DEVARIM (DEUTERONOMY) 11:26 – 16:17 – RE’EH – LOOK / SEE

This week’s torah portion is called ‘Re’eh’ – רְאֵה – which means ‘to see’ or ‘look’ and the primitive root word for ‘see’ is the Hebrew word רָאָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7200 meaning, to see, look, observe, pay close attention, consider.

This is a command that we all would do well to heed today – and that is to observe and pay close attention to that which lies ahead for us as we await the return of our King, so that we are able to discern and act wisely, as we follow the Torah (instructions) of Elohim.

In the ancient pictographic script, this word also reveals a great truth to us, as רָאָה ra’ah is pictured as follows:

 heyalephresh

Resh - רָ

The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as resh, which is ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.

Aleph אָ

The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as aleph, which is the head of an ox, and represents ‘strength’, meaning ‘muscle’ as the ox is the strongest of the livestock animals. This also carries the meaning of ‘yoke’, as an ox is placed in a yoke in order to plough or pull a heavy load in the right direction. This can also picture for us the ‘red heifer’ sacrifice that יהושע Messiah fulfilled!

Hey - ה

The ancient script has this letter pictured as hey, which is ‘a man standing with his arms raised out’. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation; from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender, as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!

To see and be functional in seeing as we should can render the following meaning for us:

THE BEGINNING OF OUR STRENGTH IS IN THE REVELATION OF MESSIAH OUR HEAD, WHO WE PRAISE AND SERVE WITH OUR ALL

In Hebrew the word רָעָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7462 also can carry the meaning of ‘shepherd’ as well as to pasture, graze, consume, feed – and clearly points to יהושע – Our Good Shepherd – Our Strong Head that was lifted up and exalted on High as in Tehillim/Psalm 80:1יִשְׂרָאֵל רֹעֵה – ‘Ro’eh Yisra’ĕl’ = Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl, or in Tehillah/Psalm 23 we see the phrase: יהוה רֹעִי YAHWEH ro’i   which means, YAHWEH is my Shepherd.

In Hebrew the word that is translated as ‘evil’ comes from the root word רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 which means, bad, evil, wicked, harmful, which comes from the root verb רָעַע ra’a – Strong’s H7489 that means, to be evil, bad, act wickedly, practice evil, work calamity, do harm, be displeasing.

What is very interesting and worth taking note of is that this root verb רָעַע ra’a – Strong’s H7489 (for evil, wickedness) has the same phonetic sound as the root verb רָעָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7462 (for see, shepherd).

The difference between רָעָה ra’ah (evil, wickedness, shepherd) and רָאָה ra’ah (see, observe, pay attention) is the middle letter – with the root word for ‘evil’ containing the letter – ‘עָ’ – ‘ayin’ and the root word for ‘to see’ contains the letter ‘אָ’ – ‘aleph’. This should be a clear ‘wakeup call’ for us to see how things may sound correct and even at times may be written with the same letters, yet may cause us to ‘look’ at what is wrong – many of our father’s teachings and ways may sound good and true yet when tested against the measuring stick of the Torah we find that most of what we inherited was in fact not good at all and what we must learn is that corrupt practices spoil our relationship with יהוה!

Verse 26-28

Mosheh is telling us very clearly here that we are to pay close attention and consider carefully that which he is setting before us – and that which he is setting before us is a blessing and a curse!

The Hebrew word that is used here for ‘blessing’ is בְּרָכָה beraḵah – Strong’s H1293 which means, a blessing, benefit, gift, peace and it comes from the root word בָּרַךְ baraḵ – Strong’s H1288 which means, to kneel, bless, abundantly blessand literally carries the meaning, to kneel or bow down, to show respect, to bring a gift to another while kneeling out of respect’.

The ancient script has the Hebrew word for blessבָּרַךְ baraḵ – Strong’s H1288 pictured as:

 kaphreshbeit

Beyt בָּ:

The ancient script has this letter as beit, which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.

 

Resh – רַ:

The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as resh, which is ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.

 

Kaph – ךְ:

The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as – kaph – which is a picture of an open palm of a hand and can symbolise that to which submission is given – ‘under the hand

Once again, we are able to clearly see who it is who blesses us –

THE HOUSE/ASSEMBLY OF ELOHIM IS BLESSED AS THE HEAD/CHIEF, COMES DOWN AND EXTENDS HIS OPEN AND REVEALED HAND TO HIS OWN!

The Hebrew word that is used here for ‘curse’ is קְלָלָה qelalah – Strong’s H7045 which comes from the root word קָלַל qalal – Strong’s H7043 which means, to be light, swift, trifling, cursed, despised and the primary emphasis that is being given here is the absence (or reversal) of a blessed or rightful state and a lowering to a lesser state.

What is being set before us is either the abundant blessing and shalom of יהוה or the absence or reversal thereof!!!

The two are set before us and are conditional to our response to the clear instructions – whether we obey or not!

The word used for ‘obey’ is from the primitive root word שָׁמַע shama – Strong’s H8085 which carries the meaning not just simply to hear, but rather to ‘listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’.

Understanding our need to be a people who are listening attentively and giving heed to His Word in a time when most are not let us recognise that this is certainly the time to now be a hearing and discerning and obeying people!

We have before us the clear blessing when we ‘obey’ and the curse when we ‘do not’ obey.

It is יהוה’s way or not – we cannot pick and choose what we want to obey and pay attention to, and what we do not want to do and conveniently ignore!!!

Too many today simply want to give their ear to the many wonderful blessings contained in Scripture, yet they are unwilling to pay careful attention and give heed to the instructions that are clearly set before us – instructions that we are required and commanded to walk in, for us to have and experience the blessings of true obedience.

Obedience results in blessing and disobedience brings forth the curse or rather the lack or reversal of the blessing!

Tehillah/Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The Word and commands of יהוה light our path and is the Way in which we are to follow in:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:23 “For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life

If we turn from His commands and do not obey them, and turn aside from the ‘path’ in which we are commanded to walk in and walk in ‘other paths that we have not known then we will find ourselves having turned away from the blessing and as a result have the curse before us, which is simply the absence of the blessing!

 

Verse 29

Blessing to put on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ěyḇal!

Sheḵem is located between Mount Gerizim (left) and Mount Ěyḇal (right); Ěyḇal is preeminent in the Scriptural record, beginning with Elohim’s promise of the Land to Aḇraham. Later Ya’aqoḇ would return here and settle with his family for a short while. During the conquest of Kena’an the 12 tribes gathered here on these two hills to recite the Torah of Elohim and proclaim the blessings and curses that accompany obedience and disobedience.

Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal from east

גְּרִזִים  Gerizim – Strong’s H1630 has the meaning, cuttings off which comes from the root word גָּרַז  garaz – Strong’s H1629 meaning, to cut, cut off.

עֵיבָל  Ěyḇal – Strong’s H5858 means, stone or bare mountain.

 

Gerizim represents for us a picture of fruitfulness – as the cuttings off picture the good fruit from which good and useful tress are cut; whereas Ěyḇal is a picture that symbolises for us barrenness or lack!

What we must notice here is that the blessing and curse was to be put on two different ‘mounts’ and we can clearly see from this a picture of a clear choice to be made as to what we are to follow – either obedience and experience and walk in the blessing or disobedience and walk in the curse or walk without the blessing!

What is being pictured in a sense here is that from a Scriptural point of view there is no ‘middle ground’ – no valley to camp in and hide in so to speak! You either obey or not, and to waver between two or more opinions is the sign of instability.

We are called daily to choose who or what we follow, and it has been made very clear what the blessing is for guarding and walking in the Torah and what the curse is for not. 

There is a lot of history regarding this valley between these two mounts, as the city of Sheḵem is located here.

Mt Gerizim from Shechem

Mount Gerizim is closely associated with the Shomeroni. When the Northern tribes/ House of Yisra’ĕl was taken into captivity by Ashshur, the Ashshurians repopulated this region with people who did not know the Elohim of Aḇraham, and these ‘mixed’ people became known as Shomeroni (Samaritans), from the town’s name Shomeron (Samaria) which was so named by the wicked king Omri, father of Aḥaḇ.

Over time the Shomeroni built their worship site on this hill, and it was at Shomeron that Messiah met with the woman at the well and offered her the Living water!

The Shomeroni believed that this was the place where they were to worship the Elohim of Aḇraham, and this is what we see in:

Yoḥanan/John 4:20-24 “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Yerushalayim is the place where one needs to worship.” 21 יהושע said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Yerushalayim, worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because the deliverance is of the Yehuḏim.   23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also does seek such to worship Him. 24 “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.

Sadly, we find so many in the valley so to speak – multitudes in the valley of decision! They want to ‘claim’ the blessings while they are fruitless in the walk. They assume to appropriate the blessings for themselves through belief alone and refuse to acknowledge that there is a mount of curses as they erroneously proclaim that this mount has been removed and done away with – and so while they are unable to properly ascend the mount of blessing by walking faithfully in righteousness they are in fact in a valley of compromise.

This place between Gerizim and Sheḵem helps us also understand the words of Messiah, where in Ḥazon יהושע tells the assembly in Laodikeia that they were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm and that he would vomit them out:

Ḥazon/Revelation 3:14-16 “And to the messenger of the assembly in Laodikeia write, ‘The Aměn, the Trustworthy and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of Elohim, says this: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. 16 “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

He goes on to say that they think that they are rich, yet that they are ‘poor, blind and naked’ – a picture of barrenness and lack, being exposed for what they really are!

Here is some interesting information on the ancient city of Laodikeia, Hierapolis and Colossae:

History
The leading city in the valley during the first century, Laodikeia was destroyed by an earthquake in C.E. 60. According to Roman writer Tacticus, Rome offered to pay for the city to be rebuilt, but the people declined, saying that they were wealthy enough to restore their own city.

Industry
The city was renowned for three main industries:

A banking centre for the province of Asia Minor, including a gold exchange;

The textile centre where glossy, black wool was woven into garments called trimata that were prized in the Roman world; The location of a major medical school known worldwide and where an eye salve called Phyrigian powder was made from a local stone.

Geography
Located in the fertile Lycus River Valley, the city had no nearby water source, so tepid, mineral-filled, and nauseating water was piped in from six miles away.

What Happened to the Assembly in Laodikeia?
History records that the assembly in Laodikeia remained dynamic after most assemblies in Asia disappeared. One of its ‘bishops’ was martyred for his faith in C.E. 161, about seventy years after Yoḥanan wrote his warning to the city in Ḥazon/Revelation. In C.E. 363, Laodikeia was the location chosen for a significant assembly council. So, it appears that the assembly in Laodikeia learned its lesson and Elohim continued to bless the believing community there for some time.

Yoḥanan’s Warning

Laodikeia is a beautiful location in Asia Minor. Nearby are the great ruins of the cities of Colossae and Hierapolis, known for their springs - hot at Hierapolis and cold at Colossae. To the assembly at Laodikeia, in between the two, Yoḥanan wrote these words of Messiah as a clear warning: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Ḥazon/Revelation 3:15-16). What was it about the believers in Laodikeia that led Yoḥanan to address them with those words - to portray their unfaithfulness in terms of hot and cold water? Could it be that there’s more to the meaning of hot water and cold water than what meets the eye when we first read that verse? An understanding of the geography, and particularly the water sources, of these neighbouring cities gives us a new understanding of what this message may have meant to the assembly of Laodikeia and what it means for Believers today.

 

Hierapolis

The Domitian Gate: Hierapolis, known for its healing hot springs, was about six miles from Laodikeia. What is left of the entrance to the city - a gate complex of two gigantic towers and three arches that opened onto a paved street about a mile and a half long - stands as a testimony to the city’s former majesty. What is most important is not the gate’s size or architecture, however, but what it represented.

Like most city gates of the ancient world, the gates of the Hierapolis expressed the people’s devotion to their deities or rulers. For Hierapolis, that deity was the Roman emperor Domitian - one of the first emperors to declare himself to be divine. Thus, anyone who entered the Domitian Gate was in a sense acknowledging that Domitian was elohim - their provider and protector whom they would honour and obey above all others.

Obviously, the early believers who lived in the Hierapolis had to choose to serve and worship Caesar (in this case, Domitian) or to serve and worship the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl. According to ancient tradition, an early missionary named Philip, who most likely was Philip the disciple of Messiah, refused to recognize the authority of Domitian.

Philip and his children stood fast in their declaration that יהושע alone is Master of Masters and King of Kings, and they paid the ultimate price. High on a hill overlooking Hierapolis are the remains of a small building known as the Martyrium of Philip.

The Apollo Temple and Plutonium: Hierapolis was also the site of the Apollo Temple and Plutonium, where the pagan deity of music, prophecy, and light was worshiped. Inside the temple, a grand fountain called Nymphia was a constant reminder to the people that Apollo was supposed to be their source of life. Next to the temple was a mysterious hole in the ground known as the Plutonium, the Devil’s Hole, or the Gates of Hades. It was believed to be an entrance to the underworld where Pluto (Latin) or Hades (Greek) lived. Poisonous gases emanated from the hole and instantly killed any animals that wandered in. But the priests of Apollo, who apparently held their breath or had some other means of breathing fresh air, amazed the people by going into the hole and coming out again unharmed - seeming to have power over death.

The Theatre: Another prominent feature of Hierapolis was its theatre, which communicated through its architecture as well as its activities the people’s devotion to their ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’. One can still see the images of ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ depicted in the ornately carved stones.

The Baths: By far the most impressive feature of Hierapolis was its hot springs. The baths of the Hierapolis were among the largest in all of Asia Minor, allowing hundreds of people to bathe at the same time. People from distant regions came to soak in warm baths and seek healing for arthritis, skin diseases, and even abdominal problems.

 

Colossae

In contrast to the Hierapolis, the ancient city of Colossae was known for its cold water. Located about eleven miles from Laodikeia, Colossae was built at the foot of Mt. Cadmus, which towered more than nine thousand feet high. Colossae was known for a purple dye called colissinus and for its many, ice-cold snow-and-rain-fed streams that rushed down from the snow-covered peak of Mt. Cadmus. People in the fertile Lycus River Valley commonly talked about this wonderful, invigorating water.

Founded several hundreds of years before the Hierapolis, Colossae’s inhabitants worshiped many false mighty ones, including Artemis, Athena, and Demeter. The city was in serious decline by the time of Sha’ul and Yoḥanan because of the growth of Laodikeia and Hierapolis. It is known by Believers today because Sha’ul wrote a letter to the Colossians, which was the home of his friend Pileymon/Philemon, and his slave Onesimus.

Laodikeia

During the first century, the city of Laodikeia was the richest and most powerful of the three cities. Located in the Lycus River Valley on the main trade route between the Mediterranean region and Persia, Laodikeia was known for its soft black wool that was appreciated throughout the Roman world; its healing eye salve; and its banking. In fact, an ancient writer recorded that the city of approximately 120,000 people refused an emperor’s offer to rebuild following an earthquake. The Laodikeians apparently told the emperor that they were rich and didn’t need his money.

Despite its prosperity, however, Laodikeia had a serious problem. Its water, unlike the healing hot springs of Hierapolis or the fresh, cold mountain water of Colossae, was lukewarm and full of minerals. It tasted so bad that it made people sick.

 

Changing the World by Being Hot and Cold

In light of the water for which the cities of Hierapolis, Colossae and Laodikeia were known, the apostle Yoḥanan might have been saying, “If you were hot, like the springs of Hierapolis, you’d bring healing, restoration, and comfort to people who suffer. If you were cold, like the water in Colossae, you’d refresh and encourage people who are hurting. Instead, you are lukewarm. You don’t do anyone any good and you make me sick - just like your own water.” So, he challenges Believers today to be hot and cold in our daily lives - to bring people the healing, caring, encouraging touch of יהושע.

We must also be aware of how Elohim prepares people to receive His message and to make the most of the opportunities He has provided. He uses as His example two earthquakes, one in C.E. 17 and one in C.E. 60, that destroyed Laodikeia before the Besorah/Good News arrived. Because of these disasters, the people’s faith in their pagan mighty ones wavered. Zeus, Apollo, Domitian, and Demeter didn’t save us, they thought, so who will?

They were searching for someone who could fill the gap. So, the message of יהושע the Messiah took root in fertile ground. And it appears the believers of Laodikeia took Yoḥanan’s warning to heart: the assembly of Laodikeia remained a dynamic community after most of the assemblies in Asia Minor had disappeared.

 

Hierapolis

 Byzatine gate

Street and Byzantine Gate

Hierapolis, the “Sacred City,” is located at present-day Pamukkale in south central Turkey.  In the first century it was part of the tri-city area of Laodikeia, Colossae, and Hierapolis.  This connection between the cities lies behind Sha’ul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodikeia in his letter to the Colossians (Col 4:13).  Before 70 C.E. Phillip (either the apostle or the evangelist) moved to Hierapolis, where he was believed to have been martyred. 

 apollo temple

The Apollo Temple

In the foreground of this picture are the remains of the Apollo Temple.  Its foundations date to the Hellenistic period, but the structure itself was built in the 3rd century A.D.  Apollo was thought to be the city’s divine founder.  The temple was built beside the plutonium, an underground cavern from which poisonous gases emerged.  The city’s theatre stands in the background.

heiropolis theatre 

The Theatre

After an earthquake in 60 C.E., a theatre was built against a hillside.  This theatre contains one of the best examples of original Roman theatre decoration.  The stage was ornate, decorated with various reliefs.  A seat for distinguished spectators was located in the centre of the seating area (cavea).  Approximately thirty rows of seats are preserved

necropolis 

The Necropolis

Another prominent archaeological aspect of Hierapolis is the necropolis, located just outside the northern city walls.  Here lies one of the largest and best-preserved cemeteries in all of Turkey.  It contains sarcophagi, many different types of tombs, and funeral monuments dating from the Hellenistic until the early Believer times.  There are also numerous inscriptions here, more than 300 of which have been translated and published

Colossae:

colossae tel 

The Tell

Colossae was located 120 miles east of Ephesus in the Lycus River Valley in ancient Phrygia, part of the Roman territory of Asia Minor.  It was one of a triad of cities in the area (the other two being Laodikeia and Hierapolis), resting at the foot of Mount Cadmus.  Its Scriptural significance lies in the fact that the book of Colossians was addressed to the assembly here (Col 1:2) and that Philemon lived in this city.

 colossae cold water

Streams of Cold Water

In Yoḥanan’s message to the Laodikeian assembly (Rev 3:14-22), he speaks of the lukewarmness of Laodikeia, that they were “neither cold nor hot” (vv. 15-16).  This local allusion would have been clear to citizens of Laodikeia, who knew of the cold, pure waters of nearby Colossae.

Laodicea:

 

laodikea luke warm 

Lukewarm in Laodikeia

And to the messenger of the assembly in Laodikeia write, ‘The Aměn, the Trustworthy and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of Elohim, says this: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. 16 “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

(Ḥazon/Revelation 3:14-16)

 laodikea aquaduct

Aqueduct

The water that was piped to Laodikeia was rich with calcium which over time would cause the pipes to clog.  The engineers designed the aqueduct with vents covered with stones that could be removed periodically for cleaning.

יהושע’s condemnation of the city's assembly for lukewarmness rebukes not their lack of fervour but their lack of effectiveness.

These places are clear warnings and witnesses for us to make sure that we hear, guard and o the commands of Elohim and not waver in compromised lifestyles

Ěliyahu tells us clearly that we cannot waver between 2 opinions:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 18:21 “And Ěliyahu came to all the people, and said, “How long would you keep hopping  between two opinions? If יהוה is Elohim, follow Him; and if Ba‘al, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.

Yo’ĕl/Joel 3:14 “Crowds, crowds in the valley of decision! For the day of יהוה is near in the valley of decision.

 

The ‘blessing’ is having a right relationship with יהוה; while the curse is not having His presence with us!!!

Verse 30

The terebinth trees of Moreh!!!

In Berěshith/Genesis 12:6 we are told that Aḇraham set out and came to the “terebinth tree of Moreh” – אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה – ‘elon moreh’.

The word translated as ‘terebinth’ is אֵילוֹן Elon – Strong’s H436 which means, terebinth or mightyand is also often translated as ‘oak’ and is a tree of the cashew family that yields turpentine. מוֹרֶה Moreh – Strong’s H4176 means, teacher’.  The terebinth tree was known for its good shade and it is under this tree that he stopped and in one sense this is where he met with his Mighty Teacher as he found shade under the pressing heat of his journey in a land filled with Kenaʽanites:

Tehillah/Psalm 121:5 “יהוה is your guard; יהוה is your shade at your right hand.

This reference to Moreh is a clear reminder to Yisra’ĕl that the place of ‘blessing and curses’ which was ‘beyond the Yardĕn, would be a place where they would be reminded that they need to follow in the clear teaching of Elohim, and be reminded of the promise given to Aḇraham and to his seed!

The word ‘terebinth’ is used in the ISR Scriptures 1998 translation 23 times, being translated from 3 different Hebrew words that have very similar meaning. The first times that we find the word ‘terebinth’ is in:

Berěshith/Genesis 12:6And Aḇram passed through the land to the place of Sheḵem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. At that time the Kenaʽanites were in the land.

This is translated as ‘terebinth’ 9 times from the Hebrew word אֵלוֹן eylon – Strong’s H436 which means, terebinth, oak, mighty, which is prolonged from אַיִל ayil – Strong’s H352 which means, terebinth, chief, pillar, door post, ram.

The other word that is translated as ‘terebinth’ 13 times is אֵלָה eylah – Strong’s H424 which also means, terebinth, oak and is the feminine of אַיִל ayil. While some may debate whether these words mean, terebinth or oak, what we recognise from Scripture is that these Hebrew words give clear reference to a very strong and very durable tree, which has a sturdy structure as well as an extensive root system that enables the tree to remain green, even during a drought! This strong tree is known to grow up to 12m high and due to its root system can sprout up from a stump after having been cut down which, as we will see, is used as a picture in Scripture!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 61:3 “to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of יהוה, to be adorned.

In Yeshayahu/Isaiah 61:3, as quoted above, the Hebrew word translated as ‘trees’ is אַיִל ayil – Strong’s H352, and the Hebrew word translated as ‘righteousness’ is צֶדֶק tseḏeq – Strong’s H6664 which means, righteous, just, righteousness. The word translated as ‘planting’ is מַטָּע matta – Strong’s H4302 which means, a place or act of planting, plantation, where it was planted, and comes from the root verb נָטַע nata – Strong’s H5193 which means, to plant, establish, fix, fasten. When Messiah comes again, and His reign is established here in earth, we who are in Him, shall be firmly planted and called trees of righteousness! As ambassadors of the Kingdom to come, we recognise how we are to be firmly planted in His word as strong trees of righteousness. In Scripture we find many agricultural word pictures that are used to describe man, and Dawiḏ tells us what the faithful, who meditate on the Torah day and night, will be like:

Tehillah/Psalm 1:3 “For he shall be as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers.

In this verse the Hebrew word translated as ‘tree’ is עֵץ ets – Strong’s H6086 meaning, trees, wood, timber, staff, which is primarily the basic term in Scripture for trees and wood products. While this is the most common word for trees, we see how the picture or reference to man, as metaphorically referred to as trees, gives us insight into how we, as righteous trees in the field of the world, ought to be praising Elohim and bringing esteem to Him in all we do:

Tehillah/Psalm 96:12-13 “Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Let all the trees of the forest then shout for joy, 13 at the presence of יהוה. For He shall come, for He shall come to judge the earth. He judges the world in righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.

Tehillah/Psalm 104:16 “The trees of יהוה are satisfied, the cedars of Leḇanon which He planted

Wisdom is a tree of life to those who cling to her:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:18She is a tree of life to those taking hold of her, and blessed are all who retain her.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 11:30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is winning lives is wise.

The goal of our faith is the deliverance of lives and as we walk in righteousness, we are able to bear the fruit of winning the lost, as we proclaim and present to them, through our own lives, pure and true righteousness and obedience to the Word!

The Hebrew word used here for ‘planted’ is שָׁתַל shathal- Strong’s H8362 which means, to transplant, planted, which in itself carries a great picture for us in understanding the great and mighty work of our Master, who ‘transplants’ us into His Pure root, after having been far off due to sin! This word is used 10 times in Scripture, and once again pictures for us the effect of being firmly rooted and grounded in love, which is being rooted in Messiah and guarding to do all He commands as a pure expression of our love for Him!

Tehillah/Psalm 92:13 “Those who are planted in the House of יהוה flourish in the courts of our Elohim.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in יהוה, and whose trust is יהוה. 8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.

Our continued trust in יהוה causes us to be ‘transplanted’ into His satisfying root system, and be able to sustain the pressures of the heat of trials that blow across our lives!

Yisra’ĕl was planted in a good land, and positioned to bear much fruit and shine the light of the Truth of Elohim to the nations, yet they failed to do this:

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 17:8It was planted in a good field by many waters, to bring forth branches, and to bear fruit, to be a splendid vine.

This was part of a stern rebuke to a rebellious House that had neglected to stay rooted in love!

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 17:10See, it is planted, is it going to thrive? Would it not utterly wither when the east wind touches it – wither in the beds where it grows?

In יהוה’s loving-commitment to His Covenant, He promises to ‘transplant’ a remnant of the rebellious House that withered under the heat of persecutions, temptations and trials:

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 17:22-23Thus said the Master יהוה, “And I shall take of the top of the highest cedar and set it out. And I Myself shall pluck off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs, and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Yisra’ĕl I plant it. And it shall bring forth branches, and bear fruit, and become a big cedar. And under it shall dwell birds of every sort, in the shadow of its branches they shall dwell.

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 19:10Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, planted by the waters, a bearer of fruit and branching, because of many waters.

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 19:13And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land.

A nation who had been delivered from bondage out of Mitsrayim, and planted in a good land, rebelled and as a result were plucked out and planted in the Wilderness!

 What we can learn from these passages I have mentioned is that we must do our utmost in ensuring that we continue to meditate on the Torah of Elohim, day and night, and walk not in wrong counsels, as we guard to do all He commands, lest we find ourselves being cut off due to unrighteousness and compromise.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 15:13 “But He answering, said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted.

These words of our Master were words in response to the hypocritical Pharisees who accused the talmidim (disciples) of Messiah of breaking the traditions of the elders and not washing their hands before eating! יהושע was making it clear here that those who hold fast to traditions and forsake the commands of Elohim are those who put on an outward show and draw near to Elohim with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Him, and teach as teachings the commands of men. These hypocrites are not the righteous ones, and they will be uprooted!

The picture of being firmly rooted trees is a vital and very practical lesson for us to understand in guarding our obedience to Elohim. I would now like us to look a little deeper at the Hebrew words that I have already mentioned, and are translated as ‘terebinth’ or ‘oak’, in order to help us recognise how we are to be true trees of righteousness, as we look at the locations of these specifically mentioned Terebinth trees:

I have already mentioned that the first reference to a terebinth tree is in Berěshith/Genesis 12:6.

This was where יהוה appeared to Aḇram! יהוה physically made Himself visible to Aḇram at this terebinth tree, which was at ‘Moreh’ - מוֹרֶה Moreh – Strong’s H4176 means, teacher, and it was here at this Mighty Tree that Aḇram met His Teacher:

Iyoḇ/Job 36:22See, Ěl is exalted by His power; who is a Teacher like Him?

The term ‘Moreh’ is used 3 times in Scripture; the other times we see this word being used is when Mosheh was  giving reference to Yisra’ĕl of this very location where Aḇram had met יהוה, as a marker of where they would proclaim the blessing and curses on Mount Gerizim and Ěyḇal, when they had crossed the Yardĕn! (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 11:30). This also can remind us that we, who have ‘crossed over’, and understand the clear blessings and curses of Scripture will keep our eyes on our Good Teacher and Master, יהושע Messiah:

Yoḥanan/John 13:13You call me Teacher and Master, and you say well, for I am.

The 3rd time we see this word מוֹרֶה Moreh being used is in Shophetim/Judges 7:1, when Giḏ’on was encamped at the

fountain of Ḥaroḏ, while Miḏyan was on the north of them, by the hill of Moreh. Ḥaroḏ comes from the root word חָרַד ḥara – Strong’s H2729 which means, trembling, to be terrified, frightened, afraid. This in itself carries a great encouragement for us, especially when we understand the full story of Giḏ’on, who overcame huge terrifying obstacles and frightening enemies, as he fixed his eyes and trust on יהוה.

Here we recognise that in the face of danger and terrifying circumstances, which in Scripture is often represented as coming from the north, we are able to face the battles and struggles as long as we have the hill of Moreh in our sights – meaning that we have our eyes on our Mighty Teacher and His clear instructions that gives us confidence and faith to stand and fight the good fight of faith!

We have a Teacher of Righteousness – and as good, faithful students we must take careful heed to hear, guard and do all He teaches us through His Word – then we will be equipped to face the tough battles in life!

The second place we see a reference being made to a ‘terebinth tree’ is at מַמְרֵא Mamrĕ – Strong’s H4471 which means, strength or fatness’. This word is used 10 times and was the location where Aḇram moved to and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamrĕ, which was in Ḥeḇron, and it was here that he also built an altar to יהוה. Mamrĕ was an Ammonite who had made a covenant with Aḇram. It was here that we see in Berěshith/Genesis 18:1 that יהוה once again physically made Himself visible and appeared to Aḇraham. Aḇraham was ‘sitting’ at the ‘tent door’ of his tent by the terebinth trees of Mamrĕ; and the root word used for ‘sitting’ is יָשַׁב yashaḇ – Strong’s H3427 meaning, sit, dwell, remain, abide, inhabit, sitting still and a modern word derived from this word, which is translated as ‘school’, is ‘yeshiva’. And ‘sitting/ dwelling’ in the Hebraic mind-set is an idiom for learning; and it is at the Master’s Feet that we come and sit and drink of His Pure and Clear Living Water and get great clarity and insight and strength to sojourn with joy! The idea of sitting in the Hebrew mind-set is to learn, and not to simply sit and vegetate, but rather sit and pay attention to the instructions of their teacher. Aḇraham is clearly pictured for us as a great example of a man who meditated on the Word day and night and was so focused on the Master יהוה, making himself readily available for יהוה to make Himself visible to His faithful servant and friend! It was here that Aḇraham ate a meal with יהוה and two Messengers, just before judgement over Seḏom and Amorah was passed and delivered!

This location also gives us great insight in understanding our need to be attentive students of our Mighty Teacher, יהושע Messiah, and love to come together on His Sabbaths, in order to sit and learn and be strengthened in His Word that leads us in righteousness, and enjoy the fellowship of a good meal too! It is when we gather, as diligent talmidim, that He makes Himself visible to us through His Word and strengthens us as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of who He is.

This was also the place where Yitsḥaq dwelt, when Ya’aqoḇ came to him before he died at 180 years of age. (Berěshith/Genesis 35:27-28)

Moreh = Teacher and Mamrĕ = Strength – for it is as we submit to our Good Teacher and fix our eyes on Him and submit to hearing, guarding and doing His Word, that we are equipped to stand and fight, as His joy strengthens us and renews us!

The third location that we see in Scripture being ‘marked’ by a ‘terebinth tree’ is צַעֲנַנִּים Tsa’ananniym – Strong’s H6815 which means, removings, and is the plural of the word צָעַן tsa’an – Strong’s H6813 which means, to wander, travel, taken down.

It is in Yehoshua/Joshua 19:33 where we are told that this place formed part of the borders of Naphtali - נַפְתָּלִי - Strong’s H5321 – whose name means, wrestling’. This place is also used in Shophetim/Judges 4:11 where Ḥeḇer, of the children of the father-in-law of Mosheh, had come to after separating himself from the Qĕynites, before Baraq and Deborah went up and destroyed Sisera. This terebinth at צַעֲנַנִּים Tsa’ananniym was beside קֶדֶשׁ Qeḏesh – Strong’s H6843 which means, set-apart place. What we can learn from this terebinth tree location is that, we who have been called out of darkness and are a set-apart people of Elohim, will recognise how we have all wrestled with the removal of our old ways, and all the vain inherited traditions and lies. Therefore, as we live set-apart lives, we must remove all falsehood and compromise, in order to truly live set-apart lives unto our Mighty Teacher and Master!

The 4th place we find a terebinth tree being mentioned as a key marker or location is at שְׁכֶם Sheḵem – Strong’s H7927 which means, back or shoulder. It was here at Sheḵem that Ya’aqoḇ dug a well – the well where יהושע met the Shomeroni woman and so opened the door for the return of the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl!

It was also here at the terebinth at Sheḵem that the masters of Sheḵem set up Aḇimeleḵ, the son of Giḏ’on, as their king, after he had killed his 70 brothers! (Shophetim/Judges 9:6).

It was also here at Sheḵem that Ya’aqoḇ buried the idols under the terebinth tree. A very eventful place indeed, one that typically presents to us the clear choice of who we will serve and follow. יהושע Messiah is our Master, Teacher and King and the rule is on His shoulders, yet Sheḵem teaches us that there is always a false system and rule that many sadly choose to follow. After Aḇimeleḵ was set up as king of Sheḵem, Yotham went and proclaimed a clear parable of trees from Mount Gerizim as a witness against the leaders at Sheḵem. Aḇimeleḵ ruled Yisra’ĕl for 3 years, after which he was killed when a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and crushed his skull. He then asked his armour bearer to kill him, lest it would be said a woman killed him – and so Elohim repaid Aḇimeleḵ for the evil of killing the 70 sons of Giḏ’on.

Why I am sharing this with you is simply to show how the enemy will certainly have a way of getting many to follow him, and with the 70 sons of Giḏ’on being killed by him, we are given a picture of how the enemy has done his utmost to defile the nations, yet shall be destroyed at the end. 70 is a significant number in representing the fullness of the nations, as we are reminded that generations of Noaḥ’s sons, after the flood, were 70 in number; and we are also reminded how it was 70 elders who ate a meal on Mount Sinai with יהוה when the Covenant was given to the chosen and called out nation, who were to be a light to the nations. יהושע Messiah also sent out the 70 taught ones, two by two, ahead of Him into every city and place where He was about to go, so that they would ‘prepare the way’ as they went to go and proclaim the Besorah of His Kingdom, which is another picture of how we as faithful talmidim and pure trees of righteousness, are called to go and prepare the way for His soon return, and proclaim the Besorah of His Kingdom!

We must choose to follow the Righteous King, by guarding His Word and bearing each other’s burdens on our shoulders, and so fulfil the Torah!

There was another ‘terebinth tree’ in Sheḵem that is mentioned in Shophetim/Judges 9:37, and was a place where witchcraft was performed and sought after. In the Scriptures we are told that the people were coming from the ‘Diviners terebinth tree’. The Hebrew word for ‘diviners’ is מְעוֹנְנִים – ‘meon’niym’ – which is the plural of the word עָנַן anan – H6049 meaning ‘fortune telling, soothsaying, magicians, practising witchcraft’ as well as ‘to make something appear or to cloud over and act covertly and observe times of witchcraft’.

This is a lesson for us that we are to not allow any form of witchcraft or magic in our lives, for as we live in the world we are not of the world and must not follow after the world’s ways, as this has not been appointed for us:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:13-14Be perfect before יהוה your Elohim, 14 for these nations whom you are possessing do listen to those using magic and to diviners. But as for you, יהוה your Elohim has not appointed such for you.

Miḵah/Micah 5:12And I shall cut off witchcrafts out of your hand, and let you have no magicians.

The 5th site I want to highlight for you in terms of the location of a terebinth tree being mentioned is at Ophrah:

Shophetim/Judges 6:11 “And the Messenger of יהוה came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Yo’ash the Aḇiʽezerite, while his son Giḏ’on threshed wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the eyes of the Miḏyanites.

גִּדְעוֹן Giḏ’on – Strong’s H1439 means, hewer, one who chops down, and he certainly was a very courageous man who chopped down and destroyed the abominable Ashĕrah pole and  altar of Ba’al that his father had.

It was here at the terebinth tree in Ophrah, where Giḏ’on lived, that the Messenger of יהוה appeared to Giḏ’on and called him a mighty brave one. Giḏ’on, of course, engaged in a discussion with the Messenger of יהוה, and discussed his doubts and fears, and challenged Him by asking that if יהוה was with them, then why were bad things happening to them, as they had been suffering under the oppression of the Miḏyanites. Giḏ’on is told to go in his strength, for he would save Yisra’ĕl, and he responds with the fact that he was just a small guy from Menashsheh, and was the least in his father’s house. With these physical facts, in his own eyes, of him being the smallest in his father’s house, he asked the Messenger of יהוה how he was to or with what he would save Yisra’ĕl – and the answer was very simple and yet very clear – He would do so because יהוה was with him!!! Because יהוה was with him he would destroy the Miḏyanites, as one man! This is a very practical truth we all need to hear amidst the most daunting circumstances in our lives!!! If יהוה is with us, then we have the full assurance of walking in victory! Giḏ’on still finding this a little hard to take in, he asks for a sign and then proceeds to prepare an offering for יהוה. Giḏ’on was told to put the meat and bread on the rock and pour out the broth, which he did, and the Messenger of יהוה touched the meat and unleavened bread with His staff and fire went up from out of the rock and consumed the offering, and the Messenger of יהוה went from his sight.

In total awe of having seen the Messenger of יהוה face to face, he feared that he would die, and he was told to take courage for he would not die; and then Giḏ’on built an altar there and called it יהוה Shalom. This was certainly a mighty event that took place under a terebinth tree! We can see great picture of Pěsaḥ being given here, through the offering that he prepared and set on the rock, and we are also able to see how we too can be filled with the Shalom of יהוה, as He lifts His face up to us and gives us His Shalom when we prepare our hearts to seek Him and walk in His clear word, accepting His work of redemption and guard to keep his Appointed Times as instructed. The Shalom of יהוה enables us to stand firm in the face of great dangers, as we offer up our lives as a daily living sacrifice and give Him our all – for then we too would be strong and courageous to chop down those things that are abominable in יהוה’s eyes – and have the courage to tear down the lies and vain traditions of our fathers!

 

The 6th location of a terebinth tree that I want to mention is at תָּבוֹר Taor – Strong’s H8396 which means, mound.

Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 10:3 And you shall pass on from there, and beyond, and shall come to the terebinth tree of Taor. And three men going up to Elohim at Bĕyth Ěl shall find you there, one bearing three young goats, another bearing three loaves of bread, and another bearing a skin of wine.

After having anointed Sha’ul as king, Shemuʼěl told Sha’ul that he would be met at the terebinth tree by three men who were on their way to Bĕyth Ěl, and he was to receive from them 3 goats, 3 loaves of bread and wine – which is another picture of the cycles of the Feasts of יהוה, that confirms our calling and identity in our True King! This was a confirmation of the prophesy of Shemuʼěl to Sha’ul, and it was after this event that Sha’ul received the Spirit of Elohim. Later we know that the Spirit departed from Sha’ul because of his rebellion and disobedience. This location can therefore clearly picture for us the vital need for us to be guarding the Sabbaths and Feasts of יהוה, lest we find ourselves without His Spirit dwelling in us! With the 3 men having 3 goats, 3 loaves of bread and a skin if wine, we are quickly reminded how the metaphoric picture behind these 3 men and their gifts of provision point us toward the ‘3 times a year’ every male was to go up to Yerushalayim and perform the Festivals of יהוה!

This reminds us how important it is for us, in guarding the sure promise of the hope we have in Messiah, that we are to keep His Feasts with joy! The location of this terebinth tree also gives us the assurance of the providence of יהוה and the urgency with which we must guard His Appointed Times and not take our set-apart calling for granted.

In Scripture we also are told that Aḇshalom’s head got caught in a great terebinth tree, and Yo’aḇ thrust 3 spears through his heart while he was still hanging alive in the terebinth tree (Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 18)

We are also told of the young prophet who had gone and delivered a strong message of rebuke to Yaroḇ’am, and then went on his way as instructed by Elohim. He stopped off and rested under a terebinth tree on his way home, where he was enticed into breaking the clear instructions of Elohim, through the trickery of twisted words of a false prophet, which ultimately got him to be mauled by a lion! (Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 13) – for more on this event please see my sermon called, “A KING, 2 PROPHETS, A LION AND A DONKEY!” (under sermons 2013/2014 menu on our websitehttp://atfotc.com) or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2013-2014/506-a-king-2-prophets-a-lion-and-a-donkey-1-kings-13

What we can learn from this Terebinth tree is that we must be sober and alert, for the enemy is like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour! This young prophet was tired and weary and had stopped to rest under a terebinth tree; and here we can be cautioned in regards to our ‘resting’ in our Master!  When we are tired and weary, that is when we need to be on the highest alert, and not neglect our ‘entering into the true rest of our Master’, as we do not neglect the gathering of the set-apart ones as some are in the habit of doing, due to weariness and tiredness! When we are tired and weary we must do our utmost to be gathering, lest we find ourselves being led astray in a moment of weakness!

We are called to be set-apart and planted as tree of righteousness whose leaves do not fade when the heat comes. When compromise and disobedience creeps in, the tree begins to fade as the fruit of righteousness begins to become less and less, until there is not fruit – and this was the rebuke given to a rebellious Yisra’ĕl in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1:30 “For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, and as a garden that has no water.

Compromise and any form of idol worship will cause the source of your strength to fade and be proven wrong when the heat comes! The sad tragedy is that for so many who do not realise that they are fading because the heat has not come, will find that when the heat comes, it will be too late to repent!

יהוה does give us assurance of a faithful remnant that shall return like a terebinth that has been cut down, with only a stump that remains – for the set-apart seed is its stump – and Messiah has restored life to the root!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:13 “But still, there is a tenth part in it, and it shall again be for a burning, like a terebinth tree and like an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. The set-apart seed is its stump!

 

Trees were often places of significance to the ways and practices of the abominable worship rites of the nations and יהוה makes it clear that all idol worship will be destroyed! Today the world worships the Christmas tree – and this too will be destroyed:

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 6:13And you shall know that I am יהוה, when their slain are among their idols all around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every thick oak, wherever they offered sweet incense to all their idols.

Sadly, we find that many find comfort in the ‘shade’ of their false trees, and in the process are simply whoring after idols:

Hoshěa/Hosea 4:13They slaughter on the mountaintops, and burn incense on the hills, under oak and poplars and terebinth, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit whoring, and your brides commit adultery.

While we recognise some very significant events that take place under or around a terebinth tree, we also recognise that there is also the clear danger of following after strange mighty ones, which are not mighty ones at all, yet through traditions and lies, have caused many to seek their refuge, strength and shelter under the trees of falsehood, as they are rooted in nothing more than shallow dogmas of man, that will prove false when the heat of the wrath of יהוה comes!

When the fire of His wrath does come, those who are truly planted in יהושע Messiah and remain in Him, will find their continued strength from Him and their leaves and covering will not fade when His heat comes upon the sons of disobedience!

As we consider the analogy of trees in Scripture – let me ask you if you have truly been ‘transplanted’ by Elohim, having been grafted in by the Blood of Messiah, and are staying in Him to be a true ‘TREE OF RIGHTEOSUNESS’ that is daily being adored by His beautiful Word? Perhaps you have been facing some fierce and seemingly life threating battles of late – then be like Giḏ’on and present yourselves as a daily living sacrifice, and never take your eyes off of our Good Teacher and King –for then your leaf will never fade – you mighty brave one!

BACK TO THE TORAH PORTION – Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 11:

Verse 31-32

The Promised Land is set before us – as so have the blessing and curse been proclaimed – we have no excuse – and for us to fully walk in the fullness of the blessing, favour and shalom of יהוה we must recognise the need to ‘guard to do’ all the laws and right-rulings that the Torah sets before us!!!

We are ‘passing over’ – to do!!!

The root verb used for ‘passing over’ is עָבַר aḇar – Strong’s H5674 which means, to pass over, pass through, cross over and a derivative of this is the word - עִבְרִי Iḇri – Strong’s H5680 which in English is ‘Hebrew’ and means, the one from beyond, the one who crossed over. Aḇram was the first person to be called a Hebrew (Berěshith/Genesis 14:13) and we recognise this by his ‘crossing over’ the Euphrates River, when leaving his father’s house and going into the Promised Land at the call and instruction of Elohim! Our ‘passing over’ or becoming a ‘Hebrew’ entails our ability to clearly listen to the commands of Elohim and guard TO DO THEM!!

The word for ‘to do’ comes from the Hebrew word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 meaning, to do, work, make, produce, to act with effect, to observe, to bring about, institute and can also mean, celebrate, which I think is very fitting. As it is truly a great ‘joy’ TO DO the laws and right-rulings as prescribed! So many today think that it is a huge burden to do what is commanded, yet that is so far from the truth – when we diligently observe and guard to do all He commands us to do – it is a great joy and a delight and not heavy at all! The perfect Torah of freedom is like a mirror for us – and in looking intently into it we are able to see if we are in fact listening and doing or not:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:22-25 “And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, 24 for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. 25 But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.

In the ancient pictographic script, the verb עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 which means, to do, work, make, produce, to act with effect, to observe, to bring about, institute, celebrate looks like this:

 heyshinayin

Ayin - עָ:

The original pictograph for this letter is: ayin and represents the idea of ‘seeing and watching’, as well as ‘knowledge’ as the eye is the window of knowledge.

 

 

Sin - שָׂ:

This is the letter ‘sin/shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as: shin, which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth, as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.

 

Hey - ה:

The ancient script has this letter as hey and is pictured as a man standing with his arms raised up and out as if pointing to something, and in essence carries the meaning of ‘behold’ as in when looking at something very great. It can also have the meaning to ‘breath’ or ‘sigh’ as when looking at a great sight and having your breath taken away so to speak! It also has the meaning of revelation or to reveal something by pointing it out, as well as ‘praise’ through the lifting up of our hands in complete awe and surrender.

 

When looking at this word עָשָׂה asah in the ancient pictographic form, we are able to further understand how critical it is for us to be doers of the Word and so perform and do that which is instructed for us to do. From this picture we can see the meaning of:

LOOKING AT THE WORD THAT HAS BEEN REVEALED!

This teaches us that we are unable to DO or PERFORM the Word if we are not looking intently at the Word!

We ‘guard to do’ all He commands in order that we may live and take possession of that which יהוה has planned for us.

The word used for ‘guard’ is שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 meaning, keep, watch, present, attend to, pay close attention, guard’ and the basic idea of the root of this word is ‘to exercise great care over’. 

We are to exercise great care over His Torah!

When one is ‘guarding’ something, being ‘awake’ and alert is imperative or else the risk of a theft or a loss of possessions is high. One of the biggest problems we find today among claiming torah observant followers of Messiah is their ability to quickly compromise their diligent duty required in guarding the Sabbath, and we must take great care to not be found slipping in the slightest!

When used in combination with other verbs the meaning is ‘do carefully or diligently’, i.e. perform carefully by paying strict attention as to what must be done as it expresses the careful attention to be paid to the obligations of a covenant, to laws, statutes, etc.

What is interesting in taking note of is the frequent use of the word שָׁמַר shamar in the Torah. It is used 139 times in the Torah – 15 times in Berěshith/Genesis, 24 times in Shemoth/Exodus; 16 times in Bemiḏbar/Numbers and 65 times in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy!!!

With Deḇarim being seen as the ‘second reading of the Torah’ as it was the instructions given to the new generation, we can see why the greater emphasis on the use of שָׁמַר shamar to the generation that was about to enter into the Promised Land!

 

1 – Laws – חֻקִּים plural of the word for law - חֹק ḥoq - Strong’s H2706 meaning, something prescribed or owed, boundary, allotment, portion, ordinance, statute. This word comes from the primitive root חָקַק ḥaqaq – Strong’s H2710 which means, to cut, inscribe, hack, engrave, decree, carve, sceptre, lawgiver’.

2 – Right-Rulings - מִּשְׁפָּטִים mishpatim, which is the plural of H4941 מִּשְׁפָּטִ mishpat which means right-ruling or judgement and are the ‘legal procedures’ or firm rulings that are non-negotiable.

It is through these mishpatim that community is to be ruled and how any issues that may arise would be dealt with in a prescribed way that is just and fair.

These are what we could call the ‘social laws’ that clearly teach us how to get on with each other and how we are to behave and how we are to live according to how we have been created to be in יהושע.

Tehillah/Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and right-ruling are the foundation of Your throne; kindness and truth go before Your face.

Tehillah/Psalm 97:2 “Clouds and darkness all around Him, righteousness and right-ruling are the foundation of His throne.

CHAPTER 12

Verse 1 – laws and right rulings – guard to do – as discussed at the end of the previous chapter

Verse 2

Completely destroy ALL the places where pagan worship took place!

The phrase, “Completely destroy”, also translated as ‘you shall utterly destroy’ in the Hebrew text is – אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן abeḏ teabeḏun - and consists of a repeat of the root word אָבַד aḇaḏ – Strong’s H6 which means, ‘to perish, destroy, lose, put to death, blot out, do away with, to give up as lost, vanish, be lost or strayed’.

With the repetition of this word being used we see that a great emphasis is being placed on what needs to be done and in both instances the verb structure is written in the ‘piel’ form, which usually expresses an intensive or intentional action, and can also express a repeated or extended action.

In other words, when we see this word in this form being used twice, we must recognise how serious this is and the action that is required to utterly destroy any form of pagan worship. This word can also render the understanding of ‘causing them to disappear’ – in other words they were to makes the places where the nations worshipped their mighty ones so unrecognisable so as to prevent them from even thinking about these sites or enquiring about them and their practices.

Now while we are not yet in the land, we can apply this to our lives today on a very practical level by ‘bringing down’ the high places that surround us in a sense by making sure that we do not even visit them – in other words – “stay out” of those places of worship that can be traced back to any form of pagan worship or even any form if syncretised worship. This certainly is a great challenge for many who are ‘coming out’ of the church system as they begin to recognise that they ought not to be found back in those places that they once worshipped at in error and therefore ‘completely destroy’ them by not letting them be a recognisable aspect of one’s life any longer – and this may even cause you to say no to invites to weddings or funerals or any other meeting/gathering that takes place at these sites!

Verse 3

Break down, smash, burn, cut down, and destroy!

What is interesting from this clear command is that the very first thing that Yisra’ĕl is instructed to do when they get into the land is to utterly destroy and eradicate paganism in every form.

Let us be reminded once again of these strong words of action that is required in order to destroy any form or source of paganism and false worship, lest it entice anyone away to follow after corrupted ways of worship.

1 – Break down וְנִתַּצְתֶּם venitatsetem – ‘and break them down’ – from the root word נָתַץ nathats – Strong’s H5422 meaning, ‘break down, pull down, demolish, i.e., make physical impact on an object which results in its destruction, shatter, tear down’. This word is used in respect to their altars or slaughter places.

2 – Smash וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם veshibaretem – ‘and smash them (into pieces)’ – from the root word שָׁבַר shaḇar – Strong’s H7665 which means, ‘break in pieces, crush, shatter’. This is what they were to do to the pillars.

The root word for ‘pillars’ is מַצֵּבָה matstseḇah – Strong’s H4676 meaning, a pillar or stump, obelisk and also can refer to a pillar represented by a monument or personal memorial statue; as it comes from the word נָצַב natsaḇ - Strong’s H5324 meaning, stand, to take one’s stand, erected.

3 – Burn תִּשְׂרְפוּן – tiserephun – ‘you will burn’ – from the root word שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 which means, to burn, burn up completely, and this they were instructed to do to their ‘Ashĕrim’ which was wooden poles or trees that were erected or planted in worship to the Phoenician pagan goddess of fertility, ‘Asherah’.

4 – Cut down תְּגַדֵּעוּן – tegadeiaun – ‘you will cut down’ from the root word  גָּדַע  gaḏa – Strong’s H1438 meaning, ‘cut down, chop, break down, cast down’; and this was what they were to do to the carved images, which is the root word פָּסִיל  pasil – Strong’s H6456 meaning, an idol, image, graven images and comes from the word פָּסַל  pasal – Strong’s H6458 which means, to hew, hew into shape, carve, cut, and we can clearly see here that they were to cut down that which was fashioned or shaped or carved by man’s hand!

5 – Destroy וְאִבַּדְתֶּם veibadetem – ‘and you shall destroy’ from the root word אָבַד aḇaḏ – Strong’s H6 which means, ‘to perish, destroy, lose, put to death, blot out, do away with, to give up as lost, vanish, be lost or strayed’, in reference to the names of pagan mighty ones.

What we can see from these very expressive actions that are required in getting rid of all form of pagan worship is that there is a requirement on our part to ensure that anything that is linked to false, twisted or pagan worship must be actively destroyed.

No artefacts were to be left and in recent archaeological finds, large amounts of gold and silver ornaments were found at the location of the ancient city of Ai; and we can see that Yehoshua carried these commands out to the letter!

We must learn that we are to be brutal with all that is to be destroyed, no matter how ‘precious’ an item or heirloom or expensive artefact that was either bought or received as a gift is, if it has any link to false worship it must be destroyed!

Pillars were used for pagan temples to be seen from a distance, and is carried on today by means of ‘steeples’. Constantine turned many pagan worship sites into churches, which as we can see from this Torah instruction that this renders churches as not valid as acceptable worship sites unto יהוה.

That which was used for false worship cannot be ‘rededicated’ as acceptable unto יהוה – it must be destroyed!

Verse 4

This verse is very clear – DO NOT DO SO UNTO יהוה!

Do not do what? What the nations do!!! Do not worship יהוה according to the design and patterns of adopted pagan rituals and worship centres – יהוה has given us very clear instructions of how we are to draw near to Him and worship and that is why understanding the Tabernacle and its service is of vital importance – so do not follow the world’s patterns!

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:23 “And do not walk in the laws of the nation which I am driving out before you, for they do all these, and therefore I loathed them.

 

Verse 5-8

Seek the place where He chooses! יהוה does not want to be worshipped in the same places where pagans used to be worshipped, or where false patterns of mixed worship is done!

We can also learn from this today that, while we are sojourning in the fear of Elohim, we must also recognise where it is that יהוה has called for us to worship and come together as a community of believers.

So many today are not heeding this instruction and are simply doing as they please. While we are not yet in the Land and as we wait for Him to come again and take us to the land, we must be obedient to be joined in to the place He chooses, and there bring all your offerings, contributions and where you eat together as a community. Community eating is very important, and so the weekly Sabbath meal together as a body/community is of vital importance and no one should show up empty handed. In fact, the Sabbath meal is the best meal of the week (for us anyway)!

 

In verse 6 we see 7 different categories, or 8, if you separate the firstlings of the herd and flock into two!

1 – Ascending offeringעֹלָה olah – Strong’s H5930 and means, ‘whole burnt offering, i.e., an offering of the entire part of a sacrifice that was clean and acceptable for sacrifice’.  This עֹלָה olah offering speaks of that which ‘goes up’ or ‘ascends’ as it comes from the primitive root word עָלָה alah – Strong’s H5927 which means, to go up, ascend, climb’, and in the essence of these offerings that are given unto יהוה this carries the meaning of, ‘to cause to ascend up to יהוה as a flame and smoke ascent by burning’.

The עֹלָה olah offering symbolises complete dedication and a giving of our all as we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice, so that we can be pleasing in presenting to Him our reasonable worship that is due:

Romiyim/Romans 12:1-2 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.

 

2 – Slaughters - זֶבַח zeḇaḥ – Strong’s H2077 and means, a sacrifice and while this can certainly be grouped with the ascending offerings, we do recognise that not all slaughterings were whole ascending offerings; however what we can see here is that not only are we to offer up our whole lives as a living offering totally set-apart to Elohim, we are also to recognise that we need to put to death all unrighteousness and count the cost of living total set-apart lives and slaughter or let us offer the sacrifice of true righteousness unto Elohim – every single day as we walk in His commands:

Tehillah/Psalm 4:5 “Offer slaughterings of righteousness, and trust in יהוה.

Here in this Psalm the root word for slaughterings is זֶבַח zeḇaḥ and the root word for ‘offer’ is the primitive root word that זֶבַח zeḇaḥ comes from, which is the word זָבַח zaḇaḥ - Strong’s H2076 meaning, to offer a sacrifice, sacrificed.

We ‘offer’ up our lives as a living ‘sacrifice’ with joy and thanksgiving, and so it is too that we see with the זֶבַח zeḇaḥ offering that it was given as an expression of appreciation:

Tehillah/Psalm 107:22 “And let them bring slaughterings of thanksgiving, and relate His works with rejoicing.

Tehillah/Psalm 116:17 “I bring You a slaughtering of thanksgiving, and call upon the Name of יהוה.”

In these two verses we see again the two root words being used, and so we can begin to understand the following text:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a slaughter offering of praise to Elohim, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.

 

3 – Titheמַעַשְׂרָה ma’asrah – Strong’s H4643 meaning, tenth part, tithe and comes from the word עֲשָׂרָה asarah – Strong’s H6235 meaning, ten.

We read in Berěshith/Genesis 14:20 that Aḇram gave Malkitseḏeq a tenth/tithe of all. We also read in:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 7:4-6 “Now see how great this one was, to whom even the ancestor Aḇraham gave a tenth of the choicest booty. 5 And truly, those who are of the sons of Lĕwi, who receive the priesthood, have a command to receive tithes from the people according to the Torah, that is, from their brothers, though they have come from the loins of Aḇraham, 6 however, the one whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Aḇraham, and blessed the one who held the promises.

The Lĕwitical priesthood and its functions serve as a type or picture of how we now serve in the order of Malkitseḏeq, as tithes are still valid, and are given to those whom Messiah has appointed to serve and teach in equipping and building up of the body of Messiah unto maturity in Him.

Let us look at this word in its ancient form:

מַעֲשֵׂר ma’aser – Strong’s H4643tenth part, tithe in the ancient script look like:

reshshinayinmem

mem    - this is the letter ‘mem’,  which in the early script is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture.

ayin  - this is the Hebrew letter ‘ayin’, which is pictured as an ‘eye’ and carries the meaning ‘to watch, pay attention, take heed, look’ in the understanding of ‘keeping one’s eye on something’ and illustrates the importance of what one sets their eyes upon.

shin    - this is the letter ‘sin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’, which is what the teeth do and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or meditate on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.

resh    - this is the letter ‘resh’- which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.

ng the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.

From this pictographic description of this word we can see the following:

THE NATIONS HAVE SEEN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HEAD/FIRST BORN!

יהוה told Aḇraham that He would make him a great nation, and then asked Aḇraham to sacrifice his only son (Yitsḥaq was the ‘only son’ according to the Promise). The word for ‘tithe’ can in many ways picture Aḇraham (the great nation), seeing the destruction of the first son (the son of the promise). Understanding this picture, we can also see how the tithe can in many ways represent the act that was reciprocated by Elohim, in part, due to Aḇraham’s obedience, and so Elohim ‘gave of Himself’ as seen in His ‘Outstretched Arm and Hand’ as revealed through the ‘firstborn of all creation’ - יהושע Messiah – The Right Hand of Elohim! At the death of Messiah on the stake, the nation’s saw the destruction of Elohim’s firstborn, who is the head of all creation!

Aḇrahamtithed’ to Malkitseḏeq, after having been blessed by him, and Aḇraham’s grandson, Lĕwi, got credit for it, as he received ‘tithes’ from the rest of the nation! Bearing in mind that Lĕwi means ‘joined to’, we see how we have become a royal priesthood, having been grafted in and joined to the Body of Messiah by His Own Blood, and can therefore faithfully give back to Him, our all! Let us therefore look at Lĕwi in the ancient script to get a better understanding of the authority under which we are led, having been joined to our Head and King, יהושע Messiah – who has, by His own blood secured for us His Covenant Promises in Him, having worked redemption through Him taking the punishment of death on a stake, having nailed death to the stake, giving all who call upon Him the ability to be joined to Him, as Head, High Priest and King, making us, who are in Him, a royal priesthood that are able to serve in Him Spirit and Truth and walk with confidence in the Spirit, putting to death the flesh!

Lĕwiלֵוִי – Strong’s H3878 meaning, joined to, and in the ancient script looks like:

yadwawlamed

 lamed      - this is the Hebrew letter ‘lamed’, which is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, representing ‘authority’ and can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority.

 waw      - this is the Hebrew letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope form slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.

yad   - this is the Hebrew letter ‘yad or yod’ which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘an arm and hand’ and carries the meaning of ‘work, make, throw’, from the primary functions of the arm and hand, and it also represents worship or giving thanks in the extending of hands as a gesture of this. The work of one’s hands is the basic meaning of this letter!

BY THE BLOOD OF MESSIAH, WE HAVE BEEN JOINED TO HIM AND SUBMIT UNDER HIS AUTHORITY, BY HIS SECURING FOR US AS A PRIESTHOOD IN HIS COVENANT, THROUGH THE WORK OF HIS HAND

What better reason can you think of, regarding being faithful with your tithes and offerings, than to simply understand the true work of Messiah, and how יהוה Himself came down and blessed us in giving us of Himself, causing us to be a people who have been joined to Him, and in response give your all, in complete obedience, with ‘tithes’ simply being the beginning of the active obedience to which the body of Messiah faithfully responds to!


4 – Contribution - תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641 – ‘contribution, offering, allotment, heave offering, offered by lifting, and comes from the root word רוּם rum – Strong’s H7311 which means, ‘to be high, exalted, rise, raised, set-apart’. And so, we see that this which was called for was that which was to be given or raised up and given for a set-apart use and it was to be given as a voluntary offering!

Offerings are gifts brought to יהוה above and beyond the tithes and therefore we must understand that ‘offerings’ did not make void the tithe that was due. People, who brought the offerings made sure that they had tithed first and then brought their freewill offering.

The word for ‘offering’ - תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641 in the ancient pictographic text looks like this:

heymemwawreshtaw

taw             = תְּ – this is the letter ‘taw or tav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as –  – which is the picture of two crossed sticks,  and can represent for us ‘seal, covenant, mark or sign’; as this once again points to the complete work of Messiah in the renewal of the Covenant in His Blood that brings the two Houses of Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah together in Him, as One, for He is not only the ‘aleph’, but is also the ‘taw’ – the beginning and the end of all creation!

resh             = ר - this is the letter ‘resh’- which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.

waw               = וּ - this is the letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ and the ancient pictographic form of this letter is , a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.

mem            = מָ –  this is the letter ‘mem’,  which in the early script is pictured as ‘water, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. This can also picture for us the function of water in terms of that which washes us, and can be understood as also representing the Word that washes us to serve as a faithful and royal priesthood

hey             = ה –  this is the Hebrew letter ‘hey’, which in the ancient script is pictured as a ‘man standing with his arms raised out’. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation; from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender, as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!

 

 

 

When we consider these pictures that make up the word תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641, giving us the meaning of ‘offering, contribution, offered by lifting’, we can further see how this word shows us unto whom it is that we give our lives as a daily offering.

THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT AS GIVEN THROUGH OUR HEAD HAS BEEN SEALED IN HIS BLOOD THAT WASHES US FROM OUR SIN, AND EQUIPS US TO LIFT OUR HANDS AND OFFER OUR LIVES CONTINUALLY BEFORE HIM!

The tithes and offerings given to יהוה belonged to the Lěwites as an inheritance in return for their work of guarding the duty of the Tent of Appointment and this was an ordinance to them forever. They would then in turn give a tenth of their tithes received to Aharon the high priest.

Those who are to receive of the tithes and offerings today are these whom יהוה has called, separated and chosen to serve and teach the body of believers His Word and teach the difference between the set-apart and the profane, between the clean and the unclean and the instructions on keeping His Feasts and rendering right ruling according to His Torah.

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:14 “So also the Master instituted that those announcing the Good News should live from the Good News.

Galatiyim/Galatians 6:6 “And let him who is instructed in the Word share in all that is good, with him who is instructing.

Today many need to understand the need to support and take care of the “Lěwites” among us – that is those who are instructing others in the Word. Sadly, we do see that due to the corruption as witnessed by so many in many churches today, those who have come out of the church system or Baḇelon so to speak are neglecting to take up this responsibility of giving their tithes and offerings and gifts to those whom יהוה has chosen and those who are teaching and instructing in the Word.

Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 5:17-18 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double respect, especially those who labour in the word and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The labourer is worthy of his wages.

Due to the neglect of so many, we find that those who have been called to instruct and teach and therefore are to be supported by the body are resorting to try and find alternative incomes just to survive and this should not be so, and must be a serious warning and witness against those who are refusing to follow the clear instructions to tithe and support those who should have their hands filled with teaching and instructing in the Word!

The tithe that is due is a test of one’s heart to see if they will follow יהוה’s instructions, as it is a gift from Him. יהוה has already included that which he expects His children to give back to Him. The whole earth is His and everything in it and he has given each one the opportunity to show that by doing their part in cheerfully and obediently returning to Him what belongs to Him and be faithful with what He has entrusted to each one. This is the simple principle of sowing and reaping. If you are faithful then He will be faithful to His promise and will multiply, reproduce and abundantly increase.

 

5 – Vowed offerings - נֶדֶר neḏer – Strong’s H5088 meaning, vow, votive offering and ‘to make a vow’ is the word נָדַר naḏar – Strong’s H5087; and to naḏar a neḏer” is to swear to Elohim with an ‘oath’, and therefore bind oneself with what proceeds from one’s mouth. A neḏer is something promised to Elohim verbally, and anyone who makes a vow is obliged to fulfil/do his promise! In Scripture a vow is always to Elohim and not to man. And the understanding behind a ‘vow or vow offering’ carries the meaning, to bind or imprison, or to dedicate a specific object or creature to יהוה.

Tehillah/Psalm 61:8 “So I sing praise to Your Name forever, when I pay my vows day by day.

Tehillah/Psalm 116:14 “I pay my vows to יהוה now in the presence of all His people.

Yonah/Jonah 2:9 “But I offer to You with the voice of thanksgiving, I pay what I have vowed. Deliverance is of יהוה.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:33 “Again, you heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to יהוה.’

This can also cause us to recognise that we must be true to the words of our mouth as we do what we say we will, in offering up the commitment to follow Messiah and walk in Him daily!

 

6 – Voluntary offerings - נְדָבָה neḏaḇah – Strong’s H5071 meaning, voluntariness, freewill offering, volunteer freely, willingly and comes from the word נָדַב naḏaḇ – Strong’s H5068 meaning, to incite, impel, make offerings willingly, volunteers.

Tehillah/Psalm 54:6 “Voluntarily I slaughter to You; I praise Your Name, O יהוה, for it is good.

Tehillah/Psalm 119:8 “Please accept the voluntary offerings of my mouth, O יהוה, and teach me Your right-rulings.

This speaks of our willing choice to offer up our lives in wholehearted devotion to serving our Master – and to do so voluntarily is a great expression of our joy in loving Him as we should, with praise and thanksgiving. This speaks of our eagerness and willingness to freely offer up our lives as a living offering and incite others to do so too!

 

7 – Firstlings of your herd and flock – ‘firstling’ is the Hebrew word בְּכוֹר beḵor – Strong’s H1060 which means, firstborn, oldest and comes from the word בָּכַר baḵar – Strong’s H1069 which means, to bear new fruit, to constitute as firstborn.

Shemoth/Exodus 13:2 “Set apart to Me all the first-born, the one opening the womb among the children of Yisra’ĕl, among man and among beast, it is Mine.

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18:15 “Everyone opening a womb of all flesh, which they bring to יהוה, whether man or beast, is yours. But the first-born of man you shall certainly ransom, and the first-born of the unclean beast you ransom.

All the firstborn were to be set-apart to יהוה. All the firstborn of Mitsrayim and those who did not put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts were killed, while the firstborn of those covered under the blood were redeemed and now belonged to יהוה. Firstborn also carries the picture of first fruits speaking of a sure promise of a fully redeemed people. יהושע is the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn among many brethren and also the firstborn among the dead, and Him being the head of the body, the assembly is first in all and is set-apart unto Elohim and so we who are in Him are a set-apart people chosen and royal priesthood. We are to be set-apart for He is set-apart!!!

We also must recognise that these offerings speak of our whole lives being set-apart unto Elohim and we are to do so in the place where He chooses, and in saying that what it in essence means is that we are to live our set-apart lives the way He tells us to and not as whatever is right in our eyes!!!

We also see here from verse 7 the clear picture of how important community eating is, and none should appear empty handed, as this eating together as a community symbolises great unity in purpose and vision, and the need for community to also share in the great blessings that each hand receives through working joyfully unto Elohim. Our Shabbat meal is typically the best meal of the week for the majority of us, and it should be – as we come together to rejoice and fellowship as one in Messiah, sharing the blessing of our hands in a communal meal with a rejoicing heart!

Verse 8 warns us to not do whatever is right in our own eyes, but guard to do what He instructs to in His Word. While Yisra’ĕl was clearly warned in this regard, we see that sadly they did not listen as we see recorded in the Book of Shophetim/Judges the reality of the lack of submission to the Torah that results in everyone doing as they wish:

Shophetim/Judges 17:6 “In those days there was no sovereign in Yisra’ĕl – everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

And the last verse in Shophetim/Judges:

Shophetim/Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no sovereign in Yisra’ĕl – everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

We need to submit to the clear instructions of our King, and be on guard against the fleshly tendency to do things our own way because it feels better! There still remains an entering into His rest – and so we must guard against compromise and hypocrisy of selfish lifestyles that refuse to submit to the Torah and live as a unified body!

Verse 10

The promise of rest! When we ‘pass over’ the Yardĕn, Elohim gives us rest!

The word יַרְדֵּן Yardĕn – Strong’s H3383 means, descenderand comes from the root verb, יָרַד yaraḏ – Strong’s H3381 which means, to come or go down, descend’. The picture is clear – when we ‘pass over’ and live as Hebrews should live in submitting to the clear Torah of Elohim, then we will ‘pass over’ that which can bring us down, or cause us to ‘descend’, and we shall be able to live in the shalom of the Mighty presence of Elohim and be able to dwell in the safe assurance of His full protection and provision, learning to be content in all circumstances. Refusal to let go of the flesh and refusal to ‘pass over’ those lusts that cause us to descend will only bring discomfort and shame, and intense discipline.

Verse 12

Here in verse 12 we see the word ‘rejoice’, which is repeatedly used in this chapter as well as the entire Torah portion and so the command to rejoice before יהוה is not a suggestion – but a command!

The root word used here for ‘rejoice’ is שָׂמַחsamaḥ’ – Strong’s H8055 and means, ‘to rejoice, be glad, be joyful, delight in and be elated’. A derivative of this word is שָׂמֵחַsameaḥ’- Strong’s H8056 and carries the same meaning as well as implying ‘to be merry. Both of these words are used in the command to rejoice in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:14 & 15.

The word samaḥ can also carry the meaning ‘to brighten up’, giving us the picture how we are to carry His joy as the light of the world and let praise and rejoicing abound!

In the ancient pictographic script, this word שָׂמַח samaḥ and שָׂמֵחַ sameaḥ looks like this:

chetmemshin

Shin/Sin - שָׂ:

This is the letter ‘sin/shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as: shin, which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth, as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food. This can give us the meaning of WORD or Words.

 

Mem – מַ:

The ancient script has this letter as mem and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. This also carries for us the picture of washing, as we understand the function of water being that which cleanses us and sustains us, showing us how we are washed and sustained by the Living Waters of the Word! This letter also can represent any liquid, especially blood!

 

etח:

The ancient script has this letter as chet which is a tent wall’, and carries a meaning of SEPARATION’, as a tent wall separates two halves of the tent; or it can also reflect the outside walls that separate the people inside from that which is outside and so can also symbolise protection and security to those inside, while picturing a cutting off of those who are outside. Hence this letter can mean ‘established, secure’ as well as ‘cut off, separated from’. As a tent wall we are also able to recognise the picture of stones being built up to make a complete wall, having been separated from the world and built up in the master!

When looking at this word in its pictographic form, in terms of our command to rejoice, we are able to see why we are able to rejoice as we recognise the following:

THE WORD THAT WASHES US HAS SEPARATED US AND SECURED US!

This is a clear reason to rejoice, for as long as we allow the Word to wash us and keep us clean, we are able to confidently make our boast in Elohim, whom we praise and rejoice in, as we are built up as living stones in the Master; living stones that offer up lives as a daily living offering with rejoicing praise!

 

Tehillah/Psalm 97:12 “Rejoice in יהוה, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His Set-apartness.

Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in יהוה always, again I say, rejoice!

This command to rejoice is very important, as we need to realise that we are to also make sure that everyone else is rejoicing too – even the Lĕwite who is to be teaching you – everyone must participate in rejoicing before יהוה. If a person is not joyful then they should not be where the rejoicing is, lest he causes others to stumble!!!

Verse 13-14 again warns not to do so in every place that you see, but where יהוה chooses; and this is a clear need for many to recognise today, as many ‘rejoice’ in places they should not while neglecting to be about true rejoicing in Elohim. Many will give of their entire being and rejoice in their support of man-driven events and shows, and even ‘sacrifice’ much to do so, while when it comes to worship they are quiet and withdrawn, and this should not be!!!

It is a joy to come together as a body and rejoice in יהוה, so let us make every effort to ensure that we truly rejoice in Elohim, where and when He chooses and not spend our time and resources on things that the world rejoices in!

It is all about worship and enjoying that which you worship and so it is easy to see what people enjoy worshipping by looking at what they spend all their time, effort and resources on – and so for us who are the set-apart children of the Most High Elohim, our rejoicing too should be visibly seen and not hidden as we are seen to joyfully do what we are commanded to!

Verse 15

While there are slaughterings that were required for the ability to draw near to Elohim and specific animals and their condition were expressly given as to what was acceptable to be offered up on the slaughter place of the Tabernacle and eaten there, we have here the clear instruction given that other slaughterings were permitted to be eaten within all of our gates, meaning our homes. In other words, we can eat whatever we choose, and let all unclean and clean eat of it – just like the deer and the gazelle.

Now what is being said here is that the ‘unclean and clean’ being spoken of refers to people and not what can or cannot be eaten!!! Unclean people: that is those who were ceremonially unclean for whatever reason, were not able to eat of the set-apart slaughterings done at the Tabernacle, yet at each person’s home, those who were ceremonially unclean could eat with you – just as the deer and gazelle. The deer and gazelle are ‘clean’ animals and may be eaten, yet they are not fit for slaughter offerings unto Elohim on His Slaughter Place.

We need to understand that this verse as well as verse 22 is not saying that you can eat what is clean or unclean, as some erroneously interpret; but rather this is a clear reference to those beings (people) who are unclean or have become unclean and are unable to partake in the Tabernacle service meals.

What we can also learn from this is the wonderful gift we have been given through the Blood of Messiah, that cleanses us form all defilement and in Him we are able to draw near to Elohim with a clear conscience.

Verse 16 – DO NOT EAT BLOOD

This command is repeated many times in Scripture and is a clear warning for all to heed, for life is in the blood must be poured out on the earth like water.

We are able to ‘eat’ of Messiah in partaking in the Pěsaḥ Meal as we recognise that His Blood was ‘poured out’ on the earth, when the soldier pierced His side and blood and water came gushing out and this too is what rendered Messiah as an acceptable spotless Lamb!

Eating the Blood was and still is a form of evil worship practices, and what eating the blood expresses, seeing that the life is in the Blood, is that the one who eats the blood is in effect saying that their life is their own and they have nothing to do with יהוה, who is the life giver. The only ‘Blood’ we are to partake in or ‘drink’ is that of יהושע Messiah, and we do this by drinking of the fruit of the Vine (grape juice) at the Pěsaḥ Meal each year, for he is the ONLY life giver and our life is redeemed in His Blood.

Yoḥanan/John 6:53-56 “יהושע therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Aḏam and drink His blood, you possess no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood possesses everlasting life, and I shall raise him up in the last day. 55 “For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood stays in Me, and I in him.

This life-giving statement caused many to stumble!

In Ma’asei/Acts 15 we see the clear instruction being given to the nations that were being grafted in to the body being given clear instructions to not eat meat with the blood still in it, as this was one of the pagan worship practices, which is forbidden for the set-apart children of Elohim.

What we must recognise is that the repeated command of not eating the blood was to ensure that Yisra’ĕl got it, and it is a wonderful picture of how the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins, for only the Blood of Messiah can do that and that is why His is the only Blood we are to partake in through the Pěsaḥ/Passover Meal, having been immersed in Him into His death and therefore raised to new life that His resurrection power lives in us by His Blood in order to possess everlasting life!

Verse 17-18

Do not eat the tithe within your own gates! These tithes are referring to that which would be brought to the Feasts of Matzot (Unleavened bread), Shabuoth (Feast of weeks) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), which were to be eaten in the context of the whole community. This is not referring to the ‘first’ tithe, which would go directly to the Lěwites and the Lĕwitical storehouses:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18:21 “And see, I have given the children of Lĕwi all the tithes in Yisra’ĕl as an inheritance in return for the service which they are serving, the service of the Tent of Meeting.

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18:24 “but the tithes of the children of Yisra’ĕl, which they present as a contribution to יהוה, I have given to the Lěwites as an inheritance. That is why I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Yisra’ĕl they have no inheritance.’

Mal’aḵi/Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, and let there be food in My house. And please prove Me in this,” said יהוה of hosts, “whether I do not open for you the windows of the heavens, and shall pour out for you boundless blessing!

 

Over and over we see Mosheh making it clear to ‘guard and obey’ all these commands in order that it goes well with us – The commands of Elohim are for our own good!!! And in Hebrew it is very clear that to guard means to obey and do, guarding his commands cannot be done properly if they are not obeyed!

Verse 29-31

Do not be ensnared to follow the ways of the nations and inquire about their mighty ones!!! Don’t even ask how they worship, lest you follow their evil and wicked ways!!!

In the context of this passage we can see that this is a clear pointing toward the way the nations worship and eat before their mighty ones – ways that we should not follow for they are abominable before our Elohim!

Moleḵ was the deity of the Ammonites and Phoenicians who would sacrifice their infants in ritual fertility worship to by passing their infants through fire in the hope of stimulating the favour of their mighty one to return upon them fruitfulness in their lands and on their homes and their wombs.

Before the Yisra’ĕlites entered the land, Meḡiddo served as a prominent high place where Kenaʽanites worshiped fertility deities. Archaeologists have uncovered a large platform where these pagan practices occurred.

The Kenaʽanites believed that the rains and fertile soil of the coast came from a god named Ba’al. According to their beliefs, Ba’al lived in the underworld during the dry winter season. When spring came, Ba’al returned to earth to sleep with his mistress, Ashĕrah (Astarte/Ishtar) – a Kena’anite female deity of fortune and happiness, so that rains would return to the land.

To encourage Ba’al’s return, the Kenaʽanites sacrificed their firstborn sons, burning infants alive.

The priests and priestesses of Ba’al publicly engaged in sexual relations with each other and with the people, hoping to entice Ba’al and Ashĕrah to mate. The pagans committed these abominable acts for one simple purpose: to gain personal and material prosperity.

Kena’anite worship distorted two of the most beautiful gifts Elohim gave humans: life and the sexual relationship of husband and wife. Elohim placed His people in Kena’an, so they could confront the evil practices of pagans with Elohim’s truth and love and destroy its practices, while holding fast to and guarding to do all He has commanded his Covenanted People!

Archaeology has turned up urns filled with infants’ bones on which "to Moleḵ" is inscribed, and the names of those offering them had names ending in "-yah"; showing that they were Yisra’ĕlites. This was done in the Hinnom Valley outside Yerushalayim, and because this custom was so sickening to יהוה, the righteous king Yoshiyahu changed it to a dumping ground where garbage was burned, since it was no longer fit for any nobler use.

Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 23:10And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, so that no man could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Moleḵ.

Moleḵ simply means, ‘the one who rules’ and so the text is telling us not to turn over our children to a foreign false deity who rules in the world!

When we understand this ancient practice of ‘passing children through the fire to Moleḵ’ we get a better picture of some much-needed lessons for us today. Fire in Scripture is also described as that which purifies and when we link this idea to this clear instruction we need to be on our guard against what we allow our kids to be ‘passing through’. By this I mean we are to always recognise that as parents our role is to bring up our children in the ways of יהוה; teaching them daily on the matters of His Torah. What is shaping your child’s mind is a question many parents today do not consider as they allow the world to ‘shape’ their kids into following the ideals and practices of the worldly ways that are at large accepted and even legislated as permissible while some of these permitted practices are abominable before the eyes of Elohim and should be to us too!

Passing our kids through the fire to Moleḵ is a subtle danger that many are doing without even realising it, as the schooling system that is refining and shaping their minds is likened to the fire of Moleḵ, which hoped for a better future and puts its trust in worldly systems of advancement. Now while learning is an important part of any child growing up, what I am saying here is that each parent in still ultimately responsible for their children and what they allow their children to ‘pass through’. While I recognise and know that it is not always possible today for torah observant families to home-school die to the major pressures of both parents having to work, what we need to realise is that we all still, as parents, carry the responsibility as to what or how our children’s minds are being shaped by and kids cannot be left solely to the world’s schooling systems to shape the way they think. Parents must ultimately be able to train their kids and filter out the junk they may be shown in the world’s classroom.

Passing kids through fire is also a picture of abortion, which is in most parts of the world a legalised procedure, and is not something a Torah observant Yisra’ĕlites should even consider!

Giving our offspring to Moleḵ can also be a picture of spoiling our children with materialism or even using our children for personal wealth, which is simply child abuse. By this I mean that many parents push their young kids into performing tasks for money (such as modelling etc.) and make use of gaining wealth and capitalising from their children’s talents.

Today, most people find it unthinkable that a culture once burned innocent children alive for the sake of their material prosperity. But when we look closely at our own culture, we see that innocence and purity are still sacrificed today.

The entertainment industry promotes sex with nearly every movie, television program, and CD they create. Pornographers produce magazines, web sites, and films that show blatant disregard for Elohim’s sexual values. Why? Because there are fortunes to be made by selling perversity!

Our culture also cheapens life. Abortion takes hundreds of lives each day. Cloning and embryonic stem cell researchers destroy tiny innocent lives in the name of scientific progress. And these practices are socially acceptable because our culture values convenience, choice, and prosperity more than the gift of life.

As Followers of Messiah and children of the Most-High EL, we must fight the good fight of faith and not be tainted by such twisted beliefs, but rather teach our children well in the ways of the Torah.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he turns not away from it.

We have a responsibility as parents – and if we do not take up that responsibility in bringing them up in the ways of the Torah then ‘another that rules’ will. Either we teach them the ‘rule’ of יהוה that they will not turn away from or the Moleḵ of this world that rules the fleshly lusts and desires will refine and shape their values and ethical moral standards according to the abominable ways of the world!

We must also take careful note here in the reference of passing children through the fire as an abominable act of twisted worship in the eyes of Elohim, that we understand that in the account given in Shophetim/Judges 11 of Yiphtaḥ and his daughter, is that he did not pass her through the fire, he knew and understood the Torah.

Human sacrifices were an abomination to יהוה and Yiphtaḥ knew this – he would not willingly make a vow with יהוה that was an abomination to יהוה! The law of vows permitted monetary redemption of persons vowed to יהוה, but a person devoted to יהוה could not be redeemed. Yiphtaḥ committed his daughter to lifelong service to יהוה at the tabernacle, and only priests would have been allowed to offer sacrifices, and Yiphtaḥ was not a priest and the priests would not have sacrificed a human!

When we take a look again at Yiphtaḥ’s ‘vow’, we see that it was twofold – ‘whatever’ would meet him when he returned home would be dedicated to יהוה, if it was a person; and if it was an animal it would be sacrificed! Why do I say that? Well, when you look at Scripture and understand that Yiphtaḥ knew the Torah then this passage makes great sense. He was met by his only daughter, and he gave her or dedicated her to יהוה – to serve יהוה at the tabernacle. We do know from Scripture that women did serve at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (Shemoth/Exodus 38:8 & Shemuʼěl Aleph/ 1 Samuel 2:22). His daughter having been the first to greet him was now to remain a virgin, never marry, never have kids – never know the joy of motherhood and continue her father’s line of inheritance in Yisra’ĕl. This was enough to cause her and her friends to spend 2 months grieving. What did she mourn? Her virginity! Nowhere in Scripture do we see that Yiphtaḥ actually killed his daughter, nor do we see anyone mourning her death. The emphasis is placed on the fact that she would remain a virgin. It is hard to believe that they would establish a custom to commemorate a sacrifice of a human being; but it is very clear that they would commemorate and celebrate the devotion and obedience of Yiphtaḥ’s daughter in helping her father fulfil his vow. She certainly deserves to stand with Yitsḥaq as an example of a faithful child, willing to obey her father and יהוה, no matter the cost.

In Shophetim/Judges 11:31 the word that is translated as “and” is the Hebrew letter: ו (waw, pronounced – ‘vav’) which can be translated as ‘and’ as well as ‘or’. What Yiphtaḥ is saying here is that whatever comes out – if it is a person then that person would be dedicated to service unto יהוהor’ if it is an animal it will be offered up as a sacrifice to יהוה presuming that it is a clean animal that is!!! His daughter comes out and she is then dedicated to lifetime service unto יהוה and she willingly obeys – she understood what Sha’ul writes about in Romiyim/Romans 12 – that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, set-apart and well-pleasing to Elohim – for this is our reasonable act of worship!

In Shophetim/Judges 11: 40 we see that every year the women would ‘lament’ for four days – possibly during one of the feasts. The word we have translated as lament is the Hebrew word תָּנָה tanah – Strong’s H8567 meaning, recount, rehearse, which is only used twice in Scripture and should be correctly translated as celebrated or commemorate or praised and rejoiced. This leads us to correctly assume that the women would go every year to rejoice and celebrate with Yiphtaḥ’s daughter who was serving at the tabernacle.

I have mentioned these critical points in order for us to understand that Yiphtaḥ was not rash or foolish in his vows and then kills his daughter, no he was a man who knew the Torah, lived by it and followed it wholeheartedly by faith and that is what got him listed is the faith hall of fame in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11.

Why I share the accounts of Yiphtaḥ in relation to this Torah portion is simply because he is a great example for us to learn from in terms of keeping our word and our vows to יהוה, and not breaking our commitment to Him for any reason whatsoever!

Verse 32 – DO NOT ADD OR TAKE AWAY!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 30:6 “Do not add to His Words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

This is a very clear warning – sadly many have added and taken away from the Word. Many have taken away from the Words of Elohim and added their own words – be it in the form of an ‘oral torah’ known as the Talmud or Mishnah, or in the form of catechisms and church by-laws that have set-aside the commands of Elohim for their own traditions, dogmas and wicked interpretations!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 4:2Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it, so as to guard the commands of יהוה your Elohim which I am commanding you.

Ḥazon/Revelation 22:18-19 “For I witness to everyone hearing the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, Elohim shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the set-apart city, which are written in this Book.

The reason we are not to add or take away is clearly made in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 4:2 SO AS TO GUARD THE COMMANDS OF יהוה!

When anyone starts to add or subtract from the Word, then the ability to be diligently obedient is weakened dramatically!

Do not add or take away from that which I am ‘commanding’ you! The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘commanding’ comes from the primitive root צָוָה tsavah – Strong’s H6680 which means, ‘to lay charge (upon), give charge to, command, order, appoint, commission, ordain’, from which we get the root word for ‘commands’, which is מִצְוֹתַ - ‘mitsvot’ – which is the plural of the word מִצְוָה mitzvah – Strong’s H4687 which means, ‘commandment, command, obligation, precept

Tehillah/Psalm 119:115 “Turn away from me, you evil-doers, for I observe the commands of my Elohim!

His מִצְוַת – ‘mitzvoth’ (plural for commands) are those rules which apply to specific situations and are tailored for each unique situation in determining the correct action to be taken in a specific circumstance and so we ‘guard’ those carefully to know how to respond and take action for any given situation we may find ourselves in.

 

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) here for ‘guard’ is φυλάσσω phulassō – Strong’s G5442 which means, to guard, watch, keep, observe, obey and keep orders, which we also see being translated as ‘watching over’, in:

Luqas/Luke 11:28 “But He said, “Blessed rather are those hearing the Word of Elohim and watching over it!

Ya’aqoḇ/James 2:10-11For whoever shall guard all the Torah, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of Torah.

Yoḥanan/John 15:14-15You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

What teachings did Messiah make known to us? The answer is clear - The Torah!!! And now, when we do what He commands we are His friends!

Those who have taken away from His commands, by rendering them of no effect and added falsified words and teach as teachings the commands of men, do not have the Truth in them and are therefore liars:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:4 “The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

יהושע makes it very clear that He did not come to add or take away from the commands:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.

The people who think that the Torah has been done away with actually, “THINK NOT”!!! They do not understand what Messiah is saying here – He is telling us clearly that the Torah has not been done away with – on the contrary, what He is saying is that He came to fully meet its requirements and these requirements of Torah are still applicable as He made it clear that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Torah until all is done – until heaven and earth pass away! Now heaven and earth are still around and so is the Torah!!!

Clinging to יהוה and guarding His commands go hand in hand – you cannot do one without the other, and the truest expression of our fervent love for Him is to cling to Him by doing what is required and obeying His Torah, keeping a firm grip on the truth and not letting go – and to do that one must be awake and alert and sober at all times – being fully ready and equipped to love:

Romiyim/Romans 13:10 “Love does no evil to a neighbour. Therefore, love is completion of the Torah.

This word used here in Romiyim/Romans for completion is πλήρωμα plērōma – Strong’s G4138 and comes from the word πληρόω  plēroō – Strong’s G4137 which means, to make full, complete, accomplish, and this means, in essence, to fully meet what is required, and not to finish and be done with! This same root word is used in the words spoken by Messiah in Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:17 above!

We cannot change His Word to suite ourselves and try to fashion and shape it to fit into our comfort zones – His Word is the same yesterday, today and forever and He does not change and so we should not attempt in any way to change that which He has given us through His written Word!

 

CHAPTER 13

Verse 1-6

Do not follow false prophets!!! Who are you listening to and following?

How do I know he is false? … you may ask! Well, if a prophet leads you away from keeping, guarding and obeying the Torah then by definition of these verses, he is a false prophet – no matter what amazing signs and wonders he performs!!! When we see this clear command to not listen to the words of the false prophet or dreamer of dreams that speaks falsehood, we must recognise that it is still in reference to the previous ending of chapter 12. Those who add or take away from the Torah and teach others to follow their adding and taking away are false teachers!!!

These words that are given to us here in Chapter 13 are strong words that are needed to be heard loud and clear today! A prophet is one who speaks, and a dreamer of dreams speaks of one who claims to have visions.

What we must always do is test the words spoken or dreams and visions declared through the plumb line of the Torah, and if it does not line up then we are to ‘put to death’ that prophet or dreamer of dreams – in today’s terms we must understand that this certainly does not give us license to go and kill false teachers and prophets; as these are commands that are given in regards to our occupation of the Promised Land, yet what we can understand from this is that we are to ‘put to death’ their instructions and their leading from our hearts and minds. This is not a setting aside of the Torah, for certainly I do believe that these instructions will be in full effect in a literal sense in the Millennial reign of Messiah; however, while we sojourn here as foreigners, we can still abide by the principles of His Kingdom Rules right here and now by making sure that we do not give any room in our lives for those who try to lead us away from following Elohim!

When verse 1 speaks about ‘one who rises among you’, we can see that this is giving reference to one who is ‘known’ and rises to a position of prominence and influence and may even become established as a leader within the community!

When he gives a sign or a wonder – what did יהושע say about signs and wonders or rather those who seek after signs and wonders? They are wicked and adulterous!!!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 12:38-39 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answering, said to them, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Yonah.

The ‘religious’ lot wanted a sign – and it is still the same today as we see that many flock to see a show, be it for a healing crusade or a prophetic conference of signs and wonders, and by the standards of Scripture – those who look for such signs and wonders are wicked and adulterous! We do not need a sign, we have His sign – His Sabbath, His Feasts and His Torah that is to be as a sign on our hand and our foreheads – what more do we need – nothing!!!

In verse 3 we see that in the process of having false prophets and dreamers come and perform an array of signs and wonders, that it is a testing and proving of our hearts that יהוה is doing to see if we will in fact guard His commands or follow the hypnotic show of man!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 8:2 “And you shall remember that יהוה your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, prove you, to know what is in your heart, whether you guard His commands or not.

It does not matter how great a sign, wonder or miracle is that takes place – the litmus test is whether the one who is doing all of these signs and miracles is leading you back to the Torah or not!!!

If a huge miracle or sign and wonder conflicts with the Torah – which will you follow?

Most today will follow the sign and wonder and forsake the Torah! Just because what a false prophet speaks comes true does not necessarily mean that what he is communicating is יהוה’s will; and sadly through lack of knowledge and study of the Word, many believe the message of the one who performs the greatest signs and puts on the greatest show, and will even think to themselves that there is no way that it cannot be true, while they sadly are unable to test it against the Truth, for the Truth is not in them as they clearly do not guard the commands!

What we take careful note of here is that we do not need to search out and seek for other signs from false prophets, as we recognise and clearly understand through the Scriptures that יהוה has given us signs/tokens if you will – and that is His Appointed Times, and he clearly tells us what will be His sign upon us, or rather that which will ‘mark’ us or identify us as His as we guard His Appointed Times:

 

Pěsaḥ and Matzot:

Shemoth/Exodus 13:9 “And it shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, that the Torah of יהוה is to be in your mouth, for with a strong hand יהוה has brought you out of Mitsrayim.

Shemoth/Exodus 13:16 “And it shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand יהוה brought us out of Mitsrayim.

His Shabbat:

Shemoth/Exodus 31:16-17 “And the children of Yisra’ĕl shall guard the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. 17 ‘Between Me and the children of Yisra’ĕl it is a sign forever. For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’

The Torah:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:6-8 “And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, 7 and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, 8 and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

As we guard to do all His commands, with rejoicing, we recognise that we do not need more signs/tokens – the question is whether you will follow יהוה or will you follow self or another who performs other signs and wonders before your eyes!


Verse 6-10

Choice on family

These verses are very clear – even if your own family tries to lure you away from guarding the commands – your hand must be first to put them to death!

When we understand that in Hebrew our hand speaks of that which we do; in other words our works; then we can see that it is through our ‘works’ of righteousness and obedience to the commands that will ‘put to death’ those who try to get us to compromise!

A good example is in how we see many families that are clearly divided in these last days over the Truth; as most refuse to come out of Mitsrayim or Baḇelon and hold fast to their traditions of sun-day worship and all the other pagan rooted feasts that is promoted through Christianity, while a remnant few are coming out and are guarding the Sabbath and Feasts of יהוה. In saying this, there are many occasions where the ones who are not following the Torah will do their best at trying to cause the obedient ones to forsake their obedience by inviting them to family functions and events on יהוה appointed days, especially on the Sabbath. As a result of our obedience in keeping the commands of יהוה over the requests of family members who have no regard for the commands, we ‘put to death’ their ability in leading us away from remaining steadfast in loving commitment toward יהוה!

What we also must realise is that our true family is in Messiah and is with those who remain in Him:

Marqos/Mark 3:31-35 “And His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around Him. And they said to Him, “See, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” 33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And looking about on those sitting round Him, He said, “See My mother and My brothers! 35 “For whoever does the desire of Elohim is My brother and My sister and mother.”

We purge or put to death false teachings and attempts at leading us astray by demonstrating our obedience in ‘doing’ the Truth!

Verse 11 – Hear and Fear

Please see sermon notes on a message called, “THOSE FEARING ELOHIM – LISTEN” on our site (http://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2011/2012’menu or click on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2011-2012/192-those-fearing-elohim-listen

What we can learn from these instructions is that we are to clearly reprove those who try to lead us astray so that everyone else will learn to hear and fear and Sha’ul expresses this thought to Timotiyos in:

Timotiyos Aleph/ 1 Timothy 5:20 “Reprove those who are sinning, in the presence of all, so that the rest also might fear.

This is something that is not done today, in fact it is scoffed at! We are to reprove those who are lawless in front of all in order that a clear warning goes out for those who think they can be lawless too.

One of the quickest and best ways people learn to be obedient is by seeing what happens when one is not obedient, and sadly we find that so much sin/lawlessness is overlooked and excused away and no true reproving is taking place under the erroneous interpretation of not being allowed to ‘judge’ another!

These instructions are for the body and while we certainly do not judge anyone outside the body, we do have a responsibility toward Elohim and each other, and that is to make sure that we are all doing our part and walking as we should and when someone is out of line we are to certainly reprove them accordingly, in order that the rest of the body can learn to fear Elohim!

Verse 13 – men of Beliya’al! What is Beliya’al? Below are notes from a message I gave on not having any agreement with Beliya’al, and I am including this here to give better understanding, so as to guard our lives against any agreement that should not have any part in a believer’s life!

Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:15And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?

What is ‘beliya’al’? It is only used once in the Renewed writings, in the verse I opened with, and the Greek term Βελιάρ Belial – Strong’s H955 means, wickedness, worthlessness, and is considered in the Greek as an epithet for the devil. It is a noun that is transliterated from the Hebrew word בְּלִיַּעַל beliya’al – Strong’s H1100 which means, worthlessness, wicked, naughty, evil, unprofitable’. Sha’ul makes a clear distinction between that which serves and follows Messiah versus that which serves and follows Beliya’al. While this term can be an epithet for the devil, it is also used to describe a person who walks contrary to the Truth, and is therefore not a servant of the True Master, but is a servant to that which the devil presents as a twisted alternative. True worshippers of Elohim worship in Spirit and Truth, and any deviation from walking according to the clear plumb-line of the Word, be it through compromise and lawlessness, renders one to be reckoned as a man/woman of beliya’al. We cannot serve two masters!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:24 “No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.

The word ‘mammon’ is of Aramaic origin, rendered in Greek as μαμωνᾶς mamōnas – Strong’s G3126 meaning, wealth, riches, where it is personified and opposed to Elohim.

As we hear the call to come out and be separate, we must recognise the urgency for total set-apartness, and not be found to be having any agreement with that which is beliya’al!

The Hebrew word בְּלִיַּעַל beliya’al – Strong’s H1100 comes from two words: 1) - בְּלִי beliy – Strong’s H1097 which means, failure, wearing out, without, lack of, corruption, which comes from the root word בָּלָה balah – Strong’s H1086 which means, to fail, become old, wear out, decay, consume; and 2) - יַעַל ya’al – Strong’s H3276 which means, to confer or gain profit or benefit, avail, furnish, that which is profitable and good.

This word יַעַל ya’al – Strong’s H3276 is used 23 times in 21 verses in the Tanak (O.T.), and is mostly used in relation to that which does not profit; yet we do see that which is best for us, when we see this word used in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 48:17 “Thus said יהוה, your Redeemer, the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl, “I am יהוה your Elohim, teaching you what is best, leading you by the way you should go.

יהוה teaches us what is best – He teaches us what is profitable for us and what is good for us! The root word for ‘teaching’ is לָמַד lamaḏ – Strong’s H3925 which means, to exercise in, learn, accept, instruct, train. It is יהוה our Redeemer and Elohim that teaches us to do what is best, through His Torah and instructions given to us through His Word, and therefore the laws and right-rulings of Mosheh that we are to ‘exercise in’ and learn, accept and become fluent in, as we diligently train ourselves to be true set-apart people, is what causes us to be true servants of Messiah!

We do not learn for nothing – we learn and are taught – TO DO!

The Torah was given through Mosheh, and revealed through the life, death and resurrection of יהושע Messiah, our Good Teacher whom we follow wholeheartedly! Those of ‘beliya’al’ do not do so; and as we can see from the two root words that בְּלִיַּעַל beliya’al comes from, the term ‘beliya’al’ can be better understood as, failure to profit, failure to do what is best, and ultimately marks one who fails to follow יהוה, by refusing to submit to walking wholeheartedly in His commands!

When we consider the words of Sha’ul and realise that we, as taught ones of Messiah, are to have no agreement with Beliya’al, then it would be good for us to recognise what Scripture says about the man of beliya’al, so as to be on guard against any of the characteristics of beliya’al being evident in our own lives.

The term בְּלִיַּעַל beliya’al is used 27 times in the Tanak, and tonight I want us to look at a couple of these verses and the relevant characteristics that are collectively designated to the man/woman of beliya’al.

Turn with me to Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:12-15 (Read)

Here in this proverb we are clearly given a description of what a man of beliya’al is like. Let us therefore answer the question, ‘What is a man of Beliya’al?

Firstly, we are told here in verse 12 that a man of beliya’al is a wicked man! The Hebrew word for ‘wicked’ is אָוֶן Awĕn – Strong’s H205 which means, iniquity, trouble, wicked, sorrow’. 

In Hoshěa/Hosea 10 Yisra’ĕl is called a degenerate vine, due to the corruption of their false worship practices that they had adopted, as they were a nation that had become so twisted in their attempt at worship, that they resorted to the use of lying, cheating and twisting words to cover up their wickedness; and they had put more trust in self and their worship programmes and idols rather than in יהוה. They were more afraid of losing their calf to the enemy than actually stripping away the lies!

When Yaroḇʽam, the king of the northern tribes, had built Sheḵem in the north as the capital of Ephrayim, he did not want people to go to Yerushalayim to worship in fear that they would return to Reḥaḇʽam, the king of Yehuḏah, and so he made two calves of gold, setting one up in Bĕyth Ěl and another in Dan, made high places of all sorts and made many priests from all sorts of people who were not from Lĕwi. And this became the focus of their worship – calf worship – they had not learnt from the incident in the Wilderness many years before when Aharon built a golden calf proclaiming a festival unto יהוה, while in יהוה’s eyes it was an abomination (Shemoth/Exodus 32). This time was no different – יהוה does not change!

Yisra’ĕl was more concerned about their calf being captured due to the tightening grip of judgement that was coming upon them and in Hoshěa/Hosea 10:5 we see the place Bĕyth Ěl being called בֵּית אָוֶן Bĕyth Awĕn – Strong’s H1007 which means, ‘house of iniquity/ house of wickedness/ house of vanity.

Hoshěa/Hosea 10:5 “The inhabitants of Shomeron fear because of the calf of Bĕyth Awĕn. For its people shall mourn for it, as well as its priests who used to rejoice over it, because of its esteem that has departed from it.

What we see very clearly here is the fact that the House of Ěl had now become the House of iniquity!!! False worship was taking place and the people leading the services were false priests! The word used here for priests is כֹּמֶר komer – Strong’s H3649 meaning, Idolatrous priests or priests in idol worship!!! How did this happen? Well remember that Yaroḇʽam made anyone a priest and this is the result!!! It is יהוה who calls and not man; and today there is a man-driven system of appointing priests that adhere to man-made standards which primarily end up in priests who are engaged in idolatry and teaching others likewise! The word for idolatrous priests comes from a root word that can mean ‘black’ giving reference to the black garments of idolatry as opposed to the white robes of righteousness!!!

Why I am mentioning this is simply to show that a man of beliya’al is a wicked man – that is he is a man that is engaged in vain and wicked worship. Many today assume to be worshipping the Creator, yet they are not of the House/Dwelling Place of Elohim, but are rather of the house of iniquity or the house of beliya’al, as their false and twisted worship identifies them as such!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:12 tells us that the man of beliya’al is wicked and walks with a perverse mouth! The Hebrew word for ‘perverse’ is עִקְּשׁוּת iqqeshuth – Strong’s H6143 which means, crookedness, deceitful, perverse, distortion, and comes from the root word עָקַשׁ aqash – Strong’s H6140 which means, to twist, pervert.

The walk and talk of the wicked is a distorted walk and talk, that twists and perverts the truth for self-gain!

Titos/Titus 1:10-11 “For there are many unruly men, senseless talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths have to be stopped, who upset entire households, teaching what they should not teach, for the sake of filthy gain.

To the Pharisees Messiah made it very clear when He said to them in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 12:34 “Brood of adders! How are you able to speak what is good – being wicked? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart – your heart will be revealed in your words and corresponding actions!

In Mishlĕ/Proverbs 8 which describes wisdom’s call it says of wisdom in verse 7:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 8:7 “For my mouth speaks truth; and wrongness is an abomination to my lips.

In our getting wisdom, we too recognise that we who walk in the truth and seek wisdom are to have truth comes from our mouth and let no wrongness come from our lips! How is your speech? A man of Beliya’al has a perverse mouth, while the man of Messiah speaks truth and walks in it!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:14 “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it.

The Torah of Elohim is not far off and some set of difficult instructions to walk in, it is near us, and ought to be in our mouths and in our hearts to do it – as we meditate day and night upon His Word, for it leads us as we walk about, guard us when we lie down and talks to us when we wake up (Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:22).

 

Verse 13 continues to describe the man of beliya’al by making mention that the corrupt and wicked will ‘wink with the eye, make signals with his feet and point with his fingers’, all of which describes or represents for us sinister body language, and can often reflect actions that contradict the words they speak. The man of beliya’al may tell you one thing but his actions reveal another. The wicked will also develop signs and signals that other wicked companions will understand and acknowledge what is being said beyond the words that are being spoken! Freemasonry has many signals and gestures that are used to identify one another, as a ‘secret language’ that can only be understood by members!

Our yes must be yes and our no must be no, anything beyond this is of the devil! How do your words and actions line up when mirrored against the true plumb-line of the Torah? Have you developed certain looks and signals that are saying the opposite to what you mean? If so, come out and have no agreement with such sinister body language!

Verse 14 continues to reveal what a man of beliya’al is like – he has perverseness in his heart; and the Hebrew word used here for ‘perverseness’ is תַּהְפֻּכָה tahpuḵah – Strong’s H8419 which means, perversely, what is perverted, and comes from the root הָפַךְ haphaḵ – Strong’s H2015 meaning, to turn, overturn, change, pervert

Mishlĕ/proverbs 21:8 “The way of a guilty man is perverse; but as for the innocent, his work is right.

The one who is guilty of lawlessness will walk in the way that continually changes or overturns the clear right-ruling of Elohim! When one is guilty of lawlessness and compromise, the danger of perverseness settling into the heart is very real, and may cause one to pervert the truth to suit their needs and justify their sin!

The man of beliya’al plots evil at all times! The word used here for ‘plotting’ is חָרַשׁ ḥarash – Strong’s H2790 meaning, to cut in, engrave, plow, devise, scheme, plot, and also has the meaning, to be silent, dumb, speechless, deaf, say nothing. This word is used in the stern rebuke given to a wayward Yisra’ĕl, in:

Hoshěa/Hosea 10:13 “You have ploughed wrongness, you have reaped unrighteousness, you have eaten the fruit of lying, because you trusted in your own way, in your many mighty men.

In other words, the rebuke here is clear – doing things your own way and scheming, according to false and vain traditions of man, while turning a deaf ear to the hearing of the Torah, will have the result of the wicked fruit of unrighteousness, all because of the eating of lies and useless dogmas and traditions of man, instead of eating the daily manna and lawful bread of the Torah and Word of Elohim!

The man of beliya’al also sends out strife! The word for ‘strife’ is מָדוֹן maḏon – Strong’s H4066 which means, strife, contention, and it is from this word that we get the term – the Miḏyanites - הַמִּדְיָנִים the (ha) Miḏyanites from Strong’s H4084, and so we can understand that the Miḏyanites were a people of ‘strife’.

Give no room to strife and put an end to it is the call for us today!

Titos/Titus 3:9 “But keep away from foolish questions, and genealogies, and strife and quarrels about the Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless.

We would do well to heed this instruction – stay away from strife and quarrels about the Torah! The enemy is always seeking an opportunity to get us into a heated debate and argument over matters of the Torah; and while we are to certainly proclaim the Truth and defend it and guard it by doing it, we must be careful not to fall into useless arguments that just cause strife, which many who refuse to hear the Truth want to do! Give no room for strife!

Sha’ul tells Timotiyos where strife comes from – it comes from verbal battles – and in speaking of one who teaches falsely he says in:

Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 3:9 “he is puffed up, understanding none at all, but is sick about questionings and verbal battles from which come envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions

We must steer clear of ‘verbal battles’ that lead to strife, slander and all forms of wickedness.

 

Verse 15 here in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6 tells us very clearly what will happen to those of beliya’al – that is those ‘who fail to produce’ the fruit of righteousness! Remember that the basic meaning of beliya’al is worthlessness and wickedness, and when understood from the two root words it is constructed from, it means one who fails to profit, gain or be valuable.

This reminds me of the parable of the talents where the one who failed to make a profit or gain from what he had been given was a worthless servant who was thrown into outer darkness! (Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:30).

Those who continue to fail to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness and continue to resort to having agreement with Beliya’al will find that their calamity will come swift. Having agreement with Beliya’al entails the lack of obedience to walking in the commands of Elohim, through the submission to twisted lies and corrupted worship practices that have distorted and perverted the Truth through vain traditions that are engraved into their lives as inherited from their fathers who have acted corruptly!

Those who do not know the times and seasons of Elohim, due to their continued wilful neglect of seeking and understanding the Truth, will find that their calamity will come swift and unexpected, without any means of escape:

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then suddenly destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 29:1 “One often reproved, hardening his neck, is suddenly broken, and there is no healing.

The stubborn and rebellious who refuse to submit to the discipline of the Word will be broken, while those who endure discipline and are trained by it, will reap the needed fruit of righteousness!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:11 “And indeed, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

The fate of the wicked and worthless is clear – they shall be destroyed and have no part in the kingdom of Elohim!

Naḥum/Nahum 1:15 “See, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace! O Yehuḏah, observe your festivals, perform your vows. For Beliya’al shall no more pass through you. He has been cut off completely.

Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 2:19 “However, the solid foundation of Elohim stands firm, having this seal, “יהוה knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the Name of Messiah turn away from unrighteous-ness.

We all here name the Name of Messiah – have you turned away from unrighteousness – for if not you have taken His Name in vain!

יהוה declared in the vision given to Naḥum that Ninewěh would be destroyed and flooded and the counselor of Beliya’al will be cut off and the name of the wicked house of Nimrod will no longer be sown and Yehuḏah would once again keep the Sabbaths and Feasts of יהוה and be able to perform their vows of obedience unhindered. This ability to keep the Sabbaths and Feasts, we have in Messiah who has cut off the name of Ba’al from us – and this we are to proclaim, Aměn!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 19:28 tells us that a witness of beliya’al scorns right-ruling, and the Hebrew word for ‘scorn’ is לִיץ lits – Strong’s H3917 which means, to scorn, carry on as scoffers, mock, talk arrogantly – and this they do at יהוה’s right-ruling. The Hebrew word used for ‘right-ruling’ is מִשְׁפָּט mishpat – Strong’s H4941 – judgement, ordinance, regulations’ and comes from the word שָׁפַט shaphat – Strong’s H8199 – meaning, ‘to judge, govern, rule, pronounce judgement, give law’.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 33:22 “for יהוה is our Judge, יהוה is our Lawgiver, יהוה is our Sovereign, He saves us

There is only One who gives us the Law by which we must live and by which we are governed, and these judgements and right-rulings and regulations given by Him, we must DO!!! To scorn or scoff at His right-rulings is to be in agreement with Beliya’al, which means one cannot be in agreement with Messiah and will be thrown out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth!

In Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 2:12 we are told that the sons of Eli were sons of Beliya’al – as they did not know יהוה! They did not know יהוה because they did not guard His commands, and were called sons of Beliya’al!

Hoshěa/Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.

Despite the need to continually be pursuing to ‘knowיהוה, so many quickly turn aside to falsehood as they do not ‘know’ the right-ruling of יהוה:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 8:7 “Even a stork in the heavens knows her appointed times. And a turtledove, and a swallow, and a thrush observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the right-ruling of יהוה.

Yeshayahu was told to go and speak to a rebellious people:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:9 “And He said, “Go, and you shall say to this people, ‘Hearing, you hear, but do not understand; and seeing, you see, but do not know.’

Hearing but not hearing, seeing but not ‘knowing’ – that is the state of so many today!

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 20:20 “And set apart My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, to know that I am יהוה your Elohim.

This verse carries great insight for us, in that it clearly instructs us to set-apart יהוה’s Sabbaths, for that would be a sign between us and Him, in order to ‘know’ that He is יהוה our Elohim. I have often said that Sabbath is in many ways a door or entrance point in getting to know יהוה as we should, for it is on His set-apart day that we learn to know Him, as an assembled body of Messiah, that is being made ready as an adorned Bride!

Those who reject the Sabbath and its needed observance, as commanded, will never be able to ‘knowיהוה, no matter how much they claim to ‘know’ Him, and will be classed as being sons of Beliya’al, and have no part in Messiah!!!

As we have briefly looked at what a man/son beliya’al is, I hope that you are able to see the urgency in our need to pursue to know יהוה, and have no agreement with Beliya’al. In closing I want to read Sha’ul’s words given to Corinth, and let us hear the urgency to come out, be separate and have no agreement with beliya’al, as we live pure, upright and undefiled lives in our Master!

Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:14-18Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? 16 And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols? For you are a Dwelling Place of the living Elohim, as Elohim has said, “I shall dwell in them and walk among them, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you. 18 “And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty.

 

Back to the Torah portion: Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:

Verse 14 – search out

What we cannot do is reprove another without cause or without any clear evidence, and here we are instructed to make a diligent search and investigate any matter that has been heard and appears to be calling people away from the Torah, and if we do find that an abomination has been done or taught then we are to purge the evil form our midst and put to death any false teachings that have caused some to stumble!

There are many differing opinions today, even within the Torah observant community of believers, and so we must be careful to diligently search out the Truth and not simply follow someone just because he says that he keep the Torah, while his interpretation is way off on certain matters!

We need to put to death rumours that arise and may be false – and we do this through a thorough inquiry to seek out what is not valid against the plumb line of the Truth.

The Hebrew word for ‘inquireis דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 means, to resort to, seek out, ask, avenge, consult, investigate, search carefully, make inquiry, question. Now we see that this word carries more than simply just to take a quick peek, but rather emphasises the need to be digging deep in seeking out carefully and with great diligence, through consultation, and asking.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘search out’ is חָקַר ḥaqar – Strong’s H2713 which means, to search, examine, investigated, probe, make a search.

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘ask’ is from the root word שָׁאַל shaal – Strong’s H7952 which means, to inquire, ask, seek, beg, consult, earnestly ask and seek, and the Hebrew root word translated as ‘diligently’ is  the primary verb טוֹב  to – Strong’s H2895 and carries the meaning, pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well, and in a practical sense can carry the understanding of being ‘functional’, according the good and functional design of our Creator, by walking in His commands!

In the true understanding of this word   טוֹב to we can see that it may best be translated in most cases as ‘functional’, for when יהוה said in Berěshith/Genesis 1:31 that when He saw all that He had made, that He said it was very good. What He saw was His creation functioning properly and working the way it should, and this is why it was ‘good’.

Sounds all good – yet as we study further into the Hebraic mind-set in regards to this word we get a fuller understanding of what טוֹב to means.  To do that it does help to look at the ancient script and get a wider perspective of the true meaning of this word.

In the ancient pictographic script - טוֹב to - is pictured as:

beitwawtet

Tetט:

The original pictograph for this letter is tet, a container made of wicker or clay. Containers were a very important item among the nomadic Hebrews. They were used for storing grains and other items. Wicker baskets were used as nets for catching fish. The meanings of this letter are basket, contain, store and clay.

Waw - וֹ:

The ancient pictographic form of this letter is waw, a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.

Beyt - ב:

The ancient script has this letter as beit, which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.

טוֹב  to -  -  

from this picture we are able to learn and see that:

WE AS CLAY VESSELS ARE MADE SECURE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF MESSIAH THAT HOLDS FOR US A SECURE COVENANT PROMISE OF BEING MADE COMPLETE IN HIM AND BECOMING THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE MOST-HIGH – where He that is Good - The Potter - may dwell with those He has created and called by name!

As we look at these letters we find a great revelation in terms of the Good News (Besorah) or rather ‘טוֹב to News’!

The way we, as ‘clay vessels’, are secured into the House of Elohim is by being secured by the peg! Listen to what it says in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 22:22-24 “And I shall place the key of the house of Dawiḏ on his shoulder. And he shall open, and no one shuts; and shall shut, and no one opens. 23 ‘And I shall fasten him like a peg in a steadfast place, and he shall become a throne of esteem to his father’s house. 24 ‘And they shall hang on him all the weight of his father’s house, the offspring and the offshoots, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the jars.

We know that this is a great picture of how through יהושע Messiah we are fastened in a steadfast place!

Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a short while, favour has been shown from יהוה our Elohim, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His set-apart place, that our Elohim might enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

This again is a wonderful promise given amidst a time of bondage due – that a peg is given in His set-apart place – a great picture of the loving-commitment and compassion יהוה has for His called-out nation, that while the ‘House of Elohim’ had been neglected and broken down He would bring the necessary means to ‘secure’ His covenanted people to His House that he builds by His design! It is through the work of Messiah, who has become the very ‘peg’ that secures us and adds us, the clay vessels, to His House!

The Word of Elohim made flesh – The Living Torah, יהושע Messiah came down and secured for us the ability to be made into the House that He Elohim shall dwell in forever!

His House/Dwelling Place is built by His design and His plan and so when we see how that we are the ‘Dwelling Place’ of the Most-High, then we are able to get a clearer understanding that we are built up according to His plans as instructed in His Torah that was given through Mosheh and revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Messiah. Just as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness had to be built exactly according to the pattern shown to Mosheh on the mountain of the true heavenly Tabernacle, so too do we need to recognise that the only way we can be built up into being the True Dwelling Place of Elohim is through carefully following His instructions as we walk in and stay in Messiah – The Living Torah.

When something is working properly we might say today something like, ‘working like a well-oiled machine’, when speaking of that which is functioning the way it should and the way it was designed to. So טוֹב to in the true sense of the word, expresses the idea that something is ‘good’ when it is fulfilling the action for which a person or thing is specifically fitted or used, or for which something exists. In other words, it refers to something that functions within its intended purpose!

The opposite of טוֹב to (good) is ‘evil’, which in Hebrew is the word, רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, bad, evil, wicked, harmful’.  The tree of knowledge in the garden was of טוֹב to (good) and רַע ra (evil)!

Just as we understand that טוֹב to represents that which is ‘functional’, we can then see that רַע ra represents that which is ‘dysfunctional’, which simply put speaks of that which reveals and abnormal and unhealthy lifestyle that is not functioning as it should.

We may often think something is good, yet if it is not ‘functional’ according to the plumb line of the Torah of יהוה, then we had best be careful to consider our steps!

What we can certainly deduce from these clear instructions is that we are to seek out any matter that may point to our brothers doing things that they should not. We cannot just go on hearsay but must make sure that the accusation we bring is based on facts that have been thoroughly sought out and true according to the plumb line of the Truth!

Verse 17 – do not let that which is ‘put under the ban’ cling to your hand!

The primitive root of the word used for the phrase ‘Put under the ban’ – H2763 חָרַםḥaram’ means ‘to ban, utterly destroy’ as well as ‘devote to Elohim, which (once given) must then be destroyed so there will be no human use made of it’.

The Hand speaks of what one works with – as we know that is was with a Mighty Hand that He delivered us from Mitsrayim, and our hands are to be doing the works of righteousness and not works of lawlessness – our walk of active faith should be evident of righteous acts of set-apart children of the Most-High.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’

We must be careful to ensure that our daily lives reflect one of working righteousness and as Messiah tells us too that if one puts his hand to the plough and looks back, he is not fit for the kingdom. We cannot look back as Yisra’ĕl did in the Wilderness for that generation did not enter into the Promised Land; but rather we must stick to the task of being faithful with what the Father has put in our hands – and that is His word, which we take up the Sword of the Spirit and work diligently unto Elohim, being like children in humble service – for then we will enter His reign!

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:29 “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone doing righteousness has been born of Him.

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:4 “Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

The Greek word here for sin is ἁμαρτία hamartia – Strong’s G266 which means, sin, failure, miss the mark, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, and also carries the meaning of, wandering from the law of Elohim, violate the law of Elohim.  We also know, yet I will once again remind you, that the Greek word used for ‘lawlessness’ is ἀνομία  anomia – Strong’s G458 meaning, lawlessness or lawless deeds, unrighteousness and comes from the word ἄνομος anomos – Strong’s G459 meaning, lawless or without law, transgressors.

This verse spells it out very plainly for those who seem to miss the fact that to not walk in the Torah is sin! It is as though Yoḥanan was spelling out this fact very bluntly and straightforward for those who struggle with a Greek mind-set and see no need to walk in the Torah – well right here in the Greek it is clear – If you are lawless (that is to walk contrary to the Torah) then you are indeed sinning!

 

ἁμαρτία hamartia (sin) – Strong’s G266 is ἀνομία  anomia (lawlessness) – Strong’s G458

What we are to recognise here is that lawless ways should not be found in us – as we have died to the old ways of lawless living and have ‘put under the ban’ those ways which only lead away from Elohim and have devoted our lives unto Him, so we are to not turn back and try to ‘pick up’ that which is not fit for our hands any longer!

Titos/Titus 2:11-14 “For the saving Gift of Elohim has appeared to all men, 12 instructing us to renounce wickedness and worldly lusts, and to live sensibly, righteously, and reverently in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed expectation and esteemed appearance of the great Elohim and our Saviour יהושע Messiah, 14 who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people, His own possession, ardent for good works.

How do you ‘wait expectantly’? Renounce wickedness and worldly lusts and live set-apart lives in complete reverence of Elohim, for we recognise that Messiah has redeemed us from lawlessness! We wait expectantly by guarding His laws!!!

The word ‘redeem’ here in Titos/Titus 2 is λυτρόω  lutroō – Strong’s G3084 which literally means, to release by paying a ransom, redeem – in other words Messiah has paid the price for us and released us from all lawlessness by paying the ransom for our lives with His Blood.

Sha’ul tells us in:

Romiyim/Romans 6:18 “And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.

יהושע Messiah has redeemed us from lawlessness so that we can walk in righteousness with our loins girded and our lamps kept burning, always being ready for His soon return.

Verse 18 makes it clear – obeying His voice means to guard His commands and do what is right in His eyes – not our own eyes – His eyes!!!

 

CHAPTER 14

Verse 1

The ritual of cutting oneself for the dead is a common pagan practice in many cultures and is something that is strictly forbidden for us to do, according to the clear commands we have been given in the Torah of Elohim. We are reminded of the Ba’al prophets on Mount Karmel who contended with Ěliyahu and cut themselves trying to appease their falsely worshipped Ba’al. Cutting for the dead is a form of ancestral worship in trying to bring the strength of the dead ancestor into one’s own body – a custom practiced in many rural cultures to this day, and in fact ancestralism is one of the main forms of worship throughout the continent of Africa as many tribes worship their dead ancestors and cut themselves in rituals in the hope of enticing the ancestral spirits to bring fertility and blessing. Tattoos speak of marking one’s flesh with a form of writing of words or graphics and many pagan religions encourage the tattooing of their deities they worship upon their bodies. Sadly, we even see how tattooing one’s self has become such an acceptable practice all over the world, that while not being done for any direct form of worship; as many say they do it for fun, what we must realise is that tattoos are strictly forbidden! Many churches allow this practice and many even encourage it as they have their own leaders overhauled with tattoos while it is clearly forbidden by יהוה.

The Hebrew phrasing in this verse for ‘nor shave the front of your head’ would be better rendered as ‘do not make any baldness between your eyes’ and the Hebrew word used here which can be translated as ‘baldness’ is קָרְחָה   qorḥah – Strong’s H7144 which means, baldness, bald spot, plucked-out scalp, shaving the head and comes from the word קָרַח qaraḥ – Strong’s H7139 which means, to make bald, shave his head.

The name ‘Qoraḥ’ - קֹרַח – Strong’s H7141 simply means, bald and comes from this root word too and as we can certainly learn from his rebellion and we come to understand clearly that this ‘baldness’ is picturing for us a reference to a ‘baldness’ that is not natural as many go ‘bald’ as they age, but rather it is a picture of a ‘self-imposed shaving of the head’! Understanding this, we then see how serious this lesson is for us, as we also recognise and realise that ‘head’ speaks of a covering, and the shaving of one’s head is actually forbidden for Yisra’ĕl, with a few exceptions – such as:

1 – with regards to an infection on the head or beard as part of the inspection/cleansing process:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 13:33 “then he shall shave himself, but the eruption he does not shave. And the priest shall shut up the one with the eruption another seven days.

2 – with regards to the Torah for the cleansing of a leper:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 14:8-9 “And he who is to be cleansed shall wash his garments, and shall shave off all his hair and wash himself in water, and shall be clean. Then after that he comes into the camp, but shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 “And on the seventh day it shall be that he shaves all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shaves off. And he shall wash his garments and wash his body in water, and shall be clean.

3 – With regards to one taking a Nazirite vow that has become defiled during his days of separation by being in the presence of someone who dies:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:9 “And when anyone dies beside him in an instant, suddenly, and he has defiled the head of his separation, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing – on the seventh day he shaves it.

4 – with regards to the Torah when the days of separation for a Nazirite are completed:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:18 “And the Nazirite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall take the hair from the head of his separation and shall put it on the fire which is under the slaughtering of the peace offering.

5 – with regards to the ‘cleansing’ process of the Lěwites having to shave their whole body:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 8:6-7 “Take the Lěwites from among the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall cleanse them, 7 and do this to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of sin offering on them, and they shall shave all their body, and shall wash their garments, and cleanse themselves

There is also the clear instruction and stern warning when you are NOT to ‘shave your head’:

1 – with regards to the requirements for a leader to not defile themselves:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21:4-5 “A leader does not defile himself among his people, to profane himself; 5 they do not make any bald place on their heads, and they do not shave the corner of their beard, and they do not make a cutting in their flesh.

2 – with regards to the shaving of one’s head to mourn for the dead not permitted for the children of Yisra’ĕl as what we are reading in this week’s Torah portion:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the children of יהוה your Elohim. Do not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead, 2 for you are a set-apart people to יהוה your Elohim, and יהוה has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

 

I have just listed some ‘do’s and don’ts’ with regards to the Torah’s instructions around the idea of shaving one’s head. Many people today argue that they do not shave their head for the dead and their shaving of the head is either simply just a preference of fashion or convenience or in support of a cause. Now while this may sound acceptable, and be ok in the world’s eyes, we must recognise what the Word of Elohim says!!!

Today we see a very popular trend of having campaigns to reach money for cancer research that call for people to ‘shave their heads’ in support for this much needed cause! Once again this may sound like a very uplifting and worthy cause, yet it is not what the Torah accepts or teaches!!! Cancer is a deadly sickness and to shave one’s head for a cancer drive is a picture of ‘shaving one’s head for the dead’ which is prohibited for any of the children of יהוה, and we are not to follow after the ways of the nations who have for millennia followed this ancient custom that has simply been dressed in a subtle approach at doing that which יהוה forbids. The only time any child of Elohim was to shave their head is made clear form the above Scriptures.

Now while there are certainly times when a person’s head may need to be shaved in an emergency for medical operations, this is not seen as part of one’s daily walk but are times where it is certainly permissible to save a life.

What we are talking about is the shaving of one’s head by choice, either by doing it by self or by going to a hairdresser to have it done.

The shaving of any hair on one’s head (beard included) is also seen in Scripture as a symbol of shame as we see in the example of when Dawiḏ sent messengers to comfort Ḥanun son of Naḥash the sovereign of the children of Ammon who died, because his father showed kindness to Dawiḏ:

Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 19:4-5 “So Ḥanun took Dawiḏ’s servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 And when some went and informed Dawiḏ about the men, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the sovereign said, “Remain at Yeriḥo until your beards have grown, then return.

In Yisra’ĕl’s rebellious state they had obviously resorted to the practice of the nations by making one’s self bald for the dead, and in Yirmeyahu יהוה is speaking of how this rebellious nation would not continue to do such practices when and in the process of Him cleaning up and throwing this rebellious and corrupt people out of the land, those who would face His coming wrath would not even have the chance to continue in their compromised lifestyles:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 16:6 “Both great and small shall die in this land. They shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them, or cut themselves, or make themselves bald for them.

There is another instance where the shaving of a woman’s head was required:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 21:10-13 “When you go out to fight against your enemies, and יהוה your Elohim shall give them into your hand, and you shall take them captive, 11 and shall see among the captives a woman fair of form, and shall delight in her and take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails, 13 and put aside the mantle of her captivity, and shall dwell in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a month of days. And after that you shall go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

In order for a foreign woman to be taken as a wife, you will notice that she had to shave her head – and this is also a picture of a willingness to surrender under a new authority. The shaving of here head was a symbol of here removing her ‘covering’ and at the same time be a time of mourning for her father and mother, under whose authority she has been taken from. Her hair would be a picture of here pride and also identified her as a member of her former culture, so she can now make a fresh start. A woman's hair as symbolic of her being under authority:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 11:15 “And if a woman has long hair, it is an esteem to her, because the long hair has been given to her over against a veil.

Having been captured and taken to be a wife, she is no longer under her old authority which she has been removed from, and therefore she symbolically removes all that resembled her old authority. She is in essence stripped of all authority and submits under a new headship/covering of her new husband.

We as a Bride having been taken out of captivity, have too in a sense been ‘captured’ by יהוה and it is up to us to put off that which we served before and become identified with our new Head and Husband!

In verse 2 we are given a very clear reason why we are not to do as the nations do and Not shave our head or cut ourselves for the dead: And that is because we are a set-apart people to יהוה our Elohim, chosen by Him as His treasured possession!

The Hebrew word for ‘set-apart’ is קָדוֹשׁ qaḏosh – Strong’s H6918 meaning, ‘consecrated, set-apart’ – and a Set-Apart nation implies just what it says – we are to be in a league of our own – that is, we are to be so different from the world that it is clearly evident in our words and actions!!! This can only happen if we actually hear-guard and do all Elohim has commanded us to do, without debating and reasoning why we should not - as the world does!

The root word קָדוֹשׁ qaḏosh – Strong’s H6918 which means, ‘set-apart, consecrated’, comes from the primitive root verb קָדַשׁ qaḏash – Strong’s H6942 which means, to be set-apart, consecrated, dedicated– and that is what we have been called to be, and it is from this root that we get the noun קֹדֶשׁ qoḏeshStrong’s H6944 which means ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’ and this word is rendered as follows in the ancient pictographic letter/symbols:

shindaletquph

 Quph – קֹ:

This is the letter ‘quph’, which is pictured as quph , and is a ‘horizon’ and depicts the elements of ‘time’, as it pictures the sun in its rising and setting. It therefore carries the meaning of ‘circle’ or ‘to go around’, representing for us both, appointed cycles or times as well as eternity and speaks of continual adherence to the Appointed Times.

Dalet – דֶ:

This is the letter ‘dalet’ which is pictured as dalet, which is a ‘tent door. It can also have the meaning of a back and forth movement, as one goes back and forth through a tent door and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access. And we also know that Messiah is ‘The Door’, for we only are able to have access into the Kingdom through Him! The commands are also to be written on the doorposts teaching us to remember to guard the commands of Elohim as we go out and come in, so that our going out and coming is in peace!

Shin - שׁ:

This is the letter ‘shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as, shin, which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.

 

Looking at the rendering of this Hebrew word קֹדֶשׁ qoḏeshStrong’s H6944 in the pictographic form that renders set-apartness or to be set-apart we, are able to see what this clearly implies as we take note that this word can render for us the following meaning:

CONTINUALLY COMING TO THE DOOR OF APPOINTMENT TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD!

 

Our ability to be properly set-apart involves our ability to properly meditate on the Word on a daily basis as well as making sure that we do not neglect the set-apart Appointed Times that are clearly commanded as ‘set-apart gatherings’, which are All the Appointed Times of יהוה, as outlined and instructed in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23, which includes the weekly Sabbath!

The Greek word for ‘set-apart’ is ἅγιος hagios – Strong’s G40 and its fundamental idea is one of ‘separation, consecration, and devotion to the service of Elohim’, sharing in Elohim’s purity and abstaining from the defilement of the flesh, by being clothed in and walking in righteousness, that is from Elohim!

To ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’. We as a chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare and make our lives solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim, and as we have certainly learnt through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, that we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah as we are continually being set-apart in Him through an on-going process of being sanctified as a people for a possession.

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the desire of Elohim: your set-apartness! – that you should abstain from whoring, 4 that each one of you should know how to possess his own vessel in set-apartness and respect, 5 not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know Elohim, 6 not to overstep and take advantage of his brother in this matter, because the Master is the revenger of all such, as we indeed said to you before and earnestly warned. 7 For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.

We are His treasured possession!

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘treasured possession’ is סְגֻלָּה segullah – Strong’s H5459 meaning valued possession or property. This could also be expressed as My uniquely valued and guarded treasure above all the nations! How awesome is that!!!

A hearing, guarding and doing people are the uniquely valued and guarded treasure of יהוה’s; that is to say: that He holds us firmly in His hand and never takes His eyes off of us; and He guards us continually so as to never let us go, for we are extremely valued and precious to Him. When outsiders look at us they may see it as being locked away in a box, thinking that we ‘have to do’ things that are not required by them and claim erroneously that we have lost our rights and are ‘under law’ so to speak – but it is not so – we are kept secure and safe and are a prized possession.

True overcomers in Messiah are His ‘segullah’!!!

There is no one specific English word that can be substituted for this very complex, yet simple and clear, word.

In the Greek the word used for ‘a possession’ is περιποίησις peripoiēsis – Strong’s G4047 which means, purchased possession, preservation, acquisition, peculiar, property.  We, as a set-apart people unto Elohim, have been sealed with Set-apart Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession! Peculiar and set-apart – that is to be completely different to the rest! How different are you to the rest of the world?

What makes us set-apart and a peculiar treasured possession is that we have been chosen by Elohim to be His own.

The Hebrew word for ‘chosen’ is בָּחַר baḥar – Strong’s H977 and means, to choose, choicest, selected, preferred, and this word is used to express that choosing which has ultimate and eternal significance. We see in Scripture how יהוה chooses a people, certain tribes, specific individuals, and a place for His Name; and in all these cases service and obedience is at the heart of the choosing. Thus, יהוה chose Yisra’ĕl to be set-apart and thereby to serve as His witness among the nations. His choosing us has eternal significance!!! His choice is forever!!! The expected response of the chosen is: loving obedience and complete commitment in uncompromised service to the One who has chosen us!

Yoḥanan/John 15:16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you.

יהושע makes it very clear to us here in Yoḥanan/John 15 that we did not choose Him, but He chose us – and our acceptance to His choosing implies that we understand and acknowledge our needed response, which is to obey, and in doing so we relinquish and forfeit all ‘choice for self’ – simply because we accept our choosing and realise that we are no longer our own, but rather belong to Him who has purchased us with His own Blood – hence we are called The Chosen!

While this may seem fairly obvious at first glance, and it should; what we do find is that many do not recognise the consequence of their acceptance of the great choosing of Elohim upon their lives, for they simply continue to make ‘bad choices’ that render their garments defiled before the One who has chosen us and clothed us with His righteousness!

יהוה’s ‘choosing’ of Yisra’ĕl was not because of being bigger and better than other nations!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 7:7-8יהוה did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more numerous than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples, 8 but because of יהוה loving you, and because of Him guarding the oath which He swore to your fathers, יהוה has brought you out with a strong hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh sovereign of Mitsrayim.

יהוה’s loving-commitment to His oath that He swore to Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqoḇ is what has caused us to be a people that are ‘chosen’ in the Beloved!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 10:14-16See, the heavens and the heaven of heavens belong to יהוה your Elohim, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 “יהוה delighted only in your fathers, to love them. And He chose their seed after them, you above all peoples, as it is today. 16 “And you shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and harden your neck no more.

Because of His great love for our fathers, He chose their seed – that is us, and because of His choosing us, He expects us to walk humbly before Him and cut away the foreskin of our heart, rolling away the reproach of wickedness and sin that breeds therein; and be stiff-necked no more!

Because of His lovingly-committed choice for us, we too must respond by making the clear choice to serve Him and cling to Him with our all:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:19-20I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, 20 to love יהוה your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days – to dwell in the land which יהוה swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Ya’aqoḇ, to give them.

We, the chosen, are called to choose life! The Torah is our life! And in choosing life, we choose to love, obey and cling to Elohim by guarding His Torah that leads us in the Way of Set-Apartness!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:45-47And when Mosheh ended speaking all these words to all Yisra’ĕl, 46 he said to them, “Set your heart on all the words with which I warn you today, so that you command your children to guard to do all the Words of this Torah. 47 “For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.

 The Words of this Torah is not worthless – it is our life! The Living Word – The Word made flesh - יהושע Messiah - is our life!!! In Speaking of יהושע Messiah, Sha’ul tells us in:

Romiyim/Romans 10:6-7 “But the righteousness of belief speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens?’” – that is, to bring Messiah down; or, 7 “ ‘Who shall descend into the abyss?’ ” – that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead.

Sha’ul was quoting from:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14For this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. 12 “It is not in the heavens, to say, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it?’ 13 “Nor is it beyond the sea, to say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it?’ 14 “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it.

יהושע Messiah is the One who came down, and He is the One who came up from the dead and He has made His Word – His Torah – alive in us, in order that we, the chosen, can live set-apart lives unto Him!

יהושע Messiah is our life – and we choose Life!!! That being said, we must recognise the clear consequences of such a choice – for by choosing יהושע Messiah, we are in fact choosing to love, obey and cling to His Torah!!! Sadly there are many who do not understand this, and think that they have a choice not to obey! While Yisra’ĕl, being chosen, did not cling to יהוה and His Torah, יהוה’s loving commitment to His oath stands firm forever and after a new generation had passed over the Yardĕn, Yehoshua called for this chosen nation to make a choice, as he says in his closing speech:

Yehoshua/Joshua 24:14-15 “And now, fear יהוה, serve Him in perfection and in truth, and put away the mighty ones which your fathers served beyond the River and in Mitsrayim, and serve יהוה! 15 “And if it seems evil in your eyes to serve יהוה, choose for yourselves this day whom you are going to serve, whether the mighty ones which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But I and my house, we serve יהוה.

As we consider the clear reason that we are NOT to do as the nations do we find great comfort in the set-apart calling of our Master who calls us His own ‘treasured possession’.

This could also be expressed as My uniquely valued and guarded treasure above all the nations! How awesome is that!!! This unique Hebrew word carries a great wealth of insight and instruction as well as an assured confidence that we can have in our Master and Elohim, who has chosen us to be His own. The Hebrew word is only used 8 times in the Tanak and is a word that is used to clearly highlight Elohim’s appointed and established Covenants of Promise and about the people who take them seriously.

There is no one specific English word that can be substituted for this very complex, yet simple and clear, word.

This word is defined as a noun referring to possession or property; and not just any property but more specifically the uniquely valued property and peculiar treasure.

This word is always used in the context of a royal treasure; and more specifically, the treasure of a king. Both metaphorically and literally we acknowledge that the King of Scripture is יהושע Messiah. His ‘segullah’ is His ‘covenant people’!!! In the ancient pictographic script, the root word סְגֻלָּה segullah – Strong’s H5459 meaning valued possession or property looks like this:

heylamedgimelsamek

Samek - סְ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as samek, which is ‘a thorn’ and has the meanings of ‘pierce and sharp’ and can also carry the meaning of ‘a shield’, as thorn bushes were used by shepherds to build a wall to enclose their flocks in the night against the attack of predators. Another meaning would be ‘to grab hold of’ as a thorn is a seed that clings to hair and clothing. The Word of Elohim is sharper than a doubled edged sword and when we find that we do not grab hold of His word and allow His Word to be our shield of faith, we may find ourselves being pierced through with sin and compromise! Our praise we have for our Master is that ‘in Him’ we are upheld forever, for He is the shield of our Help, as He Himself took the crown of thorns upon His head, bearing our sin and shame that we may be found to be shielded in Him! It can also give a meaning of ‘turning’, for it is the thorn that turns us away from danger and to that which is secure.

 

Gimel – גֻ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as gimel, which is ‘a foot’ and carries the meaning to ‘walk, gather, carry’, as clearly referring to the functions of a foot; and it can also give the meaning of ‘a gathering of people’, and we know that ‘feet’ in Hebrew speaks of one’s walk and ability to keep the Feasts of יהוה, and represents one’s ‘walk’!

 

Lamed - לַ:

The ancient script has this letter as lamed, and is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, which can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can also speak of ‘authority’ or ‘a yoke’ that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to ‘bring back by Authority’.

 

Hey – הָ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as hey, which is ‘a man standing with his arms raised out’. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation, from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of ‘surrender’, as we lift up our hands and completely submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!

 

In terms of these pictographic letters forming the word סְגֻלָּה segullah – Strong’s H5459 meaning valued possession or property, we are able to see the privilege of being the סְגֻלָּה segullah of the Good Shepherd!

As the segullah of Elohim:

We are shielded and protected in our walk as we submit under the authority of the One who is to be praised!

There is a wealth of revelation in the understanding of what it means to be the segullah of Elohim and when we see this pictures it helps us recognise the sure promise of protection that the segullah of Elohim has, while at the same time realising the responsibility that our walk in Him carries, so that we remain His סְגֻלָּה segullah!

Back to Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14:

WHAT IS FOOD?

This chapter, as well as Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11, are very important for us to understand as we can clearly see what יהוה has declared for us in regards to what we are permitted to eat and what we may not eat.

Sadly, the western church is unable to distinguish the difference as they have been made ‘drunk’ on the maddening adulteries of the harlot whore and have no ability to discern or teach the differences between what is clean and what is not! יהוה is so specific about our ability to have a relationship with Him and He even instructs us in what is food for us; and even right down to what we eat will help us in constantly being reminded that we are a set-apart people serving a Set-Apart Elohim!

Understanding "Clean and Unclean"

All too often we are told and have been taught to believe that since the Messiah came, we are free to eat anything we wish, and are not bound by any of the dietary laws of Scripture. In fact, one of the ways throughout history that ‘Jews’ were called on to prove they were truly converting to Christianity (and not just pretending for reasons of personal advantage) was by eating pork! It even became traditional to eat ham on ‘Easter/Ishtar’ to celebrate the "triumph of Christ over the old Jewish ways". How sick is that!!!!

But this could not be further from the spirit of יהושע the Messiah or His earliest followers who wrote the New Testament.

But Didn't He Declare All Foods Clean?

This is a widespread belief that highlights the very real danger inherent in building doctrines based on English translations that were steered by the adherence to traditions and doctrines of man rather than the Truth of the original Scriptures.

One popular version of Marqos/Mark 7:18-19 reads,

"...whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated. (Thus He declared all foods clean.)"

Yet what the Greek from which it was translated actually says is the following:

"...because it does not enter into his heart, but into his stomach, and goes out into the toilet, purging all foods."

The word for "purging" is the word καθαρίζω katharizō – Strong’s G2511 from which we get "catharsis"--i.e., a cleaning-out. In other words, the body cleans itself out naturally. "Catharsis" can mean "cleansing", but this does not fit the grammatical context.

The whole phrase "thus he declared" is nowhere to be found in the original!

If He did mean to contradict יהוה's earlier instruction, then He was, by His own measure, someone of very little consequence:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:19 "Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.

No, יהוה did not change His mind. He still considers eating swine's flesh abominable.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:4 “who sit among the graves, and spend the night in secret places, who eat flesh of pigs, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 66:17 “those who set themselves apart and cleanse themselves at the gardens after ‘One’ in the midst, eating flesh of pigs and the abomination and the mouse, are snatched away, together,” declares יהוה.

יהושע was not even talking about different kinds of food in Marqos/Mark 6. What He did mean is clear; He explains in the next verse that men don't have to eat with unclean hands in order to be defiled; they are already defiled by what is in their hearts. Getting a little dirt from unwashed hands into one's system (which is what started the argument in the first place and had nothing to do with what ‘foods’ were being eaten) is so minor in comparison to that, that it is basically a joke.

When Sha’ul says things like, "Nothing is unclean in itself" or "One man has faith that he may eat anything", we have to remember that every Scripture must be taken within the parameters set by the earlier Scriptures. Most of what he said about foods had to do with meat offered to idols, anyway, not unclean meats!!!

They were not even considered food to start with, so they were already excluded from the question.

Whatever he said has to fit with the rest of Scripture, especially the five books of Mosheh (The Torah):

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 8:20 "To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak.

 

Wasn't Kěpha/Peter Told to Eat Unclean Beasts?

This is another wrong assumption that many have believed under a false and twisted system of man-made dogmas that have disregarded the commands of Elohim.

Shim‘on Kěpha, one of יהושע’s closest followers, had a vision in Yapho (Joppa, in which a sheet full of all kinds of animals, clean and unclean, was lowered from the sky. He was told, "Arise, Kěpha, kill and eat!" (Ma’asei/Acts 10) When he objected, he was told, "What יהוה has cleansed, do not call unclean." So that means יהוה cleansed every kind of food after all, right? We can eat now anything without being concerned about those old-fashioned regulations? NO, NO and again NO!!!

That's not the message Kěpha (Peter) got from this vision. In fact, after the same thing had happened three times, he was still very puzzled about what this could mean (verse 17). He knew Scripture well enough to know what it could not mean, but what did it mean? The answer came right away. Some Gentile men were at the door of the house where he was lodging, and when Kěpha (Peter) told them the story of what had happened, he made clear what the only meaning that he had drawn from it was:

Ma’asei/Acts 10:34-35 "And opening his mouth, Kěpha said, “Truly I see that Elohim shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation, he who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

It was people, not food that יהוה was concerned about! (See Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:9-10.) The sheet of unclean animals was just an illustration.

Now, there is much to say for the physical benefits of the diet יהוה prescribed:

Shemoth/Exodus 15:26" And He said, “If you diligently obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim and do what is right in His eyes, and shall listen to His commands and shall guard all His laws, I shall bring on you none of the diseases I brought on the Mitsrites, for I am יהוה who heals you.

In a very real way, "we are what we eat". Eating blood has indeed been found to cause many types of cancer. The danger of trichinosis from eating pork is well known. Shellfish are actually poisonous several months out of the year. And we could go on and on. So yes, there are definitely hygienic reasons to eat clean foods as the Scriptures define them.

But this reason can only be taken so far. The priests who worked in the Temple had to have a doctor on hand because of the stomach problems they incurred by eating so much meat, yet they were obeying יהוה by doing so.

Ultimately:

Romiyim/Romans 14:17 "For the reign of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Set-apart Spirit." יהוה is concerned about what we eat as we learn from it more and more how we are to be a set-apart people who walk in Righteousness. The main point of the dietary laws is what they teach us. Now this verse in Romiyim does not cancel the literal commands:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 23:23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you tithe the mint and the anise and the cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah: the right-ruling and the compassion and the belief. These need to have been done, without neglecting the others."

יהושע said that we are to get to the heart of the matter; but we can't learn much from what we aren't doing. But יהוה constantly reiterates that we must both "do and observe" the things He commands us to and not just "jump through hoops", but find out the deeper meaning behind the loving instruction of our Heavenly Father. It is a gift He gives to help us know Him better. Do we really want to refuse such a gift?

So What Kind of Things Can we Learn from properly following the instructed ‘food laws’?

Clean animals must both have a divided hoof and chew the cud (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14:7), like the cow, sheep, goat, or deer. A divided hoof makes an animal sure-footed. The three pilgrimage-festivals are literally called "three feet" (or legs) in Hebrew. (Shemoth/Exodus 23:14) A three-legged piece of furniture is the most stable. If we follow יהוה's calendar instead of man's, we will have stability. Our "walk" also means the way we live out our faith.

Chewing the cud, as a cow does, is a picture of meditating on יהוה 's Word "day and night" (Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8) -- i.e., over and over, until it goes deep into our hearts and can be eventually feed those who are young in faith.

A pig, on the other hand, has a cloven hoof and therefore looks clean on the outside. His "walk" may look wonderful, but it will eat anything and cannot pass impurities from its body since it cannot sweat. It is a picture of indiscriminately taking in any and every "wind of doctrine", whether from יהוה or men. So we are not to eat swine.

A couple of interesting pictures we can learn from that which is clean for us to eat and teach us more than simply the object of our food is:

As I have mentioned already – chew the cud and split hoof – speaks of us being able to be sure-footed and stable in our walk. A mountain goat with its split hoof can climb a rugged mountain cliff with relative ease as its split hoofs provide great stability even in the toughest terrains! We are to rightly divide/handle the Word:

Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.

We can only do this if we are not ‘eating’ all the twisted and unclean junk out there; and so, by eating what is declared clean for us to eat, helps us be aware of how we are to watch what ‘teachings’ we eat.

Often people reminisce of how they used to love prawns and crayfish and mussels etc. – well this week’s Torah portion makes it very clear in stating 3 times very clearly that they are to be an abomination to you!!! They are ‘cleaners’ and eat all the junk in the sea – it is not for us to eat and be contaminated by their poisons!!!

Again, a picture of how we are not to simply fish for any doctrine that may sound pleasing and taste edible without having tested to see if it has some ‘fins and scales’ – a picture of whether it lines up with the precepts and commands of Elohim!

 

Verse 22-23

Tithe without fail year by year and eat before יהוה where he chooses – so you can learn to fear יהוה!

This tithe is not the tithe that belongs to the Lĕwite - because that already belongs to the priesthood. This is the second tithe that is to be brought for the Feasts and more specifically the Feast of Sukkot (the Feast of ingathering) and for a whole week 10% of one’s crop was to be eaten – that is a whole lot of food and would certainly make sure that all would be able to partake together!

Here we see the need to make the right choice in regards to finances and resources of our income – it is His way or your own way! Sadly, so many choose their own way and wonder why they can never truly rejoice in Elohim, and making right choices with our finances will cause us to learn to fear יהוה, walk in all His ways and love Him by guarding to do all His commands.  There was provision for those who were not able to “carry their tithe a long distance” – they could give it in silver and but whatever they desired to buy and take to the feast.

 

Verse 28 – the 3rd tithe

At the end of every 3 years a third tithe would be brought out and stored up within each one’s gates and be used to feed the Lĕwite, sojourner, fatherless and widow. This kind of obedience would certainly ensure that the disadvantaged would suffer no lack and as a result of obedience יהוה would cause the givers to prosper, ensuring no lack in the land!

Taking care of the widows and orphans is what Ya’aqoḇ called pure religion:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:27 “Clean and undefiled religion before the Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

In light of these instructions, we can learn that the way to stay unstained from the world and its systems of enslavement through debt, is to obey the commands of Elohim and be faithful in giving according to His Torah, without the claws of materialism that is sadly causing so many to go into huge debt and in the process are unable to even give the first tithe, let alone the contributions, freewill offerings, vowed offerings, second tithe for feasts and a third tithe every third year for the poor and needy!

 

CHAPTER 15

This chapter carries a very clear command on forgiveness and the very first verse speaks a great deal in announcing to us that after 7 years debts were to be released! In Hebrew the number “7” is associated with the understanding of completion, especially with regards to fulfilling an oath, as the word for “7” in Hebrew is שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651 and it is from this word that we get the word for ‘oath’ - שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 meaning, to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’. An ‘oath’ is typically and obligation taken upon yourself rather than that which is imposed upon you.

To “swear” in Scripture (which is also the root word שָׁבַע shaḇa) was to give one’s sure and promised unbreakable word in testimony, that the one swearing would faithfully perform some promised deed, or that he would faithfully refrain from some evil act. Occasionally we see in Scripture that one ‘swore’ that he freely acknowledged a truth and would continue to acknowledge it in the future by sticking to what he has heard.

In Hebrew, when one promises to complete something, it is considered ‘done’ and the word could be depended upon; that what was said would be accomplished.

Understanding that ‘7’ speaks of completion, we can recognise our need to release the debts of others because of the complete work and forgiveness that has been given us a release from our transgression or debts!

The word for release is שְׁמִטָּה shemittah – Strong’s H8059 which means, release, a letting drop, remission and is from the primitive root שָׁמַט shamat – Strong’s H8058 which means, to let go, release, throw down.

The Hebrew word שְׁמִטָּה shemittah – Strong’s H8059 is only used 4 times in Scripture (3 times in this Chapter 15 of Deḇarim/Deuteronomy and once in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 31:10) and is a word that highlights for us our need to release debts and forgive!

What we can learn here is how we are to not hold on to debts; in other words, we are to let go of our debtors, and we can do that immediately because of the complete life, death and resurrection of Messiah – and as He taught us to pray, we see that our ability to release is of great importance!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

In Mattithyahu/Matthew 18:21-35 יהושע teaches us a great lesson on forgiveness, after Kěpha asked Him how many times should he forgive a brother who sins against him, and he thought he was being very cold by asking ‘up to 7 times’, especially when it was widely taught by the Pharisees that up to 3 times was sufficient; yet יהושע answers clearly that there is no limit when He said seventy times seven – in one day! And the lesson here is that we are not to ‘keep score’ on who owes us but rather that we are to learn to release and forgive, no matter how long or often it takes, especially when the ones you forgive/release keep sinning against you!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father shall also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither shall your Father forgive your trespasses.

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind towards one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as Elohim also forgave you in Messiah.

יהושע came to proclaim ‘release’ to captives and therefore we have no excuse not to release, as we have been!

Luqas/Luke 4: 18-19 “The Spirit of יהוה is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away crushed ones with a release, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה.

While this was certainly a word brought in a Yoḇel year which also speaks of ‘release’ in terms of being able to return to one’s own land, we can also see how that a Yoḇel year comes at the end of 7 cycles of 7 years and therefore the 50th year is at the end of a 7th year and Messiah therefore fully meets the requirements of this Torah by releasing our debts through His offering up of His own life, and we who now live in Him must forgive and release our debtors immediately!

 

Verse 2 begins to explain the manner in which you release – i.e. ‘this is how you do it

This release is called the release of יהוה and so needs to be adhered to, as יהוה does not want any of His chosen owing any debts, and through this 7-year cycle He provided a means of cancelling debts, and no matter what was owed to you, at the end of every 7 years every creditor was to release what he had loaned to his neighbour.

Now while you may still require what was owed by a foreigner, what we see as being the focus here is the need for our to realise how we each play a part in ensuring that the needs of the Bride is met, and not releasing debt to a brother cripples his ability to ‘get ready’!

Romiyim/Romans13:8 “Owe no one any matter except to love one another, for he who loves another has filled the Torah.

 

Verse 7-11

Generosity is greatly encouraged in the Torah and we are not to harden our hearts, nor shut our hand from the poor brother among us, if it is within our means and ability to help we should do so with joy!

Verse 11 tells us that there will always be poor and needy people in our communities/fellowships and there is therefore always the opportunity to obey these commands on generosity that certainly test the hearts of every believer. When we are truly taking care of one another then there would be no cause for any worry about being cared for as we recognise that there may be times when one has the means to care for others today, while tomorrow he is cared for by those who were looked after yesterday; and Sha’ul explains this in:

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 8:12-15 “For if the readiness is present, it is well received according to what one has, not according to what he does not have – 13 not, however, that others should be eased and you hard pressed, 14 but by fair sharing, that now at this time your plenty for their need, so that their plenty might also be for your need – that there might be fair sharing. 15 As it has been written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had not less.

Do not hold back in helping others, and do not expect anything in return. When it tells us that we are to be on guard, lest there be any thought of Beliya’al in our heart saying that they year of release is near therefore we cannot help because we would lose out, then we are to recognise that this is a wicked and selfish way of thinking, which does not please יהוה at all.

Luqas/Luke 6:30-35 “And give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away what is yours do not ask it back. 31 “And as you wish men should do to you, you also do to them in the same way. 32 “And if you love those loving you, what favour have you? For sinners, too, love those loving them. 33 “And if you do good to those doing good to you, what favour have you? For even sinners do the same. 34 “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive back, what favour have you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 “Rather, love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting none in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be sons of the Most High. Because He is kind to the thankless and wicked ones.

What יהושע is saying here is that while we ‘could’ require payback from foreigners (or our enemies), as described in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 15:3, we should not do so and therefore, He further lifts the bar/standards of generosity here in telling us to do good to all and lend to others, without any expectation in return.

יהושע also tells us in Mattithyahu/Matthew 26:11 that we will always have the poor among us, and so our hearts and hands should always be ready to help when we can.

Poor and needy – is there a difference? In many ways it represents differing needs.

The word for ‘poor’ is אֶבְיוֹן eḇyon – Strong’s H34 meaning, in want, needy, poor and may represent one who is poor in a material sense; he may have lost his ancestral land, may be without clothing or lack food, and could be a picture of a person who has fallen due to hard times and יהוה has provided instructions in His Torah that would cause a ‘poor’ one to find help from his brothers in time of need.

The word for ‘needy’ is עָנִי ani – Strong’s H6041 meaning, poor, afflicted, humble, oppressed and primarily refers to a person who suffering some kind of disability or distress, and the one who is afflicted lives literally day to day, is often socially defenceless and is subject to constant oppression.

For both the poor and needy we have been instructed to not close our hand to a brother who is poor and in want, or is afflicted and oppressed!

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:16-18 “By this we have known love, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his tender affections from him, how does the love of Elohim stay in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Many do not need you to lend money or physical things, but do have a great need for sound advice, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.  Be generous to both. 

Verse 12-18 – release of male and female servants

This verse speaks of when you buy a ‘Hebrew’ servant. This is not ‘slavery’ to a foreigner but speaking of a ‘servant’ within Yisra’ĕl. One would become a servant of another if you needed to get out of debt and sold yourself to serve out that debt and therefore you became the property of the one to whom you have been sold.

A Hebrew servant was not seen as a slave in the way they were slaves in Mitsrayim, but rather were seen as one of the family that has to serve as a servant until they could be released from their duty or service. The right-ruling here is that he serves for 6 years and is allowed to go free in the 7th. Being a slave in Aḇraham’s house was better than the condition of most other free men in his time. Think about the parable of the Prodigal son who realised that is was better for the slaves in his father’s house than for him as a slave in a pig sty, being enslaved to a foreigner! While saying this we must still realise that being a Hebrew servant was not taken lightly because he was agreeing to do whatever his buyer would tell him to do for 6 years.

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 7:23 “You were bought with a price, do not become slaves of men.

We were bought at a price – יהושע paid the price for us and now we are His bondservants and must not become the slaves of men by selling ourselves into their hands due to debt and enslavement to sin!

A slave would sell himself to pay off his debt – יהושע has paid our immeasurable debt – a debt that we could never work off – he paid in full – that we can be set free from the world and slavery to man and faithfully serve Him as a faithful servant. A Hebrew servant refers to one who has crossed-over and so does not refer to those who were captured in war etc.

Verse 13-14 – When a servant is let go after 7 years, he is not to leave empty handed, but rather should go out in a better position than what he came in, so that he does not have to become somebody else’s slave/servant due to lack!

There is opportunity for 6 years to teach the servant skills that he could take with him and use after he has left!

The instruction is very clear here – richly supply him from your flock, threshing floor and winepress – do not hold back but rather give him generously!

Qolasim/Colossians 4:1 “Masters, give your servants what is righteous and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in the heavens.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.

Verse 15 – remember that you were slaves in Mitsrayim and יהוה ransomed you!!! Don’t withhold what is rightfully required from your brother who has served you; and do not make anyone have to become a slave again. Do to your brother as יהוה did to you – in richly supplying you all your needs!

Verse 16-17 – when the servant wants to stay!

At the end of the 6 years of service, if the servant does not want to leave but wished to stay with you, because he loves you and your house, and it is good for him there then he will serve you forever!

If a servant truly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children, let me not go free’ (Shemoth/Exodus 21:5-6) ... then he shall serve his master forever!

As we look at these verses from Shemoth together with what is being given here in Deḇarim regarding the choice a servant makes to remain with his master forever we can fully understand the nature of becoming a bondservant of Messiah!

The servant who says he wants to stay because he loves his master and his master’s house and it is good for him to stay is pretty much the same statement of faith that we make, as servants of Messiah, of our Master! When we too have made the good confession, and declare our love for our Elohim and Saviour then we serve Him forever – yet there was something that was to happen – let us see how that applies to us today!

Firstly, we must note that the servant is declaring his love for his master… notice that his master comes first and it is the same with us today:

Luqas/Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, he is unable to be My taught one.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Love for our Master comes first!!! This does not in any way diminish our love for our spouse or children, but reflects the true nature of our love that without such fervent love for our master we are truly unable to show complete love in service to our family – but love for Him must always be our primary focus that will cause us to flow with a genuine love for others! In a declaration of our love for our master – here it says if a servant truly says – this is vital for us to understand, as there are many today who say they love Elohim, yet their love is not expressed in obedience to His instructions and is not made vocally with a loud voice of faith! This love speaks of a true and complete commitment to Him. Those who claim to ‘stay’ in His house yet do not love Him by obeying Him; they then are thieves and not servants! This is a call for voluntary service – we have been bought at a price and it is for freedom that he has set us free, yet we choose to be His bondservant!

Romiyim/Romans 10:9-13 “That if you confess with your mouth the Master יהושע and believe in your heart that Elohim has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, and so is saved. 11 Because the Scripture says, “Whoever puts his trust in Him shall not be put to shame.”12 Because there is no distinction between Yehuḏite and Greek, for the same Master of all is rich to all those calling upon Him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the Name of יהוה shall be saved.

When a servant says to you “I am not going away from you” – it speaks of one making a clear and definite choice with the intent for others to hear it!

If this be the case: Take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door! Now let me make it clear that we do not pierce people’s ears today like this in order to become of permanent servants; but let us understand the lesson we clearly learn from this as this Torah still applies to us today in a spiritual sense:

Bring him to the door יהושע tells us in Yoḥanan/John 10:7 that He is the door of the sheep. We who declare our love for our Master who has bought us at a price – we come to Him and declare our desire to forever belong to Him.

Doorpost – it was to the ‘doorpost’ that the ear was ‘pinned to’ and we know that it is on the doorposts of our home and gates where we are commanded to write the Ten Words upon; and is a constant reminder to us as we go out and come in that we guard to do all He has commanded us to. It was on the doorpost that Yisra’ĕl was to apply the blood of the Pěsaḥ Lamb, and so too today we are to have His commands written upon the doorposts of our hearts!

Pierce the ear – the ear speaks of the ability to hear and allow His word to be heard as it is, even as it pierces!

Too many today who claim to be servants of Messiah only want their ears ‘tickled’ and not ‘pierced’ with the Truth.

The piercing of the ear to the doorpost would be symbolic of the servant now belonging to the house and be submitted to the authority of the house. So many today are unwilling to submit to authority like this! If they do not like what they ‘hear’ they all too quickly rush off to find another assembly where they will hear what they like, yet never show true commitment and submission!

The piercing of the ear would show a permanent decision that could not be reversed.

Our relationship to יהוה begins with the command to "hear", so the ear is the appropriate place to bear this reminder of whom we have chosen to belong to. To commit to the house means to commit to the rulings of the house, which are written on the doorposts—to say, “I hear what you are saying and will guard to do all I hear!

Tehillah/Psalm 40:6 “Slaughtering and meal offering You did not desire; You have opened my ears; Burnt offering and sin offering You did not ask for.

He has opened our ears, so that we can hear and obey!

The piercing of the ear to the doorpost where the Torah is written shows us the commitment to the commands of the House and יהושע, who is the door, and was pierced for our transgressions and it is to Him we listen and make our choice to commit to living in obedience to Him – the Living Torah!

He who has ears – ears that are ‘pierced’ - that is committed by choice to follow Messiah – let Him hear His right-rulings and live by them! We must beware of ear ticklers who have the appearance of a door that has no commands upon them – tickling ears will listen gladly to a lawless doorpost!

Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 4:3 “For there shall be a time when they shall not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they shall heap up for themselves teachers tickling the ear,

We are now bondservants of the Most-High:

Sha’ul was:

Romiyim/Romans 1:1 “Sha’ul, a servant of יהושע Messiah, a called emissary, separated to the Good News of Elohim

Ya’aqoḇ, the half-brother of Yahushua was:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:1 “Ya’aqoḇ, a servant of Elohim and of the Master יהושע Messiah, to the twelve tribes who are in the dispersion: Greetings.

Kěpha was:

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 1:1Shimʽon Kěpha, a servant and emissary of יהושע Messiah, to those who have obtained a belief as precious as ours by the righteousness of our Elohim and Saviour יהושע Messiah

Yehuḏah was:

Yehuḏah/Jude 1:1 “Yehuḏah, a servant of יהושע Messiah, and brother of Ya’aqoḇ, to those who are called, set-apart by Elohim the Father, and preserved in יהושע Messiah

As a servant of יהושע Messiah we declare our commitment to hear – guard and do!

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 2:24And a servant of the Master should not quarrel but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient when wronged

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 44:1 “But now hear, O Ya’aqoḇ My servant, and Yisra’ĕl whom I have chosen.

But now hear – וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע – ‘v’attah shama’ – עַתָּה attah – Strong’s H6258 means now, at this timeand with the conjunction of the letter - וְ – ‘waw’ in renders ‘and now’ or ‘but now’, and here the emphasis on the call to ‘hear now’ is very clear and the word in Hebrew for ‘Hear’ is the root word שָׁמַעshama’ – Strong’s H8085, which carries the meaning not just simply to hear, but rather to ‘listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’.

Understanding our need to be a people who are listening attentively and giving heed to His Word in a time when most are not let us recognise that this is certainly the time to now be a hearing and discerning and obeying people!

The call to hear is to His called out and chosen servants. The word used here in the Hebrew for servant is עֶבֶד eḇeḏ – Strong’s H5650 meaning, ‘servant, slave, bondservant, and as a child of Yisra’ĕl, which we have become by the Blood of Messiah, we are servants of יהוה:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:55 “Because the children of Yisra’ĕl are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.

The Hebrew word עֶבֶד eḇeḏ is used 800 times in the Tanak (O.T.) and is used as a noun and comes from the primitive root verb עָבַד aḇaḏ – Strong’s H5647 meaning, ‘to work, serve, observe, do the work, cultivate, worship’ and carries the understanding of ‘expending considerable energy and intensity in performing a task or function’ – in other words – ‘giving it your all’!

In the ancient pictographic script, the Hebrew word עֶבֶד eḇeḏ is pictured as:

daletbeitayin

Ayin  - עֶ  - The original pictograph for this letter is ayin and represents the idea of seeing and watching, as well as knowledge as the eye is the window of knowledge

Beyt בֶ  -  The ancient script has this letter as beit, which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.

Dalet – דThe ancient script has this letter as dalet, which is a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of a back and forth movement, as one goes back and forth through a tent door and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access. And we also know that Messiah is ‘the Door’, for we only are able to have access into the Kingdom through Him!

When we look at this word in the ancient script for a servant, we can see that it speaks of:

ONE WHO WATCHES AT THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE

And this is what our Master calls us to do; and when we consider that יהושע Messiah is The Door, then we further see our need to continually be looking at Him, and praising Him as we diligently are serving in spirit and truth, guarding to do all His commands – and this is how we too keep watch over the House/Body of Messiah with true joy!

The equivalent Greek word for servant is δοῦλος doulos – Strong’s G1401 and is translated as, ‘slave, servant, bondservant, bondslaves – both men and women’.

In the Greek mind-set where there is the service/duty of a ‘doulos’ (slave) and obedience required by a slave, the right of self-government is seen to be set aside, and another’s takes precedence of one’s own, with the thinking that you have no right to govern self as another governs you by their standards.

Now while we must understand that the Greek city state was very dependent upon the ‘service’ of its citizens – they gave ‘service’ with all their powers and often even with life itself; however, what is repudiated in the Greek mind is ‘service’ after the manner of the ‘doulos’; who not only has absolutely no possibility of evading the tasks that have been laid upon him, but he also has no right of personal choice but must rather do what another will have done and refrain from doing what another will not have done! In the ‘doulos’ the free Greek world always sees its own antitype – and in the ‘doulos’ the concept of performing the duties of a slave it sees the perversion of its own nature of freedom. Hence the Greek mind-set can only reject and scorn the slightest resemblance to that of a slave. With the Greek concept of Elohim there is in fact no place for this word ‘doulos’ being used as an expression of religious relationship and service. So in essence what I am trying to tell you is simply this – to the Greek mind, serving according to the manner of a ‘doulos’ is not on – they will serve, yes, as long as it fits in with their needs and they are in agreement with the requirements and so may even respond saying, I will do what you ask, if it makes sense to me and I can fit it in to my way of thinking and naturally the Greek mind-set will resist the concept of I will submit and obey and do what you command, even if I do not understand.

I find this very fascinating as it certainly begins to uncover and explain the resistance by so many to submit and serve Elohim according to His Torah!

One of the major reasons for this resistance of the concept of a ‘doulos’ is that this word comes from the word δέω deō – Strong’s G1210 which means, ‘to bind, tie, put in chains, prisoner’. Certainly, this concept of seeming ‘enslavement’ is greatly rejected by the Greek mind-set who claims its own freedom and understandably rejects the notion to be commanded to obey the Torah!

I clearly remember being sharply rebuked by a man a few years ago who plainly stated that whenever I would say, “You must do…” or “You have to…” in any message he would resist that tone and reject the instruction and say that I cannot tell him that he must do anything!!! Well now I have come to understand just how the effect of Greek thinking has penetrated many minds in their approach to the Truth and as a result refuse to become true servants or a ‘doulos’ of Messiah!

Now while this word or concept is greatly rejected by a Greek mind-set we see in the Greek text very clearly that this word is used 127 times in the Renewed Writings (N.T.)

In fact, we are told that Messiah took the form of a ‘doulos’:

Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:7 “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men.

In the Hebraic mind-set becoming a bondservant of Messiah is not a burden, in fact it is a burden to not become one, and we recognise that we are no longer our own and that He has bought us at a price and we have made the choice to serve. He makes it clear for us – choose life or death – we choose life and with that choice comes the responsibility to live as He commands and give an account of how we have lived and managed His property when He returns. When we make the choice to become a bondservant of Messiah forever, we are in a way relinquishing our own ‘right to choose’ any other options to serving in our own manner or way of understanding as we accept by choice to submit and obey whatever He commands us to!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12:8 “Do not do as we are doing here today – each one doing whatever is right in his own eyes.

It is to the ‘doulos’ of Messiah that the Ḥazon/Revelation of Messiah has been given in order to show us what must take place speedily (Ḥazon/Revelation 1:1); and it is the ‘doulos’ of Messiah who are sealed on the forehead (Ḥazon 7:3); and it will be the ‘doulos’ of Messiah that will serve Him (Ḥazon/Revelation 22:3).

As we recognise who our Master is then may we be a people who recognise that we have chosen to serve and we are to be found serving with great joy and not be found to be lazy in our duty and responsibility that He has given us as He has given us all collectively many talents for which He expects a 100% harvest of fruitfulness back. How are you serving the Master, while He has gone on a journey? Have you been struggling with the Greek mind-set of resistance to submit and obey to the Master’s will or do you embrace the true Hebraic mind-set of our faith in Messiah, our Master and are giving your all?

 

You cannot serve Elohim and mammon!!!

We are no longer ‘slaves/servants’ or a doulos’ of sin, but have been set free from sin so that we are now a ‘doulos’ (still a servant/slave) to righteousness and we must serve our Master with our all – the very thing Sha’ul speaks about in Romiyim/Romans 6 – he was, among other things, explaining the different mind-set approaches to being a ‘doulos’!!!

Romiyim/Romans 6: 16-18 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17 But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.

You are a ‘doulos’ of the one you obey, even if it of self, but we who were a ‘doulos’ of sin, obeyed from the heart that form of teaching – what is written upon our hearts? The Torah – we have obeyed the teaching of the Torah – the very Word we have been entrusted with as a ‘doulos’ of The Master and are now free from sin, equipped to be a good and faithful ‘doulos’ of righteousness, which is to guard to do all our Master commands us to do!!!

 

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, receiving an unshakeable reign, let us hold the favour, through which we serve Elohim pleasingly with reverence and awe

The same ruling applied to the female servant and we can learn from Ruth, who was free to leave Na’omi, but chose not to because of her love for Yisra’ĕl and she declared that the Elohim of Na’omi would be here Elohim and in a sense, chose to ‘hear, guard and do’ what a Yisra’ĕlite would do in obeying Elohim completely!

Verse 18

If a servant wanted to leave – don’t be upset for he has served you well and is worth his wages and has been worth a double hired servant. Be good to your servants and יהוה will bless you in all that you do!

Verse 19-23

The firstborn of the herd and flock are to be set-apart to יהוה, and you are not allowed to work with the firstborn of the herd or shear the firstborn of the flock – for that would cause you to have an ability to generate income and provision form what belongs to יהוה! The firstborn of the herd and flock are to be brought as offerings to יהוה and eaten in the place He chooses; while the hide and wool belongs to the Lěwites.

We see a theme being carried through this chapter on forgiveness and release; and so here too we are reminded to not hold onto and use what belongs to יהוה. That which is to be given to יהוה cannot be used for personal benefit!

In verse 21 we see that any firstborn of the herd or flock that had a defect was not to be slaughtered to יהוה. This speaks about not bringing to יהוה what is blemished!!!

 

Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:7-8 “You are presenting defiled food on My altar. But you asked, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ Because you say, ‘The table of יהוה is despicable.’ 8 “And when you present the blind as a slaughtering, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Bring it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favourably?” said יהוה of hosts.

What we can learn from this is that when we understand that we are to be a living sacrifice, and as we are ‘in’ Messiah who is the ‘firstborn’ among the dead and of all creation, we must realise that we cannot bring unto יהוה a blemished or defective walk of faith!

If there is any defect in our daily walk, then we are unable to present our bodies as a living sacrifice! So many people give their second best to יהוה, while they will ensure that they give their best to their employers and friends. For instance, a simple example would be how many today have no regard for their care for proper time-keeping when it comes to the Feasts of יהוה, and will always have an excuse why they were either late or could not attend fellowship as commanded, yet they will never be late for a business meeting in fear of them losing their jobs!!!

I think that many employers would be disgusted with the work ethic of their employees if they compromised as much as they do with obeying the commands of Elohim – do not bring a defective worship to Elohim!!!

CHAPTER 16

Here we are reminded of the feasts of יהוה, and we are given the clear choice on worship – it is His way or the world’s!!!

His Feasts are His Appointed Times and they are our appointments with the Creator – and as I mentioned in the previous chapter – many today would not dare be late or miss their appointments for work, or even for social events or family gatherings, yet they will tend to find various excuses for not adhering to the clear requirements for the Appointments with our Creator! What is wonderful for us is that we know exactly when His Feasts take place and therefore we have more than enough time to plan and ensure we do not forsake the gathering of the set-apart ones, as some are in the habit of doing!!!

For more info on these Feasts please see the Torah portion notes on Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23.

What I will do however is highlight some key words that ought to help us to ‘keep’ יהוה Appointed Times!

What is Aḇiḇ?

Aḇiḇ refers to a stage that occurs in the development of the barley crops. The meaning of the word Aḇiḇ is the stage in the growth of grain when the seeds have reached full size and are filling with starch, but have not dried yet.

Shemoth/Exodus 9:31 “And the flax and the barley were smitten, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.

The word used for ‘in the head’ is ‘Aḇiḇ’ - אָבִיב- Strong’s H24 meaning, ‘fresh, young ears and indicates for us the stage of the barley at the time of the plague of hail. What is interesting for us to notice here is that the barley was damaged, but as you read the next verse we see that the wheat and the spelt were not. This gives us clear indication that ‘Aḇiḇ’ is a stage of growth that has passed the early development of ‘green ears’, for as they develop they become lighter in colour and more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed, and the wheat was not, is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Aḇiḇ and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. 

The first month of the year begins at the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon closest to the equinox, when the barley is ‘Aḇiḇ’ – or ‘ripe in the ear’. We have certainly taken note over the past few years in our own observations that the barley is ALWAYS ‘Aḇiḇ’ after the equinox (spring in Northern Hemisphere and autumn in Southern Hemisphere).

This not only marks for us the clear starting point but also carries great symbolic significance for us as we know that a phrase used very often in Scripture is, ‘he who has an ear to hear’, and what this shows us is the following – that when you are ripe in the ear – that is that when your ear is attentive to the very Living Word – the Torah (instructions) of יהוה, then you are able to begin your ‘journey’ of faith in the Living Word!

The barley being Aḇiḇ is a clear confirmation of the seasonal change that the sun brings in, as plants and crops begin to become green and blossom and therefore we take note that the term Aḇiḇ is a clear reference to SPRING and the greening and flowering process that is evident in the fields! Aḇiḇ is not limited to barley alone, but can be understood as the marker that SPRING is happening and the new moon closest to the equinox would herald in the head of the year, especially as we take note that the barley is ALWAYS Aḇiḇ after the ‘spring’ equinox!

2-3 weeks after the beginning of the first month the barley moves on from being ‘Aḇiḇ’ and is ready to be brought as a ‘wave-sheaf’ offering which is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the day after the Sabbath during the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread) – on the 1st day of the week known as First Fruits – ‘bikkurim’ as described in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:10-11.

One thing worth mentioning here is the fact that we see the term in the Scriptures 2009 edition the word ‘perform’ in regard to the Pěsaḥ/Passover!!!

It is the primitive root word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 and means, to do, make, accomplish, perform, practice, observe’.

To ‘perform’ the Pěsaḥ we must be ‘doing it’ as we rehearse this Feast as commanded each year. Simply just reading about it is not performing it!

Matzot – No leaven for 7 days!

It is during this week that we eat bread without leaven and there is to be no leaven found within our borders before the feast begins and is a picture of getting rid of sin, which is often pictured in Scripture as leaven.

On the 1st day there is a set-apart gathering and then on the 7th day too. What we normally do is on every other day we gather for a time of worship and fellowship and so ‘bring an offering made by fire’ for 7 days as we come each day with a burning passion to rejoice together as a body being knit and having been cleansed of all leaven!

Shaḇuoth – Feast of Weeks

Please see sermon notes on a message called, “IT’S SHAVUOT – WE ARE MARRIED!” from our site (http://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2012/2013’ menu or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2012-2013/204-it-s-shavuot-we-are-married

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

Please see sermon notes on a message called, “IT’S SUKKOT – REJOICE, REJOICE AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!” from our site (http://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2011/2012’ menu or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/~atfotc/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2011-2012/205-it-s-sukkot-rejoice-rejoice-and-again-i-say-rejoice

What is well worth noting here in verse 13, in the command to keep Sukkot, is the clear command when this takes place. Now we know that the Feast of Sukkot is from the 15th of the 7th month for 7 days, and on the 8th day is the closing ceremony, as instructed for to us clearly from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23. However, what is a wonderful proof text of the time of the ‘ingathering’ of Yisra’ĕl, is right here.

It clearly tells us that we keep the Feast of Sukkot AFTER the INGATHERING FROM your THRESHING FLOOR and from your WINEPRESS!!! The threshing floor and winepress points clearly to the final Yom Kippur when יהושע Messiah comes out of the Set-Apart Place in the Heavens and puts on His Kingly Royal garments and comes to tread the ‘winepress in His wrath’ – having put all His enemies under His feet. This trampling of the winepress and the separation of the sheep from the goats, and like the ‘threshing floor’ – the ‘chaff is removed from the wheat’, or better understood in the Parable of the wheat and the darnel that grows up together until harvest time and the darnel is plucked out and set aside for the fire!!! The Feast of Sukkot, also regarding or known as the Feast of Ingathering, is because it is the Feast that will be fulfilled after the ingathering that takes place from the threshing floor and the winepress – in other words from Yom Kippur for 4 days until all the True Yisra’ĕl are gathered from all the nations and are taken by Messiah to Yerushalayim where the Great Sukkot Feast where He himself will dwell among us will take place! The gathering of the true takes place after the removal of the false, and thereafter the rejoicing Feast of the Wonderful Ingathering shall take place!!!

This Feast we are commanded to ‘rejoice’ and we see the word for rejoice here in verse 14 in the Hebrew is שָׂמַחsama’ H8055 and means, ‘to rejoice, be glad, be joyful, delight in and be elated’. A derivative of this word is שָׂמֵחַsamea’ H8056 and carries the same meaning as well as implying ‘to be merry’. Both of these words, which we have already taken a look at in the ancient pictographic script, are used in the command to rejoice in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:14 & 15.

The word sama can also carry the meaning ‘to brighten up’, giving us the picture how we are to carry His joy as the light of the world and let praise and rejoicing abound! It is a command that tells us that our rejoicing must be an outward expression of true joy, seen by all and as we ‘brighten up’ we are to cause others to be ‘brightened up’ with a rejoicing heart too!!!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12:12 “And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim, you and your sons and your daughters, and your male servants and your female servants, and the Lĕwite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of יהוה shall return and enter Tsiyon with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

This again is wonderful ‘Feast’ time language as we see that the joy of returning as the ransomed are gathered after Yom Kippur, that the sorrow and sighing (typically associated with Yom Kippur) shall flee away!!!

This Feast teaches us that we should not only be rejoicing at the command of the Feast, but that we should always be a rejoicing people, rejoicing and bringing true praise to יהוה who has called us out of darkness into his Marvellous Light!!!

Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:10as sad, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having none, and yet possessing all.

Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in יהוה always, again I say, rejoice!

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always

Romiyim/Romans 12:12 “rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer

We do not rejoice in the authority we have been given in Messiah, but rather we rejoice in the fact that He has written our Names in the heavens:

Luqas/Luke 10:20 “See, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and none at all shall hurt you. 20 “But do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names have been written in the heavens.

Messiah also reminds us to rejoice when we face heated persecutions:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you, for My sake. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in the heavens is great. For in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

One thing that is very clear from this portion, and that is that we have been given a very clear choice – a choice to ‘see’ – that is to ‘look, observe, pay close attention and consider’ the clear commands of our Elohim, or not! We are also reminded of the benefits of hearing, guarding and doing His commands as well as the ‘lack of benefits’ for not.

His commands are not heavy, and we are to delight to do His will, rejoicing as we follow in the ways of our Master יהושע Messiah, walking as He walked, not doing our own ways and doing each one pleases, but rather we are to joyfully serve Him according to His ways that are pure and straight.

Shalom!