Bible Study for 17July2021

Shabbat Bible Study for 17July2021

©2021 Mark Pitrone & Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Year 3 Shabbat 19

Numbers 32:1-42  –   Jeremiah 2:1-37   –   Psalm 117   –   James 2:1-26


B’midbar 32.1- – Reuven and Gad saw the land that Yisrael had taken by right of conquest from Midian, Ammon, and Bashan and thought about what great land it would be for their cattle. And so Reuven and Gad approached Moshe to ask if they could settle their families and herds on the eastern side of Yarden. Now consider for a minute what Moshe’s 1st thought probably was; “Here we go again! It’s Kadesh all over again! These guys were just youngsters 38 years ago and don’t remember the 10 tourists and what that brought about.” You can’t blame Moshe, really. He had been in the ‘guard Yisrael’ mode for almost 80 years now, and he had learned from experience that Yisrael was a stiff-necked people. The words that Reuven and Gad used to make their proposal also helped because they said “our herds and our families”, implying that they were more worried about the animals than the people. If that were the case, it was a no-brainer that Reuven and Gad were not going to cross Yarden to help with the conquest of Cana’an, even after the object lesson of the conquest of Midian, WITHOUT INJURY, with a relatively small force working as a unit. Also, they’d actually spoken the words, “Bring us not over Yarden” (v.5).

Moshe jumped right down their throats. He didn’t even pass “GO!” He said (in a Mark paraphrase), “You’re going to let your brothers cross over without YOU to help them take the land? They helped to take the land YOU want and now they won’t have YOUR help taking their land? Don’t you remember why we’ve been out here in the Wilderness for the last 38+ years? Do you want us to have to wander ANOTHER 40 years? What kind of mamzers are you?” The Hebrew word mamzer is not actually used in scripture until Dt.23.2, but the usage is correct. That is what Moshe thought of them at this point. A mamzer is a person born of adultery or his offspring. 

A bastard (mamzer) shall not enter into the congregation of Yehovah; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of Yehovah. (Deuteronomy 23:2)

Had Tamar actually had a child of adultery in Gen.38, Yehudah’s pronouncement of punishment would have been proper. She was under his covering by marriage and subject to his customs and laws, even though she was sent back to her father’s house to live.

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. (Leviticus 21:9)

AH! The vagaries of interracial/intercultural marriages!

Meanwhile, Moshe’s monologue was very pointed, and I think can be applied to the spiritual circumstances we see today. Let’s look briefly at Lev.26.14ff. In vv.1-13 Yehovah pronounced blessings for obedience to his Toroth. But beginning in v.14 he says, “But if you WON’T obey me …” and then he gets REALLY specific;

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; [a conscious decision] 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

That sounds a bit like what’s going on in the world today, doesn’t it? Especially like what’s happening in the USofA? We have some pretty nasty plagues that have been visited on our nation and the world in the last 40 or so years; SARS, AIDS, MRSA, etc. [and many largely for profit]. And for the last few years, the grain crops have been shipped to China in partial repayment of our debt to them, leaving us with almost no reserves. Add to that the stupid idea of turning our food into motor fuel while curtailing our own production of fossil fuels, driving the prices of almost everything through the roof [again, for profit]. But that’s not all. Look at the next verse in Lev.26;

17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

Our enemies, all you believers, HAVE been ruling over us. If you think that the Bushes and the Republicans were our ‘friends’ you have another thing coming. And you well know that neither Clinton nor Obama nor the Democrats are our ‘friends’. We just haven’t generally had the insight to see it, largely due to the tax-exempt corporate status of most ministries in the US. Those ministries are precluded from preaching the truth about the federal government’s hand in all of this, for fear of having their tax exemption removed and having to pay all those back taxes from the day the exemption was granted until now. They preemptively flee when none pursues. But that’s not all, either. Look at the NEXT verses of Lev.26:

18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

Do you think that those verses might be in their fulfillment for America as we speak? In Colorado’s high plains there is a drought, like everywhere else in the mid-section of North America between the mountains – the Mississippi watershed. In the high plains of Colorado, farmers are talking about worms eating their crops from beneath while grasshoppers are eating what’s above ground. 8 grasshoppers will eat a corn stalk all the way to the ground in a day. Here’s a quote from Colorado State University Ag extension:

In Colorado there are several species of grasshoppers, but 90% of damage to plants is caused by grasshoppers in the genus Melanoplus. Females of one species in the genus can lay up to 400 eggs in a single season, depending on the weather. Fewer eggs are produced in cooler, wetter weather. [And, presumably, MORE in dry, hot weather. – MP]

Some grasshoppers prefer one food source, such as corn or alfalfa, but when the food is scarce they eat a variety of plants, shrubs, and trees. 1 grasshopper eats its weight in grass in 16 hours. 7 grasshoppers/sq. yard over 10 acres till eat the same ration [of grass – MP] as one cow.

BTW, cows don’t crop the grass down to the ground. 

But in addition to the drought, which is graphically described in Lev.26.19-20, there is also the stuff in vv.21-39 that will follow ‘hard on the heals’ of what’s already happened. There are 4 multiplications of the curses ‘7 times’ for those who despise or abhor Yehovah’s commandments. 

But I think there is a ray of light to be found in Mat.24 in conjunction with Lev.26.40-42: 

40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 And I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Avraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. (Lev.26.40-42) 

Yehovah doesn’t forget, and so can’t ‘recall’. When Yehovah says he ‘will remember’ something or someone, he means he will act on their behalf. 

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here Mashiyach, or there; believe not. 24 For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Mat.24.21-24)

I think we are about to enter ‘those days’, folks. The 50th anniversary of the decision on Roe v. Wade is coming up January 22, 2023. America’s probationary period will end on Jan.21st. We, like the Sanhedrin and the political leadership of the Hebrew religion in Yeshua’s days and those 40 years following until the destruction of the Temple, have not accepted our culpability nor recognized our iniquity in this matter and I think that this is at least a PART of the reason for these obvious judgments of Yehovah that we are experiencing. The possibility exists that we are about to experience the destruction of America’s version of the Temple. Keep your eyes open for something very bad to happen, perhaps in conjunction with the next Presidential inauguration, which will occur on January 21st or at the pro-life rally that will undoubtedly take place on the steps of the Supreme Court on January 22nd. I’d say those will be very good days to NOT be in Washington, D.C. I just feel like something bad is coming down, then.

But keep this in mind; Yehovah promised in Lev.26.40-42 that IF we will humble ourselves and acknowledge our sin and accept the punishment that comes on us as our due for our iniquity, he will remember his covenant with our Patriarchs and act on our behalf. I think that is what Yeshua was alluding to in Mat.24.22 – that we CAN shorten those days by implementing 2 Chronicles 7.14, which reiterates Lev.26.40-42, on behalf of our nation and world. Q&C

Anyway (getting back to the Torah portion), Gad and Reuven changed their verbiage. They said (again – a Mark paraphrase) “DOH! That wasn’t what we meant. What we meant was …” and then they completed their proposal. “We SHALL go in and help our brothers take their land – that was a part of the plan. Here’s what we want to do; we’ll repair the breeches in these cities’ walls and fences. Then we’ll leave our wives and children here on this side of Yarden to care for our livestock and tidy up a bit. While they’re doing that, we’ll go into Cana’an and help with the conquest of our brother’s inheritances. We’ll even stay beyond the actual conquest of the land until they actually enter their inheritances before we come back across Yarden to live in peace with our brethren in Cana’an (assuring ourselves that we won’t have to be a part of the cleanup and basic housework kinda stuff because we’re MEN, and that’s women’s and children’s work). Whaddayasay?!” Moshe liked the basic proposal OK, but he took the wives side by saying (in another Mark paraphrase), “Well, I expect you to help with the conquest, but once that’s done, you can just hightail it right back over to your wives and kids and help out around the house.” G&R said, “DANG! Caught us! … OK, that’ll work.” And there was shalom once more. 

Vv.23-42 – Moshe told them that if they would not help Yisrael’s other 10 tribes to subdue the land for them, they would be in sin before Yehovah and to ‘be sure your sin will find you out.’ Moshe then instructed Elazar and Yehoshua concerning Gad and Reuven. He told them what these tribes would do before crossing over to the west bank to help the rest of Yisrael subdue the land and drive out the inhabitants. He spelt it out for Elazar and Yehoshua in v.29 and pronounced the judgment in v.30 – all the rest of Yisrael would know what mamzers these 2 tribes were if they didn’t do as they proposed. That’s one way their sin would find them out. Another way may have been the loss of a great percentage of their families and herds. In v.17 you can see why I think this may have been a way their sin might find them out. They still had young women of these lands among them as servants. Perhaps, had Gad and Reuven reneged on their word to Moshe, those girls would have enticed the tribes to sin after the counsel of Bilaam, causing the men to go after the gods of the land they’d conquered. Or perhaps the inhabitants of the land would attack and overpower their cities before they could get them rebuilt. The inhabitants had a fear over them of Yisrael and her Yehovah. Perhaps Yehovah would use those inhabitants to bring judgment on Gad and Reuven if they would not go over Yarden armed to subdue Cana’an. Whatever Moshe meant is not spelled out, but I think Gad and Reuven knew. 

In v.33, Moshe added a little twist we didn’t hear from Gad and Reuven’s mouths – ½ of Menashe was going to inherit in Gilead, north and east of Gad, which would inherit north of Reuven. Reuven’s land was basically the land of Ammon, which lay north of Moav and Edom. Gad’s was basically the east bank of Yarden from the Sea of Galilee to just a few miles north of the Dead Sea. Gilead was the hill country east of Yarden and the eastern shore of Galilee (now called the Golan heights) to just north of Mt. Hermon. Gad would rebuild the defenses of 9 cities, Reuven the defenses of 6 more and 2 sons of Machir, son of Menashe would get 2 sets of smaller cities and their associated villages. The amount of work needed to rebuild these defenses must have been relatively minor, because it could be done in a few weeks, at most. Next week we’ll look at the 42 camps in the Wilderness Adventure. Q&C

YirmeYahu 2.1-37 – YirmeYahu was told to speak to Yerushalayim because it was the seat of the most egregious official idolatry there was. Yerushalayim’s Temple Mount was the place on earth where Yehovah had placed his Name. To see a graphic illustration of his Name in the topography of the city look at the map of Ancient Jerusalem at the Jewish Virtual Library. The valleys, seen from above, look like the back of the right hand opened to look like the letter ‘shin’, which stands for Shaddai, the Almighty – as if Yehovah reached down with his right hand and pressed down on a still wet and gooshey earth. And now the city, whose topography showed the Name of Yehovah, that held the Temple of Yehovah at its highest point, and the ark of the Covenant with Yehovah, was the seat of the mixed worship of Yehovah that had gotten the northern Kingdom carried off into Assyria about 100 years before. Yerushalayim, like us, was without excuse, for, despite all the witnesses, she was trusting other than Yehovah as her defense while paying him lip-service. Doesn’t remind you of anyone, does it? Yehovah has only kept Yehudah from exile because he is acting in her behalf; because of the love the whole house of Yisrael HAD for him in the Wilderness. Yehovah is calling what’s left of the whole house of Yisrael, dwelling in Yehudah, to repentance.

He asks why they have left him. What iniquity had he perpetrated against them that they have gone after other gods? He’d carried them through hell and high water and brought them to the land that he’d promised their faithful patriarchs, and now they’d forgotten him and all he’d done for them. They have turned to pagan nations for help and were on the verge of being exiled or wiped out by those nations. (Is history repeating itself? – AGAIN?) Yehovah reminded them that he’d carried them unscathed through the Wilderness and into a land that literally flowed with milk and honey, just as he’d promised. It was already producing everything they needed, water, fruit, grain, nuts, vegetables, and grass for their cattle. The land is Yehovah’s and the people of Yisrael are his own inheritance. No sooner were they established in Yehovah’s land, they began to defile their inheritance from him, to abominate themselves therein. The priests and Levites forgot him; the ‘pastors’ (shepherds) sinned against him; the prophets worked for false and worthless gods. But, as he calls YirmeYahu to serve him, Yehovah tells them that he has not forsaken them yet. He is literally pleading with Yisrael to return to him. He does not want to send them into exile in Babylon. (Is history repeating itself? – AGAIN?)

He asks what other nation had left their gods. Of course, all the gods of all the nations are the same non-gods going by different names, so what difference could there be if they DID! The only real choice is to worship Yehovah who created all that exists from nothing by the Word of his Mouth, or to worship lies, vanity and that which does not profit. Only Yisrael actually HAD a choice to leave their Elohim. The heathen’s choice was to keep worshipping their false elohim or turn to the REAL Elohim of Yisrael, Yehovah. Do you see what Yehovah says in v.12? 

“Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid”

The very creation is going to be affected and effected by Yisrael rejecting Yehovah to the point of desolation. The word is ‘charav’, meaning ‘dried up’. Can you say, ‘drought’? We are there right now, folks, if I don’t miss my guess. He goes on to say that we have fallen in at least 2 ways; 1) we’ve forsaken Yehovah, our fountain of Mayim chayim, and 2) we have hewn our own cisterns that will not hold water. It looks like we hewed a rock with cracks in it or that was porous. IOW, we’ve placed our trust in something of which we don’t have enough knowledge after having forsaken that which we’ve proven to be trustworthy. This is foolishness! Living in Torah is LIBERTY! By rejecting Yehovah’s instructions we encumber ourselves under slavery. His instructions are a sure cistern; they hold water. Our ways are not certain; it takes WAY too much work to make them retain even a semblance of life. Those whom we’ve decided to trust are roaring lions:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (I Peter 5:8)

In v.16, Stone’s Tanakh has ‘the people of Noph and Tahpanhes smash your skull.’ That’s Egypt, which in our day is, prophetically, America and her UN/NATO allies, who are working desperately to destroy the political nation of Yisrael, along with those who trust Yehovah, while LOOKING LIKE they are trying to protect them. Noph was the capital of Lower Egypt, which was the delta region and corresponds to Memphis and Cairo. Tahpanhes was the nearest Egyptian town to Yisrael and the one to which the remnant of unfaithful Yisrael fled (and forced YirmeYahu to go with them, after he told them NOT to flee because Nebuchadnezzar would just follow them there) when Neb came back in 586BCE to take the REST of the Yehudeans into Babylon (ch.46). So, Noph was the Egyptian political center and Tahpanhes a false refuge in Egypt. Basically, Egypt was a broken cistern, and would be used to crush Yisrael’s rebellion against the tool Yehovah was using to chastise his people. Remember Lev.26.40-42? Here it is again:

40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remember my covenant with Ya’akov, and also my covenant with Yitzchak, and also my covenant with Avraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. (Lev.26.40-42)

He was STILL trying to get them to repent and acknowledge that they deserved all he’d visited them with and more; that his chastisement was meant to influence them towards repentance and reconciliation. 

On their way to captivity, for that IS where they will go even if they run for Egypt, what water will they drink? Sihor means ‘dark’ or ’black’, so if they head to Egypt, they have given up the crystal clear mayim chayim for black water. If they go to Assyria, they have to go all the way to the Euphrates to get dirty water. The enemy of my enemy is not ALWAYS my friend. By trusting nations of men, Yisrael is going to get to suffer what those nations give them and reap the rewards of their own iniquity. Yehovah wanted to deliver them from their bondage to sin, but they wouldn’t have it. I think Yehovah likens the waters of Egypt and Assyria to the evil and bitter chastisement that their own wickedness brings on them. They said one thing and did another (v.20). Does that sound like anyone YOU know? I can tell you that all too often it sounds like me. 

It is true of every believer that when he first acknowledges his personal condition before and places his trust in the Name of Yehovah, he is cleansed and graffed into the true olive tree whose root is Mashiyach. He is ‘planted’ as a ‘noble vine’, a right seed, adopted into Yehovah’s family. But pretty soon we pick up false doctrines and get off the strait and narrow, we add more stinky baggage and become somewhat defiled. The longer we go without sound doctrine, which is ALWAYS defined as the Word of Yehovah – Torah, the less like Mashiyach we look. Then we try to wash ourselves clean, but only irritate ourselves by the scrubbing and chemicals (nitre in KJV is lye in NASB, which has a somewhat violent acidic reaction to vinegar when used as a cleanser). No matter how hard you scrub or with what cleanser you use, you can’t get shut of that sin. And there are truly only 2 choices to take, Yehovah or Ba’alim, so when you are walking away from Yehovah’s Torah, even on an oblique angle, you are getting closer to Ba’alim’s counterfeit. Let me quote the Stone’s Tanakh note to v.24:

Just as a wild beast can easily be caught in the final month of her gestation, so will Yisrael become easy prey for the enemy when the month of her retribution will arrive (Metzudoth).

This is the state of the unsuspecting believers in the world right now. Those who are not ready for the soon coming time of trouble will be taken easily and quickly. Stay prepared for the worst that can happen. Be ready to flee; shoes on and canteens full. Think of Yeshua’s words in Matt.24:

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the shabbat day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Mat.24.15-21)

If you are living contrary to Yehovah’s Word you are not prepared and watching and you will likely be caught napping in a mixed worship system. Or worse, you will be caught serving a false elohim and completely unaware of it. Are those who have been adopted and graffed into the good tree lost in this case? I can’t tell for sure. But it is not a place I want to find myself or anyone else I know and love. 

Vv.26-28 scare the hell out of me, not because I worry for me but because I worry for a lot of my adopted/graffed in brethren who are not guarding their hearts in Yehovah’s Word. They may serve something or someone other than Yehovah. If they are serving a false god, even if they think it is Yehovah, or a mixture of true and false, thinking it true when they call on the god they serve, can he deliver him? “According to the number of your cities are your gods?” One might even say, “According to the number of your churches are your gods.” If we are after someone other than Yehovah, will Yehovah shema when we call on him? 

Yehovah has been smiting us. He began decades ago with natural catastrophes, first relatively minor, but increasingly major and more violent. Then he began mixing in drug, and terrorist attacks. Then these attacks got more violent, organized and frequent, and often it was the government who was behind them. At the same time the natural disasters got more violent, organized and frequent, as if they were being steered and manipulated. And we didn’t make the connections. ALL of these were warnings from Yehovah to make teshuvah, to turn from our own ways and seek his FACE so that we could walk in his WAY. But we would not turn. All the while, Yehovah was standing in the Way, waiting for our turn and first step towards him. He would have run to meet us in the road, as the prodigal’s father, but we wanted to be our own masters, not bowing to anyone, not even our Creator. 

Meanwhile, we have been so backslidden in our walks that many have turned away from Yehovah. They see that we acknowledge him with our words but that we do not follow his commands, so they assume that our Elohim is just another elohim and when they die in their iniquities, their blood is all over us. And it is so plain that Yehovah doesn’t need to lift a piece of cloth or a blade of grass to see it. But we are oblivious. We say, “I’ve got my free ticket on the “Power Train” to heaven!” We say, “Since I’m in JAY-zus I CANNOT sin! GLORYTOGODAMEN!” Then we ‘gadabout’ to ‘seek our pleasures’, our fleshly desires. Yehovah says we change our ways before men because we are ashamed of having trusted him. And as we were ashamed of him, we will also be ashamed of our trusting our human allies (v.36). When they finally and completely turn against us (and they will, Yisrael) we will be at a loss to think of where we can turn (v.37). 

I can’t leave this haftarah on such a despairing note. This chapter of reprimand is written to us to try to awaken us to the way that we have treated Yehovah, the Elohim who has done everything he can to try to persuade us back to his commandments. In ch.3 he goes to the point of actually issuing the ‘get’, the divorce decree, to pagan Yisrael in hopes that her treacherous sister Yehudah will awaken to her own idolatry. But she didn’t; she kept right on riding Yisrael’s wake. But, in order that he may remain faithful to keep his promise to Avraham, Yehovah makes provision for both Yehudah’s and Yisrael’s remnants’ repentance and return to him. 

11 And Yehovah said unto me, The backsliding Yisrael hath justified herself more than treacherous Yehudah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Yisrael, saith Yehovah; I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith Yehovah, I will not keep for ever. 13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Yehovah Elohechem, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith Yehovah. 14 Turn, O backsliding children [both houses of Ya’akov], saith Yehovah; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you shepherds according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 

Shades of Lev.26.40-42, eh? Q&C

Tehellim 117.1-2 – This is very interesting. The goyim praise Yehovah. Collections of people (haummiym) – Stone’s Chumash says ‘states’ – praise Yehovah. This, then, a complimentary parallelism, as the words goyim and haummiym i.e.; nations and states; are totally synonymous. But THAT isn’t the interesting thing. What’s really interesting to me is that the Israelite who wrote this is telling the nations and states of the world they are blessed through Yisrael, specifically because Yehovah is mercifully kind to Yisrael, his children regardless the nation or people who trust in him. 

Ya’acov 2.1-26 – I broke out my old Schofield Reference Bible (because I can’t find my Cambridge wide-margin bible with all my penciled in notes). Under the title of each book is a brief intro from Dr. C. I. Schofield in which he provides a listing of its major divisions. Now Dr. Schofield and this reference bible were the chief catalysts for the exponential rise in popularity of the ‘dispensationalist rapture cult’, to which I ascribed 40+ years ago. As I read the list I became aware of something I had never noticed before. Let me reproduce the list for you.

1) The testing of faith; 1.1, 2.26

2) The reality of faith tested by the tongue; 3.1-18

3) The rebuke of Worldliness; 4.1-17

4) The rich warned; 5.1-6

5) Hortatory; 5.7-20

What I noticed was that Dr. Schofield created a 6th division that becomes conspicuous by its absence. His divisions leave out 24 verses of chapter 1 and all of chapter 2 (that’s 50 verses, total). Dr. Schofield left 50 of 108 verses out of his major divisions of this book. I think that they didn’t support his pet theory, ‘dispensationalist rapturism’. 

Those 50 verses, read in the pashat, or literal, sense make minced meat of the cult’s reason to exist. It is these 50 verses and a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word ‘faith’, born of decades in the philosophical influence of Plato and Aristotle on the RC denomination from which he received his schooling (or fooling), that made Martin Luther want to remove Ya’akov’s book from the canon of scripture. Had the RCC and its Babylonian pagan roots been less anti-Torah, Luther might have gone all the way back to the Way of Yehovah Yeshua that Sholiach Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) preached. In its Torah sense, sola fide (faith alone) is true. But Torah faith is not just a mental assent to truth, as the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophers teach, but also the mitzvoth – works of obedience – that accompany that belief in Truth. If you say you believe the truth, and then fail to act on that which you profess to believe, do you REALLY believe it? And THAT is the point of Ya’akov 1.3-25 and 1.27-2.26. The works do not justify us nor keep us in the family, but they DO attest to the FACT of our familial membership in good standing. They PROVE our faith to our selves and to even the most casual observer. Our obedience sets us apart so that everyone notices. It is this obedience that will mark us as his when the ‘fit hits the shan’. Motty pouth!

Vv.1-10 – Why didn’t Dr. Schofield have 2.1-10 in his division 4? Because, in conjunction with 1.27, it is an exhortation to Torah observance.

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. (Ex.22.21-24)

Everything Ya’akov says in 1.27-2.10 is best understood in light of Ex.22.21-24 and supporting passages in Tanakh. The exhortation is clear that we are to help those who have no covering, widows indeed and orphaned children. It is OUR job to provide for the needy in our kahalim. It should never come to the government to provide the needs of the faithful. We should aid our own family members. If the needy have no family, then it falls to the kahal. We should not just provide their necessaries, like food, clothing and shelter. If they are able, we should provide them with a means to earn their necessaries so that they will actually be responsible for themselves. And if we are able, we ought not expect the family or kahal to just provide the stuff, but actually earn it by our own worthwhile labors. Charity, in the KJV sense, is not gratis. Charity respects the person’s need for self-respect. 

When Ya’akov says in v.6, “but ye have despised the poor”, he is saying that you have thought them less than worthy of your love. That attitude of showing respect or adulation for a wealthy man, while brushing aside the poor so that we can pander to the rich, is normal in the world’s system, but is out of character for a godly man. Paul shows us his agreement w/Ya’akov about godly character in 1Thes.5;

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded [faint-hearted, weak in the faith], support the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of Eloha in Mashiyach Yeshua concerning you. 19 Quench not Ruach. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very Eloha of Shalom sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our master Yeshua haMashiyach. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do. (1Thes.5.14-24)

The Restoration Scriptures has this for Ya’akov.2.6b-7; (AENT agrees)

Is it not rich men that oppress you, and drag you before their bema of mishpat? 7 Do they not blaspheme that worthy Name by which you are called?4 [Yehovah]

Ya’akov is speaking about the leaders of the religion in Jerusalem, I think. (I think this also dates the letter quite early in the Way’s history. Even Schofield got that part right.) He is saying just what Paul did to Kefa when they were in Antioch (Gal.2.11-19 – showing 2 laws, as is apparent in v.19)

11 But when Kefa was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from Ya’akov, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled (set themselves apart from gentile believers, as if they were not worthy) likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel (no respecter of persons, Ex.22.21), I said unto Kefa before all, ‘If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 15 We Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works the (oral) law, but by the faith of Yeshua haMashiyach (Torah obedience), even we have believed in Yeshua haMashiyach, that we might be justified by the faith of Mashiyach, and not by the works of the (oral) law: for by the works of the (oral) law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Mashiyach, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Mashiyach the minister of sin? Eloha forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed (oral traditions), I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through Torah am dead to the (oral) law, that I might live unto Eloha. (Parentheticals are my own to show the 2 ‘laws’ spoken of.)

How can a man die to Torah by living through (according to/obeying) Torah? That is a logical absurdity. They cannot logically co-exist. By living out Torah, working out the faith of Yeshua with fear and trembling, we die to man’s traditions – oral law. 

Ya’akov.2.10 is speaking of Torah when it says law. Moshe’s footnote in the Restoration Scriptures is very instructive;

What one point is under discussion? Showing partiality. If a Jewish believer keeps the whole Torah, and yet mistreats, or refuses to recognize Ephrayim (as Kefa did in Antioch), it is as if he has violated the entire Torah. There is much more on this in Galatians, or Galut-Yah. Q&C

Vv.11-26– Ya’akov went on to give example from elsewhere in Torah, the Ten Words to be exact. If I do not commit adultery, but I DO murder, am I not guilty of all 10 Words? While each of the 10 commandments stand alone, they are also interconnected through the 10th Word – against covetousness. Our lust for things, power or position is the root of every other sin listed there. As Paul says 

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)

But we need to speak and work as if we actually believe that it will be Torah that Yeshua will use as the standard of judgment at HIS bema of mishpat. Rest assured that he shall. It is truly a Torah of liberty. Liberty is not absolute freedom. Absolute freedom is actually license. We must not be licentious. Liberty is freedom self-constrained. The Torah of liberty provides maximum freedom in human relations. We constrain ourselves by the 613 or 759 (depending on who’s counting) instructions in Torah. We are ‘on our honor’, Yehovah will not force us to work contrary to our own wills. But he shall reward or punish us according to his Torah commands and promises. If we show that we understand his Torah by walking in it, showing mercy (rachamim) whenever we can (like ‘visiting’, making provision for, the widows and orphans in their affliction) we shall obtain his rachamim

If you see a person in need and bless them with your words (or say “I’ll be praying for you”), but do nothing to provide for their physical needs, you are a liar, a cloud without rain. By the same token, if you SAY you believe, but there is no actual witness to it in your walk, you are likewise a liar. The worst part of it, though, is that you are fooling only yourself, because people can tell by your walk that your words are just an attempt to blow smoke up their posteriors. If that is you, your faith is merely said, and “Merely said faith is really dead faith.” As I said before, our obedience to Torah is not what justifies us. It is the evidence that we are justified. If there is no evidence of spiritual life in you, you must be spiritually dead, regardless your physical protestations to the contrary. 

The AENT has a great note on v.21 (note 7), 

Some theologians allege this teaching to be the opposite of the Pauline Epistles, such as Galatians. The reality is that Paul was grossly misquoted whereas Ya’akov was not. Rav Sha’ul did not accept empty ritual devoid of proper spiritual focus. He was Torah observant, he kept the Moedim {feast days], the Shabbat, and took one or more Nazarite vows; he fasted on Yom Kippur, ate ‘clean food and lived a set-apart life in Mashiyach Yeshua. The fact is that Romans 7.12 totally harmonizes Galatians with, and compliments Galatians and Ya’akov.

Paul, using the same action by Avraham Avinu, made the case for works being useless in our justification.

17 By faith Avraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Yitzchak shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that Elohim was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Heb.11.17-19)

Avraham knew that his seed lay before him on the altar. He knew that Yitzhak was not yet married, had no children. But he had already offered Yitzhak in his heart and mind and Yitzhak was already dead in Avraham’s mind because he KNEW that Yehovah only had 2 courses of action; 1) stop Avraham from killing him, or 2) raise him from death. So, this was the ultimate act of faith. Trusting that Yehovah would keep his promises to him and Sarah and Yitzhak, he picked up the knife and purposed that he would kill his son. BTW, Yitzhak was a young man in the prime of life. That he submitted wilfully to his father’s actions showed that his own faith and trust in Yehovah’s promises was every bit as strong as his papa’s.

Avraham’s faith worked out made his faith complete (v.22). Do you see that Ya’akov connects Avraham’s faith, as seen in Rom. 4, with his actions, as seen in Heb.11? He connects Gen.15

And he believed in Y’hovah; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

with Gen.22

And Avraham said, My son, Elohim will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 

10 And Avraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of Y’hovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Avraham, Avraham: and he said, Hineyni/Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13 And Avraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Avraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Avraham called the name of that place Yehovahyireh: (Genesis 22:8, 10-14)

YehovahYireh means “Yehovah, he will see to it.” Provide in v.8 is the same exact word –  yireh (root = ra’ah, to see). In v.8 it is Elohim will see to it. In v.14 it is Yehovah will see to it. 

An interesting note: Shem called the place “Shalom”, or peace, and Avraham called it Yireh, or “he shall see”, but Yehovah calls it Yerushalayim – YirehShalom, “He shall see Peace”.

In the same way that Avraham’s faith was completed by the works that accompanied it, so was Rachav’s faith completed when she believed Yehovah would deliver Yericho into Yisrael’s hands and she hid and then delivered the spies out of the city. She put her life into Yehovah’s hands when she did that. She knew the consequences if Yehovah did not deliver Yericho – her life would be forfeit. And she did it anyway. That is a faith that works, folks. May we all have it so. Q&C

End of Shabbat Study.

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