Posts Tagged ‘blessings and curses’

Feast Word: Anti-semitism

“I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Many years ago I was listening to a Messianic Jew and non-Jew discuss the Biblical roots of the Christian faith on a talk radio show. A woman called in and said, “If I had know Jesus was Jewish, I would not have become a Christian.”

Anti-semitism.

When our family began celebrating the Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus 23 along with Purim and Hanukkah, we were asked if we were becoming ‘Jewish’. What is wrong with becoming ‘Jewish’ when all of our Scriptures were written by Jews (aka physical descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) and our Savior is Jewish?

Anti-semitism.

In the past few years I hear many say that we shouldn’t listen to the rabbis, the sages, the Jews, because they added to the Torah, they created the Talmud, they don’t know Messiah. I often wonder if these same people realize where these Jewish men came up with all of their rules and regulations. It was their heart to obey God even in the smallest ‘jot and tittle’ so they spent hours and days, months and years, studying the commandments of the LORD and outlining the best ways they could understand for obedience. Their intention was not to add burdens upon the people even though that is what many of their rules did when made equal to God’s commandments. But, they were just men trying to obey the God of Israel to the best intent of their heart, mind and soul.

We can learn a lot from those who went before us and we should. Rather than calling ‘madmade’ tradition that has bound the Jewish people together for millennia, we should seek to understand the reasoning behind the tradition. With the Spirit of God in our lives, we should be able to discern which traditions nullify God’s commandments and which traditions do not (Mark 7:8). When we as non-Jewish believers put as many years into studing the Word and obedience to the best intent of our new hearts and minds, perhaps then we can make judgmental assumptions.

Otherwise it’s anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a lurking disease in the darkness of this world, but when it appears in the hearts of those who carry the Light of Messiah Yeshua, it needs to be dealt with however subtle it may appear to be. It is anti-semitism to believe that the myriads of Christian denominations, Hebrew Roots groups, Torah Observant groups and the plethora of other religious delineations have more understanding than the Jewish people from whom God chose to birth salvation.

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

The Word says they have a veil over their eyes. It needs to be removed, not judged. The only One who can remove the veil is the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. For those who know his personal deliverance, it is anti-semitism to keep that salvation from the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel.’

“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 3:14-16).

Without the Jewish people, there would be no Word of God: written on pages between leather covers or in the flesh as Messiah. To read the Bible, written entirely by Jewish people over many centuries and not love those same people who gave their lives over and over to protect it is:

Anti-semitism

“It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya‘akov and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

Anti-semitism in the heart of Antiochus Ephiphanes led to the near destruction of the Jewish people, their Torah and their Temple. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, by empowering a mighty deliverer, Judah Maccabee, along with a small army of courageous, spiritual men, gave His people victory over anti-semitism and restored them to their Land, their Biblical ways and even their traditions.

Anti-semitism in the heart of Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, led to the near destruction of the Jewish people and their culture. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, through the faithfulness of the humble Persian Queen Esther, along with everyone in the city of Susa who prayed and fasted for three days and nights, gave His people victory over death and anti-semitism. He eventually returned them to their Land where Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and the restored the Temple.

God says curses and blessings come upon us from how we treat the brothers and sisters of Yeshua (Matthew 10:42). Like each of us, the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’ desire to know salvation and guard the commandments of God as He intended. Celebrating with them their miraculous deliverance as a nation of people is the first step in combatting what lives in the hearts of the enemy of God’s chosen people.

Anti-semitism.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing 

Parashah 50: Ki Tavo (When you come)

Parashah 50: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

“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).

For the first time since receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, the Israelites will be making a firstfruits offering to Yahweh.  It will be the first time since leaving Egypt they will be able to settle in the Land and plant crops.  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.  They are put the basket down and prostrate themselves before Yahweh (Leviticus 23:7). 

“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).  

Bringing the firstfruits of the harvest was done 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 Elohim with joy is crucial to proper obedience of the commands and a meaningful walk in the Ruach. When harvesting the fruit of hard labor, our success can be attributed to personal talent or effort, or attributed to Elohim 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.

The Hebrew word for ‘basket’ is tene.  “In gematria, the numerical value for tene is 60 representing a person’s ability to curb their own pride by bringing the firstfruits to Elohim. Since by the rules of gematria, the number “one” may be added to the sum to represent the entire word, we find an allusion to the Jewish law dictating that if one substance is accidentally mixed with another one, it becomes null and void if the ratio between them is 60:1.

The “basket” equaling sixty represents a person’s ability to nullify his or her own lust for honor by bringing the first fruits to God. This notion is also hinted at by the fact that the Hebrew word for “I” (ani) has the numerical value of sixty-one. These same Hebrew letters when interchanged spell the Hebrew word for “nothingness” (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.”

“Serve Adonai with gladness. Enter his presence with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:2).

“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 of growing crops in the Land, the Israelites were to separate out a tenth 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

the glory of the mighty inner room, behold

Gelah (Let Us Rejoice) –  גילה – gimel, yod, lamed, hey

raise up the finished work of the shepherd, behold

The well-known song Hava Nagila comes from this root.

Ranan (Ringing Cry) – רינה – resh, yod, noon, hey

– head of finished work of life, behold

The Ketubah of Yahweh 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 26:17-18).

The ketubah, similar to wedding vows between Yahweh and His people is outlined.  There are two parts because there are two parties involved: Yahweh, the Husband and His people, the Wife.  By obeying His Torah and following His commands, the Israelites would show the world that Yahweh is their Husband.  In return, Yahweh will make the Israelites His own unique treasured Wife and raise them high above all nations and known to the world as Isra’el.

The new covenant Yahweh made with Isra’el through Yeshua is not one-sided and grace only.  It involves a transformation of heart.  If someone doesn’t want to enter the covenant, He will not coerce.   If an individual doesn’t want to be His unique treasure, they have that choice.  However, obedience to his Father’s Torah is the ‘wedding ring’ of the marriage covenant with Yeshua; disobedience is akin to divorce.   I remember hearing a well-known pastor say he had to repent from years of getting people saved and into the Kingdom only to spend the rest of the time telling them how to break the Kingdom covenant! 

Standing Stones

“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 to remove all standing stones dedicated to other gods and erect their own.  They 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 the standing stone.  With the Torah written on the standing stone, it would in itself become the ‘sword’ of ‘I AM’ 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 Elohim 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 man of war and was not allowed to build it.  His son, King Solomon, a man of shalom was given the responsibility. 

“Then Yeshua [the cornerstone of a living Tabernacle] 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. But all this has happened so that what the prophets wrote may be fulfilled’” (Matthew 26:55-56).

The Blessings and the Curses

As Isra’el entered the Promised Land, Yahweh 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 Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali stood to hear the curses for those of Isra’el who disobey Torah.

Mount Gerzim, with an elevation of  2,600 feet above sea level is covered with trees, and springs on the mountain flow toward the city of Shechem (Nablus). The land is fertile and perfect for vineyards.   Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Yosef and Benjamin stood on Mount Gerzim to hear the blessings for those of Isra’el who would obey Torah.  If Isra’el confirms the words of Yahweh by putting them into practice, they would become the greatest nation on earth. 

Nablus is about 30 miles north of Jerusalem.   It is predominately Muslim with a small Samarian and Christian population governed by the Palestinian Authority.  The road to Nablus starts at the Damascus Gate at the Old City of Jerusalem and heads directly north toward Damascus, Syria.  It is on this road that 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 of the leader

Gerzim (Cut off) – גריזים – gimel, resh, yod, zayin, yod, mem

raise up the head, the finished work of division, the mighty finished work

Yahweh promised blessings or curses depending on Isra’el’s obedience or disobedience to His commands.  The blessings or curses would happen in the city or countryside.  They would affect the land, the livestock, the grain basket, kneading bowl and even the fruit of their bodies.  The blessings or curses would happen whether they were going out or coming in.  They would see the defeat of their enemies or their enemies and foreigners would take over their land, their vineyards and their livestock.  They would either lend to the nations if blessed or borrow and be indebted if cursed.  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)

“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’s Double-edged Sword

“Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his father a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:34-37).

“See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)

“In his {Yeshua’s] right hand he held seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp double-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:16).

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Pergamum, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who has the sharp double-edged sword…” (Revelation 2:12).

“The armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him [Yeshua] on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — “He will rule them with a staff of iron.” It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of Adonai, God of heaven’s armies” (Revelation 19:14-15).

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Isaiah 6:9-10

Isaiah 11:1-3

Isaiah 60:1-22 

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Matthew 13:1-12

Luke 21:1-4

Acts 28:17-31

Revelation 21:1-4

Midrash Ki Tavo: The Joy of Elohim

Discuss Nehemiah 8 and the events surrounding the ‘appointed time,’ the reaction of the people to Torah and the reason Ezra told them to have joy.

For complete Torah portions, please purchase Open My Eyes, Wonders of Torah.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing