Heshvan 27, 5763 / Nov 2, 2002
24, 5766 /
Nov 26, 2005
24, 5769 /
Nov 22, 2008
22, 5772 /
Nov 19, 2011
22, 5775 /
Nov 15, 2014
B'rosh u B'tzaqan /
In the Scalp or In the Beard
SCRIPTURES (should be read first)
Continuing from last week’s lesson
on tzaraat for slander and anger:
We are taught that “the anger of
man does not achieve the righteousness of God” – James 1:20. We are also
instructed to “put aside anger and wrath” – Colossians 3:8. We are to “let
all bitterness, wrath, and anger . . . be put away” – Ephesians 4:31. These
Scriptures seem very clear.
People often talk about “righteous
anger”, but the word “righteous” never Biblically precedes the word (Gr.
orgizo) anger. The verse, “Be angry and sin not, do not let the sun go
down upon your irritation” – Ephesians 4:26, should not be interpreted in
contradiction, giving license for anger. Rather, we should not let an irritation
rise in us to the point of anger, but deal with it that very day; it is a Torah
instruction that we not delay dealing with our sinful tendencies.
We often show anger most readily
toward those closest to us – our family. We ought to be overcoming anger toward
those we claim to love, especially our mates and children. There is really no
excuse for such.
And we are taught: “Do not
provoke your children to anger” – Ephesians 6:4. We ought to treat them as
we would be treated. As they grow, they need to be given increasing freedom to
make their own decisions; our purpose is to teach them good decision-making
abilities, not to keep them under our control.
God said, “By a nation without understanding,
anger vex you” – Deuteronomy 32:21. The quote in Romans 10:19
uses a word meaning provoke. That is God’s prerogative, not our right.
Slander is destroying someone else’s reputation
or name. The Hebrew word dibbah that is translated slander means making
defamatory statements, whether true or false (though the English term generally
means false statements). It includes name-calling, calling someone a derogatory
name – saying that he is bad, dishonest, mean, or such like.
We should not so treat our spouse,
our children, or our neighbor.
There are specific circumstances
where we may, or are required, to denigrate another’s name. The purpose is
always to help the individual overcome sin, or to protect society from the sin.
If we see someone overtaken in a fault, we are to first deal directly with that
individual, and then if necessary, take along another witness to the fault (not
a non-witness just to back us up). “Tell it to the church” (Matthew
18:17) means take it to the judges, not the public. If we see someone commit
certain kinds of sin, we are required to testify to the proper authorities: this
is not optional.
We may confront someone concerning
specific actions. We may warn others of specific dangers.
I have long wondered why Yeshua
ordered the healed man to “tell no one”. Last week’s lesson seems to
explain it. He was being disciplined, by the disease of tzaraat, for
slander: if anyone came within hearing range, he was required to shout,
“Unclean!” Only after being certified “clean” by the priest could he be free to
talk to others. So, again, we see that Yeshua was being Torah observant. And
that leads us to today’s message of Psalm 78.
Paul told gentile Christians (long
after Yeshua’s ascension) to “teach one another with Psalms” (Colossians 3:16 –
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs are the titles of the five divisions of the
150 Psalms). This Psalm is about eternal teachings: it is entitled
“enlightenment”. Even since Yeshua’s ascension – even as gentile Christians – we
are to learn from the Psalms to be Torah observant.
= wisdom, enlightenment.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (The wisdom of
Solomon) That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been
done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new "? Already it has
existed for ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier
things; and also of the later things which will occur, there will be for them no
remembrance among those who will come later still. (In other words: we do
not learn from history the results of ignoring Torah, so we ignore it again, and
our descendents will not learn from our results.)
(V.1-3) “Listen, O my people, to
my Torah (instruction); incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open
my mouth in enlightenment; I will pour-forth intriguing sayings of old, which we
have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”
The subject is the supremacy of the
Torah, enshrined in the Holy Temple. The examples in this Psalm span 400 years –
from Egypt to King David. The Tabernacle had been in Shiloh, of Ephraim (head of
the 10 seceding tribes), for 369 years. But God chose Mt. Zion, of Judah, as the
permanent dwelling place for the Torah. He chose Jerusalem as His base for
prophets to instruct the world, as His place of presence toward which we should
worship, and as the place from which He would one day rule as King over all the
God did not wait for Moses at Sinai
to reestablish the blessing of Sabbath observance instituted with Adam. The
Sabbath was created on Adam’s first full day on earth (Genesis 1:26 - 2:3); the
Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27); so, for what man was the Sabbath made –
just “Jews” who came on the scene thousands of years later? People of the
seventy nations left Egypt for the Promised Land, and observed Sabbath before
the Mt. Sinai event (Exodus 16:29). The Fourth Commandment is “Remember the
Sabbath Day, to keep it holy”: it is to remember what already existed, and was
already proclaimed holy at creation.
Sabbath is a memorial of the
culmination of creation’s seven days. Sabbath is a prophetic shadow (Colossians
2:16-17) of the culminating seventh millennium when Messiah will reign on earth.
Sabbath is a rehearsal (miqra - Leviticus 23:3) of past and future. The
Sabbath was made for man, to teach us God’s eternal plan.
If we want to know what baptism was
about 1900 years ago, we need to go back to the Torah of 3300 years ago (and
even back to creation) and see what God said, because nothing in the Bible
indicates that it changed! John’s preaching of “baptism of repentance for the
remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3), would have been well understood by the
Jews of his day – not something new.
Concerning the eternal Qehal /
Church of the eternal Torah:
The priesthood functions in
relationship to the congregation. The priesthood of the firstborn began with
Adam. The qehal / church was so called from wilderness* (Acts 7:38).
Yeshua said that He would build-up His church – which implies that it already
existed – and that it would never die out (Matthew 16:18).
* Leviticus 4:14 refers to the sin
offering for the church (qehal). Numbers 19:20 says that a man who will
not purify himself from uncleanness shall be cut off from the church (qehal).
Psalm 78:21-22: Therefore Yahweh
heard and was full of wrath, and a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger
also mounted against Israel; because they did not believe in God, and did not
trust in His salvation. The Hebrew word here translated “His salvation”
is Yeshua. Since none of us fulfill Torah, we can be saved only by trusting
Yeshua – the Salvation of Yahweh. And the fact, that Yeshua had to pay for our
transgressions of Torah, implies that we should be observing Torah; otherwise,
what is sin, from which anyone need be saved? Sin is (present tense)
the transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4).
If we don’t believe in God’s eternal
instruction, if we don’t trust His salvation – Yeshua, then His anger will be
"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
Amen. 29 "Now if a man
or woman has an infection on the head or on the beard, 30 then the
priest shall look at the infection, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin
and there is thin yellowish hair in it, then the priest shall pronounce him
unclean; it is a scale, it is tzaraat
of the head or of the beard. 31 "But if the priest looks at the
infection of the scale, and indeed, it appears to be no deeper than the skin and
there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the person with the
scaly infection for seven days. 32 "On the seventh day the priest
shall look at the infection, and if the scale has not spread and no yellowish
hair has grown in it, and the appearance of the scale is no deeper than the
skin, 33 then he shall shave himself, but he shall not shave the
scale; and the priest shall isolate the person with the scale seven more days.
Amen. 34 "Then on the
seventh day the priest shall look at the scale, and if the scale has not spread
in the skin and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, the priest shall
pronounce him clean; and he shall wash his clothes and be clean. 35
"But if the scale spreads farther in the skin after his cleansing, 36
then the priest shall look at him, and if the scale has spread in the skin, the
priest need not seek for the yellowish hair; he is unclean. 37 "If in
his sight the scale has remained, however, and black hair has grown in it, the
scale has healed, he is clean; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
Amen. 38 "When a man or
a woman has bright spots on the skin of the body, even white bright spots,
39 then the priest shall look, and if the bright spots on the skin of
their bodies are a faint white, it is eczema that has broken out on the skin; he
is clean. 40 "Now if a man loses the hair of his head, he is bald; he
is clean. 41 "If his head becomes bald at the front and sides, he is
bald on the forehead; he is clean.
Amen. 42 "But if on the
bald head or the bald forehead, there occurs a reddish-white infection, it is
tzaraat breaking out on his bald head or
on his bald forehead. 43 "Then the priest shall look at him; and if
the swelling of the infection is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald
forehead, like the appearance of tzaraat
in the skin of the body, 44 he is a
metzora, he is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him
unclean; his infection is on his head. 45 "As for the
metzora who has the infection, his clothes
shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover
his mustache and cry, 'Unclean! Unclean!' 46 "He shall remain unclean
all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live
alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Amen. 47 "When a garment
has tzaraat in it, whether it is a wool
garment or a linen garment, 48 whether in warp or woof, of linen or
of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather, 49 if
the mark is greenish or reddish in the garment or in the leather, or in the warp
or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is
tzaraat and shall be shown to the priest.
50 "Then the priest shall look at the mark and shall quarantine the
article with the mark for seven days. 51 "He shall then look at the
mark on the seventh day; if the mark has spread in the garment, whether in the
warp or in the woof, or in the leather, whatever the purpose for which the
leather is used, the mark is tzaraat,
it is unclean. 52 "So he shall burn the garment, whether the warp or
the woof, in wool or in linen, or any article of leather in which the mark
occurs, for it is tzaraat; it shall be
burned in the fire.
Amen. 53 "But if the
priest shall look, and indeed the mark has not spread in the garment, either in
the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, 54 then the
priest shall order them to wash the thing in which the mark occurs and he shall
quarantine it for seven more days. 55 "After the article with the
mark has been washed, the priest shall again look, and if the mark has not
changed its appearance, even though the mark has not spread, it is unclean; you
shall burn it in the fire, whether an eating away has produced bareness on the
top or on the front of it.
Amen. 56 "Then if the
priest looks, and if the mark has faded after it has been washed, then he shall
tear it out of the garment or out of the leather, whether from the warp or from
the woof; 57 and if it appears again in the garment, whether in the
warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is an outbreak; the
article with the mark shall be burned in the fire. 58 "The garment,
whether the warp or the woof, or any article of leather from which the mark has
departed when you washed it, it shall then be washed a second time and will be
clean." 59 This is the law for tzaraat
in a garment of wool or linen, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any
article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.
"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
"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
Psalm 78 (To be sung.) A Maskil of Asaph.
1 Listen, O my people, to my
instruction (Torah); incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2
I will open my mouth in a parable (maskil); I will utter dark sayings of
old, 3 which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the
generation to come the praises of Yahweh, and His strength and His wondrous
works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob and
appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach
them to their children, 6 that the generation to come might know,
even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their
children, 7 that they should put their confidence in God and not
forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, 8 and not be like
their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not
prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God. 9 The
sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, yet they turned back in the day
of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to
walk in His law; 11 They forgot His deeds and His miracles that He
had shown them. 12 He wrought wonders before their fathers in the
land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and caused
them to pass through, and He made the waters stand up like a heap. 14
Then He led them with the cloud by day and all the night with a light of fire.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them abundant drink
like the ocean depths. 16 He brought forth streams also from the rock
and caused waters to run down like rivers. 17 Yet they still
continued to sin against Him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18 And in their heart they put God to the test by asking food according to
their desire. 19 Then they spoke against God; they said, "Can God
prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 "Behold, He struck the rock so
that waters gushed out, and streams were overflowing; can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?" 21 Therefore Yahweh heard and
was full of wrath; and a fire was kindled against Jacob and anger also mounted
against Israel, 22 because they did not believe in God and
did not trust in His salvation. 23 Yet
He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24 He
rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them food from heaven. 25
Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. 26
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the
south wind. 27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, even
winged fowl like the sand of the seas, 28 then He let them fall in
the midst of their camp, round about their dwellings. 29 So they ate
and were well filled, and their desire He gave to them. 30 Before
they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths, 31
the anger of God rose against them and killed some of their stoutest ones, and
subdued the choice men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this they still
sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works. 33 So He brought
their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror. 34
When He killed them, then they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently
for God; 35 and they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most
High God their Redeemer. 36 But they deceived Him with their mouth
and lied to Him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not
steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant. 38 But
He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and
often He restrained His anger and did not arouse all His wrath. 39
Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and does not
return. 40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and
grieved Him in the desert! 41 Again and again they tempted God, and
pained the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power,
the day when He redeemed them from the adversary, 43 When He
performed His signs in Egypt and His marvels in the field of Zoan, 44
and turned their rivers to blood, and their streams, they could not drink.
45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, and frogs which
destroyed them. 46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper and
the product of their labor to the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines
with hailstones and their sycamore trees with frost. 48 He gave over
their cattle also to the hailstones and their herds to bolts of lightning.
49 He sent upon them His burning anger, fury and indignation and trouble,
a band of destroying angels. 50 He leveled a path for His anger; He
did not spare their soul from death, but gave over their life to the plague,
51 and smote all the firstborn in Egypt, the first issue of their
virility in the tents of Ham. 52 But He led forth His own people like
sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; 53 He led them
safely, so that they did not fear; but the sea engulfed their enemies. 54
So He brought them to His holy land, to this hill country which His right hand
had gained. 55 He also drove out the nations before them and
apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement, and made the tribes of
Israel dwell in their tents. 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against
the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, 57 but turned
back and acted treacherously like their fathers; they turned aside like a
treacherous bow. 58 For they provoked Him with their high places and
aroused His jealousy with their graven images. 59 When God heard, He
was filled with wrath and greatly abhorred Israel; 60 so that He
abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men,
61 and gave up His strength to captivity and His glory into the hand
of the adversary. 62 He also delivered His people to the sword, and
was filled with wrath at His inheritance. 63 Fire devoured His young
men, and His virgins had no wedding songs. 64 His priests fell by the
sword, and His widows could not weep. 65 Then Yahweh awoke as if from
sleep, like a warrior overcome by wine. 66 He drove His adversaries
backward; He put on them an everlasting reproach. 67 He also rejected
the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 But
chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. 69 And He built
His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has founded forever.
70 He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him to
shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. 72 So he
shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with
his skillful hands.
Amen. 12 While He was in
one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with tzaraat; and when
he saw Yeshua, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are
willing, You can make me clean." 13 And He stretched out His hand and
touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the tzaraat
left him. 14 And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show
yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses
commanded, as a testimony to them." 15 But the news about Him was
spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be
healed of their sicknesses.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
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
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."