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Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 4

Exodus 13:1-20   -   Isaiah 46:3   -   Psalm 50  -   Hebrews 8:6 - 9:1, 9:13-15
 

 

Nisan 24, 5762 / April 6, 2002

Nisan 28, 5765 /  May 7, 2005

Nisan 28, 5768 /  May 3, 2008

Nisan 26, 5771 / Apr 30, 2011

Nisan 26, 5774 / Apr 26, 2014

Nisan 26, 5777 / Apr 22, 2017

 

Today is Shabbat Mevarekhim - the Sabbath of the Blessing for the new month Iyyar.

 (See Siddur page 36.)

 

Kadesh / Sanctify    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)

 

Today we say:

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who has sanctified us by His Word, and instructed us to count the Omer:

Today is the 11th day of the Omer, which is 1 week and 4 days of the Omer.” [for 2014]

 

When we recite these kinds of blessings, we need to understand and be mindful of what they mean. God has sanctified us – He has set us apart from other people, by having us perform certain things that others don’t normally do. These things have significance for us to gain and maintain holy attitudes.

 

For seven weeks, we are to especially consider how we were freed from slavery to sin (Egyptian slavery) by the Passover Lamb, and we are maturing to be betrothed to Messiah. We should be counting the days, blessing God for this time to grow in faith.

 

Firstborn, Exodus, and Tefillin

Two sections (v.1-10 and 11-20) both begin with sanctification of the firstborn and end with tefillin (symbols worn on the forehead and arm).

(V.1-2) “Sanctify to Me every first-born”.

The firstborn, from creation, were the priests – “sanctified” to God; they received the blessings and responsibilities of spiritual service. The salvation of the Hebrew firstborn at the Passover was related to the position of priesthood – carrying on the worship of the true God, while the Egyptian firstborn died and could not lead in their idolatry. Here an additional sanctification was placed upon the firstborn. The tefillin on the (1) “left” (weak – based on Heb. of v.16) arm and (2) forehead represent dedication to God in (1) deed and in (2) intellect.

 

“Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every first-born, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. For all the first-born are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the first-born in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am Yahweh” – Numbers 3:12-13.

 

Here we see that, from a certain point in  time, Yahweh took the Levites for priests instead of the firstborn. But the firstborn were still “His”. Yeshua came, not through Levi, but a priest after the order of Malchisedek – the firstborn.

 

We may note that this is one passage used to imply that Hebrew heritage is based upon the mother: the reference being to the firstborn who are “the first issue of the womb”.

 

(V.3) “Remember this day” . . . The form of the word here (infinitive) means to remember continually.

 

(V.10) “you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.”

The Feast of Unleavened Breads was established as an eternal memorial – “Do this in remembrance of Me”.

 

(V.8) “And you shall tell your son” is the basis for the Passover haggadah, including the parable of the four children (that we sing to the tune of Clementine). Why did we just eat unleavened breads for seven days? “It is because of what Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.” We are to consider ourselves as having come out of Egypt at that time. By the Passover sacrifice of Yeshua, we were delivered from sin.

 

(V.13) The donkey was the only non-kosher animal of which redemption of its firstborn was required. The donkey is seen as symbolic of material possessions. It was redeemed by offering a lamb (or goat), the same as the Passover offering. Thus our material possessions are to be dedicated to God’s service, as having been purchased by Yeshua’s sacrifice.

 

(V.17) God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines. Today this area is called Gaza, and it is populated by Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians (Philistines)”. This would have been the short route, but they might have turned back if they had gotten into a battle situation so soon. So God leads us in the path of growth that we can bear.

 

(V.21) Yahweh went before them . . . . . . in a pillar of fire by night

(Psalm 50:3-5) “May our God come and not keep silence; fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”

 

We sing Psalm 121, concerning God’s people: “Throughout the day the sun shall never smite; the moon shall not harm you in the silent night.” They are protected during the sun-lit day by a cloud that the enemy cannot see through; they are protected during the moon-lit night by a fire that clears the way before them. All things are working together for their good (Romans 8:28). This is symbolized by our being freed in a time of pleasant weather – the Passover was in springtime.

 

The nations conspire together against God’s chosen ones (Psalm 83:3), but understand – they are filling up their own cup for the day of wrath (Jeremiah 25:15, Revelation 16:19, 17:4). God will summon the heavens and earth to judge, and when the nations are burned, we will be saved. We will obtain a clean land, a renewed earth with the Garden of Eden restored.

 

Now, to consider our past slavery and present freedom:

 

So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Torah, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Torah, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Torah and circumcision are a transgressor of the Torah? – Romans 3:26-27.

 

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Messiah, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which through the Law were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter – Romans 7:4-6.

 

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and of death – Romans 8:1-2.

 

Before faith came, we were under the Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2):

The soul that sins, it shall die” – Ezekiel 18:4.

Sin is, by definition, transgression of the Torah. Because we transgressed Torah, the Law of Sin and Death said that we must die. But now, we are freed from the penalty, because Yeshua suffered once for our sins, and therefore there is no more condemnation. We are free to worship our Savior and Lord. While Torah principles to show us the way, we can walk by the Spirit without condemnation of the letter.

 

Hebrews 8-9 explains how God will renew His Covenant – the Abrahamic Covenant – with His people. While He formerly presented it in writing, He will ultimately write it on our hearts

 

The Commandments were given because we lost the spirit by which we would naturally do righteousness. After our resurrection, we will no longer need commandments, because we will be filled with His spirit, and naturally and whole-heartedly serve God. We will be wholly sanctified.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

(Kadosh-liy chal-b’chor / Sanctify to Me every firstborn)

 

Reader 1Amen. 1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me."

Reader 2Amen. 3 Moses said to the people, "Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand Yahweh brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten. 4 "On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth. 5 "It shall be when Yahweh brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall observe this rite in this month.

Reader 3Amen. 6 "For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to Yahweh. 7 "Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. 8 "You shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'It is because of what Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.'

Reader 4Amen. 9 "And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of Yahweh may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand Yahweh brought you out of Egypt. 10 "Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.

Reader 5Amen. 11 "Now when Yahweh brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, 12 you shall devote to Yahweh the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to Yahweh. 13 "But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.

Reader 6Amen. 14 "And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is this?' then you shall say to him, 'With a powerful hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 'It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that Yahweh killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to Yahweh the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.' 16 "So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt."

Reader 7Amen. 17 Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." 18 Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you." 20 Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness.

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Isaiah 46:3-4

Reader 8Amen. 3 (Sh’ma) "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; 4 Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.

 

Psalm 50    (To be sung.)    A Psalm of Asaph.

1 (El Elohim Yahweh) The Mighty One, God, Yahweh, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth. 3 May our God come and not keep silence; fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him. 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: 5 "Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." 6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah. 7 "Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you; I am God, your God. 8 "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, and your burnt offerings are continually before Me. 9 "I shall take no young bull out of your house, nor male goats out of your folds. 10 "For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 "I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. 12 "If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains. 13 "Shall I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of male goats? 14 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High; 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." 16 But to the wicked God says, "What right have you to tell of My statutes and to take My covenant in your mouth? 17 "For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you. 18 "When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you associate with adulterers. 19 "You let your mouth loose in evil and your tongue frames deceit. 20 "You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. 21 "These things you have done and I kept silence; you thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. 22 "Now consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver. 23 "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God."

 

Hebrews 8:6 – 9:1; 9:13-15

Reader 9Amen. 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says,

                (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

“Behold, days are coming”, says Yahweh, “when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them”, says Yahweh. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days”, says Yahweh: “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know Yahweh,’ for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

Reader 10Amen. 13 When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. . . .

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

 

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 


© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)