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Lesson One: Dreams can be very significant.

Lesson Two: G-d can use whomever He pleases to reveal His plan. (ex. Balam, Pharaoh)

Lesson Three: We should always present ourselves modestly and with decency to our superiors. The Torah seemingly goes out of its way to mention that Joseph “shaved and changed his clothes” before going before Pharaoh. If Joseph prepared himself to stand in front of a pagan ruler, then how much more should we present ourselves well in the presence of a righteous authority? In short, G-d cares about our appearance.

The portion closes with a significant insight. If we acknowledge the similarities between Joseph and Messiah then something interesting emerges in verse 17 of Chapter 44:

“But he said, ‘Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.’”

This verse comes after the offer for all of the brothers to become Joseph’s slaves. Joseph’s answer is both prophetic and Messianic. He righteously and adamantly rejects the idea of all of the brothers becoming servants as it is written,

“You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.” Leviticus 25:46

Only the brother with whom the cup was found will be his servant. By specifically placing the cup in Benjamin’s sack Joseph chose him to be his servant. Is this not the biblical means by which we receive salvation? Messiah chooses us and bestows the precious gift of salvation. Similarly Benjamin did not ask for the cup nor was he pleased upon his discovery of it because it meant the beginning of laborious service. Isn’t that our attitude sometimes toward our position as His servants? We allow the intimidation of obedience to quell the praise that should be on our lips. I pray this portion serves as a vivid reminder to die to our flesh and praise the Might One of Israel for His wondrous gift of salvation. Though our walk may be difficult at times His salvation comes with a promise. Just as Benjamin, whom Joseph had called, previously underwent a name change so too do we receive a new identity in Him.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of G-d in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

Shabbat Shalom

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***Wow – great stuff from Segulah’s post!  I need to reveal that my replies are not solely my own work – good brothers came beside me to lend assistance***

Hey Brother,

I find the same word meanings that you have in Hebrews 8:13.  I have some thoughts listed below that I would like you to consider in order for your understanding of how someone reading this verse, with the correct meanings, could remain convinced that our Fathers love language – the demonstration of our love for Him – remains with the keeping of His commandments. (Proverbs 3:1, 4:4, 7:2; John 14:15, 15:10 and Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Peter said in so many words (2 Peter 3:15-16) that Paul is hard to understand…and this is coming from a guy who was living at the same time, lived within the culture, used the language and was familiar with the issues that the assemblies were experiencing. How much harder would it be for me to comprehend? The following passages (below) help me understand Paul’s letters as I keep what I read, within the boundaries of foundational scripture.  When I read something that appears to be contradictory – then I have to look further and be careful to remember that G-d does not change according to: 1 Samuel 15:29 (He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.) NIV and Malachi 3:6 (For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.) ESV:

1)  Paul (or anyone else) cannot add nor take away from G-d’s word.  Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.) ESV

2)  Paul (or anyone else) cannot turn the people away from G-d’s commandments.  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your G-d and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.) ESV

4)  Paul kept the Torah.  Acts 24:14-15 (But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the G-d of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in G-d, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.) ESV and Acts 25:8 (Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.) ESV

Now, when I read Hebrews 8:13, there definitely appears to be a contradiction to the passages above and many others that describe Paul’s actions (assuming that Paul wrote Hebrews) during his ministry if he is indeed proposing the idea that the Sinai covenant is obsolete.  In my studies in the past, I have looked at the letter to the Hebrews and remember that this letter is regarding the “The world to come”.  He states this in Hebrews 2:5 (Now it was not to angels that G-d subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.)   The new covenant is not at this time in its fullness.  We know this by reviewing closely what is described in Ezekiel 36:24-38 below regarding the new covenant and what is the current situation in the world and how they do not mirror each other:

(“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your G-d. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord G-D; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
Thus says the Lord G-D: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it. Thus says the Lord G-D: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock.  Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people.  Then they will know that I am the LORD.”) ESV

Here are some thoughts regarding covenants that I would like you to consider:

1)       Is the Torah a covenant?  The Torah was not the first covenant (Sinai Covenant).  The first covenant was the agreement by the children of Israel to do what G-d said. (See Exodus 19:5-6)
2)       What was at fault with the first covenant?  The commandments or the people who broke the commandments?  (Since the Torah is G-d’s eternal word – it could not be changed).  G-d changes the people by writing the Torah on their hearts (Ezekiel :26-27 above and Jeremiah 31:33) The new covenant is not a cancellation of the Torah or even a cancellation of the Sinai covenant…the people are changed and made able to fulfill the covenant….keeping His commandments.
3)       There are three things we learn from the story of the Gibeonites 2 Samuel 21:1-9:  Covenants are binding; Covenants are intergenerational; breaking a covenant has dire consequences and a broken covenant requires atonement.  G-d’s covenants are eternal and He built on them and improves on them.
4)       The new covenant is not a covenant with Christians or even Gentiles. Jeremiah 31:31 (Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah) ESV
5)       We as Christians only relate by covenant with G-d through being grafted into Israel (not through conversion)  Ephesians 2:12-13 (remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.) ESV.

When I speak of keeping the commandments, it is not for the purpose of salvation…it is all about sanctification.  It is not a burden but rather a lighter yoke as a disciple of the Messiah through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Some will make statements such as “You are putting yourself back under the law”.  Paul uses the Greek word nomos to describe many different laws.  Let me please state for clarity that I am no longer under The Law of Sin and Death because of salvation through Messiah.

Thanks and talk soon, Your brother

Intro:
Several months ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with a dear friend of mine who I have known for over 12 years. Although our relationship started out as a family friendship it eventually led to our family attending their church – he is a pastor.

We were called out of the church about 3 ½ years ago to start an incredibly exciting journey which will not end – and actually seems like it only just began. I had recently been trying to share with him the truths that G-d had revealed to us over this short time by extending an invitation to attend a study in our home but he declined.

He did, however, accept an invitation to lunch to celebrate his birthday – as is our custom. I had intended to discuss, at least to some degree, our recent experiences and encourage him to look further and find the truth that has been covered from “our” eyes for nearly two thousand years. “G-d is calling His people back to Torah”….this most excellent news was answered with grave concern spread across his face. My friend’s concern was primarily regarding my relationship with Jesus Christ and I assured him that this was not a salvation issue but a sanctification issue.

He agreed to continue a discussion over email exchange as best that our schedules would allow…and so begins what I would like to share with you: “Thoughts from lunch”. This will be a short series of exchanges (there is a total of 2 emails from him and 2 responses from me) between the two of us that I have found challenging. I will post his emails for your review and practice on how you may have responded. Every few days I will post the next exchange.

Below (the first email) is my friend responding to my explanation of how we are to live out our faith.

Email Subject: Thoughts from lunch (#1)

“Hey Brother, Thank you for the lunch. I am glad we had a chance to share our hearts with one another. We are family in Jesus Christ. I was concerned, however, about some of your statements about the new covenant and what it means to live under the new covenant. My concerns come from the Book of Hebrews, especially Hebrews 8:6-13, Hebrews 9:10, and Hebrews 10:9-10. Hebrews 8:13 uses the word obsolete in the NKJV. In Strong’s Concordance it is number 3822 in the dictionary in the back. The word means to make or become worn out, to declare obsolete. That is a strong statement about the old covenant. We can talk more after you study it out. Thanks again for the lunch.”

by tzadikguy

“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul will entice you secretly, saying, “Let us go and worship the gods of others” – that you did not know, you or your forefathers, from the gods of the peoples that are all around you, those near to you or those far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth – you shall not accede to him and not hearken to him; your eye shall not take pity on him, you shall not be compassionate nor conceal him. Rather, you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be the first against him to kill him, and the hand of the entire people afterwards.” Deuteronomy 13:7-10

G-d is a Holy G-d. He is the one and only. Serving other gods is a sin worthy of death. HaShem commands us to literally kill the person that commits such a heinous sin. Although, there is something interesting about this passage. Notice in the list of potential seducers there is no mention of a father and/or mother. The reason is the mitzvah [command] “honor your father and mother” takes precedence in this situation. A father and mother are to be honored and respected forever. According to this verse a child is never allowed to kill or even strike his/her mother or father even if the parents force the child to serve other gods. HaShem states in Exodus 21:

15“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

17“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

In verse 17, the word “curses” in the Septuagint is reviles which Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines as “to subject to verbal abuse”. Dishonor and disrespect occur through our attitudes, our actions, and even our words. We are called to always bring honor to our parents even when it is difficult; even when our parents force us to serve other gods. Why is this so? I believe the relationship between parents and children is an earthly reflection of the relationship between us and G-d. The Bible describes G-d as “Father” in several instances. “So now, HaShem, You are our Father. We are the clay and You are our Potter, and we are all Your handiwork.” Isaiah 64:8 Just as G-d created man, a husband and wife create a child. In a Biblical marriage, G-d is a crucial part of the relationship, and when we dishonor our father and mother, we are dishonoring G-d.

In the extreme case where a person’s parents actually force them to worship foreign gods an appeal can be made in a respectful and honorable way. A great guide to presenting wise appeals is found in Dr. Gothard’s The Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar: Seminar Workbook.

  1. Check out attitudes
  2. Clear our consciences
  3. Discern basic intentions
  4. Design a creative alternative
  5. Appeal to our authority
  6. Give G-d time to change their minds

If the parents still enforce idol worship after the appeal then the child is obligated to honor his/her parents’ demand. HaShem spoke and said, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the L-RD your G-d is giving you.”1 When we honor and respect our parents HaShem promises a long life. This is one of the few mitzvot [commandments] that is accompanied by a promise. We should not do what is right in our own eyes and dishonor our parents through disobedience. Who are we to say to G-d, “I don’t think that is right so I am not going to do that.”? Our mortal minds cannot understand HaShem’s plan or purpose. Therefore we must be obedient to His Torah. Similarly, we do not understand why our parents would force us to disobey HaShem but we must honor and respect them as our authority. Parents will be accountable one day for all actions, but it is not our place to dishonor or curse our parents.

__________________
1Exodus 20:12

by Kefa

“You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord”

Leviticus 19:28

There has been a lot of debate in the Mishnah about the application of the latter half of the aforementioned verse. After a lengthy discussion, Maimonides concluded that, ‘regardless of the intent, the act of tattooing is prohibited.’ (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry 12:11)

Recently, I have noticed an influx of sites promoting tattoos in a Jewish context or culture; tattoos of Hebrew letters, tattoos of verses from the Tanach in Hebrew, etc. At first blush, this seems incredibly ironic, if not oxymoronic; what’s next, Hindus working at Coach? After a little digging, we find that the general idea behind this is to use tattoos as an expression of your dedication and zeal for your Jewish roots; an outward representation of the pride you take in your ancestry.

What is the justification? How are you able to slip past the clarity of the text? I’ve heard that tattoos were used in pagan culture and/or idol worship. Since you’re certainly not getting a tattoo to worship a pagan god and are more likely getting it to embrace your heritage as the People of G-d, you may be able to find security in this justification. G-d was simply separating us from the pagan worship of the nations, right? Therefore, since you have a pure mindset, you are excused from this command.

No! May it never be! Remember Solomon, who thought he understood what G-d meant in Deuteronomy 17:17 (He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself) and subsequently was turned from G-d by his many wives. Shall we belittle G-d, in His omniscience, by daring to comprehend the reasoning behind His commands? Shall we elevate ourselves over the One who laid the foundation of the earth?

In conclusion, do not feel compelled to break one of HaShem’s commands to express your zeal; instead, consider channeling that energy into demonstrating your love for Him by keeping His mitzvot.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 5:3


by tzadikguy

This past Shabbat we learned about Supercessionist Theology and the reasons why the theology is not Scriptural.

Before diving into any definitions or explanations there are some imperative truths that need to be reiterated. The first being that the Tanach {Torah, Prophets, and Writings} says G-d is the G-d of Israel. The phrase “the G-d of Israel” is found about 199 times in the Tanach alone. Another indisputable truth, according to the Bible, is that Jew’s are “the L-RD’s people”. They are the chosen people of G-d and He chose to bestow them with the task of bringing the Torah to the Nations. Even the Apostolic Scriptures refer to Israel as the people of G-d:

“24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25-26

G-d did not chose Israel because of their character, He chose them because of His character. Israel may have been disobedient, and rejected HaShem but they are still His people. HaShem has the ability to transform any situation and ensure the glorification of His name.

Now for the definition of supercessionism. As one may gather the word means to “supersede” or replace something. Hence the reason supercessionism is a synonym of “replacement theology”. What exactly do supercessionists believe is being replaced? Unfortunately the answer is Israel. This would be the same as saying that the President of the United States must now have Icelandic citizenship. Previously, a higher authority granted the honor of serving as President of the United States solely to American citizens but now a “new” high authority transferred the honor to Icelandic citizens. Everyone would have a discrepancy with such a ludicrous idea, but somehow it seems logical if such an occurrence involved Israel. Within this fictitious theology lie 3 reasons for why Israel has been replaced.

  1. Punitive – Basically, Israel has been punished for their disobedience and HaShem’s blessing has been given to the Church. Martin Luther was an advocate for this type of supercessionism.
  2. Economic – Israel is no longer needed. Their service and purpose is over and it is now the Church’s chance to shine. Justin Martyr perpetuated this idea.
  3. Structural – The Old Testament is relegated and the New Testament is elevated which downgrades the theological importance of Israel.1

The common theme in each case is somehow the Church replaced Israel. According to David Novak, #1 New York Times bestselling Author, the New Covenant is either:

  • An extension of the Old Covenant. (What we should believe)
  • An addition to the Old Covenant. (soft supercessionism)
  • A replacement of the Old Covenant. (hard supercessionism)

Which option makes more sense? Why would G-d change His mind about Israel being His chosen people? He is a G-d that changes not. Why would He bother spending all that time with the “Old Covenant” if He was just going to relegate it? There is no evidence in Scripture proving G-d demoted the Old Covenant {Tanach} and established a New Covenant {Apostolic Scriptures}. In fact Revelation 7:4-8 lists all twelve tribes of Israel. The Jews would not be worth mentioning in end times prophecy if they had been replaced. Even in the last book of the Scriptures Israel was still written about. In addition, the first time the phrase “New Covenant” is mentioned is Jeremiah 31:31. That is in the Tanach! Clearly the “New Covenant” is not the Apostolic Scriptures because it is mentioned before they were even written. All scripture is given by the inspiration of G-d. It all works together and does not contradict itself. His word is perfect.

We must be very careful to understand the root of certain theologies. Supercessionism or “replacement theology” seeks to usurp the promises given to Israel and place the blessing on the church. The root of the problem and the birth of such a theology is quite obviously antisemitism. It is not Biblical and it is a blatant degradation of the Jewish people and their birthright. Sooner or later people are going to have to come to grips with the fact that it is to the Jew first, then the Gentile. Our calling is to be grafted into Israel and be obedient to the words of HaShem.

1The God of Israel and Christian Theology (Fortress Press, 1996), R. Kendall Soulen. Quoted by Calvin Smith. <http://www.calvinlsmith.com/2009/09/consulation-paper-christian-view-of.html&gt;

Notes, and references were recorded and collaborated in this post courtesy Joseph Squicciarini’s presentation of Supercessionism.


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