbis, Priests, men and women of Jerusalem, who had come up to watch him dying. Some insulted him, others spitting in his face, and others calling him names and challenging his claim that he is a man of God, but instead was a malefactor and sinner. Jesus only made a statement to himself and to the friends who were also standing and hiding in the crowds near the cross, that he was born for that hour, that he may bear witness to the truth and open the way for the others who were to be crucified, that this was his destiny, that there was nothing else that could be given such a glorious victory as the cross.”
“The disciples and women who were from Galilee never for a moment could have thought that Jesus said that God had forsaken him. How could he say that when he had told his disciples that the whole world would forsake him, even they, but that the Father would be with him when he told Peter that if he wished he could bring angels to fight for him, and when he said, “Father, let it be thy wish if I should drink this cup.” These words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani” even today are used by the Assyrians when they suffer and die unjustly. Instead of complaint and dissatisfaction, they leave everything to God. They believe that it is God’s desire that they should pass through such experiences. This is the reason why in the east people do not commit suicide.”
The opening line of Psalm 22 in Hebrew is “Eli, Eli, lama azavtani” and it does mean, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” It is very similar to “Eli, ELi, lama sabachtani” but it doesn’t mean the same thing as we have noted from Lamsa’s book. Psalm 22 is called the crucifixion psalm and if you read it it describes what is happening to Yeshua. Yeshua may be using this memorization technique of the first portion of scripture to have the people recall Psalm 22. By saying “this is my destiny” to them on the cross as they were thinking about Psalm 22, he is reassuring his people that everything that is happening to him is prophetic and not to be in despair, it was God’s will for him, it was “my destiny.” After all, he had been telling them that he was going to be crucified and die for the remission of sin, and it was for that event that he was born (John 18.37). They weren’t killing him, he was laying his life down for them.
So, each Torah portion is named after a word or phrase in the first verse of that particular section to give it a name and to help remember what is being said in that portion. The word “va’etchanan” is also related to the word “chan” which forms part of the word for “chanukah” or “dedication.” This “gift” is not to be understood as some sort of “handout” but this relates to “effort.” According to effort put in is the reward. Chanan implies a deep desire for an intense relationship with the Lord. This is what Noah had. When Moses says in Deut 3.23, “I also pleaded with the Lord” he is saying, “Don’t grant my request because of all the good I’ve done, but on the relationship we have, my love for you.”
We will pick up here in Part 4.