Thursday, January 11, 2018

Torah Portion - January 11, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 9

The Hebrew Alphabet: Tet

Tet: The Letter of Good or Evil

Tet is a paradoxical letter in that it reveals both good  (tov) and evil. The form of the letter is "inverted," suggesting hidden goodness, like that of a woman who is pregnant with child. However, sometimes the potential for goodness  (tahorah) is perverted, and impurity or filth  (tumah) results.
Tet is the least frequently occurring letter in the Scriptures (Yod is the most popular). The letter first appears in Genesis 1:4: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
But note even here that there is a sort of paradox. God saw that the light was good, but God separated the light from the darkness, thereby making a distinction.
Tet and the Mystery of Evil - God is the source of all that is good in the universe:

"Give thanks to Yahweh of Hosts for He is good..." (Jer. 33:11).

Yet even though God is categorically good, since He is the ultimate reality and Creator of all, He is the One who ultimately controls the affairs of humankind, both the good and the calamitous:

"I form (yotzer) the light, and create darkness (choshekh); I make peace (shalom) and create evil (or calamity) (ra). I Yahweh do all these things (Isaiah 45:7).

Romans 8:28   “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His Purpose.” 

Consider Joseph’s answer to his brothers, when they feared he might take revenge upon them for having sold him into slavery, as a young teen…  

Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant (allowed) it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

The Gematria of Tet
The letter Tet has the value of 9 (some Hebrew words that have this value include  (ach), meaning brother, and  (beged), meaning garment). Using the "reduced" form of gematria, the word  (emet - meaning "truth") also has the value of 9 (see right).

Tet: The Letter of Blessing or Cursing

The parts of Tet (Vav and Zayin) are the same as the parts for Chet, but the difference appears in the Vav, or that aspect of the letter that represents man. As we will see below, the letter Tet can picture either the man that is in rebellion before Yahweh or the man that is surrendered to Him:

When a man (Vav) is bowed down before the Crowned Man (Zayin), taking upon himself His yoke (Chet), then his soul is subject to the discipline of Yahweh, and the nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit will grow in his life (Galatians 5:22-23). This man will die to himself and all that is outside the yoke of Christ (Luke 9:23).

On the other hand, if the soul refuses to bow down and instead rebels, the inner life will take on the characteristics of the serpent (nachash), satan. If that man chooses to live for himself, relying on his own inner sense of autonomy, he will share the fate of satan and "eat dust," or the stuff of the flesh.

In short, how the Tet will be represented depends upon our personal decision to give our lives to the Messiah 
and be yoked together with Him. Will we choose to surrender our lives, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, or will we inwardly rebel and live in the selfish pride that marks the devil?

"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life..." (Deut 30:19).

Luke 9:23-24   “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My Sake, the same shall save it.”

Both chet and tet are constructed from the same two letters: zayin and vav.  They zayin is the Crowned Man, representing Christ and the vav is man. In chet, the zayin and vav are yoked together, but the vav still appears straight, having just entered the yoking experience with Christ. Remember the Saviour’s invitation.

Matthew 11:29 “Take My Yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Look carefully at the verse.
·         Why are we to be yoked to Yahshua? – TO LEARN OF HIM
·         What do we learn of Him during the yoking? – TO BE MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART
·         How are we rewarded, when we learn to be meek? – HE GIVES US REST!

Rest, the meaning of the Word “Sabbath” represents Eternal Life… When we are yoked to Yahshua in the chet experience, the next step is to bow in submission to Yahweh, dying to self and, in lowliness and meekness of heart, seeking HIS WILL – not ours – be done. Nine is the number of JUDGMENT – a person who submits to Yahweh and dies to self, having been yoked to Yahshua is Judged with REST – LIFE, now and forever…

But a person who refuses to submit, rejecting the idea of bending his will to Yahweh’s and dying to self, is also Judged. Such a person is living under the spirit of the Serpent – rebellion. And the Judgement which is received by the rebellious is this:


Psalm 95:10-11 “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My Ways: Unto whom I sware in My Wrath that they should not enter into My Rest.”  

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 21-40)
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 the second option (below):

An Overview of this Week's Torah Studies:
This week we will be studying Statutes 21-40, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 21-22 Summary:
(21) Bind (write) the Torah upon your hands (actions). (22) Bind (write) the Torah upon your mind (thoughts).
Deuteronomy 6:8  “And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.”
Statute 23 Summary:
(23) Make and wear blue tzit tzits on the edges of your clothes to help you remember to be faithful and obedient to YHWH. (In Bible times, this Statute was understood to be meant the men, for women did not wear the tzit tzits).
Numbers 15:38-40  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the Commandments of YAHWEH, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all My Commandments, and be holy unto your God.”
Statute 24 Summary:
(24) Preach and publish YHWH’s Law, putting it on the prominent places of your home and proclaiming it in the city.
Deuteronomy 6:9 “And thou shalt write them (YHWH’s Commands see Deut. 6:4-6) upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  
Statute 25-26 Summary:
(25) Gather and read the whole Torah at the Feast of Tabernacles every Sabbatical year (seventh year). (26) Keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the place which YHWH selects and finds acceptable.
Deuteronomy 31:10-12  “And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the Feast of Tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before YAHWEH thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this Law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear YAHWEH your God, and observe to do all the words of this Law.”
Statute 27 Summary:
(27) Kings (we are all kings – Revelation 5:10), under YHWH, must begin their service by writing out a personal copy of the Torah, which they are to study and read from daily, all their days.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20  “And it shall be, when he (a new king) sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear Yahweh his God, to keep all the words of this Law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the Commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”
Statute 28 Summary:
YHWH has made His Law readily available to us, so that there is no excuse for not knowing and obeying it. Therefore, (28) we are to turn to YHWH with all our hearts and souls and obey His Commandments and Statutes.
Deuteronomy 30:10-14 “If thou shalt hearken unto the Voice of Yahweh thy God, to keep His Commandments and His Statutes which are written in this book of the Law, and if thou turn unto Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  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?  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?  But the Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
Statute 29 Summary:
Recognizing that everything you have (home, food, money, etc…) is from YHWH, (29) thank YHWH for everything He has given to you, regularly and often, lest you be tempted to think you got it by your own prowess or strength.
Deuteronomy 8:10-14 “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless Yahweh thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not Yahweh thy God, in not keeping His Commandments, and His Judgments, and His Statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget Yahweh thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” 
Statute 30 Summary:
(30) Build the Holy House (Sanctuary) of YHWH so that He will dwell with you. (This is not a literal building of a physical temple. This building is first and foremost a spiritual one...  We are the temple of YAH, and His people are His Temple – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 & 1 Peter 2:5).
Exodus 25:8-9 “And let them make Me a Sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I show thee, after the Pattern of the Tabernacle, and the Pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”
Statutes 31 Summary:
(31) Reverence YHWH in His Holy Sanctuary, on His Holy Sabbaths.
Leviticus 19:30  “Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My Sanctuary: I Am Yahweh.”
Statute 32 Summary:
(32) Never set up an Asherah (which is another name for Easter) pole, icon or “Happy (Easter)” items, sun-god images, columns or memorial stones. These things should not in any way be joined to the altar (the worship) of YHWH.
Deuteronomy 16:21-22 “Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of Yahweh thy God, which thou shalt make thee. Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which Yahweh thy God hateth.”
Statute 33 Summary:
(33) Do not worship or revere any empty “gods,” nor make carved gods, nor set up pillars or memorials to false deities. Do not bow down to nor worship any false god of any kind, for they are all conceited imaginings.
Leviticus 26:1  “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I Am Yahweh your God.”  
Statutes 34 Summary:
(34) Do not spend time wishing about, or consider worshiping, nor speak the names of false gods. Their character, authority, or honor have no place in you.
Exodus 23:13 “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” 
Statutes 35 Summary:
(35) Do not teach or entice anyone to worship false gods, nor allow anyone to come into the Body of Yahweh enticing others to false worship. Idolatry and its teachings must be destroyed.
Deuteronomy 13:12-15 “If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which Yahweh thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;  Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you. Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.”
Statutes 36-37 Summary:
If a dear friend or family member comes to you to entice or pressure you into a practice that glorifies satan (purposely not capitalized), (36) do not listen or fall prey to the enticement. (37) Do not protect, cover for, or go easy on someone who encourages you to worship the devil in such ways.
Deuteronomy 13:6-8 “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.”

Statutes 38-40 Summary:
(38) Destroy idols with fire. Do not desire or take any valuable parts of the idol that is being destroyed. (39) Do not bring any abominable objects into your home. (40) Abhor all abominations and abominable objects.
Deuteronomy 7:25-26 “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to Yahweh thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.”  

Daily Bible Reading - January 11, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 10:21-42

Genesis 18

Psalm 11





Listen to the Bible






Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, I'm going to focus my personal commentary on the reading from Luke 10 - specifically the portion found in Luke 10:30-36, which is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Of course we know the story of the Good Samaritan. It is a parable that our Saviour told to illustrate the importance of demonstrating love for others. But there is so much more to it. And, when we look at some of the deeper significance of this parable, we will find a greater ability to appreciate the full measure of truths found in this amazing story.

To begin, we need to know who the Samaritans were and why the Jews hated them so much (not that God's people should ever hate anyone, of course). Scripture tells us the amazing backstory behind the parable - one which every Jew listening to His story would surely have known.

Israel's idolatry caused God to judge them. He had warned them to turn from the evil ways. But the prophets were ignored. Now, God said that He would take the northern 10 tribes of Israel from their land, leaving only the tribe of Judah (which included some from Benjamin) in the land of Israel.

2 Kings 17:18  "Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His Sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only."

 Until this displacement, when God used the heathen king of Assyria to execute this judgment upon idolatrous Israel, Samaria had been the Israel's capital city. But, when the invasion took place, the people of Israel from the northern 10 tribes were attacked and carried away captive by the Assyrian invaders. But they weren't done having just carried Israel away captive. The Assyrians then brought in their own people and repopulated the land which had once been Israel's! The city of Samaria was occupied by Assyrians!

2 Kings 17:23-24  "...Yahweh removed Israel out of His Sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof." 

Can you imagine what that would have been like? These ten tribes of Israel were related to the people of Judah. They had built houses, planted vineyards, acquired property, and built a civilization - only to have their enemies (because of their sins) move into their homes, reap the crops they had planted, and even use their dishes and wear their clothes (Israel had only been able to take what they could carry)!

Considering this backstory, it makes the Bible story of the Good Samaritan come alive with living color. The hatred of the Jews for these Assyrian occupiers was deep and bitter. It's even quite understandable, considering that any heart would naturally resent people who had done similar things. But God doesn't want His people to respond to situations or people in the way that comes naturally to us. Bitterness has no place in the hearts of God's people.

Now, let's put this story back into this setting and examine it for the deeper message, which is now made visible. Consider this, which is easier? Is it easier to go through the motions of reaching out and stiffly ministering to the needs of one's arch enemy? Or is it easier to be the one who needs help and have to receive that help at the hands of one's (believed) arch enemy? Truly, in such a scenario, receiving the help is far more difficult. For in the process one must abase personal pride and one must consider that perhaps there is something good in this hated one after all.

This is the concept of Christ's parable. But He doesn't even stop there...  The Saviour added a priest and Levite to the story. The priest and Levite are respected church leaders. In modern terms, they represent one's most respected pastor, theologian, or religious leaders. These, supposedly holy men, refused to help the fallen Jew. But a Samaritan - one who was descended from the Assyrian overlords, who now lived in the former Israelite homes - was the one Christ chose to be the benefactor - the hero - of His parable! Wow! The lessons from the story are deep and rich, and it only by the indwelling Grace of God that we can implement these Heavenly principles in our lives. What are the principles?

1) Love your enemies! (Much harder than it sounds, as is demonstrated in the story). If you just love the people who love you in return, you are following the carnal heart.

2) Be a neighbor (ministering love) towards all who need it, not just those who deserve it.

3) Belonging to God isn't about theology and having all the Bible knowledge in the world (remember the priest and Levite in the story). Belonging to God is about treating people the way He treats people.

Matthew 5:43-48 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect."

Prayerful thought for todayDear Heavenly Father, please grow my ability to love others. Please deliver me from bitterness, pride, and prejudice. Help me to love even my enemies. (Pray for your enemies at this point in the prayer). Father, help me to love others as deeply as the Samaritan in the story. Help me to love others like You love them, even when they don't deserve it."