Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Torah Portion - January 31, 2018

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 24:27-60

Love for Yahweh - first and Supreme

Yahweh is calling out a people, both Jew and Gentile, who will fill their lives with the love of Yah and will obey His Will.

"For the Eyes of Yahweh run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (wholehearted) towards Him," 2 Chronicles 16:9.

To know Yahweh is to love Him. That is also a Statute. To know that He exists and that there is no other God but the One Eternal God Who is King of kings and Sovereign of sovereigns is the first principle of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). 

In choosing to love Him supremely, the Statutes tell us to hallow His Name and to worship Yahweh and Him alone. Today, we will do a Statute vignette, which focuses on just one principle which is part of loving Yahweh.

Deuteronomy 16:21-22 instructs Yahweh's people to never set up a grove of trees (used in the worship of false gods) near Yahweh's place of worship (which was an altar in ancient Israel). Also, Yahweh's people were not to set up an image of any false gods.

The most subtle and dangerous enemy of the true worship of Yahweh is not to turn away from the worship of God entirely, it is to pollute the worship of Yahweh with idolatry.

Syncretism, which is the simultaneous worship of opposing religions, was practiced in ancient Israel, during its times of backsliding. The people set up groves near the altar of Yahweh. These were not groves as we might imagine. 

The word translated as "grove", in the KJV, comes from the Hebrew word "asherim". Most modern versions plainly say "sacred tree" or "sacred pole" in place of the word "grove". So, in Deuteronomy 22:16, God is telling His people to not use idols or idolatrous symbols, as were used in the worship of the false goddess, Asherah (who is now called Easter).

"Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the alter of Yahweh thy God," (Deuteronomy 16:21 American Standard).

"You shall not plant a sacred pole of any kind of wood near the altar of Yahweh," (Deuteronomy 16:21 New American Bible).

"Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to Yahweh your God," (Deuteronomy 16:21 New International Version).

Why would Asherah poles be placed by the altar of Yahweh? In ancient Israel it was so that the worship of Yahweh could be mingled with the practices of worship the pagans used for Asherah.

Does this Statute need to be mentioned today? I mean is this something people are still doing? Yes! Actually an Asherah pole was raised as part of the Easter-keeping celebrations. In fact, Asherah is another name for the false goddess more commonly known as Easter. And many Christian churches still practice this.

Today, we don't do animal sacrifices. As a result, the place of worship is probably not literally going to be an altar. The place where Yahweh is worshiped may be a Christian church or a home, etc... So the venue may look a bit different. But the Statute still applies. Here are a few photos of Christians who are probably unknowingly breaking the Statute of Deuteronomy 16:21:

(above) Christian church members lift up a 29-meter-long butara, a pole on which locals stick symbolic palm fronds consisting of olive branches and local shrubbery, during a Palm Sunday procession at the church in the village of Volicina April 13, 2014.

(above) This Christian Church, located in Ketchikan, Alaska (USA) has a native totem pole on its property. Christians likely set this pole up in honor of native "culture", not realizing that a totem pole is an idolatrous symbol which honors the false gods of the Alaskan native people. This is another example of (probably unknowingly) breaking the Statute of Deuteronomy 16:21

Similar to how a husband and wife demonstrate true love for one another by faithfulness to each other, love for Yahweh is shown by spiritual faithfulness. Let us be faithful to Yahweh by carefully to checking to see if we have ignorantly disregarded Deuteronomy 16:21. If so, let's remove the "pole"! Loving Yahweh involves exclusively worshiping Him. And that includes removing all symbols of idolatry from Yahweh's sacred places of worship.

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 31, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 22:39-71

Genesis 40

Psalm 31

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Luke 22:42-44 "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this Cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
Have you ever wondered what this dreadful Cup was, which the Saviour prayed might pass from Him? What was this "Cup" that was so agonizing that it caused Christ to sweat great drops of blood? The answer is "your sins and mine" of course. But, after investigate the "Cup", I found there was much more to it. 

This Cup is known as the of the "Wine of the Wrath of God". It is also known (in Torah) as the "Cup of Jealousy". There is actually much to learn about it, with many deep spiritual lessons, by looking at the Cup of Jealousy to glean prophetic insights from this amazing shadow-picture.

In Numbers 5:12-28, we find the Statute of the Cup of Jealousy. If a man believed that his wife was being unfaithful, and that her pregnancy wasn't his child, he could find out the truth by bringing his wife to the Sanctuary for a sobering Test. It was simple - pass or fail. It  was also fool-proof, because God Himself gave the "grade". 

The priest would take a special Cup and draw consecrated water from the Sanctuary laver. He would then take a small amount of dust from the Sanctuary dirt floor and mingle the dust into the water. Then the woman was given this cup and instructed to drink. If she were innocent and had been faithful to her husband, she and her unborn child would be blessed greatly. There was tremendous blessing in the Cup - for the innocent.

If, however, she had betrayed her husband and deceitfully and treacherously gone out on her marriage vows so that she was now carrying another man's baby, then the woman was cursed and there was death in the Cup. 

What possible beauty could we find in such a story? What possible lessons for us today? This is the kind of story that - at first glance - one might read over quickly just to get credit for actually having read the whole Bible through...  This is a "Wow-that's-aweful!" "turn-your-head-and-look-the-other-way" kind of story. So, why point it out? The story of the Cup of Jealousy brings the Saviour's experience in Gethsemane to life with living color. It is the backstory, which one needs to understand to fully appreciate what our Saviour did for you and for me.

But see, here's the thing...  That woman who is suspected of betraying her husband is you and me. According to the Bible, God’s people, who have sinned and spent time serving false gods, are the woman suspected of adultery. And Christ is the Husband - the Heavenly Bridegroom - to which we should have always been faithful. Those idolatrous things, which we have valued and loved more than God, are the "lovers", with whom we have committed spiritual adultery.

Jeremiah 3:1-6    "...But thou hast played the harlot (acted like a prostitute) with many lovers; yet return again to Me, saith the LORD (Yahweh)... Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no Latter Rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead (think like a whore), thou refusedst to be ashamed..."
What does it mean to commit adultery in our relationship with God?  In 2 Peter, we find that sin is spiritual adultery against our Heavenly Husband.
2 Peter 2:14-15  "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children. Which have forsaken the right Way, and are gone astray..."

Lest any of us wonder, we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Therefore every one of us is the adulterous woman. If put to the test, none of us could safely pass the Jealousy Cup Test. So will we have to drink it? This was just a Statute, which is no longer practiced! Right?

The Bible tells us that God is going to judge us the same way a woman that breaks wedlock is judged!  That means that we have to drink from the Cup of Jealousy!
Ezekiel 16:38  "And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy."
And remember, for the adulterer (which we all are) there is Death in the Cup! In the end, it is drinking of this Cup (called the Cup of the Wine of the Wrath of God), which brings Eternal Death to the wicked!
Revelation 14:9-10  "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation..."
Revelation 16:19  "...And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the Cup of the Wine of the fierceness of His Wrath." 
Psalm 11:6   "Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.  This shall be the portion of their Cup."
Scripture also tells us that everyone who is lost will have to drink the Cup of Wrath all the way to its dregs.  
Psalm 75:8   "For in the Hand of the LORD (Yahweh) there is a Cup, and the Wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out of the same: but the Dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them."  
The dregs of a cup is the residue which settles to the bottom of the cup. Drinking a cup to its dregs means drinking every last drop ‘till nothing remains in the cup.

Drinking the Cup of Wrath is the consequence for committing idolatry, which is spiritual adultery. Thus, unrepentant sinners must drink of the Cup of Jealousy. And to the guilty, there is punishment, suffering, and death in the Cup - Eternal Death. 
So, since we are all sinful and have committed spiritual adultery against our God, what hope have we against such a dreadful Test? When the Cup of Wrath is pressed to our lips, we will be found guilty and deserving of the Death it contains. But that isn't how it will turn out for those who are covered and cleansed in Jesus' (Yahshua's) precious Blood. He drank the Cup for you and me! He, Who didn't deserve Death - took your Death and mine - so that we may live, even though we have been the unworthy and unfaithful bride. Our Saviour drank of that terrible Cup - all the way to the Dregs - for you and for me.
Isaiah 51:22  "Thus saith thy Lord the LORD (Yahweh), and thy God that pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the Cup of Trembling, even the dregs of the Cup of My Fury; thou shalt no more drink it again." 
 The only One Who could have opted out of experiencing what the most dreadful Cup contains was Christ. He was sinless! The reality of what He did for you and for me is so great that it is beyond our comprehension. And He did it willingly - knowing what was in the Cup! Why? Because He knew that if He didn't drink it, draining all the Death out of that Cup on our behalves, we would have no hope. We couldn't possibly drink the Cup for ourselves without reaping the reward of agonizing Death which it contains for every spiritual adulterer.
John 18:11  "Then said Jesus (Yahshua) unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the Cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?"
But Drinking the Cup of Heaven’s Wrath, that Cup of Jealousy, was no easy task. Every fiber of the Saviour’s Being wished not to drink of it. So terrible was the experience of the Cup that it trembled in His Hand.
Matthew 26:38-39  "Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His Face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." 
How could anyone look at the Cup He drank and minimize the Judgment and Wrath of God against sin? If the sinless Son of God was in an agony when He considered the content of the Cup of God's Wrath, if the pure Son of God cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" as He drank the last Dregs of the Cup of God's Wrath, then what is it going to be for a sinful man or woman, a boy or girl, to fall into the hands of the living God unrepentant and unbelieving and die in sin? 

Do you live now in the pleasures of sin? What will it be when the Almighty and holy God presses to such a person's lips the Cup of Wrath which impenitent sinners shall receive from His hand? I call you to flee this wrath. Repent! Do not think that you are up to the challenge of drinking safely the Cup of Jealousy. No guilty one may safely drink of this Cup. It contains Death.

But there is a wonderful word of comfort to the people of God. Our Death and the Curse were in that Cup. But, He took our place, and drank the Cup of Jealousy to its Dregs, taking the Death and Curse on our behalf.  
Romans 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (Yahshua)."
How wonderful is our God!? Because of Him, one day soon, when you look down the Dregs of the Father’s Cup of Justice, you will find blessing and peace, instead of drinking to your damnation.  This is the amazing gift God gives to every repentant idolater. 

So, what about you? Have you accepted Christ as your personal Saviour? Have you claimed His drinking of the Cup on your behalf? Have you repented for your sins? Have you turned away from your idolatrous practices and left behind your spiritual adultery? If so, you need not fear the most terrible Cup. Your Saviour drank the Cup before you. He drained out its poisons drinking it down to the Dregs. Now, for you, holds a future of Blessing.  

Such awareness fills me with thanksgiving! It makes me want to live every moment for Him - the One Who did so much for me. Every moment of every day - both now and in Eternity - may I always live thankful! Don't you agree?