September12, 2015 ShabbatBible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 26
Devarim (Dt.) 4:1-49 – YeshaYahu (Is.) 40:1-25 – Tehellim (Ps.) 123 – Luka 3:1-20
Devarim 4.1-19 – In ch.4 Moshe is giving the preamble to the repetition of Torah to Israel, focusing on the 10 Words. There will be a few Toroth that were not mentioned previously in the recapitulation of the Covenant and the commandments, which doesn’t mean they weren’t known or understood; only that they weren’t mentioned before. ‘Statutes’ is H2706, chukim, decrees from Yehovah that were not, and may still not be, understood. But we do not need to understand Yehovah’s decrees, all we need to do is obey them. Judgments are mishpatim, which are decisions of Yehovah related to his commandments or ordinances that were not specifically mentioned as he gave the covenant. The mishpat to stone the man found gathering sticks on shabbat is a judgment, while the chuk to wear tzitzioth to remind us to observe his covenant commandments are examples of Toroth that were not given in his covenant, b’rithow, of Ex.20-31. Moshe reveals more of these in Deuteronomy. It will be well for us to remember this as Moshe recounts the Toroth to Israel before his death and their crossing Yarden to inherit their promised Land that Yehovah Elohay avothaychem – ‘your (pl.) Eloha of your fathers’ – was giving them.
I make the point above to say that Yehovah added his mishpatim and chukim to his mitzvot, as it was necessary but that WE may not add to them. We may form traditions and teach them to our children that make it more or less natural for us and them to observe his commandments, but to give those traditions the same weight as the Toroth themselves is to transgress the very Toroth the traditions were designed to help us observe. This was the source of Yehovah Yeshua’s indignation (and consequently Yochanan bar ZakharYah’s) at the religious leaders of Israel in his days walking the earth, as we will see in microcosm in Lk.3.
Moshe reminded them that those who followed the doctrine of Bila’am died in the matter of Ba’al Peor (Num.25), but those who remained faithful to Yehovah and did not take women of Moav were all there to hear his words this day. He will give us another glimpse into this same type of sin a little later in this chapter. Moshe gave them these chukim and mishpatim so that they could observe them in haAretz. By observing them, they would prove to the nations around them the chochmah and binah, wisdom and understanding, that they had as a result. [If you look at the top level of the Tree of Sefiroth (http://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm) you will see that the combination of chochmah and binah imparts da’ath, knowledge, to the tzadik, and makes him fit to wear the Keter, crown. Yeshua is our tzadik who makes us able to become tzadikim, and to wear the crowns he will give us in the Kingdom, when we will reign as co-regents with him.] When the nations see our chochmah and binah they will want it and the Elohim who gave it, as well. They will recognize that we are intrinsically no different than they and that it is only application of the da’ath that Yehovah Elohenu gives us that makes us different. And they will also want Yehovah as their Elohim. So we need to be diligent to keep ourselves separate from the works of the pagan/heathen nations around us, which is impossible in our own strength, but by Yehovah Yeshua’s Spirit in us we can be MORE than conquerors.
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Eloha’s elect? Eloha that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? Moshiach that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of Eloha, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Moshiach? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Eloha, which is in Moshiach Yeshua our Master. (Rom.8.32-39)
How do we guard ourselves diligently, if not by knowing his Toroth? For it is transgression of his Toroth that is sin.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also Torah: for sin is the transgression of Torah. (1Jn.3.4)
Not only that, but when we teach our children the righteousness of Yehovah in his Toroth, we also teach ourselves. Noone learns as well as when he teaches, because he reinforces what he already knows when his teaching calls to his students minds questions about the subject matter and he is able to make application for the student, as in the case of the man who gathered sticks and the question of how to deal with him. In vv.10-14, Moshe recalls the day or Sinai to their attention again the voice from hashamayim (the heavens), the shaking of the earth, and the fire on the mountain.
If you don’t want your children to hear about images, as they relate to pagan worship and, specifically, pornography, now would be the time to put on your headphones or send them to a different room. I’ll give you a few seconds to remove the young kids, if that is your wish.
In vv.15-19 he speaks of idolatry, worshipping an image or representation of anything in the whole creation as if it was a god. They had not SEEN Yehovah Elohenu, so how could they make any representation of him to worship? In v.16, he gets specific about the images that were worshipped by the Canaanites. The Canaanites worshipped the human form, in particular the sex organs, and made images of them to which to bow down. This is the root of our fascination with pornography. When the KJV speaks of an ‘image’ or a ‘pillar’, it speaks of Ba’al worship and the image of the male organ. There are various representation of this seen in the world, but the best known is the ‘obelisk’, which represents an uncircumcised penis. Israel was not to bow down to this, as it is not a god, and it implies a desire to NOT be set-apart to Yehovah in the manner that he has commanded. This was one reason that Yehovah held Moshe hostage until Tzipporah CCd their children on the trip back to Egypt from Midian.
24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that Yehovah met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Tzipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband, because of the circumcision. (Ex.4.24-26)
He had not circumcised his sons, I think, in order to keep peace with his wife. I also think that this is why Tzipporah got to do the CCing, and why we don’t hear about her again until Ex.18.2, and never again after that. I think she went home to Yithro’s house and only came to visit when Yithro did; returning again with him, never to see Moshe again. She may not have even stayed as long as Yithro did, because she is not directly mentioned again (though she may have been [and I think was] Moshe’s ‘Ethiopian’ wife that Miriam murmured about in Num.12). Point being that if Moshe did not set-apart his own sons, how could he represent Yehovah to Paroh and, more importantly, to Israel?
Almost 35 years ago, I acted out of ignorance of this very thing with my 1stborn son, purposely NOT CCing him out of a literalist view, born of false church doctrine, of
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of Eloha. (I Corinthians 7:19)
How could I not have seen that CC is a commandment of Yehovah, so how could the physical act NOT be something? That verse speaks of some tradition, not the commandment to CC a son on the 8th day of his life. I repent of that decision today, and say HalleluYah! that that son and his wife took the commandment of Yehovah to heart and had our own 1stborn grandson CCd. I did not understand at that time that Paul was speaking of the then-present (and STILL-present) practice of CC being the final step of full conversion to Yehudism from another religion. This was the point, also, of the Netzari beit din in Acts 15; whether a man had to make full conversion to Yehudism BEFORE he could be allowed into the Way and hear Torah read in the Temple and synagogues.
V.16 also speaks about making an image of the female organs, which is what a ‘grove’ was/is (Bohemian Grove included). A grove was a place to worship Ishtar/Ashtoreth/Easter and any other pagan god man desires. All the groves, pillars and high places were worship centers for various and sundry false elohim. Do you see how the pillars, groves and high places where sex was worshipped was diametrically opposed to the Torah of Yehovah, and quite probably the source of pornography in our day?
If pornography is a problem in your life, you need to repent of it, turn away from it and to Yehovah in this area of your life. This applies to any sin in your life or mine. I only speak to pornography specifically because it is VERY prominent in the world and has become AS prominent in the lives of believers as it is in the world. And, in the western world, how can it NOT be? Everywhere you look are advertisements that don’t sell the products they purport to be about, but sex via pornography. In western Europe it’s even worse than America – for now, thanks to some Puritan left-overs in American minds. Change is coming, here too.
Sin, even the sin of pornography, is not what cuts us off from the Book of Life. But if we continue in the practice of this, or ANY, sin, we get to ‘bear our iniquity’, which means to suffer the physical consequences of our actions. Remember that ALL sin is transgression of Torah, and Paul tells us that the wages of any and every sin is the same in Rom.6.23. A believer who engages in sin may repent of it, confess it to the one who is harmed by it, and be reconciled to that person (ultimately Yehovah), or he may suffer the physical punishment due for that sin. But a believer who sins is NOT cut off from the master who bought him. If he was, we would all be cut off from him, for there is NOONE who does not sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I Yochanan 1:8-9)
Forgiveness of a sin against us implies not holding it against the one who transgressed and has been forgiven, as Yehovah does with our sins
As far as the east is from the west, [THAT] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12)
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their [our] sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)
I, [even] I, [am] he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Is. 43:25)
There is no end of ‘from the east to the west’, and I picture the Mariana’s Trench, the deepest depth there is in the oceans, where absolutely no light filters through, so the sin is unseen, blotted out of his memory and forgotten by an act of Yehovah’s will.
You can bring the young ‘uns back now, if you’d like.
But that is not the only form of idolatry there is. Men also make images of created things, animals, angels, plants, rocks and such, as objects of worship. They bow down to celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, and representations of things in their minds. Man is, at his essence, a religious being. He knows that there is something greater than himself and naturally seeks him. It is OUR job to direct him towards his Creator, Yehovah Yeshua, and away from created things. We do that primarily by NOT worshipping what is the work of Yehovah’s hands, and BY worshipping the Yehovah who did the work. When they see how different we are from the rest of the world, they will react in one of 3 ways; 1) desire for the righteousness they see in our lives, 2) indifference to the difference, or 3) disdain and hatred for us because of the conviction the difference in us engenders in them. Believe it or not, it is the indifferent man who is hardest to reach with the Truth. Q&C
Vv.20-22 – An iron crucible is that which is heated for the purpose of purifying gold. The purpose of the heat of hardship and want is to burn off the impurities in our lives. Had Elohim not put Israel into the hardships of bondage, but allowed them to multiply into a great nation in luxury they would never have accepted the restrictions Torah would place on them. The reason people rebel against Torah is their basic idolatry – refusal to give up the natural and habitual desires of the flesh. We are not given absolute freedom while in this physical, mortal body, for we would spend our time in its baser pursuits. We are given liberty within the strictures of Yehovah’s Torah to live within its guidelines.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Yakov.1.22-25)
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12)
He brought them through Egypt so that they could learn restraint and that there was but one Yehovah Eloha, and that there is no other Eloha except him.
Speculation Warning!!! Moshe once more passes the buck onto Israel: but as we said last week, he said “Yehovah was angry with me FOR YOUR SAKES”. It may be that, as Yehovah laid our sins on our tzadik rebbe, Yeshua, FOR OUR SAKES so that we could enter into life, so he laid their sin on Moshe, their tzadik rebbe as a shadow of Yeshua’s work, so that Israel could enter the land. As Yeshua had to die on this side of the border of mortality and immortality for OUR SAKES, so Moshe had to die on his side of Yarden, the border between exile and full redemption for THEIR SAKES – all this done as a type of Yeshua’s death on the tree.
For ye know the grace of our Master Yeshua haMoshiach, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2Cor.8:9)
End of Warning. Beware the SHTUFF that emerges from this guys mouth, though. Just sayin’.
Vv.23-24 – So, since Moshe is not going over and will not importune Yehovah about it again, he exhorts them to be careful to not descend into idolatry, which he KNOWS is very easy for men to do, since the worship of ANYTHING other than Yehovah qualifies, and that Yehovah is a very jealous Eloha.
Vv.25-28 – But when they DO descend into idolatry… Moshe prophesied that they WOULD ‘idolatrize’ [a word that I ‘coined’, you may use it – for a fee] and that Yehovah already had a way of escape for them. All they would need to do was humble themselves, seek his face, turn from their wickedness and ask his forgiveness and that he would hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal them and their land. Shades of 2Chronicles 7.14, eh? Now Yehovah’s ‘soon’ (v.26) is not like our soon. He is without time, and ‘soon’ is a term that is wrapped up in time. As it turns out, ‘soon’ in this case actually went almost 800 years for Israel and 950 for Yehudah. It took that long for v.27 to come to pass. Prophetically, that is the same ‘day’ that they went awhoring with other elohim, just like the ‘day’ in which Adam sinned he died. To Adam, it was 950 years from his fall to his death and to Israel it was about 950 years from their idolatrizing to their dispersion into the nations. It was ‘soon’ to Yehovah, who gave Israel ‘time’ to repent [I think the main purpose for time]. How many religions of the world have a god who will wait a whole prophetic ‘day’ for his people to turn back to him before he sends them the punishment he promised? With that time reference, he was more than twice as quick to fulfill his promised inheritance to Avraham for his faithfulness. We think that his promise must come quickly in OUR frame of reference. That MAY happen, but is not necessarily the case.
When he finally brings the diaspora, he promises we will serve other elohim, as they served the elohim of Egypt by their forced labors. That service in Egypt may or may not have been voluntary, at first. The same may be true of the service we render to other elohim in the world’s system. Are we not serving other elohim whether wittingly or unwittingly. Our tax systems are a result of our idolatry, are they not? Did we expect the government to provide services that were not originally its to provide. For instance, In 6.4ff, what does Yehovah command us?
4 Hear, O Israel: Yehovah our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love Yehovah thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Dt.6.4-7)
And what does it say about our children’s education in Proverbs?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yehovah. (Ephesians 6:4)
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Moshiach Yeshua. (II Timothy 3:15)
When we put them into a government [or government approved] school are we not giving our children to the elohim of that government? They WILL be taught what the government wants them taught, not necessarily what you want them to know. And they will spend ¼ – ⅓ of their day immersed in that wicked system. Then another ¼ – ⅓ of the day in bed. We can’t EVEN get equal time. Is this not, at least symbolically, like making our children pass through the fire to Molech? That government school’s JOB is to turn your children into pagans. And they do a GREAT job of it. It’s done it to 3 of my nieces (so far) and 2 of my nephews whose parents are at least nominally believers. 2 of the nieces and 1 of the nephews are the children of leaders in their church. One went to a religious school that turned him into an atheist. If you want your children to grow in the nurture and admonition of Yehovah, do NOT give them to the government schools. Most assuredly don’t PAY the government schools to turn your children against Yehovah. A child may slip through the cracks of the government’s indoctrination system, but most will be stolen from you while you are looking the other way. You may think it is the government’s place to educate your children, but the Constitution says differently (education is prominent by its omission) and I think I’ve already shown that Yehovah agrees.
Vv.29-40 – So, here we are in exile from the land promised to our father Avraham. What does Yehovah say to us? if we seek him with all our heart and soul he will be found and when we seek him diligently he will hear our cry for deliverance. Not only that, but he will return to us the years of which we were robbed. No nation had ever been taken from the midst of another, but Israel was. No nation ever heard the voice of Yehovah out of the midst of the fire on the mount Sinai, but Israel did. Moshe reminded them that they had seen the fire on the mountain, heard the voice from the heavens, felt the earth tremble at Yehovah’s presence at Sinai.
None had ever heard of or experienced such things as the miraculous deliverance of Israel when Amalek attacked at Rephidim, or the Amorite kings Og and Sihon attacked Israel on the plains east of the Yarden, that they utterly destroyed those kings without receiving so much as a scratch in battle themselves. Because Yehovah was faithful in all this to Israel, Moshe said that Israel needed to be faithful to Yehovah. And they were (except Achan at Ai). For that reason, Moshe admonished them to stay true to Yehovah’s chukim and mitzvoth that their days would be long in the land Yehovah was giving them forever. The way v.40 reads to me is that even when they idolatrize and are sent to exile, the land is still theirs kal hayamiym – all the days (KJV says forever).
Vv.41-49 – Moshe separated the cities of refuge on the east side of Yarden, I suppose so that they would be available while the fighting men were off gallivanting on the west side of the Yarden. He also laid out the basic borders of the inheritances on the east side. Q&C
YeshaYahu 40.1-25 – Chumash tells us that this passage is the turning point between passages of condemnation and retribution to those of comfort for the afflicted people and nation. Most of the prophecies of the first 39 chapters are mostly warnings of suffering to come for an idolatrous nation, while the last 27 chapters are mostly promises that Yehovah will not utterly forsake Israel and will eventually send the righteous judge and ruler, the righteous high priest and king Moshiach.
The chapter opens with a command that the prophets speak double comfort to Yisrael because 1) he was covering both houses’ exiles and 2) both houses of the nation Israel suffered double condemnation. Why would Israel suffer double for her iniquities? The sages of Yehudism had various interpretations, which are given concisely in Chumash on pp.1020-21. All are salient. Paul intimates why in
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (I Timothy 5:17)
If the elders that rule well are worthy of double honour, are not those who rule wickedly worthy of double dishonour? And as far as Israel is concerned, she did not ‘rule’ well. She was given the oracles of Yehovah to share with the rest of the world, to teach Torah to the wicked, but instead she kept it to herself and then didn’t live it out herself. It may have been one thing to not reach out to the wicked and yet live Torah before them, but to not even live it so the wicked could see what a wonderful Elohim Yehovah is by a witness of his gracious blessings on his obedient children, they actually ASKED for double trouble. They wouldn’t take Torah to the Nations and they wouldn’t witness to the graciousness of Yehovah by their lifestyle of Torah observance. Do our lives witness Torah to the world? Do our words match our lives? Yehovah Yeshua’s bride will rule the Millennial Kingdom well as co-regents with him over their areas of authority.
vv.3-5 – This is the passage that Yochanan bar ZacharYah quoted when the priests and Levites asked him if he was Moshiach (Jn.1), opening the Messianic aspect of this chapter. NOTICE, please, that the way is opened for Yehovah that is a straight Way of Elohenu: and that a certified prophet of Yehovah applied this as referring to Moshiach: and then he referred to Yeshua as Moshiach; the one whose shoe latchets Yochanan was not worthy to unloose. If A=C and B=C, then A=B. Moshiach Yeshua is Yehovah in the flesh. Here’s the passage from Yochanan 1
19 And this is the record of Yochanan, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Moshiach. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of Yehovah, as said the prophet YeshaTahu. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Moshiach, nor EliYahu, neither that prophet? 26 Yochanan answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. Yochanan 1.19-27
Notice, please, that ‘the Jews’ SENT priests and Levites who were Pharisees to inquire (make inquisition) of Yochanan. ‘The Jews’, then, were not the people of Israel, but the political rulers of the religion in Yerushalayim. PLEASE understand this when reading Yochanan. He does not make any condemnatory statements about beit Ya’acov as a whole, but ONLY the wicked rulers of the religion in Yerushalayim; the very people whom Yeshua also excoriated for their hypocrisy.
Vv.6-11 – Every valley exalted, every hill brought low, crooked paths made straight; sounds like my younger days on Friday afternoons in the car between Cedarville and my soon to be lovely bride; a 200 mile trip I would make in about 3 hours while the national speed limit was 55 mph. I was almost on a first-name basis with the highway patrol officers. But that isn’t what YeshaYahu meant. He meant something more in line with those who think they’re all that and a bag of chips will be given their come-uppance, and those who are humble will be given leadership, and the truth that’s been twisted and rent from its context will be made very plain (in every sense of the word) so that anyone can understand it. It’s speaking of our ministry of making the truth of Yehovah plain to the people who will populate Yeshua’s Kingdom.
All flesh is grass … the grass withers: the goodness of the flesh is a flower … the flower fades before Yehovah’s Ruach: the Word of Yehovah stands l’olam. Zion will ascend the High mountain (Temple Mount? the only place on earth to which one can make aliyah from anywhere on the earth – even the summit of Mt. Everest.), Yerushalayim will sing for joy when Master Yehovah’s Right Arm rules from Zion. He will gather his flock to him; feed, protect and guide them in their work to teach the people his Torah.
Vv.12-18 – speak of the incomparability of Yehovah to anything men can even imagine. He is unknowable, the Ayn Soph, beyond our mortal ability to comprehend. We use human terms to try to get our minds around what our Creator has to be, and we fail quite well. We try to convey his greatness by anthropomorphizing him – the cup of one of his hands more than contains all the waters of the earth; the span of one hand contains all the stars of the heavens. And all those stars are insufficient to fill that single span.
Vv.19-20 – And because we cannot comprehend his omnipotence, omnipresence, and omni-everything, we attempt to make things that we can control and invest them in our own minds with some part of Yehovah’s attributes. We take some pot-metal, melt it down and cast it into the likeness of some ‘thing’. We take it to a goldsmith and have it electroplated to appear to be made of the most precious stuff we know. But it is base metal, not precious. Mark Call calls it 80/20, the mixture of truth with deception, but he is too kind. We bow down to stuff that is much closer to 1 part truth and 99 deception, as long as the truth is enough to disguise the lie to the casual observer. But electroplate is very thin and will wipe away very quickly: the gold is soft and thin enough that a cheap pot-metal coin will scratch it away, exposing the base. If the idolater can’t afford enough base metal to cast an image, he’ll get the densest wood he can afford and carve himself an idol to bow down to. I think of creation/evolution as a prime example. The deception of evolutionary religion’s hypothesis is obvious to anyone using Newton’s scientific method of observation and cataloguing of data. Idolatry is as idolatry does. It doesn’t matter what is the nature of the false eloha, it is false and impotent. How can idolaters mistake their man-made toys with the omnipotence of the creator that they all KNOW in their hearts is there? Pride? Arrogance? Abject stupidity? That is what all man-made religions engender; evolution, socialism, mercantilism, ‘idolism’; all require blind adherence to lies.
V.22 speaks of Yehovah ‘sitting on the circle of the earth.’ We, in our arrogance, think that those who lived millennia ago did not know that the earth is round. This was a myth put out by the churches of western Europe after they drove Yehudism into the background and the dark ages ensued. And that ignorance lasted until some scientists, attempting to know Yehovah better saw some things that didn’t fit the dogma of the unholy mother church and dared to publish their findings. Once again, falsehood based in man-made religion that was forced on the people by the PTB caused all manner of ignorance to prevail for an entire millennium. They actually taught that the earth is flat when the scripture itself says right here that it is round. I joke that it’s round, like a pizza. It’s FLAT like a pizza, too! But since the church of the dark ages didn’t allow people to read the Light of the Word for themselves, it held control over all power. They taught that ancient mariners didn’t go out to sea far enough to lose sight of the shore for fear of falling off the edge. That was truth for those who wrote books and never ventured out of their villages or cities. And that truth was deception. But it helped the purveyors of deception maintain control over the mushroom patch – keep them in the dark and feed them excrement. Today’s deceivers use a 24-hour news cycle to keep us informed of all the deception they want us to know.
But, if you keep your mind and heart in the scripture, you will not be so easily deceived. You will know the truth of Yehovah, who cannot be likened to anything in his creation.
Tehellim 123 – As servants we look to Yehovah Elohenu, who stretched out the stars as the span of his right hand and who holds all the water in the hollow of that same hand. I think I’ve placed enough contempt on the idolaters who make the creation their eloha. Q&C
Luka 3.1-20 – The opening verses are a time indicator that places the time of the Pharisees coming out to make inquisition of Yochanan to a certain 3 years, about 28-32 CE. All these tetrarchs, governors and kings were only in power at the same time in those years. The 15th year of Tiberius Caesar was 28-29 CE, according to the Roman calendar, as translated to Gregorian reckoning.
What follows is a quick look at the ministry of Yochanan bar ZacharYah, haMatbeel. I am going to look at it from the perspective of a harmony of the synoptic gospels. I use the Thompson Chain Reference Bible’s “Tree of Yeshua’ Life” as an outline in my study of the life of Yeshua haMoshiach. This is taken from that work ©2001-2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries. I have recently revised it according to new insights into the subject.
The Ministry of Yochanan the Immerser – Mat.3.1-12, Mk.1.1-8, Lk.3.1-18. Here are three different perspectives on the same events in the life of Moshiach. We’ll see a lot of these from now on. Let’s look at the similarities and the differences in each account. Each account has Yochanan in the wilderness, which shows the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3,
“3The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yhwh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim.”
The desert highway spoken of is the holy highway of Isaiah 35:8,
“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The Way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it is for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
This is a prophecy of the Kingdom age, which Yeshua came to offer to Yisrael. We’ll see throughout the gospel of Matthew that Yeshua proclaimed the Kingdom of heaven and offered himself as King, but the Jews, “official” Yisrael, rejected him. Yochanan was the forerunner of the kingdom of heaven. Only Matthew’s gospel has Yochanan localized to the wilderness of Judea. This is due to the emphasis laid in Matthew on the King of the Jews. There is no contradiction, just more detail. Each account has him immersing for the remission of sins – that is cancellation of the debt, charge or penalty of our actions. This is not what has come to be known as ‘believer’s baptism’, though many claim it to be. Believer’s baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. We have been immersed in Ruach haKodesh, and are identifying before men that we are dead to sin and the world and raised to life in Moshiach. This was a mikvah to fulfill Torah requirements, to remove some defilement that was NOT necessarily a sin: for example, washing one’s body and clothes after one has handled a corpse or the ashes of an offering, such as the red heifer (Num.19). Each passage has the account of Yochanan telling of the one to follow whose shoes he isn’t worthy to touch, who will baptize with fire and the Ruach ha Kodesh, as we shared earlier. Yochanan tells us that water baptism is inferior to the baptism of the Ruach ha Kodesh, of which we are all partakers who know Yeshua as Master Yehovah and Saviour. Even THAT, though, does not negate the obedience to the Torah for sin offerings and the associated mikvoth. Moshiach ben David, Y’hovah Yeshua, will do mikvah before he offers animal offerings in the Millennial Temple, not to make atonement, but to make himself able to offer due to minor transgressions of Torah that he MUST do as Kohen haGadol in order to do the service of the Temple. All High Priests performed ‘sin offerings’ every day for their own transgressions of more minor Toroth before he could perform the more major Toroth.
The description of Yochanan is given in two accounts, dressed in camel’s hair with a leather (or skin) girdle about his loins, and eating locusts and wild honey. In Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts he is in the wilderness of Judea and all Judea and Jerusalem came out to him, while in Luke’s he is in the wilderness and people from all around Jordan came to him. Again, the differences are but of degree of detail, as are most so-called ‘problems’ with scripture, and the details are put in for the unique audience of the letter.
Matthew and Luke give the account of the ‘generation of vipers.’ In Luke he says it to the ‘multitude’ and in Matthew it is the Pharisees and Sadducees. The fact is that the religious leaders were coming in force to hear what he had to say for himself. Therefore, I think the religious leaders were the multitude to whom he spoke. In the gospel of Yochanan 1.19ff we see the confrontation from a different angle. He identifies the group as Pharisees, the ‘dispensationalist, pre-trib, pre-mill, fundamentalists’ of the day. They knew Torah and the prophets. He told them that he was not Moshiach, nor EliYahu, nor THAT Prophet, but that he was the ‘voice crying in the wilderness’ and that they should make straight or prepare the way of Yehovah. THAT tells me that they were teaching Torah with some dispy twists added. His next words tell them that Moshiach is coming after him, and that the axe is laid to the roots of the tree. He is warning them that if they don’t truly repent of their sins and the sins of Yisrael’s fathers, which are being visited on them, they will be cut off from the root. They, of course, are too full of pride to recognize their own peril.
Isn’t it amazing that Yochanan saw the argument they would use against Yeshua in Jn.8.39? “We know who our father is, even Avraham.” They must have used that one a lot. Yochanan says that Elohim could raise up seed unto Avraham from the very rocks. Yeshua said that if the people didn’t praise him the very stones would cry out. Then, not the multitude, but the people ask what they need to do: the Pharisees don’t ask, the people do. Yochanan tells them to follow Torah. Acts of charity, honesty in business, do no hurt, don’t lie about others. These are the things a child of Elohim does. This will be the normal way of acting during the Eternal Age to come. Then it will be natural, now it takes an act of the will.
Vv.19-20 – Herod had married his brother’s wife, which it is definitely NOT lawful. Torah forbids it and Yochanan called him out for it.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’ wife: it is thy brother’ nakedness. (Leviticus 18:16)
And if a man shall take his brother’ wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’ nakedness; they shall be childless. (Leviticus 20:21)
For Yochanan had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. (Mark 6:18)
So, Herod had Yochanan arrested and thrown into prison to shut him up. Somehow, I don’t think he succeeded. Eventually Herodias, Herod’s unlawful wife, had Herod deliver Yochanan’s head on a platter, a la the spirit of Yezevel.
If you uphold Yehovah’s righteousness, you will suffer persecution. Q&C
End of Midrashic study.