Shabbat Bible Study for 8Apr2023
©2023 Fulfilling Torah Ministries and Mark Pitrone
Shemoth 13.1-20 – YeshaYahu 46.3 – Tehellim 50 – Ivrit 8.6-9.1, 13-15
Shemoth 13.1-13 – Our entire portion for today took place at Succoth. Yah declared that the firstborn of man and beast are his, and that Yisrael must sanctify them to him. In ch.12 we saw that he meant it, because Egypt had not set apart their firstborn to him and he took them, because it is a principle of Torah – the firstborn are his. That Egypt did not know this is not His fault, but theirs, since they had the children of Yisrael among them for at least 150 years, and Yoseph, who was arguably the most righteous of the tzadikim until Yeshua appeared 1500 years later, for at least 90 years. The information was available to them, but, instead of setting the 1stborn apart to Yah, they WORSHIPPED them. The plagues were, after all, against the Elohims of Egypt, and I think it may well be that Yah acted on those Elohims from the least to the greatest, ending (in next week’s midrash) with the only firstborn NOT taken in the judgment of the firstborn, Paroh himself. Although Yisrael is Yah’s special possession, Egypt is also very special to him:
19 In that day shall there be an altar to Yah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Yah. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto Yah Tsavaoth in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto Yah because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. 21 And Yah shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Yah in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto Yah, and perform. 22 And Yah shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal: and they shall return to Yah, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. 23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: 25 Whom Yah of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. (YeshaYahu 19.19-25)
In vv.3-10, Yah had Moshe tell Yisrael to remember this day, to set it apart to him and to tell of this day to their children forever. And he told them a general outline of HOW to do it: In the first month of spring (aviv), with unleavened bread for 7 days, no leaven in our homes, tell the children of the deliverance by Yah’s strong right hand and outstretched arm. All the ‘4 questions’ asked by the children during the traditional seder are derived from ch.12 and 13. V.8 specifically tells us to tell our sons, so even the child who doesn’t know needs to be told of Yah’s deliverance for Yisrael. Because Yah brought us out with a strong hand and a stretched out arm, we are to remember these things to our children so that they will know who they are and why we do these things.
Vv.11ff speak of the future day when we enter the land that Yah had promised Avraham, and how we will set apart our firstborn (בכר bachor), the first issue of the womb (פטר peter). The first issue means the woman’s firstborn, not necessarily the man’s. A man could have a bachor by one woman, but have fathered children by more than one woman – witness Avraham and Yacov. It is the first male issue of the woman who is set-apart to Yah by the offering. Reuven was Yacov’s firstborn (בכר) and first issue (פטר), and also Leah’s, but it was Rachel’s bachor and pitayr, Yoseph, who’s sons, Ephraim and Menashe, received Yacov’s firstborn blessing. Confused? That’s what happens when a man has more than one wife. And Yah is NOT the author of confusion; haSatan is. When Ya’acov went into the tent after his first marriage, he thought he was going in unto Rachel – he didn’t know that Lavan had substituted Leah for Rachel. Although Yoseph was 7 or 8 years younger than Reuven, he was the one Ya’acov treated as his bachor – and that ticked off all his elder sibs, as we saw about 5-6 months ago [Gen.37].
This command is pretty simple, the first male child of Hebrew women is to be set apart to Yah as the firstborn. If a woman has no male offspring, then her first child is her firstborn, as we will see when we get to Num.27.1-8, where the daughters of Zelophehad were afraid that their father would have no inheritance in Yisrael.
The first issue of one’s livestock was also to be set apart to Yah. If the firstborn of a donkey was NOT going to be redeemed with a lamb as prescribed, its neck was to be broken. Stone’s Tanakh says that the back of its neck is to be ‘axed’, which I can only assume means to sever its spine. Why is the firstborn male donkey, an unclean animal, to be set apart to Yah? It’s the only unclean animal that was to be set apart. The Chumash’s note on pg.86 is salient, though not complete.
The donkey is the only non-kosher animal with a firstborn status. Sforno (v.14) explains that the donkey is a reminder of the Exodus, because the Egyptians were so insistent upon Israel’s immediate departure that there was no time for them to obtain enough wagons for their considerable possessions. Therefore, everything had to be loaded onto donkeys. Normally, they could never have borne so many heavy burdens; that they did so was another miracle of the Exodus, hence the special treatment of donkeys.
R’Hirsch comments that donkeys are symbolic of material possessions. By commanding us to redeem them for a sheep – the animal that, by its use as the Pesach offrering made Israel God’s servant – Torah shows us that all material possessions must bew dedicated to His service. If we make acquisition our goaland personal; aggrandizement the purpose of pour wealth, we will lose it, even as the recalcitrant owner of the donkey lost it if he refused to redeem it as God commanded.
The recalcitrant owner must kill the donkey with an axe blow to the back of the head (Becharos 13a). Because he denied the Kohen the gift that was due him, he suffers the loss of his donkey (Rashi).
I think this is also a foreshadowing of the donkey that would serve Yoseph, Miryam and Yeshua in the whole trip from Natzreth to BethLechem and then from BethLechem to Egypt, and presumably from Egypt back to Natzreth. So when the owner of the first issue donkey would not redeem it with a lamb (foreshadowing Yeshua, the clean for the unclean) he would have to dispatch it. Q&C
Vv.14-15 seems to be the wicked son’s question at the seder and the proper response to it. The command in v.16 is the repetition of the same idea from v.9, where the purpose of the commandment is given, as well – that the Word of Yah be ever in our minds so we may continually do them. The tefillin are a visible reminder to do this. And we ARE commanded to remember to do these things – to tell the story to our children daily, so that they will remember to do the commandments of Yah who brought us out of Egypt with a strong right hand and a stretched out arm.
V.18-20 – Yah purposed to NOT have Yisrael go by way of the Plishtim (Philistine), because he knew the Plishtim’s Edomite character long before their nation’s name was changed politically in the 1960’s to Palestinian. The word Palestine appears ONE time in Joel.3.4. The Hebrew word is פלשת Pleshet, which EVERYWHERE else is translated Philistia. There is no mention of Palestinians, but lots of Philistines. And in every mention of ‘the Philistine’ even when it specifically does NOT refer to Goliath, it refers to a close relative of his. Philistines/Palestinians are those who defy Yah, Elohim of Israel who uses the spiritual AND physical seed of Avraham, beginning with Avraham himself to produce positive societal good. Yah knew very well that, as easy as was the way of return along what WILL become the “King’s Highway”, if Yisrael saw the kind of warfare the Plishtim would wage on them so soon after coming out of Egypt they’d have just turned and gone back. They needed to see a LOT more of Yah’s provision and see his protection and strengthening in battle before they would have the metal to deal with the lone hyena-like battle tactics of the Plishtim, progenitors of the honor-less Palestinians.
So, Yah took them by the wilderness to Migdol on the Red Sea, via Etham, which is at the entrance to the Wadi that ends after traveling through a sheer walled canyon for over 75km and empties on the flood plain of Nuweiba. There is a map of the Sinai Peninsula at http://www.geographicguide.com/africa-maps/sinai.htm [still works as of 3/19/20]. If I were wanting to go this way, I would have left (referring to that map) Succoth (present day ‘Ismaila’) and taken the route of the highway east about 60 clicks to the area marked “Mamaar al Khutmlyah, then struck ESE to Etham (present day Ath Thamad), and then through the snaking wadi and canyon to the flood plain at Nuweiba. Here’s a short cut and paste from the Wiki article on Nuweiba;
It’s suggested that this town marks the location of the Crossing of the Red Sea in Biblical times. Nuweiba is short for Nuwayba’al Muzayyinah in Arabic, which means “waters of Moses open”.
The proximity of the Arabian mountain Jabal al Lawz, which is the only area in the mountains of Arabia where the top of the mountain is BLACK, presumably by fire and being ‘on a smoke’ (Ex.19.18), as well as the Rock at Rephidim being on that side of the crossing site between it and Jabal al Lawz (www.splitrockresearch.org), argues very well for Nuweiba as the crossing site. If you hadn’t noticed, I think this was the crossing site. Michael Rood put out a video 12-13 years ago about the scientific team led by Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden that went to Nuweiba and filmed the floor of the Red sea between Nuweiba and the opposite Saudi coast and showed that it is littered with coral encrusted chariot axels and one gold 4-spoke chariot wheel that was recovered and taken to the Cairo Museum, where an Egyptian Egyptologist took one look and declared it to be Paroh’s chariot wheel of the dynasty in power at the Exodus. INTERESTING!
V.19-20 – So Moshe took the bones of Yoseph to be buried at Shechem, where everyone knows his bones lie to this day, or the Edomite Plishtim wouldn’t be desecrating it almost weekly. They took the trip out of Succoth and walked non-stop to Etham, where they camped. As long as the pillar of fire or cloud moved before them, they walked behind it, and Yah led them, and presumably strengthened them for the walk, all the way to Etham. I figure that to have been about a 3 day journey, and I think they camped for 2 nights and moved out for another 3 day almost non-stop walk to Nuweiba, where they gathered on the beach waiting for Paroh to AL-L-L-most catch up. We’ll see the crossing next week. Bookmark the map because I think we’ll be using it again, next week and if not, you’ll have it to refer to.. Q&C
YeshaYahu 46.3 – Yah is about to give physical birth to the nation of Israel, and show it in the Red Sea crossing where Israel will be born of water, as Yeshua said to Nicodemus (Yochanan 3.3-13):
3 Yeshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Yeshua answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and Ruach haKodesh, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Ruach is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of Ruach. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Yeshua answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the Son of man which is in heaven.
The earthly thing that Yeshua is pointing to is the parting of the Red Sea, where Yisrael passed through the birth canal and was born of water. In a few weeks we’ll see Yisrael born of the Spirit on Shavuoth. Q&C
Ps.50.1-6 – El Elohim Yah has called the entire earth – everyone – to repentance and Torah observance. Truly many are called, but few are chosen. Those who have been chosen are Yisrael [Rom.9.6 – they are not ALL Yisrael who are of Israel]. But as prophecy of the end of days, vv.1-3 talk of when Mashiyach comes and calls the ‘lost’ of the tribes of Israel from the 4 corners of the earth and from one end of heaven to the other. He will do so from Tzion, the city of the Great King, Mashiyach ben David. When he comes, he will bring judgment in righteousness unto the earth and he will NOT be quiet about it. Ultimately, vv.1-3 speak of the final feast of Sukkoth at the end of the Millennial Kingdom reign of Mashiyach, when only a very few of the called out assembly of the earth come up to Jerusalem for the feast. All the rest of the earth ALSO comes up, but not for the Feast. They come up to usurp Mashiyach’s throne for haSatan and to make the Adversary king. “A fire shall devour before him” as in Rev.20.7-10,
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog u’Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from Elohim out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
He will bring both heaven and earth to witness against the usurpers. Yah calls to the heavens from above, showing that he transcends his creation – he isn’t a part of his creation, though he is immanent to it (and us). Once the judgment has been decreed and the sentence carried out, once the wicked have been devoured by the fire of his indignation, he will call to himself his called out and chosen people which is after his own heart. He gathers his saints to himself. He defines saints as “those who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice.”
Yeshua offered our sin sacrifice for us and mediated our covenant with Avinu. Making covenant by sacrifice may have to do with what will transpire against believers in the end of days, the coming days of Ya’acov’s trouble. We may literally have to sacrifice, perhaps our children or grandchildren to not deny our Mashiyach. We need to take this decision NOW, while we have the ability to NOT take a decision based on emotion and sentiment, AND while we have a few weeks and months to affirm the decision we take and are able to let our loved ones know that we HAVE taken the decision to NOT DENY our SAVIOUR before men. If we wait until then to take the decision, we will likely choose unwisely.
Avinu’s righteousness is declared by and from his heavens – his Creation! He has made it clear that only he can judge in righteousness, because it is he who defines righteousness and is truly righteous in all his Ways and Works. Stop now, and consider that. Q&C
Vv.7-15 – In vv.7-9, the Sukkoth theme continues. His people, the saints who came up to worship their King at his Feast, will be judged as well. He will point out that our sacrifices and offerings have been done with the wrong motives – they have been literally OUR sacrifices. I think it will be by the end of the millennium some will be bringing their offerings they were intended to bring, but as atonement for sins. Or perhaps Yah’s plan is to end the animal sacrifice system altogether long before the Kingdom Age is over, but his people don’t get it and continue their sacrifices by rote, much as the Levitical priests did in the latter days of the Yehudi kingdom. There are prescribed times and sacrifices at all the Feasts, for bulls, rams, goats, and lambs. Perhaps the saints are bringing their offerings out of order, for in v.9 Yah says he won’t take a bull or a goat from us (does that mean he won’t accept the offering?). Bulls and goats are legitimate minchah offerings to be made at Sukkoth, but they are also sin and trespass offerings for atonement on Yom Kippur. He specifically speaks of bullock (singular) and goats, which is Yom Kippur language – the bull is the atonement for the priest and the goat for Yah is the blood sacrifice for the people’s sins, while the goat for Azazel is the scape-goat on whom the sins of the nation are carried into the wilderness, never to return. In Yeshua’s once for all offering he fulfilled both metaphors as the Pesach Lamb of redemption, which could be either a sheep or a goat, and the Yom Kippur goat of Atonement at one time in one offering. He was the Son of Yah and the goat of atonement, while Barabbas, the son of his father, haSatan, represented the goat for Azazel that was released to carry our sins away from us. I think it’s interesting that Pilate represented the high priest for both offerings, examining and declaring Yeshua without fault and offering the choice of the Son of Elohim or the son of haSatan, and releasing the representation of the scapegoat.
During Sukkoth there are a total of 70 bullocks offered over the 7 days of the Feast, 13 on day one, diminishing to 7 on day 7: 70 bullocks – one for each nation of the earth. These are prescribed, but by the end of the 1st Temple period, the priests had seen so much blood that they had become inured to it and it didn’t affect their emotions any more. They were literally going through the motions without appreciating the solemnity or the import of each offering. To those priests, it was almost murder. Yah will not take a bullock or a goat from us for atonement, for that IS murder, since his Son has made atonement once for all men with his own blood. What does he need our offerings for anyway? He owns the cattle of the whole earth. All the birds and wild animals are his and he knows them all. He doesn’t need to come to us for food or drink, so our offerings are just that – OUR OFFERINGS – not his. He doesn’t need the flesh or blood to satisfy his hunger or thirst, as the pagan gods do. Of course, the pagan gods don’t actually hunger or thirst physically, either. Their hunger and thirst is for the acts of worship from men, the desensitizing bloodshed and senseless death. For them, the higher the order of life, the better they like it. That’s why human sacrifice/abortion are their favorite offerings.
After Yeshua’s once for all atoning sacrifice was accomplished, Yah wanted nothing whatever to do with atoning sacrifice – and that is what the ENTIRE book of Hebrews is attempting to convey to the believing priests who were actually thinking of going back to offering the atonement of the bull and goats under the Edomite false Levitical/Aharonic system. In v.14, in a Mark paraphrase, Yah said, “I want your thanksgiving: not your atonement.” In v.15 he told us, “When you give thanks and then call on me in your need, I will delight to deliver you and receive your thanks for my glory.” Q&C
Vv.16-23 – Yah takes 6 verses to tell those who will NOT follow him what he has in store for them. They refuse his Word; want nothing to do with it (16). They hate to be instructed in his righteousness and despise his Word so much that they just toss it back-wards over their shoulders and out of their sight (17). The wicked see thieves and seem OK with what they do, which speaks of the political thieves who rule the world and expect to be obeyed because of their position – not because they are anything like righteous and doing what is actually best for the people (18-19). V.20 speaks of those who sow discord among brethren (Prov.6.16-19). Because Yah doesn’t strike them dead on the spot for their sins, they think that he is impotent or just not interested (Deist), if he even exists.
Nothing is further from the truth, of course. What he is, really, is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance (2Pe.3.9). If anyone hearing this thinks that Yah is as worthless as you are, you have another thing coming. He is giving you a chance to repent and to turn from your way to his Way. But his patience is wearing thin – he will not suffer us and our disdain for him much longer. You will be horrified because we were so blinded by our pride when his judgment finally comes. V.22 tells you who despise him to consider yourself. Are you the one he’s been talking to? If you don’t repent, you will be torn to pieces by his condemnation and the execution of his justice. There will be noone to help you. But if you offer him your praise by giving him glory, he will deliver you to his salvation in his Kingdom. Order your steps. Repent. Turn away from your own ways and start walking in His Way by obeying his Torah. Q&C
Hebrews 8.6-9.1, 13-15 – Rather involved intro, get ready – Remember when reading Hebrews that the audience is Hebrew and are familiar with a lot of concepts that the church doesn’t care to touch, being ‘mystical’ in their nature. The whole book to this point is the context. Everything has been showing that Yeshua is better than everything his people have relied upon since creation, like the whole of creation has been a type and shadow of Mashiyach and his Shekinah. In ch. 1’s thesis he is simply better: better than the prophets, better than the angelic messengers of Yah, better than the kings of Israel, better than the Levitical/Aharonic priesthood. Ch.2 speaks of the concept of Metatron, the Master of the angelic hosts, Master even of the archangels, Lucifer, Michael and Gavriel, and it seems to say Metatron became flesh in 2.16. From the Yashanet website’s Revelation Study background info, www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev2a.htm
“Metatron is given the following two definitions:
* The chief of the Chieftains, the power charged with the sustenance of mankind
* The head of the “world of creation,” called also the “servant” or the “body” of the Shekinah
As seen in the citations below, Metatron also bears a great likeness to Yeshua in that:
* The heavenly Temple is His
* He is compared to Joshua and to God
* He teaches Jews the mysteries of the Torah
* He performs an atoning work for Israel”
Sha’ul makes reference to Yeshua’s high priesthood in every chapter. In ch.3, he is better than Moshe, whom the rabbis call Rabbeinu – our Rebbi. In ch.4, as Master of the Shabbat, he offers a better Shabbat rest. In ch.5, he is likened to Melchizedek, and where Paul is taking us begins to solidify. Ch.6 speaks of a better hope and ends with the beginning of the comparison of Aharon to Melchizedek, which is amplified in ch.7, where we see the immediate context of our passage for today – the order of Melchizedek.
6.19 speaks of ‘entering into that which is within the veil’, which, unless it speaks of the Presence of Yah, can only mean the Ark of the Covenant because there is nothing else behind the veil. On the ark was the mercy seat on which our hope lies – the blood of Mashiyach for the removal of our sins. Yeshua entered behind the veil as ‘a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek’.
I think, based on 2Pe.2.5, that Noach was the 8th in the Melchizedek order;
And spared not the old world, but saved Noach the eighth [person, a] preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (II Peter 2:5)
In that verse, the word ‘person’ is added by the translators and, since there is no indefinite article in Greek or Hebrew, ‘a’ is added as well. So I think that should read, “…saved Noach, the eighth preacher of righteousness, …” If I am correct, that would make Shem the 9th in the order of Melchizedek, Avraham the 10th and Ya’acov the 11th, who, in his blessings on his children, divided the order among his most righteous (tzadik) sons, who were also the most natural leaders (Melech), in the manner in which each was best suited. He conferred the Melech of chol Yisrael, the scepter, on Yehudah and the Tzadik on Yoseph, the righteous Branch, whose son Ephraim would become the king of the secular nation of Israel after the division of the United Kingdom of David and Shlomo. There has been a rabbinic belief for literally thousands of years that there would be 2 ‘Saviour Messiahs’: Mashiyach ben Yoseph, who would suffer as only a tzadik can for his brethren, and Mashiyach ben David, who would rule over them in righteousness. There are also Rabbis who believe that ONE Mashiyach will come, first to suffer for Yisrael [ben Yoseph], only to be resurrected from death and then to become [ben David] King of the World. What the rabbis didn’t see, possibly due to their knowledge of their perspective and the dual nature of Mashiyach, was that there would be ONE Mashiyach who would reunite the Melchizedek priesthood and be both Tzadik High Priest and Melech King. When Yeshua rose from death, he became the 12th Melchizedek, the Royal High Priest, and the number 12 in scripture speaks of governmental perfection. Perhaps Ya’acov foresaw the decline in righteousness of his line after his sons’ generation and separated the order until One came who was righteous enough AND had enough authority to reunite the order: Yeshua ha Mashiyach, son of Yoseph, son of David, Son of Elohim.
All of ch.7 is a comparison of the two orders. Since Yeshua is demonstrably a son of David and a son of Yehudah, he doesn’t qualify as a Levitical priest and could not be an earthly priest in the 1st or 2nd Temples. It was the laws of the Aharonic priesthood that pertained to the atonement for sins that were disannulled (7.18). In disannulling these laws in his flesh, Yeshua haMashiyach gave us a better hope and a better covenant, based on better promises. 7.28 says that the law that made men high priests was ‘disannulled’ by the oath of the ‘forever’ MelchiZedek High Priesthood of Yeshua, who in 8.6 ordains a more excellent (better) ministry than that of Aharon. It is this better ministry that will be the subject of the next 2½ chapters of Hebrews. End of the Hebrews portion intro. Q&C
8.6-13 – I am going to replace the italicized words of Heb.8&9 with my OWN understanding of what belongs there, of which we have already spoken at some length. Changing the words added by the translators does NOT change the scripture. Follow along in the text and see that of which I speak.
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first priesthood had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them [the priests], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith Yah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Yehudah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith Yah. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisrael after those days, saith Yah; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them Elohim, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yah: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new priesthood, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. 9.1 Then verily the first priesthood had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary… 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Mashiyach, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to Elohim, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the renewed [Sinai] covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
The ‘better ministry’ is the main point. The ‘better promises and covenant’ are sub-points to it. Vv.7-8 speak of something that came first, but doesn’t specify what it is. The grammar and context tell me that what is better is the priesthood and the ministry of it – only having to offer the sacrifice ONCE for ALL men of all TIME is a big indicator that it is better than the one that had to be done daily. If Aharon’s priesthood and offerings had been ‘all that AND a bag of chips’, they would not have needed to be superceded by the Melchizedek order. V.8 says Yah found fault with them, not it, so the problem is not with the covenant. “They” are the priests and the temporary laws for atonement that governed them in the tabernacle and Temples made with hands. The renewed covenant is itself IDENTICAL to the original. The only difference is that on which the covenant is written – fleshy tables of the heart, not rigid tables of stone.
The first covenant’s weakness lay in the stone on which it was written. The stone on which the words were carved is represented by the ‘peshat’ level of understanding. While the peshat cannot be violated, there are (at least) 3 other levels of understanding that can be seen, if we are open to seeing them. The CC’d heart of flesh can more easily see these other levels than can the unCC’d heart of stone. The Renewed Covenant has exactly the same words, but they will be written in our hearts and minds by the finger of Elohim, as were the words etched into the stone on Horeb. The spiritual nature of the ‘deeper’ understandings of Torah is impossible for the unCC’d heart of stone to see, because it can’t see past the surface of the stone. When we were born again of the Spirit of Yah, he quickened our spirits and softened our stony hearts into (still fallen) hearts of flesh, which CAN see more deeply now than the surface of the page IF we open ourselves to the Spirit of Yah’s leading. We can partake of the Renewed Covenant right now.
But please notice that the Renewed Covenant is not in full force until ‘after those days’ (v.10). In prophecy, ‘those days’ usually means ‘the Time of Ya’acov’s trouble’, which means that ‘AFTER those days’ speaks to the Millennium and the eternal ages beyond. We are NOT in the fullness of the Renewed Covenant today, largely because we are still tied to ‘the body of this death’, as Paul described at the end of Romans 7. The hearts that will be able to experience the fullness of the Renewed Covenant will be the ones in our resurrected bodies, ones that will be like those of Adam and Chava, when;
Beloved, now are we the sons of Elohim, and (kai – can be xlated as ‘but’) it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)
Resurrection-speak. We are able to partake of the Renewed Covenant in the here and now, but will not know its fullness until the Kingdom. We will KNOW it then
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (I Corinthians 13:12)
V.12 says that our sins and iniquities will not be remembered, taken by the scapegoat as far from us as the east is from the west, from one end of the heavens to the other and as having had a millstone tied to them and thrown into the depths of the sea;
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)
V.13 ices the fact of the priesthood being that which waxes old for me, since this was written within 5 years or so of the destruction of the Temple. I think Paul knew that it would last no longer than it did, because the Temple was destroyed before the end of the 40th year after Yeshua’s death, 40 being the number of probation and testing, and if they passed the 40th year without repentance of the murder of bullocks and goats and acceptance of Yeshua’s once for all men for all time offering, they would have failed the test. So I see the destruction of the Temple was the outworking of Yah’s mercy and grace. The priesthood of Aharon DID vanish away when the Temple was destroyed. Q&C
9.1 – The first priesthood had ordinances of service and a sanctuary in which to perform those ordinances. Yah’s part of the Sinai Covenant was to make Israel a Kingdom of Priests with one high Priest. It was Israel that failed, not the covenant, so Yah set up the Levitical priesthood to administer the Covenant and be the go-between from the people to Yah and from Yah to the people. The Renewed Covenant re-establishes the original Covenant based on the superiority (better) of the human agent – Yeshua – and his ability to keep our end of the deal. So, when we are ‘in Mashiyach’ we are made partakers of the Renewed covenant ‘in him.’
Vv.13-15 – The blood of bullocks and goats and the water of the Red Heifer cleansed our flesh enough to approach the altar to offer sacrifices. How much more will the blood of Mashiyach cleanse our spirits as well as our flesh? How much more will it purge our consciences? A ‘testament’ specifies an inheritance conferred by the testator to the testate. A Covenant specifies the conditions by which the testate receives the inheritance. The Covenant written on tables of stone was made effective by the blood of mortal animals and was, therefore, transitory. Trusting therein made the inheritance transitory – miss an atoning sacrifice:lose the inheritance. But the Renewed Covenant was made effective by the blood of Yah Yeshua haMashiyach, who is both perfect and eternal and whose blood is both perfect and permanent. Trusting in and relying on THAT blood atonement provides us with an eternal inheritance.
The blood of bullocks and goats did nothing toward purging our consciences – we still FELT guilty, even though we KNOW that the ‘cleansing flood’ of Yeshua’s blood washes our confessed and repented sins away. Under the sacrificial system, our inheritance was only effective for one year – until the next Yom Kippur atonement. Since this was the only sacrifice they could see, they placed their reliance and trust on it, rather than the perfect sacrifice that it prefigured. And this is where the priests to whom Paul is writing were considering reverting to! The point of the ENTIRE book of Hebrews is to convince them to keep trusting and relying on the blood of Yah Yeshua haMashiyach and not trample it underfoot by offering the blood of bulls and goats as atonement.
Avraham had told them at the Akeida that Yah would provide himself a Lamb, which was then foreshadowed in the ram caught by his horns in the thicket of thorns. We need to have faith like Avraham and Yitzhak in the true Lamb of Elohim, who is the source of our eternal inheritance. There can be no inheritance without the death of the testator who bestows the inheritance. The Lamb of Elohim paid the Redemption price, which we remember with the ‘cup of redemption’ at every Pesach Seder. The transgression we are redeemed from is the one in Ex.32 that caused the need for the Levitical priesthood, as Paul said in Gal.3.19, which also speaks of the Levitical priesthood and the appertaining laws for atonement;
19 Wherefore then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
This ‘law’ was not ‘ordained’ by Yah as was the Covenant, but added as a cover until the seed came to purchase our redemption in his own blood. Here is what he has always actually thought of the animal sacrifices for atonement, from YirmeYahu 7.21-24;
21 Thus saith Yah Tzavaoth, Elohim l’Yisrael; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be Elohechem, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels, in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
What we need to do is to walk forward and not backward
“… toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Mashiyach Yeshua.” (Philippians 3:14)
End of Shabbat Bible Study