“When you have come to the land Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance, taken possession of it and settled there; you are to take the firstfruits of all the crops the ground yields, which you will harvest from your land that Adonai your God is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place where Adonai your God will choose to have his name live” (Deuteronomy 26:1-2).
The Israelites will enter the Land, make homes, and plant crops. For the first time since receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, the Israelites will make a firstfruits offering to Adonai (Leviticus 23:9-11). They are to bake the finest flour with leaven into loaves, put it in a basket, and go to the place where ‘I Am’ put His Name.
“Therefore, as you see [re’eh] I have now brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Adonai, have given me. You are then to put the basket down before Adonai your God, prostrate yourself before Adonai your God, and take joy in all the good that Adonai your God has given you, your household, the Levi and the foreigner living with you” (Deuteronomy 26:10-11).
The firstfruits of the harvest was brought with a procession of joy to the Mishkan. Joy is not the same as happiness. It is not an emotion, but a state of mind and heart, a fruit of the Ruach haKodesh. Serving Adonai with joy is crucial to obedience and a meaningful walk in the Ruach Elohim. When harvesting the fruit of hard labor, success can be attributed to personal talent and effort or attributed to Adonai for His blessing of wisdom and the ability to attain the goal. The secret of complete joy lies in nullifying personal pride and rejoicing in the blessings of Elohim.
“Serve Adonai with gladness. Enter his presence with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:2).
The Hebrew word for ‘basket’ is tene. The numerical value for tene is 60. The ‘basket’ equaling 60 represents a person’s ability to nullify his or her own lust for honor or pride by bringing the firstfruits of the harvest to God. The rules of gematria add the number ‘one’ to the sum of numbers representing the entire word. Jewish law dictates that if one substance is accidentally mixed with another one, it becomes null and void if the ratio between them is 60:1.
This notion is hinted at by the Hebrew word for ‘I’ or ani that has a numerical value of 61. These same Hebrew letters when interchanged spell the Hebrew word for ‘nothingness’ or ayin. Thus, the one (1) who puts his firstfruits in a basket (60) is in effect nullifying his ego (ani in a ratio of 1:60) and reaching the level of selflessness (ayin), the secret of true joy.”
“These curses will be on you and your descendants as a sign and a wonder forever. Because you didn’t serve Adonai your God with joy and gladness in your heart when you had such an abundance of everything” (Deuteronomy 28:46-47).
In the third year in the Land, the Israelites were to separate out one-tenth of their crops and give it to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan, and widow so they would have enough provision while living among the Israelites. The result would bring blessing on Isra’el.
“Look out from your holy dwelling-place, from heaven; and bless your people Isra’el and the land you gave us, as you swore to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 26:15).
Hebrew Word Pictures
Simcha (Gladness) – שמחה – shin, mem, chet, hey
– consume the chaos protect behold
Gelah (Let Us Rejoice) – גילה – gimel, yod, lamed, hey
– lift up finished work urging forward, behold
The well-known song Hava Nagila comes from this root.
Ranan (Ringing Cry) – רינה – resh, yod, nun, hey
– highest authority finished work of life, behold
The Ketubah of Adonai and His People
“You are agreeing today that Adonai is your God and that you will follow his ways; observe his laws, mitzvot and rulings; and do what he says. In turn Adonai is agreeing today that you are his own unique treasure, as he promised you; that you are to observe all his mitzvot; and that he will raise you high above all the nations he has made, in praise, reputation and glory; and that, as he said, you will be a holy people for Adonai your God” (Deuteronomy 26:17-19).
Adonai outlines the ketubah or the wedding vows between Him and His people. There are two parts because two parties are involved: Adonai, the Husband and His people, His Wife. By obeying His Torah and following His commands, the Israelites would show the world that Adonai is their Husband. In return, Adonai will make the Israelites His own unique ‘treasured possession’ Wife and raise them above all nations and known to the world as Isra’el.
The new covenant Adonai made with Isra’el through Yeshua is not one-sided. If someone doesn’t want to enter the covenant, Adonai will not coerce. If an individual doesn’t want to be His unique treasure, they have that choice. However, obedience to Adonai’s Torah is the ‘wedding ring’ of the marriage covenant; disobedience is akin to divorce. I remember hearing a well-known pastor say that he had to repent from years of getting people saved and into the Kingdom only to spend the rest of his time as a pastor teaching them how to break the Kingdom’s marriage covenant!
“When you cross the Yarden to the Land Adonai your God is giving you, you are to set up large stones, put plaster on them, and, after crossing over, write this Torah on them, every word…. You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly” (Deuteronomy 27:2-3, 8).
The Israelites were commanded to remove all standing stones dedicated to other gods and erect their own. The stones were to be uncut, using no iron tool, and covered with plaster. On the standing stones they were to write every word of Torah.
The Hebrew word for ‘iron tool’ is chereb and means ‘sword.’ Thus, no weapon of war could be used when making a standing stone. With the Torah written on the stone, it would in itself become the ‘sword’ of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh that would protect the Israelites.
“For the house, when under construction, was built of stone prepared at the quarry; so that no hammer, chisel or iron tool of any kind was heard in the house while it was being built”
(1 Kings 6:7).
Rashi suggested that an Altar which is built for atonement and to extend life should not be built by a ‘sword’ which is used to shorten and destroy life. The same would hold true for the House of Adonai that was to be a place of prayer and peace for all nations. King David, though he was a man after Elohim’s own heart was also a warrior and was not allowed to build the Temple. His son, Solomon, a man of shalom was given the responsibility.
“Then Yeshua addressed the crowd: ‘So you came out to take me with swords and clubs, the way you would the leader of a rebellion? Every day I sat in the Temple court, teaching; and you didn’t seize me then’” (Matthew 26:55).
The Blessings and the Curses
As Isra’el entered the Promised Land, ‘I Am’ had them stand between two mountains –– Mount Gerzim and Mount Ebal –– where He would pronounce blessings and curses. Mount Ebal, with an elevation of 2,800 feet, has very little vegetation, no water, and appears desolate and barren. On this mountain, the descendants of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, and Nafatli stood to hear the curses for disobeying Torah.
Mount Gerzim, with an elevation of 2,600 feet, is covered with trees, and springs on the mountain flow toward the city of Shechem (Nablus). The land is fertile and perfect for vineyards. The descendants of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin stood on Mount Gerzim to hear the blessings for obeying Torah. If Isra’el puts the words of Adonai into practice, they will become the greatest nation on earth.
Nablus is about 30 miles north of Jerusalem. It is predominately Muslim, with a small Samaritan and Christian population, governed by the Palestinian Authority. The road to Nablus starts at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and heads directly north toward Damascus, Syria. On this road to Damascus, Sha’ul had his encounter with Yeshua.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Ebal (Bald or Bare) – עיבל – ayin, yod, bet, lamed
– see the finished work of the house urging forward
Gerzim (Cut off) – גריזים – gimel, resh, yod, zayin, yod, mem
– lift up highest authority, the finished work, the divided finished work of chaos
Adonai promised blessings or curses depending on Isra’el’s obedience or disobedience to His commandments. The blessings or curses would happen in the city or countryside. The blessings or curses would happen whether they were going out or coming in. They would affect the land, the livestock, the grain basket, kneading bowl, and even the fruit of their bodies. They would see the defeat of their enemies, or their enemies would take over their land, vineyards, and livestock. They would either lend to the nations or be indebted. They would either remain a free people or become enslaved to their enemies whom they would serve with an iron yoke.
“Nevertheless, to this day Adonai has not given you a heart to understand, eyes to see or ears to hear!” (Deuteronomy 29:3)
“What is more, their minds were made stonelike; for to this day the same veil remains over them when they read the Old Covenant; it has not been unveiled, because only by the Messiah is the veil taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:14).
“Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world – that is, if Isra’el’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the later – how much greater riches will Isra’el in its fullness bring them!” (Romans 11:12)
Yeshua, the Rock of Salvation
“Ya‘akov set up a standing-stone in the place where he had spoken with him [Yeshua], a stone pillar. Then he poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it” (Genesis 35:14).
“Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3).
“The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, he is righteous and straight” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
“God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘Look, I am laying in Tziyon a tested stone, a costly cornerstone, a firm foundation-stone…’” (Isaiah 28:16).
“As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:4).
“You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself” (Ephesians 2:20).
“Then Moshe raised his hand and hit the Rock twice with his staff. Water flowed out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank. But Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, ‘Because you did not trust in me, so as to cause me to be regarded as holy by the people of Isra’el, you will not bring this community into the land I have given them’” (Numbers 20:11-12).
“Pilate then took Yeshua and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted thorn-branches into a crown and placed it on his head, put a purple robe on him, and went up to him, saying over and over, ‘Hail, ‘king of the Jews’!’ and hitting him in the face” (John 19:1-4).
“He alone is my Rock and salvation [yeshua], my stronghold…” (Psalm 62:7).
“ Shim‘on Kefa answered, ‘You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God.’ ‘Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan,’ Yeshua said to him, ‘how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. I also tell you this: you are Kefa,’ [which means ‘Rock,’] ‘and on this rock I will build my Community’” (Matthew 16:16-18).
“He broke apart the rocks in the desert and let them drink as if from boundless depths; yes, he brought streams out of the rock, making the water flow down like rivers” (Psalm 78:15).
“For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven; for their thirst you brought forth for them water from the rock. You ordered them to enter and possess the land you had sworn with your hand to give them” (Nehemiah 9:15).
“And they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
“When my glory passes by, I will put you inside a crevice in the Rock and cover you with my hand, until I have passed by” (Exodus 33:22).
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am; so that they may see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John:17:24).
©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.