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I'd like to talk a little bit this morning about oil and what Scripture has to say about it. For several years I was the outstate fleet superintendent for a major beverage company. One of my many tasks was to introduce and maintain and extensive oil analysis program for over 1500 pieces of transportation and warehouse equipment. Analyzing motor oils and other lubricants for the purpose of getting the most life out of the equipment, allowed us to determine when and how often oil changes were needed. This information was valuable in assessing the need to sell and or rebuild equipment also, which contributed to the economic well being of fleet maintenance.
One of the great lessons that I learned from this, is that oil for the most part does not break down or lose its ability to lubricate in and of itself. What happens then that causes oil to get black and require replacement, is the contamination that it picks up while it does its work of lubricating. If this contaminated oil is not replaced with new fresh oil, severe damages can occur to the very heart system of the vehicle, carrying with it, high costs. The spiritual lesson here is great, as oil is likened unto the Ruach HaChodesh in our lives, we too become contaminated over time and that's why its crucial to ask for a fresh filling as well. Ephesians 5:18 says: "Keep on being filled with the Spirit..."
The purity of oil for the lamps of the menorah is emphasized in the opening verses of this weeks parashah Tetzaveh (order/command). It's quite clear that Torah demands the olive oil to be in its purest uncontaminated state to serve as fuel for the menorah light in the Tabernacle and even later the Temple in Yerushalayim. The purpose of the menorah was not to provide light for G-d, so to speak, as He does not need our light, but rather it pointed to the annointed one to come that was light in the beginning and would profess to be the eternal light of the world that men would need to walk after. B'rit Chadashah I Yochanan 1:5 states in part: God is light, and there is no darkness in him - none! In Yochanan 8:12 it states: Yeshua spoke to them again: "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life." Read Sh'mot 27:20~21 pg 91 The phrase in vs 21; "burning continually" is in the Hebrew; "ner tamid" or the eternal lamp, which is still used exclusively in synagogues around the world, yet today. Our parashah however is not the first mention of the oil for the lamp, but rather we saw it in last weeks parashah Terumah, where it is listed as a donation or contribution that is uplifted from one's heart. The word Terumah comes from the Hebrew root: rum øåÌí, which means exalted or uplifted. In other words, the contributions were to be lifted out and set apart as a free will offering from the heart for a higher purpose. Read Sh'mot 25:1~7 pg 88
An intersting element that we find here, is that the oil for the light as well as the spices for the annointing oil and fragrant incense, are mentioned with those gifts required for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Even though they are listed here, they really are not construction components, but rather they fall into a separate category of those materials that were required for avodah (Worship). It becomes increasingly clear then that the purest of oil to be used for the menorah was not just physical so that its light would be strong and bright, not flickering in a weak condition from an impure or contaminated source, but rather, again, it points to a strong moral and spiritual condition as well, which is exclusive of worship.
The Light that G-d's Word speaks of here then is dependent on the spiritual and moral purity of its orign or source. Concerning Yeshua as the source of light we read in I Yochanan 3:5: You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. Just as the sediment and pulp which contaminate the oil, leading to a dim, weak and flickering flame, so too harmful imperfections of character and behavior weaken the prospect of letting one's light shine brightly in a place of darkness as well. Even though the source of this oil is pure and uncontaminated, the things that we love and the actions we show are contaminated with darkness so we become bad testimony of the One true Light that desires to give us His ner tamid (eternal life)Let's turn to: Yochanan 3:19~21 pg 1333
Darkness is the opposite of Light, so if light is life then that means that darkness is death. In Kohelet (Eccl) 10:1 King Shlomo is not alluding to the pure oil of the menorah, but rather alluding to the highly refined and purified oil of the perfumers he states: "Just as dead flies make perfumed oil stink, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor" Tragically as we saw earlier, if people love the darkness as expressed by their evil actions, they are on an active path of death, and it stinks. The only recourse for those dead flies- walking in darkness is to be united with the One Who is Light. In so doing, they no longer function in darkness but now they bring light into it exposing its foolishness.
Read Ephesians 5:8~20 pg 1463
Torah, therefore, places a great deal of emphasis on the oil for moral and spiritual reasons as we've seen. A primary reason for this emphatic understanding of the fuel for the light is this: If impurity and contamination could try to alter or change the original purity of the oil, the Light of the menorah itself would then be degraded and cheapened. Thankfully the origin of the true Light cannot be made impure, however if we, who are called to be light, consort with deeds that are produced by darkness, we make mockery of that Light with actions that are not accomplished through G-d. Mattityahu 5:14~16 states: "You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don't cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven."As we mentioned earlier, the Light is all about worship
As we alluded to earlier, the pure olive oil was primarily about Light, but Scripture tells us more about this oil as well. Olive oil was one of the great commodities of the ancient world, and in its various forms of purity it was not only fuel for light but it was used as fragrant healing lotion, and mixed with spices it became incense and annointing oil. It was used for meal offerings, cooking, lubricating, and even for perfumes. In conjunction with the text of Sh'mot 27:20 that we read earlier, the Talmud in Menachot 86a suggests that the olives for the menorah oil were to remain on the tree until they have ripened and are full of oil. Then they are picked and pressed with extraction by pressure for purity. This produces the first and the best oil of the olive harvest for the expressed purpose of true and pure Light. Olives for true Light are never crushed or ground in a mill, as this results in impurity.
With this understanding then, Torah is teaching us that out of all the skills and talents a person possesses, the first and best of these is to be actively employed in the avodah (worship and service) to G-d and to His mitzvote.We are never to bring an offering to G-d that is second best or worse, an inferior contribution, or one that is purely by default. Rather we must offer our best, our firstfruits, sanctified and set apart for Him. Romans 12:1 expresses it best in the words: "I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you." If a person is wholeheartedly willing to contribute the first and the best that he has to offer through his gifts for the worship of G-d and for the advancement of His Kingdom, his light will never go out.
We had made a connection earlier between the Ruach HaChodesh and oil. We saw in Sh'mot 25:1 that annointing oil was also for the purpose of sanctification and kohen ordination but not construction. It was mixed with spices, so its level of purity may have been similar as that for the menorah, but it was forbidden for regular human use and could not be replicated. Yeshua quoting from the Prophet Yeshayahu while honoring the haftarah reading in synagogue, gives credence to this not as the oil for light, but rather through the oil of annointing. Read Luke 4:16~21 pg 1294
Originally the annointing oil was exclusively used for the Kohanim and the appurtenances in the Tabernacle, but its use was extended in later times to Prophets and Kings. The very name Messiah in Hebrew which is Mashiach, means "Annointed," and certainly Yeshua fullfilled all three categories of: Prophet, Kohen (Priest), and King.
Finally I'd like to look briefly at oil that is used for healing. We talked about the menorah with its pure oil not only sybolizing the physical but also the spiritual. The same can be said concerning oil for healing. In Luke Ch 10: 25~37 Yeshua shares the story of the Good Samaritan, who upon finding the man who had been robbed, nearly dead. He took oil and wine and applied them to the wounds and bandaged him up, mercifully providing life and physical healing. We mentioned previously that oil was a staple and it was common for people to carry a small container of oil with them. Mixed with mercy the Samaritan sets example. Pg 1306
Turn to Ya'akov Ch 5:14~15 pg 1513The olive oil is a symbol of healing here, using the authority of the Master's Name in its application, whereas the prayer offered by faith will bring physical healing through the Master and spiritual healing will follow. Tehillim 103:3 reiterates this thought as it states: He forgives all your offenses, he heals all your diseases...
Oil, whether it is used for annointing or for healing, is really a spiritual transfer of authority to a particular G-d appointed position or to change the status of one's physical and spiritual condition. Either way it points to Mashiach. The pure oil for use as fuel in the light of the menorah, represents from a physical standpoint that the light needs to shine brightly, never go dim or flicker, and certainly never be diminished. Spiritually the pure oil of the menorah represents our worship united with the Master, not contaminated, not self seeking but committed totally to give Him our first and our best.
Korach Parashah #38, Sivan 30, 5770-6/12/10
A This weeks parashah Korach, provides us the understanding of how the aborted rebellion against Moshe has a major relevance for all generations and societies. It's perhaps not so much the 3,000 year old story of a historical event, as it is the story of human failure and personality faults within the community. The character of Korach sets a pattern before us as it were, of an ambitious, talented, self confident, aggressive individual who feels that the community does not appreciate his talents and abilities. Korach believes that he has been slighted by his assigned position of levitical duty. After all, each time the instruction to break camp arose, it was Aharon and his sons who would go into the Tabernacle and cover the holy furnishings and utensils for transport, while Korach from the family of K'hat couldn't even touch them but could only carry them on poles.
In his attempt to usurp the G-d given authority of Moshe and Aharon, Korach was in essence, contesting the authority of G-d's Word which was transmitted through Moshe to the community. Korach had convinced himself that Moshe and Aharon had elevated themselves to the position of spiritual leadership in the community, promoting their own personal agendas.In his frustrations, he not only seeks to demean Moshe and Aharon's positions in the community, but he seeks to raise himself up with his own lofty purposes and ideas. He becomes a self prescribed advocate of the people's rights, proclaiming a message of democracy, freeing them from the autocracy (rule by one person) of Moshe. Sounds pretty good doesn't it, perhaps Korach is responsible for introducing the embryonic form of what would evolve as a Tea Party.
Read B'midbar 16:1~7 and 31~35 pg 167~168
As typically most self seeking, ambitious people lacking scruples do, Korach realizes he cannot accomplish his task by himself. Korach proceeds to take men who were in leadership positions themselves but were no longer content with things the way they were in the community. United by the strands of hatred and disrespect towards Moshe and his leadership, Korach's campaign speech proclaims that "the entire community is holy," but he is really saying: "Why can't I be Coheyn Gadol?"
Appealing to the emotions and predjudices of the people in an effort to gain some political power, Korach has been successful in his appeal to at least 250 people who have chosen to side with him. Interesting to note is the tribe of Reuven is mentioned here in their support, which perhaps gives credence to the fact that both the K'hat division of the Levi'im and Reuven were neighbors in their placement at the south side of the Tabernacle. This might then suggest the influence that neighbors can have towards each other.
B Bearing the character traits as we mentioned earlier, Korach actually presents himself as a false messiah, the savior of the people, a great physician as it were with the prescriptions necessary to cure all of the afflictions of a generation that sees no bright future for itself. It's no coincindence that Korach raises himself up outside of the community with his campaign of rebellion, on the heels of Moshe's statement to the people as recorded inB'midbar 14:20~24 pg 164 Read
Seeing no possible solution for themselves, and none for their future, they make a concentrated effort to turn away even further from G-d and turn towards the illusion and rebellion that Korach has to offer.
Chapter 16:1 of today's parashah gives us perhaps one suggested explanation of the statement that Korach "took" men. Verse 1 begins in the Hebrew: Vayi'kach Korach ben Yitz'ahar or in the English, Korach son of Yitz'ahar took... and we find out that what he took was "men." In order to effectively take men from the community, he himself had to separate himself from the community. If Korach really believed that he had a legitimate grievance against Moshe, he could have approached Moshe with the concern and resolution would have followed.
Moshe was the G-d appointed teacher and leader of B'nei Yisra'el. Korach, who was a part of this community would have never had the insolence or boldness to take a stand against Moshe, maintaining his presence in the community. As a result, Korach removes himself first from the community and then establishes his own community composed of 250 leaders who had now embraced his campaign promises, thus he takes them "out" as it were for a short lived communal experience. No longer under Moshe's leadership, or even the authority of G-d's Word as transmitted through Moshe, Korach finds little difficulty in approaching Moshe as his equal attempting to usurp his authority.
If Korach would have identified himself as a member of Moshe's community, as one of his disciples, he never would have been able to levy his assaults against Moshe in questioning the truths of Moshe's words. because in doing so, it would only cause a negative reflection on himself.
C Korach, we must remember experienced the redemption from Mitsrayim, he saw the parting of the Sea of Reeds, he saw food and water no less than miraculously provided by ADONAI. Moshe had a special relationship with ADONAI, after the golden calf episode ADONAI threatened to destroy the nation and following the episode of the spies He once again warrants their destruction. Both times ADONAI listened to Moshe's prayers and pleas to not destroy them, and He honors the request.
Korach and his followers understood Moshe's special relationship with ADONAI, and how He would support Moshe in his decision making. Blinded by rebellious and self promulgated agenda, Korach leaves the truth, gathers allies, and goes outside of the community, not cognizant of their own impending doom. In HaBrit Chadashah I Timothy 3:15, Rav Shaul defines the household of G-d, calling it the Messianic community of the living G-d, the pillar and the support of the truth.Outside of the community then, would suggest a place of willingness to forfeit the pillar and support of G-d's truth.
D We can learn a great deal from this episode of Yira'el's journey. We see how good people from within the community, can and will through dissatifactions that become contagious to their neighbors and personal agenda seeking, contribute to strife and division in the community from an outside position. We must realize that this is not a new concept of community destruction, but has literally been around for thousands of years. Just as one of HaSatans primary goals and objectives is the destruction of the family, it extends into the community of believers as well. Rav Shaul in his letter to the Messianic Community in Rome Ch 16:17~20 states: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put snares alongside the teaching in which you have been trained - keep away from them. For men like these are not serving our Lord the Messiah but their own belly; by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the innocent. For everyone has heard about your obedience; therefore I rejoice over you. However, I want you to be wise concerning good, but innocent concerning evil. And God, the source of shalom, will soon crush the Adversary under your feet."
We have talked about Moshe, Y'hoshua and Kalev having been endowed with the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of G-d), it's interesting to note that the primary source of division in the community is people who do not have the Spirit. In Y'hudah (Book of Jude), verse 17~19 pg 1532 it states: "But you, dear friends, keep in mind the words spoken in advance by the emissaries of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. They told you, "During the acharit hayamim (end of days) there will be scoffers following their own godless passions." These are the people who cause divisions. They are controlled by their impulses, because they don't have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith, and pray in union with the Ruach HaKodesh. Thus keep yourselves in God's love, as you wait for our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to give you the mercy that leads to eternal life."
Scoffing, godless passions, and impulses that control without the Spirit are actually bad habits of one's body that have been produced by yetzer hara the sin nature. Unless we, as believers continually and actively by the power of the Ruach, put to death our body's bad habits to which it has become accustomed and conditioned by our old nature, these bad habits will find expression, so that we will certainly die.
Read Romans 8:1~14pg1410
This certain death is physical, spiritual and eternal, and perhaps Korach and his rebellious community that lacked the Spirit of G-d, have provided a vivid picture of what this might look like.However, as we saw in verse 6, by actively and continually setting the mind on the things of the Spirit, you will live.
We alluded earlier to the idea that Korach was in essence playing the role of anti-messiah in his successful platform of rebellious campaigning to the 250 that chose to ally with him. In his first letter Yochanan ties in the sin nature with the anti-messiah, and goes on to explain that as believers we have the truth in Messiah. The context of the text suggests that because G-d the Father has Messiah-ized us with the real Messiah Yeshua, we understand the danger that anti-messiahs bring. It's crucial to know from this text also that the anti-messiahs went out from us (the community) but were not part of us.
Read I Yochanan 2:15~21 pg 1525 and 4:1~3 pg 1527
E As leader of the community Moshe asserted a bold confidence towards Korach by stating that ADONAI will show who are His and who will be the Holy one that can approach Him, and a short time later explaining to Datan and Aviram that the deaths of those who allied with Korach would not be a common death, but something new and different. The ground opened up and swallowed all of those who allied with Korach and the 250 former leaders of the community were destroyed by the fire of ADONAI.
We will close this morning with instruction from the writer of the Book of Acts, directed by Rav Shaul to the leadership of the community.
Read Acts 20:28~31a pg 1389
Well, we saw that rebellion will and does rise up within the community, and as it gathers allies it soon goes out to form its own definition of community. Before it leaves and even after it has departed it can cause division and sow seeds of discord. It is not a new concept of community destruction, but rather a very old and well worn means that HaSatan uses for his purposes. We recognize it by its lack of G-d's Spirit and we see how it operates in the flesh of its yetzer hara (sin nature). Its end is certain physical, spiritual and eternal death, but if we as believers stay fixed on the things of the Spirit, putting to death the things of the flesh, yet while we are appointed a physical death, we will attain a life that is eternal. You have been Messiah-ized by the Holy One, Blessed be He!"
Mas'ei (Stages/Journeys) B'midbar 33:1~36:13
26 Tamuz 5769/July 18, 2009
A As we bring the Book of B'midbar (Numbers) to a close this week, being a regular year we have a double parshiyot. At the very onset of the second parashah Mas'ei (Mas'ay) the Torah as if in an effort to compile a tourist's guide, painstkingly lists the 42 stages or sequence of events that give definition to the wilderness journeys that B'nei Yisra'el had made in the last 40 years. Sparing the details of each place of encampment for the most part finds the explicit name of each place mentioned, those which find later mention, as well as those places that are never alluded to again.
Read B'midbar Ch 33
Not unreasonable by any standards, a curious mind might question why each one of the stages of encampment is listed by name. A valid answer would suggest that we look at what the word Torah means and behold, we are reminded that it expresses instruction for our lives. Even in our halachah (walk of faith) today, we have many great examples of what to do and what not to do as expressed through the examples given in Torah. B'nei Yisra'el as a people, as a nation, and certainly not excluding the role that her Divinely appointed Leadership had to assume, all point to life lessons that are applicable for each of us even yet today.
As we mentioned concerning each one of these 42 stages or journeys, reference is made specifically by name, reaquainting the readers mind with the often familiar circumstances that were rendered at each location. Some as we remember were very wonderful and exciting experiences while others were very bitter and excruciating circumstances. In revisiting these place names, we quickly recall the blessings of obedience and the punishment of disobedience, a stark reminder of perhaps even our own life journeys.
It's interesting to note as we read in verse 3, that the very beginning of this 42 stage process begins with redemption by the blood of the lamb in Mitzrayim, and such a proud moment it was; as the B'nei Yisra'el marched with a new spirited self respect in their transition from slavery to the status of redeemed.
The sequence of events and the places where they occured following the factor of Redemption, point to and illustrate clearly the path that is chartered by obedience in contrast to the path of disobedience. Each one of these places mentioned when considered collectively, served to purport a means of spiritual preparation leading up to the last step of the journey into the Promised Land.
The lessons learned were beyond comprehension, and regardless of whether the place echoed tsuris (trouble) or if it resounded with pleasantry, ADONAI was faithful in leading His people. Many valuable lessons were learned and great knowledge was attained. If we apply the knowledge that we gain from life's journeys, we will ultimately gain strength and wisdom that will in turn afford us the coping skills that are so necessary when each step of the journey offers something challenging.
Read D'varim Ch 8:11~16 pg 207
In the current stages of our life's journeys, we do and will experience taxing and testing situations. Like Yisra'el we need to gain the strength and wisdom that comes from these experiences. The very thing that brought Yisra'el to the place of their redemption was their cries and groanings ascending up to the Throne-room of G-d, and He remembered His covenant with Avraham. G-d will still hear the cries of His people today, as a matter of fact, our crying out to G-d is the very first step in the process of our redemption.
We need to view, as hard as it seems, the testing and trials of our journeys as opportunities to enhance spiritual growth, and in reality insn't that the whole point or purpose of difficult tests and trials in our lives, to do good for us in the end? In conjunction with the words of D'varim 8:16, Ya'akov (James) Ch 1:2~3 states an instruction that we adhere to most frequently, he states: "Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance." He goes on in Ch 5:11 saying: 11 Look, we regard those who persevered as blessed. You have heard of the perseverance of Iyov, and you know what the purpose of ADONAI was, that ADONAI is very compassionate and merciful.
The trials and testings that we often refer to as simply hiccups in the road, or more severely; pot holes, or maybe there's road construction going on and we are on a path of diversion, well, all of these obstructions that we face on our journeys cannot be ascribed to as bad luck, or G-d hating us, buth rather these are necessary and specifically chosen or allowed to affect our lives in such a way that we will grow and become spiritually mature.
In verse 48 of B'midbar Ch 33, we read that the 42nd stage of the journey ended in the Plains of Moav, across from Yericho, with the next step being the Promised Land. So, in retrospect the 42 stages began with redemption and ended with the Promised Land. An interesting phenomeon brings us to the geneology of Yeshua as recorded in Mattityahu Ch 1, we find here that there are 42 generations beginning with the one to whom the Land was promised and ending with the Lamb of Redemption, just the opposite of the Wilderness experience.
Read Mattityahu Ch1:1~17 pg 1223
Each and every of the 42 generations played a significant role in bringing about Redemption to the world. Just as G-d made the Land Covenant with Avraham and starting to set the stage for redemption through Yitzchak, Ya'akov, Yosef and his brothers in Mitzrayim, all of their journeys and generations pointed to the more perfect act of Redemption for all humankind, to be accomplished in the person of Yeshua.
For us here today, whom I trust have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb Yeshua, our journey has begun. As our predecessors before us have seemingly set the standard for us, we have instruction concerning the pitfalls and snares that tend to obstruct our path and the proper as well as the improper way to address these problems.All of this comes through G-d's Word.
Yisra'el's journey began with the redeeming blood of the Lamb in Mitzrayim and ended in the Promised Land. In a reverse sequence, Yeshua's geneology began with Avraham the recipient of the Promise of the Land, and ended with the Redeemer. Once again in an inverted order, our journey begins with the Redeemer and also will end with the promise of a life in a place where there is no more trial or testing. Just as the Redeemer is preparing this place for us even now. Learn from the past, humble yourselves, see testing as opportunity for spiritual growth, and be blessed in the persevering of your faith.
12 Tamuz 5769/July 4, 2009
A Being a regular year, we have a double parshiyot this week. The first parashah #39 is: Chukkat and the second #40 is Balak. There is an amazing amount of study in these portions but I want to focus this morning on Chukkat, because I belive hidden under its obvious surface is an element of testing that demonstrates what true spiritual maturity looks like.In addition we also get a look at the human side of Moshe which we don't see very often.
Ultimately a condition of true spiritual maturity lies in kavana, a genuine repentance for sins that draws from as its source, a heart of contrition. This is G-D's way and it is not the easiest nor is it always the first considered way. With a lack of faith once again in G-D's perfect provision for His people, becoming a contagion, we find B'nei Yisra'el complaining against the leadership and ultimately against ADONAI once again.
Read B'midbar Ch 20:1~5 pg 172
It's in an astounding wave of actions, following on the heels of the Korach rebellion, when ADONAI through new and supernatural manifestations had confirmed the rites and the order of His chosen leadership, that B'nei Yisra'el continue to rebel and speak against these Divinely appointed leaders.They had just experienced first hand the consequences of disobedience and rebellion in the deaths of around 15,000 people, and now they present themselves as if they had never witnessed any account of it.
Just what was it that they were angrily kvetching about now? First of all they were without water, and and in their wilderness experience this was the third recorded time of such a concern which leads us to understand that provision was adequately made in the first two situations, so why is now an issue?
The second concern levied against Moshe was their disappointment that they were still alive. The absence of water was certain death in the wilderness climate, but they complained because they didn't have it, and if somehow it were to miraculously appear they would live. What a bummer! Confusion abounds in the camp with the abandonment of ADONAI.
The third conflict of dispute was the age old (probably almost 40 yrs now) question as to why Moshe forced them to leave Mitsrayim only to bring them and their livestock into a wilderness void of grains (seed), figs, vines, pomegranates or even water.
B I would imagine that another attitude adjustment program Divinely initiated would hardly bring about any other results that would be different to their current situation, so what was the underlying problem? I believe that they had lost hope, the lives of their disobedient parents and grandparents had been strewn across and under the wilderness floor, so their own lives seemingly of little value now in their present circumstances, ushered in a feeling of hopelessness.
When one falls into a state of hopelessness, the first tendency is to turn away from ADONAI, and find someone to pin the blame on (in this case the leadership) for the shameful condition they find themselves in. Yirmeyahu 17:13 states:"Hope of Yisra'el ADONAI! All who abandon You will be ashamed, those who leave you will be inscribed in the dust, because they have abandoned ADONAI, the source of Living Water."
C The state of hopelessness attacks ones memory, the reason for the wilderness experience has been forgotten, and the accusations against Moshe for making them leave Mitsrayim and bringing them there were unfounded. If they would only remember the words of Torah in Sh'mot 2:23~25 where it states: "Sometime during those many years the king of Egypt died, but the people of Isra'el still groaned under the yoke of slavery, and they cried out, and their cry for rescue from slavery came up to G-d. G-d heard their groaning, and G-d remembered his covenant with Avra- ham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. God saw the people of Isra'el, and G-d ack- nowledged them."
Read Sh'mot Ch 3:6~10 pg 62
The text indicates that the blame for B'nei Yisra'el being taken out of Mitzrayim was not Moshe's fault, but it was a result of G-D Divinely intervening in response to their cries to be redeemed from slavery. Moshe as we know from Sh'mot 4:10~17 really didn't even want the task of leadership. And how quickly they forgot that the reason for their being in the wilderness in the first place, was because of disobedience and rebellion, after spying out the land.
B'midbar 14:31~35 we see the consequence of disobedience. We can always chose to be obedient or disobedient, but we cannot chose the consequences. The text states: "But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty - them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses - forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! I, ADONAI, have spoken.' I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me - they will be destroyed in this desert and die there."
The taxing of the memory in its contribution to hopelessness also applied to their forgetting ADONAI's words to Moshe in Sh'mot 19:3~6: Moshe went up to G-d, and ADONAI called to him from the mountain: "Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya'akov, to tell the people of Isra'el: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim for me, a nation set apart.'These are the words you are to speak to the people of Isra'el."
The words of the Prophet Yesha'yahu in Ch 40:31 states in part: "....but those who hope in ADONAI will renew their strength, they will soar aloft as with eagles' wings;"
So with our textual understanding as to why B'nei Yisra'el left Mitzrayim and why they were wandering around in the wilderness being quit clear then, it is probably fair to ascertain that they themselves knew the reasoning also. It really had nothing to do with Moshe, but had everything to do with themselves based on acts of their own choosing.
D It's pretty easy for us a believers today to assault someone else's integrity in the face of what appears to be blatant sin in their lives. Let me ask you this;Have you ever levied false accusations against someone in a position of leadership,have you ever been guilty of Lashon Hara or gossip about a person in leadership, have you ever challenged the decisions that a leader has made without knowing all of the facts, or have you ever said about a leader: "I didn't vote for them," in such a way to suggest your disapproval of their leadership position?
Romans 13:1~2 states: "Everyone is to obey the governing authorities. For there is no authority that is not from G-d, and the existing authorities have been placed where they are by G-d. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities is resisting what G-d has instituted; and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves." Mishlei (Proverbs) 8:15~16 states: "By Me kings reign, and princes make just laws. By Me princes govern, nobles too, and all the earth's rulers."
In our parashah Read B'midbar Ch 20:6~12 pg 172 We are told here, that Moshe and Aharon were guilty of losing faith in ADONAI by striking the Rock, and in D'varim Ch 1:37 Moshe goes so far in his hopeless situation of unrepentence that he blames Yisra'el for ADONAI's anger that prevents him from going into the land.
Certainly we try to understand Moshe's logic and even tend to be a little sympathetic to his situation, after all B'nei Yisra'el spurred him on until he could no longer contain his anger and he strikes the rock, and this came on the heels of multiple backslidings and rebellions to boot. Moshe the greatest of prophets, and in his leadership capacity was expected by G-D to have taken responsibility for having organized a disasterous reconnoitering mission, and for losing his temper. G-D expected an admission of guilt in form of repentance, but understandably nevertheless incorrectly Moshe justifies himself by blaming someone else.
Like Yisra'el, including Moshe and Aharon, we tend to not accept responsibility for our mistakes and shortcomings. We don't want to be responsible for our own actions and thus we seek someone or something else out to affix the blame on.
E We mentioned a test of true Spiritual Maturity earlier, what is the test? The test is this: When one stops blaming one's parents,one's boss,one's teacher,one's Rabbi, one's pastor, one's wife, one's husband, one's siblings, one's environment,one's society, one's president,one's government, etc. for one's transgressions, and shamefacedly blames oneself, with admission of his own guilt.
Because of the difficulty and our tendency to have reservation concerning such, this kind of confession defines the very essence (fundamental nature or quality) of what repentance looks like. If this is true, then the essence of repentance needs to be a turning or returning of the heart rather than a verbal confession back to ADONAI.
Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the End)
B'resheet 41:1~44:17 30 Kislev 5769/12-27-08
Read B'resheet 41:1~41, 56~57; 42:1~5 pgs. 45~47
A With the culminating of last weeks parashah "Vayeshev" and this weeks "Mikketz," we begin to see a significant change in the life of Yosef the "Dreamer." No longer is he declaring his own dreams, but now he has and continues to listen to the dreams of others that G-D puts into his path. In a less than tedious task, with close adherence to details, Yosef places the needs of others before those of his own, and begins an upward ascent to a position of true leadership wherein he takes on a messiah-type chara- cteristic for not only his own people, but a savior as it were of all nations.
His own dreams served no longer as symbols of his dominion over others, but now they had become signs of his responsibility and duty towards others. In his appoinment as Governor over the land of Mits- rayim, he would regard himself as a true servant of his father and his brothers, a vessel as it were of G-D's providence, that would save them too.
In his own dreams, Yosef's sub~conscious didn't appear to include G-D, but now with the dreams of others we see G-D actively employed in Yosef's mind, which not only begins to bring his own dreams to fulfill- ment, but greater yet, Yosef is opportuned to introduce Pharaoh and Mitsrayim to the One True G-D, the G-D of the Hebrews.
After completing the interpretation of Pharaoh's dream, a condition is stated wherein a solution is brought into demand, to which Yosef pro- vides an ample repair proposal formula. Read vs 32~33 pg 46
Pharaoh who is pleased with Yosef's proposal, recognizes asher ruach elohim bo,that the Spirit of G-D is in himand reccomends and appoints Yosef for the task. Read vs 38~41 pg 46
One of the outstanding qualities of the man as proposed and as appointed for the task, was the attribute of wisdom. Pharaoh's own words in appointing Yosef as Governor, gives G-D the credit for showing Yosef the interpretations, and conseqently he is imbued with discernment and wisdom as well.
B The dream of Pharaoh in our parashah today finds its parallel in the dream of Shlomo as recorded in the Haftarah. As was the case with Yosef, who openly ascribes his ability of discerning and wise dream interpret- ation to G-D, so too is Shlomo's wisdom derived from the same Divine Source, via the means of a dream also.
Shlomo had succeeded his father David to the throne about 970 B.C.E., when ADONAI G-D appeared to him in a dream and asked him what gifts he desired. Shlomo responds not with a list of material needs, but for an understanding heart which ADONAI G-D granted to him as a wise and understanding heart. His wisdom was widely hailed, and the story of the two mothers and their babies is a prime example of his Divinely inspired
intuition. (chacham/wise = intelligent; wise of mind /heart; able to judge with discernment)
Today's haftarah begins in M'lakhim Alef Ch. 3:15 and states: "Shlomo awoke and found it had been a dream." Let's take a look at the content of this dream as we find it recorded earlier in Ch. 3 beginning with vs 4. Read verses 4~5 pg. 370
It is at this opportune moment the Shlomo could have asked for anything that he wanted and ADONAI G-D would have provided it for him. He could have asked for silver and gold, or a great name and prestige, but instead, what concerned him the most was his lack of leadership skills. He goes on to request an understanding heart able to administer justice to the people and discernment between good and bad. Read verses 6~9.
Scripture goes on to say that Shlomo's request pleased ADONAI and not only is his request accompanied with wisdom honored, but what he didn't ask for is meted out to him as well. A final additional outpouring of ADONAI's blessing to Shlomo becomes conditional, and it has to do with life. Read verses 10~14
With these requests honored by ADONAI, it's likely to concede that someplace within the confines of Shlomo's heart there existed a desire for riches, honor and long life as they were so explicitely mentioned by ADONAI. The fact is that if this was the case, they were secondary to his desire for a wise and understanding heart. In other words, Shlomo push- ed every one of his personal wants and desires aside only to focus on the most important gift that would allow him to accomplish the task that he was called to do.
With the knowledge that having all the riches in the world would not enable him to rule effectively as Melech Yisra'el, Shlomo realizes that a heart of wisdom and understanding would make the goal attainable.
C One of my favorite scriptures comes from Yesha'yahu 61:10 where it states: "I am so joyful in ADONAI! My soul rejoices in my G-D, for He has clothed me in Salvation, and has enwrapped me with a robe of righteous- ness." In claiming this robe of righteousness, I sometimes get a distorted outward appearance of myself, kinda like the mirrors in a fun house at the carnival. I have to question myself whether I have really sought out the things of ADONAI, those gifts of the Ruach, or have I been pursuant to my own interests and desires, hiding them under this robe in secret?
Tehillim 44:21 says that: "G-D knows the secrets of the heart." So let's be honest, do we say things with our mouths that we don't speak from our hearts? Do we discuss with each other how great our prayer lives are and how we desire to have the gifts of ADONAI that will enable us to accomplish the tasks that He sets before us, and then proceed to pray for tangible earthly material wealth that will corrode and eventually be stolen away? Where your wealth is, you'll find your heart.
How many of us can honestly say to ourselves that in our prayers and petitions to ADONAI, we have sought out a heart of wisdom and understanding, able to discern between good and evil? If ADONAI was to visit you in a dream at night like He did Shlomo, and say to you: "Tell Me what I should give you," What would your answer be?
Would your request be self centered, or would you request gifts of en- ablement for the gifting that He has already provided for you, so that you can accomplish the task that He has called you to do for His glory? We all have gifts of the Ruach like Yosef, but do we pray for wisdom so that we can edify by lifting up, exhort, speak, lead, give words of understanding and wisdom, shepherd, teach, heal, help, administer, etc.?
It seems that some communities are more concerned with enlarging the tangible building rather than enlarging the Spiritual Body. Without a heart of wisdom, understanding, and discernment given by ADONAI through the Ruach, we will never be successful in accomplishing the tasks that G-D sets before us.
D This is by no means saying that we should not approach Abba Father when we have other needs. Mattityahu 6:8 says that: "....your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." His desire for us is that we will put our complete faith in Him and seek Him in all things. Study- ing Matt 6:33 a few weeks ago, we learned that we are to seek first the Father's Kingdom and His righteousness, and then all these things that we like Shlomo are not to be concerned with, will be given to us.
We cannot attempt to understand matters of the Ruach (Spiritual) with our fleshly pleasures and appetities, nor can we discern matters of the Ruach with our emotions. Understanding and discernment by this approach is sure to bring failure. Many times we seek solutions for the problems, when we should be seeking a wise and understanding heart, whereby ADONAI will provide that knowledge and much more.
M'lakhim Alef 3:12 states that there would never be another person like Shlomo, but if we ask from a heart that has its priorities in order, and seek a heart of widom, understanding and discernment as he did, for the purpose of glorifying G-D, ADONAI will be faithful to answer us.
E Ya'akov Ch 1:5~6 in part says: "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask G-D, Who gives to all generously and without reproach (disappro- val); and it will be given to him. But let him ask in trust (faith) doubting nothing...."
Rabbi Shaul's leeter to the Messianic Community at Colosse in Collosians 1:9~10 on pg 1470 states: Read
Close with Mishlei (Proverbs 2:1~15 pg 942 Read
Parashah #9 Vayeshev (He Settled)
B'resheet 37:1~40:23 Kislev 23, 5769/12-20-08
All Scripture Texts Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible
A This weeks parashah opens up with the history of Ya'akov, and immediately proceeds with the story of Yosef's life beginning at age 17. Early on in this period of his life, we read that he was indeed a dreamer just as his brothers had characterized him. Right from the onset he shares two of his dreams with his brothers and his father, only to be received with anger and rebuke.
After being sold by his brothers in their anger, and finding himself in Mitzrayim, ADONAI is with Yosef and he lands a job working for Potifar a high ranking official in the court of Pharaoh. The prosperity of ADONAI comes to Potifar through Yosef, so he is put in charge of all of Potifar's possessions. Later the seductive antics of Potifar's wife land Yosef in an elite status prison where high ranking servants and officers were assigned when they failed to measure up to Pharaoh's standards. It is here that Yosef ministers to his cell~mates and by spirit revelation he is able to interpret a couple of dreams.
Read B'resheet 40:1~23 pg 44
B The dreams of sar ha mashkim the chief butler שקה(shakah the one who gives drink or cupbearer) and sar ha ofim, the chief baker אפה aphah, on the surface seem to be quite similar. Each of these men's dreams con- tain the elements of food, grapes and bread. Each man made provision with his food, the cupbearer provided Pharaoh with the grapes and the baker provided the birds with the baked goods that were destined for Pharaoh. Another similarity is the number three, the cupbearer saw a vine with three branches, budding and blossoming with clusters of grapes, while the baker carried three baskets of baked goods.
With such striking similarities, we find Yosef's interpretations of the dreams, quite varied in their assessment. The cupbearer on the one hand would be restored back to his position in Pharaoh's service, but the baker on the other hand, would meet his demise by hanging, and the birds would eat his flesh.
Mitzrayim was a center of occult practices, vibrant with the myst- ical and magical powers channeled through spirit mediums. It is in this very environment that the cupbearer and baker state that nobody around there could interpret their dreams. It is then, even with his G-D given insight and wisdom, that Yosef declares openly to his two incarcerated friends that G-D is the source of all interpretations, and after having made this statement Yosef is able by revelation of the Ruach HaKodesh, to provide interpretation.
The source of this type of prophetic interpretation is alluded to in HaBrit Chadashah II Kefa 1:21 where it states:"No prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own; for never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing~~on the contrary, people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh spoke a message from G-D."
C We looked at the three similarities of the two dreams, but a close look into the text exposes an essential difference as well. The cupbearer in a subtle sort of way, gives definition to his dream character as being pro-active with his statement of verse 11. "Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh."In other words, he purports to be a good and faithful servant to his Master the King by his actions.
In contrast, the baker's dream character is blatently expressed as one of passiveness, with no actions in the service of his master recorded whatsoever. Verses 16~17 in part state: "....there were three baskets of white bread on my head. In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds ate them out of the basket on my head." The only action expressed, is on behalf of the birds, who ate the food designated for the King.
This is not the first time in Scripture that birds have played a sym- bolic role in the wellbeing of peoples lives. An outstanding example of this is found in; B'resheet Ch 15:7~21 Read pg 14
The birds here as found in verse 11, represent HaSatan swooping down to interfere and break up this covenant before its completion, by snatching away the acceptable sacrifice before it is offered. Avram does not enter- tain a passive condition here, but quite the contrary he drives the birds away. Besides the preparation of the offerings, his actions here represent his contribution to the covenant that ADONAI G-D would complete by Himself.
In Mattityahu 13:3~4 Yeshua speaking says: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell alongside the path; and the birds came and ate it up."
He continues on in the words of verse 19 stating: "Whoever hears the message about the Kingdom, but doesn't understand it, is like the seed sown along the path~~the Evil One comes and seizes what was sown in his heart.
HaSatan then, represents the unclean scavenging fowl that sweeps down and snatches away the understanding of the beseuras hageulah from people, keeping them in a state of confusion from believing in the things of the Kingdom.
Inactivity as in the case of the Baker as well as the life bearing seed the farmer sows along the path that lies inactive, not becoming activated or productive, both tend to give place to the work of the Evil One, HaSatan, who becomes their master and consumes them. Inactivity as well as actions done in wickedness are unworthy of reprieve, and in judgement death becomes the sentence. Courses of action on the other hand, as in the case of Avram and the cupbearer meet with pleasing results in the eyes of the Master, and provide life on a national and a personal level. A person of action along with faith is rewarded by a restored relationship with his Master.
D It seems as though we look at this frequently, but it must be an important point that needs to be driven home. All of us I trust profess to have faith, but what kind of faith do we have? Is your faith a faith of passiveness, wreaking pew warmer qualities, Are your freaky, finely feathered, fowled fraternizing friends eating the bread from your head and the seed from your path? What does your walk of faith look like, are there any actions accomplished through G-D associated with it, or are your actions represented by wickedness and evil?
We read a few weeks ago from Mattityahu Ch 6:33 where it states: "But seek first G-D's Kingdom and His righteousness...." and this implies that seeking first means to seek out in a priority status above everything else in our lives.
In Ya'akov Ch 2:24 it states: "You see that a person is declared righteous because of actions and not because of faith alone."This in part should show us the importance of having actions that accompany our faith.
Read Ya'akov 2:14~26 pg 1511
As we close down this morning, our thoughts turn towards Chanukkah. The word chanukkah as we probably know means חנוכה to dedicate or consecrate and it comes from a root that can also mean to train, teach or educate. Our prayer this season needs to be as we dedicate or even re~dedicate ourselves to His service that we ask G-D to teach us about our actions and how in truth we can accomplish them through Him. If we do this, the truth of our actions will bring us to His Light.
Read Yochanan Ch 3:19~21 pg 1333
Shabbat Shalom/Chag Sameach
B’resheet Chapter 14:18: “Malki-Tzedek 1מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen (priest) of El El’yon (G-D most High)….”
Tehillim (Psalms) 110:1: “ADONAI says to my L-rd (Master), ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’”
Tehillim (Psalms) 110:4: “ADONAI has sworn it, and He will never retract—‘You are a cohen (priest) forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.’”1
Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 5:1~14: 1 For every cohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on people's behalf with regard to things concerning God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and with those who go astray, since he too is subject to weakness. 3 Also, because of this weakness, he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as those of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor upon himself, rather, he is called by God, just as Aharon was. 5 So neither did the Messiah glorify himself to become cohen gadol; rather, it was the One who said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." 6 Also, as he says in another place, "You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek."1 7 During Yeshua's life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions, crying aloud and shedding tears, to the One who had the power to deliver him from death; and he was heard because of his godliness. 8 Even though he was the Son, he learned obedience through his sufferings. 9 And after he had been brought to the goal, he became the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey him,10 since he had been proclaimed by God as a cohen gadol to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.1 11 We have much to say about this subject, but it is hard to explain, because you have become sluggish in understanding. 12 For although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the very first principles of God's Word all over again! You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who has to drink milk is still a baby, without experience in applying the Word about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil.
Messianic Jews (Hebrews) Chapter 7: 1 This Malki-Tzedek,1 king of Shalem, a cohen of God Ha'Elyon, met Avraham on his way back from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; 2 also Avraham gave him a tenth of everything. Now first of all, by translation of his name, he is "king of righteousness"; and then he is also king of Shalem, which means "king of peace." 3 There is no record of his father, mother, ancestry, birth or death; rather, like the Son of God, he continues as a cohen for all time. 4 Just think how great he was! Even the Patriarch Avraham gave him a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5 Now the descendants of Levi who became cohanim have a commandment in the Torah to take a tenth of the income of the people, that is, from their own brothers, despite the fact that they too are descended from Avraham. 6 But Malki-Tzedek,1 even though he was not descended from Levi, took a tenth from Avraham. Also, he blessed Avraham, the man who received God's promises; 7 and it is beyond all dispute that the one who blesses has higher status than the one who receives the blessing. 8 Moreover, in the case of the cohanim, the tenth is received by men who die; while in the case of Malki-Tzedek,1 it is received by someone who is testified to be still alive. 9 One might go even further and say that Levi, who himself receives tenths, paid a tenth through Avraham; 10 inasmuch as he was still in his ancestor Avraham's body when Malki-Tzedek1 met him.
11 Therefore, if it had been possible to reach the goal through the system of cohanim derived from Levi (since in connection with it, the people were given the Torah), what need would there have been for another, different kind of cohen, the one spoken of as to be compared with Malki-Tzedek1 and not to be compared with Aharon? 12 For if the system of cohanim is transformed, there must of necessity occur a transformation of Torah. 13 The one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar; 14 for everyone knows that our Lord arose out of Y'hudah, and that Moshe said nothing about this tribe when he spoke about cohanim. 15 It becomes even clearer if a "different kind of cohen," one like Malki-Tzedek,1 arises, 16 one who became a cohen not by virtue of a rule in the Torah concerning physical descent, but by virtue of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is stated, "You are a cohen FOREVER, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek."1 18 Thus, on the one hand, the earlier rule is set aside because of its weakness and inefficacy 19 (for the Torah did not bring anything to the goal); and, on the other hand, a hope of something better is introduced, through which we are drawing near to God. 20 What is more, God swore an oath. For no oath was sworn in connection with those who become cohanim now; 21 but Yeshua became a cohen by the oath which God swore when he said to him, "ADONAI has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a cohen forever.'" 22 Also this shows how much better is the covenant of which Yeshua has become guarantor. 23 Moreover, the present cohanim are many in number, because they are prevented by death from continuing in office. 24 But because he lives forever, his position as cohen does not pass on to someone else; 25 and consequently, he is totally able to deliver those who approach God through him; since he is alive forever and thus forever able to intercede on their behalf. 26 This is the kind of cohen gadol that meets our need - holy, without evil, without stain, set apart from sinners and raised higher than the heavens; 27 one who does not have the daily necessity, like the other cohanim g'dolim, of offering up sacrifices first for their own sins and only then for those of the people; because he offered one sacrifice, once and for all, by offering up himself. 28 For the Torah appoints as cohanim g'dolim men who have weakness; but the text which speaks about the swearing of the oath, a text written later than the Torah, appoints a Son who has been brought to the goal forever.
Messianic Jews (Hebrews) Chapter 8:1~6: 1 Here is the whole point of what we have been saying: we do have just such a cohen gadol as has been described. And he does sit at the right hand of HaG'dulah (The Greatness) in heaven. 2 There he serves in the Holy Place, that is, in the true Tent of Meeting, the one erected not by human beings but by ADONAI. 3 For every cohen gadol is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so this cohen gadol too has to have something he can offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he wouldn't be a cohen at all, since there already are cohanim offering the gifts required by the Torah. 5 But what they are serving is only a copy and shadow of the heavenly original; for when Moshe was about to erect the Tent, God warned him, "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain."
6 But now the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant he mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises.
Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 10:1~18: 1 For the Torah has in it a shadow of the good things to come, but not the actual manifestation of the originals. Therefore, it can never, by means of the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, bring to the goal those who approach the Holy Place to offer them. 2 Otherwise, wouldn't the offering of those sacrifices have ceased? For if the people performing the service had been cleansed once and for all, they would no longer have sins on their conscience. 3 No, it is quite the contrary - in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins, year after year. 4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 5 This is why, on coming into the world, he says, "It has not been your will to have an animal sacrifice and a meal offering; rather, you have prepared for me a body. 6 No, you have not been pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings.
7 Then I said, 'Look! In the scroll of the book it is written about me. I have come to do your will.'" 8 In saying first, "You neither willed nor were pleased with animal sacrifices, meal offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings," things which are offered in accordance with the Torah; 9 and then, "Look, I have come to do your will"; he takes away the first system in order to set up the second. 10 It is in connection with this will that we have been separated for God and made holy, once and for all, through the offering of Yeshua the Messiah's body. 11 Now every cohen stands every day doing his service, offering over and over the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this one, after he had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from then on to wait until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has brought to the goal for all time those who are being set apart for God and made holy. 15 And the Ruach HaKodesh too bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 " 'This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days,' says ADONAI: 'I will put my Torah on their hearts, and write it on their minds . . . ,' " 17 he then adds, " 'And their sins and their wickednesses I will remember no more.' " 18 Now where there is forgiveness for these, an offering for sins is no longer needed.
Scripture references taken from the "Complete Jewish Bible" Translator: David H. Stern
Jewish New Testament Publications, inc.
It has been suggested that Malki-Tzedek was certainly a "Messiah Type" in Torah, but I believe that we can go on to suggest that He could have been Messiah Himself as revealed through one of His pre-incarnate appearances.
1 Malki-Tzedek "My King of Righteousness" מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק
|| Sh'mot (Exodus) Parashah 13
Yisra'el's War in the Gaza is not an incursion levied against a people that identify themselves as Palestinians, but rather it is a defensive operative levied against the Spirit of Amalek. Rabbi Sha'ul's words to the Messianic Community in Ephesus explains clearly in Ch. 6:12 stating: "For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." CJB
Parashah 13, Sh'mot (Exodus)
Sh'mot 1:1~6:1* 21 Tevet 5769*1/17/09
A With the closing of Sefer B'resheet we have in part bid a final fare- well to the great Patriarchs and Matriarchs. While we leave their stories behind as recorded on the Divinely Inspired pages of Scripture, the spirits of these G-D~fearing forebearers will carry on even to this day as their in- fluence and participation in the Covenants that G-D made with them con- tinue to be walked out.
This weeks parashah Sh'mot, brings us into a whole new era of change, with a whole new cast of performers. G-D is going to raise up for Himself a redeemer from this nation of Hebrews housed within a nation of Egyptians, to deliver His people from oppression and slavery leading them to their own Promised Land. Unlike the Covenant of promise that G-D made with the patriarchs concerning future descendants, this G-D appointed redeemer of the Hebrews would begin a present fulfillment of these promises. The Patriarchs knew G-D as a Covenant maker and now He expresses Himself to this new generation as a covenant keeper.
Read B'resheet (Genesis) 17:1~6 pg 15; 28:1~4 pg 29; 35:9~12 pg 38; 48:1~4 pg 55
When Ya'akov's (Yisra'el's) family settled in Mitzrayim, they were but a small nation of seventy descendants. However, after the demise of this generation, the nation grows. Up until this weeks parashah, we read that all of G-D's promises concerning the phenomenal multiplying of the Hebrew people were in a future tense. However in today's parashah, Pharaoh perceives this Hebrew Nation, rapidly growing in numbers in his midst as a present threat, and declares war against them on the "battle- field of their fruitfulness."
Read Sh'mot (Exodus) Ch 1:5~14 pg 60
B So one of the terms of G-D's covenant with the patriarchs has now become manifest in the fruitfulness of the Hebrew people, and to counter the effects of this covenant in that it might come to fruition, there arises a new Pharaoh in Egypt that refuses to recognize that the great accomplish- ments that Yosef had procured for the land were any longer valid.
The lean years of famine had passed now and the state of economics were such that the business of agriculture and livestock had been restored to the land, so to continue operating under the rules of a Hebrew, a people who had now become a threat to his power, was no longer acceptable.
I don't think that this was just some kind of a jealous power struggle that this new King was experiencing, because he could have presented some terms and conditions to the Hebrews in an effort to make them allies with him, thus becoming a greater and stronger nation, but he didn't. What he proposes to the Hebrews was physical oppression in form fueled by a spirit of hatred with the hopes of interfering with G-D's covenant and annihilating the Hebrew people. By killing all of the male Hebrew babies there would be an ethical cleansing of sort, with the hopes that the women would assimilate into Egyptian culture and any further threat of this race would be eliminated. I refer to this spirit as the Spirit of Amalek
Read Sh'mot (Exodus 1:15~22
C The Meaning of the name Amalek: The term may be divided into amal - to toil, and the letter kuf, with the meaning 'ejection of the life-spirit' e.g. katal - to kill with removal of life-spirit. So Amalek means 'becoming dispirited (losing the spirit to live) as a result of hard labour and continuous toil'. Amalek represents intellectual doubt, the kind that erodes one's sense of belief that G-D has total authority and is running the world. The Hebrew word Amalek (in gematria) has the numeric value of 240, which is equal to the Hebrew word safek, which means doubt.
Amalekites were a tribe or consolidated tribes that were located in the area of the Sinai penninsula. They were in existence already in the time of Avraham (B'resh 14:7) and were referred to in Bil'am's prophecy as; "First among nations" (B'mid 24:20) or in other words, "the leading force of evil." The Amalekites are never mentioned as having been on friendly conditions with Yisra'el, but instead the references to them are always in terms of warfare. Just as Yisra'el was called as a leading force of good, Amalek is considered to be the leading force of evil. As a result, the struggle becomes the eternal struggle of good versus evil in this world.The first attack of Amalek against Yisra'el takes place following the Reed Sea miracle.
Read Sh'mot (Exodus) 17:8~16 pg 79
As we mentioned earlier, The Spirit of Amalek has one chief goal and objective, and that is to make G-D out to be a liar by interfering with His covenants to His people in an effort to invalidate them. So now, as we read, ADONAI Himself will take on Amalek generation after generation and will eventually completely blot out this name from under heaven. In Sh'mu'el Alef Ch 15 King Sha'ul is ordered by ADONAI to attack the Amalekites and completely destry them. He attacks and spares the Amalekite King Agag. Because of this disobedience, Sha'ul loses the King- ship. In Ch 27 King David attacks the Amalekites and crushes them. About 300 yrs later, in Divrei Hayamim Alef (I Chron. 4) King Hizkiyahu (Hezekiah) destroys a remant of the Amalekites once again in battle.
Seemingly disappearing from the pages of history as a nation, the spirit of Amalek resurfaces about 200 yrs later in the account of Esther through an actual descendant of Agag (King of Amalek) with the name of Haman. Once again this spirit attempted to destroy the Hebrew people in an effort to interfere with the covenant of G-D and render it invalid. Quiet or at least subtle for almost 300 yrs, finds the spirit of Amalek rising up again to interfere with G-D's covenant concerning His people and invalidate it. It expresses itself through the Syrian Greek ruler Antiochus IV who tries to force the Hebrew people into an assimilation of hellenism, forsaking the Laws of ADONAI G-D. Because it is a spiritual bat- tle the words of the prophet echo the victory as: "It's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says ADONAI Tzva'ot."
Because Amalek is a spirit, it does not tire easily. Another 170 yrs pass and another covenant of promise that G-D had made with his people through the prophets starts to unfold in its fulfillment, only to be menaced once again by the invalidating spirit of Amalek. This too, speaks of One who is appointed and called by G-D out of Egypt like Moshe to redeem His people. Read Mattityahu (Matthew) 2:1~16 pg 1224
D In 70 CE, Rome destroys the Temple over 1 million Jews are killed
135 CE Hadrian kills 500,000 Jews banning them from Yisra'el and renaming the Land Palestine.
527-1012 CE Medieval period, forced conversions or death and expulsion
1073~1492 Middle Ages period of the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition
1516~1719 CE Reformation period Luther's anti~semitic book "Against the Jews and their lies", First ghettos established, literally thousands killed in Poland and Ukraine, blood libel charges come out in France
1768~1877 CE Enlightenment period Nicholas I called the Russian Haman considers the Jews to be parasites on society seeks to destroy them, Anti~semitism rises in the United States during the Civil War
1878~1945 Modern era Pogroms in Europe, "Protocal of the Elders of Zion" written against the Jews because of Russia's structural problems, Henry Ford publishes the same work in America under the title: "The International Jew" WW I, WW II, and....The Holocaust
1948 G-D says to Amalek; "Enough for Now" and Yisra'el becomes a State again
1950~present Post modern era brings the spirit of Amalek through a consolidated organization of Arab countries vowing to "Push Yisra'el into the Sea," and to "Wipe her from off of the face of the Map." And most current is the spirit of Amalek making the same threats to eradicate the Jewish people and the Jewish Nation through the guise of a terrorist cell that is so aptly named: Chamas which means destruction or to destroy.
Revelation Ch 12 shows us four distinct areas of attack that Ha- Satan will pursue. A study in and of itself, let's look at the highlites. Turn to Revelation 12 pg 1543 The first area of attack is against the very person of Messiah Read vs 1~6
The 2nd area of attack is against the power and authority of Messiah because the war moves from the earth up to the throne of heaven, but Mikha'el our Messiah's General archangel whose area of responsibility is the Jewish people, blocks the attack. Read vs 7~9
The third area of attack is against the people who have given their lives to Messiah as martyrs for the sake of the Beseuras HaGeulah. But they too defeat HaSatan, because of the blood of the Lamb. And when the Adversary is hurled out of heaven, he once again becomes pursuant to the destruction of the Jewish people on earth. Read vs 10~16
The final attack comes against against the believers, the natural branch believers and those grafted in who proclaim and bear witness to Yeshua. Read vs 17
If HaSatan can destroy the Jewish people before they can repent and trust in Messiah as a Nation, Messiah will not return, and the Adversary will be free to continue to prowl like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. We are the "rest of her children, and I believe that we have work to do. The greatest act of Amalek anti~semitism is not sharing the Beseuras HaGeulah with our Jewish brothers and sisters.
G-D is involved always with the fate of His people, their victories are His and their enemies are His as well. As you may have perceived, the spirit of Amalek is none other than the great dragon HaSatan deceiver of the world and manifest in and through the lives of those that share a common desire to make G-D out to be a liar. Ephesians 6:12 explains: "We are not struggling against human beings....but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." E The Book of Revelation explains to us with two important reasons why HaSatan has been trying to destroy the Jewish people since the Book of B'resheet. The first reason is to; undermine and make invalid G-D promises to His people as we've stated previously. The second reason is to stop the return or Second Coming of Messiah Yeshua, which among other things ushers in the eventual demise of the Adversary.
Gut Shabbes! Rav Chovel