Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Torah Portion - February 6, 2018

Today's Torah Reading: Gen. 26:14-35

Love for Yahweh - first and Supreme

Today we are continuing our study of the Statutes which relate to the first Commandment of having no other gods before Yahweh

Again, we will look at the third set of Statutes under the first Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," (Exodus 20:1-3). As we started to see in our study yesterday, the third set of Statutes, under the first Commandment, are about the priests. Specifically, the priests are to lead others in the worship of Yahweh by example, by instruction, and by provision. Let us continue our study of the Statutes in this subcategory.

Numbers 18:5 - 
"And ye 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."

Numbers 18:23-25 - 
"But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever 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."
While all of Yahweh's people are called to serve as "priests", not all serve at the same level. In the tribe of Levi, not all actually served in the Sanctuary (for example, as we have seen before, a Levite who had a physical deformity was not to serve in the Sanctuary). Similarly, not every follower of Yahweh hosts the Feasts and leads a congregation. 
Today, those who are called to lead a fellowship or congregation of believers and who "do the service of the Tabernacle" (host the Feasts and hold regular Sabbath worship services) may receive tithe. Tithe is designed to support this work.
But every follower of Yahweh has "charge of the altar", which involves the work of prayer and intercession. It is through this vital, priestly ministry, that the people of Yahweh are delivered from divine justice (wrath).

Deuteronomy 10:8-9 - 
"At that time Yahweh separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh, to stand before Yahweh to minister unto Him, and to bless in His Name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; Yahweh is his inheritance, according as Yahweh thy God promised him."

In Christ, we all become priests after the order of Melchizedek
- which is similar to Levi but involves kingly service as well.
Still the Statute principles for priests do apply. When we 
come to Yahweh, we are immediately cleansed and set apart 
for holy use. From this point on, we live as citizens of Heaven.
Since this world is not our home, we are not to seek an earthly
inheritance. Our inheritance is in Yahweh!
The Bible is full of references to the inheritance believers have in Christ. Ephesians 1:11 says, "In [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (ESV). Other passages that mention a believer’s inheritance include Colossians 3:24 and Hebrews 9:15. Our inheritance is, in a word, heaven. It is the sum total of all God has promised us in salvation. Words related to inheritance in Scripture are portion and heritage.
1 Peter 1:4 describes this inheritance further, saying that we have been born again "into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you." According to the apostle Peter, our inheritance is distinguished by four important qualities:
Our inheritance in Christ is imperishable. What we have in Christ is not subject to corruption or decay. In contrast, everything on earth is in the process of decaying, rusting, or falling apart. The law of entropy affects our houses, our cars, and even our own bodies. Our treasure in heaven, though, is unaffected by entropy (Matthew 6:19–20). Those who have been born again are born "not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:23).
Our inheritance in Christ is unspoiled. What we have in Christ is free from anything that would deform, debase, or degrade. Nothing on earth is perfect. Even the most beautiful things of this world are flawed; if we look closely enough, we can always find an imperfection. But Christ is truly perfect. He is "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26), and our inheritance in Him is also holy, blameless, exalted, and pure. No earthly corruption or weakness can touch what God has bestowed. Revelation 21:27 says that "nothing impure will ever enter [the New Jerusalem], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful."
Our inheritance in Christ is unfading. What we have in Christ is an enduring possession. As creatures of this world, it is hard for us to imagine colors that never fade, excitement that never flags, or value that never depreciates; but our inheritance is not of this world. Its glorious intensity will never diminish. God says, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5).
Our inheritance in Christ is reserved. What we have in Christ is being "kept" in heaven for us. Your crown of glory has your name on it. Although we enjoy many blessings as children of God here on earth, our true inheritance—our true home—is reserved for us in heaven. Like Abraham, we are "looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). The Holy Spirit guarantees that we will receive eternal life in the world to come (2 Corinthians 1:22). In fact, "when you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (Ephesians 1:13–14).
(Yahshua) prayed for His followers, "Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name" (John 17:11). We are secure, being guarded by the Almighty Himself, and surely our inheritance is equally secure. No one can steal it from us. John 10:28–29: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s Hand." See also Matthew 6:20.
As God’s children, "adopted" into His family, we have been assured an inheritance from our Heavenly Father. "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Romans 8:17). This heavenly heritage is God’s purpose and will for us (Ephesians 1:11). We receive the promise of our inheritance by hearing the Word of Truth and believing in Christ (Ephesians 1:13). 
One day, we will take possession of our portion, our heritage, our full inheritance. John Calvin writes of our inheritance, "We do not have the full enjoyment of it at present. . . . We walk . . . in hope, and we do not see the thing as if it were present, but we see it by faith. . . . Although, then, the world gives itself liberty to trample us under foot, as they say; although our (Sovereign) keeps us tried with many temptations; although He humbles us in such a way that it may seem we are as sheep appointed to the slaughter, so that we are continually at death’s door, yet we are not destitute of a good remedy. And why seeing that the Holy Spirit reigns in our hearts, we have something for which to give praise even in the midst of all our temptations. . . . [Therefore,] we should rejoice, mourn, grieve, give thanks, be content, wait" (from Calvin’s Ephesian sermons, delivered in Geneva, 1558—59).
When we understand and value the glory that awaits us, we are better able to endure whatever comes our way in this life. We can give God praise even during trials because we have His guarantee that we will receive all He has promised: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17). 
(What is Our Inheritance in Christ? www.gotquestions.org)

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 121-140)
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 121-140, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 121-123 Summary:
(#121) We are to keep the first day of Unleavened Bread as a rehearsal. (#122) We are to hold a holy convocation on it. (#123) We are not to do any servile work on the first day (Sabbath) of Unleavened Bread.

Numbers 28:17-18 “And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein.” 
Statute 124 Summary:
Unleavened Bread is a feast of Judgment. We find this because if the leaven of sin (leaven is an agent, good or bad, so powerful that it leavens the whole lump of dough) is not removed from our lives and homes, we will be cut off from the Abrahamic Covenant. The true “Spring Cleaning” is (#124) removing all spiritual and physical leaven from our lives and homes in preparation for this special week. This is what we are commanded to do.

Exodus 12:15 “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”  

Statute 125-128 Summary:
(#125) During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we are commanded to eat unleavened bread every day for the full seven days. (#126) There is to be no leaven seen in all in any part of our property or possessions. (#127) Children are to be taught that the reason we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to commemorate deliverance from physical Egypt and continue the work of deliverance from spiritual Egypt. (#128) Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is part of the sign that we are preparing for the Sealing of Yahweh. (Rev. 7:3 and Rev. 14:9)

Exodus 13:6-9 “Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which Yahweh did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that Yahweh's Law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Yahweh brought thee out of Egypt.”  

Statute 129-131 Summary:
(#129) The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Day of rest (Sabbath) and a holy Convocation day. (#130) The last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Day of rest (Sabbath) and a holy Convocation day. (#131) On these two days of Unleavened Bread, no work is to be done, with one exception: cooking and preparing food is allowed.

Exodus 12:16 “And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.”  

Statute 132-134 Summary:
(#132) On the feast of First Fruits, which is the Sunday (morrow after the Sabbath) during Unleavened Bread, Yahweh’s people are to present the first fruits of the harvest unto Yahweh. The grain of first fruits represents Yahshua (1 Corinthians 15:20) and the 144,000 – first fruits of the final grain harvest (Revelation 14:4). The sheaf of firstfruits is a measurement of grain, representing judgment. (#133) We are to be prepared for first fruits judgment through the Blood of the Lamb and having been made an acceptable living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). (#134) During the day of First Fruits, we are to wait to eat food, until after we have brought the sacrifice.

Leviticus 23:10-14 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto Yahweh.  And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green earsuntil the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”

Statute 135-140 Summary:

(#135) To calculate the timing for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), count from First Fruits. (#136) Count seven Seventh-day Sabbaths. (#137) The day after the seventh Sabbath (Sunday) is fifty days, numbered from First Fruits. (#138) This day is holy convocation day, a Sabbath. It is the Feast of Weeks. (#139) On this day, we are to claim the Blood of Yahshua by claiming His Sacrifice for our sins. (#140) We are also to wave to leavened loaves (we get unleavened with the sin of the world during these 50 days, and re-leavened with the Kingdom) representing the two candlesticks (churches) of Philadelphia (144,000) and Smyrna (end-time martyrs), both of which are filled with the Holy Spirit at the final Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:15-21 “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh.  And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto Yahweh, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto Yahweh. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before Yahweh with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”

Daily Bible Reading - February 6, 2018

Today's Reading:

Hebrews 2

Genesis 46:28-47:31

Psalm 37

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

For today, I will focus on Hebrews Chapter 2 - specifically on the Nature of Christ. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts today. And it isn't just a point of theological debate. How one interprets the Nature of Christ determines whether or not one believes that he/she can overcome sin. In other words, what I believe about Christ's Nature determines whether or not I believe He had an advantage over me. 

If He had an advantage, having an ability to be victorious over sin that I do not have (in Him), His Life cannot be my full Example. So, the "Nature of Christ" (addressed in Hebrews Chapters 1 and 2) is a doctrinal concept with deep and personal ramifications. 

The Bible repeatedly tells us that Jesus (Yahshua) was manifested in the flesh like us.
Hebrews 2:11 "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." 
Brothers are of the same flesh and family. Christ, the One who sanctifies us, is one with those He sanctifies - to such a degree that He claims us as His brothers. What does this mean? In Hebrews we are plainly told that our Saviour didn't just descend to the point of being like the angels (who are obviously much lower than their Creator - but higher than fallen mankind). He took the nature of the "seed of Abraham", becoming like mankind "in all things" so that He could be our effective High Priest, having been tempted like we are - yet without sin (He never fell to temptation, even once).
Hebrews 2:16-18  "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angelsbut He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that HHimself hath suffered being temptedHe is able to succour them that are tempted."  
Hebrews 4:14-15  "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus (Yahshua) the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
When a child is born, it possesses the same flesh and blood as its parents. Let's read Hebrews 2:14 again. It says:
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." 
Over and over this concept is repeated. Why? God is making sure we're clear on the concept that Messiah really took the SAME nature man possessed. Just like children partake of the same flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took the same! Christ took part of the same nature as the children who "are partakers of flesh and blood." This tells us without question the kind of nature Christ possessed. 

Since Adam had no children prior to his fall, it is safe to say that all the children who have ever been born in the world have inherited the same fallen nature of Adam, because they were all born after Adam sinned. 

The book of Hebrews declares that Jesus (Yahshua) "Himself likewise took part of the same." The same what? The same flesh and blood as children inherit from their parents. What kind of flesh do children inherit from their parents? The kind of "flesh" or physical bodies which come from generations of living on a fallen planet. 

But, maybe you are asking yourself, if Christ actually inherited the compromised nature of Adam, then why didn't He sin like the rest of Adam's descendants? Our Saviour didn't sin like the rest of us because He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. He possessed a fully surrendered will and a sanctified human nature. 

So, then didn't Christ have an advantage over us? Certainly you and I weren't Spirit-filled from the womb, possessing from birth a fully sanctified human nature! While that is true, it is also not true that He had an advantage over us. In Him, we may partake of the same power to keep us from sinning that He did.  Jesus (Yahshua), in living His Life of victory over sin, did not utilize His divine power to get the victory. Instead, He set aside His power and confined Himself to the same power available to us through conversion and sanctification. Christ relied upon the Father to empower Him, just as we must do.  
If He had not won the victory over Satan in the same nature we have, what encouragement could we gain from His victory? We don't need to be shown that it was possible for unfallen Adam not to yield to sin. We already knew that Adam - before the Fall - possessed, within his nature, the ability to live in consistent obedience to the Law of God. But what you and I need to know is that we can overcome our sins, with our natures being fallen. And that is the beautiful reality which Christ came to demonstrate.

Satan charged God with requiring something that couldn't be done. Satan said that God was unfair for requiring His created beings to obey His Law, since such obedience was impossible for us. The reason fallen man could not produce obedience is clearly described in Romans 8:3-4. But it also tells us the Good News. In Christ, we are not only forgiven for our past Lawlessness (sin), but we can now be obedient, through the Power of God:
"For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Key Question: What could the Law not do for us because we were too weak in the flesh to keep it? 

Answer: It could not save us. 

Key Question: Because we could not keep it due to the weakness of the flesh, what did God do?  

Answer: He sent our Messiah to obey the Law perfectly in the flesh. He condemned sin in the flesh by total victory over it.

Key Question: What did His victory in the flesh make possible for us to do? "That the righteousness (just requirement) of the Law might be fulfilled in us." 

Answer: It enabled us to obey.

Key Question: How did Christ's victory in the flesh make it possible for us to obey? 

Answer: We are enabled to obey by the miracle of Conversion, which changes our walk from the flesh to the Spirit. Then Christ in us, through the Spirit, imparts victory over sin to our lives.

Some might claim that since justification only involves an imputing of Christ's sinless record to our account, it could be done in any kind of body. But is that true? The purpose of the incarnation was to redeem fallen man and not sinless man. To do so He had to "condemn sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). Our sins that proceed from the flesh had to be condemned by Him, and the only way this could be done was to conquer that sinful flesh and submit it to the death of the cross. 
Jesus (Yahshua) came to take away the sin of the world, as John declared. How could He take away sin that was not even there in the flesh He assumed? To be more precise, how could he "condemn sin in the flesh" in a sinless flesh? 

Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Why does he further state that we "were baptized into his death" (Romans 6:3)? Every sinner must pass, by faith, through the crucifixion and resurrection experience with Christ. In order to pass from death to life, every one of us must identify with the One who represented us as the second Adam. Our sins were in Him. When He died, we died; and the penalty against our sins was satisfied and exhausted. 

Can't you see that He had to carry our own fallen nature to that cross in order to make it possible for our sinful nature to be put to death? Anything less would have failed to satisfy the justice of God. Christ had to surrender condemned humanity to the full wages of sin on that cross in order to make atonement possible for us. Otherwise, we could not identify with Him or be crucified with Him. Obviously, redemption requires that Jesus live and die with the nature of fallen man in order to provide the vital link of justification.
Now let us look at the requirements of sanctification.
Sanctification is not a mere crediting or accounting. It is the imparting of something to us. Just as He imputes justification to deliver us from the guilt of sin, He now imparts sanctification to deliver us from the power of sin. What is the sanctification He imparts? It is our actual participation in the victory of Christ over sin. By faith we enter into and appropriate the strength of the victory He experienced in the flesh. In other words, He is able and willing to live out in us the same overcoming life that He lived as a man on this earth. He will reproduce in us His own sinless experience. This is sanctification.
If Jesus (Yahshua) came into the world with Adam's unfallen nature in order to manifest a sinless life, how could that unfallen nature be reproduced in me? Participating in Adam’s unfallen experience does not sanctify fallen men. They are sanctified by overcoming sin in their fallen nature through the same power Jesus (Yahshua) used in overcoming sin. There is no way for us to participate in the unfallen experience of Adam. If that is the means by which Jesus (Yahshua) overcame Satan, there is no way for Him to impart it to me. But if Jesus (Yahshua) gained the victory over Satan in the fallen nature of Adam's descendants, then I can participate in it with Him. That kind of victory can be superimposed upon my own life, because it was gained in the same nature I possess. (quoted and adapted from Christ's Human Nature, by Joe Crews)
This is the vital and encouraging Message of Hebrews Chapter 2.  In Christ, we not only experience the Atonement - His Cleansing from our sinfulness - we also are empowered to follow His Example of victory, for the future:

1 Peter 2:21-24  "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His StepsWho did no sin, neither was guile found in His Mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own Self bare our sins in His own Body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose Stripes ye were healed."