April 2, 2016 Shabbat Bible Study
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Deut 34:1-12; Josh 1:1-18; Psalm 148-150; Matt 4:5-11
This is the final parshah of the Triennial Cycle. Next week we start over in B’reishith 1.1-2.3.
There will also be a new series of pages on FTM’s WordPress blog for the Shabbat Bible Study. For a while, it will be easier to find the week’s Study on the WordPress site. Ripper’s been kvetching about it for the better part of a year now.
Dev.34.1-4 – Because Moshe overstepped his bounds in the second Meribah rebellion, when he both STRUCK the rock and said, “Shall WE bring water out of the Rock?” (Num.20.10-11), Y’hovah forbad his entrance into the land of rest. But because he was faithful to Y’hovah all his days, he was allowed to see the whole land, AND all of the future history of it, as well. In v.2, he got to see the “unto the uttermost sea.” The Hebrew words that are x-lated there are ha’acharon hayam or ha’acharon hayom. The word acharon means hinder, late or last. From this I see that he was shown the future, for in Hebraic thought, the future is that which lay behind our backs which we can’t see (the past is said to be before our face because we have already seen it and can make reference to it in our experience). Hayam, by the change of a vowel point, can be hayom. Thus the “uttermost sea” COULD actually be the “uttermost day”. I believe we see the ‘pashat’ of the sea and the ‘sod’ of the future day here. So Moshe saw not only the whole land, but also all of Yisrael’s future by the grace of Y’hovah. Way cool.
Vv.5-7 – Moshe died on Pisgah and was buried by Y’hovah himself. How this was accomplished we aren’t told. Jude 9 tells us that haSatan disputed with the archangel Michael over the body of Moshe. This had to be after Moshe’s death and burial, for Michael is not Y’hovah, unless you are a JW.
Moshe’s eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated. This means he was a 120 year old 30 year old. He had spent a LOT of ‘time’ in ‘spiritual space’; the very presence of Y’hovah, outside of our time/space/matter universe, where I think he never aged. He never left the prime of his natural life, as we all will (or already have). This is the way it really ought to be with all of us, but our negligence in being salt and light in the world has allowed society to devolve to the state we see everyday on the evening news. Even we who seek Y’hovah’s face are deprived of spiritual nutrition, which can be seen by our need for physical nutrition. I think that our land has become so depleted of nutrients that it is no wonder that our bodies cry out for more fuel, even though we are full to the brim with so-called ‘food’. Obesity is directly related to the nutritional depletion of our food supply, and our bodies saying to us, “I know you just ate, but I’m still hungry! NUTRITION, not a full belly!” And that obesity leads to all manner of dis-ease and mental and physical breakdowns. I think it may also be directly related to our spiritual leanness of mind and heart, for an unhealthy mind cannot be conducive to spiritual health.
Vv.8-9 tell us that chol Yisrael mourned Moshe for 30 days, that Yehoshua was filled with Ruach haKodesh due to Moshe’s laying hands on him, and that b’nei Yisrael shema’d to Yehoshua’s voice as they had to Moshe’s to obey Y’hovah.
Vv.10-12 says that Y’hovah knew Moshe face to face. Now how can this be? We are told “no man hath seen Elohim at any time.” I think the 3 instances of this phrase, all in Brit Chadashah, are references to the face of Ayn Sof, whom truly no man has ever seen. But numerous people have seen Y’hovah face to face – Adam, Noach, Moshe, Yechezkel, Daniel and his buds, Rav Sha’ul and the other schlichim, to name but a few – all in the person of, I think, the resurrected Yeshua. And, until Yeshua walked the earth 1500 years in the future, there was no prophet like Moshe
13 Thou shalt be perfect with Y’hovah Elohecha. 14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, Y’hovah Elohecha hath not suffered thee so. 15 Y’hovah Elohecha will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of Y’hovah Elohecha in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Y’hovah Elohai, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And Y’hovah said unto me, They have well spoken which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require of him. (Devarim 18.13-19)
Yehoshua 1 – Turn the page. Y’hovah encourages and exhorts Yehoshua to stay faithful and to lead Yisrael into the land he’d promised to Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’acov. In this admonition is the command to be “strong and of good courage” 3 times in 4 verses. I imagine that the death of Moshe was a source of unease and discouragement to Yehoshua. But the appearance of Y’hovah to speak face to face with Yehoshua must have given the guy just a bit of a lift. And I would not be surprised that each admonition to courage was accompanied with another gracious bestowal of power from on high designed to move Yehoshua to action.
Y’hovah makes a prophetic promise as almost the 1st words out of his mouth to Yehoshua in v.3. He says that wherever they go baAretz, every piece of ground their feet shall tread upon, he has ALREADY given to them.
Yehoshua’s first recorded action after this gracious provision of power to do Y’hovah’s commandment is to make ready to move and also to remind the Yisraelites of Gilead of their promise to fight for the rest of the tribes on the windward side of Yarden. Gilead Yisrael responds with 2 conditions to their keeping their promise: 1). That Y’hovah be with Yehoshua as he was with Moshe and 2). That Yehoshua be strong and of good courage. Not only had Y’hovah, as Avinu, Mashiach and Ruach haKodesh admonished him to strength and courage, but so had his brethren from the leeward side of Yarden. Do you think Y’hovah was trying to tell him something? Cf.Dt.31.6, 7, 23. Q&C
Tehillim 148 – In the 14 verses of this psalm there are 14 overt references to HalleluYah’s. And there are 24 veiled references of as many created things and walks of life that bring praises to his Name. Don’t look now, but I think we are supposed to hallel the Name of Y’hovah.
Tehillim 149 – shows us that praises, joy, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments to him and thanksgiving are all the same when done unto Y’hovah. And our praises, etc. will help us to overcome the strength of the Adversary, if we go with the Word of Y’hovah (2 edged sword) in our hands and hearts. It is our honour to be the vessel of Y’hovah’s vengeance upon the heathen. There are 6 overt references to halleluYah’s in this Psalm, 6 more veiled references, as well as 5 ways that we will praise him by our actions in judgment in his Name.
Tehillim 150 – All the references to praise in this Psalm are overt – 13 in 6 verses. That’s a total of 33 overt hallels to Yah in 29 verses. That’s interesting – Yeshua was 33 years old in 29CE. Coincidence?
Our Torah portion today is a source of Hallel to Y’hovah, as Moshe is ushered into eternity by Y’hovah after Moshe had used his last words to give a blessing of exhortation to Yehoshua. Our haftarah today is a source of hallels to Y’hovah as he gives Yehoshua 3 exhortative blessings and the trans-Yarden tribes add their own exhortative blessing, as well. Am I sensing a pattern here? In the last … I’d say about 20 minutes … Yehoshua was blessed 7 times by at least 3 separate entities with an exhortation to strength and courage. Is there anything we can do in Y’hovah that is not a hallel to him? When we are doing his will, we are praising his Name, even when the words HalleluYah and Praise Y’hovah are not on our tongues. The songs of assent are loaded with songs of praise to him, and those songs of praise should be on our tongues; on and in our hearts all the time. I think that was probably the result of all that exhortation and blessing to Yehoshua. And it can be to us as well, if we have his attitude of service to Y’hovah. Q&C
Matithyahu 4.5-11 – Have you noticed the similarities and differences between the Torah and the Brit portions today? The difference is in who is showing the kingdom and the land and the similarity is in what is expected of the one being shown. Y’hovah showed Moshe not just the physical land of the there and then, but the spiritual reality of the here and now of which that physical was but a shadow. HaSatan showed Yeshua from Pisgah (? V.8) what he controlled and could legitimately offer – the mere physical. The offer paled in comparison to what Y’hovah Yeshua had shown Moshe. What haSatan failed to grasp is that it was this very man, Y’hovah in the flesh, who had made the offer to Moshe 1400 years before. He wanted from Yeshua what Yeshua had from Moshe, worship, service and obedience. Can you say, “FAT CHANCE?”
48). The temptation of Yeshua – Mat.4.1-11, Mark 1.12-13, Lk.4.1-13 (read them all) – In Mark, Yeshua is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, while in Matthew and Luke, he is led by the Spirit. The whole tone of Mark is different from the other gospels. He shows Yeshua as a tireless servant, having at times no time to eat, working miracle after miracle to prove the divinity claimed by the author in 1.1. Relative to the other gospels, it seems as if the author is just getting the preliminaries out of the way so he can get to his main point. The audience is probably Roman or gentile believers, who would not know the OT prophecies and for whom they would be superfluous. Mark does not refer to anything close to the number of prophecies that Luke, Matthew, or Yochanan do. He is trying to show the suffering Son of Elohim. As usual, any minor differences in the fine points of the narratives are matters of perspective of the author or of their intended audiences.
Luke and Matthew both mention the 40-day fast, Mark only that Yeshua was in the wilderness 40 days. All the writers say that he was tempted of Satan for the entire time, Matthew even says the temptation was the reason for his going there. The details are very similar in Matt and Luke. The third last temptation has to do with Yeshua’s hunger for food, his need to feed his body. First Satan questions Yeshua’s divinity, ‘If thou be the Son of Elohim’, as if he could get him with the same ploy with which he’d gotten Eve. Then he worked on physical weakness, or rather, was depending on it and the lust of the flesh to defeat the Elohim who’d created him. But, as anyone who’s fasted any length of time can tell you, the body may be weak, but the spirit and mind are sharp as a knife at that time. Yeshua answered him with the Word of Elohim, Deut. 8:3,
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every that proceedeth out of the mouth of Y’hovah doth man live.”
The lesson for us is obvious. When confronted with sin we should rely on the scriptures to pull us out. Rom.6 says we are dead to sin and alive to Mashiach. If we reckon ourselves dead to sin we will have an easy time defeating it in our lives. This battle is constant, because our evil inclination/sin nature is and will be still with us until the resurrection. But reckoning ourselves dead to sin must be done every time we are tempted to sin, and, I confess that I often forget this simple way to avoid sin. But Elohim has made provision for us in this as well. 1 Yochanan 2:1,
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua haMoshiach hatzadik:”
The next 2 temptations are given in opposite order in the accounts of Matthew and Luke. The details of the temptations are nearly identical, but the order is switched. Why? Look to the purpose for writing and the intended audiences.
Luke first goes to the mountaintop to show the kingdoms of the world, and he adds a detail that Matt leaves out. The gospel was written to a government official (perhaps the newly elevated Herodian High Priest?), ‘most excellent Theophilus’, and the appeal to power and glory would be more personal to him. Also Luke points out the fact that Satan is the prince of this world system in which Theo is a leader. Of course, being the Word of Elohim, Yeshua answers with … the word of Elohim – Deut. 10:20,
“Thou shalt fear Y’hovah thine Elohim; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.”
In order for us to be able to answer the temptations in our lives with the Word of Elohim, we must have it readily available. We can’t safely open a bible and search for a passage while driving on the road, or in any number of circumstances in which we may find ourselves. For this reason we must memorize scripture. It is not that difficult to do. We could try the 3X5 card with a passage written on it, kept in a pocket or on the visor of the car and work on that one until it is solid in memory. Then start another. In this way, it will not be difficult to memorize 1-2 passages a week. It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed into the image of Mashiach. Yeshua said that we speak what we think about. What kinds of words escape your mouth on a regular basis? Philip. 4:8,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things honest, whatsoever things just, whatsoever things pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatsoever things of good report; if any virtue, and if any praise, think on these things.”
The only real source for true, honest, just, pure, lovely things of good report that are virtuous and praiseworthy is the scripture. When you memorize, meditate; Selah; think about what you’re memorizing. Ask Elohim to illuminate your mind so that you can see what he wants you to see in that passage.
Matthew, on the other hand, goes directly to the pinnacle of the temple. He is writing to Jews to try to convince them that Yeshua is Mashiach. Satan here quotes a well known Messianic prophecy from Psalm 91:11-12,
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
Satan says, “Well, I know the scripture every bit as well as you, better in fact! If you’re the Mashiach, jump! Elohim has promised to protect you! Don’t you trust Him?” That was a Mark paraphrase, in case you didn’t know. Yeshua did not ‘fall’ for this one either (do you suppose that’s the source of that idiom?). He wanted Yeshua to misapply scripture, just like he wants, and often gets, us to do. But Yeshua knew the CONTEXT of the verse (Ps.91), and that Satan wrested it, as usual. The Psalm refers to how Elohim will protect us as we walk in him, but the main subject of the Psalm is Mashiach. Noone else fulfills the description of the one who completely trusts in Elohim. Yeshua wasn’t fooled for a minute, because he knew the scripture.
At times each of us realizes this kind of protection and guidance from Elohim. Though we are always under his wings, we do not always experience or feel the wonder of his providential protection. He has been protecting us all our lives, to bring us to this day and hour for his service. The better we understand this, the more humble we become. Elohim is my personal protection. No president, no king, no Mafia don has ever had security like we have in Mashiach. The Secret Service doesn’t know security like Elohim does. He keeps us because we walk with him. And we walk with him because he keeps us.
Did you notice what haSatan left out of the quote? “To keep thee in all thy ways” is prominent by its absence. What more proof do you need that Satan may know the scriptures, but not believe them? If he believed them he never would have tried using this passage against Yeshua. For it says, “in all thy ways.” Since Yeshua is the fulfillment of this verse there’s no way he’ll apply it improperly, for ALL his ways are kept, that is guarded, by Elohim. And so are ALL our ways guarded by Y’hovah in Mashiach Yeshua.
Satan’s next temptation in Matthew is designed to give the world over to the Mashiach out of due time. He offers the kingdoms of the world that have been promised to Yeshua, he just offers them a bit early. It’s as if haSatan is saying, “They’re going to be yours soon, anyway. Why not take them now?” Remember Avram and Sarai? Elohim promised that they would have a son, from whom would come a great nation, but they were both old and ‘well stricken in years’. So Abe and Sarai decide to help Elohim out by way of Hagar. Now you don’t suppose haSatan had anything to do with that, do you? Elohim is teaching the lesson of waiting on Y’hovah, and deferring gratification until his time. Yeshua is still waiting for the fulfillment of a bunch of prophecies – more, in fact, than were fulfilled during his life on earth. But he is waiting on the Father’s timing and not on his own, or in the case of this temptation, haSatan’s. You make the application to your own life. Q&C
End of Bible Study