August 29, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study

August 29, 2015 ShabbatBible Study

©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

Aug. 29, 2015 – Year 3  Sabbath 24

Devarim 2:1 – 3:22 – YeshaYahu 1:1-27 – Tehellim 121 – Romiyah 9:1-33


Devarim 2:1 – 3:22 –  Ch.1 ends with “we dwelt in Kadesh many days”, which the sages say actually added up to 19 years +. KJV adds the word ‘there’, which gives a different meaning to an ambiguous statement. The rabbis also make an assumption. Schottenstein’s Tanakh reads, “You dwelt in Kadesh many days, as many days as you dwelt.” The rabbis assume that to mean that they spent ½ of the 38+ years at Kadesh and the other ½ in the other 27 camps they pitched in (Kadesh, called Rithmah in Num.33, was their 14th camp after they left Rameses). Well, 19+ years IS many days, so it’s possible. 

Vv.1-7 – Moshe now goes to describing a few highlights of their journeys from Kadesh to their 41st encampment (42nd, if you count their departure point at Rameses, where they ‘encamped’ in Egyptian exile for about 100 years or so). V.3 has Yehovah commanding Moshe to turn Israel ‘northward’, but their first move is toward the south to compass the land of Edom, which they were specifically told to NOT challenge or fight. They were even told to pay them for anything they used during their travels, whether food or water. V.3 is telling us that our general direction from Kadesh was northward, since the END of our journeying would be at the camp on the east bank of Yarden, over against Yericho, and our 42nd move would be into haAretz (HalleluYah!). We were to pay for all that we used in brother Esav’s land because of all the physical blessings Yehovah had bestowed on us in our travels to this point, beginning with the gifts of the Egyptians to us as we left. 

When he says that we had lacked nothing during the entire Wilderness Adventure, he means that literally. All those times when b’nei Israel had murmured against Yehovah and Moshe were a result of our sight-walk perceptions and not the ultimate reality of our situation. Yehovah had it in hand the whole time, regardless our inability to see it. He has it all in hand now, regardless our inability to see it. Yehovah SHALL deliver on his promises to us. HE has the situation well in hand. If we stay faithful to him, we will see him fulfill his Word to us, because HE is faithful. Chumash’ prefatory notes to vv.1-7 (pp.13-14) is instructive in this regard.

Vv.8-12 – The ‘way of the plain’ (KJV) is Arabah in Hebrew (H6160) and it refers to the rift valley south of the Dead Sea towards Elath on the north shore of the Gulf of Aqaba ( We also skirted Moavite territory because Yehovah had given Ar (Arabah?) to the sons of Lot for an inheritance. Moav had come to the Arabah and found it inhabited by ‘R’phaiym’ (giants), like the Anakim, which Edom called Emim. We’ll see in v.20 that Ammon called them Zamzumim. So, I think this is saying that the Rephaim is the Hebrew word from which KJV translates ‘giants’, while the Stone’s English text translates Anakim as ‘giants’, and that all the different people’s called these giants different things, but I think all referred to descendants of the Nephilim (genetically modified ‘trans-humans’ IM[not so]HO) of Gen.6. When Esav came to the Arabah and its surrounding highlands, they defeated the Horites (namesakes of Mount Hor?) and lived there by right of conquest, as Israel did in the former lands of Og of Bashan and Sihon of Ammon. 

After telling Moshe that Esav and Moav were in their lands by right of conquest and by gift of Yehovah, he told them to pick up and move over Brook Zered and into Amorite occupied Moavite territory. I think that this parsha shows us that the Amorites were a confederacy of Bashan and Gilead, because THAT is the land Yehovah gave to Reuven, Gad and ½ Menashe. The Amorites had obviously taken land that Yehovah had promised to Moav and/or Ammon by force. Since this was ultimately territory promised to the sons of Lot, Israel did not have to ask Amorite permission to cross it, and since Amor had taken it from Moav or Ammon, there was no need to ask them for permission to cross it, either, because they no longer controlled it. We’ll see that when Israel got to river Arnon, Moshe asked the Ammonites permission to cross their rightful land. Ammon lived there by right of conquest from the Zamzummim (the Ammonite word for Rephaim) and as a gift from Yehovah as a son of righteous Lot.

The space of time it took Yehovah to lead them from Kadesh Barnea until the day they crossed brook Zered was 38 years in which all the men of war who chose to believe the lying eyes of the 10 tourists died, save the 2 mighty men of valor, Yehoshua and Kalev. 

Vv.26-37 – A map of the area of the Sihon campaign can be seen at When they got to river Arnon, near Kedemoth, Moshe sent embassage to Sihon in Heshbon to ask permission to cross the land. He offered exactly the same to Amor as he had to Edom – shalom and a good trade partner. But Amor refused what Edom accepted and came out to attack Israel. That was a very big mistake. Yehovah wiped them out in much the same way as he will Gog uMagog at the end of the Millennial Kingdom – without Israelite casualty of any kind. Yehovah said that Amor would fall before Israel in short order, and it did. When Sihon came against them, Israel just waded in and wiped them out, every inhabitant of the nation that came out against them. Israel took all the land north of the River Arnon and left the land between Arnon and Zered, which was Ammon’s territory. 

3.1- – Cf. for a good map of Bashan and Gilead. Og was a giant – a Rephe (Hebrew root = rapha, translated ‘giant’ in Schottenstein’s Tanakh). Some sages say that Moshe was afraid of Og (cf. Chumash note to v.1 on pg.21. Num.21.33, like v.2, has Yehovah telling Moshe to not fear Og, which doesn’t necessarily mean that Moshe actually feared him. I don’t think he did). They conquered every city of Bashan – 60 walled and defended cities, as well as enough unwalled cities and villages that they didn’t bother counting them – and wiped out Og and every human being in them. This helps to explain Reuven, Gad and ½ Menashe wanting to leave their women and children on the east bank and its adjoining hills to keep the cities and villages from becoming wild again while they helped to take haAretz from its Canaanite inhabitants. It took a LONG time to take the land. It took Kalev almost 5 years to subdue Yehudah’s inheritance. 

V.11 says that Og was the last survivor of the Rephaim, giants. The note in the Chumash has Amraphel saying that Og was the last of the ante-Diluvian Nephilim. Amraphel thinks Og hung onto the side of the Ark to survive the flood, which we can see in the movie, “Noah”, which is a really bad movie, not that it is not biblical, which it is, but that it is just not a good movie. I say “bullsh-shtuff”, but that’s how a lot of rabbis think. Of course, that means that there were actually 9 people carried through the flood by the ark, not 8. It IS convenient to explain how Anakim and other giants came through the deluge, but it also means that Yehovah failed to do what he said he would do, which is to destroy the whole race except Noach and his sons and all their wives. We know that there were at least 5 giants until David’s day, Goliath and his brothers and sons, but Og was the last of the Rephaim. Goliath wasn’t anywhere NEAR as large as Og, whose bedstead was 9 cubits by 4 cubits according to HIS size, not just any guy’s (according to Schottenstein’s Tanakh). If he were 9 cubits tall, the bed had to be at LEAST 15-16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide. The man was truly monstrous. Remember that the end of days will see stuff very similar to what Noach saw. I think we’ll be seeing Nephilim, genetically altered organisms like those described in Genesis, before long (if we aren’t seeing them already – case in point, LeBron James, Yo, or Dennis Rodman).

The land on the east side of Yarden that Reuven, Gad and ½ Menashe took their inheritances from was from River Arnon to Mount Hermon and from Yarden to the desert in the east. Bashan was given to Jair the son of Menashe, who called it Bashanhavothjair, meaning Yair’s encampments or villages. The rest of Gilead was given to Machir, son of Menashe. Reuven and Gad were given the valley from River Yabbok to River Arnon for their inheritance. The women and children of these tribes would inhabit, put in order and tend these inheritances while their men of war went to assist their brothers in the conquest of their inheritances. 

Moshe then admonished Yehoshua to lead b’nei Israel in the fight and to not be afraid because Yehovah would be fighting for them. Please note that Moshe used the same phrase that Yehovah had used with Moshe in Num.21.33. I seriously doubt that Yehoshua, who had led Israel in every Yah-sanctioned battle since the Amalekites tried to steal their water supply at Rephidim – without a drop of Israelite blood spilt, I might add – was afraid any more than Moshe was of Og. It was not an acknowledgement of his emotional state, but an encouragement to remember that Yehovah was in this fight and there was no reason to be anything but confident of the outcome. Q&C

YeshaYahu 1:1-27 – The first word of Yehovah from YeshaYahu to Israel is one of chastisement for her rebellion and a call to teshuvah. He says (Mark paraphrase), “Even a brute like an ox knows who his Master is. Why do you not consider who Yehovah is and all he’s done for you throughout your history as a nation?” YeshaYahu is bringing warning to Israel that the cup of Yehovah’s wrath is about to fill up against her. He’s fought for her, delivered her from bondage, forgiven her sins, healed her of them again and again, but the more he forgives her the more she turns to her own ways. His patience is wearing thin. I can generally get a couple of years of wear out of a pair of denim jeans, but eventually the knees wear thin and I tear out of them. It is a lot like that with Yehovah and us. As we patch the knees of our jeans, so he applies balm and wipes away tears of remorse. But eventually we get to expect his gracious provision for our sins as our due and not as his gracious bounty towards us, and we take his forgiveness for granted. But Yehovah is not stupid. He knows our hearts better that we, and our ½-hearted repentance is not good enough to ensure his whole-hearted forgiveness. He wants our hearts, not our words. And he sends us reminders that we need to make teshuvah. The quicker we get it, the quicker we get back on the main track. The longer we ignore the hints, the further out on the spur we get and the more severe the hints have to be before we awaken to our plight. And I say plight in the ultimate sense, because it will take longer to get back to the main track, the more distractions there will be along the way, and the more likely we will turn back to our own ways. By the time Yehovah called out YeshaYahu, we were way out on the spur, with many years of habitual sin to overcome to get back to the main line. 

There was at least 1 backsliding and 1 revival in Jerusalem during YeshaYahu’s years of ministry. AzarYahu/UzziYahu did right in the eyes of Yehovah (2Ki.15.2). His son, Yotham, also was a righteous king (2Ki.15.34), though the people offered incense to other elohim. Yotham’s son, Ahaz, on the other hand was a wicked king, who went the way of the people – a populist – and made his son to ‘pass through the fire’ to Molech, and burnt incense to Ba’al and other pagan elohim (2Ki.16.3-4). His son, ChizkiYahu, led a major revival and was instrumental in the defeat of Assyria’s Sennacharib when his general Rabshakeh had Jerusalem under siege and sent a letter to ChizkiYahu. 

Is.1.7-9 seem to describe exactly that time in Israel’s history, in a severely sinful lifestyle, under siege by Assyria’s army and in need of deliverance from her bondage to sin. The humility of the king before Yehovah, his own teshuvah and prayer for Yerushalayim and Yehudah were the things Yehovah needed to see and hear from the king. When he received and read the letter, ChizkiYahu took it into the Temple and opened it for Yehovah to see, saying that Yehovah had to preserve his own Name and his people. Yehovah answered the king’s humility by wiping out the Assyrian army without spilling a drop of Yehudean blood so that the 185,000 troops “arose … dead corpses.”

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of Yehovah went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. (II Kings 19:35)

I know the dead corpses didn’t wake to find themselves dead, but using strict English grammar that IS the way it reads. The backsliding of the people under Yotham and subsequently of king Ahaz, had to have been widespread, as even the revivals in the reigns of ChizkiYahu and YoshiYahu did not overcome it. Yehudah really started its rapid move to the side tracks and social decline from Torah during the reign of Ahaz. And the teshuvah of the righteous kings did not filter down as rapidly as the decline into idolatry had filtered up (quite possibly for political reasons). When Ahaz saw the political hay he could make quickly with wickedness, he went ‘whole hog’ into it himself. Grassroots movements, sustained in their original purpose, can work wonders in a short time and then continue for generations, as happened in the united States of America. Top-down movements take longer to germinate. 

V.10 is addressed to Sodom and Gomorrah, but these cities are NOT who he means. He has likened his people in Yerushalayim to Sodom and Yehudah to Gomorrah in v.9. The very small remnant has spared the entire nation to this point. This is how Yehovah works. He will spare a multitude for the sake of just a few, as he would have done for the actual Sodom and Gomorrah, had there been any there besides Lot who were righteous. He was willing even to spare Lot’s daughter’s husbands if they’d been willing to consider that the old man was not NUTZ! 

The time is coming, in fact in some places it now is, that you will be thought nutz if you warn people of impending judgment from Yehovah. I’m not really worried about it, since most folks think I’m nutz anyway, but if you can’t deal with ostracism and contempt things will not be easy for you. 

In 2006, some FauxNEWS reporters that were taken by Hamas and released after 2 weeks in captivity. I heard that they had renounced their religions and submitted to Allah for their captors. Had they not done so, they ran the risk of being beheaded, like Daniel Pearl was (Dan might actually BE the saint the media portrayed him as). I’m beginning to think that Moshe Koniuchowski and Rico Cortes may be correct about the end time beast being Islam, since their favorite form of death to the infidel is beheading. Look at Rev.6.9 and 20.4:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (Rev. 6:9) 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4)  

I believe these describe the same group of people. Eddie has told us that there are 3 groups vying for control of the NWO, the west (NATO), the east (Russia/China) and Islam. I recently heard that Iran is backing the insurgency in Iraq because the Ayatollah is convinced that there will be ‘One Caliphate’ that will stretch from the Pacific to the Atlantic with Iraq as its center and, I presume, Babylon as its capital. Q&C

The people had continued in their sacrifices, but their hearts were like those of Sodom and Gomorrah, fulfilling the lusts of their hearts, not the Torah of Yehovah. 

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight. [9] The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. (Proverbs 15:8-9)  

Our sacrifices, Our New Moons, Our solemn assemblies are all an abomination unto him, because we are doing them for our own reasons, or just by rote. He wants our hearts, not just our works. The sacrifices were set apart unto Yehovah, until the priest began to do them as a ritual and without a heart of repentance and the obedience that comes from it. Then, those sacrifices were just killing and the blood of those animals was on the priest’s hands. Isaiah knew the principle and applied it to Yehudah. Can we apply it to ourselves?  

Vv.16-19 are the heart of the passage today, and our link to the Torah portion. The generation of Yisrael that entered haAretz had hearts after Yehovah’s own heart. They personified vv.16-19. 

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (I LOVE that phrase – Mark), and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. [22] But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. [23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [24] For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [25] But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. [26] If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. [27] Pure religion and undefiled before Eloha and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Ya’acov 1:21-27)

That is Ya’acov’s description of a heart after that of Yehovah. Is yours like it? 

Vv.21-24 describe America of the 21st Cent. CE – Money that’s worthless, leaders on the take, judges who sell themselves and care nothing for justice, and legislators with the blood of innocent babies on their hands. 

There is good news, though. Vv.25-27 tell of our future redemption. Even though we did everything wrong, he will graciously give us the true desire of our hearts. The one who wants him will have him; the one who wants his own life and wealth will lose it. Hey, that sounds familiar!  Q&C

Tehellim 121 – A song of degrees is a Song of Ascent, one that was sung on the approach to Zion during the Feasts of ascension to bring the tithes and offerings. As we ascend to Jerusalem for the Feasts, we look toward the hills from which Messiah will enter the city, specifically, the Mount of Olives. Our help IS Yeshua haMoshiach, who made all there is by the Word of his mouth.

Notice the use of ‘keep’ (shamar). Yehovah is our keeper, our guardian. He will not sleep; he will not tire of his guarding us. 3x he keeps or guards us. 3x he preserves us. Preserve is from the same Hebrew root as keep – shamar. He keeps us 3 times, he preserves us three times, and he does it in the past and the present and the future. 

‘The sun shall not smite’ – speaks of the time of trouble, when the sun will scorch the heathen. By the miraculous working of Yehovah, we (assuming our faithfulness) will NOT be scorched by it, quite possibly while standing next to one of the unbelievers who will be in agony. HE will provide shade for us, while not providing it for the guy next to us. Do you suppose THAT might cause a little animosity? It is obvious to me that he will protect and guard us THOUGH the times of trouble to which YeshaYahu referred.

Eddie makes the point that the Psalms are all about exile and redemption. This is the first psalm I’ve seen that is not about exile and redemption. It only speaks of redemption and protection. Of course, it ASSUMES exile (trouble) from which we will be preserved.  Q&C

Romiyah 9:1-33 – Chapter 9 begins the rather extensive pericope (pronounced ‘peri-kopay’ – to cut around) on Israel, the physical descendants of Ya’acov that Paul set up in ch.8. 

A ‘pericope’ is a section of text from a book or document. It has been ‘cut around’ and identified as a literary unit. The Bible is made up of myriad literary units, or ‘pericopes’. 

An example of a pericope is Yochanan 7.53-8.12 – the woman taken in adultery. It seems to fit the narrative, but it illustrates the sin of the men and the relative righteousness of the woman compared to them. They are transgressing NUMEROUS Toroth. 

Now the focus is on Israel. He begins with those professing believers who are after the flesh (physical Israel, not believers in Y’hovah Yeshua) in ch.9 and ends with those who are truly after the Spirit (‘true’ Yisrael) in ch.11. 

Vv.1-5 – In vv.1-2 Sha’ul says that he is constantly ‘groaning’ in his heart (Rom.8.22, 23, 26) for all Israel, his brethren after the flesh. For they were promised the adoption that Paul spoke of in ch.8, but they kept after their own way (look these up – Is.56.11, Eze.22.31, Prov.1.23-33), instead of Avinu’s Way (these too – Pro.11.20, 13.6). They more closely followed the fences (traditions) than the Torah that the fences kept and keep them (and us) from. All that Y’hovah intended to give them they forsook for their traditions. But Y’hovah has NOT forsaken them any more than he forsakes us when we stray from the Way of Life. They were given the promises, the covenants of grace, the Torah to give them life and Peace (chayim v’Shalom), and he has not forsaken those promises. When they repent of their sins and fulfill their end of the ketubah (marriage contract) Y’hovah will repent of his condemnation of them and fulfill his end of the ketubah. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, so he will give them chayim v’Shalom. Everything that WE; Judah, Ephraim and Gentiles; have received for our trusting Y’hovah and his promises were first received by the patriarchs, prophets and people who trusted Him and his promises. There is NO DIFFERENCE between the fathers and us in Y’hovah’s eyes. Those who have gone after their own gods (traditions of men) as we had and repent as we have will also receive the adoption of sons. That promise was Yisrael’s in the first place, and we, only by Y’hovah’s grace, are partakers thereof. 

In v.3 we see that Sha’ul held no animosity towards those who were after his skin. They were trying to kill him, but he was praying for them and would have given up his own reward in order that they should have the veil removed from their eyes (11.25). 

Vv.6-7 – In v.6 we see that, as Sha’ul reveals 2 laws in ch.6-8, he also reveals 2 Israel’s – the Yisrael that is after the Spirit and the Israel that is after the flesh. I will attempt to distinguish the 2 by calling believing Yisrael, Yisrael. ‘They are not all Yisrael who are of Israel (6b)’. The Torah has done its dual job: it has taken its designed effect: it has condemned Israel and acquitted Yisrael. Sha’ul enters into a little parable (through v.13) to illustrate the truth he’s expounding. One’s being a physical son of Avraham does not deliver the promises to him. Avraham had 2 physical sons, Ishmael and Yitzhak; only one is the son of the promise. Yitzhak had 2 sons, Esav and Ya’acov; only one is the son of promise. It’s Yitzhak and Ya’acov through whom descended the promises to Yisrael. Ishmael/Esav represent the ‘minding of the flesh’ (8.6a) and its traditions – NOT the children of Elohim. Esav sold his birthright for a bowl of vegetable soup. It doesn’t get much more carnal than that. Yitzhak/Ya’acov represent the ‘minding of the Spirit’ (8.6b) and its Way, its Truth and its Life – the seed of Avraham and the adopted sons of Elohim. So we see that they who are after the flesh are of Israel, but they who are after the Spirit are Yisrael. Please keep that in mind for the rest of the book, as it is very important to understand ch.11.

Please also notice that ‘in Yitzhak shall thy seed be called’. Those who are called are those who have been predestinated and foreknown. The foreknowledge of God is a result of his attribute of eternity. He tells the end from the beginning because he IS at every point and place in history (past, present and future) at all times. His foreknowledge isn’t a general overview, but intimate and total because he IS everywhere and everywhen all at once. He knew before he placed history in motion who would have a heart to believe and these he predestined to his calling. Q&C

Vv.8-13 – The Israel who minds the flesh are NOT the children of God. The Yisrael who minds the Spirit are b’nei Elohim, the children of God. Elohim’s children are the children of the promise. Paul tells us what the promise is – that Sarah and Avraham, a barren 89-year old woman and her 99-year old husband will conceive and deliver a son. The original promise was given in Gen12.15, 17-19. Avraham believed with his mind, but not his heart at that time. His faith had no works (James 2.17). The first thing he did was to go down to Egypt and plead with this wife that she tell them that she was his sister and not his wife. He didn’t fully trust Y’hovah that through his barren wife he would have a son in whom the entire earth would be blessed. What made them children of Y’hovah was their eventual belief and trust in his power to deliver on his promise. They learned that their flesh could not do what Y’hovah had promised and that only Y’hovah’s Spirit could bring their greatest desire to fruition. 

The same can be said of Yitzhak and Rivkah, who waited 20 years to see the birth of their sons, Esav and Ya’acov. As with Ishmael and Yitzy, the elder brother is the child of the flesh and the younger is the child of the Spirit. The same can be seen in the parable of the prodigal son, in which the elder son (Yehuda) is after the flesh, but the younger son (Ephraim), after his initial descent into idolatrous debauchery, makes teshuvah – repentance – and returns to his Abba, expecting nothing in return, hoping to be allowed to return as a bond-servant. In the case of Esav and Ya’acov, they were separated from the womb, Ya’acov having been elect and called, while Esav was rejected by the determinate foreknowledge of Elohim. In each case it was predestined that the elder would be servant to the younger. The flesh must serve the Spirit of Elohim, or the spirit of man will serve the flesh.  

The saying Ya’acov have I loved, but Esav have I hated shows us that just being the physical seed of a patriarch doesn’t qualify us for election. By the same token, just being born of Esav doesn’t disqualify us for adoption unto life. Y’hovah looks on the heart. It is the heart of Ya’acov – which was to believe Y’hovah – that made him Avraham’s seed and what Y’hovah loved, not his birth to Yitzhak. And it was Esav’s heart – which was to feed his flesh – that disqualified him for adoption and what Elohim hates. It is the fleshly spirit of Esav that Elohim hates, not Esav himself. Likewise it is Ya’acov’s openness to the Spirit of Elohim that he loves. Y’hovah has made both types of heart come from one and the same father, so it is not unreasonable to think that any person COULD be a son of promise regardless his station or ancestry. Each will receive judgment for his own sins, but Yisrael will receive loving chastisement (5.18b, 19b), while Israel/Esav will receive just punishment (5.18a, 19a). The difference is in their hearts. Q&C

Vv.14-18 – Here we see the logical outworking of the 2 spirits. Hyper-Calvinists see the absolute sovereignty of Elohim here, which to them negates the free will of man. Nothing is further from the truth. Y’hovah does have absolute sovereignty, but that does not negate my responsibility to obey him. 

Is Elohim unrighteous to condemn sinners? WhatahNutz? He shows mercy to those sinners who will believe him, and wrath to those who will not. Pharaoh chose to not believe Y’hovah by a conscious act of his will and his pride (Ex.5.2). 

2 And Pharaoh said, Who is Y’hovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not Y’hovah, neither will I let Israel go.

Moses chose to believe Y’hovah by a conscious act of his will and his meekness. Pharaoh thought he was all that AND a bag of chips. Moshe knew he was dust in need of some living water so that he could be shaped into something useful. Pharaoh never got over his pride of position in the world, the very thing that was Sha’ul’s thorn in the flesh (7.7ff). When Y’hovah saw that he had a heart of stone and that Pharaoh would not allow him to replace it with one of flesh, he sent him more hardness – Y’hovah gives every man what he truly wants. A hard, stony heart (Mat.13 says that this is one that will not hear and heed the Word of Y’hovah. He says, “You want a hard heart? Well. HERE ya go!” as he did to Pharaoh). By the same token, those who call on Y’hovah’s Name for deliverance are redeemed through his mercy. We have to humble ourselves at least to the degree that we realize our impotence to save ourselves, and to call on him who can deliver us. 

Vv.19-24 – Here’s where the hyper-Calvinists go awry. They use this numbered sound-bite (v.22) out of its immediate and general context. The general context is the 2 hearts we’ve been discussing. The immediate context runs at least through v.22, where he tells us that Y’hovah is longsuffering toward the vessels of wrath. If we look into Yisrael’s history, we see that Avraham was given a promise and a prophecy in Gen.15. The promise was that his seed would be as the stars and the sand of the sea. The prophecy was that his seed would be 400 years before they could obtain the promise because ‘the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.’ He was enduring the ‘vessels of wrath’ until their cup was full (Rev.15&16).

Y’hovah’s will is that no flesh should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He shows his will in that he gave the Amorites 400 years to repent before he brought Yisrael to remove the Amorites from their land and to receive the promise Yah had made to Avraham. His will was to have the Amorites repent. He did not impose his will on them any more than he imposes his will on us. Y’hovah is sovereign, but he is not a bully. He gives us the choice to obey or not. He exercises his sovereignty in his mercy or hardening, and even his hardening is merciful.

The vessels of dishonour (v.21) are those whom Y’hovah, in his foreknowledge, knew would reject him, those who have the spirit of Esav and walk after the flesh. Notice that he endured their insolence and despite beyond any reasonable extent of patience, in the Amorite’s case (Gen.15) for 400 years (actually 430). His way of mercifully bringing judgment is gradual; first a hint, then a more urgent hint, then a warning, etc., until he finally just forsakes the object of his mercy (as the Amorites) and drives them from his sight or allows them to be wiped out entirely. When he judges a people, he uses another people as his vehicle. Israel drove out the Amorites; the Philistines badgered Israel for 450 years. Then Israel under David and Solomon conquered the known world and held the rest as tributaries until the people went after other gods (following their leaders, of course). Then Y’hovah exiled the 10 Ephraimite tribes to Assyria, followed by Judah’s 3 tribes going into exile in Babylon. When Judah repented and called on the Name of Y’hovah (in the person of Daniel haNavi – the prophet), he delivered them back into their land. And the cycle repeated itself. BTW, as had occurred in the Egyptian exodus, only about 10% of the people returned from captivity. The rest were, presumably, after the flesh.

Do you see his mercy in his patient, longsuffering endurance of their pride and willful disregard for his Word? Do you see his mercy in the fact that he hints, then cajoles, then warns with ever increasing severity to bring about repentance, not only in his people, but even in the heathen? Do you see his mercy in his willingness to forgive at the merest sincerity in turning toward him? Even in his wrath he shows mercy because he brings it quickly and with minimal suffering. Behold the goodness and severity of Elohim (11.22).

And what of us, who have softened our hearts towards him by our positive decision to obey him? He further softens them so that his Word can take root in the good, soft earth of our hearts and bring forth fruit to his glory. He gives us what we want. As he gave Pharaoh the hard heart he’d decided upon, so he will give us the soft heart of flesh that he can circumcise and hallow to himself when once we choose to obey him. Q&C

Vv.24-26 – Do you see how he juxtaposes all gentile believers in v.24 with the ten tribes in v.25? It’s there; you just need to go a little deeper into the scripture than what’s in the immediate context. You need to go from the peshat (literal) to the remez (hint, reference to Tanakh).

“…not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

That quote from Hosea is in Ch.1, which begins by specifying that he is speaking mainly to the House of Israel and not Judah. Y’hovah instructs Hosea to take a whore to his wife, to signify to the house of Israel that they have played the harlot and gone after other gods. For that reason, he allows Gomer to conceive 3 children, whose names are also symbols of how Y’hovah is going to deal with Israel. V.4 (blood of Yezreel) speaks of 2Ki.9.30ff, where Yehu rode into town and had Jezebel thrown down from the tower, where dogs licked up her blood as prophesied by EliYahu. Yehu instituted the revival of Y’hovah worship, after a fashion; i.e., Yerovoam’s mixed system of worship. His revival didn’t go far enough towards true Y’hovah worship. So Yah had Hosea call his 1st born son Yezreel to remind Israel about her spiritual shortcomings. Hosea was then told to name his daughter Lo-Ruchamah – “No mercy” due to Israel’s idolatry. Then he was told to name his son Lo-Ammi – “Not my People” due to Israel’s idolatry.  

The good news is in verses 10-11 of Hos.1, which is the hinted at reference.

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. 11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Yezreel.

Even though Israel is called “No Mercy” and “Not My People”, Y’hovah promises to enlarge their borders and numbers and to eventually rename them “The Sons of the Living God”. I think this is a reiteration of the promise made in Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim in Gen.48, where he uses the Hebrew phrase ‘melo hagoyim’ – multitude of nations, which Paul alluded to in his passage in this same section of Romans in 11.25,

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

So, what Sha’ul has done in vv.24-26 is identified gentile believers (v.24) with the people of Israel, who WERE Lo-Ruchamah and Lo-Ammi, but have NOW obtained mercy and ARE his people. He makes the same reference in Eph.2.11ff, “aliens” (grk. apollotrioo – estranged – like a divorced spouse), “far off”, etc. IOW, whether literally or spiritually/metaphorically, gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua ARE the descendants of the 10 tribes of Israel, according to Sha’ul. And Yeshua HAS fulfilled his mission to bring Ephraim to repentance and brought the 2 houses together in him.

Vv.27-29 – Paul then quotes Isaiah to show that a remnant of Yisrael would be saved, while the majority would not. Y’hovah called his seed, not for the purpose of excluding any from his Kingdom, but to make it available to all, Jew and Gentile, Judah and Ephraim. If not for the remnant the entire earth would be as Sodom and Gomorrah lo-o-ng before its time. Ecc.3 tells us that there is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven, and the time of earth’s destruction by fire is not yet. 1004 years from now, perhaps; but not yet. Remember the goodness and severity of Elohim? There’s another example of it. If not for Y’hovah’s gracious provision of a remnant, earth would have been a burnt out cinder [The Day the Earth Stood Still] long since.  

Vv.30-33 – What shall we say then? Sha’ul uses a Pharisaic rhetorical device to make his point that the Gentiles have obtained righteousness by faith in the same way that Avi, Yitzy and Jake did, not to mention all the rest of the ‘Heroes of the Faith’ (Heb.11). But they do not replace Israel. The fact that Israel has not ‘attained to righteousness’ does not negate the faith walk, which is based in Torah obedience. The reason Israel did not ‘attain’ to righteousness is the same reason noone ever can – righteousness comes by the faith of and in Yeshua. 

The way Israel tried to attain to righteousness was by ‘works of law’ (no definite article is ever attached to this phrase, which is only seen in Rom.9.32 and Gal.2.16, 3.2, 5&10), not by faith. Paul invented the term ‘works of law’. Works of Law has nothing to do with observing Torah. It has to do with what the Pharisees called the ‘Oral Torah’, the traditions of the rabbis. An excellent source for this is Galatians, by Avi ben Mordechai. He explains the 1st C. historical background that has come down to the rabbinic Jews in the Mishnah and Talmud. While they may be good commentaries (well, some is), they are not scripture. So they are not a source of Y’hovah’s instruction in righteousness. 

V.33 refers to Isaiah 8.14 and 28.16, 

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

16 Therefore thus saith Y’hovah GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone , a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Paul jumbles the 2 verses, lifting a phrase from one and inserting it in a re-ordered other where he changed a word and said, “he that believeth on him shall not be ashamed”, not exactly a direct quote. But this is a 1st C. Pharisaic rhetorical devise called midrash, juxtaposing one scripture with another, even making a change in verbiage to make the point. It is how arguments are made throughout the Mishnah and Talmud. Midrash was and is common practice in the synagogue. If we were to try this in the church we’d be given the left foot of fellowship, thrown out on our ears (or worse) and called heretics. Midrash assumes either that the listener has some training in rabbinic thought and a thoroughgoing knowledge of Tanakh, as the elder or rabbi of the synagogue in Rome would, or a rabbi who could explain the passage to those without the training. It’s the reason some teachers think that Hebrews should not be in the canon. It’s why Martin Luther thought James should be scrapped. They’re ‘too Jew-ey’. It’s also why so many in the church can’t seem to grasp that, even though we are unable to obey Torah 100%, it is still our standard and guide for right living before Y’hovah. Unlike the fool of Ps.14.1 and Rom.3.12, we believe there is a God, and that he has given us a guide to live by – his Torah. 

As to the change in verbiage, I think it has to do with the fact that whenever a patriarch ‘made haste’ or tried to hurry along Elohim’s plan by helping him out (Avi and Hagar, David and the ark, etc.), they were always ashamed. It is therefore a warning to the Romans to be patient with each other and not to get ahead of Elohim. We’ll see this developed in Rom.14. Q&C


End of Shabbat Bible Study.

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