Friday, January 19, 2018

Torah Portion - January 19, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 17:9-14

The Hebrew Alphabet: 

The eighteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Tsade” or “Tzaddi” (pronounced “tsah-dee”) and has the sound of “ts” as in “nuts.Tzaddi has the numeric value of 90.

Note: In the past, Tzaddi sometimes was transliterated using “z” (producing spellings such as “Zion”) and in some academic work you might see it transliterated as an “s” with a dot underneath it. It is commonly transliterated as “tz” (as in mitzvah) among American Jews.

The letter Tzaddi (or Tsade), in pictograph, looks something like a man on his side (representing need), whereas the classical Hebrew script (Ketav Ashurit) is constructed of a (bent) Nun with an ascending Yod. (See the picture on the left.)

Hebrew speakers may also call this letter Tzaddik (“righteous person”), though this pronunciation probably originated from fast recitation of the Aleph-Bet (i.e., “Tzade, Qoph” -> “tsadiq”).

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion,” Proverbs 28:1.

“And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in Righteousness, and in Judgment, and in Lovingkindness, and in Mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in Faithfulness: and thou shalt know Yahweh,” Hosea 2:19-20.

Spiritual Meaning of the Tzaddi
Tzaddi = TS and 90 and means “STRONGHOLD”, “FISHER”, “THE WAY” and “RIGHTEOUS SERVANT”

The Name of Yahweh is a Strong Tower! The righteous runneth into it and is safe,” Proverbs 18:10.

TZADDI is almost the same as the word for “A RIGHTEOUS MAN” – TZADDIK. TZADDI is ancient Hebrew for “Fish Hook” This shows that is God’s Righteousness that hooks us. Also, since we are called to be Fishers of men, we need to remember that Righteousness is the hook – vitally important in catching fish. We can’t compromise from the RIGHTEOUS PATH to win souls and better influence people for God. Such compromises don’t work!

Tzadi got its name from the shape of a “fishing hook”, which is related to the root tzod, meaning “to fish, catch, capture.” This has both positive and negative sides to it. First, Yahweh lovingly woos and “catches” us for Salvation. But for all who reject Him, the next fishing picture is sobering:

Jeremiah 16:16-18 “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith Yahweh, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For Mine Eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My Face, neither is their iniquity hid from Mine Eyes… I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled My land…”

The letter itself is formed from a bent Nun and a Vav.  The Nun represents a humble and faithful servant (the crowned Vav) that is bent in submission. The Yod represents a hand lifted to heaven, or the Spirit of God. The tzaddik - the righteous person -- is therefore revealed in the letter form as a faithful servant with his arms raised to Yahweh in humble praise and submission. As such, some of the sages have said that the letter Tsade represents the tzaddikim (righteous ones) that are the yesod (foundation) of the earth:

When the storm passes through, the wicked are swept away, but the righteous are an everlasting foundation. (Prov 10:25)

Tzaddi is a perfect letter to describe Yahshua, the Messiah! He was the One and Only TRULY RIGHTEOUS MAN Who ever lived.

"Behold the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will raise unto David a RIGHTEOUS BRANCH, and a King shall reign and prosper… and this is the Name whereby He shall be called: YHWH our RIGHTEOUSNESS,” Jeremiah 23:5-6

Abraham, father of the Righteous, became a father to the Promised Son (Isaac) when his wife, Sarah, was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17). 90 is a symbol of Righteousness by Faith. “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory…” Galatians 4:22-24.

Tzaddi: The Principle of the Menorah
Each series of seven letters in the Hebrew alephbeit shows another layer of meaning in to the seven-branched candlestick or menorah. Before considering the letter tzaddi, which stands at the center of our third and last series of Hebrew letters, it is necessary to introduce the amazing principle of the menorah.

The golden menorah, described in Exodus 25:31-40 was a lamp fueled from a reservoir or oil in its base. The central branch supported three branches on either side, each culminating in a decorative cup supporting a flame. The purpose of the menorah was to provide light in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple. God, has ordained the menorah as the object that best illustrates His Design for presenting the Light of Truth, because His “…Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

The principle of the menorah is portrayed in numerous ways, such as in the Hebrew alphabet, as we will soon see. It is also revealed in the first verse of Scripture, Genesis 1:1 – a verse which contains only seven Hebrew letters (one for each branch of the menorah).

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 19, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 14:25-35

Genesis 26

Psalm 19

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

It is interesting to see how the Bible reading today in Genesis 26 connects with Psalm 19:7-12. So, for today, I would like to share the connection between Abraham's testimony and David's praise of the Law of God. I believe there are beautiful gems of Truth to be found here, which are often overlooked.

Let's begin with the testimony of Abraham. Of all the Bible Patriarchs, the testimony of Abraham should be of particular interest to Christians today. This is because Abraham is the spiritual forefather of the saved. Only to Abraham and his seed (physical or spiritual descendants) was the Promise of Salvation given.

Galatians 3:16  "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."

Galatians 3:29  "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the Promise."

But why should Abraham's testimony be of such importance? Isn't it enough to be "Christ's" or "Christian"? Yes! And no...  

I say "no" because the depth of what it means to belong to Christ and truly be Christian is not fully realized today. Many say that you only need to "believe" in Christ to be a Christian. There is no life-change necessary. Just believe...  Scripture tells us that even the devils believe! So, if merely believing was enough, the demons would be saved! Abraham's testimony was one of faith - that works.

James 2:19-24  "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is deadWas not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." 

On the other hand, yes it is enough to be "Christ's" or "Christian", because, when we truly belong to Christ, we will demonstrate living faith - faith that works. And the Grace-empowered works that we will do are the "works of Abraham". 

John 8:39  "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus (Yahshua) saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."

Personally, when I read that my Saviour identifies the true seed of Abraham with those who do as he did (by faith) I was interested to know what Abraham did. What was Abraham's testimony? The answer brings us to a portion of our reading from Genesis 26.

Genesis 26:4-5  "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;  Because that Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws."

Abraham's testimony is powerfully given in Genesis 26:5 (see highlighted portion above). It is an especially powerful testimony because God Himself spoke these words, bearing powerful Witness that this was Abraham's testimony. So, let's look at each part of what God gave as the "works of Abraham" in this Passage:

1) Abraham obeyed God's Voice

The word "obeyed" is translated from the Hebrew word "shama". But shama means much more. When we look this word up in a Strong's Concordance, we find that it means "to hear intelligently, discern, give ear, obey, to tell, and to proclaim".

shama is so important that the heart of all Scripture is called "The Shama". The Shama is 
An Ancient Mezuzah upon a stone doorpost
found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In Deuteronomy 6:4, shama is translated as "hear", although it was translated as "obeyed" in Genesis 26:5.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5  "Hear (shama), O Israel: The LORD (Yahweh) our God is one (first, supreme, and numerically one) LORD (Yah):  And thou shalt love the LORD (Yahweh) thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."  

This is the portion of Scripture which the Children of Israel were instructed to write upon the posts of their homes (Deuteronomy 6:9). It was kept in a mezuzah, which was the casing or container which held the written shama (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). The shama was also memorialized by wearing blue fringes (tzit tzits) upon their clothes (Numbers 15:38-40). 

We read the love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13:10). And that if we love God we will demonstrate this by keeping His Commandments (Grace-empowered works) (1 John 5:2-3). 

2) Abraham kept God's Charge

What did God mean when He said that Abraham had kept His "Charge"? The word "charge" primarily means "to watch" of to be a "sentry". This is interesting because Scripture tells us that God calls His people to be "watchmen".  A watchman's duty was to stand guard to physically protect his city. But Abraham did not stand as a physical guard over a physical city. Abraham's work as a "watchman" was a spiritual one. The work of a watchman is the work of spiritual discernment and spiritual warfare. To better explain this, please enjoy the video link below:

3) Abraham kept God's Commandments, Statutes and Laws

This is a very significant statement, especially when you consider the original meaning of these words. The word "Laws" is translated from the Hebrew word "Torah". Torah is (Strong's Concordance #8451):

תֹּרָה    תּוֹרָה
"a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch: law."

What is the Decalogue? Decalogue is the Ten Commandments.

What is the Pentateuch? Pentateuch is the first five Books of the Bible, which would later be written by Moses. 

They are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In other words, God said that Abraham kept the Commandments (10 Commandments) and Statutes (there are 613 Statutes which give greater detail on the subject covered in the 10 Commandments) of His Torah, which are found written throughout the Pentateuch:

Now, one might quickly wonder, "Since Moses wrote the Torah, how is it possible that Abraham's testimony included keeping Yahweh's Torah, when Abraham lived about 430 years before Moses?"

This testimony of Abraham is one little-known evidence that the Law of God is much older than Moses. He wrote the Commandments and Statutes, as God told him to write them, but these Divine Commands existed long before Moses and God met upon Mount Sinai! The Torah was present in the time of Abraham.

In fact, the Law of God (or Torah) is much older than our planet. Scripture tells us that Satan, then called Lucifer (who was a covering cherub in Heaven at the time), was the first being to sin (Ezekiel 28:13-16). Having such a terrible distinction, he is known as the "father" of sin and lies (John 8:44). Sin (also called iniquity) is Biblically defined as "transgression of the Law of God" (1 John 3:4). 
In other words, sin is breaking God's Law. How could Satan sin, or break God's Law, if His Law didn't exist? 

Abraham's testimony is quite a big picture. God said:

Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws

Wow! But here's the personal apex of this picture: As the spiritual seed of Abraham, his testimony is to be yours and mine as well.  I think the depths of meaning in being "born of God" and "abiding in Him" are much deeper and more powerful than most understand. And I want to go there with God - by His Grace. I want for His Will to be lived out in me in every way. 

Remember, what you can be - in God's Grace - is beyond what you can be alone. He has Promised. And just as He fulfilled that Promise in Abraham, God is mighty enough to fulfill it in every spiritual seed of Abraham. What an awesome, mighty and wonderful God we serve!

May it be that God will one day say of us, "(Put your name here) obeyed My Voice and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws." By His indwelling Grace, it can be! Consider the powerful Promise we find in 1 John 3:1-8:

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.  Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."