“Then I pleaded with Adonai, ‘Adonai Elohim, you have begun to reveal your greatness to your servant, and your strong hand — for what other god is there in heaven or on earth that can do the works and mighty deeds that you do?’” (Deuteronomy 3:23-24)
Even though Moshe understands that he dishonored the holiness of Adonai before Isra’el and received just consequence for his sin, he still pleads with Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh to enter the Promised Land. He has spent 42 years with this multitude of stubborn, ungrateful people who did nothing but whine and complain. Now that he can taste the ‘milk and honey’ in the air, he wants to touch it with his feet, but Adonai will only allow him to observe it from a mountain top.
The title of this parashah is called va’et’chana, the Hebrew word for ‘plead,’ and it is used only this one time in Torah. Its root is chanah and comes from chan meaning ‘gracious.’ It also has the alef and the tav, the את , the ‘sign’ of Yeshua in the phrase. Moshe pleads with Yeshua to be gracious to him and allow him to see the Promised Land.
“Climb up to the top of Pisgah and look out to the west, north, south and east. Look with your eyes — but you will not go across this Yarden. However, commission Y’hoshua, encourage him and strengthen him; for he will lead this people across and enable them to inherit the land that you will see” (Deuteronomy 3:27-28).
Adonai remained faithful to Moshe’s request, but not the way Moshe expected. When Yeshua appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration (possibly Mount Hermon or Mount Tabor), Moshe stood with Elijah. Not only was Moshe alive in the presence of Yeshua, his feet stood on the ground of the Promised Land. Yeshua, the alef and the tav, heard his plea millennia before and showed Moshe his favor.
“Yeshua took Kefa, Ya‘akov and his brother Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. As they watched, he began to change form — his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light. Then they looked and saw Moshe and Eliyahu speaking with him” (Matthew 17:13).
D’var Elohim – The Word of God
“In order to obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
Adonai is serious about His D’var. His D’varim (Words) are to remain as He gave them with nothing added or subtracted. He is so serious about adding and subtracting to prophecy that those who do so will lose their share in the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:18-29).
However, when the D’var Elohim becomes too convicting or isn’t tolerant enough of sin, it becomes watered down, rationalized, or spiritualized. The simple message of repenting and returning to obey the Creator becomes lost in translations, opinions, and cultural traditions. The milk of the Word is traded for formulas. Myriads of denominations have evolved from one or two theological aspects of Scripture while the rest of the D’var Elohim is considered irrelevant or ignored. Consequently, the world looks at faith in Yeshua as another religious leader rather than the pathway to have a relationship with the One who created their soul.
The D’var in the flesh, the perfect man with the divine nature of Adonai Elohim, comes into the world. He teaches and interprets the Torah and the Prophets correctly. He lives his life according to the instructions of his Father perfectly. He judges sin righteously and rebuffs man-made traditions. Leaders who like their ‘shepherd’ position don’t want the Shepherd so they distort Adonai’s D’varim, including the words of His D’varim in the flesh, Yeshua.
Yeshua has been hijacked through anti-semitic interpretations of Scripture and doctrines that deny he lived in the Middle East as a Jewish man who exemplified a Biblically Jewish lifestyle. With blond hair, blue eyes, Jesus has a testimony that doesn’t agree with the Torah or the Prophets, and the man from Nazareth, Yeshua, is rejected by his own people. Yeshua’s death has become memorialized in a pagan holiday for millions; his resurrection buried in the commentaries that make null and void the hope of a restoration of the Kingdom of Isra’el.
The Responsibility of Isra’el
“Therefore, observe them [Adonai’s commandments]; and follow them; for then all peoples [nations] will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, ‘This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as Adonai our God is, whenever we call on him? What great nation is there that has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah which I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:6-8)
Isra’el has a history like no other nation. What nation has been brought out of centuries of slavery to exist for all time as free men? What nation remembers their deliverance for millennium –– in their homes and teaching it to their children? What nation has fought wars like Isra’el and, in the face of overwhelming odds, has won victory after victory?
Isra’el has a calling like no other nation because they have been chosen by Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh; the calling is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). They are to be a light to the nations; the world is to look at Isra’el and observe their wisdom of life, community, government, and justice grounded in Torah (Isaiah 49:6). The world is to see their closeness to Adonai because no other nation has ever had Adonai as their Sovereign Elohim and received His D’varim as their national constitution.
“Adonai didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people — on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. Rather, it was because Adonai loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).
The Voice of Elohim
“You heard the sound of words, but saw no shape, there was only a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12).
Isra’el heard Adonai’s voice through His words. Even without a physical shape, they heard His voice ‘from the fire in the cloud’ and were frightened. When Yeshua came as the physical representation of the invisible Elohim, his voice didn’t correlate with his humanity. Though his words were exactly as his Father’s, his physical appearance was incongruent to what they had conceived in their minds. Those who couldn’t reconcile the body-voice connection rejected Yeshua as the voice of Elohim in the flesh; those who could accepted him as Messiah.
“He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, because in connection with him were created all things — in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities — they have all been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:15-16).
The Two Witnesses of the Creator
“I call on the sky and the earth to witness against you today that you will quickly disappear from the land that you are crossing the Yarden to possess” (Deuteronomy 4:26).
“Know today, and establish it in your heart, that Adonai is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39).
The witness of two that establishes Elohim as Creator are the heavens and the earth. The heavens and earth are the testimony that He is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.
“You will seek Adonai your God; and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and being” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
For those who are concerned about people who never see or read a Bible and their eternal soul, Sha’ul tells the Romans that what is known about Elohim is obvious within creation. All of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s invisible qualities, both His eternal power and divine nature, can be clearly seen and understood from everything He has made. From the smallest atom to the complex eyes of a baby to the wrinkled skin of the wisest elder to the entire universe that continually expands, there is no place without evidence of His existence (Romans 1:20).
The Inheritance of Elohim
“By trusting, he [Abraham] lived as a temporary resident in the Land of the promise, as if it were not his, staying in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were to receive what was promised along with him. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
The complete land inheritance Elohim gave to Isra’el has yet to be realized. Though the Israelites took possession of the Land at the time of Joshua, the nation has yet to be restored to what is prophesied. The Kingdom of Adonai on earth is still in process. Yeshua’s return as King of Kings will begin the final restoration in Jerusalem. When the new heavens and earth come into existence, Isra’el’s entire inheritance and covenant promises will be complete.
Abraham understood the promise of El Shaddai to be in the future and looked forward to the city, the New Jerusalem, that had a permanent foundation and whose builder and architect is Elohim. In order to fulfill His covenant promise to Abraham, Elohim had to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and has had to protect them from extermination throughout the ages.
“No, you Adonai have taken and brought out of the smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of inheritance for him, as you are today” (Deuteronomy 4:20).
When everything is restored to Job, he gives his three daughters, Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch an inheritance (Job 42:14-15). When I was at the Western Wall in Isra’el, I met a cohen who told me that my daughter’s name, Jemima, was a symbol of the coming restoration of the Kingdom of HaShem and the eternal inheritance that comes with it.
Sha’ul tells those who are born again into the Kingdom will receive Elohim’s inheritance. It is not in our possession, but ‘rich glories that He promised to His people’ are being kept for the day of restoration. We have been given the Ruach haKodesh as the legal paperwork guaranteeing that we will one day possess our inheritance along with Adonai’s chosen people (Ephesians 1:13-18).
The Covenant of Elohim
Moshe reiterates the commandments given by Adonai. Everyone who stood before him were the children and grandchildren of those who had died in the wilderness. Some of them were very small children when they left Egypt and had witnessed the miracles of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh while others were born in the wilderness. Because a new generation of Jacob’s children stand before him, Moshe needs to restate the commandments.
“Then you will tell us everything Adonai our God says to you; and we will listen to it and do it” (Deuteronomy 5:24).
א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strength.’
“I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.”
ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’
“You are to have no other gods before me. You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline — you are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents, also the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.”
ג Gimel – Camel means ‘to lift up’ or ‘pride’
“You are not to misuse the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who misuses his name.”
ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’
“Observe the day of Shabbat, to set it apart as holy, as Adonai your God ordered you to do. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your ox, your donkey or any of your other livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property — so that your male and female servants can rest just as you do. You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.”
ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’
“Honor your father and mother, as Adonai your God ordered you to do, so that you will live long and have things go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.”
ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’
“Do not murder.”
ז Zayin – A Weapon means ‘divide’ or ‘cut.’
“Do not commit adultery.”
ח Het – A Fence means ‘protect.’
“Do not steal.”
ט Tet – A Snake means ‘twist.’
“Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.”
י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’
“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife; do not covet your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Elohim’s desire for His people is to have a soft, pliable heart that would fear and obey Him.
“Oh, how I wish their hearts would stay like this always, that they would fear me and obey all my mitzvot; so that it would go well with them and their children forever” (Deuteronomy 5:26).
Shema means ‘hear’ in Hebrew and is the foundation of faith for Jews around the world. It is their ‘pledge of allegiance’ to Adonai and His commandments. The words of the Shema are written on small scrolls and put in a mezzuah (Doorpost) which hangs on the doorpost entrance to homes, restaurants, synagogues, and the gates into Jerusalem. They are also in the tefillin or boxes that are mounted with cords on the heads of Jewish men.
“Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad
[Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]
and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart,
all your being and all your resources.
These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart;
and you are to teach them carefully to your children.
You are to talk about them when you sit at home,
when you are traveling on the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them on your hand as a sign,
put them at the front of a headband around your forehead,
and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates”
Hebrew Word Pictures
Shema (Hear) – שמע – shin, mem, ayin
– consume the mighty and see
Mezzuzah (Doorpost) – מזימה – mem, zayin, yod, mem, hey
– mighty divides the finished work of chaos, behold
Tefillin (Guard) – תפילין – tav, peh, yod, lamed, yod, nun
– covenant source, finished work urges forward the binding of life
“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
When Yeshua rose from the dead, he did not begin a new religious system with two separate groups of ‘treasured people.’ Every gentile believer in Messiah becomes part of Elohim’s chosen people Isra’el through faith in Yeshua. When they are adopted into His family, they join the Commonwealth of Isra’el and are grafted into the Olive Tree of Isra’el. There is only one way to be saved and it comes from the Jews (John 4:22).
“But you are a chosen people, the King’s cohanim, a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; before, you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
The Grace of Elohim
Throughout the Torah there are numerous examples of Adonai’s favor from the Israelites’ deliverance at the Red Sea to the manna that came down from heaven to the water that gushed from the ‘Rock’ to their victories over the giants in the Land. Adonai promises to extend His grace to a thousand generations who love Him and observe His commandments.
The key to receiving His grace doesn’t come by abolishing Torah or removing His ‘law.’ His grace comes through loving Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength and obeying His commands. Those who keep His Torah will know that Adonai, the God of Isra’el, is their Elohim.
“From this you can know that Adonai your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot, to a thousand generations. But he repays those who hate him to their face and destroys them. He will not be slow to deal with someone who hates him; he will repay him to his face. Therefore, you are to keep the mitzvot, laws and rulings which I am giving you today, and obey them” (Deuteronomy 7:9-11).
The Enemies of Elohim
Elohim commands Isra’el to destroy their enemies completely. They are not to take booty or allow their sons to marry women survivors. The inevitable result would create idolatry within the community and would bring Elohim’s anger and their quick destruction. When ‘I Am’ expels the nations and Isra’el takes possession of the Land, they are to break down altars to false gods, smash standing stones, cut down the sacred poles, and burn up all wooden images.
Isra’el didn’t obey. Because of their disobedience, they were taken captive by other nations. Even today, Isra’el is full of idols from other world religions. Though the nation of Isra’el exists today as a miracle of Elohim in modern times, they still do not obey His command to rid themselves of their enemies which has cost them control of the Temple Mount and parcels of their land inheritance. They are not to enter any covenant with their enemies, then or in the future, including any agreement which includes ‘land for peace.’
“Adonai your God is going to bring you into the land you will enter in order to take possession of it, and he will expel many nations ahead of you…. When he does this, when Adonai your God hands them over ahead of you, and you defeat them, you are to destroy them completely! Do not make any covenant with them. Show them no mercy. Don’t intermarry with them — don’t give your daughter to his son, and don’t take his daughter for your son. For he will turn your children away from following me in order to serve other gods. If this happens, the anger of Adonai will flare up against you, and he will quickly destroy you. No, treat them this way: break down their altars, smash their standing-stones to pieces, cut down their sacred poles and burn up their carved images completely” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).
Yeshua and the Shema
“One of the Torah-teachers came up and heard them engaged in this discussion. Seeing that Yeshua answered them well, he asked him, “Which is the most important mitzvah of them all?” Yeshua answered, “The most important is,
‘Sh’ma Yisra’el, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad
[Hear, O Isra’el, Adonai our God, Adonai is one]
and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your understanding and with all your strength’”
“But Yeshua said to him, ‘What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself.’ That’s the right answer, Yeshua said. ‘Do this, and you will have life’” (Luke 10:26-28).
“I and the Father are one [echad]” (John 10:30).
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