Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Torah Portion - January 17, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 16

The Hebrew Alphabet: 

Spiritual Meaning of the Ayin
Ayin = 70 and means “EYE”, “SIGHT” or “ENLIGHTENMENT”.

Ayin is for the word “Eye”. The Ayin shows two “Eyes” portraying how Yahweh is able to see both sides of every situation. It also appears that the two “Eyes” on top of the Ayin are looking to the left… to the Heart. This shows that Yahweh’s Sight penetrates the inward being, seeing the heart of every man. 1 Samuel 16:7“… For Yahweh seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Yahweh looketh on the heart.”

The word Ayin is used as “FACE to FACE”, literally meaning “EYE to EYE” in Numbers 14:14: 

“…For they have heard that Thou Yahweh art among this people, that Thou Yahweh art seen Face to face, and that Thy Cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”

Just as Yah met Face to face with Moses on Mount Sinai, so we will see our beloved Deliverer Face to face, when He soon returns to take us Home to the Heavenly Mount Zion:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then, Face to face.”1 Corinthians 13:12

Ayin is sometimes described as having two eyes that connect to a common "optic nerve" that leads to the brain. The two eyes represent choice or the actions of the will (i.e., the heart). We can choose whether to use the good eye or the evil eye to perceive things; we can choose to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. 

When the eye is evil (ayin ra), it becomes a slave to the purposes of sin and the yetzer hara (the evil impulse).
Matthew 6:22-23 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”  

The letter Ayin can be represented as the number 16 (from its ordinal position within the Alphabet), as 17 (from its component values of Yod (10) and Zayin (7)); as 70 (from its number within the alphabet), and as 130 (from its spelling: Ayin (70), Yod (10), and Nun (50)). The value 130 means “ladder (selum) of Sinai”, both words of which equal 130. This shows that the spiritual eye sees the Torah as the means of approaching God. This equates Torah observance with enlightenment.

Ayin: The Word and the Spirit
Ayin is constructed from two Hebrew letters which we have already studied: zayin (on the left), attached to a large yod (on the right). It appears in Torah scrolls as shown below:

Zayin, as we have already studied, represents the “weapon” or “Sword of the Spirit”- the Word of Yahweh. The Yod represents the Works of Yah – His Creation – done through His Spirit. By combining these two letters to form the Ayin, Yahweh is illustrating that if we will walk according to His Word and His Spirit, we will dwell in true enlightenment, having the spiritual eyes to truly see Him.

Therefore –

If my spirit is filled with His Spirit (represented by the yod)…
And my mind is filled with His Thoughts (represented by the zayin – the Word of Yah)
Then my vision (represented by the Ayin) will be filled with Him and my eye will truly be SINGLE for Yah.

This principle is also seen in what Yahshua said concerning true worship. He said that those who worship Yahweh must do so “in spirit” (yod) and in Truth (zayin), for they are the kind of worshippers the Father looks for (Ayin – the eye of Yahweh goes to and fro throughout the whole earth, seeking hearts true to Him). These two components (the Word and Spirit) not only affect OUR eyes, but God’s EYES as well. Scripture tells us that the Eye of Yahweh is upon those who walk in the Spirit and the Word. The Bible instructs us to “live by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Faith, however, must be grounded in the reliable Word of Yahweh.
These truths are also supported by the fact that, in Aramaic, the word “Ayin” means “sheep”. In Hebrew thought, the eye of the sheep is continuously looking towards the Shepherd, while the Eye of the Shepherd is continually watching over His sheep.

The Significance of 70

Ayin is the number 70, which is one of the most significant, Scriptural numbers. In Scripture we read that:
·         70 souls went into Egypt, from Jacob’s family.
·         70 elders of Israel met with Yahweh on Mt. Sinai
·         70 sacrifices were made for the nations (during the festival of Sukkot)
·         Israel was subject to 70 years of exile in Babylon, for their failure to keep the Sabbiticals.
·         There were 70 languages given to mankind, when Yahweh struck the builders of Babel.
·         There were 70 nations in the ancient world, formed by the joining of those who spoke the same language.
·         Joseph, according to the book of Jasher, had to address the Pharaoh in all 70 of these ancient languages.
·         There are 70 Names of God.
·         There are 70 Holy Days in the Biblical Calendar: 52 Sabbaths, 7 days of Unleavened Bread, 1 day of Pentecost, 1 day of Trumpets, 1 day of Atonement, 7 days of Tabernacles, 1 day of the Last Great Day = 70 Holy Days

Ayin’s ע Connection with the Aleph א

Ayin is closely connected with the letter Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph, the “Master” of the alphabet, is similar in Ayin in that they are both silent letters. An important lesson is to be learned from this. We know that the aleph represents Yahweh – the one true and sovereign God. But why did He also designate ayin as a silent letter? The answer can be found in the Psalms. It says, “Be still and know that I Am God,” Psalm 46:10. The letter representing Yahweh and the letter representing SIGHT are both silent, because it is only in stillness (silence) that we may truly know (see) Him.
Only in silent intimacy do we grow to know Him and experience Him as He is. This is also illustrated by the fact that the word עין (ayin) means “a well”. When we commune with Yah in silence, we are able to drink deeply from the “Well” of Salvation. Only then will our spiritual thirst be satisfied (John 7:37).

Ayin’s ע Connection with the Gimel ג

One other letter is also constructed by combining a yod and a zayin – the letter gimel. Gimel pictures the Holy Spirit’s Role as the Spirit of Truth bringing Yah’s Messages to those in need. Looking closely at the gimel, as it appears in Torah scrolls, you will see how it is comprised of a zayin ז leaning upon a yod י (shown on left).
In the first connection, we learned that we must be filled with the Spirit of Yahweh and His Word. In the second connection, we learned that we truly come to know Yah as we practice being silent before Him. Both of these truths together equip us to fulfill the role illustrated by gimel. The gimel is the Elijah Message letter. The work of Yah’s people is to bear the Elijah Message to the world, calling them to repentance and restoration of obedience to Yahweh and His Torah. We are able to do this work to the degree that we are walking in His Spirit and living by His Word. If we are filled with Bible knowledge, but do not have His Spirit, we are like a gimel without a foot, we will know the theory of Salvation, but lack a life which follows the Example of Yahshua and leaves down life-prints, leading others in His Steps. On the other hand, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but do not possess the understanding of the Scriptures, we will have zeal without Truth, resulting in sensuality and spreading confusion. We will then resemble the foot of the gimel without the zayin - just a yod rushing to and fro without Word or Direction.
The lessons of taught by the letter ayin are reflected in Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:18-19):
“The eyes (ע) of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know (ז) what is the hope of His Calling, and what the riches of the glory of His Inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of His Power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty Power (י).”
If we will walk in His Spirit, meditate upon His Word, and commune with Him in quietness, then Paul’s prayer will find fulfillment in our lives.

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 41-60)
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 41-60, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 41-42 Summary:
(41) The priests bear the responsibility to be watchmen who safeguard Yahweh’s holy things and days (42) and lead in the worship of Yahweh. When the priests rightly serve in this post, people are protected by it..
Number 18:5  And ye (the priests) shall keep the charge of the Sanctuary, and the charge of the Altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.”
Statute 43-45 Summary:
(43) The priests are to serve as burden bearers (intercessors), helping others find pardon and peace with Heaven. (44) Priests are not to have an earthly inheritance. (45) The tithes are the support and inheritance of the priests.
Numbers 18:23-24  “But the Levites (priests) shall do the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a Statute forever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto Yahweh, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.”  
Statute 46 Summary:
(46) We (since we are all called to be priests - Revelation 5:12) are to take care to come cleansed before Yahweh. We cannot worship Him, be an acceptable living sacrifice, or minister to others until we ourselves are made clean.
Exodus 30:18-21 “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the Tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto Yahweh:  So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.” 
Statute 47-48 Summary:
(47) The Menorah is to be fueled only by pure olive oil. (48) The Menorah Light is never to burn out, but is to be always lit.
Exodus 27:20-21 “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the Light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the Tabernacle of the Congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before Yahweh: it shall be a statute forever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.”  
Statute 49 Summary:
(49) The priests are to regularly bless the people in Yahweh’s Name with the following Yah-given blessing:
Numbers 6:23-27 “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them, Yahweh bless thee, and keep thee: Yahweh make His Face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Yahweh lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put My Name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
Statute 50 Summary:
(50) The priests are to set a show-bread table continually before Yahweh’s Presence.
Exodus 25:30 “And thou shalt set upon the Table Showbread before Me always.”
Statute 51-53 Summary:
When a foul and idolatrous building or city is judged and destroyed, (51) it is to remain a ruin forever. It must never be rebuilt. Also, (52) no items or gain from the judged place may be taken or used by the Children of Yahweh. (53) All proceeds and gain from the judged place must be destroyed and burned by fire.
Deuteronomy 13:16-17 “And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for Yahweh thy God: and it shall be an heap forever; it shall not be built again. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that Yahweh may turn from the fierceness of His anger, and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as He hath sworn unto thy fathers.”
Statute 54-55 Summary:
(54) A prophet who claims to speak in Yahweh's Name, the prophet must speak the Truth from the Word of God. When a prophet (teacher of “truth”) claims to speak in Yahweh’s Name, but does not speak the Truth from the Word of God, that presumptuous prophet will die. (55) And when person claims to teach truth, he/she must not do it in the name of a false god. Such a false prophet will also die.
Deuteronomy 18:20 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
Statutes 56 Summary:
(56) If a false prophet (proclaimed teacher of “truth”) encourages people to do or believe things which honor false gods, you are not to listen to him/her.  Even if the false teacher “proves” his false teachings with miracles, you are not to listen to or allow yourself to in any way be influenced by him or her.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for Yahweh your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Statute 57-59 Summary:
(57) Yahweh’s people are not to assemble to hear a false prophet. (58) Yahweh's people must not show hospitality to a false prophet. (59) Yahweh's people are not to show deferential respect towards a false prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaketh in the Name of Yahweh, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahweh hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Statute 60 Summary:
(60) Yahweh’s people are not to talk like, nor practice the worldly habits of, nor take on the ungodly customs of the unsaved people around us.

Leviticus 20:23 “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them." 

Daily Bible Reading - January 17, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 13:18-35

Genesis 24

Psalm 17

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, the part which especially caught my attention was Messiah's mustard seed analogy, which He used to show what the Kingdom of God was like.

Before we look at the symbol of the mustard seed and what it means to us today, let's begin by defining the Kingdom of God. What is it? Where is it?

The term "Kingdom" means "a country, state, or territory ruled by a king or queen". The Kingdom of God is the territory over which He Rules. As He is the Creator of all, He has the right to Rule over every created thing.

The Kingdom of God is to be focal point. Restoring God's Kingship over this rebellious planet - and in our own hearts - is to be our highest priority.

Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

The Kingdom of God applies on more than one level. It actually applies on three levels:

1) In the broadest sense, it applies to the whole Universe, over which God is the Supreme Ruler and Creator.

Hebrews 1:8 "But unto the Son He saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a Sceptre of Righteousness is the Sceptre of Thy Kingdom." 

2) Narrowing that scope down and bringing it closer to home, the term Kingdom of God also applies to this earth, which has rebelled against His Authority, but will be made new and reclaimed by Him in the end.

Daniel 2:44 "And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."

Mark 1:14-15  "Now after that John was put in prison,Yahshua came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

3) Finally, in the most personal application of all, the Kingdom of God applies to the realm of the human soul. In other words, my heart and yours are the place where God wants to set up His Kingdom and reign supremely.

Mark  9:1 "And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power."

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 "As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you unto His Kingdom and Glory."

With this understanding of the Kingdom of God, let's turn our attention to Messiah's analogy of the
mustard seed. 

Luke 13:18-19  "Then said He, Unto what is the Kingdom of God like? And whereunto shall I resemble it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it."

A mustard seed gives a powerful example of what the Kingdom of God is like, when the Spirit comes into our hearts. At first, the seed itself is very small. For scale, consider the image of the tiny mustard seed sitting atop a human index finger. This is what it is like when we first accept Christ as our personal Saviour. Our faith is small at first - untried. But make no mistake - we DO have faith! Every child of God is given a "measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). It starts at a small and seemingly insignificant amount. Yet, it is enough. And it grows!

One of the main reasons that Christ likened the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed must have been that, while it starts out small, it packs a big punch! A mustard seed, when planted, grows to be mighty in size. It spreads out. It flourishes, even in a dry and inhospitable place. Notice the desert-like environment in which the following mustard plant is growing. Notice its amazing size (remembering that it came from such a tiny seed). The man is shown for scale. Notice also how it has spread, taking over a wide range of the area in which it was planted. All of these are illustrations which show us what God will do in our hearts - and with our sphere of influence - if we will invite His Kingdom to be within.

So how does the Kingdom of God grow in the human soul, taking us from a mustard seed of faith (which represents God's initial gift of faith to us - given upon conversion) to a mighty mustard plant? In a practical sense, the Kingdom of God is manifested and grows in us as FAITH.

James 2:5    "...Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?"

In the human soul, the Kingdom of God begins as small, but mighty (like the mustard seed). As we surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and align our lives more and more with the Will of God, His Kingdom grows within us, until at last It occupies us completely. And the vehicle which expands the Kingdom of God within us is our faith. In other words, growing our faith directly impacts the growth of God's Kingdom in the soul.


But how does this happen? Is the process of growing the Kingdom of God within us something we must just wait to have happen? Or do we play a part in Its growth and advancement? Actually, while it is God who grows and matures every part of us, we do play a part in advancing the Kingdom of God within our own hearts and souls. This is clear because we do play a part in growing our own faith - by the Grace of God. 

Faith doesn't grow by miracles, surprisingly enough. This is amply clear by the fact that the Children of Israel witnessed miracle after miracle - from the Red Sea parting, to manna falling from Heaven, to a God physically leading them in a Cloud (by day) or a pillar of Fire (by night). Yet, through all the supernatural interventions of God in their lives, they still didn't have any more faith for the next test than they had for the last! But if witnessing miracles doesn't grow our faith, what does?

Scripture tells us that faith comes (or grows) by hearing the Word of God:

Romans 10:17  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

The more of God's Word that you hear (read or come to know), the more you understand the Will of God for your life. And the more you understand of the Will of God, for your life (by the Word) the more you prayerfully align your life with what you've learned. This is faith that works:

James 2:17-18 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works."

So what part do you play in growing your faith, personally? Every moment that you spend in the Word of God is a moment of "hearing". And as you spend that time in Scripture and prayerfully make life-adjustments to align with it you are doing your part in growing your faith and advancing the Kingdom of God within you - into a mighty, sprawling mustard tree. And, as you do this - personally - God will use you to do it - corporately. By this I mean that He will work in and through you to advance His Kingdom in the needy lives of people on this rebellious planet....

It is meaningful for each of us to not just know God's part in the mustard seed experience - but to know OUR PART, as well. Thus, we may truly "seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness" (Matthew 6:33) - noting that to "seek" is an action word.