Saturday, April 21, 2018

Torah Portion - April 21, 2018

This week's Statutes are about circumcision and some of the health laws...

WEEK OF April 15-21, 2018: Overview of this week's Statutes (#344-361):


(#344) YHWH commands His people (who are the seed of Abraham – Galatians 3:16 & 29) to keep His Covenant. The Covenant of YHWH involves the shedding of blood and the entering into a bonded relationship. In the Abrahamic Covenant (which all the righteous enter) both YAH (Calvary) and Abraham (circumcision) shed blood. (#345) YHWH not only commanded Abraham to keep His Covenant, He also commanded all of Abraham’s seed to keep it in every generation. (#346) Every male child, who is a partaker of YHWH’s Covenant, is to be circumcised. (#347) Circumcision means that we are to cut away the foreskin, or the fold of skin surrounding the male organ. (#348) Circumcision is the sign, or physical evidence, that we belong to YHWH and are partakers of His Abrahamic Covenant. (#349) Male children, born in our homes, are to be circumcised on the eighth day. (#350) Servants or people brought into the household, that are not born in the house, still were to be circumcised. Every male in the house of Abraham’s seed is to be circumcised. (Judgment) Failure to circumcise as YHWH has commanded means that one has broken the Covenant and is no longer numbered among YHWH’s people.

Genesis 17:9-14 “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep My Covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  This is My Covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the Covenant betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and My Covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My Covenant.”  

STATUTES #351-353:

(#351) YHWH commands His people to be circumcised in our hearts. This means that the innermost person, our thinking and understanding, out of which flows our actions and words, is to have the “old man” of sin, cut away and removed (see Colossians 2:11-13). (#352) YHWH commands us not to be hardened in sin nor dense in understanding spiritual Truth. (#353) Our motivation for having circumcised hearts is to be our awareness that YHWH is THE ALMIGHTY.

Deuteronomy 10:16-17Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.”

STATUTES #354-355:

(#354) YHWH not only commands His people to be circumcised, He promises to perform this spiritual surgery, if we seek it of Him (James 4:2). Not only does YHWH promise to circumcise our hearts, but also the hearts of our children. (#355) YHWH’s people are to love Him with our whole hearts, vitality, and breath. We are to love Him in choosing Him over appetite. His pleasure is to be our own. When we love YHWH and are fully given to Him, we are fully alive and made strong.

Deuteronomy 30:6 “The LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

STATUTES #356-361:

(#356) YHWH commands His people to take care in choosing foods to eat. We are never to eat any flesh He has deemed “abominable.” (#357) We may only eat meats of animals which chew the cud and have a divided hoof. (#358) An animal which chews the cud but doesn’t have a divided hoof is unclean. (#359) An animal which has a divided hoof, but doesn’t chew the cud is unclean. (#360) YHWH’s people are not to eat the flesh of any unclean animal. (#361) YHWH’s people are not to touch the dead carcass of any unclean animal.

Deuteronomy 14:3-8 “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.  Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.”

WEEK OF April 15-21, 2018

Torah Reading for the week: Exodus 13:17-17:16

Statute Studies for the week: 

Daily Bible Reading - April 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

Acts 8:26-40

Joshua 1-2

Job 21

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Acts, we read about the amazing encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuchWhat an experience! Philip is instructed to go to this roadway where he has no idea what to expect. There he sees a chariot with a dignitary from Ethiopia (the eunuch served the queen). And the story of how Philip was used to lead the eunuch to Christ goes on from there. Beautiful!

But, we don't often hear the rest of the story. What happened afterwards? We know that Philip was taken up in whirlwind, like the original (and true) Pecos Bill. But what happened to the eunuch? Did he stay true to his new baptism and commitment to ChristI had always wondered... Today, I thought I would share with you some exciting history about eunuch and how Philip's missionary work that day actually impacted the whole country of Ethiopia!

Candace of Ethiopia

According to the research of D.A. Hubbard, in his New Bible Dictionary, the eunuch was a treasury official in the court of Candace of Ethiopia (Hubbard, D. A. (1962). "Ethiopian eunuch". In Douglas, J. D. New Bible Dictionary. IVF. p. 398.) 

Ancient historian, Pliny,  writes that the "Queen of the Ethiopians" bore the title Candace, and indicates that the Ethiopians had conquered ancient Syria and the Mediterranean (Turner, Sharon (1834). The Sacred History of the World, as Displayed in the Creation and Subsequent Events to the Deluge: Attempted to be Philosophically Considered, in a Series of Letters to a Son, Volume 2. Longman. pp. 480–482.) 

The eunuch was powerful, being the chief treasurer of a kingdom wealthy from its iron smelting, gold mining and trading position. At the time, Ethiopia was a conduit for goods from the rest of the continent. Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (better "Queen Mother, ruling monarch of the Ethiopians," since candace is a title, not a proper name), cared for the duties of state. The candace in this instance was Amanitare (A.D. 25-41; Wead 1982:197; Crocker 1986:67)

When the Ethiopian eunuch returned to his homeland and queen after being baptized by Philip that day, he brought the Torah, Sabbath-keeping, and the worship of Yahweh to Ethiopia. The whole country changed from worshiping false gods to the worship of the one, true Almighty God. How can we know this? Because, in 1410, the reigning queen of Ethiopia wrote it in her testimony to the papacy!

After Constantine began working to paganize Christianity in 325 AD, he changed the Sabbath to Sunday and replaced the annual Sabbaths with Babylonian days of worship. From this point onward, the papal power began to apply increasing pressure on the nations of the world to bring them into alignment with the teachings of papal Rome.

Ethiopia was resistant to Rome's increasing pressure. And by 1410, Pope John XXIII was writing some very threatening letters to the Queen of Ethiopia, demanding that she bring her country under the leadership of the Mother Church and that she command her people to abide by the doctrines of papal Rome.

The Queen of Ethiopia wrote a powerful letter back to the pope. Her letter is found in the book, The Church History of Habassia or Ethiopia, p 62. In her letter to the pope, the Queen of Ethiopia stated that she would not recant the beliefs of her nation. She stated that her nation's worship of Yahweh, their keeping of Sabbath, the annual Sabbaths, and their other Biblical doctrines had been learned from the apostle Philip himself. From this letter, we can learn that Philip's missionary work with the eunuch not only bore fruit but converted a country! And that conversion and faithfulness to God continued some 1300 years after the eunuch's baptism!

The following beliefs were listed in the Queen's letter to the pope. All of these beliefs she credited Philip with having taught them:

  • "We observe nothing but what we find in the Law and the Prophets" (The Church History of Habassia or Ethiopia, p 62)... which included (as she stated in her letter):

    •  baptism by immersion

    • Ethiopia worshiped on the Seventh-day Sabbath.
    • In Ethiopia, confession of sins was made only to God.
    • Ethiopia believed that "exhorting to alms" (strong-arming people into giving money to the church) was wrong.
    • Ethiopia believed that both the Old and New Testaments were in effect and should be obeyed.
    • Ethiopia kept all of God's feasts and refused to keep the Papal holy days.
And that is the amazing result from one day's work in the life of the apostle Philip! And now you know the rest of the story...