September 19, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
September 19, 2015 – Year 3 Sabbath 27
Deuteronomy 5:1-33 – [no prophet] – Psalm 124 – Romans 10:1-17, 13:8-14
Devarim 5:1-33 – Moshe begins with “Shema, Yisrael et hachukim v’et hamishpatim”. These chukim and Mishpatim are part of the b’rith that he entered into with us at Horeb. He makes it a point to say that this was NOT a covenant that he’d entered into with only “our avoth before us, but with us, even us who are alive this day.” He makes the point that this covenant was with chol Yisrael, all of Yisrael, past, present and future. And then he repeats the 10 Words.
Vv.6-21 (6-18 in Tanakh) – He starts with the ‘enabling clause’; the reason Y’hovah is able to hold us to this covenant: “I am Y’hovah Elohecha, who brought EACH of you (individually) up out of the land of Egypt.” This is NOT a commandment, but the reason we should obey him. We would never have been able to deliver ourselves, either individually or corporately, from Egypt’s bondage, but he heard our cries and saw our affliction and remembered us; worked to deliver us with mighty signs, and judgments against our bond-masters and their false elohim. Since he did all these wondrous works in our behalf, we ought to obey his eminently reasonable mitzvoth, chukim and mishpatim.
In v.7 Y’hovah commands us to  have no other elohim in his face. This is ANY elohim, not just something we can see, but also those of our own or someone else’s imagination. Any thing that might have more commitment from us than Y’hovah has is an idol. That would include our family, our occupation, our nation (or even worse, our political party); ANYTHING that comes, even momentarily, before Y’hovah in our esteem. Right now, in America, that would include your VOTE: if you are going to exercise your patent, you must use it to vote for a biblically righteous man; one who honours Y’hovah. V.8 commands us to  not make any likeness of anything in Creation, as we spoke of last week in some detail. V.9 then forbids us to  bow down to any false elohim in Y’hovah’s face, because he will ‘visit our iniquity on our children to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who hate’ Y’hovah. If we idolatrize before Y’hovah, we will pass on a disposition for idolatry to our children. This does not mean they WILL idolatrize; only that they will have a pre-disposition to it. This ‘curse’ can be broken by any who will simply not idolatrize; simple but not easy. V.10 shows the flip side of v.9: Y’hovah will bless those who do not idolatrize with mercy who do love him and guard and obey his commandments. How many generations have there been in human history? If we are approaching the end of our sixth prophetic ‘day’, that would be less than 6,000 years. 6000/30 (could be 20-40 years to a generation) = 200 generations beginning with Adam’s. I will venture a guess that very few people have ever NOT idolatrized before Y’hovah. As we said last week, it is a part of us to be religious critters. We instinctively know that there is something greater than us, even when we have no witness to Y’hovah’s Truth, and we MAKE ourselves elohim to serve. Even the man Y’hovah said was ‘after his heart’ – David – idolatrized in the matter of BathSheva and UriYah the Hittite, as well as Absalom. Therefore, I see v.10 as a prophecy of the New Creation, “wherein dwelleth righteousness”. V.11 forbids us to  use Y’hovah’s Name in a way that makes it vain, of no value or holiness to us. Vv.12-15 command us to  remember Shabbat and set it apart. We are to work for our living the 1st 6 days of the week, but Shabbat is a day when we rest from our work. As Y’hovah instructed and gave us training in Ex.16, we are to follow his pattern; work the first 6 days of the week and rest the 7th; work 6, rest 1; work 6, rest 1; even as he did in his ex nihilo creation. Not only are WE to rest, but our animals and servants are to rest, as well. To ensure that we get the importance of Shabbat rest, he invokes the enabling clause again: “I brought you out of Egyptian bondage by my power, and you will remember THAT by taking the Shabbat OFF from your regular work.” V.16 commands us to honour our parents. This is the last commandment of the 1st table, which deals with our relationship to Y’hovah. If we fail to honour our parents, whom we can see, how will we ever honour Y’hovah, whom we can’t? Some see this 5th commandment as a part of the 2nd table. That’s OK; it is not a salvational issue. But it is my OPINION that it is a part of the 1st table, which deals with our relationship to Y’hovah, while the 2nd table deals with our interpersonal relationship to our neighbors.
Vv.17-21 (Tanakh vv.17-18) is the writing of the 2nd table, which deals with our relationship with our fellow men. The 1st table relates directly to “Love Y’hovah Elohecha”, while the 2nd relates directly to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. These are listed very quickly: v.17 says  “no murder”; v.18 says  “no adultery”; v.19 says  “no stealing”; v.20 says  “no false witness”; and v.21 says  “no coveting anything”. Chumash has a very good comment on these verses on pg. 42. All of these; murder, adultery, theft, lying and coveting; are actually forms of idolatry, as well. We think that we are smarter and better than Y’hovah when we sin in any way. We are all guilty before him. But Y’hovah has provided a way for us to live before him in HIS righteousness by the merciful and gracious substitutionary atonement of Y’hovah Yeshua on his tree.
Vv.22- – Y’hovah gave the 10 Words to Moshe and wrote them on tables of stone for him to take to Israel. But we were frightened for our lives at the sound of Y’hovah’s voice from the midst of the fire on Sinai, and the darkness. V.22 says the voice was from the fire, while v.23 says it was from the darkness. The word xlated ‘darkness’ is H2822, choshek, from the root H2821, chashak, meaning dark (as withholding light), dim. It looks as though they saw the fire but that it did not release any perceptible light. So we had our elders approach Moshe and asked him to speak to Y’hovah for us. We knew that he would not slay us because we heard his voice ourselves, but we couldn’t get our minds around the apparent dichotomy of a fire that seemed to emanate darkness. It seems that we were afraid that direct revelation from Y’hovah would overwhelm us and kill us. So we told Moshe to go speak face to face with Y’hovah and tell us what he required, and that we would both hear (v’shamanu) and do (v’asiynu).
Y’hovah said that we were right; that the revelation was too much for us to handle, so we should go to our tents and Moshe would be our intercessor, as Yeshua is for us today. He would speak his mitzvoth, his chukim and his mishpatim to Moshe who would then report what Y’hovah said to chol Yisrael. Then Moshe shifted from narrative to admonition, telling us that we should observe the Word of Y’hovah with our whole heart and soul and not turn off even 1° to the right or left; that we should walk in his ways that it might go well with us and our days would be prolonged in the land that he was bringing us in to possess. Q&C
Tehellim 124 – David tells us that had it not been for Y’hovah fighting for us, Amalek, Og and Sihon would have wiped us out. As in Ps.123, David repeats himself, perhaps making reference to the deliverance of both houses of Ya’akov from enemies far outnumbering them. If this meant the physical seed of Ya’acov it would make no sense, since the merely physical seed of Ya’acov are as sinful as any other man. But the spiritual seed of Ya’acov has been bought out of bondage to the world with a price
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify Eloha in your body, and in your spirit, which are Eloha’s. (I Corinthians 6:20)
Not only that, but he had his own run in with the fledgling (As)Syrian Empire that eventually laid siege to and conquered the 10 tribes of Ephraim/Israel and also laid siege to Yerushalayim in ChizkiYahu’s days, when Y’hovah sent his angel to wipe out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers; “and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses (Is.37.36, 1Ki.19.35).” But David’s back was up against it when Syria came to challenge his authority over Moav and Edom. His armies were coming back to Yerushalayim tired from major battle. The Syrian/Moabite armies were large and set up a pincer action against Yoav. Yoav had to split his forces, and had Y’hovah not fought on David’s side the battle would likely have gone against Israel. (As)Syria was an up-and-coming power until this battle, and took the better part of 200 years to regain the ascendancy. After this battle, David’s kingdom reached its greatest area of rule or tribute. But David knew full well that had he not been on Y’hovah’s side, Y’hovah could have as easily allowed him to be wiped out BY (As)Syria. They could have overrun Israel like the floods overran the antediluvian race of Noach’s time; or been chewed up and spit out like the beasts of the earth had taken them. Y’hovah destroyed the enemy’s traps and snares, so that David’s forces came out almost as scratchless as Yehoshua’s troops had against Og and Sihon and the Amalekites at Rephidim. We have escaped because Y’hovah is the one who delivers us and in HIS Name we receive our help. Q&C
Romiyah 10.1-18 – While looking at ch.10, let’s remember that the foundational, most basic truth of scripture is the Shema, “Hear Oh Yisrael, Y’hovah our Elohim, Y’hovah is One.” The Shema is seen in the ‘unity of the faith’, that Y’hovah is the Elohim of both the Jews AND the Gentiles (3.29), the echad nature of Y’hovah, all in Messiah are one, etc. It is seen in nature and the nuclear family. The atom has 3 basic particles, neutron, proton and electron. Matter has at least 4 states, solid, liquid, gaseous and plasma. Time is both past, present and future. The family consists of Father, Mother and Children. The examples are numerous that Y’hovah has pointed to his echad nature in his creation. Echad does not always mean absolute oneness, but unity in and through plurality.
Earlier in our study, Sha’ul told us that Elohim is not merely the Eloha of the Jews, but of the Gentiles also (Rom.3.29). He treats all people in the same manner, and he always has. For him to expect different things of different people or to expect different things of the SAME people at different times would be to compromise his echad nature.
The Jewish mystics see Y’hovah manifested in at least 10 ‘emanations’. They are seen in 3 sublevels, each consisting of 3 attributes, headed by the absolute Truth of Y’hovah that no mere human can really comprehend. You can see allusions to this in Paul’s writings.
His statement to ‘behold the goodness and the severity of Elohim’ (11.22) is also an allusion to the 10 emanations of Y’hovah. The goodness of Elohim is seen in his mercy to usward. His mercy is an emanation that balances his emanation of severity, which is his absolute justice. The emanation of beauty is the one the binds all his emanations into echadity in the ‘Ain Soph’; the endless, unknowable truth of Y’hovah. It is the Ain Soph that we will spend eternity studying and never find an end of discovering and understanding (another emanation of Y’hovah).
All of that is said to give you just an inkling of the Unity in Plurality of Yah, which is pictured for us in the unity in plurality of his people. We need to bear this in mind as we move into ch.10.
Vv.1-3 – Sha’ul addresses his brethren, which context will show is all of the Roman believers, both Jew and Gentile. At various times, he specifically addresses his Jewish brethren and at others the Gentile brethren. The subject is Israel, but the message is for the Gentiles, as well as the Jews.
His desire is the salvation of chol Yisrael. As we’ve seen already in our explanation of 8.29-30, all Yisrael shall be saved. This is the body of the argument Sha’ul started way back then.
Israel has a zeal for Y’hovah, but they are blinded in part (2Cor.3.14 – they can’t or won’t see Messiah in the Tanakh), ‘not according to knowledge’. Noone knew this better than Rav Sha’ul, who was very zealous, as he himself testified in Acts 22.1-10. Paul did what we all do when confronted by a new paradigm that shows either we’ve been mistaken, fooled or lied to – he attacked the very truth he was convinced of, but in his pride would not acknowledge. I have been there myself, and so has everyone else who is reading or hearing this study. Once we are convinced of our own mistake or delusion, we need to come to grips with it and stop fighting it. That is what Yeshua said to Paul in Acts 9.5, “I am Yeshua whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” The truth that we know but won’t acknowledge keeps pricking us until we repent of our pride and stop kicking.
In Hebrew mysticism, knowledge is the highest level a student of scripture can attain. It connects understanding and wisdom. Israel has an understanding of Torah, but little or none of Messiah. The ‘church’ has the wisdom of Messiah, but little or none of Torah. Neither has the knowledge that Messiah and Torah are one, as Y’hovah is one, as we are told in the Shema. There are those who have some knowledge without either understanding or wisdom. These may actually brand us heretic because we would say that Yeshua is Torah, even though John 1 plainly says that Yeshua is the Word. The last time I checked, Torah was still in the Canon. Q&C
Paul said in v.3 that they have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim. What is the righteousness of Elohim? Jer.33.16 gives one of the Names of Elohim as “Y’hovah Tzidkenu”, Y’hovah (Yeshua) our righteousness. Deut.6.25 says that our righteousness is in submission to Y’hovah – in obedience to his commands. Can you see that ‘they’ in v.3 means both Jews and Gentiles, who comprise Israel (without the Y)? Jews have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim … how? I thought they had an understanding of Torah. They do, but they submit to the righteousness of their man-made traditions OVER Torah. That was Yeshua’s main point to them; he was calling them to repentance from tradition and toward Torah. They would not acknowledge that Yeshua is Torah.
Every Christian understands that, but they don’t usually see how THEY have not submitted to the righteousness of Elohim, either. They have accepted Yeshua’s free gift to them, but have not submitted themselves in that they have rejected 2/3 of Y’hovah’s revelation as binding on them. They know that Yeshua is the Word of Y’hovah, but then reject the authority in their lives of 2/3 of his very Words. So, both Jews and Gentiles, which are shown by Sha’ul to be Yisrael in Eph.2.11ff and in Rom.11.5-24, have rejected … what? Both have failed in submission to Y’hovah’s Word.
Now, remember that works of Torah justify noone. Works of Torah naturally follow him who has repented of his sins, trusted in Y’hovah Tzidkenu and studied his Word; for without knowledge of his Word, he cannot know what sin is (Rom.7.7).
In Aramaic, the Word = the Memra. The Memra in Hebraic mystical thought is the Creative force of Y’hovah. Creation is not a one-time thing in an absolute sense. He did finish his creative work in 6 days, but he must be constantly creating to uphold his creation. If he stops speaking, the universe will dissolve (shades of 2Peter3.10-12).
The creation has no intrinsic being; doesn’t exist of itself. If it did, IT would be Y’hovah, like the evolutionists believe it is. Creation is the object that was created by Y’hovah, without whose Spirit’s energizing, it would just stop moving. As an example, a ball is inanimate, it cannot move by itself, it needs an outside source of energy to move it. When something pushes the ball it moves as far as the energy exerted on the ball will move it. Likewise, creation. If Y’hovah had just created it and left it to itself it would be just like our ball. Now, if Y’hovah creates something, but then forgets about it, what will happen to it? It will cease to exist (like our forgiven sins that he decides to not remember, Jer.31.34). He must keep on creating it, keep on speaking it into existence or it will cease to be. His ex nihilo creation was a one time affair, but his sustaining creation will go on until after the GWT judgment when death and hell are thrown into the Lake of Fire, which itself I believe to be the ultimate dissolution of all matter.
Yeshua is the Memra/Word of Y’hovah by whom all that is came into existence, consists and is sustained;
15 Who [Yeshua] is the image of the invisible Eloha [Ayn Sof], 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 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.1.15-17).
John says it in the first verses of his gospel.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Eloha, and the Word was Eloha. 2 The same was in the beginning with Eloha. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made… 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1.1-3, 14)
John understood the concept of the Memra as an emanation of Y’hovah, the very Son of Elohim, Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. Q&C
V.4 – Here is one of the most misunderstood verses in scripture. It is misunderstood because most in the church see the word ‘end’ to mean ‘doing away with’ or perhaps just to make useless or vain. Yeshua does not make Torah vain. He fulfills another meaning of ‘end’ – he is Torah’s purpose. A Christian friend of mine with whom I have a disagreement about this very subject once said he was going out street preaching. I said, “To what end?” He said to be used in the witness of the Word. He knew the meaning of end, as it is used in this verse, but he assumes through his learning and the teachings of many good men who sincerely had it wrong that it actually means Yeshua = the abolition of Torah.
In reality, Torah is still in force and has the same dual nature it has always had; it convinces us of death and evil while it brings life and good to those who trust Y’hovah and follow him in obedience (Dt.30.15). If that were not true, he would not go street preaching, for that is HIS (that is, both my street-preaching friend’s and Yeshua’s) end in doing it – to convince folks of the death and curse of disobedience in going their own way and to show them the life and blessing that comes from repentance and obedience to go Elohim’s way.
Vv5-6 – V.5 continues the thought in v.4, “For Moshe describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” Does it say that we live eternally BY keeping Torah, or that Torah is the standard by which we live our lives? I think the latter, ‘for by works of law shall no flesh be justified.’
V.6 begins with the word ‘but.’ The Grk word is de, which can be translated any of 5 or 6 ways, including and, or, but, also, moreover, now. If the author meant ‘the opposite’, he would probably have used alla as he did in Rom.1.21, ‘neither were thankful, BUT’. It means to go the exact opposite direction to that prescribed. Alla is always negation, while de denotes affirmation.
So, the ‘righteousness which is of faith’ speaks to the righteousness we perform because we have faith, which according to Eph.2.9 is a gift from Elohim, not of ourselves lest we boast. But what does the righteousness which is of faith say? (Notice the # of the pronoun)
Dt.30.10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Y’hovah Elohecha, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if thou turn unto Y’hovah Elohecha with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 11 For this commandment, which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Devarim 30.10-14)
Why is the Word nigh unto thee? It is “that thou mayest do it.” James.1.22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The pronouns referring to the hearers are all 2nd person singular. Y’hovah, through Moshe, was speaking to each of us, individually. Notice that when the objects of the verses (thee, thou, thine, etc.) speak, they use the first person plural. Each was looking for a corporate justification, sanctification and glorification, when Y’hovah gives all that to individuals who THEN become parts of his body and corporately receive rights and privileges. We are graffed into the root of Yeshua individually, but the graffing makes us members of an assembly. Each is taken from one group; i.e., the lost, to become a member of another; i.e., the found.
So let me disabuse you of a grievous error of the church; Torah observance was NEVER about salvation. The Hebrews did NOT have to keep Torah perfectly in order to be saved. Had that been true then all those animal sacrifices were just useless cruelty imposed by Y’hovah – a thing that is impossible. A sacrifice was needed to make the offerer blameless before Y’hovah. ‘Blameless’ is the key. The blame was transferred to the offering. Remember that the apostle Sha’ul was blameless according to Torah
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the kehal; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Messiah. (Phil.3.4-7),
as were Elisheva and Zacharyahu
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named ZacharYahu, of the course of Abiyahu: and his wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisheva. 6 And they were both righteous before Eloha, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of Y’hovah blameless. (Lk.1.5-6).
Let’s look at the word blameless.
In 1Cor.1.8 (also 1Tim.3.10 and Tit.1.6&7), the Greek word is anengklaytos, unaccusable, irreproachable: literally uncalled out. This implies that we are not always blameless. We are made blameless by the application of 1Jn.1.9 – confession and repentance. In Philippians, the word is amemptos, irreproachable, without fault. In 1Tim.3.2 (also 5.7), the word is anepileptos, from a negation of epilambanomai, literally unarrested, not seized. In 2Pe.3.14, the Greek word is amometos, without censure, unable to discredit. Notice please, nowhere does the word mean innocent. It means that we are unchargeable with any crime or wrongdoing. Our blame has been transferred to another so that we are found ‘Not Guilty’ in Y’hovah’s court. This was the purpose of the animal sacrifices in the Temple. Those of us who are in Messiah have no need for the animal sacrifices; in fact, we would be sinning grievously to perform one for a sin offering because we’d be saying that Yeshua’s once for all offering was insufficient in our eyes. Heb.10 says,
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Eloha, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
That was the whole point of the book of Hebrews, for the believing priests in Jerusalem [Acts 6.7] were actually considering going back to the Temple to offer sacrifices for sin. Everything that came before was for the express purpose of getting here, and everything that follows illustrates it. Paul was telling them that the atoning sacrifice in the Temple is so much wasted effort; there is no more sacrifice for sins (v.26). Not only that, but to offer a sin offering when one knows that Yeshua’s offering was sufficient was walking all over him, counting his offering unworthy and thinking the Spirit of grace of no value. If you can find a better definition of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, I’d love to see it.
The nation was saved by the blood of the Lamb of the goats at Passover, as are we. They were to shema Torah, that is to hear it and obey it (kill the lamb and spread its blood on the doorposts and lintel) because Y’hovah saved them from physical Egyptian exile, as Yeshua (who is Y’hovah in human flesh) saves us from our spiritual Egyptian exile (in the world), and will do so again physically when the ‘greater Egypt’, the NWO and the Anti-Messiah Satanic system, imposes itself on us, demanding our worship. Our salvation and their salvation was, is and always will be by the same means: trusting Y’hovah to deliver on his promises by the instrumentality of his Moshiach. Yeshua’s ONE offering both saves us and ATONES for us, making us all more than blameless before Avinu. He makes us clean. He reconciles us to Abba. We still need to repent and confess when we sin, but there is no more need for sacrifice to make us blameless. Our reconciliation and propitiation has been made. Q&C
Vv.7-9 – Paul is making another Midrashic point. He is quoting De.30.10-14 and applying it to going after Messiah. Messiah Yeshua IS Torah, so the application is absolutely valid (as if it needed my endorsement, eh?). The point of the whole passage is that those who were in the wilderness (like us) and about to go into the Promised Land (like us) had Messiah right there in their hearts and minds in the form of Torah for the purpose that they (and we) obey it and him. Look at De.30.10 and 14 again. What are we supposed to hearken to? The Voice of Y’hovah – the Memra. What is it that is very nigh? The Word – the Memra. Yeshua is the Memra of Y’hovah, his Word and his Voice. He was right there with them in the Shekinah.
So, in v.9, what is it that we confess? Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach, the Memra, the Voice and the Word of Y’hovah. What do we believe? That Elohim has raised Yeshua from the dead. A parallel passage to this is Phil.2.10-11,
10 That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Master, to the glory of יהוה the Father [Ayn Sof].
That is another Midrashic application of Is.45.23 to Yeshua. That passage from Isaiah is also recited every day by the Orthodox Jews in their Aleinu prayer (We shall extol).
All the world’s inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear (Isaiah 45:23). Before You, Y’hovah Elohenu, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that You may reign over them soon and eternally.
For then shall the words be fulfilled, “Y’hovah shall be king forever” (Exodus 15:18) and “Yehovah shall be king over all the earth; on that day shall there be one Y’hovah and His Name one.” (Zechariah 14:9).
Paul is showing the Jews in Rome and in Philippi that Yeshua is the answer to that Aleinu prayer that they had been reciting for about 500 years by the time he wrote his epistles.
Vv.10-13 – So which is the formula, confess and then believe (v.9) or believe and then confess (v.10)? The answer is … YES! They work in conjunction towards our justification – the one complementing the other, like soup and sandwich, spaghetti and meatballs, cheese and wine, Rowan and Martin, Martin and Lewis, Lewis and Sullivan, Starsky and Hutch, etc.
V.11 quotes Is.28.16, kind of, again. Isaiah says that he that believes shall not make haste. We spoke of this earlier. If we get ahead of Eloha, trying to help him out, like Avraham and Sarah did, we run the risk of messing it all up and Y’hovah will have to deliver us supernaturally, as he did Avraham and Sarah. They believed his promise, but were impatient for his fulfillment. This almost always spells trouble. The verse from Isaiah that Sha’ul misquoted midrashically at the end of ch.9, he misquotes again right here. Paul again makes it clear that Yeshua is the Rock of Offense. The important word in this verse is ‘whosoever’, because Sha’ul defines it in v.12 – No difference between Jew and Greek. Why? There is no difference because they each serve the same Y’hovah who calls them. Both Jew and Gentile are saved by calling on the same Y’hovah. So who calls upon whom? Yes! He calls us to call upon him. Q&C
Vv.14-18 – Paul is still speaking of Israel, his brethren after the flesh. But he is making the case here that ‘they’ are without excuse, which is the reason he is torn up about their having missed Messiah Yeshua and the Kingdom that he offered. They were thinking in the pre-conceptions of their rabbis, much like I used to think in the pre-conceptions that I learned in Bible school. I thank Y’hovah every day that he didn’t let me finish and go on to Cemetery, where they add a lot of hardener to the mud. I had an instructor who said, “Gentlemen, your minds are moosh. It shall be my job to form and aggregate them.” He was going to take my soft heart and shape it the way HE wanted and make that form unbreakable, i.e., hard. The rhetorical questions Paul is asking here are not to the Roman Xians whom he is trying to encourage to preach Yeshua to the Jewish unbelievers, though that may also be a valid application. It is to prove that Israel after the flesh KNEW what their calling was and that they failed in it.
Israel was to be different from the nations in a number of ways to show that they served a different Elohim. The things that made them distinctive were designed to make the nations jealous. If Israel would DO what Y’hovah told them and maintain the distinctions, Y’hovah would bless them beyond reason. The blessings would be so readily apparent that the pagans would naturally want to know why and Israel would be able to do the work of the evangelist: “We serve the Elohim of the universe, not a local deity. We plow the same ground that you plow, but we have a garden and you have a desert because the Elohim we serve blesses us with abundance for no other reason than that we serve him and are called by His Name.”
Is that what Israel did? Some did I’m sure, but for the most part they were just like you and me – on again, off again. And the more they were off; the harder it was to turn them back on; corrosion on the wires or something. Have you ever tried to start your car when there is a great buildup of corrosion on the cables? Sin corrodes. You have to clean the connection before the juice can flow. When there’s sin on your heart, it needs to be cleaned so the Spirit can move through you. Yeshua cleans the crud. Israel’s pagan neighbors never much heard of Y’hovah because Israel kept the blessing to themselves. Instead of encouraging them to come to assemblies to learn of Y’hovah’s Torah, they shut them out. Do you see a ‘Court of the Gentiles’ anywhere in the blueprints for the Mishkan (tabernacle)? How about the Beit haMikdash (Temple)? Is Elohim the Elohim of the Jews only, Or of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the gentiles also (3.29).
The idea was that people were to live for Y’hovah and show their distinction in their obedience and the blessings that accrued therefrom. This would engender jealousy and a desire for the same blessings. This would make the called out people of the nations ask. If the pagan comes to you to ask what is reason for the hope that is within you, he already believes that you have a knowledge that he needs and he wants that knowledge. Y’hovah has pre-qualified him for you. So you get to tell your pagan buddy about Y’hovah Yeshua. So you get to teach him Torah so he can go out and preach in the same manner, by his new and distinct lifestyle of obedience to Y’hovah. And the cycle will continue.
The gospel we are preaching is the simplest thing in the world. Y’hovah has given all mankind a blueprint to follow. It is called Torah – instructions. If we follow the instructions, he blesses us. If we don’t follow the instructions, he curses us. Do all the people who are called by the Name of Y’hovah Yeshua obey? Will every pagan who asks obey? No way. But if they believe what you say about Y’hovah, they will obey; they will have Shalom with Y’hovah, and all the blessings that follow. And that will encourage them to keep on in obedience, which will bring the same blessings and perhaps even more. And that will bring people to them who want to know. And the cycle continues.
‘Hearing’ in v.17 would be translated into Hebrew as ‘Shema’, which is not just receipt of an auditory message. It includes receipt and acknowledgement of the receipt by doing what the message says. Now Yisrael in v.18 DID Shema. All the earth heard their report. Some believed; some didn’t. When I say the whole earth heard, I mean the whole earth. During the reigns of David and Shlomo, the Israelite/Lebanese navies (Phoenicians) went all over the world. They set up cities in strategic places to keep the world’s treasures to themselves. Carthage was an Israelite garrison, as were Cadiz and Majorca (The Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, respectively). The Carthaginian navy guarded the Straits of Gibraltar to keep other Mediterranean powers IN, and the Atlantic powers OUT. As the Phoenician navy went all over the world, they carried the gospel of Shalom w/Y’hovah with them. Q&C
Romiyah 13.8-14 – In vv.8-11 – “Owe no man any thing” has been taken to mean not to go into debt. This is a reference to Dt.28 and the curses for disobedience.
43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. 44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. 45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of Y’hovah Elohecha, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: 46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. 47 Because thou servedst not Y’hovah Elohecha with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart (like Yonah, who served reluctantly), for the abundance of all; 48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which Y’hovah shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
This is, of course the latter end of Y’hovah’s judgments and condemnations against his disobedient children. This is all exactly the opposite of what he WANTS to do for us, but when we get rebellious and obstinate in our sin it is what he eventually MUST do to us to get us to want to repent and do his will instead of our own. Would that it were not so, but all too often it is. We, therefore, ought not get into debt. However, the debt itself is not sin, but a symptom of it. If we are following Y’hovah completely, none of the curses he threatens should come upon us. So, if you are deep in debt, especially credit card debt, you need to look at how faithfully you are obeying Y’hovah’s commands. And shred the cards.
The rest of the phrase says, ‘but to love one another.’ The only thing we owe anyone is to show our love to him by our obedience to Y’hovah’s commandments. If we show love for our fellow men, we show love for Y’hovah – and vice versa. There is no disconnect.
Notice please that 8b does not say that one has fulfilled the ‘whole’ law. This is a direct reference to Lev.19
34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Y’hovah your Elohim.
This is the second greatest Torah instruction, and ‘neighbor’ means a stranger who dwells with Yisrael. A fellow Yisraelite is a brother. In context to the gentile converts to the Way in the Roman synagogue, the ‘neighbor’ is the Jewish leadership. In context to the Jewish leadership, the neighbor is the gentile convert. Remember the Good Samaritan. Whoso loves his neighbor loves Y’hovah. It’s simple, but not easy.
Vv.9&10 begin to illustrate and reiterate the truth of v.8. (“For this…”) – if you are doing anything to bring harm to your neighbor generally, or specifically according to v.8, you are not loving Y’hovah. We can only show our love for him, in context, by showing love for those who are his, especially those who are different from us.
V.10 makes the point that Torah is for our good, in a slightly backhanded way – since love does no harm, it fulfills Torah.
V. 11 continues to illustrate the truth of v.8 (“And that…”) – We need to come together as people of faith in Messiah and his Torah (“high time to wake out of sleep”) because our salvation is at hand. Paul’s grammar here shows a difference between belief and salvation. I don’t think it means that we are not saved by our faith, but that simply believing is not faith. Yacov (James) 2
14 What profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one Eloha; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect [complete]? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed Eloha, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of Eloha. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Yacov 2.14-26)
So, it is easy to see that works are the life-giving Spirit of faith, and faith is NOT simply a belief system. James juxtaposes faith and belief, showing that works are useless to save and that faith is MORE than just conviction to a mental assent. True faith is seen in both our belief AND our subsequent and consequent actions based on our faith. And also, in this case, I believe that ‘salvation’ (in Rom.13.11) may be better translated ‘deliverance’ or ‘redemption’ – and that redemption is from our evil inclination, or sin nature. Q&C
V.12 carries the idea of waking from sleep a bit further by implying that our ‘sleep’ from which we need to wake is our ‘works of darkness’. Night refers to exile from fellowship with Y’hovah. The end of exile, our reconciliation with Y’hovah through the resurrection we are promised in Yeshua, is at hand. The light is showing at the end of the tunnel. That reconciliation is now with us spiritually, and will be fully realized in us in the Millennial Kingdom. For this reason, because the end of our exile is at hand, we need to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
That light is Torah, a word rooted in the Hebrew word ‘owr’, which means light. Torah is spelled w/4 letters; tav, vav, resh and hey. The two letters in the center are vav, resh, which spell ‘or – light. Hebrew letters have meanings in and of themselves. ‘Tav’ is the mark of Y’hovah and the goal to which we aspire. ‘Hey’ represents an open window through which we behold things. So through Torah we behold the light of Yeshua, who is our ultimate goal.
Paul admonishes us to walk now AS WE WILL ‘in the day’, which refers to the light part of the day of Messiah. He delineates what he means by ‘works of darkness’ in v.13, then tells us that living in them is making provision for the flesh in v.14. So in vv.12-14, we see that works of darkness are those things prohibited in v.13, which are all provisions of the flesh based in our lusts. But we also see that when we cast off those works of darkness and put on the armor of light we are walking honestly before our Creator, having put on Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach, who is both the armor of light and the living Torah of Elohim.
The question is this, “Who is acting in these verses?” Sha’ul says, “Let US cast off …. and let us PUT ON …. and Let us walk ….” Then he commands his readers (including US), “Put ye on Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach and make not provision for the flesh’s lusts.” First he tells us to put on the ‘armor of light’. Then he tells us to put on Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach. The connexion is obvious. Behold the goal and the mark of the high calling of Elohim through the light of Torah, and advance towards it. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study