Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Torah Portion - January 30, 2018

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 24:10-26

Today's Torah Portion: 
Love is the Fulfilling of the Law

Considering that the Torah is the outgrowth of the Fruits of the Spirit, it comes as no surprise that Paul could say that love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13:8-10). In fact, the whole Torah is organized upon the foundational concept of love: love for Yahweh first, and love for our fellow man.

When Yahshua was asked which of the Torah commands were the "greatest", He referenced two Statutes, both of which are about love:

1) Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul. This is the first and greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-30). When Yahshua gave this commandment, He wasn't making up a new rule, adding to the Torah, rather He (Who was the Giver of the Torah in the first place - 1 Corinthians 10:1-4was quoting the Statute which is known as the Shema - found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

2) The second greatest Commandment (Mark 12:31) is love your neighbor as yourself. Again, Yahshua wasn't making up a new rule. This too was a Statute from Torah and is found in Leviticus 19:18. (See also Matthew 22:36-40.)

Interconnected like the links of a great chain, all the rest of the Law - and the prophets hang upon these two greatest Commandments. The Commandments and Statutes are connected together - as Christ said, they "hang" together - upon the two greatest Commandments. And, as a chain is broken when a single link is snapped, so our obedience to the Law is shattered if even the least commandment is broken (James 2:10).

This is, of course, why we all need a Saviour! All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us have broken His Law. But, by the Grace of Yahweh, we may also be empowered to walk in newness of life. We may live in obedience and grow into the lovely Character and Image of Christ.

So, as we study the Torah, we will be looking at it in categories. The first five of the Ten Commandments, relate to the first greatest Commandment of love for Yahweh. And the latter five of the Ten Commandments relate to love for our fellow man.

As we study the Statutes and Commandments, we will be especially looking for the love lesson to be found. This is because love is the fulfilling of the Law. With love as our focus, and underlying intent, we will prayerfully find Truth, blessing, and balance in our studies of the Torah. 

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 101-120)
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 101-120, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 101-102 Summary:
Because only holy people can keep the Sabbath holy, Yahweh wants His Children to make double sure of their Cleansing on the Sabbath. For this reason, (101) twice the Lambs were to be sacrificed on the Sabbath (representing Yahshua’s Sacrifice for our sins). (102) Following the double Lamb sacrifice, Yahweh’s people are to offer double the meat (flour) and drink offerings (representing our acceptable living sacrifice–Romans 12:1–which is our thanks for Yahshua’s Sacrifice).

Numbers 28:9-10 “And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.”
Statute 103-106 Summary:
Yahweh commands His Children to keep the New Moon by offering specific sacrifices. These sacrifices each point to specific aspects of Yahshua’s Atoning Gift. The point in commanding us to keep the New Moons with such offerings is that Yahweh wants us to specifically claim the Gift of Yahshua over our homes, family and lives in these specific roles. 

We no longer literally offer these animals, because they all pointed to Yahshua’s Death. But we can spiritually claim the Sacrifice of Yahshua in these Roles: 

(#103) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Blood as the most expensive Gift Heaven (bullock) had to offer. As we think of the high cost of our sins, sin become less attractive in our eyes. 
(#104) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Role as our Leader and Protector (Ram). As we think of the Saviour’s Role as our Leader, we study His Example and choose to follow Him more closely. 
(#105) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Blood as the Innocent and Pure One (lamb). As we think of this, we are able to claim Yahshua’s Atonement for our sins and be made pure and innocent through Him. 
(#106) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Sacrifice as our Substitute. The devil is compared to a goat, this is why a scapegoat was used to symbolize him. Yahshua had to die for the devil’s traits in us. As we think of this, we are able to repent for having “seeds” of darkness in our souls and be made clean of it. As with the daily and Sabbath offerings, we are to not only claim Yahshua’s Sacrifice, we are also to be the living oblation, returning our gratitude for the tremendous Gift of Salvation through living fully and being willing to die for Yahweh (emblemized in the meal and drink offerings). These offerings are acceptable in Yahweh’s Sight – demonstrated by fire. He sends fire (Pentecost) to consume acceptable sacrifices.

Numbers 28:11-15 “And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto Yahweh; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savoura sacrifice made by fire unto Yahweh. And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto Yahweh shall be offeredbeside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.”

Statute 107-109 Summary:
(#107) Yahweh commands us the keep the New Moons. (#108) We are to especially pay attention to (or regard) the New Moon of the month Abib, for this is the first New Moon of the New Biblical Year. We are to calculate timing on Yahweh’s Calendar by the New Moons. (#109) Passover is kept in the first month (New Moon cycle) of the Biblical Year.

Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib Yahweh thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” 

Exodus 12:2 “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”

Statute 110-111 Summary:
(#110) Yahweh’s people are to work for six days. (#111) But on the Seventh Day, we and all our households are to rest from our daily work and keep the Sabbath.

Exodus 23:12 “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”  

Statute 112 Summary:
(#112) On Friday, the preparation for the Sabbath is to be completed. Cooking for the Sabbath meals is to be done on Friday. No cooking, baking or boiling is to be done on the Seventh-day Sabbath.

Exodus 16:23 “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto Yahweh: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”  

Statute 113-114 Summary:
(#113) Yahweh’s people are never to marry non-Torah-keeping, false-god-worshippers. (#114) Yahweh’s people are not to allow their children to inter-marry with the heathen (those who don’t follow Torah).

Deuteronomy 7:3 “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.”

Statute 115 Summary:
When someone attempts to curse Yahweh's people, it is a serious offense before Yahweh! Even though Balaam was unable to curse Israel, the fact that the Moabites hired him to do it was sufficient reason for Yahweh to bar them from Life. People from groups which try to curse Yahweh’s Children cannot fellowship with Yahweh’s people or partake of Abraham’s blessings for ten generations. However, Ruth was a Moabite, and because she repented and chose Yahweh as her El, she was not only allowed in the fellowship of the Saved, she was also in the lineage of Christ! As it says in Exodus 20:6, Yahweh is merciful to those who love and obey Him.

Deuteronomy 23:3-4 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of Yahweh; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of Yahweh for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 

Statute 116-117 Summary:
(#116) Spiritual Israel are not to loathe people who, like the Edomites, are not antagonistic against Yahweh’s people and have an affinity for Yahweh and the Truth. (#117) Spiritual Israel are also not to loathe people who, like the Egyptians, are not antagonistic against Yahweh’s people or Truth, yet are caught in the spiritual bondage of Egypt. We are to be understanding and gentle with such folk, because we ourselves were once caught in the spiritual bondage of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 23:7 “Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.”  

Statutes 118 Summary:

When the Children of Israel tried to conquer Canaan, they were afraid of the giant and formidable people who blocked their way. Before final Spiritual Israel can possess ultimate Canaan, we too will face “giants” in ungodly earthly powers. But, (#118) Yahweh instructs us NOT to be afraid. We are to remember that Yahweh is with us. He is greater than any foe!

Deuteronomy 7:21 “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them (the nations of the earth of whom you would be afraid – see verse 19): for Yahweh thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”

Statutes 119-120 Summary:

(#119) Yahweh’s people are never to bring contempt upon Yahweh’s Name, nor trifle with or make light of it nor curse it in any way. (#120) Also Yahweh’s people are never to make light of, bring into contempt, bitterly curse, despise or declare to be evil the leadership of the flock.

Exodus 22:28 “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.”

Daily Bible Reading - January 30, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 22:1-38

Genesis 39

Psalm 30

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

The concept which most jumped out at me from our Bible reading today was found in Luke 22:31-34:
"And the Lord (Master) said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord (Master), I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me."
In this sobering conversation between Messiah and the apostle Peter, perhaps the most startling reality is that following Christ and going through all the motions doesn't mean that you're truly converted! Peter had been following Jesus (Yahshua) for quite some time, by the time of Luke 22. They are eating the final Passover meal together as the Saviour would be crucified the very next day.

And in that dinner conversation, Christ admonishes Peter, "when you are converted, strengthen the brethren." What? "When you are converted?" How could it be that Peter had been following the Saviour for all this time, yet he was still unconverted? What a sobering thought! 

Peter didn't know his own true condition. He was so sure that he would live for - and even die for - Christ. Yet, in the moment of his greatest test, what he really did was deny and betray his Master... In fact, Peter's betrayal of Christ was every bit as bad as Judas'. The only difference between them was that Peter repented. The the character flaws - and lack of true conversion - that it would take to so bitterly betray his Master were in him - yet Peter couldn't see the truth about himself. Can we really be so blind!? It's a sobering and scary thought! And as we cogitate on that one a bit, let's retrace the steps of the events which finally led to Peter's true conversion...

It was the darkest night ever to hit our planet, from that day to this. Yahshua was facing
Pilate’s tribunal, His Death mere hours away. The disciples had all forsaken Him, as He stood before the judgment seat beaten, betrayed, and alone. Gathered by a fire in the courtyard, several observers listened to the proceedings while warming themselves and quietly con-versing. Trying hard to blend in, Peter reached his own cold hands towards the flames. He strained to see and hear what was happening in the judgment hall, while carefully masking his interest.

Suddenly, his worst fears took form, as a young servant girl pointed at Peter, “I recognize you! You were with that Man!”

All eyes turned towards Peter. The red glow of the flames danced upon his face, further etching his momentarily startled expression. Fellowship with Yahshua would bring him censure, possibly even death!

“I don’t know Him. You’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

Onlookers may have wondered whether the flicker of fear upon his face had been imaginary, a phantom born of firelight.

Someone else casually commented, “You sure look like one of the guys that was hanging around with Him.”

Only the very observant could see that his palms glistened with icy sweat. But there seemed no trace of fear in Peter’s vehement reply, “I told you people, I never knew Him!”

The fireside gatherers made a grim company, eyes averted and suspicions aroused. It didn’t take long for the next accusation to come. It was from the servant girl again. Her gaze fixed upon Peter she blurted, “But I know you were with Him. In fact, you’re one of His disciples! You even talk like Him.”

Profanity bubbled forth from Peter’s panicked lips, as he punctuated each word with sailor-style expletives, “I said I never knew Him. Now leave me alone!”

Barely had his profane denial left his mouth, when a rooster crowed, announcing that dawn was streaking the sky. In an instant, Yahshua’s prophecy given just hours before, flashed into Peter’s guilty mind, “Before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times.”

The tragic story of Peter denying Christ bears a warning to us all. In our final Revelation-in-the-Wilderness experience at the End of the World, when God’s people must face every spiritual warfare trial, followers of Christ will all face the temptation to save our skins by denying Yahshua. And how will we respond on that day? Will we deny the Saviour to save ourselves? The very idea fills us with horror! Of course not! But don't answer quite so quickly. We think we wouldn't do such a horrible thing, but so did Peter! How can we really be sure?

If we are blind to the truth, like Peter, we will argue vehemently that we would NEVER deny Yahshua, ignoring our obvious character flaws which would be plainly revealed by the Holy Spirit, if we were willing to look. In this passage of Luke 22, we are given a wake-up call and an opportunity to see our own sinful condition. It is possible for us to see the truth about ourselves, if only we'll take the time to ask God to reveal it. By seeing the true condition of our hearts before the day of testing, we may repent! By seeking true conversion before the fiery trial, we may glorify God in the fire, instead of remaining in the heart-condition which is capable of betraying Him.

From ancient times, the crow of a rooster signaled the end of the night and the dawning of the day. Its crow called the sleepers from their slumber, awakening them to the new morning. But for Peter, that pre-dawn rooster’s crow heralded a spiritual awakening, as well. It was just the wake-up call that he needed to open his eyes to his true condition, bringing him to remorse and full repentance.

We are all told that the followers of Christ will share in Yahshua’s sufferings. If we want to share in Christ’s power and glory, we must first partake of His suffering.

1 Peter 4:12-13 - "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

2 Timothy 2:12 - "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us."

On the fateful night of the rooster’s crow, Peter experienced the call to share in the Saviour’s suffering. He may well have suffered, had Peter admitted that he was indeed a follower of Christ. And, as it turned out, because Peter wasn't truly converted, he was unwilling to risk suffering - even for Christ.  

But as the rooster crowed, Peter spiritually awakened to his true heart-condition. He ran from the place, returning to Gethsemane, where he fell on his face before God, weeping bitterly. He confessed his sin and repented. And there in the early morning hours - Peter was finally and completely converted.

In that moment, he  was transformed from a self-preserving, idolatrous pretender into a genuine, deeply-committed, fully-converted servant of the living God. Peter’s test is one that every child of God faces, at one time or another. If we are to partake of the glories promised the people of God, we will also partake of His suffering. 

Do you know what you'll do when you face Peter's test? May it be that we will not waste time now thinking we are faithful, when the seeds of betrayal still lie waiting in our unconverted hearts! Let it not be that we would be like Peter - going through all right motions, hanging out with the Saviour - yet still unconverted. Let us seriously pray and ask God to show us the true condition of our hearts now. Only then will we stand in the day when Satan comes to "sift us like wheat". Let us pray with David, as instructed also in Jeremiah:

Psalm 139:23-24  "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the Way Everlasting."

Jeremiah 17:9-10(a) "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD (Yahweh) search the heart, I try the reins..."