Shabbat Bible Study for 28Jan 2023

Shabbat Bible Study for 28Jan 2023

©2023 Mark Pitrone & Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Genesis 49:1-50.26   –   Isaiah 43:2   –   Psalm 40   –   John 19.39-20.9, 21:12-19

[This will take quite a bit of time today, but I think it’s important to really understand the Torah portion from a Messy perspective. Have the ROMANS commentary open to ch.8.3-11]

Gen.49.1 – Yisrael calls his sons to himself to bless them each according to his gifting and abilities. He uses an Hebraic play on words that I find interesting. There are 2 uses of the Hebrew word yiq’ra (St.#7121, 7122, root qara, to call) in v.1 that is spelled the same and vowel pointed identically, but the first use is translated he called and the second is translated will befall. But why would a word spelled and vowel pointed identically have a different meaning when used in the same sentence? Especially when there is a word used elsewhere in scripture that is spelled differently, but pronounced exactly the same way (a homonym) that DOES mean befall? That word is qarah, ending with a hey instead of an aleph (Str.#7136). I did not find this word-play on my own – it is in the Chumash on page 302-03, (read from there). 

In Rom.8 we see this:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Elohim, to them who are the called according to purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God for us, who against us?

I have found that in Romans (and most everywhere else), Paul usually uses the pronoun ‘us’ to refer to Jews, native Israelites, and ‘you’ to refer to gentiles engrafted to Israel. Cf.Romans study, bottom of pg.59 – top of pg.62. Rom.8.3-11 (get Q&C after Rom.8.3-6 comment, then continue)

Vv.3-6 – Do you see what was weak? Not the Torah, but our flesh. When we walk after the flesh, we are weak towards Elohim. But Yeshua was sent by our Father to condemn sin in the flesh. And why did Yeshua condemn sin in the flesh? So that the righteousness of Torah could be fulfilled in us when we walk after Ruach HaKodesh. When we walk in the flesh, our sin is condemned. But when we walk after Ruach, we fulfill Torah in righteousness. Now, to understand that, this is important – When we walk in the flesh, we actually are worshipping the things of the flesh. Things of the flesh doesn’t mean those things that are not spiritual but are necessary to our existence, such as our employment or business that has not taken on the place of an idol to us. We need to do those things to the best of our ability, but not worship them (as many do). When we are walking after the Spirit, we are doing those things to the glory of Avinu in Yeshua’s Name and are therefore ‘Fulfilling Torah’. See vv.5&6 and the reference to the duality of the Torah in Dt.30.19? To be carnally minded (the Greek literally says, ‘the minding of the flesh’ – thinking about fleshly lusts, and fleshly lusts are NOT all sexual) or to walk after the flesh is death, but to be spiritually minded (Grk., ‘the minding of the Spirit’ – thinking about Torah) or to walk after the Spirit is life and peace. It is absolutely nonsensical, in light of this, to think that Torah has been done away or annulled. Torah is still doing what it was designed to do, providing knowledge of Yah’s requirements to be eligible for either his blessing and the life that accompanies it, or his curse and the death that accompanies it. Torah is still the guideline and standard against which we will be judged, if we are in the flesh. It is also the guideline by which we know the Way we should follow. In fact, since Yeshua is the Word of Elohim made flesh, Torah (Tanakh + B’rit HaDashah) IS the Way.

Yeshua said in Jn.14.6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Yeshua was the living Word of Yah made flesh (Jn.1.1-2, 14). Now, follow this logic – Torah is the Way of Elohim (Ps.1.6, 18.30, 119.1{says it outright}, 14, 27, 30, 32, 33, 139.24, Pro.2.8, 20, 6.23, 10.17. That should suffice for now, and I don’t want to bore you. These just scratch the surface showing that Torah is the Way of Yah). Torah is the Truth of Elohim (Jn.17.17, Ps.25.10, 31.5, 33.4, 85.10-11, 119.30, 43, 142, 151, Prov.8.7, 23.23, Is.25.1, 38.18-19, Mal.2.6. That should suffice to show that Torah/Tanakh is the Truth of Yah). Torah is also Life from Elohim (Prov.3.2, 18 – all of Prov.3.11ff deals with the Torah, as it is spoken of as wisdom and understanding, Pro.4.13, 6.23, 8.35, 10.17, 11.30, 21.21, De.30.15, 19, Jer.21.8, Ps.133.3 – there are lots more references to show that Torah/Tanakh is the Life of Yah). Yeshua said in metaphoric language that he is the Word of Yah. HE is the LIVING Torah. He walked in Torah. We need to follow him, not any man-made traditions, whether from rabbis, priests or pastors; or from kings, legislators or judges. We need to use Yeshua’s life as our standard. Whether it is the example of what he did when he walked the earth in the flesh, or what he revealed through the prophets, he is the Torah that we should follow.  Q&C

Vv.7-11 – Sha’ul switches gears a bit here. He lets us know that if we are after the flesh we CAN’T fulfill Torah. It is not possible for that which is carnal to fulfill anything spiritual. The carnal mind immerses itself in things of the flesh, while the spiritual mind is immersed – mikvah’d/baptized –  in the things of the Spirit. What is after the flesh can’t serve Elohim and will never please him. We find many who go through the motions, wallowing in the praise and honor of men to their own glory (is that a picture of a false baptism, or what). Sometimes they wallow in self-praise and self-honor to the glory of self-worship. Hoshea describes them and their end, if they fail to repent, in 10.1-2.

1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. 2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.

Yah Yeshua waits for these to repent (turn towards him) and confess their sins to Abba, that their heart not be divided, but that they follow him in spirit and truth. And don’t think this doesn’t apply to us just because it says Israel. If we are Mashiyach’s, we ARE Israel (Eph.2.11ff, Rom.11) and sons of Avraham (Gal.3.16). 

The good news is that if we are living in the Spirit of Elohim we are not living after the flesh. V.9 is kind of interesting. It says ‘ye’, which is the plural nominative 2nd person, are not in the flesh if the Spirit of Elohim dwells in ‘you’, which is the plural 2nd person objective. And v.9 also says that if ‘any man’ (3rd person singular nominative) does NOT have the Spirit of Mashiyach, ‘he’ (3rd, nom., singular) is NOT Mashiyach’s. It looks as if the Spirit of Abba indwells us as a body and the Spirit of Yeshua indwells us individually. Now, I do not think that Yeshua’s spirit is different from Abba’s. I think this is the same Spirit being applied in different circumstances. We are to individually walk after the Spirit of Yeshua, in humble obedience to the leading of Abba that we have in his Word and which our eyes have seen in the walk of Yeshua (1Jn.2.6b, “…walk, even as he walked”). Corporately, we are to be watchmen (Eze.17.3), not only for that which is trying to invade from without, but also for that which is trying to corrupt from within. We are to sound the warning and make the body aware of the threat. 

If Yeshua’s Spirit is alive in you personally, you are to count your flesh ‘dead’ and your spirit quickened by Mashiyach’s Spirit so that you can “Fulfill Torah”, showing forth His life in your righteous lifestyle. If your kahal, your congregation or church, is filled with the Spirit of Abba, it will also manifest the righteousness of Abba’s Word. It is possible that one or more individuals who are in the flesh can weaken the power of your kahal’s witness. This is why we need to be watchmen, for ‘a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump’ – or, to paraphrase the Osmonds, ‘One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, girl.” 

In other words, it is up to us individually to point out obvious sin to individuals in our fellowship. This will not make us popular. But it will preserve the power of Elohim’s Spirit in our kahal. If our congregation is filled with Abba’s Spirit, it will deal with the sin in its midst according to Mat.18. If not, that will be a perfect barometer of its true spiritual condition and show us that it’s time for us to find a new congregation. Tolerance of sin is death to the body (cf. Dt.30 – the whole chapter, keeping in mind that ALL Israel is in exile, including YOU).  

V.11 says that Ruach haKodesh indwells our congregation and fellowship. It says, ‘If the Spirit of him who raised up Yeshua from the dead dwell in you’. That is KJV-speak for 2nd person plural objective case. If this was a personal reference it would have said ‘in thee’, which is 2nd person singular objective. People make the ‘thee’s and thou’s’ a big issue because they are not our common usage. But they clarify passages that are unclear in the newer versions. But the 2nd ½ of the verse contains a promise for us, that if Ruach lives in our kahal corporately, we will all be likewise raised from the dead. The wording of this verse makes it clear that we will be raised both corporately AND individually (‘your’, 2nd plural adjective modifying ‘bodies’, a plural reference to many individual’s bodies). This shows us midrashically that the Spirit of Abba and of Yeshua is One and the same Spirit. If each person in the fellowship is following Yeshua, minding the things of the Spirit, the Spirit of Avinu will energize and quicken our congregation to his use. Individuals empowered to his use are good. Congregations empowered to his use are better. The synergistic effect of many people working together toward a desired end makes the productive output greater than the aggregate input.  Q&C

End of Days in Tanakh generally means the Messianic era. No matter what ‘befalls’ us in our future, if we are not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit of Elohim, we are the called according to his purpose and it is all for OUR GOOD – no question about it. Q&C That’s it for Gen 49.1 :-)!

Vv.2-12 – Ya’akov’s command to gather/assemble AND the command to listen is repeated, so they are emphatic. They are to understand exactly what he is saying, and since he is about to die, he’s only going to say it once. 

Reuven was a mighty man, but as unstable as water – impetuous, hasty and reckless. He didn’t stop and think of consequences, he reacted emotionally. That is NOT a good trait in a leader – as we have seen recently in our American presidents. Reuven had gone in unto Bilhah for the purpose of keeping his mother, Leah’s, place with Ya’acov secure. In his mind he was protecting his mother, but it went against Torah. Mentioning Torah is NOT an anachronism, as the knowledge of Yah’s instruction was known long before it was codified in Exodus – Deuteronomy (cf.Gen.7.2; “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” Noach KNEW clean from unclean.). It was THAT impetuosity that cost him his birthright. He was NOT the right man to lead the nation Israel.

Likewise, Shimon and Levi, acted impetuously in the case of Shechem. They failed to regard the long-term effect their truly murderous action would have. They were, in their own minds, merely protecting their sister, Dinah, but that precipitous action, without any guidance from their Abba, cost them the right to lead Israel, as well. V.7 is a prophecy of what would happen when they came back to haAretz with Y’hoshua – they would be scattered among the other tribes. As you know, Levi had no inheritance in the land save the 48 Levitical cities and their ‘suburbs’, which extended 1000 cubits [1 kilometer? close!] from the city walls. Shimon’s inheritance was completely surrounded and was eventually annexed by Yehudah. Eventually, Shimon literally lived amongst his brethren in the north and was carried away into Assyria. 

Yehudah, who over the last 7 chapters has shown himself to be a true leader, who thinks before he acts, but when he acts does so decisively, is given the blessing of the scepter, which is never to depart from his tribe. (Aside – BenYamin wasn’t blessed to be king. So, why was Saul, a Benjamite, made the first king of Israel? Simple answer? Because Yah gave Israel over to its lust to be like the other nations – not set apart unto Yah.) Yisrael told Yehudah that he was the one to whom the other brothers would look for leadership and under whom they would serve. Yehudah will hold the scepter until Shiloh comes. There’s a good comment in the Chumash on Shiloh (read it – pg.305, right column). 

The reference to Shiloh’s (Mashiyach’s) clothes being dyed with the blood of grapes is picked up by prophets in Tanach and in the book of Revelation. 

The sword of Yah is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for Yah hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. (Isaiah 34:6)

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (Isaiah 63:1) 

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (Isaiah 63:3)

Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (Jeremiah 49:22)

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of Eloha. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Rev.14:19-20)

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Rev.19.11-13)

Mashiyach would be a man of war and a righteous judge and king. And he would be a son of Yehudah. Q&C

Vv.13-27 – Zevulon was a sea-farer and a merchant, traveling the world for trade goods and exotic animals in Shlomo’s days. That they were traveling the world can be deduced by the fact that they came back every 3rd year with more weird and wonderful plants and animals for Shlomo to study and learn about. In v.14 Issachar literally ‘lies between two judgments’ – bein hamishpatiym. Perhaps that is why v.15 has him an indentured servant. He is vacillating, when he ought to be making a decision. The rabbis have him lying down between farming and Torah study. He is obviously NOT a good leader, or he would take a choice. Leaders aren’t afraid to take a choice, even if it’s wrong. I think his indecision leads to his servitude. 

Gad means ‘troop’. The verse is literally, ‘Gad’s bands will attack and he will attack the heel’ – he would strike the rear guard of the enemy as it retreated (I think). Asher’s land was the area of the richest soil and well watered along the coastal plain lots of produce to provide for Gad’s fighters. Naphtali is swift of foot, and will draw Israel’s enemies’ attention, allowing the nation to conquer. 

Yoseph has, in Ephraim and Menashe, the largest and best of all the inheritances of Ya’acov’s children. It stretches from the Med to the desert east of the Yarden and from Jericho north to Mt. Hermon – roughly ½ of the area of chol Israel. His birthright blessing is very emphatic. He is a fruitful builder of the family. Ephraim’s name means fruitful, and the root of Ephraim’s name porah is seen twice in succession – ben porah Yosef ben porah – a fruitful son whose branches reach over, around and through obstacles to their growth. His enemies are jealous of his blessings and shoot at him with their arrows, which can be figurative or literal. Look at how Israel is treated in the media today – the arrows never quit flying [mindful of Trump?]. Even Yoseph’s brother Yehudah won’t let him help to secure Yah’s land. Yoseph is like Lonesome George Goebel; he has no friends. Except Yah. But his blessings surpass those of his fathers’ fathers, and they are like a crown on his head who was separate from his brothers. The word the KJV translates as separate literally means ‘consecrated’. Yisrael consecrated Yoseph above his brethren, which means he set him apart to the service of Yah. I assume Ya’acov’s consecration of Yoseph was from Yoseph’s infancy. 

BenYamin’s seed were fearless and mighty warriors. Remember when this small tribe stood up to the entire nation of Israel in Judges 20:

And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. (Judges 20:15)

And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war. (Judges 20:17)

Israel > 400K, BenYamin < 27K. BenYamin kicked a LOT of Israelite tail before Yah allowed Israel’s numbers to win out. Note that Yehudah was not in that fight. Israel was already acting nationally and independently of Yehudah. It was only under Saul, David and Shlomo that the kingdom EVER united. And it hasn’t been for over 3000 years now. But King Mashiyach will reunite the tribes as Yah is one, and that right soon. Q&C

Gen.49.28-33 – Ya’acov had blessed his sons by prophesying about their roles, strengths and weaknesses (if any) and how they would be a blessing to all the families of the earth. He had already gotten Yoseph’s promise to NOT bury him in Egypt, but in his own grave at Machpelah near Hevron, in the field and cave Avraham had purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Now, he reiterates his desire and commands ALL his sons to ensure that his bones will be buried in haAretz, and NOT in Egypt. I think he did this to ensure that SOMEone would be able to do so, Ya’acov knowing that Paroh may not allow Yoseph to leave for any extended period of time. Paroh would be less likely to keep ALL Ya’acov’s sons from going to bury their father in his own sepulchre, bought with money from the former owners. Yoseph, as viceroy, perhaps, but not all 12 of them. Paroh, I’m sure, knew that Ya’acov was a wise and godly man, and would allow it in his case because of his status. So Ya’acov got ALL his sons’ promises that he would be buried in Mamre just in case Yoseph was unable to make the trip himself. Once he got their promises, he just curled up on his bed, and expired. No muss, no fuss. As it had been with his father and grandfather, when their time to die was upon them they knew, because their vitality had never left them until the last few days of their lives. When they started to feel very differently in a systemic sort of way, they knew their time was short. I would surmise that, like Avraham, Yitzhak and, later, Moshe, Ya’acov’s life’s natural force was not abated until the last day or 2 of his life. There is a very interesting [to me anyway] note to v.28 in the Schottenstein’s Chumash on pg.311.

50.1-9 – It is not normal for a Hebrew to be embalmed. The usual practice is for the family to bury their dead within 4 days. After 4 days, the body begins to show signs of decomposition and will even begin to smell like rotten, decaying meat – and anyone who’s ever smelt decaying meat knows that it’s about as nasty and pungent a stench as there is. Remember when Yeshua’s friend Lazarus died and when he finally got to Bethany Yeshua asked to have the stone removed from Lazarus’ grave. 

Yeshua said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Master, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. (John 11:39)

The idea behind NOT embalming their dead was to not hinder the Word of Yah,

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19)

So Hebrews bury their dead before the body sees ‘corruption’, defined as decomposition and rot, or within 4 days of death. 

R. Or HaChaim, according to Schottenstein’s Chumash (pg.312, note for v.2), said that a person like Yisrael, who had achieved the status of tzadik, would not decay at the same rate as your average ordinary person (or at all) based on (I think)

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One (chassid) to see corruption. (Psalms 16:10)

The reason he had the embalming done, according to some rabbis, was to not allow Ya’acov’s body to suffer the indignity of being a thing to worship because it would not naturally decay. Now, where they got this idea is beyond me (unless it was from their own nearly idolatrous veneration of the patriarchs, as if they were not just guys like you and me, and as they are revealed to us in scripture). The patriarchs were no more or less ‘holy’ than any of us can be. They had the same foibles as anyone else, which is one reason I know the Bible is true. Unlike the pagan scriptures, it shows its heroes to be just guys who screw up once in a while, but whose manner of life is to obey Yah. More likely, he embalmed Yisrael’s body because it would be quite some time before the burial could be accomplished. It seems that it took the physicians 40 days to embalm the body, and that Egypt mourned for Ya’acov for those 40 and at least 30 more days for a total of 70 days of mourning in Egypt. If the passage is taken woodenly, it can be seen as up to 120 days before they left for Mamre. Then there would be a trip of 5-6 days to Mamre and Machpelah, the burial and then sitting shiva before the trip back – I would estimate at least 3 weeks to a month before they could return to Rameses. 

When Yoseph made the case that he needed to go to Canaan, he did so to Paroh’s house, not directly to Paroh, possibly to get him used to the idea of Yoseph being gone for a month or 2. It could also be that this was a different Paroh than the one for whom Yoseph had interpreted the dream. Perhaps this Paroh was worried about Yoseph’s popularity with his household staff or the people. Perhaps he didn’t like that Yoseph had given 80% of the produce of his land to the sharecropping serfs. And I get the impression by the wording that Paroh wasn’t pleased that Yoseph would have to be gone for so long. I don’t think there was the same level of trust as the dreaming Paroh had once had in Yoseph. The cause could also be the prosperity of the Yacovson’s. The importance of establishing that Ya’acov had made Yoseph promise to bury him personally is seen in v.5&6. Paroh was kinda backed into a corner, and had to let Yoseph and his brothers go to Canaan. But in v.8 we see that their wives, children, livestock, et al., were left in Egypt as an earnest of their return – hostages? I think. This may have been the beginning, the first outright act, of Israel’s bondage to Egypt. Also, when they finally went to Canaan, they were escorted by chariots and horsemen. Was this armored cavalry to ensure their return, or just a large retinue in full military regalia to impress the natives? I think, YES! Q&C

Vv.10-14 – Why did they mourn at the threshingfloor of Atad? I thought they were going to Mamre. The Hebrew is goren haAtad and it means ‘field or threshingfloor of thorns.’ A few weeks ago, we talked about Yoseph’s wife, Asenath, and that she may have been Dinah’s daughter by Shechem, and that if that were the case, her name means ‘under a thorn (specifically, blackberry) bush.” Might there be a connection? Chumash has an interesting bit of tradition that says the kings of Cana’an and the princes of Ishmael massed against the retinue to prevent the burial, but when they saw Yoseph’s royal Egyptian crown hanging on the coffin (possibly a duplicate of Paroh’s), they hung their own crowns on it in tribute to Yisrael. All the crowns, supposedly 36 total, made the coffin look like a field surrounded by thorns of gold, which is what gave the area its name, goren haAtad

But it looks like they may have had more than one shiva, because they left Atad to go to Mamre for the actual burial. They continued their mourning during this journey, I think, because the Cana’ani who witnessed the shiva called the place Avayl Mitzraim, the mourning of Egypt. That Yoseph’s crown may have been a duplicate of Paroh’s comes to my mind because of this designation. The Cana’ani may have thought this was Paroh himself, who IS Egypt, and so called the place Egypt Mourns. I don’t know if it’s the same in the other services, though I suspect it is, but in the Navy, when a commanding officer steps aboard or leaves a Navy command (and not just his own), he is introduced as his entire command, “USS Enterprise, arriving”, or, “VP-64, departing”. In a legal sense, it is true. The commanding officer is like a king in his command – it all belongs to him and he is responsible for everything that happens there, which is why a CO is relieved when the junior ensign runs his ship aground while the CO is asleep in his stateroom. The CO is the sole living being aboard his ship, in a legal sense. Noone but the CO may use red ink in his pen, signifying that his blood gives life to the command. He is, in a sense, a ‘corporation sole’. The Cana’ani may have thought that Yoseph was Paroh and his mourning would be the same as the entire nation of Egypt mourning. 

The 12 boys carried Yisrael’s coffin into the land, the Chumash says perhaps all the way to Mamre – Machpelah, which is a plausible inference. There is nothing in the text that contradicts that, though I think it is probably a flight of fancy. Goren haAtad/Avayl Mitzraim was on the east side of Yarden. The crossing point would be around Yericho. The 12 would have to carry the coffin about 35 miles across the mountains of Yehudah, which is possible, but not likely. However, B’nei Yisrael DID carry his body OUT of the galut, exile, and into haAretz, signifying to me that chol Yisrael shall be saved (Rom.11.26). It is predestined. Q&C

Vv.15-21 – After Ya’acov’s body was buried, the 10 brothers became fearful that Yoseph would take retribution for the way they’d done him. They went from perhaps he will to he certainly will without taking a breath. They STILL felt guilty after these nearly 40 years. Now, that is guilt over one’s actions. Yoseph had assured them at least twice that he held no animosity towards them, but, were it they, they couldn’t imagine not holding a grudge over similar treatment. So they made up a story about Ya’acov commanding Yoseph to treat them mercifully. It seems that their attitude cut him to the quick. He had been their ruler for over 17 years and had never given any inkling of his hatred or despite of them, but had always maintained that he acknowledged the goodness of Yah towards them and chol Yisrael being revealed through his personal bondage in Egypt. It was not they, but Elohim who’d sent him to Egypt to preserve not only their lives but also those of every person who’d come to buy grain from Paroh. So he forgave them again and they seemed to get it this time. 

Isn’t that kind of how we are when we confess a sin to Yah? When we’ve confessed our sin and turned away from it, Yah has promised to forgive it or them. But we have a hard time forgiving ourselves sometimes. And other times, haSatan reminds us of those sins that were already forgiven. Yah does not rescind his forgiveness. When he forgives our sins, he puts them in the depths of the sea and as far from us as east is from west. HE isn’t holding them over us like the Sword of Damocles. He has removed them from us. If we sin again, even after the same kind, when we confess it and repent of it, he forgives it again and removes it from us. He is faithful to fulfill his promises to us,

18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from Yah: 19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 Yah’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 New every morning: great thy faithfulness. 24 Yah my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 Yah good unto them that wait for him, to the soul seeketh him. 26 Good that should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yah. (Lam.3.18-26)

If we’d only get it.

On pp.315-16, Schottenstein’s Chumash has a couple of interesting traditions and one very true observation to share for the prefatory notes on vv.15-21.

Yoseph stayed in Egypt until he was 110 years old, and died there. If he was 40 when Ya’acov and sons came to dwell in Goshen and Ya’acov died 17 years later, he was 57 when he buried his father and reconciled (again) with all his brethren. So, they lived in Goshen with Yoseph the viceroy for 53 more years. And they were uneventful years compared to the 22 before. Was there perfect harmony? It’s doubtful, but there was no major battle to deal with and no major rift in the family. Just before he died, Yoseph called his 11 brothers to him and made them make the same promise they’d made to Yisrael – “Don’t let my bones remain in Egypt when Yah remembers you and delivers you from here.” Yoseph wants his bones laid to rest in haAretz, not the world. This foreshadows the deliverance of Ephraim from the galut, like his father’s. The brothers promised him, and 150 or so years later Moshe kept that promise to Yoseph. So, as Yeshua went into the ground for a certain amount of time (3 days and 3 nights) to be resurrected and removed from spiritual Egypt, so did Yoseph in literal Egypt (until the end of the 430 years).

When Torah reiterates itself in successive words, that is a promise that can be put in the bank and accrue interest. What Yoseph told his brothers was pakor yiph’kor, Yah ‘will remember remember you’. That’s like Yeshua saying, “Me’od me’od amri atechem”,“Verily, verily I say unto you!” It’s Yah’s Truth! Bank on it! If that’s not enough, Yoseph reiterates the same reiteration in the very next verse, “Pakor yiphkor Elohim atechem”. Elohim will surely remember you. 

After that promise the traditional appendage to the books of Moshe is especially proper and salient:

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit’chazak!

Be Strong! Be Strong and be Strengthened!

Next week, we start the book Shemoth/Exodus. Q&C

YeshaYahu 43.2 – In YirmeYahu 30.11 we see this:

11 For I am with thee, saith Yah, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. [YirmeYahu 30.11]

YirmeYahu is speaking, in context, specifically to Yah’s servant Ya’acov. This is he to whom Rav Sha’ul referred in Rom.9.6, “They are not all Yisrael who are of Israel.” (I make the distinction between those who are merely born physically into Israel and those who are grafted in spiritually to the commonwealth of Yisrael by the addition of the ‘Y’.) In Mashiyach, we are all one, all engrafted to the commonwealth – Jew/Gentile, male/female, bond/free. The deciding factor is this – In whom do I place my trust? On whose Name do I call for deliverance? YirmeYahu is speaking to those who are after Avinu’s heart and who call on his Name for deliverance. 

Our individual deliverance may be through the fire, but what does YeshaYahu say about that?

43.1 But now thus saith Yah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am Yah Elohechem, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Those of us who are ‘called by his Name’ and whose name he calls; we are his. He will protect us THROUGH the troubles to come, as he protected AzarYahu, Mishael and ChananYahu through Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘burning fiery furnace’. (Wow! do you think that thing was HOT? That’s one of the most emphatic statements scripture presents us – he doesn’t just repeat himself, but repeats himself twice – 3 references to the heat of the thing.) As hot as it was, those 3 were joined by a 4th person whom Nebuchadnezzar saw with his own beady little eyes and on whom he commented. And when they came out of the furnace absolutely unhurt, unsinged and without any smell of smoke on them, Nebuchadnezzar knew that he was wicked and prideful and acknowledged that there was no god like Elohim – a giant step in the right direction, but not quite there yet. (That’s the subject of another midrash.)

But Nebby knew that it was Yah who went through the fire with them and who kept them through it because their trust was in him even if they had to die by the heathen’s hand. This is something we’d better all get our minds and hearts around, for the time is short. We will have to go through the fire, whether literally or figuratively, and may have to pay with our lives, but Yah has promised to be there with us every step of the way if we will but trust him and walk in his Way, regardless the cost to ourselves. Q&C

Psalm 40 – Do you suppose the haftarah was chosen to go with the Psalm today? Yah has delivered us from exile, having brought us up out of a miry pit. In order to bring us out, he must be in it with us, other wise he would take us out or remove us by some other means. He established my goings, but have I gone his way on the path he established for me to follow? Or am I wandering around in a layer of the onion? 

The onion can be seen as an allegory of the Kingdom of Elohim. Our path is our own; no 2 paths can possibly be absolutely identical to any other because we all start at a different place based on our life experiences to that point. That’s why the gate is strait and the way is narrow that leads to life eternal. It is wide enough for only one person. Each person’s gate is the same; trust in Yah’s salvation/deliverance, but it is at a different place on the surface of the onion for each individual. The target at which we aim is the center of the onion, Yah himself and to be echad with him. As long as we keep our eyes on the target we will head like an arrow directly towards it right across multiple layers of, and growing in knowledge of, the Truth. But if we take our eyes off target, even for just a second, we can get off the narrow path and that’s when we can find ourselves wandering in a ‘layer of the onion’. If we can just turn away from what is distracting us and put our eyes back on the target, we will once again move straight towards the mark of the high calling of Yah – echad with and in him.

When he brings us through the trials without harm, the new song he places in our hearts will come forth from our lips and will be cause of rejoicing in some and a cause of fear in others. But he will gain the glory in it all, and many will trust in Yah’s Name. The lies that many turn aside to are disguised as denominational ‘doctrinal statements’; ‘traditions of men’ used as fences to keep people too far from Yah’s instructions to break them – or keep them. But the truth is that Yah’s wonders towards us are too numerous to list.

He doesn’t delight in the death of any of his creatures. Death was not in his perfect will. It became necessary to show us the seriousness of our transgressions. His will is not the death of the sinner or of the animal used as a substitute. His will is to have his Torah written on our hearts and ever before us in our minds. David was a partaker of the Brit Chadashah centuries before YirmeYahu revealed it as such in 31.31-34, for Moshe had mentioned it in De.30:

10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Yah Elohecha, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of Torah, and if thou turn unto Yah Elohecha with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

When Torah is truly written on our hearts, it is never hidden there, for it exudes from us as obedience to it. When his Torah is written on our hearts, we walk in it (and we look like fruit-loops to other people). 

Do you see in v.11 that positional righteousness has always been key to life in Ruach. It is HIS mercy, HIS grace and HIS truth that has always preserved us, not our own works of Torah. When we are compassed about with the wicked, THAT is especially the time we need to keep our eyes on the target and not on our circumstances. We need to trust him to bring us through, as he has promised over and over again that he would. Take your eyes off your circumstances and put them back on the prize, as Rav Sha’ul says in Phil.3:

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but one thing, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Mashiyach Yeshua.

Yah’s high calling for us is to be echad with him. I can think of no higher calling. We get that prize by walking in his Way and helping our brethren walk in his Way, as well. Take your eyes off yourself and put them on him. Serve him in service to others. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are great in both olam hazeh and olam haba. Q&C

What follows is from my work, The Life of Yeshua haMashiyach – a Messianic Perspective. 

Yochanan 19.39-20.9 – 240). Yeshua buried, (Mat.27.59-61, Mk.15.46-47, Lk.23.53, Jn.19.39-42, 1Cor.15.4)  – Yoseph asked for the body of Yeshua. Arimathea is called Ramah in Hebrew. Ramah = high, or high place. 4 cities were called Ramah, and all were places of pagan worship, so Ramah/Arimathea was originally a place of pagan high places that Yisrael was supposed to destroy in Yehoshua’s time. In 1Sam.1, 19, there is mention of Ramathaim in Ephraim, the birthplace of Samuel. In Mat.2.18 there is reference to Jer. 31.15. The Ramah spoken of there is often associated with Arimathea, as well. Yoseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linen. Clean linen always to my knowledge signifies purity and righteousness in scripture. Linen was not your normal burial cloth.

From Easton’s Bible dictionary we get this: 

“Heb. Sadin, fine linen. From this Hebrew word we get the greek word sindon, rendered linen in Mat.27.59…” 

Sadan סדן , ‘to retard by covering’ is likely the root of the word ‘satin’, as well. Yoseph wrapped him in the finest cloth he could afford, and because of his position, he could afford almost anything.

The fact that he owned a rock-hewn burial chamber speaks to Yoseph’s wealth. After laying Yeshua’s body to rest, he rolled a great stone into the opening to keep predators of every kind, both human and animal, out. The stone would probably have weighed a couple of tons, and was unlikely to be removed by any less than 4 large men + 2 small boys.

If the garden tomb is the actual tomb, the rock was placed into a depression in the rock floor and was therefore VERY difficult to roll out of the way. Two Miriams saw where the body was laid for the purpose of returning after the weekly Shabbat to anoint the body properly for burial.

243/244). Women came to the grave to anoint the body, find the tomb empty (Mat.28.1-7, Mk16.1-5, Lk.24.1-2, Jn.20.1-2) – There are some seeming discrepancies between the accounts. Matthew seems to say that when the Marys came out on the evening after the Sabbath the stone was already rolled away, while Mark and Luke tell us that it was early in the morning when they found the stone rolled away. The events of Mat.28.2-7 could have taken place the morning after the events of v.1, or the earthquake might have made them return home before doing a thorough investigation of it’s damage to the sepulcher, or it may have gotten too dark by then to actually see much. I am merely attempting to harmonize the accounts with that last, not make excuses or explain the seeming discrepancies away. The scripture is true, and if we see a discrepancy it is in our own minds. Of that we can be absolutely certain. 

But these accounts do not each have every detail. We must put them together to arrive at the whole truth that we are supposed to understand.

Mat.28.1 seems clear that Mary went out on the evening after sundown (as the first day was ‘dawning’- see section 241b), but before it was ‘dead dark.’ Mark lets us know that the following morning Mary Magdalene was expecting to have trouble with the stone. So there must be a sequential gap between Mat.28.1 and 28.5. Mary went to ‘see’ the sepulchre in the evening (possibly to be sure of the location), and to anoint Yeshua ‘very early’ the following morning, ‘when it was yet dark’. It was then that they couldn’t HELP but notice the stone already rolled away.

In Mat’s account the angel sat on the stone, while in Mark’s he is sitting on the right side of the INSIDE of the tomb. This is another allusion to this being THE angel of Yah, or Yeshua, who is described as Yah’s right hand, 

Ex.15:6, “Thy right hand, Yah, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, Yah, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.”

Ex.15:11-12, “Who is like unto thee, Yah, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? [12] Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.”

Ps.17:7, “Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

Ps.44:3, “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

The angel told them to go and tell the disciples that Yeshua was risen from death, was going before them into Galilee, and that he would meet them there.

Yochanan 20.3-9 – So Mary Magdalene ran to tell the brethren and came to Kefa and Yochanan and said that some “they” had taken Yeshua’s body away and that she had no clue as to where. That was shortly after sundown and the end of Shabbat. I think this makes it clear that there was a time lapse or gap between Matt.28.1 and 28.2, and that the scouting mission of the previous evening had been successful. The earthquake [Matt.28.2] was likely happening before sunrise the morning after, while it was yet dark [Jn.20.1 – this is the end of the Matt. 28 time lapse, just as the earthquake occurred], as they approached the tomb. It was then that they saw the tomb opened for all to see, not the evening before. Then there is a time lapse or gap between Jn.20.2 and 20.3, just enough time for the women to tell the talmidim that the stone is taken away and the master gone [Matt.28.2-8]. The ‘keepers’ of Matt.28.4 were the Roman guards [Hebrew shamar = guard or keep], who prove to me that if you are in the presence of an angelic manifestation and are NOT frightened for your life, you are just too stupid to breathe. The angel told the women to not be afraid [notice they gave no such encouragement to the ‘guards’], but to go as quickly as they can to the talmidim and tell them what they’d seen. They ran to the talmidim to tell what they’d seen and this brings us to Yochanan 20.3 [and Matt.28.2ff, where Mary describes the scene and her encounter with the angel]. Yochanan ran faster than Kefa [or had a head-start] and got to the tomb first, but waited for Kefa to enter before he followed. When they saw the linen grave-clothes and the handkerchief folded neatly and set aside separately, Yochanan believed that Yeshua was indeed risen from death. I’m not so sure Kefa had the same realization. Notice that Kefa is conspicuous by his absence in the rest of the chapter. We don’t see Kefa again until ch.21, when he seems to have given up on being a talmid and went back to his trade, along with his partners, b‘nei Zevedi. Q&C

Yochanan 21.12-19 – The talmidim went fishing and had caught nothing – bupkus. They saw a man on the shore who asked them how the fishing was, and they said “Fishing!? What fishing?! There have to BE fish for you to go fishing?” So the man said ‘drop your nets on the right side’ and when they did, BOOM! 153 large fish, so many and so large that they were amazed the nets didn’t break, and they needed help getting back in to shore without sinking. Yochanan, perceptive guy he was, said, “It’s the Master.” When Shimon shema’d that it was the Master (there’s a word play you won’t see in the greek), he swam ashore and found a fire burning and fish already cooking (representing the guys in the boat and drawing the catch in to land) on the coals (going through the fire[?]). Yeshua told Kefa to bring more fish to fry. The number ‘153’ is the gematria for Betzalel, the master artisan of the Mishkan in the wilderness. It is also the gematria for B’nei Elohim (154 nations) less 1 (Yehudah, who was NOT divorced for her adultery – Jer.3.8 – and therefore NOT a part of those drawn from the sea) = 153 gentile nations into which 10-Israel had been scattered. The picture is that once Yisrael was drawn out of the sea (the world system) like the prodigal son, they would be re-joined to Yehudah and made into the likeness of Elohim and a Tabernacle of Yah on earth. 

Kefa is the focus of this whole chapter. It’s his boat, these are his friends and partners he’s fishing with and he left them to finish bringing the catch in – he was in charge. Yeshua used this opportunity to bring Kefa to repentance. Yeshua had appeared to them in their hiding place on the evening following his resurrection, but Thomas wasn’t there and would not believe they’d seen him. As I said earlier, Kefa may not have been there, either. Then the next week Thomas (eight days speaks of new beginnings for Thomas) was there and Yeshua taught him a lesson on faith after which Thomas made the one clear, unequivocal statement of Yeshua’s deity, “My Master and my Elohim”. Kefa had been the one who returned to his trade, and led others away from their mission. Kefa needed to be dealt with. The conventional wisdom may be correct (for a change), and the episode may have to do with driving the point of Kefa’s triple denial of Yeshua home to him, so that he would repent and turn back to his service as a fisher of men. It was Kefa’s call (and all the rest, too) to abandon his profession (his own ways) and get on with his commission (Yah’s Way). 

3 times Yeshua asked Kefa if he loved him. Twice Peter equivocated. The first 2 times, Yeshua asked, “agapas me pleion toutown”, “Do you love me more than (you love) these” (referring to the other talmidim, I think)? Kefa’s answer is interesting, “Yes, Master. “Su oidas hoti philow de”, “you know (have an idea that) I like you.” Yeshua commanded him, “Tend my lambs for me.” Now, the talmidim had all been trained to be sheepdogs, not sheep, so the point is not to lead the talmidim, but to teach and direct the newfound sheep of Yisrael as he calls them out from the nations and back to Avinu’s house. Then Yeshua asked him a 2nd time, “agapas me” – “do you love me?” No comparison to the other talmidim. Again, Kefa answers equivocally, “Yes, Master. You know I like you.” This time, Yeshua commanded him to “Tend my sheep for me.” The lambs are now sheep, mature adults or, at least, young adults. The 3rd time Yeshua asked, he changed his love reference, as if he was asking Kefa if he even liked him, “Phileis me – Do you [really] like me?” I think the change of verbiage from agape to phileo, as if questioning Kefa’s veracity, was what cut Kefa to the quick. The difference in his answer is in the word translated ‘know’. Oidas means an idea. Kefa had said, “You have an idea that I like you.” Yeshua had been asking if he loved from the heart – agape. Kefa had said he had a sentimental love for Yeshua – phileo. Now, Yeshua had asked if Kefa felt even a sentimental love. I think that cut Kefa to the quick. And his answer changed as well. He said, “Master, su ginoskeis hoti philow se” – “You KNOW (by experience) that I like you!” This is MUCH less equivocal. He still won’t go to agape – his memory of recent days won’t let him go there, yet. But he reminded Yeshua of the demonstrations of his fealty over the last few years. And Yeshua commanded him to “Tend my ewes.” We see the progression of the new gentile converts from pagans to his Bride in the words Yeshua used to describe us; 1) lambs = children/new believers who had just entered the outer courts of the Temple precincts, 2) sheep = young men/ready to accept duties in the inner court for service to Yah, and 3) ewes = the Bride/ready to enter the inner court of Yah. And Kefa is to bring the gentile nations into each phase of this transformation, as 153 fish caught by the dragnet and brought through the fire. I think the fire of the time of Ya’acov’s trouble is the crucible that will separate the lambs from the sheep and the sheep from the ewes – the little children from the young men from the fathers. 1Jn.2.

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of Eloha abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. [1Jn.2.11-15]


End of Shabbat Bible Study

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