Shabbat Bible Study for 19 March 2022
©2022 Mark Pitrone & Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3, Shabbat 50
Deut 33:1-29; no prophet; Tehellim 147; Matt 19:25-20:16
All links work
yasha is a Hebroot meaning ‘to grant the essence of existence’ or ‘to save’
Devarim 33:1-29 – Many rabbis see this opening in v.1; v’zoth, ‘and this’; as linking this blessing to Ya’acov’s blessing in B’reishith 49.28 (where Moshe uses the same word to declare Ya’acov’s blessing on the tribes’ original zachanim, elders), so that the 12 tribes were blessed as they entered Egypt as a relatively large family to become a great nation and again as they got ready to enter the Promised Land and take their place among the nations of the earth. This DOES fit with the 2nd of the 7 interpretive ‘Rules of Hillel’, called G’zerah Shava, equivalence of expression. Where two unconnected texts use the same expression, those texts are linked by that expression. You can see an excellent video from Light in the Southwest where Benjamin Burton of Beit HaDerech in Odessa, Texas explains this principle of Hebraic interpretation in regards to the Virgin Birth of Yeshua at www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzasQe6m0VA. The virgin birth IS taught in Tanakh, by use of the Rules of Hillel. You can also read how the 7 Rules of Hillel are explained at www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/hillel.htm.
The same rabbis see the references to Mounts Seir in Edom and Paran in the land of Ishmael in v.2 to mean that Yah had offered Torah to Avraham’s and Yitzhak’s other sons, but they refused it, supposedly because they didn’t want the requirements Yah expected of them to cramp their wicked styles. I’d say that that is at least an imaginative concept, and may even be true. It certainly fits what little evidence there is in the pashat. Schottenstein’s Chumash explains this on pg. 219 top left column, and more on v.2’s ‘fiery law’ on pg.219.
V.2states that God came to Yisrael from Seir and Paran, which, as the Midrash records, recalls that God had offered Torah to the descendants of Esav in Paran, both of whom refused to accept Torah because it prohibited their predilections to kill and steal. Then, accompanied by some of His myriads of holy angels, He came and offered His fiery Torah to the Israelites, who submitted themselves to His sovereignty and accepted His Torah without question or qualification.
Thus, as the only nation worthy of receiving Torah – and indeed the only nation that accepted it as its eternal heritage, Israel is supremely worthy of receiving Moshe’s blessing…
In these introductory remarks, Moshe incorporates three outstanding merits of Yisrael: a) Elohim dwells among them; b)they accepted His Torah; and c) they acknowledged His sovereignty. [Rambam]
Here’s the entry for fiery Torah;
Yah presented Torah amid a display of fire and lightning. [Rashi]
Vv.3-5 continue and conclude Moshe’s introduction to his blessing on b’nei Yisrael. In v.3, he shifts the object of the sentence in mid-stream from Yisrael to Yah. To me, this shows that Yisrael and Yah cannot be separated. Yah’s right hand (Mashiyach) comes to Sinai to proclaim Torah to Yisrael accompanied by SOME of his myriads of malachim kodesh, holy angels. And then Yisrael is seen as sitting at his feet to learn Torah. If you accept that Moshe was the ‘right hand’ of Yah at this time, it merely foreshadows the ministry of Yeshua as Mashiyach; as both ben Yosef and as ben David. Moshe appearing on Mount Hermon at Yeshua’s transfiguration and Avinu’s command to “Shema” Yeshua shows Moshe’s subordination to Yeshua in the same way that he’d submitted before him in the Wilderness. Yisrael sat at Moshe’s feet as Moshe sat at Yeshua’s feet, one sitting at another’s feet signifying submission to authority.
In v.4, Moshe spoke the commandments of Yah, as would Yeshua, with power, and that Torah is Yisrael’s heritage. Schottenstein’s Chumash shows a difference between ‘inheritance’ and ‘heritage’ on pg.220 right column AND has a note on who is included in k’hilah Ya’acov, the congregation of Ya’acov/Yisrael on pg.221.
R’ Mordechai Gifter explains the difference between inheritance and heritage. An inheritance belongs to the heirs to use and dispose of as they please. A heritage, however, is the property of generations before and after, it is incumbent on the heirs to preserve it intact.
The Congregation of Ya’akov – Torah is the inheritance, not only of those born of Jewish parents, but is shared by every soul that joins the Jewish nation and accepts Torah. [Ramban]
As the English reads in v.5, it looks like Moshe was ‘king of Yeshurun’, and in a way that may be true, since he was the intermediary between Yah and Yisrael. But the King of Yisrael was, is and always will be Yah in the person of Yeshua haMashiyach. The whole introduction shows Moshe as a shadow of Yah’s Mashiyach, perhaps the fullest shadow seen in Tanakh. Not that the full shadow is seen in these 4 verses, but in the entirety of his ministry, except for his failure at Meribah. Again, Schottenstein’s Chumash has a good comment to v.5 on pg.221.
Over Yeshurun, Yisrael. This title of honor is from the word ישר, straight, righteous; It designates Yisrael in its ideal state as God’s upright nation.
Once Yisrael declared its eternal loyalty to Torah (vv.3-4), God became King of Yeshurun, because it is only among those who graspand diligently involve themselves in its study that he is truly King. [Sforno]
Vv.6-19 – There is a pretty good map of the tribal inheritances as they divided the land at the website http://www.bible-history.com/geography/maps/map_canaan_tribal_portions.html.
The first blessing goes to Reuven, who had lost his birthright to Ephraim as a result of lying with Ya’acov’s wife/concubine Bilhah, the mother of 2 of his brothers; a major Torah transgression (Lev.18.8, 20.11, Deut.22.30, 27.20). However, even though Reuven had lost his birthright, he WAS the first of the tribes to receive his inheritance in Sihon’s land, north of Moav and south of Gad’s inheritance, from the River Arnon to wadi Nitzaryath. Because of his loss of birthright, Moshe prays first and specifically that Reuven not be lost to Israel, but that his numbers would always be counted with them; and not surprisingly, he is listed in every list in scripture of the tribes of Yisrael. You can see a comparative chart at www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev1a.htm. You’ll notice that only 6 of the tribes of Yisrael are in every list; Reuven, Yissaschar, Zevulon, BenYamin, Naphtali and Asher.
Shimon is skipped over in this list, presumably because his cities are all within, and his tribal inheritance was surrounded by (and essentially annexed into) Yehudah and because Shimon had a presence in every tribal inheritance. Again Schottenstein’s Chumash has a salient comment on Shimon’s omission on pg.222.
Omission of Shimon: The commentators note that Shimon is omitted. Ibn Ezra explains that this is because Ya’akov had castigated him [Gen.49.5], and because the sinners in the terrible affair of Ba’al Pe’or were Shimonites [Num.25.3].
Ramban differs. He maintains that Torah always lists the number of tribes as twelve, generally, either listing Levi or the unified tribe of Yoseph (combining Ephraim and Menashe) or listing Menashe and Ephraim separately and omitting Levi, which is in a different category from the other tribes. The question for Moshe, therefore, is which tribe to omit. Here, Moshe chose to reckon Yoseph as two – Ephraim and Menashe – based on various precedents (Num.7.48, 54; Dt.2.18, 20; 34.23), and because Ephraim is the tribe of Yehoshua, Yisrael’s new leader. He wishes to bless Levi, the tribe that performs the Temple service, because its population was small andand its people were to be scattered throughout southern Eretz Yisrael. Since Shimon’s cities were within Yehudah’s territory, they were included in Yehudah’s blessing.
From here there seems to be no rhyme or reason in the order in which the tribes are listed, at least in the pashat. So far, it is by birth order, but beginning w/Yehudah, the order is askew. But there MAY be a reason why, which we will explore.
Yehudah is the 2nd tribe to be blessed in v.7, though he was 4th born. But it is possible that since Yehudah was the only tribe to actually wipe out or drive out all the Cana’ani from his inheritance, and then would help all his brothers to subdue their portions, AND that a Yehudi would rule the eventual Kingdom, he was afforded this place in the blessings. Moshe prays specifically that Yehudah’s prayers be heard, the work of his hands blessed and that Yah be ever present with him. This prayer HAS been answered with specificity for Yehudah to this day. Since the political ‘rebirth’ of Israel in 1948, Yah has fought for Yehudah every time her back was up against it and she called out to him.
The next tribe to be blessed is Levi in v.8-11. Levi was ALWAYS faithful to Yah and his Word in the Wilderness Adventure; from Massah to Meribah to Zimri’s attempt to defile the Mishkan [Zimri was a Shimoni, BTW]. In Ya’acov’s prophetic blessing in Gen.49.7, both Shimon and Levi were told they would be dispersed among the tribes of Yisrael. Levi was dispersed among the Levitical cities, including the 6 cities of Refuge in order that they might teach Torah and execute righteous judgment to chol Yisrael.
The 4th tribe to be blessed is the youngest of the brothers, BenYamin in v.12. BenYamin’s southern extremity was the Temple mount in the northern portion of Yerushalayim, which I assume was the reason that BenYamin was the other tribe that stayed with Yehudah in the divided Kingdoms of Yehudah and Israel [Shimon had been dispersed among the other tribes of Israel by then, in fulfillment of Ya’acov’s prophecy].
The 5th tribal blessing went to Yosef in v.13-17. Yosef is listed next, again way out of the birth order. Schottenstein’s Chumash makes the case that the reason Rachel’s sons are listed here is that BenYamin’s portion of Yerushalayim was one of Yah’s shoulders mentioned in v.12 and that Shiloh, where the tabernacle dwelt for 200+ years before the Kingdom was established and which lay in Ephraim’s inheritance, and was Yah’s other shoulder. This is very plausible. The way I see vv.13-17, this entire blessing and prophecy has to do with Yeshua haMashiyach ben Yoseph. Yoseph was the patriarch most like Mashiyach. Look at the descriptions; the dew and the deep waters speak of the water of the Word, the bounty of the produce of her land bring to mind Yeshua’s agricultural parables, the thorn bush speaks of the burning bush Moshe saw on Sinai 40-something years before [which may have been of the same type of thorns Mashiyach would wear as a crown one day], the ox [or rheim] could be the offering for the priest and the sanctuary on Yom Kippur, the horns of the ox could be Ephraim and Menashe or Ephraim and Yehudah, or more specifically another allusion to Yah’s shoulders of Shiloh and the Temple mount [these are the 2 places in the land where Yah physically placed his Name]. There MAY be more.
The 6th blessing in vv.18-19 was to Zevulon and Yissachar, together. These 2 tribes had a special relationship; one is seldom seen without the other. Zevulon had a knack for business, being traders and fishermen, while Yissachar had a deep understanding of Torah
And of the children of Yissachar, that had understanding of the times, to know what Yisrael ought to do; the heads of them two hundred; and all their brethren at their commandment. 19 Of Zevulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: not of double heart. (I Chronicles 12:18-19),
so the rabbis see Zevulon as synergistically partnering in Yissachar’s Torah studies by supporting him with his own substance, each tribe concentrating on exercising the gifts Yah had blessed them with. This may be where the church gets the idea that the pastor and the church get the tithe when nothing can be further from the truth; tithes being what they were, a 10th portion of the increase [profit] of the land’s produce. The tithe actually applies only in an agrarian setting. I suppose the application can be forced into an urban setting, but it must be forced. It was incumbent on all Yisraelites to make offerings, as they were required (sin) or as they would (free will), but the tithe was not essentially a monetary thing. Nazareth is in the tribal lands of Zevulon. Q&C
The 7th blessing, in vv.20-21, went to Gad, whose inheritance was on the east side of Yarden, opposite West Menashe’s and south of East Menashe’s. It extended to the east so far into the distance that Gad’s territory was larger than ANY on the west side of Yarden. The entire blessing reads to me as a blessing of Yah, who is the one who enlarges Gad. So I see this as a reference to Mashiyach, as well. It says that ‘the lawgiver’s plot’ (Stone’s Tanakh), the burial plot is what I infer in the pashat, was in Gad, but Moshe died on Nebo in Reuven’s inheritance. And the last part of Gad’s blessing is that the lawgiver came at the head of the nation and judged by Yah’s justice and ordinances. That applied to Moshe, but he was not buried in Gad, but in Reuven, if he was buried on Nebo or in the valley adjacent to Beth Peor, which is the pashat sense of what is written in 34.6. Therefore, I infer that Moshe is not the ‘lawgiver’ seen in Gad’s blessing. It must refer, at least metaphorically, to Mashiyach. Of course, Yeshua was ALSO not buried in Gad’s portion, but in BenYamin’s in the northern portion of Jerusalem, which did not become a part of Yisrael until its capture by David (1Chron.11.4-5). What to make of all this, I am unsure of at this time, but at least I am sure of what it is not; the burial plot of either ‘law-giver’ that is known to us. Perhaps there is an obscure passage that has a ‘g’zerah shava’ linked to this.
Dan received the 8th blessing in v.22. Dan’s descendants can be seen all over the world, the Danish and other Scandinavians, the Danube River and other appearances of his name in the West shows that he was a world traveler. He may have been among the folks that sailed to the west in search of stuff for Shlomo to study and for David to stockpile materials for the Mikdash that Shlomo would build. Dan had 2 places where he settled, in the southern portion of Israel along the Mediterranean coast on Yehudah’s northern border and also in the north, near Mount Hermon, where the ‘lion’s whelp’ ‘leaped forth from Bashan’, meaning the Yarden (which literally means ‘flows from Dan’) flows through North Dan on its way to feed the Sea of Galilee.
The 9th blessing was for Naphtali in v.23. Naphtali was very fertile and with the Sea of Galilee as its southeastern border had plenty of water, so this prophecy of Naphtali’s inheritance is pretty remarkable. This is the area that Yeshua made the home base of his ministry.
Asher received the 10th blessing in v.24. Chumash says that when Leah bore Asher, she said she was the most fortunate of women. Here Moshe expanded Leah’s blessing so that the entire nation of Yisrael would bless Asher. To dip his feet in oil was a metaphor for great abundance.
Vv.25-26 are Moshe’s epilogue to the blessing of the individual tribes, but further pronouncement of general blessings on Yisrael proper. By removing the added words and period at the end of v.25, we read
25 Thy shoes iron and brass; and as thy days, thy strength 26 none like unto the Elohim of Yeshurun rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
I take v.25 to mean that Yisrael would overcome her enemies as if she was walking right over them and that she would be unstoppable as long as she remained faithful.
Vv.27-29 are Moshe’s last words to Yisrael. The last words of v.26 speak of Yah riding in majesty in ‘the upper heights’ (Stone’s Tanakh). Those ‘upper heights’ are the eternal abode of Yah, our refuge under his ‘everlasting arms’ (KJV). Yah shall cast or wipe the Cana’ani out before us. Had we actually done as he commanded, and when we actually do as he commands, we will dwell safely in our land as he intended/intends. This will not see fruition, I am afraid, until Mashiyach ben David appears to handle our enemies as he intended for us to do. Metaphorically and personally, this applies to our complete destruction of sin in our lives. Unfortunately, it will not be we who accomplish this in our lives, but Mashiyach, because we are so inclined towards our ‘baser’ nature, our flesh, as Rav Shaul shows in Rom.7
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? Elohai forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of Elohim after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank Eloha through Mashiyach Yeshua our Master. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of Elohai; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom.7.12-25)
Fortunately, on the other hand, Sha’ul doesn’t end there, with us in a strait betwixt 2
1 Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Mashiyach Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Mashiyach Yeshua hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what Torah could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Elohai sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of Torah might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded death; but to be spiritually minded life and peace. (Rom.8.1-6)
So Moshe is correct when he says
29 Fortunate thou, O Israel: who like unto thee, O people saved by Yah, the shield of thy help, and who the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon [i.e.; grind to powder under your feet] their high places.
Tehellim 147 – HalleluYah! There are 3 different terms used in v.1 that are translated as ‘praise’; the roots in order of appearance in KJV are H1984, halal, to radiate; H2167, zamar, to sing a wordless song; and H8416, t’hillah, a laudatory hymn. The reason we are to sing in a clear voice a laudatory hymn while playing a stringed instrument is because in v.2 Yah is building up Yerushalayim and gathering the outcasts of Yisrael; he is recalling the 2 houses back to himself. He is taking Yisrael out of our exile and bringing us together with Yehudah to teach Torah to the nations. Both houses need healing.
Yah has the stars numbered and named and like a grandmother with her 10 kids and 30 grandchildren, remembers them all (grandfathers, not so much; I know a Mennonite man who has 3 and a ½ dozen children – 3 daughters and a ½ dozen sons. He doesn’t remember all his grandchildren’s names all the time, but his wife knows them cold). If Yah knows the number and the names of each star in the universe, do you think he may have a plan for each one? Gadol Adonenu who is of infinite knowledge. But just because he is so great does not mean that he doesn’t care about what happens in our daily lives. He watches us and rewards our attitude of quiet strength while humbling the wicked.
V.7 pretty much restates v.1, sing to Yah while playing a stringed instrument, because he provides the needs of even the least creatures of his creation. Yah doesn’t look on the physical strength of man nor beast, as they are sources of pride in most men, but he loves when people love and trust in him and wait on his mercy and grace.
While I think it is applicable throughout history, I think vv.12-20 are alluding primarily to the Millennial Kingdom. Strengthening the bars of J’lem/Zion is the link (g’zerah shava?) to our portion today, as we saw the feet shod in iron and brass, which is the same idea as we see here. Of course this is figurative language, since Yah in our midst is MORE than enough protection. He makes Shalom within our borders, which again links us to v.28 of our Torah portion, where we are dwelling safely and ‘alone’ (Stone’s Tanakh translation), with no worries about outside enemies. Again, this applies to the Messianic Kingdom and possibly New J’lem, since v.15 speaks of his Word going forth very promptly. In the Kingdom age, the Word of Yeshua will be sent out to his vice-regents at the speed of thought and be propagated immediately by them to their populations.
Have you ever seen pictures of what happens when there is snow in Israel? They had some a while ago, and whole neighborhoods turned out to play in the snow. Snow can be a delight to people who only see it on rare occasions. That seems to be the tenor of vv.16-17. Then he sends out his Word to warm our hearts and chase away the ill effects of the cold, while using the water of the melted snow to nourish his people and land.
Everything Yah sends our way, whether it is cold or warm, light or dark, bitter or sweet to the taste, it is all for the good of Yisrael. What other nation has an Elohim like Yah?
Matthew 19:25-20:16 – 175). Rich Young Ruler (Mat.19.16-30, Mk.10.17-31, Lk.18.18-30) – The young man asks in Mat. “what good work should I do to have eternal life?” In Mark and Luke he says “what shall I do to inherit”. In Mat. he says ‘what good work to have’, while in Mk and Lk. he says ‘what work to inherit’. I think the rich guy wanted to inherit even more worldly goods than he already had, an assurance that he’d never lose the luxury he enjoyed on earth, even in his death. I think he figured that Yah rewarded good works, works of charity that would get him noticed by the people as a ‘real nice guy’, with eternal enjoyment of the pleasures of this life, ala Muslim homicide bombers and the 72 virgins in each of the 72 beds in each of the 72 bedrooms in each of his 72 inherited mansions. In the realm of human morality that would be just. But the justice of Yah is perfect justice and righteousness. He doesn’t see as we see, doesn’t think as we think. What we see as outwardly, morally good is often, in Yah’s eyes ultimately and inwardly wicked due to that expectation of reward. Attitude, baby! Attitude!
So Yeshua answers him. First, he tests the rich guy’s vocabulary, not to see if he’s well read, but to see if he means what our Father means by technical terms. “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but Eloha” He was asking “Are you acknowledging my deity?” The rich guy didn’t catch the Master’s drift.
When Yeshua says “Keep the commandments,” this guy says ‘which should I do?’ The real answer to the question would be, “What do you mean, WHICH? ALL OF THEM!” When Yeshua enumerates them, he purposely leaves one out – “Thou shalt not covet”. He knew the guy’s heart. The rich young ruler was trying to buy his way into eternal life. Yeshua gave him the opportunity to do so, because when the young man said, ‘I have done all these commandments since I was a little kid’, Yeshua knew that he truly had done all these things all his life, against all odds. He was truly after the heart of Yah in all societal areas but one. When Yeshua listed the commandments he’d been able to keep, he was thrilled! But that one societal area broke the five remaining commandments relating to our relationship with Abba. I’d be willing to wager that this youngster did business on the Sabbath to satisfy his covetousness, his lust for more wealth. His covetousness made riches his god, which abrogated the first 3 commandments, I.e.; 1) he had another god, riches, before Yah, not necessarily preeminent to Yah, but just in his face, 2) he had an idol, riches, that he bowed down to, and 3) he was therefore identifying himself with Yah in his words, but not in his life.
Having said that I must stop and ask, “What about you and me?” Do we have anything that could get between us and our Father? Money? Family? Possessions? Emotions? If it affects the way we see the word of Yah, makes us do scriptural gymnastics to get the scripture to say what we want it to say, it is an idol to us.
The point was driven home to the rich guy when Yeshua told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. The guy went from great elation to deep depression in about 1/2 second. He wasn’t so worried about how long it would take to comply, but that he’d have to comply at all. He was very attached to his wealth, and had no desire to rid himself of it. He wanted eternal life, but not at that cost. In Lk.17.32-33 we are told to remember the destruction of Sodom, and Lot’s wife looking back to her life there? She did not want to give up her comfortable life, and as a result she lost her life eternally, becoming a pillar of salt. The same principle applies here. The rich guy didn’t want to give up his temporal life and it could have cost him his eternal life. Q&C
Yeshua then turned to his disciples to illustrate the point of the encounter. The rich will find it hard to enter into the Kingdom of heaven/Kingdom of Eloha. Their riches on earth afford them no special treatment in the Kingdom, as they did on earth, because Yah already owns everything. He can’t be bribed. Rich men are used to having everything their way because people defer to them in an attempt to get a bit of their money or influence. How do you bribe the Elohim that already owns the cattle and the hills and the gold you may find in them? It is Mark 10.24 that really makes the point here. Mark 10:24,
‘And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Yeshua answereth again, and saith unto them, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of Eloha!”’
He told them that the rich tend to trust their riches, and not their Yah Elohim. Yeshua illustrates with the camel and the eye of the needle.
That ‘eye of a needle’ thing we’ve all heard so much about, how it’s the name of a gate into Jerusalem and it was short and camels had a hard time getting in through it, is a bunch of hogwash. First of all, while that was the case in most cities in the middle east, there was no such practice in Jerusalem because camels are unclean animals and not allowed into the city. But what could this text mean, if that’s not it? No scripture supports the idea, so let’s see if there’s an alternative.
The word for “camel” in the Aramaic manuscripts (the Peshitta, a part of the Majority text) is GAMLA which can mean “camel” but can also refer to a “large rope,” which is very possibly the meaning here, especially in light of the uncleanness of the camel (grk. kamelos, Heb. gamal). The Aramaic-English New Testament has this at Mk.10.25
It is easier for a rope to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim.
Have you ever tried to pass any size rope, much less a large one, through the eye of a needle? It is every bit as possible as someone who trusts in his riches to enter into the Kingdom of heaven/Elohim. And we didn’t have to do scriptural gymnastics to make the point, like the traditionalists do.
The fact that the disciples asked in amazement, ‘Then who CAN be saved?’ gives the idea that they were expecting rich guys could buy their way into heaven (that’s always been the conventional wisdom, anyway). But perhaps they were thinking, ‘If it is easier to string a needle with a large rope than to enter heaven, who can be saved?’ Yeshua said it best, “With men this is impossible, but with Eloha all things are possible.” In other words, men cannot get to heaven on their own right, or by their own merit, or with their own riches, but Yah can do it for them. You see, a man can get a camel through the ‘eye of a needle’ gate by gymnastics, gyrations and a little patient work, but he ain’t pulling a large rope through an actual needle, NO WAY! I sit back and imagine a mooring line holding a battleship to a pier, and half way down the line between the ship and the pier the line is constricted through a #2 needle’s eye, and there hangs the needle for all to see. If my Father can do that, it will be relatively easy for him to figure a way to gain my entrance into his Kingdom. I just need to trust to Him and not my own worth or riches.
Peter then raised the point that the disciples had forsaken their families and businesses to follow Yeshua, who said, ‘Because you’ve forsaken your life to follow me, you will sit on thrones in the Kingdom.” This is pictured in Rev.4-5 by the 24 elders, who I think are the 12 patriarchs of Yisrael and the 12 apostles. Of course, this is not certain, but it makes sense in the 2 houses scenario (Yehudah, the patriarchs and Yisraelite Jews, and Ephraim, the apostles and the Hebrew and gentile ‘diaspora’ = the whole house of Jacob), Ezek.37.15ff, 1 Cor.11, Eph.2).
Before they got too elated though, Yeshua gave them a caveat. Not only would those who forsook all to follow him receive manifold blessings, but in Mk.10.30, they would get all that stuff with persecutions. The prosperity preachers will have none of that! “What do you mean I have to suffer persecution for the Kingdom’s sake?” Sorry, Rod and Ernest, but that is the clear teaching of scripture and you’d better get used to it. You’ll notice also that what they receive is not gold and disposable wealth, but relationships with more siblings and parents than they’ve ever imagined, as well as dwellings and places to resort to IN and THROUGH the persecutions.
And by the way, when Yeshua says “now in this time” he is referring to the kairos (greek for set time – equivalent to the Hebrew word moad – set time or appointment – see Lev.23), the ‘set time’ that they were going up to Jerusalem to celebrate – Yeshua’s last pre-millennial Pesach on earth. And don’t you know, that is exactly what happened? During and after that particular ‘set time’ the disciples found out who their friends and enemies really were. They found out who would be their brethren and mothers, and who would open their homes and their lands to them to escape the persecution of the Iuaidoi Pharisees and Sadducees, the Herodians and Romans.
The time – I dare say the ‘set time’, the Moad or kairos – is coming when this will be our lot as well. Who will you be able to trust when the persecution comes? As things stand, I will not be able to trust my own brothers. They are unbelievers. I pray that changes, but for now, I will have to trust only true believers. We certainly can’t trust this ever more hateful and burdensome government [especially in light of COVID and Ukraine – contemporary challenges at this posting], no matter how the leaders profess their ‘Xianity’. Constantine said he was a ‘Xian’, too. We are the remnant, and that means we are in the scant minority. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” or who does miracles can be trusted. In fact, it is safer to say that if they are performing miracles at this time in history, they are probably NOT to be trusted. Sorry, Benny and Kenneth, but that’s how it is. Q&C
176). Parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Mt.20.1-16) – This is a Kingdom of Heaven parable. Remember the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Eloha? The KOH deals with the nation of Yisrael (I believe it refers to spiritual Yisrael) exclusively and the KOG deals with the overarching rulership of Yah in all creation. They are often used interchangeably, but the KOH is also often exclusive.
In the two houses of Yisrael scenario, the KOH includes all true believers, both in Tanakh (OT) and in Brit Chadasha (NT). The householder is Yah, who is looking for laborers for his harvest. He hires (redeems) men all through the day (history from Adam to the eternal ages and the new heaven and earth), 5 different times. This can be seen in the dispensational view as the 5 dispensations in which salvation is available. The 2 dispensations in which there is no salvation is in the Innocence and the Perfect dispensations because all men are in full fellowship with Yah in them. But between the fall of Adam and the Ages of Eternity, there are 5 dispensations in which man needs a Saviour, and the grace of Yah to live a life of righteousness.
These dispensations have nothing to do with how men are saved, but more with how much revelation is given by our Abba. Men have always been saved in the same way as they are now, by trusting Yah to deliver on his promises. This trust, our faith, is a gift from Yah, not something of ourselves. Look up Eph.2.8-10 and Phil.2.12-16. Hold your places there as we read and ask the questions that follow.
Ephes. 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: the gift of Eloha: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Mashiyach Yeshua unto good works, which Eloha hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Philip. 2:12-16, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is Eloha which worketh in you both to will and to do of good pleasure. 14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of Eloha, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Mashiyach, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
These are familiar passages, but how often do we just breeze through them thinking we know what Yah would have us know about them?
Just what do you suppose they had obeyed? That was not a rhetorical question. I’d like someone to answer that. What had the Philippians obeyed [v.12]? Torah is the correct answer. Obedience to Torah is the way to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. I like to paraphrase it, ‘You say you belong to Yah, now act like it!’ And how do you suppose they were able to be obedient? By the grace of our Father, which grace is power from the Spirit of Truth to live according to the Way of righteousness. Wisdom, which is the application of scripture knowledge, speaks in
Proverbs 12:28, “In the way of righteousness life; and in the pathway no death.”
2 Peter 2:21, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
The way of righteousness is what Paul is speaking of in Philippians and Ephesians, the ‘good works’ and the ‘working out’ of our salvation, have to do with following Torah in the power of Abba through the indwelling Ruach haKodesh in the name of Yeshua.
What has all that to do with our passage? I don’t know. It was a rabbit trail I got on and couldn’t leave. Actually, the fact is that the Kingdom of Heaven is shown in our lives by our obedience to the Father, when done in Yeshua’s name and the Spirit’s power. Our buddies in the vineyard were all hired for the same job, to harvest the crop, and were all paid the same wage, no matter the length of time they labored. The guys who complained the most were the ones who worked the longest and hardest. How hard do you work in the fields of Yah? Is it you that’s working, or is it the Spirit of Abba working in you? The penny that each received represents our eternal life, I think. Are you working in your own strength, like the original hires (representing the Iuaidoi – the leaders of the Hebrew religion), or are you working in the strength provided by your Abba?
Those who worked all day in their own strength were told to take what they’d earned and to go their OWN way. I may have thought wro…, wr-r…, incorrectly above when I likened the penny to eternal life or salvation. That doesn’t really fit the parable does it? The penny must just be the rewards earned in this life, or the general grace given by the Father to all men, like the rain and the sunshine. Matthew Henry’s Commentary has a comment worthy of note:
“The riches of Divine grace are loudly murmured at, among proud Pharisees and nominal Xians. There is great proneness in us to think that we have too little, and others too much of the tokens of Eloha’s favour; and that we do too much, and others too little in the work of Eloha. But if Eloha gives grace to others, it is kindness to them, and no injustice to us. Carnal worldlings agree with Eloha for their penny in this world; and choose their portion in this life. Obedient believers agree with Eloha for their penny in the other world, and must remember they have so agreed.”
In other words, you can have your reward where and whenever you want it, here and now, or in eternity. So if I have bargained for eternal life, I need to be content therein and not expect worldly wealth. But if I bargain for what this life has to offer, then I must not be disappointed if that’s all I get. It is, after all, what I bargained for.
Notice if you will, by way of cementing the point, that the first word in our passage is, “For”. This tells us that this is an illustration of the point just made – the rich young ruler, who thought to earn his way into eternal life, as the all day laborers did. ALL the laborers were working for their wages. Entrance to the kingdom is not by works of Torah, for they are proof of our already having entered. Entrance is by faith alone in Yah Elohenu Yah echad (De.6.4). Abba gives his own and only begotten Son, Yeshua, by the power of his Ruach haKodesh so my sin debt can be not just covered but CANCELED, and then gives me the faith of Yeshua so that I can trust him. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study