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Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 47

Deuteronomy 30:11 - 31:13   -   Jeremiah 12:15   -   Psalm 144   -   Matthew 11:7-30

 

Shevat 29, 5764 / February 21, 2004

Shevat 29, 5767 / February 17, 2007

Shevat 29, 5770 / February 13, 2010

Shevat 29, 5773 / February   9, 2013

 

haMitzvah / This Commandment   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Torah and Yeshua

 

Torah is compared to five things: water (Isaiah 55:1) that gives life,  wine (Proverbs 9:5) that brings joy,  honey & milk (Song of Solomon 4:11) that taste good are nourishing for growth,  and oil (SS 1:3) that brings radiant health.

 

The deeds (mitzvot) of the Torah are Biblically divided into three categories: the most intuitive being judgments (mishpatim) – moral and ethical instruction, next ordinances (edot) – rituals and festivals showing spiritual truths, and the least obvious being statutes (hukim) – deeds that bind us closer to God.

 

We speak of Yeshua as “the Living Torah”, “the Word become flesh” (John 1:14). Moses is speaking on the last day of his life. He is speaking of the Torah, and Paul uses his statements to refer to Yeshua.

 

Deuteronomy 30:11-14

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

 

Romans 10:6-10 (from last week)

But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Messiah down), or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead)." But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart "-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

 

The commandment (mitzvah) – the all-inclusive one, that we should love Yahweh our God with all our heart – Moses said that it was not in heaven, out of reach, that we needed someone to go up and get it for us. Paul said that the Word was near us: we did not need someone to go to heaven to bring Messiah down for us.

 

Moses said that the commandment was not beyond the sea, that we needed someone to cross over and get it for us, because the Word was very near us – in our mouth and in our heart, that we may observe it. Paul said that we did not need anyone to go to the abyss to bring Messiah up from the dead, because the Word was near us – in our mouth and in our heart, that we should confess with our mouth and believe in our heart.

 

We, who are of the faith, are not under the law of sin and death, that is – “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Yeshua paid the penalty for all of our transgressions: however, that does not make us free to willfully transgress. Rather, it leads us to fulfill Torah for the love of God. Keeping the judgments, ordinances, and statutes is God’s instruction (Torah) of how to love God and neighbor.

 

If we seek righteousness, acceptable to God, by trying to keep commandments, then we are under a curse, because of our failures (Galatians 3:10-11).

 

If we seek righteousness by some kind of supposed faith that does not produce works of righteousness, then we do not have any real faith (James 2:17, 26).

 

If our sins have been placed upon Yeshua, and His faith has been given to us (Ephesians 2:8), then we – through love – seek to serve and please Him, growing in grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). We have been saved from sin in order to fulfill Torah (Ephesians 2:10).

 

 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; (we are) justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Messiah Yeshua; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, . . . that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Yeshua. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law . . . Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Romans 3:23-31).

 

Once these things are understood from Scripture, they become obvious throughout, and no one should be able to deceive us into thinking otherwise.

 

Working to achieve right standing before God is not only hard; it is impossible.

 

Rabbinic Judaism has created a very difficult way that goes beyond Torah. It is said that one must be rich to be a Jew, and that may be represented by their dietary requirements of rabbinic certification of foods. Yeshua did not only refute rabbinic kashrut rules, He forbade even recognizing men by titles such as “Rabbi”. He did not deny Torah in any way.

Plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1) is not a Torah violation; it would violate Torah to harvest on the Sabbath for sale or storage.

Ritual hand washing before eating (Matthew 15:20) is a rabbinic requirement, not Torah.

Forbidding meats of which kosher slaughter is not certified (1 Corinthians 10:25) is a rabbinic rule, not Torah.

 

Catholicism has created an uncertain way of weighing one’s works. Penance by others might bring deliverance for one suffering in purgatory. Yeshua paid our price: it’s settled!

 

Walking with God is not hard. “My yoke is easy, my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). It is the way of blessing and peace. When we fall, we have an advocate (1 John 2:1), and we will be lifted up (Psalm 37:23-24). There is promised provision for everything we need to serve God (John 14:13). Acting “in Yeshua’s Name” means acting in Yeshua’s stead, inferring the doing of God’s work.

 

The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:4-5).

 

As David said (Psalm 144:15), “How blessed are the people whose God is Yahweh!

 

For such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of Him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by Yahweh: and he delights in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: Yahweh upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:22-24).

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The Torah portion goes on to tell us (V.31:3) that It is Yahweh your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Yeshua (Joshua) is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as Yahweh has spoken.” (V.8) “He will not fail you or forsake you.” We are responsible to go after righteousness in this life, following Yeshua; God has promised victory! Thus we read “Blesses are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

 

Then (v.10) God speaks about the Feast of Tabernacles. Is this a completely unrelated subject?

 

The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles represents the downfall of the nations, culminating in Yeshua’s reign on the Earth. On the Eighth Day, the enemies will be entirely destroyed, and we will enter the Promised Land! Today’s portion is all about overcoming our spiritual enemies, and going into the Land of righteousness.

 

So, David begins the accompanying Psalm 144 with “Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my lovingkindness and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer”.

 

And Yeshua speaks (Matthew 11:10) of John the baptizer, who will lead the way: “This is the one about whom it is written, (Malachi 3:1) ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ” As this messenger led the way when Yeshua came as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, so the messenger will be seen again when Yeshua returns to reign as King (Matthew 17:10).

 

Readings:

 

Reader 1* Amen 11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' 13 "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' 14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

 

Reader 2* Amen 15 "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love Yahweh your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that Yahweh your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 "But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.

 

Reader 3* Amen 19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving Yahweh your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

 

Reader 4* Amen 31:1 So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2 And he said to them, "I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and Yahweh has said to me, 'You shall not cross this Jordan.' 3 "It is Yahweh your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as Yahweh has spoken.

 

Reader 5* Amen 4 "And Yahweh will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5 "And Yahweh will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."

 

Reader 6* Amen 7 Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which Yahweh has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. 8 "And Yahweh is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed." 9 So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.

 

Reader 7* Amen 10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, "At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before Yahweh your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12 "Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn and fear Yahweh your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. 13 "And their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear Yahweh your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess."

 

Jeremiah 12:7-17

7 "I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies. 8 "My inheritance has become to Me like a lion in the forest; she has roared against Me; therefore I have come to hate her. 9 "Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me? Are the birds of prey against her on every side? Go, gather all the beasts of the field, bring them to devour! 10 "Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard, they have trampled down My field; they have made My pleasant field a desolate wilderness. 11 "It has been made a desolation; desolate, it mourns before Me; the whole land has been made desolate, because no man lays it to heart. 12 "On all the bare heights in the wilderness destroyers have come, for a sword of Yahweh is devouring from one end of the land even to the other; there is no peace for anyone. 13 "They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, they have strained themselves to no profit. But be ashamed of your harvest because of the fierce anger of Yahweh." 14 Thus says Yahweh concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, "Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 "And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16 "Then it will come about that if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, 'As Yahweh lives,' even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up in the midst of My people. 17 "But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it," declares Yahweh.

 

Psalm 144    A Psalm of David.

1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; 2 my lovingkindness and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer; my shield and He in whom I take refuge; Who subdues my people under me. 3 O Yahweh, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? 4 Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow. 5 Bow Your heavens, O Yahweh, and come down; touch the mountains, that they may smoke. 6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them; send out Your arrows and confuse them. 7 Stretch forth Your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, out of the hand of aliens 8 whose mouths speak deceit, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, 10 Who gives salvation to kings; Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword. 11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hand of aliens, whose mouth speaks deceit, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 12 Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace; 13 Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce, and our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; 14 Let our cattle bear, without mishap and without loss, let there be no outcry in our streets! 15 How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is Yahweh!

 

Matthew 11:7-30

7 And as these were going away, Yeshua began to speak to the multitudes about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 "But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces. 9 "But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 "This is the one about whom it is written, 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.' 11 "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 "And if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come. 15 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, 17 and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' 18 "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' 19 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." 20 Then He began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 "Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. 23 "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 "Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." 25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. 26 "Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. 27 "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

 


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)