You are currently browsing Greg’s articles.

As the portion cycle came to a close it was traditional to read Parasha Vezot HaBracha on Simchat Torah. For the sake of further study into the final chapters of the Torah below is a table comparing Jacob’s blessing on his children with Moses’ blessing on the tribes. I pray you find the parallels insightful and this table enhances the study you have already done. Shalom!

  Jacob’s Blessing (Genesis 49) Moses’ Blessing (Deuteronomy 33)
Reuben Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch! Let Reuben live, and not die, but let his men be few.
Simeon Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. No mention.
Levi [Same as above] Give to Levi your Thummim, and your Urim to your godly one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah; who said of his father and mother, ‘I regard them not’; he disowned his brothers and ignored his children. For they observed your word and kept your covenant. They shall teach Jacob your rules and Israel your law; they shall put incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Bless, O Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; crush the loins of his adversaries, of those who hate him, that they rise not again.
Judah Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him in to his people. With your hands contend for him, and be a help against his adversaries.
Zebulun Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon. Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar, in your tents. They shall call peoples to their mountain; there they offer right sacrifices; for they draw from the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand.
Issachar Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds. He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant at forced labor. [Mentioned above]
Dan Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward. I wait for your salvation, O Lord. Dan is a lion’s cub that leaps from Bashan.
Gad Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels. Blessed be he who enlarges Gad! Gad crouches like a lion; he tears off arm and scalp. He chose the best of the land for himself, for there a commander’s portion was reserved; and he came with the heads of the people, with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments for Israel.
Asher Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies. Most blessed of sons be Asher; let him be the favorite of his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil.Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.
Naphtali Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns. O Naphtali, sated with favor, and full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the lake and the south.
Joseph Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers. Blessed by the Lord be his land, with the choicest gifts of heaven above,and of the deep that crouches beneath,with the choicest fruits of the sun and the rich yield of the months,with the finest produce of the ancient mountains and the abundance of the everlasting hills,with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwells in the bush. May these rest on the head of Joseph, on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.A firstborn bull—he has majesty, and his horns are the horns of a wild ox; with them he shall gore the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth; they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
Benjamin Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil. The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.
Advertisements

If G-d commanded through Moses, “take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 32:46) then one would assume the Gospel would be included in such an important song, right? Walk through just a few snippets of the inspired song and note the various cross references.

“But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.” Deuteronomy 32:15

“Jeshurun” literally means “upright one” based on the root word yashar which is the verb for “to be right, be straight, be level, be upright, etc.” Therefore the name Jeshurun was an endearing term to describe the “ideal character”1 of Israel. The name in the above verse was juxtaposed with the uncharacteristic forsaking of G-d and the scoffing at the Rock as if to remind future generations not to lose hope but to pursue the higher calling of being the “Upright One.” Indeed, one of Israel’s greatest follies was that of forgetting G-d and scoffing at the Rock.

“What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’” Romans 9:30-32

It appears Paul blended Isaiah 8:14 and Isaiah 28:16 to emphasize Yeshua as the Rock through whom no shame will be administered to those who believe. The Rock over whom Israel stumbled. Paul conclusively stated Yeshua is the Rock in the following verse:

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrownin the wilderness.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

There is only one true Messiah therefore there have been and will be many false messiahs. (see 1 Jn. 2:18) HaSatan desires to pervert what is of G-d and replace good with evil. The song also warns us of the anti-messiah:

“For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves.” Deuteronomy 32:31

To conclude, many verses from the song in this week’s portion were referenced throughout the Bible and it is easy to see the Good News proclaimed in the various passages! It is an important song to study, to memorize, and upon which to meditate “that this song may be a witness”. (Deut. 31:19) For those of us who are not native born Jews the following verse and Paul’s comments on the verse are interesting!

“Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.” Deuteronomy 32:43

“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’ And again it is said, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’” Romans 15:8-10

According to www.biblegateway.com in Deuteronomy 32:43 there is a footnote that states: “Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Rejoice his people, O nations.” However www.blueletterbible.org contains the “Masoretic Text” which is actually “a digital version of the Leningrad Codex developed by the Westminster Hebrew Institute at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.” and the Hebrew clearly contains hashamayim or “the heavens” in Deuteronomy 32:43. Despite this technological irregularity, in his book The End of Deuteronomy in the Epistles of Paul Guy Prentiss Waters2 writes, “It is sufficient to say that Paul has cited LXX Deut 32:43c and that the peculiarities of the wording of this citation prove “crucial” to his argument at Rom 15:7-13.289” Either way Paul certainly encouraged Gentiles based on the passage from this week’s portion. Rejoice and glorify G-d that while we were yet sinners Yeshua died for us! (Rom. 5:8) If you have any further insight into the parallels of Deuteronomy 32:43 and Romans 15:10 please leave a comment below.


1 http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3484&t=ESV

2http://books.google.com/books?id=frU1U5ljRHoC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=deuteronomy+32:43+and+romans+15:10&source=bl&ots=m7TwCBcwbk&sig=2CVBPNvmLe2e36jTQlA2INT5W20&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vphkUPCFMuGQ2gWhhIGYCQ&ved=0CEkQ6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q=deuteronomy%2032%3A43%20and%20romans%2015%3A10&f=false

289 Hays, Echoes, 72

Aside from the therapeutic benefits, singing is an excellent way to remember rhetoric. The songs found throughout Scripture are essentially melodious compilations of truth. This week’s portion ends right before the highly anticipated song that G-d commanded Moses to teach the people. Nevertheless, the portion contained the functions of the song.

“Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel.” Deuteronomy 31:19

“And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.” Deuteronomy 31:21

The previous verses demonstrate that the song was to be both a witness and a reminder. Ideally people are less likely to sin the more witnesses are present. In this week’s parasha Moses called “heaven and earth to witness against them” (Deut. 31:28) as well as the song. In addition, G-d is always a witness to every occurrence. (Heb. 4:13) The result is more than enough witnesses to convict someone of even a capital crime. The conclusion is inescapable. It is impossible for man to abscond from conviction. One would assume such opposition would be sufficient for preventing transgression, but it did not suffice nor will it ever. However, the L-rd in His abundant mercy has provided means with which His chosen people avoid the deserving eternal damnation. The King of the Universe “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 Jn. 4:10) The following excerpt from the “Song at the Sea” concisely reveals the same truth.

“The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2

G-d is, indeed, our song (in the case of this week’s portion a “witness” and “reminder”) and also our salvation. Praises and exaltation far beyond any human capacity are due to our gracious King. After singing the song of Moses, also include the song of the Lamb.

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3-4

As I looked for something in this week’s portion that I have not noticed before once again the Hebrew of a passage caught my attention.

“Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.” Deuteronomy 29:18-19

The word for “safe” in verse 19 is actually shalom which most often means “peace.” The common Hebrew word for “safe” is betach. Knowing the Hebrew of this verse heightens the personal conviction. It is more often that I have justified sin by claiming that I have peace about something than thinking I will be safe from consequences. (Of course, having peace about something results in feeling safe from consequences.) There is a stark contrast between selfish peace and G-d-given peace. Our personal peace can so easily lead us astray because it “feels right.” However, the Holy Spirit provides a peace that accurately convicts sin and encourages righteousness.

“Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.” Psalm 85:8-9

The way to know whether the feeling of peace is self-generated or the work of the Spirit is by examining the fruit. Is the fruit “poisonous and bitter?” Or are the fruits of the Spirit evident? The Holy Spirit will not give peace to sin. Therefore if we ever feel peace about doing something contrary to the words of the covenant we know it is a lie of the flesh and not the truth of the Spirit.

“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

To gain a more thorough understanding of a word in Scripture it is important to consider context, additional usage, and Hebrew root among other things. In this week’s parasha there was a unique word that caught my attention.

“And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.” Deuteronomy 27:4

The Hebrew word for “plaster” is sid which literally means lime or whitewash. The definition seemed straightforward until compared to another verse that used sid.

“Thus says the LORD: ‘For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he burned to lime (sid) the bones of the king of Edom.’” Amos 2:1

Isaiah 33:12 echoed a similar concept of creating the “lime” from burning bones. Perhaps burning bones into lime is common knowledge and I have exposed an area of my own ignorance, but, nevertheless, the affect such a definition has on the verse from Deuteronomy is fascinating. Recall that Mount Ebal, where the plastered stones were set up, was also the location of the curses resulting from disobedience. (Deut. 11:28-29) I believe it is highly unlikely that the plaster described in this week’s parasha was literally the lime made from burning bones because burial was so important. However, the word correlation makes a strong statement for us today. As James said in chapter 1, “..and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (1:15) The plaster serves as a reminder of the consequence of sin. It reminds us that “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10) Remember:

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

In conclusion, the following verse concisely demonstrated the necessity for faith in Messiah Yeshua.

“But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.” Deuteronomy 29:4

It is almost unfathomable that one could witness the wonders G-d performed and yet not understand, hear, or see. Though Moses clearly stated an understanding heart, seeing eyes, and hearing ears come from G-d. Now look at the following passage:

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13:13-17

Yeshua was speaking to His disciples in this case and He calls their eyes and ears “blessed” because of their belief in Him. The gift of knowledge, sight, and hearing is synonymous with the gift of salvation. Indeed the disciples of Yeshua are blessed for what could be better than seeing and hearing G-d? Praise the L-RD for His grace and faithfulness!

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

In this week’s portion a great mystery is present.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever,” Deuteronomy 23:1-3

Why are groups of people mentioned who would, by default, not enter the assembly of G-d? Have we all not fallen short? Aren’t we all, by default, unable to enter the assembly of G-d? Could this mean, by implication, that there are some who do enter the assembly of G-d by default? The correct reconciliation of this possible contradiction escapes my level of knowledge. If you have or have heard a biblical explanation of Deuteronomy 23 please post in the comment below. One thing we do know is that the previous passage cannot be referring to an impossibility of these unique (pun intended), condemned people from being eternally saved. Look at the following passages:

“For thus says the LORD: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant–’” Isaiah 56:4-6

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’” Ruth 1:16

In addition, remember Judah and Tamar! According to Levitcus 18:15 it is a forbidden union to uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law. Judah’s son Perez is a descent of Messiah Yeshua! (Matt. 1:3)

I am certainly not qualified to give a definitive answer on such a major issue. However, I was fascinated after reading the passage containing those who may not enter the assembly of the L-rd because we have studied examples of when those people do enter the assembly of L-rd! Perhaps this week’s portion contains yet another marvelous example of G-d’s abundant grace. Even though it is just and appropriate to condemn these groups, still G-d has mercy. Even though we are deserving of G-d’s wrath He has shown mercy and saved us. That is incredible and beyond understanding.

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” Psalm 40:9-11

“Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 16:20

Seems simple enough, right? Just follow justice and be blessed with the inheritance of the land. As with every word in the Bible there lies more significance and accuracy in the Hebrew.  Most translations read, “Justice…justice” except the Young’s Literal Translation which translates “justice” as “righteousness.” The word in Hebrew is actually tzedek. Gesenius’s Lexicon defines tzedek as “(1) in a physical sense, straightness, rightness (2) rectitude, right, what is right and just, what is so, or ought to be so.” In English it is easy to assume the “justice” in verse 19 is the same as the “justice” in verse 20. Indeed there is overlap but tzedek more accurately describes this command in verse 20 because not everyone can serve as a literal judge (as described by the word mishpat used in verse 19). However, everyone can and is commanded to follow righteousness and act justly. How much more than shall the Righteous One, Messiah Yeshua, be followed! The following verse also contains the word tzedek.

“My righteousness (tzidki) draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.” Isaiah 51:5

Yeshua came and perfectly demonstrated how to follow righteousness. Look to Him. Follow His example. Heed His Word. As it is written:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

Additionally, there is an excellent example in this week’s portion of the result of hearing and hearing the Law.

“And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:19-20

The context of this passage is the commandment for the king to write a copy of the Law. Why did he need to write his own copy? To keep with him, to read, to study, and ultimately to obey every single word possible. The passage also said, “that he may learn to fear the LORD his God.” Summarized here in one verse describes the learning process to fear G-d; that by reading and hearing the Law the king would practice all the words of the Law. Once G-d has set us apart unto Him both fear and love must follow. May we follow the king’s example and learn to fear G-d and only follow Messiah Yeshua, the Righteous One!

Moses often reminded Israel of the two consequences of actions: blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience. Moses could not have been more straightforward yet to this very day people seek biased justification and over-spiritualization to forsake all responsibility of true obedience. Unfortunately those people are too preoccupied avoiding legalism that they miss the amazing correlation between obedience and salvation. Here in this week’s portion, amidst the Moses’ supplications, was a verse that demonstrated the aforementioned correlation.

The first verse in this week’s portion framed the proceeding declarations in the portion.

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:” Deuteronomy 11:26

Look closely at this specific declaration:

“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.” Deuteronomy 11:29

It is intriguing that the blessing and the curse were set on two different mountains. Natural curiosity leads to a desire to research the definitions of each mountain. Take a look:

  • Gerizim = cuttings off
  • Ebal = stone or bare mountain

The mountains represented a visual manifestation of consequences for obedience or disobedience.   Deuteronomy 11 described the desolation and bare land that would result from disobedience.

“Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you.” Deuteronomy 11:16-17

And Leviticus 11 recounted the incredible result of being one of G-d’s people.

“I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45

First, G-d saved the Children of Israel from Egypt to make a covenant then G-d commanded the people to be set apart. How can one be holy? Through obedience to G-d (Num. 15:40) and obedience comes with blessing. (Deut. 7:11-16; 30:16) Gerizim is the plural form of the verb garaz which means to cut, to cut off, or to separate, a definition that is similar to “holy” (kodesh) which means to separate and to “covenant” (beriyt) which comes from the root bara (to cut). Therefore those who obey, and receive the blessing that was set on Mount Gerizim, do so because of the covenant with G-d that called them to be separate from the world, destined for holiness. This covenant is not only physical through obedience to the commandment of circumcision but it is also spiritual through Messiah Yeshua Who gives a new heart. Deuteronomy 30 summarized the Good News and demonstrated what should be the desired distribution of blessings and curses that were set on the two mountains.

“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.  And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you.” Deuteronomy 30:6-7

Messiah Yeshua is the mediator of the New Covenant which enables faithful obedience. He has separated a remnant, cut a covenant with them, and leads them toward holiness. Baruch HaShem for His love and grace that counts us as part of that remnant! Baruch HaShem for His loving and gracious commandments that draw us closer to Him and bring such immense blessing!

A lesson in the importance of context is contained in this week’s parasha. At first glance it is easy to read the following two verses and claim the discovery of a contradiction.

“The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.” Deuteronomy 7:22

“Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you.” Deuteronomy 9:3

The parallel passage of Deuteronomy 7:22 is Exodus 23:29-30. Although note verse 28 of Exodus 23:

“And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you.” Exodus 23:28

Clearly the “nations” described in Deuteronomy 7:22 and Exodus 23:29-30 were the inhabitants of the Promise Land. On the other hand, Deuteronomy 9:3 was describing a present commandment revealed by the use of “today” (ha’yom). Also, note verse 2 of Deuteronomy 9:

“a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’” Deuteronomy 9:2

Clearly the “them” described in Deuteronomy 9:3 were the Anakim who stuck fear in the heart of the spies. Therefore both verses in this week’s parasha were true and both were accomplished. The inhabitants of the land needed to be removed while the Children of Israel simultaneously increased. However, when the time arrived to destroy the Anakim it had to be accomplished swiftly.

Both verses also contain important life principals. In regard to commandments we must be swift to obey and not delay! (Ps. 119:10) Though we must remember we can neither attain perfection nor holiness overnight. Once G-d saves us through Yeshua we must work out our salvation each day. (Phil. 2:12) Remember “..that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut. 8:3) Yeshua used this verse to combat the temptation to turn stones into bread as suggested by Satan. (Matt. 4:4) This is an excellent reminder that we do not live by the produce of our own hands but by the will of our King, the Holy One, Blessed is He. Hallelujah!

This week’s parasha provides an additional parallel between Moses and Yeshua. During the many warnings against idolatry and the reminders of G-d’s Justice Moses stated the following:

“When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed.” Deuteronomy 4:25-26

Moses would call heaven and earth to witness against the idolater. This truth helps explain a passage found in Hebrews!

“Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Hebrews 10:28

Two or three witnesses are required by the Torah to administer a sentence of capital punishment and/or establish a charge.  (Num. 35:30, Deu. 17:6, Deu. 19:15) In Deuteronomy 4 the word for “witness” in Hebrew is (ha’idoti) הַעִידֹתִי (the root word is ud עוּד) which is a verb that literally means to testify, give warning, or to return. In Numbers 35 the word for “witness” is (ed) עֵד which is contracted from the same root (ud)עוּד and describes the noun “witness.” It is very interesting that the particular word used for the “witnessing” of heaven and earth can also mean warning or return. Perhaps this describes one of the purposes of having witnesses that are always around! First they serve as a warning to return to the ways of G-d then they become a condemning witness. It is impossible to escape both heaven and earth just as it is impossible to dwell somewhere G-d is not, for He is everywhere.

Moses stated that he would “call” heaven and earth to “witness.” Both words are the same and they are combined in Deuteronomy 4. Therefore it was as if Moses was including himself in the witnessing. If so, then that would be a total of three witnesses. Now, according to Scripture Moses shared many characteristics with Messiah Yeshua. (Heb. 3:2,5; Deu. 18:15; Jn. 5:46-47) One of the most important parallels to firmly grasp is that Moses wrote of Messiah Yeshua. (Jn. 5:46-47) Also, Moses wrote the law that G-d spoke to him. (Deu. 31:9) It is the law that condemns and it is Messiah Yeshua that saves but both were revealed by G-d written by Moses. That is why setting aside the law is a capital crime lacking mercy because it is also setting aside or rejecting Messiah Yeshua. The same witnesses adjudicate for both sins.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40

May this never describe us. May we never separate Yeshua from His law. And may both be on our lips at all times.

Enter your email address to follow MenOfTorah and receive notifications of new discussions by email.

Join 196 other followers

RSS Tzadik Class Podcast

  • Comfort Ye My People - Lesson 4 August 15, 2018
  • Comfort Ye My People - Lesson 3 August 8, 2018
  • Comfort Ye My People - Lesson 2 August 1, 2018
  • Comfort Ye My People - Lesson 1 July 25, 2018

RSS Bella Torah Teaching

  • Re'eh' 5778 August 11, 2018
  • Chukat 5778 June 23, 2018

RSS The Bella Torah Meetup

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Categories

Advertisements