March 21, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study

March 21, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study

©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries

 Year 3 Sabbath 1&Sabbath 2 – March 31, 2012

Numbers 6:22-9:21 – ZecharYah 4:1-14 – Tehellim100 & 101 – Romans 12:1-21, Rev.11.1-19


B’Midbar 6:22-9:21- – Y’hovah told Moshe to tell Aharon and his sons to bless Israel. Aharon and Moshe did not have the juice to bless Israel in their own strength, but they were delegated the authority to do so by the only person who actually COULD bless the nation – Y’hovah himself. As such, when Aharon was blessing Israel in fulfillment of this command, he stood as the mediator of Y’hovah to his people. There is only one mediator between Y’hovah and us, the man Moshiach Yeshua. This command was given to the Kohanim specifically. This blessing should not be given ‘willy-nilly’ by those who are NOT sons of Aharon. Were it not for the Golden Calf and loss of the blessing of the 1st-born to the Levi’im, this may have been the intended duty of every 1st-born. For now it was commanded to Aharon. When the New Covenant is in full force (I think), after the 2 houses are reunited on earth, the original intent will be back in force – the 1st-born of each family will be its priest, and he will exercise this right, duty and honor over his family. This 1st-born duty and honor will go to the one best suited, as everywhere in the Messianic lineage (beginning with Abel/Seth), not necessarily the physical 1st-born. In my physical family, that would be me, though I am the 4th-born son of Peter A. 

The Aharonic blessing is 3-fold. There are 3 distinct blessings pronounced on Y’hovah’s people. Y’hovah bless you and keep you pronounces that Israel will be blessed generally and that Y’hovah will ‘keep’ Israel. The word shamar means ‘to hedge about, to guard or hold close’. The idea of a hen shielding her chicks from a storm or a fire comes to mind.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shield and buckler. (Psalm 91.4)

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalms 57:1)

Imagine the care Y’hovah takes over those who trust him, and then the sorrow his heart must experience when his own will not accept his blessing and protection, freely offered.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34, Mat.23.37)

Y’hovah make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you says that Y’hovah will smile on everything his children will do under his wings. Have you ever looked at what little kids do and how they discover stuff and how they take delight in it and you just find yourself smiling about it, delighted with their delight? I think that’s a part of what Y’hovah is talking about here. But it also means that he graciously intervenes supernaturally on our behalf. He helps us out and then delights in our delight when we understand what happened. I think he delights over my limited understanding of the hedge he placed around me 5 years ago, and the delight I have knowing how he loves me. He smiles on me and mine every time I rehearse it and am awestruck by his protection. There was nothing I did that deserved that protection. But he provided it anyway. And he will do so again. And again. And again. As many times as I need it and until he calls me home. And he will do so for YOU, TOO! You can put THAT promise in the bank and collect the interest on it, and there’s a MUCH better insurance policy in place than the FDIC – Y’hovah Yeshua Mutual has this policy and it has a DYNAMITE retirement plan, too.

The 2nd blessing also has to do with his blessing of Torah, which is the embodiment of his light that shines to the world. When he enlightens us with his Word, he gives a blessing not just to us, but also to that part of the world that we contact. And as we illuminate that part of the world, it also helps to illuminate the part of the world that IT contacts. And so on. And so forth. For as long as there is someone through which he can pass on his light. And he does so through YOU TOO! And that accrues more blessing back to you, though that is not why we do it. We do it because if we did not, we would burst at the seams. 

7c I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of Y’hovah was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (Jeremiah 20:7c-9)

Y’hovah lift up his countenance upon you and grant you Shalom. When Y’hovah lifts up his countenance, it shows that he is purposely doing that which he is not obliged to do. He has promised that he will recompense sin, but here he purposely forgives our debt to him and graciously pardons us for our disobedience to him. However, he does not forgive our sins and wrongs against our fellows until we have reconciled with them. 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

And when we reconcile with our brother, he establishes Shalom between us and also between himself and us. 

And they shall put MY Name upon b’nei Yisrael and I will bless them. This can be seen as Y’hovah blessing Yisrael through the Kohanim OR blessing the Kohanim for their obedience to the command; or BOTH (which is actually how I see it). Personally, I think this means that the Kohen is to actually pronounce the Name of Y’hovah over Yisrael, not a title or a circumlocution of his Name. That is the simplest sense in which this command can be understood. He made sure to pronounce his Name 3 times in the Bruchah, so I think the command is unambiguous. Q&C

7.1-9 – The day on which Moshe set up the Mishkan the 1st time was seen in Ex.40.1. Here’s the opening of my commentary on Ex.40.1 from Sept. 14, 2014:

B’yom Chodesh harishon, b’echad lachodesh – In the day of the first new moon, on the first of the month” can only mean the biblical Rosh HaShanah is the first day of the 1st month, not the first day of the 7th month, because Y’hovah had commanded Moshe in 

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)

So, the Mishkan was to be inaugurated, built, anointed and offered at on the 1st day of the 2nd year out of Egypt. In vv.1-16 we see the order that the service would have on the 1st Rosh HaShanah in the Wilderness. This was, by the way, the ONLY Rosh HaShanah, they were intended to spend in the wilderness. The Adventure was supposed to end when they came to Kadesh (Num.13), only a few weeks hence.

So, between the day Moshe came down off the Mount for the 2nd time – about 80 or so days from the Exodus – and the 1st day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt, The Tabernacle was built and all its parts anointed, and all the animals and stuff needed for that transport were gathered up or made by craftsmen of the tribes. 

It was on this day that the elders of the tribes of Israel brought the carts and the oxen for the service of the Levi’im in transporting the Mishkan from camp to camp. The elders themselves brought the carts and oxen, not any deputy, so I assume this was how the commandment was sent. There are 12 oxen, which corresponds to the oxen on which the laver was set in Shlomo’s Temple, 4 sets of 3, each set facing the cardinal direction in which the camps were placed around the Mishkan. There was a cart for each 2 elders and one ox per elder. A detail that is not mentioned is which yoke of oxen pulled which cart and how they decided. I think there was probably a reason behind it, but we don’t have biblical reference to it, as far as I know. The sons of Gershon were given 2 carts and 4 oxen and the sons of Merari were given 4 carts and 8 oxen to carry their respective Mishkan parts and accoutrements. Ithamar was in charge of the Mishkan for transport through the elders of the Gershonites and the Merarites. The Kohathites are to carry the Mishkan furnishings on their shoulders. These were NEVER supposed to see the back of a cart. 

Vv.10-83 – The elders also brought their offerings to be offered for their tribes to the Mishkan. It looks like the tribal offerings were similar and were offered one offering per tribe and each tribe’s offering on a successive day. They came up in order of their place in camp, I think, or in the order in which they left when it was time to break camp, or perhaps both. Yehudah, Issachar and Zevulon came up the 1st 3 days and in that order. Reuven, Shimon and Gad came up the next 3 days to offer their offerings. The third 3 days came up Ephraim, Menashe and BenYamin, and the last 3 days came up Dan, Asher and Naphtali.

Each tribe brought the same things for the offering – a silver charger (a large plate to place under a plate or bowl in formal settings) weighing 130 shekels; a silver bowl weighing 70 shekels; a gold spoon weighing 10 shekels; 1 young bullock (steer), 1 ram, 1 lamb of the 1st year for a burnt (freewill) offering; 1 kid for a sin offering; and 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 he-goats and 5 lambs of the 1st year for a peace offering. So, there was a lot of precious metal and a whole bunch of animals to slaughter, and just the volume of animals tells me why this took 12 days to complete. The Chumash could well be correct in claiming that the reason it took 12 days was to make each tribal offering as singular as could be, since they were all identical. To offer all 252 animals at once might look like just a jumble. 21 animals with their meal offerings and oblations would be quite enough for each day, I would think. 

The tabernacle of the congregation was not the same as the Mishkan, though they were only separated by a veil. The tabernacle of the congregation was the tent of meeting – ohel moayd. This is where Moshe met with Y’hovah. Even Moshe was not allowed behind the veil. There is another Tabernacle of the Congregation (ohel haMoayd) spoken of in Ex.33 where Moshe met with Y’hovah outside the camp while the Mishkan was being prepared. As soon as the ark of the testimony was finished, it was brought to the ohel. Moshe was almost always there until the Mishkan/ohel was anointed and furnished. Q&C

8.1-4 – KJV’s ‘over against’ means toward, so the light of the 3 left and the 3 right side lamps is directed toward the center. The Hebrew word is muhl, from the same root for mohel, which is the title of the Kohen who specializes in CC. The same idea is seen here of adjusting the appearance of the thing being addressed. Did I sufficiently circumlocute just then? Aharon was to adjust the lamps to illuminate the center stand as much as possible. If you look at the representation at of the tree of Sefiroth you may see the metaphor I am alluding to. The junctions within the ‘center stand’ represent the ‘knops’ of the menorah from which the arms extend and the sephirah (lamps) ends of the arms on the right (abba Y’hovah) and left (ima Ruach haKodesh) illuminate the center (ben – tzadik rebbe Yeshua). The menorah was of one piece of gold of a talent’s weight beaten into shape, including the knops, the tubes the flowers and cups – it was incredibly intricate. The malleability of gold made the thing possible, but it was still an amazing piece of craftsmanship, and, I think undoable by any man not filled with  Ruach haKodesh. 

Possibility is that the 6 side-lights were surrounding the center light.

Vv.5-26 – The Levi’im are consecrated for service in the Mishkan by sprinkling them with the red heifer water. I’m curious how they knew what red heifer water was before the provision was made in Num.19. This supports the thought that Leviticus and Numbers are not necessarily laid out in chronological order. After they were sprinkled with the water of purification, they shaved their bodies and washed their clothes. Then they brought 2 young steers as a sin offering and the associated meal offering. When it says that the whole assembly laid their hands on the Levites, I don’t think it was all 2.5 million Israelites laying their hands on all 24,000 Levites. I think it was the elders of Israel in the presence of the whole congregation laying hands on the elders of the Levi’im, which represents their approval of this consecration. And Aharon offered the Levites as the offering of Israel for the tabernacle service. Then the elders of the Levi’im laid hands on the steers and Aharon slaughtered them and offered them on the altar in the place of the Levites sins. When Aharon (v.11) and Moshe (v.13) offered the Levites, it was as a wave offering – Stone’s Chumash has an interesting note on the wave offering (pg 63 on v.13). The Levi’im were effectively ‘living sacrifices’. 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Now, usually the priest then ate the wave offering, but I don’t think that was actually done here. ‘Levite’ is not one of things declared ‘clean to eat’ in Lev.11 or Dt.14. “Offering’ the Levites here means to consecrate them to the service of Y’hovah. 

** Disclaimer for PETL (People for the Ethical Treatment of Levites): No Levites were harmed in the making of this offering. **

The Levites then moved right into their service of Y’hovah as the substitutes for all the 1st-born of Israel. The 1st-born still are Y’hovah’s, but the service they were to render fell to the Levi’im because of the sin of the Golden Calf and the faithfulness of Levi to Y’hovah. Aharon and his seed were given the rest of their tribe as servants of the Mishkan. As with the Mishkan and its furnishings and everything was done exactly as Y’hovah commanded Moshe, so it was with the Levi’im. Levites trained to serve until their 24th year was complete. Then they served Aharon and his seed in the Mishkan from the beginning of  their 25th year until the end of their 49th year and beginning in their 50th year they trained the trainees. In ch.4, we saw that the Levi’im were counted from the 30th year to the 50th year in the census as substitutes for the 1st-born and to serve in the Tabernacle. Chumash says that from their 25th year to their 30th they were in an apprenticeship. In reality, Levi’im were ALWAYS in service to Aharon and his seed as the Kohanim served Y’hovah. Q&C

9.1-14 – There are 3 major events in ch.9: the Pesach in the Wilderness, including the giving of the 2nd Pesach; Y’hovah’s acceptance of the Mishkan and his settling his Shekinah over it; and reiterating the commandment concerning breaking and pitching camp. 

Y’hovah commanded Moshe that Israel should keep the Pesach in the 14th day of the 1st month in the 2nd year out of Egypt. As we saw in Lev.23, this was to be done yearly. This Pesach in ch.9 is the only one that is recorded in the Wilderness Adventure, but that doesn’t mean it was the only one they kept. Torah is not meant to be an exhaustive record of everything Y’hovah’s people did for the 2500 years of history it covers and it seldom repeats itself. It is probably that THIS one is only mentioned because of the men who were defiled and therefore could not keep the Pesach, but WANTED TO. This provision is made for the faithful. Only 5 years ago, I needed to take part in a 2nd Pesach due to traumatic injury (I was kind of ‘on a journey afar off’), and Y’hovah blessed me and my family by providing a place where we could do so among friends. THEY were celebrating Pesach on a different calendar than we were, but that was not important to us. Y’hovah had them celebrate it on the proper day for the 2nd Pesach for me, which may be the reason he led them the way he did – just for me. I am uncertain if they are still following that calendar, but I am grateful they did 5 years ago. Y’hovah’s provision for those who would be faithful to him does not go unnoticed by those whose eyes are open. 

V.13 is pretty clear that if one is clean and not on a journey will either observe the Pesach in all the provisions that he had previously specified, or be cut off from Israel and shall bear his sin, that is, the physical consequences of it. If a ger who lives among us wants to keep Pesach, he is to be allowed. The ger may celebrate with us as long as he does so in accord with the Pesach instructions in Ex.12. It says there that the ger needs to be circumcised before he may partake in the Pesach. In Ex.12 this was definitely to be taken literally. But does it need to be still? If that were the case, I think it would have been specifically addressed in the Jerusalem Council. Now, I think that by the time the gerim had gotten through the Torah in the synagogues once or twice, they would have been moved on by the Ruach to want to be circumcised, but it was NOT required of them for acceptance into the fellowship in the synagogue, which I assume would include celebration of the Feasts of Y’hovah. It is clear to me that Rav Sha’ul was not going to be a ‘circumcision cop’ at Pesach, making the new gentile converts ‘drop trou’ to prove their worthiness to participate. 

Vv.15-21 – As soon as the Mishkan was erected, the pillar of fire/cloud covered the Mishkan proper. This was the sign to Israel that Y’hovah accepted the Mishkan and proved that the priests had rebuilt it properly. In Deut. we are told of 42 camps in the Wilderness Adventure. There MAY have been more, but these are the ones mentioned. When Y’hovah moved, the camp moved. When Y’hovah stopped moving, Israel pitched their camp and the pillar of Y’hovah’s presence covered the Mishkan. This calls to mind Ezek.1

20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature in the wheels. (Ezek.1.20-21)

As the living creatures of Ezek.1 moved when the Ruach moved, so b’nei Israel moved when Ruach moved. When He went, they broke camp; when he stood, they pitched camp; when Ruach lifted up, the wheels within wheels of the Israelite camp lifted up with him. If the pillar remained on the Mishkan, whether for a few hours or for a few years, camp remained, but when Shekinah went up from the Mishkan, Israel moved until the pillar stopped. Q&C

ZecharYahu 4.1-14 – ZecharYahu was not asleep. He was awakened ‘as a man is wakened from sleep.’ The most important words in prophecy are ‘like’ and ‘as’. ‘As’ means, ‘in the same manner’ as something else – not the same thing, but the same manner. ‘Like’ means, ‘having the resemblance or appearance of an event’ or thing. Being wakened ‘as out of sleep’ means he was awake, but unaware of his surroundings – in a trance or having a vision. The action never stopped from his vision of ch.3, but the subject and location of the visions did. He has left the Kodesh Kadashim and is now in the ‘plain old’ Kodesh Place. 

Y’hovah Yeshua who appeared in ch.3 as the angel of Y’hovah and Y’hovah Tzavaoth now appears as the 7-lamp candlestick. The 7 lamps of the menorah correspond to the 7 eyes in the Stone of 3.9. Moshe Koniuchowski, in the footnotes of the Restoration Bible says this about the Stone in 3.9:

The Stone is Moshiach, and the seven eyes are symbolic of perfection, and perfect spiritual vision.

Where else do we see 7 eyes? 

Rev. 5:6 (KJV)  

    And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent forth into all the earth

Where else do we see the 7 spirits of Elohim?

Rev. 1:4 (KJV)  

    John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 

Rev. 3:1 (KJV)  

    And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of Elohim, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 

Rev. 4:5 (KJV)  

    And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim

Are these 7 spirits enumerated any where? To whom are they given? 

Isaiah 11:1-5 (KJV)  

    And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: [2] And the spirit of Y’hovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Y’hovah; [3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Y’HOVAH: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. [5] And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 

There is a reference to the BRANCH in 3.8, just before the Stone with the 7 eyes. I think we can safely equate the 7 lamps to the 7 eyes and to the 7 Spirits of Elohim, and the recipient of this 7-fold Spirit of Y’hovah is none other than Yeshua haMoshiach. 

The 2 olive trees represent the 2 houses of Ya’acov, Yisrael/Ephraim and Yehuda. Again, from the notes on Zech.4 in Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scriptures:

He saw two olive trees, both being congregations of Yisrael, both representing the Father, both sending forth an anointed witness, both producing an individual witness to prophecy and together both representing the whole people of Yisrael.

These two olive trees are the Two Houses (Isaiah 8:14, Jeremiah 31:31, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Nations (Ezekiel35:10), Two Chosen Families (Jeremiah 33:24), Two Backslidden Sisters (Ezekiel 23:2-4), Two Olive Branches (Zechariah 4:11-14, Jeremiah 11:16-17), Two Sticks (Ezekiel 37:15-28), Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-4), Two Lamp Stands (Revelation 11:3), Two Silver Trumpets for the whole Assembly (Numbers 10:2-3), Two Advents (Hebrews 9:28), Two Cherubim (Exodus 25:18-20), Two Spies from Efrayim and Judah (Numbers 13: 6, 8), Two Congregations (Rev. 1:20), based on the principle that one lampstand equals one assembly.

That’s a lot of 2s! I had (when I first wrote this) never before considered that the 2 witnesses of Rev. could be the 2 houses of Ya’acov, and not two prophets of Tanakh. It’s an interesting scenario. And it fits this interpretation of the identity of the two olive trees, as we’ll see in Rev.11. 

When the Angel asked Zach if he knew what the olive trees were, Zach answered in the negative. When he asked, he got what seemed an answer to a different question. He’d asked ‘What are these?’ and got the answer ‘This is the Word of Y’hovah to Zerubabel…’ The angel had told Zach that the people would see Zerubabel keeping the building of the Temple after the will of Y’hovah (and of the people back into faithful sons of Y’hovah) with the plumb line of the Word and the eyes of Y’hovah keeping watch over their building efforts. Yah had their backs. Every little thing that got done brought them closer to the goal of a new Mikdash. Y’hovah would see them through it. 

Zach had to wade through that and after asking again (twice!) what the olive trees were, he got another question from the Angel (You STILL don’t know?), as if the answer he’d given should have opened Zach’s mind to the knowledge. The final answer was about the 2 anointed ones. In context, I think it refers to Zerubabel (ch.4) and Yehoshua (ch.3). Zerubabel was of the tribe of Yehuda and family of David, in the lineage of Yeshua (Mat.1.12-13). Yehoshua was the Kohen haGadol, a picture of the righteousness of Y’hovah. Kings and priests are both anointed, so they could very well be the 2 anointed ones Zach is being told about. I do subscribe to the 2 house doctrine, but this seems a plausible interpretation, as well. The kingdom, given to Yehuda, and the righteousness, given to Ephraim’s sons (represented here by the Kohen), was reunited in Yeshua haMoshiach. Yeshua is our MelechZedek, King and Righteousness. The lampstand being fed by the two olive trees is a very good picture of this. The 2 olive trees of Royalty and righteousness give themselves completely to, and lose their separate identities to Yeshua. Seems it’s all about redemption from exile, eh?  Q&C

Tehellim 100 – This is a song of thankful praise. Hariyu laY’hovah kal haAretz. KJV translates eretz a number of different ways; land is the most frequent, earth is next. I lean towards earth, rather than lands here – not that that means a whit, as I know only enough Hebrew to hurt myself. But I see this as a song of praise and rejoicing at the arrival of Moshiach to deliver his people from captivity and to take his throne. As such, we who are awaiting his coming to rule will naturally serve him with gladness and come before his throne singing his praises. Even those who have come in unbelief through the tribulation that precedes his coming will rejoice and be glad that the time of troubles is over. Everyone, believer and unbeliever as well, will know that Y’hovah is the Eloha who made us. That he even has to mention ‘not we ourselves’ tells me that the idea of secular humanism and denial of Eloha, that man is the measure of everything, was around in David’s day. Our last few generations do not have a lock on abject stupidity. There is truly nothing new under the sun. The word todah is in v.4, as well as in the title, but this time it’s translated thanksgiving. In the title it says ‘praise’. The only real difference is the prefix. In v.1 it says L’todah and in v.4 it says b’todah. So, why the difference? L’todah is simply to thank or praise, and this psalm is a song to give thanks and praise, so… B’todah is simply in or with thanksgiving. We enter his house with a thankful attitude to praise him. The 2nd use of thanks in v.4 is the Hebrew word hodu, which is to exalt or lift up. From beginning to end, Ps.100 is an exercise in lifting up Y’hovah, exalting his Name for the wonderful things he does and is.

Tehillim 101 (sounds like a freshman college course) – The mercy and judgment of Y’HoVAH ties this Psalm to our passages about the menorah. As discussed earlier, the menorah was of one piece of gold beaten into shape – as Y’hovah Yeshua was beaten for our transgressions. It also burns with the righteous judgment of Elohim, fed by the oil of the Ruach haKodesh of Y’hovah. 

V.2 makes this a psalm that points to the first advent of Yeshua haMoshiach, who behaved himself wisely (Lk.2.52), and walked among his own house (Yehuda) with a heart that was perfect (tamiym).

We need to beware of his saying in vv.4-5, 7-8, that we not have a froward – a perverted, false heart; a heart that says one thing in your face, but another when you’re not looking. When he says he doesn’t know them, he means that he doesn’t become intimately familiar with them. They will not be his family or friends. We also need to be careful to walk in a tamiym way before him so we can benefit from our service with and to him. Q&C

Romans 12.1-21– This study in Romans 12 (to be seen in conjunction with Num.6.21-7.89) is taken from my study of Romans that was taught over a period of about 4 years as a weekly or bi-weekly bible study. It is extensive, but not exhaustive. In the live presentation, I will touch highlights, because we also have a chapter of Revelation to hit. It is posted on the Fulfilling Torah Ministries’ Facebook pages, if you want to see the whole 15 pages of material broken into 3-4 pages of notes. I will be skipping portions of the Romans portion below in my live commentary on Shabbat.

Rom.12 needs to be seen in light of ch.9-11. It doesn’t stand alone.

V.1 – Paul is begging the gentiles in particular to present their bodies (plural) a (singular) living sacrifice. He is continuing on the theme that the gentiles need to be well grounded in basic Torah knowledge before they take any leadership role in the local assembly. He reminds them that Y’hovah is merciful to them AND to the Jews in leadership in the synagogue, and that the leaders of the synagogue have a wealth of Torah knowledge to teach them, even if they do not understand who Messiah is, yet. He is asking the gentiles to be as merciful to the leadership, as Y’hovah is to all of them, in both engrafting the gentiles and the future engrafting of the broken off branches that are lying there awaiting their chastisement’s end, which will be when they come to the end of themselves and call out to Y’hovah for his deliverance – Hosheanu! 

For that is the mercy by which he beseeches them. Mercies = graffing due to the faith of Messiah, as seen in 11.28-32. We were not graffed in by any merit of ours, but by the merit of Yeshua haMoshiach. HE has done it. HE has had both the faith and the perfect works to merit his eternal life, which he of course had from the foundation of the earth because he is Y’hovah. Then he ‘marries’ us and we become a part of him. He becomes our covering and what is his becomes ours.

For…. the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy (set-apart, sanctified). (I Corinthians 7:14)

Faith in the Hebraic way of thinking is not mere assent to a few concepts. It’s not just an abstract. In the Hebraic mind, faith includes the resulting actions of that assent as evidence that the faith of Yeshua has ‘taken’ in us. Heb.11 speaks of faith, defines it as “The substance of things HOPED for; the evidence of things not seen.” Can you see faith? Of course you can – in the actions that accompany it, which are evidence of your belief. Can you see hope? Of course you can – in the actions that come as a result of it. The actions of believers that are based in faith and hope may seem stupid to the casual observer, but they make perfect sense to the actor and to those in fellowship with him. So, when you make preparations or teach the truth based on your understanding of ‘the blessed hope’, the result is substantial. That substance may be material or spiritual, but it is real in either case. 

Rav Sha’ul speaks of ‘reasonable service’ to the entire kahal (congregation), but to the gentile believers in particular. He asks them to submit to the authority of the elders of the synagogue – their living sacrifice; their reasonable service – so they can learn the truth of Torah. He asks them to use their reason and not react emotionally to the presumably foreign teachers (i.e., Jewish rabbis in Rome). He is not asking them to submit to the traditions of the leadership, but to their Torah instruction. This is seen clearly in v.2, where he says ‘be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…’ The world includes the traditions of the elders, the ‘oral law’ that placed a fence around Torah so that the Jew could not get close enough to it to break it – or keep it. 

We have traditions in the gentile church, as well, that keep us from the Word, and for the same reason – to protect us from transgressing. An example is the biblical prohibition against drunkenness (Eph.5.18), as drunkenness is a counterfeit Spirit-filling. It doesn’t say to not drink alcoholic wine, but to not be drunk with it. In many fundamentalist churches this is taken to mean more than the scripture says – they ADD to the Word of Y’hovah and say to drink anything alcoholic is a sin. I have yet to see such a commandment – except among certain ‘fundamentalists’ who add that one. People go so far as to break fellowship over this fence placed between the believer and the Word of Y’hovah. This is a form of idolatry, making the fence our rule instead of the revealed Word of Elohim. 

We are to be in control of our spirits (1Cor.14.32), hence the prohibition on drunkenness AND the admonition to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This takes our reason and not our emotion – reasonable service. Q&C

V.2 – We’ve lightly touched on this already. The admonition is ‘be not conformed to this world’. We are to be IN the world, not OF the world (1Cor.5.10). We are to be set apart by our faith and faithfulness to the Word we believe. In this we will be different and it will hopefully be seen in our everyday walk. We should be people of integrity, our word should be our bond (Jms.5.12). There ARE people who are not of faith who have impeccable integrity, but they are VERY few and far between. But we, the people of Y’hovah as a whole, should be characterized by our integrity. If we have no integrity when it comes to things that CAN be seen, how can we be trusted to be truthful about the things that can’t be seen? This is James’ argument about faith restated – show me your faith without works; I’ll show you my faith BY my works (Yacov 2.18). Who is the world more likely to believe? The man of impeccable integrity is whom they will believe. Why does almost noone trust the US government anymore? It lacks integrity. Why does almost noone trust the church anymore? Why the lack of integrity? Because of lack of faith and hope in Y’hovah to deliver what he’s promised. Why does the world not hope in Y’hovah? Because it knows it can’t be trusted, and we tend to project onto others what we believe about ourselves. When we fail to trust Y’hovah, it’s because we know our own lack of integrity and project that onto him.

What do we do about it in our own lives? How do we build up our personal integrity? By being transformed through renewing our minds. Our minds are renewed when we internalize the truth of God’s Word, when we study it and apply it to ourselves and then ACT on it. As we see that HE is faithful to his Word, we begin to trust that he will perform it in us and for us in the future and to act according to his faithfulness in us. As we see him actually do what he’s promised in and through us, our faith in him is built up and we study his Word and apply it to ourselves all the more. Thus, we grow in our desire to be what he would have us be, as he has revealed it to us by his Word. And Y’hovah will ALWAYS give us the desire of our hearts, whether for good or ill. As we WANT to be more like Yeshua, he fulfills that desire in us. Thereby are we ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (8.29), by the renewing of our minds.  Q&C

What is the purpose of this transformation in us? To ‘prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim’ in us. To ‘prove’ is to show that something is true. ‘Prove’ is from grk., dokimazo, to test. This is the same word translated ‘try’ in 1Jn.4.1, “…try the spirits, whether they be of God.” So how do we prove the will of Elohim? By walking in his Word. If we obey his Word, he promises us certain blessings. By certain, I do not mean only specific, but absolutely sure and certain, as in “certain, unalienable rights”. Y’hovah has promised, not some hunk of wood made to look like a phallic symbol (church steeple?) or a lump of gold shaped by my own hands to look like a calf. Y’hovah who created the universe with a Word from his mouth has promised and he shall deliver. Try him, if you don’t believe me. Mal.3.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it .

That blessing may or may not be in kind. He may bless you with something or in some area completely unrelated to the specific area in which you are faithful, but it will certainly come. But when you try him and he proves himself true, you WILL be transformed. Your trust will grow. And the more you test his promises, the more he will prove himself true and the more you’ll trust. It won’t be long before you see his blessings to you everywhere and in everything – even the bad stuff haSatan sends to try to get you to doubt Y’hovah, because you’ll know that Rom.8.28 is true. What haSatan means for your ill Y’hovah uses for your good.  And you are made to be MORE like his Son, which IS his good and acceptable and prefect will for you and me. 

So, what will a ‘renewed mind’ look like? The question is not rhetorical. I’d like at least one answer. It’s going to look like Yeshua’s mind in Phil.2.1-8

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Ruach, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua: 6 Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the tree. 

V.1 has four ‘any’ attributes and v.2 has four admonitions that can be seen in relation to each other. Those verses are an entire sermon unto themselves, so I’ll let it go at that, but here is the mind of Messiah. He thought and thinks nothing of himself. Everything he does is for OUR good who love him and are the called according to his purpose. In the ultimate scheme of things, who is not fulfilling Y’hovah Yeshua’s purpose in his life? That is really not rhetorical either. In one way or another, either by walking in his perfect will for us or by walking in our own ways, we do fulfill his purpose. We can thwart his perfect will in our own lives, but we cannot thwart his PLAN, or purpose. What is Y’hovah’s perfect will for us? It’s for our minds to be like Yeshua’s mind. Ps.40.7-8 shows us Messiah’s mind;

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the scroll it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O Elohai: yea, thy Torah is within my heart.   

Didn’t David write that a year or 2 (or 400) before Jeremiah prophesied the ‘New’ Covenant’? If there was no ‘New’ Covenant yet, how could the Torah be written on anyone’s heart? May I say that the ‘New’ Covenant is no different from the ‘Old’? The ‘new’ covenant has to do with a renewed heart in the believer. The commandments were written on tables of stone at Sinai, but in the ‘New’ Covenant they are written on fleshy tables of our hearts (2Cor.3.3). The tables/hearts of stone correspond to the carnal man’s uncircumcised heart. Y’hovah has always commanded us to have our hearts circumcised (Deut.10.16, 30.6). THAT is what Yeshua modeled for us in his walk – a circumcised heart. Do we succeed in walking as Yeshua walked at all times? Not likely. But it should become more and more evident in our walks over time.  Q&C

Vv.3 – The words, ‘of himself’, are supplied by the translators. Don’t think on things or try to do things that you aren’t prepared for. This may lead you to things that will hurt your walk, and to think you can handle the pressure and spiritual attacks that will come at you when you reach a position for which you are not prepared. New converts to Messiah should NEVER be placed in any kind of authority in a kahal (congregation). Our American devotion to ‘Hollywood’, fame, fortune and hero-worship has caused no end of trouble in the lives of famous people who have converted to Messiah. Bob Dylan is probably the most famous American I can recall who has had a conversion to Messiah Yeshua. He was immediately a guest on every ‘Xian’ TV/radio show, and any other media outlet that could contact him. As if the guy didn’t get enough adulation from his screaming fans, NOW he’s got Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker and the whole TBN crowd fawning on him when he should have been studying in quiet and growing in the nurture and admonition of Y’hovah. 

Rav Sha’ul did it right, I think, and was an example that we should emulate. When he was converted on the Damascus road, he didn’t get put on the Nazarite lecture circuit. He didn’t immediately go on a concert tour to promote his new album of ‘Jesus-freak’ music. In Israel, there may not have been a more famous anti-missionary than Paul. He was the top student of the top rabbi in the land. He was the most successful anti-missionary hit-man there was – a Pharisaic ‘James Bond’, as it were. (“Saul. Saul of Tarsus, Agent 001. Licensed to imprison.”) The Notzrei were scared to death of him and for good reason; he had open arrest warrants from the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that Ananias tried the Spirit (1Jn.4.1) that gave him the command to go meet him and lay hands on him for healing. Paul gives us the timeline in Gal.1.13ff,

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the kahal of Elohim, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased Elohim, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 

He went to Arabia for basic training from Ruach haKodesh before he went to the synagogue in Damascus to study Torah and show the rabbis Messiah in the scriptures, which would have gotten him killed had he not written the book on persecution of the kahal. Imagine the personal Yeshiva with the Ruach of Messiah in Arabia! On Sinai?

Have you ever wondered why Saul was so successful at arresting Notzrei? If one were a Jewish follower of Yeshua (and there were absolutely NO gentile believers at the time), where would he be on Shabbat? In the synagogue hearing Torah read and discussed. Unless they were very wealthy, they had no Torah scrolls among themselves. So all Sha’ul had to do was go to the synagogues and round up the ‘Jesus-freaks’, who were all Torah observant. They would obey Y’hovah’s Word even at risk of life and liberty. THAT is faith, my friends – to go despite one’s fear to where there was a virtual certainty of arrest and possibly death (Stephen had been stoned already). But, if you wanted to obey Y’hovah, that was what you needed to do. Would we go to shul under those conditions? 

I would hope so, but in America there has never been a need for worry – YET! That may change soon and suddenly. One morning, you’ll have religious liberty, the next – gone! I see the political landscape of April 2009, and I see our ability to practice our faith about to be squeezed out of existence. In fact, our liberty to even HAVE our faith privately to ourselves, much less in public, is about to be taken from us. “Hate-speech”, AKA preaching and teaching the Word of Y’hovah, is about to become a crime. What we think and believe is about to be policed by ‘authorities’ that have no Constitutional authority to police what we think and say (1st Amendment). “Thought-Police” will soon be at our doors, arresting us for ‘thought-crimes’. Hello, George Orwell. Pleasure to make your acquaintance – NOT!

We need to think soberly, i.e., coolly and rationally, about our place in the kahal. Are we ready to teach? Are we ready to serve in another capacity? Maybe it’d be best if we were taught, growing in the nurture and admonition of Yah for a while, & then serve. Q&C

V.4 – A part of thinking soberly is to look around and see who is best suited to which position in the assembly. Hopefully we do this with our children and we build around their natural talents and abilities. Why would we think it should be different in our kahal? There are varying gifts given in varying degrees in various people. Part of the nurturing process is to determine who is suited for what and to build up that area of his walk, ‘train up a child’ and all that. Remember that Paul is still addressing the gentile believers and their relationship with the rabbis and their (the rabbis) leadership of the synagogue. Spiritual gifts are about to be discussed in that light. Passages about spiritual gifts can be found in 1Cor.12 and Eph.4, but Eph.4.11ff is the better parallel to Rom.12.4ff as it deals more with positions within the kahal than the manifestations of the Spirit. Both the gifts of ministry and the ‘sign’ gifts are important, for they each have the same purpose.

What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d like an answer. (Wait for it) The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is the edifying of the body. Each gift is needed to build the kahal into the image of Messiah, and by that I mean not just the local assembly, but the entire organic body of Messiah in the world. Each person is given each of the gifts of the Spirit in varying degrees. Some prophecy, some help, some are hospitable, some speak in tongues, etc. Each is also given the gift that is most suited to him in the measure it is needed in his congregation. Some are pastors, some are apostles (sent out ones – missionaries to others in need of the gospel or instruction in right living, like Sha’ul), some are teachers. All are for the ‘perfecting of the saints’, ministering to the needs of other kehalim (assemblies) and individuals, and building up the faith of the brethren and their families until when? 

Eph.4.13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Eloha, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Messiah:

Given the state of the ‘church’ today, how long do you think this will take? It need not take that long, if we’ll accept other believers’ giftings and both teach them what they need and learn from them what we need to be made more perfect in the faith and in faith-fulness. To do this takes humility to listen to what people have to say and glean the truth from within the error they hold to. NONE of us has it all correct. Not even this author (though I hate to admit it). We need to actively listen, not just to shoot down errant teachings (that’s the easy part), but to find truth that we may not yet have understood. Sometimes, that truth may go 1800 from what we’ve been taught. Are we ready to do an about face on our preconceptions and the attitudes we’ve learned to accept the truth from someone we considered an heretic, if it proves true? Am I saying that even Benny Hinn might have something to teach me? As much as I would hate to say it, he could have a salient understanding hidden somewhere among all that tripe that I would never have come upon myself. This takes an open mind to the truth, from whatever source it may come. For this reason, I am loathe to dismiss anyone’s ideas until he proves to be a total reprobate. I DO need to be careful to check words against THE Word, but I also need to be open to the truth of Y’hovah. I mean, I’ll even hear what Sam or Gary have to say.

V.5-8 – Every one members one of another. We are interconnected. What happens to any one of us affects every other one of us and all of us. You may be the right hand and I the left buttock, but if something happens to me it will affect you, and our entire body. It is hard for a body to live without an essential part (like a left buttock), for as lowly as the part may be, when it is missing or not working to its accustomed efficiency, the whole body has to find a way to compensate, and becomes less effective. For that reason, we need to be watchmen for each other, warning each other of potential threats to the health and unity of the body.

Your gifts and my gifts will be different. Each gift is needed in each body. I believe that we are all gifted in every type of spiritual gift, but not all in the same measure in each gift. My strongest gift may be one thing and yours may be another, but we each are gifted in both areas. If my strongest gift is prophecy and yours is administration, that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn or receive a prophecy from you or that I can’t have a valuable suggestion to help you administer the body. We need to listen to each other about everything. This is why I don’t mind so-called ‘rabbit trails’ in our study time, because it is often the rabbit trail that Y’hovah uses to bring the greatest spiritual insight and is what everyone needed to hear and discuss. 

The gifts mentioned here are pretty much self-explanatory. But ‘giving, with simplicity’ may need some interpretation. Simplicity is from the grk Strong’s #

572 haplotes hap-lot’-ace from 573; singleness, i.e. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal):–bountifulness, liberal(-ity), simplicity, singleness. see GREEK for 573

Simple giving seems to mean singleness of mind, to be of service without thought of return. This is the way that Elohim gives us grace and faith, and salvation thereby. Our mind needs to be like Yeshua’s, which is like Avinu’s. 

Matt.6.24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

That is the simplicity with which we need to give – and live. Q&C

V.9-13 – Here begins a section of practical instructions on what walking with a renewed mind will look like. 

Love without dissimulation. Dissimulation = hypocrisy. The grk word is anupokritos; an = negation, hupo = underlying (hypo), krinos = critique or judgment. Y’hovah’s love is without underlying criticism, it is without reservation. That is our model for loving, especially the members of our body.

Abhor evil, cleave to good. To abhor is to hate vigorously, from the grk. apostugneto. Apo = the highest degree (apogee = furthest point of a body’s orbit), stugnetos = odious, hateful. Cleave is a funny word, because depending on its context it can mean exactly the opposite of itself. Cleave = hold tight; or cut away. Here it means the former. Grk. Kollao = to glue things together. I wonder if there is an etymological relation to kalle, to call.

Kindly affectioned, with brotherly love. Philostorgos and philadelpia are based in phileo, which is human affection or friendship. Remember Peter in Jn.21? Peter, do you agape me? I phileo you. Storge = familial affection; sibling to sibling, parent to child. So, philostorgos = actually liking your family – no small feat for many. Adelphos = from the womb, i.e.; brother. Philadelphia, then, means actually liking a brother – also, no small feat for many. IOW, we ought to interact as a loving family interacts. My family may be weird, but when we get together, we argue over the stupidest stuff. We holler and make recriminations, but when it’s all over we still like each other. In Messiah we are allowed to disagree, and sometimes vehemently disagree. But that disagreement should not be the source of hatred or bitterness one to another. Each has different experiences that shape his view of the world and of scripture. We ought to listen and calmly consider what the other is saying in light of truth before we dismiss it or them. 

In honor preferring one another. Time = a value or money paid. We are to value each other in Messiah above ourselves, as Messiah values each of us above himself. The word translated ‘preferring’ is Grk. 4285 proegeomai, to lead the way for others; in military parlance, to take the point. What does a ‘point man’ do for his platoon? He blazes a trail, he watches out for the enemy and warns the rest of the group of potential threats to their security, he subordinates his own well being to that of the others. 

Not slothful in business. Slothful is from Grk. 3636 okneros, which means tardy or indolent (lazy). Business does not mean necessarily that by which we earn a living. It is from Grk. 4710, spoude, (speedy?) eagerness, dispatch, earnestness. IOW, when Y’hovah moves on our hearts, we need to MOVE. This puts me in mind of the Olivet Discourse:

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

We need to be ready at all times to take off in obedience to Y’hovah’s commands, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Hence, the preparedness videos. We need to be ready to do as we are told when we are told. We try to train our children to do this, and it is for their protection. Same with Y’hovah and us. 

Fervent in Spirit. Zeo = hot, boiling liquid or glowing solid. I think the word may be related etymologically to zoe, life. Can you see how the two are related? If this were Hebrew instead of Greek, I’d say they ARE related by virtue of being built from the same letters. This may be a Hebrew word play that translates into greek. Something boiling surely looks to the casual observer to be full of life, like a fish on a hook. Maybe.

Serving Y’hovah. Our service to Y’hovah Yeshua should be characterized by all above (and below). Q&C

Vv.12-13 – Still looking at what our walk should look like. Rejoicing in hope. Biblically, hope is an earnest expectation of Y’hovah’s fulfilling his promises. Rejoicing is from Grk.5463, chairo which is the root for charis – good cheer, cheerful. 

Patient in tribulation. Patient = to stand under, from hupomeno. Meno is to stay in a given place or circumstance. Hupo, as we’ve seen before = under or behind. When we are tried, we need to endure and be steadfast. If we are rejoicing in hope, if we are living our lives based on what Y’hovah has promised us and not on what we see coming at us, we will be better able to stand what comes at us, and be witnesses to the grace of Y’hovah even in tribulation. Which will prove our faith, both to ourselves and to those who are watching, and will REALLY tick off those who are tribulating us. 

Continuing instant in prayer. Proskartereo is translated ‘Continuing instant’. Pros is the prefix of forward direction, or leading. Kartereo means to be strong or to endure. This phrase means we ought to lead immediately with prayer and to endure in it. We should be characterized by praying first, then waiting for direction and then doing what we are directed to do. The first thing we should be doing is praying, and continue in prayer until we get an answer. This may take no time at all, or it may take years. 

How urgently do we pray? When we see a situation arising, do we do what seems right to us, or do we take time to ask for Y’hovah’s direction? Prayer should be our first resort. Too often it is my last resort (even once is too often). I am preaching to myself, but if you want to take ownership of it yourself, feel free. I don’t mind. And I seriously doubt that Y’hovah will mind. In fact, I’m pretty certain he’ll be pleased. I think the more we lead with prayer and then wait for direction, the more immediate will be the response, because we will have more practice getting out of Yeshua’s way and following his lead. 

Vv.14 – Bless them which persecute you, bless and curse not. If ever there is a spiritual gift, this is it. THIS is not a normal human response to persecution. If you are being persecuted and bless the persecutor, how blessed will you be? This commandment from Paul points to the situation in the local synagogue in Rome, where the non-believing Jews were not very happy about the new gentile believers who were ‘infiltrating’ their kahal without going through the traditional conversion process as proselytes. Notice that just being able to not curse your persecutor is a blessing. Eulogeo literally translates as ‘speak well of’. David spoke well of Saul, would not allow his men to speak badly of him because Saul, as king, was Y’hovah’s anointed – moshiach. 1Sam24

1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which Y’hovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’ heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Y’hovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, Y’hovah’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of Y’hovah.

In this passage there are a couple of things that are interesting. One is that moshiach doesn’t mean ‘Saviour’ – as in Yeshua. Moshiach is anyone who is anointed. In Israel, the king and the priest were anointed to their offices. This anointing was done by pouring anointing oil on the new priest or king, the outpouring of the oil symbolizing the outpouring of Y’hovah’s Ruach on them. There is no evidence in the gospels that Yeshua was ever physically anointed as either king or priest in his days on earth. In fact, only Mary is said to have anointed him at all (Jn.11.2). One who is anointed by Ruach is able to bless his persecutors.

The other interesting thing in 1Sam.24 is that ‘skirt’ is from Heb. 3671, kanaph. This is the exact word used in Mal.4.2,

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

The word translated as ‘wings’ here is kanaph. Yeshua had healing in his kanaph, proven by the woman with the 12 year issue, who was immediately healed by touching the hem (kanaph), or wing, of his garment (Mat.9.20). I think this was the tzitzioth, fringe, of his tallith, prayer shawl. 

The King is also the healer of the breach between Judah and Israel. That healing is in his kanaph as well as in the ointment that is poured out on him. Both symbolize the Ruach HaKodesh. Q&C

V.15-17 – It is a lot easier for me to rejoice with them who rejoice than it is to weep with them who weep. It’s an American ‘guy’ thing, I think. We haven’t had to experience a lot of hardship in America. Even those whom we consider ‘poor’ are rich by the standards of most of the world’s people. Our ‘poverty stricken’ mostly have roofs over their heads, food on their tables (not to mention the tables the food is on) and at least 1 car. So rejoicing is pretty easy in America, because we are spoiled. So we don’t really know how to react to mourning and weeping and many of us just avoid it. When Jacob’s trouble comes, we will be unable to handle it as a people. Americans will panic and seek help from the quickest mollifying source available, which will naturally be the worst source – government. We don’t know how to mourn with them who mourn, weep with them who weep. We will learn. Do you think this may be why Israel has suffered so much over the years – to learn empathy and sympathy? Do you think we’ll learn quicker than they have?

V.16 – Be of the same mind – This phrase kind of restates the last verse in more general terms. It means to put yourself in their situation mentally. Think of what YOU would need if you were going through what others are going through and help them through it. 

Mind not high things – in context, this means to meet a need at the level it is on. If the need is physical or emotional, do what you can to meet it. People who have a material need don’t want you to say you’ll be praying for them – more often than not, that’s a Xian cop-out. They’ll believe you a lot more when you say you’ll pray for them if you actually meet the material or emotional need first. Sincere prayer is ultimately more important, but how sincere will your prayer be if you are unwilling to meet the material need? Out of sight, out of mind is a very true saying. “I’ll be praying for you, brother,” has a very hollow ring to me when most Xians say it. What did James say? “Show me your faith without works. I will show you my faith BY my works.” (Jms.2.18) It is not lost on folks in need. And if you are going to promise to pray, why not just do so right then? And meet their other needs on the spot, as well.

‘High things’ is from grk. 5308, hupselos, which is ‘lofty’ in place or character. We have a tendency to make ourselves out to be more than we really are. It’s a pride thing. We all to one extent or another build ourselves up in our own minds and then project that image of ourselves. This can be good or bad. I do it – hold up my ideal for myself, and then I try to live up to it. Sometimes I actually succeed and, when I do, those around me benefit. That’s good. When I don’t, they see I am just human and I can’t even hit MY target, much less Y’hovah’s. That can be bad, depending on the one watching. When we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we consequently think of others LESS highly than we ought, and we portray an attitude of condescension. 

But when it comes to dealing with others and their needs, we need to condescend to men of low estate. Sunapago = sun, with + apo, off or away + ago, lead or drive. So ‘condescend’ means to lead people or go off with people who are in life’s low points – to get down with them, not to be looking down from above. We are to condescend without being condescending. This is exactly what Y’hovah did in the person of Yeshua – he got down with us. Yeshua had the mind that we should have (Phil.2.5). We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to be like him, getting down to ‘brass tacks’, as it were. When we are led by the Spirit of Moshiach, we will do it.

Be not wise in your own conceits – This is the 2nd time Sha’ul used this phrase (11.25). The phrase own conceits is from the Grk 1438, heautou, which is the root word for himself (herself, etc.), in the context it would translate ‘yourselves’. The idea is that we ought not think ourselves wise by using ourselves as the basis for comparison. Wisdom is not self-approved or subjective. True wisdom is in the Word of Y’hovah, using it as our basis for comparison because we have no other truly objective truth to base it on. We need to judge ourselves by the Word, trying to be as ‘objective’ as possible. When we can be honest with ourselves about our knowledge and understanding of the Word of Y’hovah, THEN we can be truly objective in judgment; i.e., wise. When Paul says (1Cor.11) ‘examine yourselves’, by what does he mean us to do so? By Y’hovah’s Word, of course. 

V.17 – Recompence to no man evil for evilApodidomi means give away or give off. Evil in both uses is the grk. kakos, from which we get the English word cacophony – bad sound. Kakos is literally worthless. We are not to give back in kind, for that draws noone to Yeshua. 

Provide things honest in the sight of all menPronoeo means to exercise the mind before. Kalos means virtuous or valuable. Putting the 2 sentences together, we get “Don’t react to your enemy’s evil treatment, but consider that he will treat you that way and plan how you will respond to his evil treatment in such a way as to show forth Y’hovah’s love. 

But sanctify Y’hovah Elohim in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (I Peter 3:15)

That’s how to be a witness to the virtue of the gospel of peace (besorah hashalom). Q&C

Vv.18-21 – If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Why is this phrased this way? If it is possible? Why would it not be possible to live peaceably with all men? Probably because sometimes we allow people to just tick us off. I think the key phrase in this verse is the qualifying ‘as much as lieth in you’ – grk to ex humown – that which comes out of you. Ex has a root meaning of ‘out of’, not in. I think this means we are allowed to be inwardly peeved but we need to try to control our outward expression of that anger. In other words, when people in the congregation do or say things that make us angry, we need to try to let it roll off our backs like water from a duck. How often are we able to do that? And how are we able? Not often enough and only through the power of Ruach HaKodesh. If it were left strictly up to me, I’d verbally level the guy, and I do that often enough. But the Spirit of Y’hovah would have us let inadvertent or unintentional slights go, and to temper our anger at even the advertent and intentional slights from those who are less mature in Yeshua, or who do not know him at all.

The point of v.18 is expounded in v.19 – Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith  Y’hovah. The Hebrew word underlying the phrase ‘dearly beloved’ is dodi. That was just a gift for you, dodi. Paul commands us to not avenge ourselves, but to ‘give place to wrath’. ‘But’ is from alla, which means ‘exactly the opposite’. We are to give our wrath (grk. orge – guess what English word we get from orge) to Y’hovah and let him deal with our light work. He is so much better at the whole wrath thing, anyway. Our wrath is usually meant to harm the object thereof, while his is meant to reconcile the ‘perp’ to himself. If we are acting out of love for the brethren, we ought not lash out at every slight we perceive, but we ought to place our wrath with Ruach and let him bring ‘constructive retribution’.

Our attitude should be to serve, even when those we serve take advantage or use our service to harm us. When we serve those who would harm us, their condemnation is made that much more severe, because it is a witness to them of the agape of Y’hovah. Keep this in mind when we get to Ch.13, where the gentile brethren whom Paul addresses here are exhorted to ‘be subject to the higher powers’ in the synagogue. 

Can we be ‘overcome with evil’? I’ve shared how ‘cold’ doesn’t actually exist, haven’t I? I think in the same way, evil doesn’t really exist. As cold and darkness are the absence of energy, so evil is the absence of good or righteousness. Is.45.7 illustrates this idea;

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Y’hovah do all these.

Taken just as it is written, darkness was created with the formation of light and evil was created with the making of peace. What Y’hovah did was to ‘form’ light, to give it shape. The Hebrew word is yaszar, to mold into a form. To mold something it must have already been there. So when Y’hovah created light, the light just was, and it must have been everywhere. But when he yatsar’d it, he localized it. May I submit to you that Y’hovah is light, and in him is no darkness (or absence of light – 1Jn.1.5). Now Elohim may be light, but that doesn’t mean that light is Y’hovah. This sounds dangerously close to pantheism, does it not? The step from scriptural truth to paganism is very short, logically speaking. I mean it is a very short logical step to go from Elohim is light to the logical parallel that light is therefore Elohim. But the one side of the equation is true – Y’hovah is light. The other side is false – light is not Y’hovah. The difference is that light has no life in itself. It helps to sustain life, indeed is essential for life, but it has no life of its own. 

Light is a property of energy, as is heat. Energy is that which animates life, but energy has no life of its own. Both energy and light are given their properties by Elohim. He is the one who provides the energy that manifests to us as heat, light and life. So his Ruach is the source of all life. 

It can be said that energy, being the first ordered creation of Elohim, is the building block of all creation. And this can be proven by nuclear physics. When the weak nuclear force is removed (that which holds the atom’s nucleus together) the result is fission, the complete dissolution of everything affected at least to the sub-atomic level. When Yeshua removes his power from the creation it will dissolve, for Yeshua is both the Creator and sustainer of all things;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his (Yeshua’s) glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [Col.1]

The word translated ‘darkness’ here is skotos, and means ‘obscurity’. That is EXACTLY what the Hebrew word choshek (Gen.1.3) means. Nothing had form before Elohim gave it form. When Moshe and Sha’ul talk of ‘darkness’, they speak primarily about spiritual things, i.e.; lack of spiritual light. It is the same with ‘evil’. They speak primarily of lack of spiritual life and peace. And we overcome evil with peace, in context. 

Everything Paul exhorts us to in this chapter are the outworking of love from us. This is what love looks like. Q&C

Gilyahna 11 – In light of the temple, see who the builder is in 

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Y’hovah Tzavaoth, saying, Behold the man whose name haNetzer, the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Y’hovah: 13 Even he shall build the temple of Y’hovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zech.6.12-13).

There’s that BRANCH again. He not only builds the Temple, but then he sits on his throne and rules from there. Hmm!? Do you suppose this might be Y’hovah? But it is a man! How can that be? And how can a King also be a priest? Aren’t those separate offices that belong to separate tribes of Yisrael? Of course, we’ve already discussed this in our look at ZecharYah, but I just had to bring it up again, since there is confusion in Messianic circles about the person and nature of Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. Notice BRANCH and LORD are both in CAPS in the KJV. That is NOT a coincidence. The only use of ALL CAPS in KJV is to denote the covenant Name of Y’hovah.

John was ordered to measure the temple and given a reed to do it with, but then doesn’t do the measurement. I have no doubt that he did the measurement, but the results are not recorded. The next measurement is of the New Yerushalayim in ch.21. I think we already have the measurements of the Temple John saw in Yechezkel 40ff. I COULD be wrong .… But I doubt it.

42 months/1260 days is used twice in this chapter, once to discuss the time that the Gentiles will control the outer court and once to discuss the ‘ministry’ of the 2 witnesses. The amount of time is the same, so I believe these are contemporary to each other. There is also a reference to 3½ days that the witnesses lie dead in the streets of Yerushalayim. 42 months and 1260 days; each = 3½ years. Is there a connection? Could be, but I don’t know what it is. Any help from the peanut gallery would be appreciated. 

The 2 olive trees are not a problem to understand, as we’ve discussed earlier. But the 2 candlesticks are. There was only one candlestick in the tabernacle, there were ten in Solomon’s Temple and there is no record of how many were in the 2nd temple. Why 2 here? We have a possible answer in 

Rev. 21:22 (KJV)  

    And I saw no temple therein: for Y’hovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the temple of it. 

That’s just a thought. It really COULD be wrong. Moshe Koniuchowski’s Restoration Scripture notes say this:

The two witnesses are Judah and Efrayim, as both houses are ordained to rise up and teach truth during the Day of Y’hovah, during Yisrael’s 70th week. We know that these two witnesses are the two houses, because they are called two lampstands, or two menorahs. The seven congregations in Asia are called seven lampstands in Revelation 1:20. So each congregation of believers is one menorah. Therefore two lampstands are two congregations, or groups of believers. This confirms the entire revelation to Zachariah in chapter 4 of the two anointed olive trees who stand before Y’hovah. From each of these two houses comes one witness, or two individuals who represent the two houses. Moses from Judah(?), since Lewi was part of [the nation of] Judah(?), and Elijah from Efrayim. They do their ministry for 3½ years before being killed and then rising in Jerusalem. Y’hovah will never allow any true biblical witness in the earth without both Judah and Efrayim being the two chosen and faithful representatives of His truth.

That seems a plausible interpretation as well, except for 2 things, 1) that Moshe was not from Yehuda. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to include Moshe among Yehuda just because Levi sojourned more in Yehuda’s inheritance than Ephraim’s, especially after the division of the Kingdom 500-600 years after Moshe’s death. I guess I’m just a stickler for context. Also, 2) if the lampstands are two congregations and we are using Rev.2-3 as the basis for that interpretation, which 2 congregations are they? Thyatira and Laodicea? Smyrna and Philadelphia? It’s a stretch to use this scripture as the basis of your interpretation and then change the identities of the congregations to Yehuda and Ephraim, names that show up nowhere in the text. I am not saying it CAN’T be right, only that I see it as a stretch. I have no problem with the trees being Ephraim and Yehuda. Neither do I have a problem with the candlesticks being Ephraim and Yehuda. I have a problem with them being ID’d as Moshe/Eliyahu AND Ephraim/Yehuda. Especially since neither Ephraim nor Yehuda spouted fire. I know that they perform the same miracles that Moshe and Eliyahu did, but does that mean they are Moshe and Eliyahu? Is there anywhere in scripture that SAYS the two are M&E? Not that I recall. That has been an interpretation of the church for a lot of years – centuries, even; and it may even be right (blind squirrel?). But it ain’t certain. Let’s not make our interpretations into certainties. We may be disappointed and lose faith, as WILL happen when the pre-trib rapture turns into a bust for those expecting it.

The 2 witnesses are killed by the beast that ascends from the pit – Abaddon. 

Rev. 9:11 (KJV)  

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 

The beast and false prophet have no such power, and are foiled throughout the Great Tribulation until this destroying angel kills them. It could well be that, if the two witnesses are Ephraim and Yehuda, all of us (IF we are the 144K) will be killed and lie in the streets of Yerushalayim 3½ days, only to be resurrected and called up to meet Y’hovah in the air. This date will be Yom T’Ruah, the day of trumpets, some year soon. BTW, it just occurred to me that the 144,00 who had been killed and resurrected at the end of Elul in the year of the Final trumpet blast announcing Yom T’Ruah, COULD be the angels that Yeshua will send to gather the remnant of his seed to witness his offer of Shalom to the olam hazeh [Ps.27.4-5] and then to wipe out all those who refuse.

While we are lying around the city awaiting our awakening, everybody who has had to endure the judgments are throwing parties and sending gifts all over the world in celebration, watching us lie there on worldwide HDTV, taunting us (as if we could hear – or CARE). FEDEX, DHL and UPS will be making a ‘killing’, pun intended, on our deaths. The party will end abruptly when we all stand up and are called audibly, taken up into heaven and disappear from their sight – all in vibrant living color for everyone to see. Everyone will say in unison, “Ooo! THAT can’t be good!”

At that exact moment there will be an earthquake like there never was before in Yerushalayim. 7000 die in it. That number is unthinkable in a modern, first-world, western city. It prompts the remnant to give glory to Y’hovah. This remnant cannot be unbelievers who lived through the quake, they MUST be the believers who are left after the 2 witnesses were killed. Imagine the depression that might come over believers when their champions are killed and left in the streets for 3½ days. Then, suddenly they are resurrected and at that exact moment a 10.0 quake strikes to punctuate the event! If you were one of those believers, I think you would sing praises to Y’hovah just to let the pagans know who is REALLY in charge.

And just to make the point that much clearer to us, v.14 tells us the last woe is coming quickly. And what does the angel say? He ALSO gives glory to Y’hovah, telling the inhabitants of the earth that all the kingdoms of the earth are in HIS control, not theirs. The believers were elated. The pagans must go into a funk. Even their champion can’t kill the witnesses and make them stay dead. Despair must abound.

Meanwhile in heaven, the 4 and 20 are worshipping and announcing the glory of Y’hovah, which is about to be revealed in his wrath – the 10 days of awe before Yeshua’s final return to the Mount of Olives to defeat the world’s armies at Har Megiddo. Reward and punishment are on the horizon.

Why is the ark exposed in heaven? I think it’s because all the judgment that’s about to come down on the inhabitants of the earth, all the wrath that Elohim has been storing up for all these millennia, will be tempered by the compassion shown at Y’hovah’s mercy seat. Even as wicked as the earth has become, and as much worse it will become in the Great Trib, Y’hovah’s mercy is going to temper his wrathful judgment, and the pagans will not receive even a small fraction of the wrath they’ll deserve – even as we haven’t received a minuscule fraction of the wrath we deserve. Q&C

End of Midrash notes.

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