January 11, 2014 Shabbat Bible Study
©2014 Mark Pitrone & Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Genesis 49:1-27 – Isaiah 43:2 – Psalm 40 – John 21:12-19
Gen.49.1 – Yisrael calls his sons to himself to bless them each according to his gifting and abilities. He uses an Hebraic play on words that I find interesting. There are 2 uses of the Hebrew word yiq’ra (St.#7121, 7122, root qara, to call) in v.1 that is spelled the same [except that the opening word has a vav prefix] and vowel pointed identically, but the first use is translated [and] he called and the second is translated will befall or happen. But why would a word spelled and vowel pointed identically have a different meaning when used in the same sentence? Especially when there is a word used elsewhere in scripture that is spelled differently, but pronounced exactly the same way (a homonym) that DOES mean befall or happen? That word is qarah, ending with a hey instead of an aleph (Str.#7136). I did not find this word-play on my own – it is in the Chumash on page 302-03. In Rom.8 we see this:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Elohim, to them who are the called according to purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God for us, who against us?
I have found that in Romans (and most everywhere else), Paul usually uses the pronoun ‘us’ to refer to Jews, native Israelites, and ‘you’ to refer to gentiles engrafted to Israel. Cf.Romans study, bottom of pg.60 – top of pg.63.
End of Days in Tanakh generally means the Messianic era. No matter what ‘befalls’ us in our future, if we are not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit of Elohim, we are the called according to his purpose and it is all for OUR GOOD – no question about it. Q&C
Vv.2-12 – The command to gather/assemble AND the command to listen is repeated, so they are emphatic. They are to understand exactly what he is saying, and since he is about to die, he’s only going to say it once.
Reuven was a mighty man, but as unstable as water – impetuous, hasty and reckless. He didn’t stop and think of consequences, he reacted emotionally. That is NOT a good trait in a leader – as we have seen recently in our American presidents. Reuven had gone in unto Bilhah for the purpose of keeping his mother, Leah’s, place with Ya’acov secure. In his mind he was protecting his mother, but it went against Torah. Mentioning Torah is NOT an anachronism, as the knowledge of Y’hovah’s instruction was known long before it was codified in Exodus – Deuteronomy (cf.Gen.7.2). It was THAT impetuosity that cost him his birthright. He was NOT the right man to lead the nation Israel.
Likewise, Shimon and Levi, acted impetuously in the case of Shechem. They failed to regard the long-term effect their truly murderous action would have. They were, in their own minds, merely protecting their sister, Dinah, but that precipitous action, without any guidance from their Abba, cost them the right to lead Israel, as well. V.7 is a prophecy of what would happen when they came back to haAretz with Y’hoshua – they would be scattered among the other tribes. As you know, Levi had no inheritance in the land save the 48 Levitical cities and their ‘suburbs’, which extended 1000 cubits from the city walls. Shimon’s inheritance was completely surrounded and was eventually annexed by Yehudah. Eventually, Shimon literally lived amongst his brethren in the north and was carried away into Assyria.
Yehudah, who over the last 7 chapters has shown himself to be a true leader, who thinks before he acts, but when he acts does so decisively, is given the blessing of the scepter, which is never to depart from his tribe. (Aside – Why was Saul, a Benjamite, made the first king of Israel? BenYamin wasn’t blessed to be king. Because Y’hovah gave Israel over to its lust to be like the other nations – not set apart unto Y’hovah.) Yisrael told Yehudah that he was the one to whom the other brothers would look for leadership and under whom they would serve. Yehudah will hold the scepter until Shiloh comes. There’s a good comment in the Chumash on Shiloh (read it – pg.305, right column).
The reference to Shiloh’s (Moshiach’s) clothes being dyed with the blood of grapes is picked up by prophets and in the book of Revelation.
The sword of Y’hovah is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for Y’hovah hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. (Isaiah 34:6)
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (Isaiah 63:1)
I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (Isaiah 63:3)
Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (Jeremiah 49:22)
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Rev.14:19-20)
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Rev.19.11-13)
Moshiach would be a man of war and a righteous judge and king. And he would be a son of Yehudah. Q&C
Vv.13-27 – Zevulon was a sea-farer and a merchant, traveling the world for trade goods and exotic animals in Shlomo’s days. That they were traveling the world can be deduced by the fact that they came back every 3rd year with more weird and wonderful plants and animals for Shlomo to study and learn about. In v.14 Issachar literally ‘lies between two judgments’ – bein hamishpatiym. Perhaps that is why v.15 has him an indentured servant. He is vacillating, when he ought to be making a decision. The rabbis have him lying down between farming and Torah study. He is obviously NOT a good leader, or he would make a choice. Leaders aren’t afraid to make a choice, even if it’s wrong. I think his indecision leads to his servitude.
Gad Means ‘troop’. The verse is literally, ‘Gad’s bands will attack and he will attack the heel’ – he would strike the rear guard of the enemy as it retreated (I think). Asher’s land was the area of the richest soil and well watered along the coastal plain lots of produce to provide for Gad’s fighters. Naphtali is swift of foot, and will draw Israel’s enemies’ attention, allowing the nation to conquer.
Yoseph has, in Ephraim and Menashe, the largest and best of all the inheritances of Ya’acov’s children. It stretches from the Med to the desert east of the Yarden and from Jericho north to Mt. Hermon – roughly ½ of the area of chol Israel. His birthright blessing is very emphatic. He is a fruitful builder of the family. Ephraim’s name means fruitful, and the root of Ephraim’s name porah is seen twice in succession – ben porah Yosef ben porah – a fruitful son whose branches reach over, around and through obstacles to their growth. His enemies are jealous of his blessings and shoot at him with their arrows, which can be figurative or literal. Look at how Israel is treated in the media today – the arrows never quit flying. Even Yoseph’s brother Yehudah won’t let him help to secure Y’hovah’s land. Yoseph is like Lonesome George Goebel; he has no friends. Except Y’hovah. But his blessings surpass those of his fathers’ fathers, and they are like a crown on his head who was separate from his brothers. The word the KJV translates as separate literally means ‘consecrated’. Yisrael consecrated Yoseph above his brethren, which means he set him apart to the service of Y’hovah. I assume Ya’acov’s consecration of Yoseph was from Yoseph’s infancy.
BenYamin’s seed were fearless and mighty warriors. Remember when this small tribe stood up to the entire nation of Israel in Judges 20:
And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. (Judges 20:15)
And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war. (Judges 20:17)
Israel > 400K, BenYamin < 27K. BenYamin kicked a LOT of Israelite tail before Y’hovah allowed Israel’s numbers to win out. Note that Yehudah was not in that fight. Israel was already acting nationally and independently of Yehudah. It was only under Saul, David and Shlomo that the kingdom EVER united. And it hasn’t been for over 3000 years now. But King Moshiach will reunite the tribes as Y’hovah is one, and that right soon. Q&C
YeshaYahu 43.2 – In YirmeYahu 30.11 we see this:
11 For I am with thee, saith Y’hovah, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
YirmeYahu is speaking, in context, specifically to his servant Ya’acov. This is he to whom Rav Sha’ul referred in Rom.9.6, “They are not all Yisrael who are of Israel.” (I make the distinction between those who are merely born physically into Israel and those who are grafted in spiritually to the commonwealth of Yisrael by the addition of the ‘Y’) In Moshiach, we are all one, all engrafted to the commonwealth – Jew/Gentile, male/female, bond/free. The deciding factor is this – In whom do I place my trust? On whose Name do I call for deliverance? YirmeYahu is speaking to those who are after Avinu’s heart and who call on his Name for deliverance.
Our individual deliverance may be through the fire, but what does YeshaYahu say about that?
43.1 But now thus saith Y’hovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am Y’hovah Elohechem, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Those of us who are ‘called by his Name’ and whose name he calls; we are his. He will protect us THROUGH the troubles to come, as he protected AzarYahu, Mishael and ChananYahu through Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘burning fiery furnace’. (Wow! do you think that thing was HOT? That’s one of the most emphatic statements scripture presents us – he doesn’t just repeat himself, but repeats himself twice – 3 references to the heat of the thing.) As hot as it was, those 3 were joined by a 4th person whom Nebuchadnezzar saw with his own beady little eyes and on whom he commented. And when they came out of the furnace absolutely unhurt, unsinged and without any smell of smoke on them, Nebuchadnezzar knew that he was wicked and prideful and acknowledged that there was no god like Elohim – a giant step in the right direction, but not quite there yet. (That’s the subject of another midrash.)
But Nebby knew that it was Y’hovah who went through the fire with them and who kept them through it because their trust was in him even if they had to die by the heathen’s hand. This is something we’d better all get our minds and hearts around, for the time is short. We will have to go through the fire, whether literally or figuratively, and may have to pay with our lives, but Y’hovah has promised to be there with us every step of the way if we will but trust him and walk in his Way, regardless the cost to ourselves. Q&C
Psalm 40.1-8 – Do you suppose the haftarah was chosen to go with the Psalm today? Y’hovah has delivered us from exile, having brought us up out of a miry pit. In order to bring us out, he must be in it with us, other wise he would take us out or remove us by some other means. He established my goings, but have I gone his way on the path he established for me to follow? Or am I wandering around in a layer of the onion?
The onion can be seen as an allegory of the Kingdom of Elohim. Our path is our own; no 2 paths can possibly be absolutely identical to any other because we all start at a different place based on our life experiences to that point. That’s why the gate is strait and the way is narrow that leads to life eternal. It is wide enough for only one person. Each person’s gate is the same; thrust in Y’hovah’s salvation/deliverance, but it is at a different place on the surface of the onion for each individual. The target at which we aim is the center of the onion, Y’hovah himself and to be echad with him. As long as we keep our eyes on the target we will head like an arrow directly towards it right across multiple layers of, and growing in knowledge of, the Truth. But if we take our eyes off target, even for just a second, we can get off the narrow path and that’s when we can find ourselves wandering in a ‘layer of the onion’. If we can just turn away from what is distracting us and put our eyes back on the target, we will once again move straight towards the mark of the high calling of Y’hovah – echad with and in him.
When he brings us through the trials without harm, the new song he places in our hearts will come forth from our lips and will be cause of rejoicing in some and a cause of fear in others. But he will gain the glory in it all, and many will trust in Y’hovah’s Name. The lies that many turn aside to are disguised as denominational ‘doctrinal statements’; ‘traditions of men’ used as fences to keep people too far from Y’hovah’s instructions to break them – or keep them. But the truth is that Y’hovah’s wonders towards us are too numerous to list.
He doesn’t delight in the death of any of his creatures. Death was not in his perfect will. It became necessary to show us the seriousness of our transgressions. His will is not the death of the sinner or of the animal used as a substitute. His will is to have his Torah written on our hearts and ever before us in our minds. David was a partaker of the Brit Chadashah centuries before YirmeYahu revealed it as such in 31.31-34, for Moshe had mentioned it in De.30:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Y’hovah Elohecha, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of Torah, and if thou turn unto Y’hovah Elohecha with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
When Torah is truly written on our hearts, it is never hidden there, for it exudes from us as obedience to it. When his Torah is written on our hearts, we walk in it (and we look like fruit-loops to other people).
Do you see in v.11 that positional righteousness has always been key to life in Ruach. It is HIS mercy, HIS grace and HIS truth that has always preserved us, not our own works of Torah. When we are compassed about with the wicked, THAT is especially the time we need to keep our eyes on the target and not on our circumstances. We need to trust him to bring us through, as he has promised over and over again that he would. Take your eyes off your circumstances and put them back on the prize, as Rav Sha’ul says in Phil.3:
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Messiah Yeshua.
Y’hovah’s high calling for us is to be echad with him. I can think of no higher calling. We get that prize by walking in his Way and helping our brethren walk in his Way, as well. Take your eyes off yourself and put them on him. Serve him in service to others. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are great in both olam hazeh and olam haba. Q&C
What follows is from my work, The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach – a Messianic Perspective.
Yochanan 21.12-19 – The talmidim went fishing and had caught nothing – bupkus. So they saw a man on the shore who asked them how the fishing was, and they said “Fishing!? What fishing?! There have to BE fish for you to go fishing?” So the man said ‘drop your nets on the right side’ and when they did, BOOM! 153 large fish, so many and so large that they were amazed the nets didn’t break, and they needed help getting back in to shore without sinking. Yochanan, perceptive guy he was, said, “It’s the Master.” When Shimon Shema’d that it was the Master (there’s a word play you won’t see in the greek), he swam ashore and found a fire burning and fish already cooking (representing the guys in the boat and drawing the catch in to land) on the coals (going through the fire[?]). Yeshua told Kefa to bring more fish to fry. The number ‘153’ is the gematria for Betzalel, the master artisan of the Mishkan in the wilderness. It is also the gematria for B’nei Elohim (154 nations) less 1 (Yehudah, who was NOT divorced for her adultery – Jer.3.8 – and therefore NOT a part of those drawn from the sea) = 153 gentile nations into which 10-Israel had been scattered. The picture is that once Yisrael was drawn out of the sea (the world system) like the prodigal son, they would be re-joined to Yehudah and made into the likeness of Elohim and a Tabernacle of Y’hovah on earth.
Kefa is the focus of this whole chapter. It’s his boat, these are his friends and partners he’s fishing with and he left them to finish bringing the catch in – he was in charge. Yeshua used this opportunity to bring Kefa to repentance. Yeshua had appeared to them in their hiding place on the evening following his resurrection, but Thomas wasn’t there and would not believe they’d seen him. Then the next week Thomas (eight days speaks of new beginnings for Thomas) was there and Yeshua taught him a lesson on faith after which Thomas made the one clear, unequivocal statement of Yeshua’s deity, “My Master and my Elohim”. Kefa had been the one who returned to his trade, and led others away from their mission. Kefa needed to be dealt with. The conventional wisdom may be correct (for a change), and the episode may have to do with driving the point of Kefa’s triple denial of Yeshua home to him, so that he would repent and turn back to his service as a fisher of men. It was Kefa’s call (and all the rest, too) to abandon his profession (his own ways) and get on with his commission (Y’hovah’s Way).
3 times Yeshua asked Kefa if he loved him. Twice Peter equivocated. The first 2 times, Yeshua asked, “agapas me pleion toutown”, “Do you love me more than (you love) these” (referring to the other talmidim, I think)? Kefa’s answer is interesting, “Yes, Master. “Su oidas hoti philow de”, “you know (have an idea that) I like you.” Yeshua commanded him, “Tend my lambs for me.” Now, the talmidim had all been trained to be sheepdogs, not sheep, so the point is not to lead the talmidim, but to teach and direct the newfound sheep of Yisrael as he calls them out from the nations and back to Avinu’s house. Then Yeshua asked him a 2nd time, “agapas me” – “do you love me?” No comparison to the other talmidim. Again, Kefa answers equivocally, “Yes, Master. You know I like you.” This time, Yeshua commanded him to “Tend my sheep for me.” The lambs are now sheep, mature adults or, at least, young adults. The 3rd time Yeshua asked, he changed his love reference, as if he was asking Kefa if he even liked him, “Phileis me – Do you [really] like me?” I think the change of verbiage from agape to phileo, as if questioning Kefa’s veracity, was what cut Kefa to the quick. The difference in his answer is in the word translated ‘know’. Oidas means an idea. Kefa had said, “You have an idea that I like you.” Yeshua had been asking if he loved from the heart – agape. Kefa had said he had a sentimental love for Yeshua – phileo. Now, Yeshua had asked if Kefa felt even a sentimental love. I think that cut Kefa to the quick. And his answer changed as well. He said, “Master, su ginoskeis hoti philow se” – “You KNOW (by experience) that I like you!” This is MUCH less equivocal. He still won’t go to agape – his memory of recent days won’t let him go there, yet. But he reminded Yeshua of the demonstrations of his fealty over the last few years. And Yeshua commanded him to “Tend my ewes.” We see the progression of the new gentile converts from pagans to his Bride in the words Yeshua used to describe us; 1) lambs = children/new believers who had just entered the outer courts of the Temple precincts, 2) sheep = young men/ready to accept duties in the inner court for service to Y’hovah, and 3) ewes = the Bride/ready to enter the inner court of Y’hovah. And Kefa is to bring the gentile nations into each phase of this transformation, as 153 fish caught by the dragnet and brought through the fire. I think the fire of the time of Ya’acov’s trouble is the crucible that will separate the lambs from the sheep and the sheep from the ewes – the little children from the young men from the fathers. 1Jn.2.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things in the world.
End of Shabbat Bible Study