Shabbat Bible Study for 16 July 2022
©2022 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 16
Genesis 19:1-37 – Isaiah 17:14 – 18:7 – Psalm 15 – Luke 17:20-37
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Genesis 19:1-37 – Let me begin by quoting from my earlier stuff about “The Vexation of Lot”, from the June 4,2022 parsha on Gen.12-13: [this quote began the study on ch.13]
So Avram began an ‘aliyah’ from Egypt back toward haAretz along with Lot. No matter where on earth you are; even if it’s the pinnacle of Mt. Everest; you always go up toward Yerushalayim, which is the holiest place on earth, regardless the political situation there (Chumash note to v.1, pg.65).
Why wasn’t Lot mentioned in “The Egyptian Affair”? I haven’t the slightest, except that he had nothing to do with the narrative. Perhaps Lot had made Sarai’s true identity known to Paroh behind the scenes? What scripture tells us is that Lot came out of Egypt a very well-to-do man, like his uncle Avram; so much so that quarrels arose between Lot’s and Avram’s herdsmen. Avram tried to calm the disputes, but it looks as though Lot’s herdsmen wanted to have Avram’s stuff, too. So in v.9 Avram gives Lot the choice of the land [none of it was scrub land] and the choice was probably really hard to take; the beautiful hills or the beautiful plains and river valley. At this point, there is nothing to indicate the future of these plains and the towns that controlled them (we’ll discuss these towns and their kings next week, Yah willing and the creek don’t rise). I think there MAY be a copyist error in v.10, because Zoar (little) is one of the cities of the plain, the one to which Lot will escape in ch.19, while there was a city in Egypt called Zoan that bordered the eastern frontier of Egypt proper. It was the northern capital of Rameses on the eastern, or Tanitic (Zoan was where Tanis is), branch of the Nile Delta and was undoubtedly very fertile and ‘well watered’. The reference to Lot and the copyists change of a nun to a resh based on the knowledge of the destruction of the cities of the plain is a simple mistake to make and understandable. I am not saying there IS a mistake, only that one of this sort would understandably be an easy one to make.
V.10 begins the outward sign of Lot’s descent to what ended up being condoning and almost approval of the sinful lifestyles in the cities of the plain. Kefa speaks of the vexation of ‘just Lot’ in 2Pe.2
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (II Peter 2:7)
Lot’s ‘justness’ speaks to his nature as a tzadik. Vexation is an uncommon word these days, so let me give you Noah Webster’s 1828 definition [I love W1828, because it uses scripture to illustrate when it can]:
1. The act of irritating; or of troubling, disquieting and harassing;
5. Afflictions, great troubles, severe judgments;
Yah shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. (Deuteronomy 28:20)
WOW! Does that not describe what happened to Lot over the 23+ years of his vexation? The first step we see is that he looked at the land. Now, Lot had a large entourage of both livestock and servants, so he could leave the livestock in the servant’s hands and live where he chose to live, whether on his property away from town or in town. Lot took his choice of the plains of Yarden in v.11 and moved eastward [towards Kasdim/Shinar – backsliding?]. Chumash has an interesting note on this choice on pg.67. That is an interesting application of the word kedem קדם, to precede in time, the Ancient One. The sages are saying that Lot deliberately chose to leave the protection of Yah and actively moved to the cities of the plain, particularly ‘pitching his tent toward’ Sedom, which was the next step in his vexation. When it says ‘pitched his tent toward’ in v.12, I infer that it means that his tent’s door opened toward Sedom; metaphorically welcoming Sedom into his tent; and it had to be the first thing of the world that he saw every morning. V.13 tells us how wicked were the men of cities of the plain.
Then the following week’s parsha on Avram’s thrashing of the KoE after they had thrashed the 5 kings of the plain, I continued a bit with Lot’s vexation:
Last week I started showing ‘the vexation of just Lot’. He was a man of substance, perhaps 2nd only to Avram in the world and their holdings were so great that they couldn’t live in and graze their cattle on the same land. So Avram told Lot to choose where he wanted to live and raise his living and that Avram would go the other way so there would be no strife between them. Lot’s vexation began with his physical eyes a) coveting the easy life of the wide, flat plain that would become the Dead Sea. Then he b) chose that life and then c) he ‘pitched his tent toward Sedom’, so that he was always looking that way. His gradual desensitizing happened over a period of time, but by 14.12 he d) lived exclusively in Sedom. Had he lived in his tent, he might NOT have been taken. But it was Yah ’s will that he be taken so he could give the 9 kings all a good thrashing. Remember that Kefa called Lot ‘just’, meaning righteous, tzadik. Avram was not just going to deliver his nephew, but his BROTHER (v.14) in Yah .
This week we see the depths to which even a tzadik can sink when he looks away from the goal, oneness with Yah through Mashiyach Yeshua, and looks to the right hand or the left. Lot had left the battle of the 9 kings as a subject of Nimrod/Amraphel, was rescued by his uncle Avram, went back to Sedom, and by now had become an official of the city. It was a custom that city officials would sit at the gates of the city to greet travelers and merchants as they arrived and to ‘hold court’ as judges and enforcers of the city’s ordinances.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. (Prov.31:23)
1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. (Prov.8.1-3)
Lot recognized the holiness of the ‘men’ and invited them to come immediately to his home. They were there to get the ‘full Monty’ of the city’s ‘hospitality’ so they could make their report and bring down Yah’s judgment on it. Lot, I think, knew exactly what they would find and it might actually go a lot worse for the city if they DID stay in the street all night, so he insisted that they go to his house. He fed them the same as Avraham did yesterday with matzoth, not loaves of bread. Obviously Lot ALSO knew that it was time for the mo’ad of Unleavened Bread. We are not told specifically what they ate, but we are told it was a feast, so the sages infer that it must have been the evening of the 15th day of the 1st month, and I agree. Avraham had fed them a feast during the heat of the day and Lot that evening.
Warning! The following paragraph will be just a bit graphic. I’ll wait a few seconds while you remove tender ears from the area. But before bedtime, presumably after dark, the ‘men’ of the city came to demand that Lot give the strangers to them so that they might ‘know’ them (cf. Chumash on vv 4-5, pp.93-94). Lot tried to persuade the ‘men’ to not do this wickedness and then offered his single daughters to them as if as a consolation prize?! This proves to me that the sages are correct and the ‘men’ of the city wanted to rape and sodomize the visitors and actually preferred that to normal male/female sexual relations. When the ‘men’ of the city tried to take Lot instead as payment for his temerity in taking the men/angels in from the streets and judging their own actions as wickedness, the angels struck them all blind. This did not deter the ‘men’ of the city from groping around for the door to get their hands on either the men/angels or Lot or both. Please notice that none of the ‘men’ of the city were recognized as anything else, regardless what modern pop-psychology says about women being born in men’s bodies and vice-versa OR about transgenderism. If you have some question about what sex you are, stand in front of a mirror and ‘drop trou’. If you are naturally equipped with a penis, you are a male, and are to have relations with a female, who is NOT naturally equipped with a penis, but instead has a vagina. Sorry if that was too graphic, but you may now return the tender ears to the room, if you’d like. Q&C
Lot didn’t quite understand how serious the situation was, it seems, since after warning his sons-in-law about the impending destruction of the city, he kinda puttered around the house that morning instead of following his instructions and getting ‘out of Dodge’… uh, Sedom. Maybe he was kinda waiting for his married daughters and their husbands to arrive, but the angels/men literally had to DRAG Lot, his wife and their single daughters out of town, almost literally screaming and kicking. Why do you suppose the sons-in-law thought he was full of beans? Had he been warning them of what Yah would do if the city didn’t change for so long that they figured he was just a doom and gloomer, like much of the world sees those of us who bring warning of impending judgment? Were his sons-in-law among the sodomites on his porch? The way it reads in KJV, it seems like that could be. By the way, remember that Avraham stopped importuning Yah at 10 souls last week? If Lot had a wife and 4 daughters + 2 sons-in-law and 2 prospective sons-in-law, how many would that be? 10 … 12 if you count the dog and the cat.
Next thing that happens is the angels dragging the fam out of town and telling them to take to the hills to not be destroyed with the cities of the plain. Lot told the angel that he couldn’t go that far today, but asked if he could go to the town at the foot of the hills that he says is small or young (Tzoar) and was less iniquitous, according to the sages. Yah held back the destruction of the 4 other cities until he could get to Tzoar/Bela (Rashi). It was from Tzoar that Lot’s wife looked back, presumably to see if her daughters and sons-in-law had gotten out or perhaps longingly for her beloved city (why else would the tzadik stay there?), and became a pillar of salt. Now, there was no way that Lot’s line could be carried forward, for his wife was dead (to him at least) and could not bear him a son. I think it is at this time that the wheels in his single daughters’ heads started turning. We’ll look at that in a minute.
The scene shifts to Avraham looking toward Sedom and seeing the cloud of smoke rising and, I infer, realizing that the cities are toast and maybe Lot is too. V.29, we see that Lot was saved from death because Elohim ‘remembered’ Avraham, he acted in Avraham’s behalf and saved his nephew’s life. This 3-verse pericope may be the reason for the whole chapter; to show that Yah Elohenu loves Avraham so much that he ensured the righteous personal character of Lot and saved his life for Avi’s sake. I think Avi’s importuning for Lot had a downside, though, and we are going to see that downside when Lot and his daughters get up to the hills the next day.
Since ALL the cities of the plain were to be destroyed for their wickedness, Lot’s request got Tzoar a stay of execution, but not a reprieve. After Lot and his single daughters got to the hills, the hammer fell on Tzoar, too. Lot’s daughters’ outlooks had to be pretty bleak. If my speculation from before about them having intendeds was correct, they had no men to raise children by, their whole world had been destroyed overnight and they may have had no idea that it was not a world-wide destruction. Not only that, but the sin of Sedom was such that they may have had no prospect toward EVER having children at all! They may have thought that ALL men except their father were more favorably disposed to sodomy than normal male/female relationships, and that all that was left to populate the earth was Lot and they. Chumash’s prefatory notes on vv.31-38 and the note on v.31 are speculative, but make some sense (pg.99 – all underlined).
The elder daughter named her son Moav, ‘from father’; the younger daughter named her son Ben Ammi, ‘son of my people’. The first was shameless, as if Sedom had taken its own toll on her, while the younger seems to have regarded her father with more respect and hid the incestuous origin of her son. The sages think that she was honored by Elohim’s instruction to Yisrael to not provoke Ammon.
And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.(Deuteronomy 2:19)
When we honor our parents, we get a blessing from Yah , and it will continue into the olam haba. Q&C
18.1-7 – The prophecy continues against the nations who have confederated against Yah and His Mashiyach and His people. Everything to this point looks in today’s world like the confederation that has sided with the Moslem Brotherhood since the Arab Spring (after planning the thing with them for months or years before) to overtake the Middle East in jihad against the more moderate dictatorships that the West set up to control petroleum that lay beneath its surface. Do not even consider that the Western nations will relinquish control of that oil just because some whacked out jihadis have overthrown the various Arab governments. And now that Israel is in control of such a vast field of petroleum and natural gas, the battle of Armageddon is that much closer. If the jihad makes it more difficult for the Western Oil interests to get the Arab oil, watch them go after Israel’s by hook or by crook.
The land ‘shadowing with wings’ is none other than the US of A. V.2 speaks of ‘a nation scattered and peeled’. Scattered is from H4900, mashak, which is most often xlated ‘sow’ or ‘sown’. Peeled is from H4178, mowrat, obstinate or independent, from H3399, yarat, to decend quickly, precipitate or hurl headlong. This nation is a scattering of peoples, like the US of A, which is independent of its parent nations of Western Europe by its 3500 miles of ocean separation. AND it acts in a precipitous fashion, often rushing headlong into situations from which it would be much wiser to remain aloof. Of course, wisdom is not something for which the US of A has been known for about 50 years or more at this writing. The final word speaks to the cleaving of the land by a river or river system, which describes the US of A like no other nation on earth, where ¾ or more of its land mass is drained by the Missouri/Mississippi/Ohio rivers and their tributaries. I think it is unmistakable that this prophecy speaks of the US of A.
And the rest of the prophecy makes it every bit as clear that the US of A is stepping into a big stinky pile of something escaping from the south end of a northbound horse. In v.5 it says that he, whom I infer means Mashiyach, will use pruning hooks to cut off the sprigs, which are fruitless suckers on a fruit tree, and cut down the branches. These are not fruitful n’tzarim, but n’tiyshah, BIG suckers that bear no fruit. They are cut down and left lie for the birds and beasts to use (v.6), presumably for either food or bedding.
In v.7, Mashiyach, Yah Tzavaoth, shall receive a present from the people scattered and peeled, whose land is cloven by the rivers. THAT speaks to me of the faithful remnant living in the US of A. The KJV word ‘present’ is from H7862, sha’iy, or ‘a gift’. There will be quite a few of the faithful Netzarim that will come out of the US of A when Mashiyach calls them out to the land of Yah Tzavaoth – the mount Zion! There is one other use of the phrase ‘the mount Zion’ in Tanakh,
65 Then Adonai awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. 66 And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach. 67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. 69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever. 70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. (Ps.78.65-72)
There is one other place where the phrase is used, with a minor spelling change
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev.14:1)
Every use of the phrase, THE mount Zion, speaks of King Mashiyach and his reign over his remnant. His remnant will be his gift from the people scattered and peeled, whose nation its rivers cleave in 2. When the USofA decides to force the division of His land, Yah Tzavaoth will say, “You want to see land divided? Watch this!” And I think He will rend the USofA in 2, right down the middle. Perhaps he’ll use the New Madrid fault to do it.
Here’s an earthquake fault line to show where he MAY chose to rip the USofA a new one; the red line indicates the center of all the seismic activity on the New Madrid system: note that the color insert shows the center of activity runs down the St. Lawrence passed Niagra and out of Lake Erie, just west of Cleveland and across to the Mississippi between Rockford and Springfield, Ill and on the the Gulf of Mexico. Just a possibility.
May Yah use it to His own glory. Q&C
Psalm 15 – Do you think the Song has anything to do with the haftarah today? V.1 sounds like a continuation of YeshaYahu 18.7! The whole song is about the Bride of Mashiyach, and is a perfect discussion of those who ‘walk after the Spirit”.
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 the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom.8.1-4).
There are 2 qualifications for the ‘no condemnation’ aspect of Rom.8.1-4; 1) one must be IN Mashiyach, and 2) the righteousness of Torah is fulfilled in us. That 2nd qualification is briefly spelt out in Tehellim 15. He tells us the general quals in v.2 and then describes what those quals look like to the casual observer; he neither HEARS nor USES lashon hara against his neighbor (v.3) and he does works of Torah FOR his neighbor. He contemns a vile person, one who works to his own good regardless the cost to his fellow, while honoring the man who keeps his word, even if it costs him dearly in property, labor or time (v.4). The one who walks after the Spirit is one who honors Yah with his wealth as kinsman redeemer in money, land or offspring, like Boaz did for Naomi and Ruth, even though it may have hurt his own children’s inheritances. Keep your eyes on yourself and pattern your life after this description of a tzadik and you shall NEVER waver in your faith. Q&C
Luke 17:20-37 – What follows is from my study, The Life of Yeshua HaMashiyach – a Messianic Perspective ©2001-2006, 2013; Fulfilling Torah Ministries and Mark Pitrone.
171). Discourse on the 2nd Coming (Lk.17.20-37) – Yeshua said, “the kingdom of God is within you.” That is a plural ‘You’ (dative, 2nd person, plural – humon’), not a singular ‘thee’ (dative, 2nd person, singular – soi). So this is not primarily applied to individuals, but to groups. The group being addressed here is the Pharisees, who were asking in derision, not belief. The kingdom, then, was within the group. Yoseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus come to mind as to where the kingdom could be found among the Pharisees. I’m sure there were others, as well.
He then directs the prophecy to a completely different audience, his disciples. I don’t think a lot of the Pharisees understood this message. I think that the disciples got it and began to be troubled by the seriousness of the thing. They might each be called on to die for their testimony. I learned something I’d never known before that ought to be told here in way of illustration. When Yeshua was presiding over the meal with the apostles on the night before his murder, he did something non-traditional. Some background:
In Hebrew culture wine denotes joy and gladness. When a young Hebrew man took a fancy to a young Hebress, he would go to his father to ask that he procure the right to ask her father for her hand in marriage. When the girl’s father came to an agreement with the boy’s father, the boy would then go to the girl with gifts to persuade her to marry him, as well as a glass of wine. But before he offered her the gifts he would hold out the glass of wine and tell her, “This wine does not just symbolize joy and gladness. This wine also represents my very life’s blood. If you will drink of this cup with me, I will give my very life’s blood for you, to protect you, provide for you and to die for you if necessary.” He would then take a sip of the wine and offer her the glass. If she accepted the proposal, she would drink from the glass and the marriage would be agreed to. At that point they were married. Neither would touch wine again until the day of the consummation of the marriage.
She now would go back to her father’s house and would begin to enter into instruction on how to be a good wife. Paul alluded to this in,
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of Eloha be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5)
As she went to her father’s house, so would he go to his father’s land holdings and begin to prepare a home for his wife. He would continue to build this home until his father told him that it was finished and that it was time to go and get his bride. They would go back to the home he built for her and the marriage feast would begin and the marriage would be consummated.
This usually took 1-2 years and only rarely more, during which time, if the girl was found to be with child, the boy had 2 choices, marriage anyway (before the house was completed), or divorce. This was the only time that divorce was allowed by the commands of Torah. This is the fornication Yeshua spoke of in Mat. chapters 5 and 19, I think. There was no other grounds for divorce in Yah’s original scheme of things. If the boy chose divorce, and most would since the girl was defiled, he could do it one of 2 ways. He could invoke the law and have her stoned in public, or, if he truly loved her, he could quietly divorce her and let her live.
When Miriam was found with child, Yoseph ‘determined to put her away quietly.’ This told Mary the kind of man Yoseph was, not vindictive or spiteful, but gentle and loving. Of course, when Joe got word from Gabe that Miriam was yet a virgin, he chose the route of marriage anyway, despising the disgrace. The fact that he married her immediately and didn’t go to prepare her a home was a signal to everyone that she was with child before the marriage was consummated. Hence the accusations of the Pharisees that Yeshua was the child of fornication.
Now at the Pesach meal, Yeshua took the 3rd cup, the cup of redemption, and he said,
“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”(Luke 22:20)
“After the same manner also the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink, in remembrance of me.”(1Cor. 11:25)
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29)
When Yeshua said these words the apostles knew exactly what he was saying. He was telling them that if they drank of this cup they were accepting his proposal of marriage and that he was going to go to prepare the place for them he’d promised in Jn.14.2. That is where he is today, preparing a home for us – the New Jerusalem, in which we will dwell in the new creation for all eternity future. He must not be finished with it yet, since he has yet to return for us. Our Father has yet to tell him the home is finished and he can return for his bride. When this happens the last trump will sound (1Cor.15.51-53), and we shall all be changed to be incorruptible, undefiled and immortal, either from dead and corrupted bodies or from living, corruptible bodies.
This should be our focus at communion time, which should be done in the context of a Pesach meal to get the full effect of the symbolism, realizing the marriage covenant and seeing if we have been living up to it. Adultery is punished by death, that is the only judgment allowed. “For this cause is there sickness and death among you” (1Cor.11.30).
This is the soberness that must have fallen over the disciples in our passage in Luke. They were going to suffer persecution at the hands of the gentiles and their brethren. They were going to wish Yeshua would return for them and would be tempted to run after false Mashiyachs. That’s why they were given this discourse. They were being warned in advance not to follow those who said they were Mashiyach. Yeshua knew the temptation to do so would be great. He told them that they would not miss the sign of his coming because it would be as easy to discern as a bolt of lightning. You don’t even need to see the lightning-bolt itself to know it has struck. Likewise, when the sign of the coming of the Son of Man occurs it will be unmistakable. The times will look like any other time, normal human transactions would occur right up to the end, just like in the days of Noach. And it will look like no other time, as abnormal human relations will be considered normal by a sin-sick world. When you see the day arrive, don’t wait around the house, don’t even stop to pick up a coat, just vamoose.
It is interesting that Lot was spared the wrath of Yah, even in his presumably backslidden condition. There are those in the church who say that if you say you are a believer and you are still an habitual sinner you are lost. But that is not what we see in scripture concerning ‘just [righteous] Lot’ (2Pe.2.7). Here’s a guy who, going after the lust of his eyes, chose the cities of the plain, pitched his tent toward Sedom so he could keep his eyes on it, and then, spiraling down deeper into sin, moved into town and eventually became a part of the city government. But his heart was not completely after the sin in the city, still having some tenderness to the Spirit of Truth. I think that is how a backslidden believer can know he’s saved, if the Spirit won’t let him sin with impunity, pricking his heart with each sin, so he’ll repent and ask forgiveness. Even when we believers sin willfully – and admit it, you do (well, I do, anyway) – the Ruach haKodesh, the Spirit of the Almighty, pricks your conscience and will not allow you to keep it up for very long without bringing you to repentance, like the prodigal son. Lot was allowed to flee the scene of Yah’s wrath (he was actually dragged out screaming and kicking) because he was justified (2Pe.2.4-9). Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study