Shabbat Bible Study for July 18, 2020
©2020 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 2 Shabbat 18
Shemoth 31:1 – 32:14 – YeshaYahu 43:1-28 – Tehellim 63 – 2 Timothy 1:1-18
Shemoth 31.1-11 – Over the last 5-6 weeks we have been looking at Y’hovah’s instructions about what the Mishkan, its furnishings, the different utensils to be used in its service, the oil and incense’s formulae which were NOT to be duplicated for any other purpose, and how the priest’s garments were to look and be crafted.
The opening passage this week tells us of Betzale’el [BDB – H1212], whose name means “In the shadow of El”. Betzale’el is a compound word from tzayl [H6738], which derives from tzalal [H6750, 6749 or 6751] to tingle/quiver, sink/be submerged or to be/grow dark.[?] You can see how all those xlations of the same root verb, all vowel pointed exactly the same way, with the bet prefix could give the idea of ‘in the shadow’ of El. I see Betzale’el as living in: 6750, quivering fear of Y’hovah; 6747, absolute submission to Y’hovah; and 6751, the ‘shadow’ of Y’hovah. To Betzale’el, Y’hovah was in the direct path of any OTHER light source. To Betzale’el, all other light sources, including his own, was darkness, since Y’hovah is the source of ALL light. I think that Betzale’el’s spirit was completely submitted to Y’hovah Elohenu, and THAT was the deciding factor in Y’hovah singling him out as the architect and superintendent of all the work to be done on all that we have studied over the last 5-6 weeks.
I draw the inference that Y’hovah knew that Betzale’el had shown his predisposition to submission to authority from his father’s name, as Uri literally means ‘my light’, derived from the root ohr with the yud suffix that designated personal possession. Uri was the light of Y’hovah to his son. As Betzale’el was ‘submerged’ in Ruach haKodesh he ‘tingled/quivered’ in his presence and his own spirit ‘grew dark’ in his own sight under Ruach’s marvelous light. There is no way that a man, under his own inspiration, could have made all the things of the Mishkan; especially all the gold furnishings, particularly the Menorrah and the mercy seat, each of which were beaten from single lumps of gold, or the robes, curtains and veils of techeleth, scarlet and purple wool, fine twined linen and gold threads with all their intricate details and depictions of the eyn sof’s throneroom. No WAY a man did all that to perfection the 1st time under his own power. Ruach moved on him in absolutely miraculous ways [to our sight, anyway] that even WE could see if only we would submit so completely to him. [BTW, I am unaware of any reference to Betzale’el being anything but in Ruach’s control. He was definitely a tzadik, possibly more so than even Moshe, who had sinned and would yet again. But Betzale’el, submitted to Y’hovah’s authority and was absolutely under his control. It seems his flesh did not even consider a position of leadership beyond what Y’hovah allowed; something I (and probably you to) would be tempted to]. I think Betzale’el was a prophetic shadow of Mashiach Yeshua.
V.3 says that Betzale’el was filled w/Ruach haKodesh to do the work, but not anything else, which again speaks of his meekness and discernment. He knew where Y’hovah had gifted him, and he would not step outside of that authority. I would guess that he was a ‘good boss’ as well; one who gave careful instruction and did careful, in-process inspections, giving praise on the spot and in public for good work and private correction when needed. Betzale’el’s chief assistant was Aholiav [H121 – my father’s tent], son of Ahisamach [H294 my brother’s rest or support], whose wisdom approached Betzale’el’s. So, Moshe would describe the throneroom to Betzale’el, who would pass on the instruction to Aholiav, who would supervise the work that was performed. As I have said before, I don’t think it was possible for these 2 men alone to gather all the materials, fashion the woolen/linen/gold threads, work the looms, and mix the stuff for the incense and ointment in time to have it all together by the next spring that would be only about 8 months hence. Therefore, they had to have other people of wisdom to help. Q&C
Vv.12-18 – 12-15 – The instruction on the Shabbat coming where it does, is significant. Chol Yisrael was to keep the Shabbat set-apart unto Y’hovah as a day of rest from their labors; even their labors on the Mishkan! Schottenstein’s Chumash has some salient things to say about this on pp. 233-234. PLEASE keep this in mind when we look at Numbers 15.31ff a few months from now. That is the first recorded instance of someone being seen desecrating the Shabbat [by gathering sticks for the fire, a thing that ought to have been done the day before]. If the Shabbat could not be desecrated by working on the Mishkan, the resting place of the Spirit of Y’hovah, how could it be OK to gather sticks for your cooking fire to cook the manna that didn’t REALLY need preparation? It tasted like honey when it was RAW, for goodness sakes! Ex.31.14-15 make it very plain that desecrating the Shabbat brings the death penalty. I do not think that Betzale’el or Aholiav did ANY kind of work on the Mishkan and all its associated accoutrements on the Shabbat. They probably rested form even THINKING about it on Shabbat.
Vv.16-17 speak to the Shabbat being an everlasting sign of the Covenant between Elohim and Yisrael. We are to observe this covenant throughout our generations for as long as time exists. We are to ‘shamar’, guard it and to ‘asah’, do it. That is what it means to ‘observe’ the Shabbat. When Y’hovah tells us the covenant is everlasting, it is NOT saying that sometime in the future there will be any kind of ‘abrogation’ or ‘permission to disregard’ it, as our Xian brethren are wont to say and do. “Throughout your generations”, “an everlasting sign” and “forever” are pretty plain time designations, and there is NOTHING in the Brit Chadasha that states any abrogation of the Covenant commandments. Torah was given to us as an objective yardstick or guide to Y’hovah’s righteousness standards. 1Jn.3.4 is very plain
4 Anyone who commits sin violates Torah, for sin is the transgression of Torah. [Restoration Scriptures]
V.18 – AFTER Y’hovah reiterated the Shabbat command, he gave Moshe the 2 tablets of the Covenant, cut out and written upon by the hand of Y’hovah. This leads me to infer that the Covenant was entirely on Y’hovah, that he had taken our word that we would do as he told us to do through Moshe, as we had agreed at least 4 times on the 1st Shavuoth, when he gave us the 10 Commandments, and the following day before Moshe went back up the mountain to commune with Y’hovah. Now, he’d been up there for 40 days and nights and was about to come down to the people, exactly on the timetable Y’hovah had given him and that he had passed on to Yisrael. Schottenstein’s has a good comment on p. 235. We will see in the rest of our portion what transpired, probably as Y’hovah was handing the tablets to Moshe. Remember that time is of no consequence in Y’hovah’s throneroom. Q&C
32.1-6 – While Schottenstein’s Chumash had a lot of good stuff to say about ch.31, it’s whole outlook seems to be to question or explain away the clear Words of Y’hovah in ch.32. Rabbinic tradition is that the patriarchs and prophets were ‘other-worldly’ in their belief and practice, which is where I think a lot of people get the idea that ‘saints’ are of a spirituality above the ability of us ‘mere’ mortals to attain, virtually demigods. I do not share that opinion. I think that all the patriarch’s, prophets [including Betzale’el] and such were ‘just guys’ like all the rest of us. A simple reading of the text of scripture shows that there was nothing all that special about Noach or Avraham or Moshe or David or Kefa or Sha’ul; all are ‘just guys’ with the same weaknesses and foibles as any other ‘saint’. A ‘saint’ is not a superhuman being. He is a regular person who happens [actually, whom Y’hovah has CHOSEN] to have a positive volition toward the Word of Y’hovah, who sanctifies us as a result of our choice to trust and obey him. With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of selected passages from Schottenstein’s prefatory note to this chapter on pp.235-236.
Chumash’ thinking about the reasoning of Israel is possible; that they misunderstood Moshe to say he would be back on the 40th day, not AFTER 40 days and nights. But THAT would give me to infer that they were waiting for an excuse to introduce a mixture of true Y’hovah worship and idol worship. There is no textual reason to think so. It MAY have been true, but not certainly so. I don’t think they were planning idolatry, not even the ‘Erev Rav’, for they had chosen to paint their lintels and doorposts with the Pesach’s blood, to leave their nation and families behind and to identify with Israel. I think it was a reaction to their perception that Moshe was late or dead and might not return at all.
So they approached Aharon with a proposal, “Make us a golden calf to lead us”, that he immediately took up, “give me all your gold jewelry” [maybe the first televangelist?]. When they did, Aharon fashioned them with a ‘graving tool’, which means that he made a conscious effort to create a ‘graven image, which was expressly forbidden in 20.4. Then, when he saw it, he built an altar to it and declared the next day to be a chag, a solemn feast, to Y’hovah. To show you a bit of the stretching to which the rabbis will go to excuse the actions of their leaders, here’s what Schottenstein’s has to say about vv.4-5 on pg.237. Why is it so hard to say that Aharon had a moment of weakness in v.4 and paid lip-service to Y’hovah in v.5, calling the golden calf Y’hovah Elohenu? Why call Y’hovah a liar? I can understand how this could be, because it has happened to me before. I have even made excuses for myself that held no water, as we will see next week with Aharon’s explanation to Moshe. I can fully relate to Aharon’s humanity and weakness to acquiesce to the will of the people.
On the day following the 40th day/night, the people arose early to offer burnt and peace offerings to the gods Aharon had 1] cast and then fashioned with the graving tool and 2] and graven into and painted on the stone nearby. Then they took their portions of the offerings to eat, said, ‘Let’s brake out the booze and have a ball’ and rose to ‘play’ [KJV], to ‘revel’ [wantonly – TNK]. Chumash says, “This was the nadir of the tragic episode, the point at which error turned to wantonness.” I concur, this was as low a point as there would be in the Wilderness Adventure; and there will be plenty more that approach and even meet its nadir.
Vv.7-10 – Y’hovah told Moshe to stand back while he destroyed the whole nation for their refusal to believe, trust and obey him. Y’hovah is here testing Moshe as to HIS fealty to the program. Will Moshe accept the offer Y’hovah proposes, or will he intercede for Yisrael? If Moshe HAD accepted the offer, Y’hovah would have followed through, but that would have been the end of his plan.
Vv.13-14 – Y’hovah, knowing the end from the beginning, made the offer knowing full well that Moshe would not accept, that he would exercise his meekness once again. Remember that meekness is NOT weakness. It is a quiet confidence and strength of character to do what is right and, in THIS case, to stand in the gap between his sinning people and his Creator, who COULD wipe him and them out, but who ALSO would NOT go back on his promise to Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’acov. Moshe called on Y’hovah to remember his NAME and what wiping out Yisrael would do to its character. Y’hovah KNEW he would do that, that Moshe thought nothing of himself, but everything of Y’hovah and his Name.
2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. [Ps.138.2]
Stone’s Tanakh has, “You have exalted your Promise even above Your Name.” The ONLY thing that Y’hovah esteems higher than his Name is his Word. He will do nothing to defame either. So, Moshe knew the ways of Elohim, that he would not break his Word or his promise and that, therefore, he had a winner when he ‘stood in the gap’. Q&C
YeshaYahu 43 – Vv.1-14 – Y’hovah not only called Ya’acov, but he changed his name to Yisrael; he’d created Ya’acov, but he’d formed Yisrael. In the same way, he calls us and he forms his Bride
29 For the gifts and the calling of Elohim are without repentance. [Rom.11.29]
The name that he calls us by may be the one our parents gave us at birth, but it may also be [and more likely is] the NEW name he gives us
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth. [Rev.2.17]
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and my new name. [Rev.3.12]
V.2 speaks of Y’hovah’s protection through tribulation. Remember Mishael, ChananYahu and AzarYahu, better known as Shadrach, Meshech and Abed-Nego; how they passed through the fiery furnace made 7X hotter than ever before without so much as the smell of smoke on them. Y’hovah will do those same kinds of exploits in our tribulation, if we faithfully call on His Name. I saw a video on 7/6/14 on Facebook of a believer [I assume] who was being wrestled to the ground by 2 cops and, having done nothing wrong and after refusing to submit to their bullying, he saw the one cop pull out his tazer and, calling on the Name of Yahweh to send his angels to deliver him, was unharmed by the tazer and actually looked to be energized, seemingly BY the tazer [though actually, IMO, by Ruach haKodesh], to escape their grasp and to run off so fast as to make pursuit on foot impossible to the cops. The video looked to show the tazer’s energy released at his chest, but discharging like lightning into the ground from his foot. THAT is what I think Y’hovah is telling us in v.2.
Y’hovah has given the best the world has to offer [what can they offer him anyway?] for us. He brought us out of Egypt, brought us through the Wilderness, and because we were honorable and set ourselves apart to him he has chosen to love us and bring us home to our inheritance from the 4 corners of the earth; each of us who is called by his Name. As he created Ya’acov and formed Yisrael, so he will do for us whom he’s called from the nations to be his. He created us in the nations for his glory and he has, and will have, formed us through tribulation to trust his Name.
He will bring us out of the goyim’s blindness and deafness to give us sight and hearing of the depths of his truth. V.9 explains what v.8 intimates; that the deaf and blind are the nations and the diaspora who will not see or hear truth. He will witness to them of the truth and they will see and hear it and bear record of His truth. We are his 2 witnesses, I think Ephraim and Yehudah, the called out of the goyim nations who will testify that Y’hovah is Elohim, and that there is no deliverer beside[s] him.
Before there was day [light] there was nothing but the eyn sof, the Almighty who is ‘beyond proper description’, who created all that is by his Word. None can turn back [let, KJV, cf.2Thes.2.7] his will or his plan for the ages. We can affect his plan for ourselves by exercising our free will, but we cannot affect his will or plan for his generations.
Vv.14-28 – Every nation of the earth is being brought to haAretz [v.9]. THEY think it’s their idea, but Y’hovah is saying it is HE who is bringing them [Ezek.38.4, 29.4]. This speaks, I think, of the end of this ‘age’ of the world and the coming of our King Mashiach Yeshua. HE is bringing the nations to their judgment and their final decision, as he said in YeshaYahu 27.4-5,
4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, he may make peace with me; he shall make peace with me.
Even the nations’ armies that come against Y’hovah Yeshua in battle will be afforded a last chance to repent and follow him; and if they choose to turn to him for their redemption, they will be accepted, even as we were.
10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. [Devarim 20.10-11]
I think Yeshua will be applying this Torah in this prophecy. He’ll say, “Last chance to turn to me, all y’all.” The armies of the earth will try to fight him, but they will be broken and burnt to cinders – ‘quenched as tow’. Tow is the coarse or broken part of flax, which is what candle wicks are made from – hence, completely burnt up.
V.18-21 – After this battle, which may find its ultimate fulfillment in the Kingdom’s last Feast of Sukkoth and the ensuing ultimate Gog uMagog rebellion, we see the promise of the New Creation where righteousness dwells.
Vv.22-28 – We see another call for us to ‘shuv’, to turn back to Y’hovah and go his way. He tells us why we have to live through his chastisement and calls us to go his way instead of our own. But we have not lived his Torah, even though he has blotted out our transgressions and will not remember them. He asks us to keep him in our thoughts, as he keeps us in his. Our teachers [lit. scoffers], beginning with Adam, have sinned against Y’hovah, which is why we are chastised in this life. But if we shuv to him, he will shuv to us. Q&C
Tehellim 63 – I think that at the time king David wrote this Prayer of praise to Elohim, his spirit was in the same place as Betzale’el’s was while he crafted the Mishkan and that YeshaYahu’s was when he received that prophecy. They seem to be absolute kindred, ‘soul-mates’ as it were. If reincarnation has any validity [which is a STRETCH, at best], I think that David/Betzale’el is an example. V.1 opens with Elohim; Eli atta [you are my El]. The way the words fall in Hebrew, it would seem that David was communing with and addressed Elohim, beginning with “You are my El”. David begins with his thesis statement and then uses the other 10+ verses to support his thesis. While David is physically ‘b’midbar Y’hudah’, a ‘dry and thirsty land’, he is in the spirit and the throneroom/Kadosh place that Betzale’el built ‘b’midbar Sinai’. He praises Elohim that his chesed, which is normally associated with Y’hovah, is better than his very physical life. David was sure of his everlasting life in Y’hovah, so he speaks of eternally bringing praise to ‘EliYahu’, “my El, Y’hovah”.
He speaks of ‘the shadow’ [tsale, H6751] of El’s wings. El is the manifestation of Ima, mother. He likens Elohim’s protection to that of a mother bird guarding her chicks under her wings and the absolute trust those chicks have in her protection. I am reminded of a story I heard of a fireman in a western wildfire coming upon a carcass of a bird on the ground shortly after the danger had passed that area, and on moving the charred remains finding the dead mother’s chicks safe and sound under their mother’s wings. With that picture in mind, it is easy to see why David ‘followed hard after’ Elohim, like a mother birds chicks. He knew who had his back, who was his strength.
13 For I Y’hovah Elohecha will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. [YeshaYahu 41.13]
David had no fear of any enemy, knowing that Elohim’s right hand was free to protect him, that his left hand held David’s right. David need not worry about taking the fight to his enemies. Elohim had his back.
Apply this to your own life, folks. Elohim, the righteous judge, has YOUR back, too. Q&C
2Tim.1.1-18 – After a greeting in the Name of Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach, Rav Sha’ul tells Timothy in v.3 that he thanks Elohim, whom he has worshiped from his youth with a pure conscience, that he has never ceased to mention Tim during his evening and morning prayers, because Sha’ul wants to see him to comfort his fears about Sha’ul’s fate. It is generally believed that Sha’ul was soon to be executed in Rome, and it seems Tim was unsure of his ability to continue without Sha’ul’s guidance. Sha’ul seems to be writing this letter to calm Tim’s self-doubts. He tells Tim that he rejoices in Tim’s witness and in the knowledge that Tim has been well taught since his own youth by his godly mother, Eunike [G2131, conquering well; this may have been a description of Tim’s mom, more than a given name] and grandmother, Lois [this is speculation on my part, since there is no meaning given in Thayer’s Lexicon, but Lois may also be more descriptive than a given name; Lois looks a lot like luo, which is G3089 and means servant]. Tim had a firm foundation built by his Mom and Grandma on which Sha’ul had found it easy to build a solid superstructure of Torah-based doctrine,
14 But you on the other hand continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them [i.e.; Eunike/Lois]; 15 And that from a child you have known the Keetvay HaKadosh [set-apart writings], which are able to make you wise about your salvation through emunah [faith] which is in Yeshua haMashiach. 16 All the Keetvay HaKadosh are given by the inspiration of Y’hovah, and are profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, as Torah in tzedakah [instructions in righteousness]: 17 That the man of Y’hovah may be perfect, fully equipped for all mitzvoth tovim [good works]. (3.14-17, Restoration Scriptures [w/Mark edits]).
Vv.6-12 – Because Sha’ul was so certain of Tim’s firm foundation and resolute Torah-based doctrine, Paul encourages Tim to exercise the gift of Y’hovah that Sha’ul had bestowed on him by the laying on of hands. This is the same Ruach that had filled Betzale’el in his work on the Mishkan. This is NOT a ruach of fear, but THE Ruach of power, love of the brethren and of the mind of Y’hovah as he reveals himself in Tanakh. The testimony of Yeshua was to suffer persecution and to be estranged from what society might consider a positive good, like riches and stuff. But those things are really fluff and are of no eternal consequence. So Rav Sha’ul encourages Tim to endure the ‘bad press’ and the scorn of both the Jews [the leaders of the Temple system] and the Roman civil authorities by the power of Ruach haKodesh in him. Y’hovah had called Tim and Sha’ul according to His purpose [Rom.8.28] to the ministry of the besorah of Shalom w/Y’hovah [gospel of peace w/Yah] from before the foundation of the world. That besorah of Shalom with Y’hovah has been manifested in Yeshua’s life, death and resurrection, by which he conquered death and applies that promise to us all who are likewise called. It is the revelation of this besorah of Shalom, this ‘gospel of Peace’, to which Paul and Timothy had both and each been called; to take it to the dispersed of Yisrael, Yehudah, and to whomsoever will accept the Truth that they can have Shalom w/the Creator and King of the universe. The knowledge of all this gives Paul, and should give Tim [and us], the resolution to stand firm in the besorah, the gospel, of Shalom, because Y’hovah Yeshua is more than able to keep, or shamar, that which we’ve committed to him; to quote the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”.
Vv.13- – The greek word xlated as ‘form’ in v.13 is G5296, hupotuposis, the underlying type. I think this is speaking about theTorah foundation of Tim’s faith, and the verse is telling Tim to guard that basic truth against all who would attack it.
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? [Psalm 11.3]
The answer to David’s question is, “Nothing!” Sha’ul is telling Tim [and us] that we MUST put the truth in our minds and hearts and then LIVE that truth, for the more we make is a part of us and live it, the less it matters if the PTB take away our scriptures. Of course, the ‘good thing’ Sha’ul tells Tim to guard is the firm foundation of Torah laid by Mom and Grandma and the structure of sound doctrine that Sha’ul had built on it. He is doing this to help prepare Tim for the stuff Paul has had to endure in Asia at the hands of Hermogenes [born of Hermes] and Phugellos [flight to Greece, like the Hellenizers of the previous centuries in Israel], both of whom, I surmise, had left the sound teaching of Sha’ul and gone back to ‘the rudiments of the world’ (Col.2.8&20). I do NOT think these are actual names, but descriptions of the spirits of the men to whom Paul refers. Same with Onesiphoros [bringer of Light], who brought some light to Paul through his ministry to Paul’s need while he was in prison in Rome. Onesiphoros very likely had only just found Sha’ul in the Roman jail and brought him some needful things, so Sha’ul is exceedingly thankful for Onesirhoros’ care and ministry and asks Tim to remember him in his evening and morning prayers, as well. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study