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Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 11

Numbers 19:1 - 20:13   -   Ezekiel 44:29   -   Psalm 109   -   John 20:1-31
 

Sivan 14, 5763 / June 14, 2003 

Sivan 14, 5766 / June 10, 2006 

Sivan 14, 5769 / June   6, 2009

Sivan 12, 5772 / June   2, 2012

Sivan 12, 5775 / May 30, 2015

 

Huqqat / Statute   SCRIPTURES should be read first

We have studied Judgments (Mishpatim), Ordinances (Edot), and Statutes (Hukim), the three categories of Torah commandments. Statutes are the category of which it is said, their reason is not obvious, but they bond God and man. The Statute of the Red Heifer is considered, by the sages, to be beyond human reasoning, as Solomon said, “I said I would be wise, but it is far from me”.

The Midrash on this portion notes a paradox: one who has become defiled (a niddah) is purified by the ashes of the red heifer, but one preparing the ashes becomes defiled thereby. It further notes Job 14:4, “Who can draw a pure thing out of an impure one? Is it not the One God?

This paradox pictures a greater one: a sinner is purified through the crucifixion of Yeshua, but one involved with preparing His crucifixion – such as Judas – becomes condemned as a sinner. So God draws a pure thing (a purified sinner) out of an impure (the crucifixion). Because it is far above our understanding, God gives us many kinds of pictures, called ordinances (such as baptism and the Passover).

It may be noted here, that preparation of the ashes is one of several acts required by Torah, which nevertheless makes one unclean. Thus we see that becoming defiled does not indicate one has sinned, but defilement always relates to a result of the fall – such as death, disease, or unfulfilled reproductive cycles.

Yeshua did not die because of a sin He committed, but because of results of the fall of Adam. “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah all shall be made alive” - 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

The previous chapter was concerned with guarding the Tabernacle against entry by defiled people. This chapter deals with purification of those who have become defiled.

Psalm 109 relates to the crucifixion, and parts of it to Judas in particular.

(V.2-5) Concerning Yeshua, “For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without cause. In return for my love they act as my accusers; but I am in prayer. Thus they have repaid me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

(V.8-10) Concerning Judas, “Let his days be few; let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children wander about and beg; and let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.” This is quoted by Luke (Acts 1:16, 20): “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Yeshua. . . . For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate, and let no man dwell in it’; and, ‘His office let another man take.’

So this Psalm, connected to Numbers 19 by the Temple Seder (Order of Readings), shows a relationship between the Statute of the Red Heifer and the crucifixion of Yeshua.

Now, considering John 20, let’s go back to Numbers 19 (v.16-19), “Anyone who . . .  touches . . . a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. . . . on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.Washing one’s clothes and bathing in water’ is a reference to immersion in a mikvah – Biblical baptism. Being “clean by evening” means on the eighth day.

Now, Yeshua was baptized, even though John the baptizer questioned why Yeshua should have such a need: “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” – Matthew 3:14. So then, in order to fulfill all Torah (Matthew 3:15, 5:17), should He not be baptized seven days after leaving the grave? While we are not specifically told that He was ‘untouchable’ until a seventh day baptism, Mary was told to stop touching Him on the first day (John 20:17), but Thomas was told to touch Him on the eighth day (John 20:27). Why is a special point being made of this eighth day? Also, ascending from the mikvah represents ascending to Eden / Paradise: this is especially represented be being baptized in the Jordan River – Jordan meaning “Descender from Eden”. So, in instructing Mary to stop touching Him, Yeshua said (v.17), “for I have not yet ascended to the Father”.

Paul (1 Corinthians 15:29) speaks of being “baptized for the dead” – according to some English translations. A better rendering would be “baptized because of death”. This may to refer to today’s subject, the baptism on the seventh day after dealing with a dead body. Paul is speaking of resurrection, and its relationship to baptism. Since baptism – specifically coming up from the mikvah – symbolizes resurrection (Romans 6:4), if a dead body could not be resurrected, what would be the significance of the ritual: why would we picture “newness of life” after dealing with the results of the fall?

Furthermore, being clean on the eighth day symbolizes our being holy – fit for the “eighth day assembly” (Leviticus 23:36) of the saints in Paradise. That requires our cleansing from sin here, prior to resurrection.

Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. Therefore, Yeshua said to them (Matthew 22:29-32), “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Therefore, we are to purify ourselves, showing that we are alive to God in holiness, and dead to sin.

A certain man wanted to take care of things of this life before following Yeshua (Matthew 8:21-22): that is the meaning of his Hebraism, “Let me first go and bury my dead father.” Yeshua responded, “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow Me.” In other words, “Let the spiritually dead care for the things of this world.” We should care for following Yeshua – being holy.

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Numbers 20 pictures crucifying Yeshua, to bring forth the words of life. But Moses and Aaron messed up God’s picture, and therefore were disallowed from the Promised Land!

God has given us many prophetic pictures to observe, and this is a lesson: don’t mess them up! It is not for us to take upon ourselves to perform them according to our feelings.

Marriage is an example of a picture God gave with heavenly perspective in mind: Messiah and His church. When we mess up our marriages, we mess up God’s picture.

Sabbath is a picture of the Millennial Reign of Yeshua: we are to keep it holy! The Passover is a picture of Yeshua as redeemer: we are told to keep it – as it was given (1 Corinthians 11:23) – in remembrance of Yeshua (1 Corinthians 11:24)!

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."

 

Reader 1*  Amen. 1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 "This is the statute of the Torah which Yahweh has commanded, saying, 'Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in whichis no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed. 3 'You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. 4 'Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 'Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned. 6 'The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.

Reader 2*  Amen. 7 'The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 'The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. 9 'Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin. 10 'The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.

Reader 3*  Amen. 11 'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. 12 'That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13 'Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of Yahweh; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him. 14 'This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days. 15 'Every open vessel, which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean.

Reader 4*  Amen. 16 'Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. 17 'Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. 18 'A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave. 19 'Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.

Reader 5*  Amen. 20 'But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of Yahweh; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean. 21 'So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 'Furthermore, anything that the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.'"

Reader 6*  Amen. 20:1 Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there. 2 There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before Yahweh! 4 "Why then have you brought Yahweh'S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? 5 "Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink."

Reader 7*  Amen. 6 Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of Yahweh appeared to them; 7 and Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 8 "Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink." 9 So Moses took the rod from before Yahweh, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, "Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12 But Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." 13 Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with Yahweh, and He proved Himself holy among them.

 

"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."

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"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."

 

(No Prophet)

 

Psalm 109   (To be sung.)    For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 O God of my praise, Do not be silent! 2 For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without cause. 4 In return for my love they act as my accusers; but I am in prayer. 5 Thus they have repaid me evil for good and hatred for my love. 6 Appoint a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand. 7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty, and let his prayer become sin. 8 Let his days be few; let another take his office. 9 Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. 10 Let his children wander about and beg; and let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes. 11 Let the creditor seize all that he has, and let strangers plunder the product of his labor. 12 Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him, nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children. 13 Let his posterity be cut off; in a following generation let their name be blotted out. 14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before Yahweh, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out. 15 Let them be before Yahweh continually, that He may cut off their memory from the earth; 16 because he did not remember to show lovingkindness, but persecuted the afflicted and needy man, and the despondent in heart, to put them to death. 17 He also loved cursing, so it came to him; and he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him. 18 But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, and it entered into his body like water and like oil into his bones. 19 Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself, and for a belt with which he constantly girds himself. 20 Let this be the reward of my accusers from Yahweh, and of those who speak evil against my soul. 21 But You, O Yahweh, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name's sake; because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me; 22 for I am afflicted and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. 23 I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like the locust. 24 My knees are weak from fasting, And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness. 25 I also have become a reproach to them; when they see me, they wag their head. 26 Help me, O Yahweh my God; save me according to Your lovingkindness. 27 And let them know that this is Your hand; You, Yahweh, have done it. 28 Let them curse, but You bless; when they arise, they shall be ashamed, but Your servant shall be glad. 29 Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor, and let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe. 30 With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to Yahweh; and in the midst of many I will praise Him. 31 For He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul.

 

John 20

Reader 8*  Amen. 1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Yeshua loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

Reader 9*  Amen. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Yeshua had been lying. 13 And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Yeshua standing there, and did not know that it was Yeshua. 15Yeshua said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16 Yeshua said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). 17 Yeshua said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"

Reader 10*  Amen. 18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her. 19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Yeshua came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Yeshua came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Reader 11*  Amen. 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Yeshua came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Yeshua said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." 30 Therefore many other signs Yeshua also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

 

"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 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."

 

© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)

 


 

 

 

 

 

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