Shabbat Bible Study for July 4, 2020
©2020 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Shemoth 30:1-10 – Malachi 1:11 – 2:7 – Tehellim 61 –
Luka 1:5-25; Revelation 8:3-4, 14:11
Links for today:
Shemoth 30.1-10 – The Incense Altar was to be of shittim wood, 1 cubit square x 2 cubits high, with horns like on the brazen altar, overlaid with gold. The horns were not pointed, but square and flat topped, probably to hold a quantity of incense to place on the coals that would be brought from the brazen altar’s fire-pit in the brass fire-pan made for that purpose. There was to be a crown of gold to surround the top edge of the altar to make it a shallow enclosure between the horns. I assume the horns were at least the height of the crown, and possibly a bit higher to make a proper surface to place the censer upon. This altar had all the same stuff as the ahron (ark) and the Table of Showbread to transport it, gold rings near the 4 corners just below the crown and acacia wood staves overlaid with gold. It was to be placed in the center of the Holy place all the way back to just in front of the veil. As one entered the Holy place, the Incense altar would be the first thing he would see. The incense represented the prayers of the saints;
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before Elohim out of the angel’s hand. (Rev. 8:3-4)
The thought just struck me that the priestly accoutrements may have been a representation of the kavod, glory, of the cheruvim that minister to Y’hovah in his throneroom. If that is so, then the priest is dressed to be in the element of the Most Holy place, which has representations of cheruvim on its ceiling (the Mishkan’s first covering) and in the veil with all of that reflected in the pure gold walls on the other 3 sides, all lighted by the kavod of Y’hovah our Elohim. He may not have been able to tell his own reflexion from those of the cheruvim above and behind him.
We get some idea of what the High Priest’s duties were in vv.7-10. It was Aharon’s job to offer the incense offering 2x daily. Aharon dressed the menorah daily in the morning, to ensure that the fire not go out at night. The menorah was not meant to burn all day, but only at night to illuminate the Holy place so the Priests wouldn’t stumble around. When they broke camp, did they put the menorah’s fires out to transport it? Or was it moved full of oil and with the fires burning? They probably moved it dressed and full, but NOT burning.
Censers could be used to transport the burning incense, but I have to assume that the fire ON or UNDER the brazen altar had to be put out and the altar transported empty. Perhaps they were able to carry some of the fire with them in the fire-pans from one camp to another. The fire of the brazen altar was not to be put out, so I think they had to carry at least some coals from one camp to the next:
8 And Y’hovah spake unto Moshe, saying, 9 Command Aharon and his sons, saying, This the law of the burnt offering: It the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. 10 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. 11 And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. 12 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:8-13)
The fire from the brazen altar was the source for the coals of the incense altar on which the incense was laid for burning. The fire from the brazen altar must never go out so, as I said before, some coals from the last camp had to be used to build the fire at the next camp. Nothing but incense was to be offered on the altar of incense; no grain, no flesh, no drink – just incense. Nothing was to be mixed with the prayers of the saints. And the incense could not be just any incense, but the precise mixture of spices and oils. Anything else was ‘strange incense’. But that wasn’t the only ‘strange’ thing that could not be used. Nadav and Avihu offered ‘strange fire’ in their censers in Lev.10;
And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Y’hovah, which he commanded them not. (Leviticus 10:1)
They obviously either 1) used coals from a fire NOT from the brazen altar, or 2) perhaps an incense of their own recipe, or 3) both, or 4) they did everything according to proper procedure but without being bidden to. I think they followed proper procedure. The presumption is what I think cost them their lives.
The last duty of Aharon with the Altar of incense is to make atonement for it with the blood of both the bullock and the atoning goat on the Day of Atonement, applying it to the horns of the altar. Lev.16.17-18:
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar before Y’hovah, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put upon the horns of the altar round about. (Lev.16.17-18) Q&C
Malachi 1.11-2.7 – In the first 10 verses, by way of background, Y’hovah took the priesthood to task for despising his Name and his very person. In v.2 they have questioned his love for them. Y’hovah proves his love for Yisrael by the continual judgment against Edom. Why do you suppose the Middle East is in such turmoil and the Philistines and Edomites are among the most backward people on earth after having been the greatest scholars on earth, LO, those many centuries ago, at least until the Enlightenment? Vv.2-4 tell you, as Paul made reference to;
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:13)
THAT is the reason, biblically speaking, that the Philistines can’t make a weed grow in Yisrael, but Judah has made almost everything they touch turn into a garden – Y’hovah’s relative favor of Yisrael over Edom. Noone will EVER convince me that Yisrael is NOT his chosen people, when, even in their rebellion against his Mashiach, they are obviously favored and their enemies are obviously cursed. When their enemies conquer them, it is evidence of their backslidden condition and refusal to listen to the prophets who have warned them, and it is ALWAYS meant to make them return to Y’hovah Elohechem. In vv.6-10, Y’hovah tells Israel WHY they are seeing their enemies having success against them – even the priests, who should be the most intimately acquainted with their Abba, dishonor him and despise his Name. Which brings us to the opening line of our passage for today.
As the priests despise the Name of Y’hovah, the Gentiles will honor it. His Name was feared and honored among the Gentiles from the time of the Exodus, and in Canaan even from the time of Avraham. Anyone who came in contact with Avraham in Canaan knew that his Elohim favored him greatly and both went before him and covered his 6. There is nothing better than to have Y’hovah say, “I got your back, cuz.” The divine favor on Avraham was obvious even to the heathen kings almost from the day he crossed the Euphrates (Gen.14). Melchizedek (Shem?) honored him over all the so-called kings. But even as the heathen honored Y’hovah’s Name, the priests profaned it and Y’hovah was trying to get them to repent and thereby bring Yisrael back from the brink of destruction. Do you see what he says they think of the service that he honored them with, the high office that they obviously regarded as their right, rather than their honor to hold? The words he uses are very strong words. Let me quote from my Oxford American dictionary, from the explanation of the word ‘despise’:
It’s one thing to dislike someone; it’s quite another to despise or detest him. Both are strong words, used to describe extreme dislike or hatred.
Detest is probably the purest expression of hatred…, while despise suggests looking down on with great contempt and regarding the person as mean, petty, weak or worthless. Disdain carries even stronger connotations of superiority, often combined with self-righteousness. Scorn is a stronger word for disdain, and it implies an attitude of not only contempt, but of haughty rejection or refusal. To loath is to feel utter disgust toward something, while to abhor is to feel a profound, shuddering repugnance. Contemn is a more literary term to show disdain, scorn or contempt.
Y’hovah says that the priests profane his Table (the Table of Showbread) because they think the bread on it is contemptible. This may NOT have been what they projected to the people as they ministered, but it was probably what they REALLY felt in their heart of hearts, into which only Y’hovah can see clearly. They felt that their service in the Holy place was a pain in the tukhis, and not the joyful and deeply spiritual thing it was. They ‘snuffed’ at it, naphach, literally to puff out with disdain, which, you will remember, means to despise with an attitude of superiority and self-righteousness. And as if holding the Showbread in contempt wasn’t enough, they did the same with the actual offerings they put on the altar, using their least fit animals, rather than their best. Do you see where the curse is applied? He curses the one who deceives himself into thinking that bringing less than his best into the service of Y’hovah is ‘good enough’. In light of this, how ought we to look at our OWN service to Y’hovah? Are we bringing anything but our best to him? If we are, we’d better repent and turn back to his Way, before he tears us a new one.
In Chapter 2 he brings the warning to the priests. We need to give kavod, weight or copiousness (lots and lots of greatness), to Y’hovah Tzavaoth, or he will send the curses on us by cursing what we think are our blessings. In America, it is the comfort we’ve enjoyed for 2 generations that we think is our ‘blessing’. And we are being judged in that very thing by having our comfort removed. All you who live in ‘Xian nations’, are you getting the reason our blessings have been cursed? It is because we who under the original Sinai Covenant are the priests of Y’hovah to the world have despised him and his Name. He looks upon our comfort as dung, which he says he will spread all over our faces. Oh, we’ll cling to our surface comforts before men, on our faces, but when the bottom drops out, that will really mark us as those who disdained HIS blessings, that we were walking in our flesh and not by our faith.
His blessings are his commandments and his Feasts, and when we keep them in the way he commanded us, we receive untold blessings. However, even when we keep the feasts, we often do so in our flesh. Why have we turned away from Sunday, Xmas and Ishtar, only to profane his feasts by eliminating our feces in his camp and then not only not covering it, but showing it off as if it’s worthy of Guinness’ Book of World Records (with apologies to the TV series South Park, but the image was too appropriate and graphic to not use in this quite graphic scripture reference)? That is what we do when we ‘keep’ his feasts in OUR way rather than his. And then when he rubs our faces in it, we wear it as a badge of honor, thinking he’s placed his mark on us. Well, he has marked us with our own feces. I really don’t think that’s what he considers “His Mark”.
If there is anyone who has heard or read this and is not cut to the quick, he had better start his introspection right now. He is in grave danger of being given over to his own lusts.
Do you see that Levi isn’t mentioned until 2.4, while priests have been referred to up to then through the whole book? THAT’s my clue that up to now my Italian prophet brother is making reference to the ORIGINAL Covenant priesthood – chol Yisrael and not the Aharonic High priesthood or the Levitical priesthood. Vv.4-7 tell us WHY Y’hovah made Levi the priestly tribe; because they did NOT go after the transgression of the golden calf, and tells us that at first they were very zealous for his Torah and for their service. He holds them, as they were at the first, as the examples that we should follow in our ministries as priests before him to the world. But in the verses after our passage, he shows how even Levi (whose name means ‘My Heart’) started going after his own heart.
7 For the priest’ lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he the messenger of Y’hovah Tzavaoth. Q&C
Tehellim 61 – Remember Isaiah 45.11?
Thus saith Y’hovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (Is.45:11)
How many times does David ask Y’hovah? “Hear my cry”; “attend to my prayer”; “lead me”, “I will abide” are all imperatives. He isn’t requesting that he ‘hear’, ‘attend’, or ‘lead’ or asking if he may abide in the tabernacle of Y’hovah. He is in such tune with the Spirit of Elohim that he knows what Abba wants to do, and he is intimate enough to tell Y’hovah to do it. We often do this in prayer, though we may not realize it. Such prayers as, “Father, comfort X in her loss” or “deliver your servant from the hands of these ungodly men” are what I’m talking about. He WANTS us to be so intimate with him that we don’t hesitate to command him concerning the works of his hands. David is calling on Y’hovah to deliver him from his enemies, knowing that Y’hovah is going to answer in the affirmative. King David recognizes that the Rock is higher than he – not your typical politician, and that it is Y’hovah’s Rock that is his refuge and strong tower; the covert of his wings.
After the Selah!, the focus seems to change to King Mashiach. Elohim has given him the heritage of those who fear His Name. Elohim raised King Mashiach from the dead, prolonging his life to many generations. A generation is not necessarily 20, 30 or 40 years, as we were taught in Bible school. It also means “the production of something.” The universe in which we live is something that was generated by the Word of Y’hovah, and is therefore a generation. This generation will end with the ‘Big Bang’ in about 1000 years. Then there will be a new generation, the new heavens and earth. King Mashiach will live before Elohim for ‘many generations’ – forever. The New heavens and earth will be the 2nd ‘generation’ of the King Mashiach Yeshua.
Do you know how many times the phrase ‘chesed v’emeth’ is used in scripture? 10 is the number that relates to the ordinal perfection or completeness of Y’hovah’s government. I infer that refers to the perfection of his Kingdom on the earth. His perfect rule will be characterized by his mercy and his truth. If you look at the diagram of the Tree of Sefiroth, http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm, you will find that the center grouping has Y’hovah’s Chesed/Mercy opposite Elohim’s Gevurah/Severity. The severity of Elohim is seen in his truth, because there is nothing more severe than truth. Truth is severe, because anything added to truth to soften it diminishes it’s purity and turns it into error and falsehood. The truth with admixture of error makes the falsehood palatable. The only thing that can be added to truth without falsifying it is mercy, because mercy recognizes the truth and its severity, but tempers it; satisfying its righteousness through the gracious, merciful propitiation of King Mashiach, Y’hovah Yeshua. The righteousness of Elohim ‘kisses’ the mercy and grace of Y’hovah in the beauty of our Tzadik Rebbe, Yeshua.
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalms 85:10)
When truth meets mercy, righteousness and peace kiss, and the result is the beauty of Y’hovah Elohenu in the person of our Righteous Rebbe, Yeshua haMashiach. That tree of Sefiroth is a graphic depiction of a LOT of scriptures that deal with the seemingly contradictory statements about Mashiach. One aspect of the command to not go to the right hand or to the left is to not over-emphasize either the goodness or the severity of Elohim (left) Y’hovah (right). To overdo his righteousness will make us judgmental, while to overdo his mercy will make us ‘milque-toaste’ believers; the one will not allow ANYONE into the Kingdom, while the other will allow EVERYONE into the Kingdom, AND it will cause unnecessary division among sincere believers who are off to the right hand or left of the strait and narrow way of the tzadik.
Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiach is the perfect embodiment of the tzadik rebbe, in whom the goodness of Y’hovah and the severity of Elohim met and kissed each other. And knowing that allows us to praise his Name and perform our vows without worrying that we’ve missed something, because we know that he has met all the righteous requirements of Elohim’s justice for us. Q&C For a deeper look into the idea of the tzadik, look at 13 Petals’ study of The Matrix series http://www.13petals.org/matrix/. This is a 27 part (so far) series of articles showing the likeness of the movies to the tree of sefiroth.
Luka 1.5-25 – We saw the High Priest’s duties today, and in our Brit portion we see that Yochanan the Immerser’s father, ZacharYah, was filling the office of the High Priest at the time of Shavuoth. In Aharon’s days, there was one high priest, but by David’s time there were two; of the sons of Elazar through Pinchas, Zadok was chief and of the sons of Ithamar, Abiathar was chief. The full list of the courses is in 1Chronicles 24.4-19;
4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers. 5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar. 6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar [Mark edit – Note: Abiathar had been deposed (along with Joab) due to his siding with AdoniYah against Schlomo in 1Kings 2 (the chapter covering Schlomo’s consolidation of power), but his son Ahimelech was the next in his line and was anointed in his place; the line of Ithamar, son of Aharon did not end – end of edit], and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar. 7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, 8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, 9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, 10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, 11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, 12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, 13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, 14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, 15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses, 16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, 17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul, 18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah. 19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of Y’hovah, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as Y’hovah Elohim of Israel had commanded him.
ZacharYah was of the course of AviYah, the 8th course, and his wife Elisheva was a daughter of Aharon, as well. They were ‘blameless’ before Y’hovah, not sinless. But when they DID sin, they offered the correct offerings in the correct attitude of heart and were, therefore blameless. Zach was not a ‘chief priest’ in that he was not a son of Zadok, but of AbiYah. This is just a theory, but I think when the Brit Chadashah talks about the ‘chief priests’, it is referring to those of the Roman appointed high priests, who were usually NOT of the sons of Zadok or Abiathar, but political appointees. I COULD be wrong. But I doubt it. The courses began to be counted from the sabbath following the New Moon of spring, so 1 or 2 courses were complete by the Pesach week(s), when ALL the courses worked (same with Sukkoth week) due to the sheer volume of offerings to be made. Then the 6th or 7th course following Pesach would fall out at Shavuoth time, and there was ZacharYah doing what the High Priest did daily, dressing the menorah and offering the incense at the morning and evening offering times and lighting the menorah at the evening offering. I think it was the morning offering when Gavriel appeared to him – no scripture, I just think it, because there were a bunch of folks waiting for Zach to come out to bless them. Given a choice, I’d have been there for the morning blessing, because I am a ‘morning person’.
Gavriel appeared on the right side of the altar of incense and Zach was afraid. But he did not fall on his face before the angel – this angel was FROM Y’hovah, but he was not the Angel OF Y’hovah. Gavriel says, “Your prayer is heard.” That means that Zach was praying for his wife to bear him a son in their old age, as Sarah did for Avraham, while he was offering the incense that represents the prayers of the saints that just happened to be praying outside the Temple at that very moment. Y’hovah answers the prayers of his sons. If not for all y’all’s prayers I would not be here to bend your ears about this. Gavriel told him about the boy, and how he would be a prophet like EliYahu. He also told Zach that his son would turn the hearts of many to Y’hovah and go before Y’hovah to turn the hearts of the children (b’nei Yehudah) to the fathers (Torah) from the traditions of men, which Yochanan certainly did. Vv.16-17 show by way of parallelism that Yeshua is Y’hovah in the flesh: he turns many to Y’hovah and then goes before him, is the forerunner of the Mashiach, as Malachi said in 4.5-6
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Y’hovah: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
I’m sure Zach knew the prophecy, and who Gavriel was saying Yochanan would be.
When Zach asked for a sign that would prove these things, Gavriel said that he would be mute until the day that he named the boy Yochanan because of his unbelief. How was asking for confirmation a sign of unbelief? Perhaps that Gavriel had known that Zach was praying for a son for his wife Elisheva? Perhaps that he had just appeared as if from nowhere at the right hand of the altar; “Now you don’t see him: Now you DO!?”
The people, meanwhile, had a good idea about how long the morning offering and the other duties should take, and when ZacharYah was WAY late, they started wondering if he’d had a heart attack or something. But when he came out trying to give the “Y’vorechecha” blessing and gesticulated but couldn’t utter a sound, they perceived that he’d had a vision. Unfortunately, American sign had not been invented, yet, so he was left to the intelligence of men to try to communicate. You can imagine how long THAT must have taken. Oh, the frustration of having all your faculties and intelligence working, but to be unable to communicate! Imagine being struck mute, and all your friends and acquaintances thinking that also means you are either deaf or stupid, so they constantly yell at you, as if that would help. Before long, my stress level would be unimaginable – I’d be SO ready to choke the life out of someone! [Talk about reducing STRESS!]
As soon as his course was complete, he hightailed it home, because the next time his wife ovulated, they were going to conceive a SON! I guess he believed the sign Gavriel gave him. He must have been kinda randy, because only 9-10 months or so later, Elisheva, the barren Levite woman, gave birth to the one who would become the prophet, Yochanan the Immerser. Speculation Warning! I think that when the Magi came to honor the birth of Yeshua and asked Herod where they could find he who was born ‘King of the Jews”, Herod went after the boy who had been the center of attention at Pesach time a couple of years before. Yeshua said this to the Pharisees just before they took him for his mock trial
Matt.23.29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Serpents! Generation of vipers! How can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and of them ye shall kill and crucify; and of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (Matt.23.29-35)
I think ZacharYah ben BarachYah is the father of Yochanan the Immerser. When the Parthian Magi came to Herod seeking him who was born King of the Jews, he started a search for this usurper of his Roman appointment to the throne of Yehudah. How DARE anyone else call himself “King of Yehudah”! Everyone was wondering at the miraculous circumstances of Yochanan’s conception and birth to Zach and Liz, and I’m sure there was a lot of speculation that their son was the promised Mashiach, and the Prophet like unto Moshe.
57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how Yhwh had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, No! but he shall be called John. 61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father [Mark edit: Note how they assumed, even after the intervening 9-10 months, that he was DEAF as well as mute? Imagine Zach’s frustration. I KNOW I would have throttled someone! Of course, I’d have asked for a writing table 9 months before and told them I wasn’t deaf! end of edit], how he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake, and praised Elohim. 65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 66 And all they that heard laid up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of Yhwh was with him. (Lk.1.57-66)
So, when the Magi asked of him who was born King, Herod knew where Mashiach likely was – at Zach and Liz’s house. Of course, this was at Sukkoth and all the priests were on duty, and Zach was the elder of AbiYah’s course, so he was working in the Temple when Herod’s men came looking for Yochanan. When he refused to say where he was, they killed him between the brazen altar and the Holy Place.
I think Yochanan and Elisheva were with the Essenes in Qumran. End Speculation. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study