Sunday, January 21, 2018

Torah Portion - January 21, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 18

The Hebrew Alphabet: 
I have to apologize...  In my Hebrew alphabet studies, I missed a letter. I missed the letter nun...  So, out of order a bit, I am going to share the spiritual lessons of nun today, and then return to the correct order of the Hebrew letters. Thanks for your patience with me!

The fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Nun” (pronounced “noon”) and has the sound of “N” as in “now”. It has the numeric value of 50, the number of the Jubilee. There are two ways to write a Nun. A Nun appearing at the end of a word (sofit) looks like a Vav, but is longer, extending below the baseline. A regular Nun looks much like the Kaph, but is half its width. The Nun stands for FISH and the SAVED.

Nun represents both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness. Moses is seen as the iconic humble servant of Yahweh.

The word “Nun” itself is spelled Nun-Vav-(final) Nun and looks as follows:

The one who is humble before God will stand upright in the final Day. In the olam hazeh (present life), this means that the tzaddik (righteous man) will simultaneously affirm: “I am nothing but dust.” Humble yourself in the sight of Yahweh, and He shall lift you up (James 4:10).

Our Messiah could be called “The Chief FISHERMAN.” He told His disciples that He would make them “FISHERS of men”, (Mark 1:17).

Like a FLOURISHING, darting school of FISH that continues to propagate, our Saviour’s Love causes us to multiply and grow in numbers as we share Him with others. Yahshua, as He MULTIPLIED the loaves & FISHES for the MULTITUDES, showed us a prophetic portrait of how those who were filled with Him, the BREAD OF LIFE, would become like active, darting, MULTIPLYING FISH.
“The RIGHTEOUS shall FLOURISH like a palm tree; he shall GROW like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the House of Yahweh shall FLOURISH in the Courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age…” Psalm 92:12-14.
In the Last Days, Yahweh's Ecclesia is divided into two parts, which are sometimes called the Two Sticks. They are also represented as the two fish in the constellation of Dagim (now called Pisces). In short, this is a symbol of God's Church - the saved - who are the "fish".

JACOB’S BLESSING ON MANASSEH AND EPHRAIM: Genesis 48:16 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

“The Angel Who has rescued me from all harm, bless these boys. May they remember who I am and what I stand for, and likewise my fathers Avraham and Yitz’chak, who they were and what they stood for. And may they grow (spawn) into teeming multitudes on the earth.”

Since Fish Represent the SAVED – Nun is the letter depicting God’s CHURCH:

The Church is never a place, 
But always a PEOPLE;
Never a fold, 
But always a FLOCK,
Never a sacred building, 
The Church is YOU WHO PRAY, 
Not where you pray.
A structure of brick or marble can no more be a church
Than your clothes of serge or satin can be you.
There is in this world nowhere sacred, 
But the Spirit-filled man,
No Sanctuary of YAH, but the submitted SOUL. 
- Anonymous

The two Fish in the Sky picture represent Ephraim and Manasseh

Genesis 41:51-52 “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

The tribe of Ephraim so dominated the other northern tribes that it became synonymous with the Northern Kingdom of Israel itself, especially in the writings of the prophets.  Eventually, after repeat-ed prophetic warnings about the pre-valence of “Baal worship,” the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the As-syrians (c 722 BC), and the tribes were exiled. This has led to the idea of the “ten lost tribes” of Israel and the rise of various groups that have claimed that since Joseph's wife (Asenath) was an Egyptian (i.e., a Gentile), Ephraim metaphorically represents the “Gentile children of Israel.”

On erev Shabbat it’s customary to bless our sons with the blessing: “May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.” This comes from Moses’ comment regarding Jacob’s blessing imparted to his adopted sons: “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh’” (Gen. 48:20). Some of the sages have said that since these boys were born away from the Promised Land (and therefore never directly knew their grandfather Jacob), they represent Israel in exile, and the blessing is one of preservation for Yahweh’s people.

The Message of the Nun is embodied in the constellation anciently called Dagim (now called Pisces). The two fishes, heralding back to Jacob’s prophecy of them is a message to the saved today – those of the Lost 10 Ten Tribes, later called Ephraim. It is a special message to the Gentiles, who are saved:

“For thus saith Yahweh; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Yahweh, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel.  Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth… a great company shall return thither.  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of Yahweh, O ye nations… He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For Yahweh hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he,” Jeremiah 31:7-11.

Yahshua and the Letter Nun:

In Aramaic, the word Nun means “fish,” a symbol of activity and life. The first mention of the word is in Exodus 33:11, in reference to Joshua, the “son of Nun.”  Joshua, the one who succeeded Moses and was able to enter the Promised Land, was the “Son of Life” - a clear picture of Yahshua our Messiah.

Notice that the form of the Nun represents a bent Vav (suggesting a humbled man) crowned with glory (the three tagin on the head of the letter).  From the Messianic point of view, we see that Yahshua came as a man (Vav), was honored by His absolute humility while upon earth (as indicated by the crown of thorns), and is now exalted as the Righteous One who wears the Golden Crown of God upon His Head forever and ever (Rev 14:14).

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 61-80)
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 61-80, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 61-62 Summary:
(61) The priests are to burn incense before Yahweh (which represents prayer–Revelation 8:3-4) every morning and every evening. (62) The lamps (which represents our witness – Matthew 5:14 – being filled with Yahweh’s Spirit and abiding in YAH) are to be dressed every morning and freshly lit every evening.

Exodus 30:7-8  “And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations.
Statute 63-64 Summary:
(63) The fire on the Altar of Burnt Sacrifice (representing the Cross) is always to be kept burning, day and night. (64) Priests are to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon it to Yahweh.

Leviticus 6:12-13  “And the fire upon the altar (of burnt sacrifice) shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”

Statute 65 Summary:
(65) Yahshua was the One Who laid aside the white “linen” of His perfect righteousness, put on my filthy robes and suffered for me outside the “camp.” It is by His humiliation and atonement that I am made clean and accepted by Heaven. This work of the Saviour is to bring about true repentance and sorrow for sin. The priest carried the ashes outside the camp to cause the people to think about the Saviour’s work of redemption. This is statute of remembrance. By beholding, we become changed. We are to cogitate Calvary daily.

Leviticus 6:10-11  “And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.” 

(See also Hebrews 13:11-13) (Also note: ashes was a mark or token of grief, humiliation, or penitence - Nehemiah 9:1, Job 42:6)

Statute 66-68 Summary:
(66) We are not to allow anything unclean to come into the heart or home where Yahweh dwells. We are not to allow leprosy into our hearts or homes. Spiritually, leprosy is reprobation (because we lose our ability to perceive guilt when we choose to justify ourselves rather than repent from sin) (John 3:19-20). (67) We are not to allow an issue into our hearts or homes. Spiritually, the issue is pining or wasting away; as in being unthankful, embittered, or complaining (1 Corinthians 10:10). (68)We are not to allow our hearts or homes to be defiled by the dead. Spiritually, death is following lusts and fleshly desires (Hebrews 9:14).

Numbers 5:2-3  “Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:  Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.”  

Statute 69 Summary:
(69) The priests of Yahweh are first to be sanctified in order to fill this role. Then they are set apart for holy use. (See Revelation 5:10).

Leviticus 21:8  “Thou shalt sanctify him (the priest of Yahweh) therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I Yahweh, which sanctify you, am holy.”  

Statute 70 Summary:
(70) The priests of Yahweh are to be spiritually clothed in special garments for glory and beauty (see Ezekiel 16:14 and Ephesians 6:11-18).

Exodus 28:2-4, 40 “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office… And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.”

Statute 71-72 Summary:
(71) Yahweh’s people are to never practice fortunetelling, nor have anything to do with magic. (72) Yahweh’s people are to never eat anything with the blood.

Leviticus 19:26 “Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.”

Statute 73-78 Summary:
(73Yahweh’s people are to belong to Him wholly and completely, without any divided or competing affections. This is what it means to be perfect with Yahweh. (74) Godly parents are never to alienate their children, transitioning them in crossing over to the devil. (75) Yahweh’s people are to not consult sorcerers, nor practice sorcery. (76) Yahweh’s people are not to practice magic, nor consort with magicians. (77) Yahweh’s people are not to practice witchcraft, nor consult witches. (78) Yahweh’s people are not to consult with demon spirits, nor consort with those who do so.

Deuteronomy 18:10-13 “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with Yahweh thy God.”

Statutes 79-80 Summary:
Yahweh’s people are to dress in a way that clearly reveals their gender. (79) Men are not to dress like women. (80) Women are not to dress like men.

Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto Yahweh thy God.” 

Daily Bible Reading - January 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 16

Genesis 27:46-28:22

Psalm 21

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In today's reading, there are many points which bear notice. Personally, I wish to focus upon Jacob's amazing dream, for I find it filled with rich principles and points of wisdom to strengthen one's Walk with God. Jacob's vision of the ladder with the angels ascending and descending will be the focal point of my thoughts for today. 

 >>>>>>>>>>>> BRIEF INTERJECTION <<<<<<<<<<<<

However, I would be remiss if I didn't first pause to address one of most misunderstood parables in the Bible - Messiah's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, which we read about in Luke 16. This parable has been used as a main support for Christianity's common understanding about life-after-death and going to Heaven or Hell when we die. And because it is so misunderstood, I cannot just pass over it without providing some direction for Bible study and clarity on this subject. Thankfully, it has been very well presented by others already. If you are interested in looking into Christ's intended Message in this parable, please check out Dennis Crews' online article titled The Rich Man and Lazarus. The following is an excerpt (the link to read the full Bible Study is found at the end):

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Much argument has taken place over whether the words of Jesus (Yahshua) in Luke 16:19-31 were intended to be understood literally or as a parable. Some Christians feel that in this story, Christ was offering His hearers a glimpse of what existence in the afterlife is like. Others, citing numerous passages of Scripture that seem to contradict the portrayal of heaven and hell contained in this passage, feel that Jesus (Yahshua) was teaching an altogether different kind of lesson. Unfortunately, many modern religious teachers have isolated the story from its original context and used it as a device for scaring people. Religious “conversions” resulting from a fear of hell as it is depicted in this passage have indeed occurred, but are based on a foundation sorely in need of the strength that comes only from a genuine appreciation of God’s character and a proper understanding of Scripture. To begin this study, we’ll take a closer look at just what a parable really is, and then examine the setting in which Jesus (Yahshua) told this story. Perhaps then we will better understand what lessons there are for us in the story of the rich man and Lazarus... (Read the full article).
  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> END OF BRIEF INTERJECTION <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Now, let's turn our attention to the amazing story of Jacob's dream.  "Jacob's Ladder (Hebrew: Sulam Yaakov סולם יעקב) is the colloquial name for a connection between the earth and heaven that the biblical Patriarch Jacob dreams about during his flight from his brother Esau, as described in the Book of Genesis," (

The reality that Heaven is connected with earth is one which is cause for great joy! It is only because Heaven is connected with earth that God's Light may penetrate our darkness, that Heavenly angels may minister on behalf of sin-sunk souls, and that any of us have hope of a Better World - a Heavenly! Clearly, this "Ladder" which was revealed to Jacob that night, is our Heavenly Life-Line. But what is it? By what Means is Heaven connected with earth? What is signified by this amazing "ladder" in Jacob's dream/vision?

The connecting "ladder" is our Saviour Himself. Messiah was God come to earth to save humanity. Not only did Christ reveal Himself as this "ladder" through His Messianic Work for lost mankind, He actually said it outright in John 1:51: 
"And He (Yahshua) said to him, 'Truly, truly I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'" (ESV)
What a vision! And it was through this vision that Jacob was forever changed. Up until this night revelation, Jacob was a "wannabe" heir of the Promises. We can know this because his life did not bear the Fruit of transformation yet. He valued the spiritual birthright, desiring the priestly role, yet he went about getting it by intentionally manipulating his brother, Esau. Jacob valued the spiritual blessing, desiring the Hand of God to be upon his life, yet he went about getting it by deceiving his father, Isaac. But now, God dealt with Jacob's carnal impulses in a way which rocked him to his core. 

What was so powerfully revealed to Jacob that night? So clearly was the Message portrayed to him that it was as if God spoke outright, "Jacob! You are in My Presence!"

In that simple revelation, God said everything else as well. His unstated Message included a full awareness of who Jacob was - warts and all. It was as if God also said, "You desired the birthright and the blessing. It was My Will for you to have those things. I even foretold that you would receive them (Genesis 25:23). Yet, you stepped outside of My Will and went about getting them in ungodly ways. You need to see Who I Am. You need to follow Me and rely upon Me. Most importantly, you need to live your life aware that you are in My Presence."

Jacob got the Message. He took the stone which had served as his pillow and erected it as a memorial of his amazing encounter with God that night. He called the place "Bethel". Beth is Hebrew for "house" or "house of" and "El" is Hebrew for "God". Bethel means the House of, Tabernacle of, Dwelling Place of... the Almighty God. And the stone pillar served merely as a marker of where this powerful revelation had been given.

What does it mean to be in the Presence of God? Scripture says:

His Presence Gives us Life, Strength and Gladness

1 Chronicles 16:26-27  "For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD (Yahweh) made the heavens. Glory and honour are in His Presence; strength and gladness are in His Place."
Psalm 16:11  "Thou wilt show me the Path of Life: in Thy Presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right Hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Wickedness and Idolatry Cannot Abide in His Presence

Isaiah 19:1  "The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD (Yahwe) rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His Presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it."
Revelation 14:10  "The same shall drink of the wine of the Wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the Cup of His Indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the Presence of the Lamb."

When we are Aware of His Presence, We will be Humbled, Giving Him all Glory

1 Corinthians 1:29-31  "That no flesh should glory in His Presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus (Yahshua), Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (Yahweh)."
Habakkuk 2:20  "But the LORD (Yahweh) is in His holy Temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him." 
To live in the awareness of God's Presence is truly life-changing, just as it was for Jacob. I remember a minister once asking his congregation how they would spend the next week if they knew that everything they did or thought was going to be broadcasted on the giant screen in front of the whole congregation the next Sabbath. Secret sins, practiced in that week, would be up on screen for all to see. True motivations would be known. Nothing which was done during that week would be left unknown the following Sabbath...

Honestly, consider it. Today is the Sabbath. What if such a thing were going to happen to you? How would you live this coming week knowing that your every thought, motive, action, or habit would be fully exposed upon the screen in front of the whole Body of Christ? Most of us would seriously consider making some dramatic life-adjustments for that week, rather than be exposed and humiliated the next Sabbath! If w e would be motivated to change to keep the good graces of people, how much more should we care - and pray over - how our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions appear before our holy God?

This is what God wanted Jacob to know - along with all of his spiritual descendants (which includes you and me). We are all in the Presence of God all the time. If we run, as Jonah did, even the depths of the sea or the belly of a whale cannot remove us from the Presence of God.

Psalm 139:7-12  "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy Presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy Hand lead me, and Thy right Hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
 The awareness of God's Presence changed Jacob. And it can change you and me. By God's Grace, let's personalize the revelation of Jacob's Ladder. Let's live always in the awareness that we are in the Presence of God. As we do, we'll be transformed from the carnal, failing creatures we used to be, into the sons and daughters of God.
Romans 12:2  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God."