Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Torah Portion - January 2, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 2

The Shema

The Shema (Hebrew for “hear, understand,” and “obey”) is the heart of the Torah, which our Saviour called “the First and Greatest Commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). It is the epicenter from which radiates all the Light and loveliness of every other Torah Truth. The Shema, in Hebrew, is written (right to left) as follows:

The full Shema is Deuteronomy 6:4-9, shown in bold in the verses below: 

Deuteronomy 6:4-9Hear, O Israel: YAHWEH our God is one YAH. And thou shalt love YAHWEH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

The Torah doesn’t stop with just presenting the Shema Message. It continues, showing Yahweh’s people how often the Shema should be in their thoughts and how central the Shema should be in the true Christian home. 

The Shema is the very heart and soul of the Torah itself. When we fully love Yahweh, placing our love for Him as centrally in our thoughts and homes as these verses instruct, will be keeping the entire rest of the Torah. True love is the fulfilling of the Law (see John 14:23 and Romans 13:10).

How often are we to recite the Shema? How frequently and on what occasions are we instructed to think of it? And how central should it be in our thoughts? To answer these questions, let us list the specific instructions from Deuteronomy Chapter Six:

1) Parents are to diligently teach their children to memorize the Shema and understand its Message.

2) When families are resting in their homes, either in the “down-time” of the evening or in the morning family worship gathering, the Shema is to be the theme of conversation.

3) During the quiet moments afforded in travel time, the Shema is again to be our focus.

4) Every morning when we first wake up, we are to recite and meditate upon the Shema.

5) Every evening when we lay down and prepare to fall asleep, we are first to recite and think on the Shema.

6) To keep the Shema as a focal point throughout the other hours of the day, we are to inscribe it in our homes and carry it and/or post it.

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 1-20)
The Torah studies are provided in two formats for your convenience. The first option (below) is the blank worksheets for this week, which will allow you to print out the worksheets and hand-write the studies yourself. If you have less time, you may wish to read/print my completed Statute studies. The completed worksheets are in Microsoft Word format and are the second option (below):

An Overview of this Week's Torah Studies:
While we will be reading through the Torah in order (see this week's Torah Reading), we will not be studying the Commandments and Statutes in order. Since the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) is the heart of the Torah, it is appropriate to start with it. The Shema is the Torah portion which is written in the Mezzuzah and put upon the doorposts of the house. So, our Torah studies will be following another order. Also, in order to study all Ten Commandments and all 613 Statutes in a year, it is necessary to complete several studies each day, as shown below. Happy studying!

Statute 1 Summary:
(1) Submit to Yahweh as the One and only God in the Universe. Make Him First in your life, thinking and heart.
Deuteronomy 6:4  “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our God is one YAH.”  
Statute 2 Summary:
(2) Love Yahweh with every fiber of your being.
Deuteronomy 6:5  “And thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Statute 3 Summary:
(3) In Keeping His Commands, we Worship and reverence Yahweh, as our Heavenly Father.
Deuteronomy 6:1-2,13, 25  “Now these are the Commandments, the Statutes, and the Judgments, which Yahweh your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear Yahweh thy God, to keep all His Statutes and His Commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged… Thou shalt fear Yahweh thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His Name… And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before Yahweh our God, as He hath commanded us.”
Statute 4 Summary:
(4) Serve Yahweh as Your Heavenly Father.
Exodus 23:25  “And ye shall serve Yahweh your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
Statute 5 Summary:
(5) Hold fast to Yahweh and take all your vows and oaths in His Name.
Deuteronomy 10:20  “Thou shalt fear Yahweh thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His Name.”
Statute 6 Summary:
(6) Only take oaths in Yahweh’s Name, when you reverence Him as your Father.
Deuteronomy 6:13 “Thou shalt fear Yahweh
 thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His Name.”
Statute 7 Summary:
(7) Keep Yahweh’s Law and walk in all His Ways. When we do Yahweh swears to make us holy.
Deuteronomy 28:9 “Yahweh shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the Commandments of Yahweh thy God, and walk in His ways.”
Statute 8 Summary:
(8) Hallow Yahweh and do not profane His Holy Name.
Leviticus 22:32 “Neither shall ye profane My Holy Name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I Am the LORD which hallow you.”
Statutes 9-10 Summary:
(9) Meditate on Yahweh’s Law, (10) teaching it to your household, in your “down time,” when you travel, before bed at night and first thing in the morning.
Deuteronomy 6:7  “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (And Deut 6:7)
Statute 11 Summary:
(11) Do not trust in any power but Yahweh.. Worship Him alone.
Leviticus 19:4  “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I Am Yahweh your God.”
Statute 12 Summary:
(12) Do not make gods out of anything.
Exodus 20:23  “Ye shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.”
Statutes 13-16 Summary:
(13) Do not worship representations of God, for He has not shown us His form. (14) Do not make, (15) bow down to, (16) nor worship images of any created thing.
Deuteronomy 4:15-19  “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that Yahweh spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,  the likeness of anything that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which Yahweh thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.”  
Statutes 17-18 Summary:
(17) Do not give your children to any false god, nor offer them as sacrifices to them. (18) Do not profane Yahweh’s Name.
Leviticus 18:21  “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God: I Am Yahweh.”
Statutes 19-20 Summary:
(19) Do not turn to mediums or familiar spirits. (20) Do not seek after them.
Leviticus 19:31 “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I Am Yahweh your God.”

Daily Bible Reading - January 2, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 6:1-26

Genesis 3-5

Psalm 2



Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Genesis 3:15, we find the first mentioning of the Plan of Redemption. But to understand the full scope of what God is promising to do, in this verse, we need to understand what each part means.

God specifically promises to put "enmity" between the serpent and the woman and between the "seed" of the serpent and the "seed" of the woman. He then says that the serpent will bruise the heel of the seed of the woman; but her seed will triumph in the end, because the seed of the woman will bruise the serpent's head (and you kill a snake by crushing its head).

There are characters mentioned in this verse. To understand the promise, we need to identify the characters:

The Serpent - Satan took the form of a serpent. For this reason the serpent, in this verse, is a reference to the devil.

Revelation 12:9  - "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Genesis 3:15 Scripture Doodle (from my personal Bible)
The Woman - The woman, of course, is Eve. But, as she is the mother of all humanity, we are all included in this reference to her.

The Woman's "Seed" - We are all the "seed" (descendants or children) of Eve, but there is a more specific reference intended here. One Person, of all Eve's children (humanity) would be The Seed - the One Who would ultimately crush the serpent's head. That One is Christ. The Messiah is the ultimate "Seed" of the Woman, referenced in Genesis 3:15.

Romans 1:3 -  "Concerning his Son Jesus (Yahshua, was His original Name in Hebrew) Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Of course, David's seed is all descended from Eve).

The Serpent's "Seed" - The seed of the serpent is his "fruit" - his unholy character qualities and rebellion against God. When the devil's unholy character qualities are in us, we have the seed of Satan in us. But, through Messiah's Sacrifice and indwelling Power, we are transformed. As the Spirit of God dwells in us, His Fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) - or spiritual seed - is produced in our lives. With the Presence of  the "seed" (His Characteristics) of God in us, we become the spiritual seed (children) of God. In this process, the seed (works of the flesh) of Satan are destroyed in us:

1 John 3:8-9  "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." 

Now, having looked at the entities involved in this prophecy, we are ready to glean the fuller meaning of Genesis 3:15, the first mention of the Plan of Redemption in the Bible.

Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." 

The word "enmity" in this verse is translated from the Hebrew word אֵיבָה ('êybâh), which means "hostility and hate". It is from the root word which means "to be of an opposite tribe". In other words, God is promising to put hostility and hatred for evil in the hearts of His children. In us, He has promised to divorce us from our attraction to the works of the devil and to make us the children of the opposite tribe - the Family of God!

In Genesis 3:15, God also warns that Satan will "bruise" Messiah's "heel".  We can immediately recognize that this is a poetic phrasing which represents the Saviour's Sacrifice, dying for your sins and mine. But there is actually a lot more to this statement than immediately meets the eye. To find the deeper meaning, we need to look at these words in a Strong's Concordance. To "bruise" means to "break" or "cover". "Heel" means "track" or "foot step". Actually, with these meanings, we can see that what is being said here is that the devil will bruise the Saviour's Heel by covering His tracks, obscuring His "foot steps" from view.

Scripture tells us that Messiah is our Example in all things and that we are to faithfully follow "in His Steps":

1 Peter 2:21  "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His Steps."

Christ's Life is an Example for us. This means that we are to live as He lived. By His Grace, we are to follow in His Steps, living according to His Pattern. Being Christian means living by the motto, "What would Jesus (Yahshua) do?"

But, just as we were warned the serpent would do (in Genesis 3:15), the enemy has bruised the Saviour's "Heel". This not only refers to the fact that our Saviour would die for our sins, taking the sting of Death in our stead, it also means that the serpent would bruise His Heel by covering over His foot steps. The enemy has worked to obscure the Messiah's Life, Teachings and Purpose. And in so doing, society has largely lost the Saviour's Example and is unable to follow in the Life-prints He left behind.

But the prophecy doesn't end with the devil winning in this insidious manner. God also tells us that the Seed - the Saviour - will "bruise" the serpent's head. Everyone knows that if you want to kill a snake, you crush its head. This foretold head injury is a fatal one.

The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is also portrayed in the stars. The original constellation names and star names were given by God Himself (Psalm 147:4-5Isaiah 40:26). It was He, not the pagan Greeks, who gave the stars their constellation shapes and assigned their meaning to tell His Plan of Redemption in the Stars (Psalm 19:1-3).

In the star picture, the Strong Man - who anciently represented Christ (Yahshua Messiah), not a Greek false god - was shown wrestling the serpent, on our behalves.

Beneath his foot is a stinging scorpion - a symbol of Eternal Death (1 Corinthians 15:55-56). The scorpion of Death is swinging his stinging tail up to catch the Strong Man in the heel - just as the Bible foretells in Genesis 3:15.

The rest of the Genesis 3:15 prophecy is also shown in the star picture. In a neighboring constellation, the same Strong Man (our Saviour) is shown doing battle with some fruit (representing the Works of the Flesh - Galatians 5:16-21 - which are the characteristics, the fruit, the spiritual seed of Satan). In addition, the foot of the Strong Man is stepping on the serpent's head, preparing to give it a crushing and fatal wound.

Genesis 3:15 is a powerful Promise that Almighty God will defeat the devil, destroying his unrighteous character traits and fleshly works, in addition to ultimately defeating the destroyer. But there is a more personal side to the promise. God will put "enmity" in His people - not enmity against people - but enmity against the devil's temptations and destructive "delights".

Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." 

Today, when you pray, I encourage you to ask God to put enmity between you and the Works of the Flesh.  Ask Him to fulfill His Promise in Genesis 3:15 by making the enemy's enticements appear as they truly are - disgusting, evil, and hateful. And, as He puts enmity between you and the serpents seed, you will find the personal fulfillment of the powerful promise found in Genesis 3:15.