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Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 44

Leviticus 25:1-38   -   Jeremiah 36:6, 32:6-27, Ezekiel 34:1-31   -   Psalm 88  -   John 10:1-33
 

 

Shevat 8, 5763 / Jan 11, 2003

Shevat 7, 5766 / Feb 4, 2006 - see Y2-44/45

 

B'har Sinai / In Mt. Sinai    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)

 

The Sh’mittah – the Sabbatical Year.

 

A history: The commandments were all given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. But we see many of them detailed to the people later, in a logical progression. Moses gave the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, which the people joyfully followed. Then Moses gave the instructions for offerings and purification, which were needed upon completion of the meetingplace for appointments with God. After those instructions, we now see the laws given for sh’mittah and other things that applied after reaching the Promised Land.

 

Last week we considered how that God gave annual appointments showing His occasional acts of greatness toward us – such as redemption and resurrection; and also how He gave the Menorah and Show bread indicating His continual caring for us. This week we are looking forward to an eternal home.

 

(V.2) “When you come to the land that I give you”. With the Tabernacle being a functional reality, the people are now to look forward to the Promised Land”. “That I give you” is in the present tense – not like a give-and-forget gift, but rather as God continually keeping His promises to His people.

 

God provided for His original creation, and will provide for His renewed creation.

Genesis 2:4-15 “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for Yahweh God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And Yahweh God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Yahweh God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Then Yahweh God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”

 

(V.2) “Then the land shall have a Sabbath to Yahweh”. The Sabbatical year is related to the weekly Sabbath: its basic purpose is not for the earth to replenish itself, but to worship God, showing faith. Israel may have never trusted God enough to forgo sowing and reaping – and that is a lesson to us in how we should trust. Israel experienced expulsion from the Promised Land because of this lack of faith. Sabbatical years, like Sabbath days, are not times for idleness or worldly pleasure, but times for worship and spiritual growth. (V.3) “Six years you shall sow . . .”, as in “Six days shall you labor” (Exodus 20:9). The seventh year, like the seventh day, is dedicated to God.

 

 

In the Sabbath Millennium, the seventh-thousand years when Yeshua reigns, “the day when all will be Sabbath”, God will provide for all of our needs. Then, when the earth is restored, He will provide for us from the Garden of Eden – also called Paradise. By comparing Genesis and Revelation, we can see the details of this restored Garden.

 

So we see three parts to our faith: We are to trust Yahweh for our salvation from sin (that is the meaning of the name Yeshua), we are to trust God to provide all things for us to fulfill His work that we are here to do, and we are to trust Him for a future eternal glorious home. We show our faith in three corresponding ways: repentance and observing His appointed Holy Days, setting aside the weekly Sabbath for worship and spiritual growth, and resting in a sure hope of future glory that is not dependant upon our worldly efforts such as sowing and reaping to build wealth.

 

The Yovel – the Jubilee Year.

 

(V.8) “You shall count for yourself”. After the Passover seder, we are commanded to count each day, and each of seven weeks, until the fiftieth day – Pentecost. Likewise, the Sanhedrin (the commandment is singular) is commanded to count each year, and each of seven Sabbaticals, until the fiftieth year, and then proclaim the Jubilee. This year does not begin on the Festival New Year (Nisan 1), but on Yom Teruah / the Day of Trumpeting (Tishrei 1), which is also called Rosh haShannah / Head of the Year (Ezekiel 40:1). The land may not be worked that year – beginning with Rosh haShannah, but slaves are not fully free until the tenth day – Yom haKippurim / the Day of the Atonements.

 

This would seem to relate to our final redemption (Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:14). At the Last Trump on Yom Teruah, Yeshua will return and the righteous dead will be raised. But Yom haKippurim, ten days later, represents the purification of the redeemed.

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Today’s Psalm is one of those that are obviously messianic. We can hear Yeshua, from the tomb, saying (v.6-7), “Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. Thy wrath has rested upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah.” We can hear Him, from the cross, saying (v.14), “Why dost Thou hide Thy face from me?”

 

But, in another sense of this Psalm, Israel may be heard, crying, as a result of punishment for faithlessness – faithlessness shown by planting and harvesting and selling on the Sabbatical Years and Jubilee.

 

Jeremiah tells the result of this faithlessness (v.32:17-24):“Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. Yahweh of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. And Thou didst bring Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror; and gavest them this land, which Thou didst swear to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. And they came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Thy voice or walk in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do; therefore Thou hast made all this calamity come upon them. 'Behold, the siege mounds have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans”.

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In John 10 we learn that the redemption and provision and future world apply to “His sheep”. If we are of His sheep, we will hear Yeshua’s voice. He gave His life for us willingly, He came to give us abundant life, and He will not let anything take us away from Him. This is the Word in which we can trust, and be of faith concerning our destiny.

 

Readings:

1 Amen* 1 Yahweh then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, 2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a Sabbath to Yahweh. 3 'Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to Yahweh; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 'Your harvest's aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.

2 Amen* 6 'And all of you shall have the Sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. 7 'Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat. 8 'You are also to count off seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven Sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. 9 'You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. 10 'You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.

3 Amen* 11 'You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. 12 'For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field. 13 'On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property. 14 'If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend, or buy from your friend's hand, you shall not wrong one another. 15 'Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops. 16 'In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years, you shall diminish its price; for it is a number of crops he is selling to you.

4 Amen* 17 'So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am Yahweh your God. 18 'You shall thus observe My statutes, and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely on the land. 19 'Then the land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it. 20 'But if you say, "What are we going to eat on the seventh year if we do not sow or gather in our crops?" 21 then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years. 22 'When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in.

5 Amen* 23 'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. 25 'If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. 26 'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property. 28 'But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property.

6 Amen* 29 'Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year. 30 'But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee. 31 'The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee. 32 'As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession. 33 'What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel. 34 'But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.

7 Amen* 35 'Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 'Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 'You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. 38 'I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

 

Jeremiah 36:6

6 "So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of Yahweh to the people in Yahweh's house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.

Jeremiah 32:6-27

6 And Jeremiah said, "The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 7 'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, "Buy for yourself my field which is at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it."' 8 "Then Hanamel my uncle's son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of Yahweh, and said to me, 'Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word of Yahweh. 9 "And I bought the field which was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle's son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 "And I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 "Then I took the deeds of purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle's son, and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 "And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, "Take these deeds, this sealed deed of purchase, and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time." 15 'For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, "Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land."' 16 "After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, then I prayed to Yahweh, saying, 17 'Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, 18 who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. Yahweh of hosts is His name; 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20 who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. 21 'And Thou didst bring Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror; 22 and gavest them this land, which Thou didst swear to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 'And they came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Thy voice or walk in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do; therefore Thou hast made all this calamity come upon them. 24 'Behold, the siege mounds have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine, and the pestilence; and what Thou hast spoken has come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it. 25 'And Thou hast said to me, O Lord God, "Buy for yourself the field with money, and call in witnesses "-- although the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.'" 26 Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 "Behold, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?"

 

Ezekiel 34

1 Then the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says Yahweh God, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5 "And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. 6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill, and My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth; and there was no one to search or seek for them."'" 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 8 "As I live," declares Yahweh God, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 10 'Thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I shall deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them."'" 11 For thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13 "And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing ground, and they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares Yahweh God. 16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. 17 "And as for you, My flock, thus says Yahweh God, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18 'Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19 'And as for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet, and they must drink what you foul with your feet!'" 20 Therefore, thus says Yahweh God to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 "And I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken. 25 "And I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 "And I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. 27 "Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit, and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 "And they will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29 "And I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore. 30 "Then they will know that I, Yahweh their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people," declares Yahweh God. 31 "As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God," declares Yahweh God.

 

Psalm 88    A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

1 O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before Thee. 2 Let my prayer come before Thee; incline Thine ear to my cry! 3 For my soul has had enough troubles, and my life has drawn near to Sheol. 4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength, 5 forsaken among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom Thou dost remember no more, and they are cut off from Thy hand. 6 Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. 7 Thy wrath has rested upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah. 8 Thou hast removed my acquaintances far from me; thou hast made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out. 9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon Thee every day, O Yahweh; I have spread out my hands to Thee. 10 Wilt Thou perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise Thee? Selah. 11 Will Thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Thy faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Will Thy wonders be made known in the darkness? And Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But I, O Yahweh, have cried out to Thee for help, and in the morning my prayer comes before Thee. 14 O Yahweh, why dost Thou reject my soul? Why dost Thou hide Thy face from me? 15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on; I suffer Thy terrors; I am overcome. 16 Thy burning anger has passed over me; Thy terrors have destroyed me. 17 They have surrounded me like water all day long; they have encompassed me altogether. 18 Thou hast removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness.

 

John 10:1-33

1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 "And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure of speech Yeshua spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7 Yeshua therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. 11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 "He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. 13 "He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. 17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." 19 There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words. 20 And many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?" 21 Others were saying, "These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?" 22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly." 25 Yeshua answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me. 26 "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 "I and the Father are one." 31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Yeshua answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."


© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)

 

 

 

 

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