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Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 37

Deuteronomy 18:14 - 20:9   -   Jeremiah 29:8 - 30:9   -   Psalm 134   -   Galatians 5:1 - 6:10

 

Kislev 18, 5764 / December 13, 2003

Kislev 18, 5767 / December   9, 2006

Kislev 18, 5770 / December   5, 2009

Kislev 24, 5773 / December   8, 2012

 

Navi Miqirb’cha / A Prophet from Your Midst  SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Last week’s portion concerned kings and priests; this week’s concerns prophets, and includes more about kings and priests.

 

“Messiah” means anointed – to be Prophet of Jerusalem, Priest of the Most High God, and/or King of Israel.

 

A king rules over a nation, in the place of God: Israel’s king was initially to be God! When they requested an earthly king, he was to reign in the Name of Yahweh – in Yahweh’s stead, following Torah. Because of his exalted position, the king can neither testify (before a court), nor be testified against” (Yoma 78b): thus Yeshua did not respond to accusations against Him, preceding His crucifixion (Mark 15:5). [In our country, the president has immunity from prosecution.]

 

As “Yahweh of Hosts” – the Gracious God of Armies – so the king was the commander-in-chief of the army: he was to oversee the nation’s protection, and lead in wiping out those most idolatrous nations that Yahweh ordered destroyed. Interestingly, the Torah does not use the term “Elohim of Hosts” – the Judging God of Armies. Note that there was no general instruction for Israel to kill all of the world’s idolaters, like the Quran’s teaching of killing Christians and Jews. There was no instruction for Israel to take over the world: they could expand only to their allotted boundaries.

 

Concerning Jihad: “O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto him)” (TMQ At-Taubah: 123). Rashid, the author, then lists many details of these verses, which are self-evident to the objective reader.

 

Allah says, ‘Don't weaken, don't call for peace whilst you have the upper hand. If Muslims are mighty with strength, invincible, and numerous in groups let there be no peace’ ” (TMQ Muhammad: 35). Thus peace may be accepted but not if Muslims have the upper hand. In addition to the evidences of the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma-as Sahabah present clear evidences of the meaning of Jihad.

 

The king was to lead the nation to build the Temple of the Holy One, leading the nation toward righteousness. The nation was to be a light to the world – the Temple being the center for spreading God’s Word. As Psalm 134:3 reads, “May Yahweh bless you from Zion”.

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Only priests could perform the offerings at the Temple. They composed the orchestra (with harps and flutes) and choir (singing Psalms). They were in the position to make atonements for the people.

 

The High Priest performs the service in eight pieces of garments, and the common priest in four: the tunic, drawers, mitre, and girdle. The High Priest adds thereto the breastplate, the apron, the robe, and the frontlet. In these were the Urim and Tummim inquired of (Numbers 27:21). But they were not inquired of except for the king, for the av beit din (father of the court of three, or head of an important school), or for one of such important position that the whole community needed him (Makkot 11b)” (Talmud: Yoma 71b).

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A prophet is one who teaches. He is the expounder of God’s Word; foretelling future events is a small part this job.

 

Here is an example:

 “Solomon said in his wisdom, ‘Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack ointment (Ecclesiastes 9:8).’ R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: ‘This may be compared to a king who summoned his servants to a banquet without appointing a time. The wise ones adorned themselves and sat at the door of the palace. “for,” said they. “is anything lacking in a royal palace?” The fools went about their work, saying, “can there be a banquet without preparations?” Suddenly the king desired the presence of his servants: the wise entered adorned, while the fools entered soiled. The king rejoiced at the wise but was angry with the fools. “Those who adorned themselves for the banquet,” ordered he, “let them sit, eat and drink. But those who did not adorn themselves for the banquet, let them stand and watch.” ’ R. Meir's son-in-law said in R. Meir's name: ‘Then they too would merely look as being in attendance. But both sit, the former eating and the latter hungering, the former drinking and the latter thirsting, for it is said, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart” ’ ” (Talmud: Yoma 71b).

 

All of this is to explain that we should repent today: we should turn to God, to be clothed in the righteousness of Yeshua. Let the fools go out and work for their salvation banquet: God has prepared ours!

 

When we are clothed in (white) His righteousness, we will walk in His Spirit (oil on our heads), learning obedience to our Prophet – through His Word, to our Priest to whom we confess and who sanctifies us, and to our Gracious King who leads us and provides for us.

 

Galatians 5:16-18 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the (penalty of the) Law.”

 

The nations which God commanded to be destroyed practiced witchcraft and were taught by diviners. But God disallowed such activity in Israel: His prophets were to do the teaching, expounding Torah (v.18:14).

 

Anyone who speaks presumptuously in the Name of Yahweh is worthy of death (v.18:20). Ezekiel 22:27-28 reads: “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh God,' when Yahweh has not spoken.” We have many who say things from their own mind, without studying the whole of Scripture: like, God will heal all our diseases (based on Isaiah), disregarding what Paul said 1, or what is written in Hebrews 2. Today’s haftarah (Jeremiah 29:8) reads, “For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream”.

 

(1) 2 Cor 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought Yahweh thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

(2) Heb 12:6-11 For whom Yahweh loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 

Personal prophecies: To say that God said something, that He did not say, is blasphemy. It is making a god of one’s own thoughts or feelings.

 

(V.18:15-19) Here is a promise of the ultimate prophet: “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you (Moses), and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

 

Moses preceded the kings, priests, and prophets of Israel. He was a great prophet who also led the nation and made atonements for it. Yeshua would be such a great prophet, fulfilling the ultimate roles of prophet, priest, and king. Thus He is “the Messiah.”

 

John the Baptist was asked if he was “that prophet”:

John 1:19-27 And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’  And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you that Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ They said then to him, ‘Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’ He said, ‘I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of Yahweh,” as Isaiah the prophet said.’  Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, ‘Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor that Prophet?’ John answered them saying, ‘I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. ‘It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’

 

Yeshua is “that prophet”:

John 6:14-15 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Yeshua did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.’ When Yeshua therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

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Judgment:

(V.19:16-21) “the judges shall investigate thoroughly . . . life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” Again, this oft misunderstood Scripture is not about personal retribution; it is about fair justice to be meted out by judges: the value of an eye to compensate for the loss of an eye, the value of a tooth to compensate for the loss of a tooth.

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. 14 "For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, Yahweh your God has not allowed you to do so. 15 "Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 "This is according to all that you asked of Yahweh your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.' 17 "Yahweh said to me, 'They have spoken well. 18 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

Reader 2*  Amen. 19 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which Yahweh has not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which Yahweh has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Reader 3*  Amen.  19:1 "When Yahweh your God cuts off the nations, whose land Yahweh your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, 2 you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which Yahweh your God gives you to possess. 3 "You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which Yahweh your God will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there. 4 "Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously – 5 as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies – he may flee to one of these cities and live; 6 otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. 7 "Therefore, I command you, saying, 'You shall set aside three cities for yourself.'

Reader 4*  Amen. 8 "If Yahweh your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers – 9 if you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love Yahweh your God, and to walk in His ways always – then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 "So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which Yahweh your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you. 11 "But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 "You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Reader 5*  Amen. 14 "You shall not move your neighbor's boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that Yahweh your God gives you to possess. 15 "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 "If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before Yahweh, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 "The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20 "The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Reader 6*  Amen. 20:1 "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 "When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 3 "He shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4 for Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'

Reader 7*  Amen. 5 "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6 'Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. 7 'And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.' 8 "Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, 'Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers' hearts melt like his heart.' 9 "When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people.

 

"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."

 

Jeremiah 29:8 – 30:9

Reader 8*  Amen. 8 "For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 'For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,' declares Yahweh. 10 "For thus says Yahweh, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares Yahweh, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 'I will be found by you,' declares Yahweh, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares Yahweh, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'

Reader 9*  Amen. 15 "Because you have said, 'Yahweh has raised up prophets for us in Babylon ' – 16 for thus says Yahweh concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did not go with you into exile – 17 thus says Yahweh of hosts, 'Behold, I am sending upon them the sword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like split-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness. 18 'I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with pestilence; and I will make them a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse and a horror and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have not listened to My words,' declares Yahweh, 'which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,' declares Yahweh.

Reader 10*  Amen. 20 "You, therefore, hear the word of Yahweh, all you exiles, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 "Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying to you falsely in My name, 'Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will slay them before your eyes. 22 'Because of them a curse will be used by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, "May Yahweh make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire, 23 because they have acted foolishly in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives and have spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who knows and am a witness," declares Yahweh.'"

Reader 11*  Amen. 24 To Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying, 25 "Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Because you have sent letters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 "Yahweh has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to be the overseer in the house of Yahweh over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and in the iron collar, 27 now then, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who prophesies to you? 28 "For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, 'The exile will be long; build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their produce.'"'" 29 Zephaniah the priest read this letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying, 31 "Send to all the exiles, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite, "Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has made you trust in a lie," 32 therefore thus says Yahweh, "Behold, I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants; he will not have anyone living among this people, and he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people," declares Yahweh, "because he has preached rebellion against Yahweh."'"

Reader 12*  Amen. 30:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. 3 'For behold, days are coming,' declares Yahweh, 'when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.' Yahweh says, 'I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.'" 4 Now these are the words which Yahweh spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah: 5 "For thus says Yahweh, 'I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. 6 'Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? 7 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be saved from it. 8 'It shall come about on that day,' declares Yahweh of hosts, 'that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. 9 'But they shall serve Yahweh their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

 

Psalm 134   (To be sung.)    A Song of Ascents

1 Behold, bless Yahweh, all servants of Yahweh, who serve by night in the house of Yahweh! 2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless Yahweh. 3 May Yahweh bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

 

Galatians 5:1 – 6:10

Reader 13*  Amen. 5:1 It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive the circumcision, Messiah will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives the circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Messiah, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Messiah Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

Reader 14*  Amen. 7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves. 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Reader 15*  Amen. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Reader 16*  Amen. 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Messiah. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load. 6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

 

"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)