Posts Tagged ‘brit milah’

Parashah 46: ‘Ekev (Because)

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

“Because you are listening to these rulings, keeping and obeying them, Adonai your God will keep with you the covenant and mercy that he swore to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 7:12).

Covenant of Mercy

The covenant of mercy is the eighth covenant given in Torah, a covenant Adonai made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The word for ‘mercy’ in Hebrew is rachum and means ‘compassionate.’ Listening to Adonai’s rulings, keeping and obeying His mitzvot brings forth His compassionate merciful covenant.

Adonai’s covenant of mercy will bless Isra’el more than any other nation. He will love them and increase their numbers, blessing the fruit of their bodies. He will bless their grain, wine, olive oil, cattle, and sheep.

All illness will be kept from them and be put on their enemies. They will have victory over the nations Adonai brings to them, and He will show them no pity. They are to burn the carved statues of foreign gods so they don’t become ensnared by idolatrous worship. They are not to become greedy for silver and gold or take it with them as they will be consumed by it.

They are not to be afraid of the vastness of the enemy armies, but remember what ‘I Am’ did with signs and wonders to Pharaoh and all of Egypt, and the strong hand and outstretched arm through which He delivered them. He will send the hornet among their enemies until those who are left will perish because Adonai is a fearsome Elohim. They will expel the nations of the Land, little by little, so wild animals do not become too numerous. Kings will be handed over to them, and Isra’el will wipe out the names of their enemies from under heaven.

“Think deeply about it: Adonai was disciplining you, just as a man disciplines his child”
(Deuteronomy 8:5).

They are to take care to obey all the commands Adonai gave them remembering how for 40 years He tested them in the desert, humbling them to know what was in their heart (Deuteronomy 8:2). For 40 years they ate manna so they would understand “man does not live on bread alone, but on every thing that comes from the mouth of Adonai” (Deuteronomy 8:4). For 40 years their clothes didn’t grow old, their shoes didn’t wear out, nor did their feet swell up from the days and months of traveling.

Adonai disciplined them to draw their hearts towards Him and prepare them to possess ‘the land flowing with milk and honey.’ He warns them not to become prideful and forget who gives the power to get wealth, to build fine houses, and eat until they are satisfied. If they forget the ‘I am,’ they will perish like the nations He causes to perish in front of them (Deuteronomy 8:18).

“For Adonai corrects those he loves like a father who delights in his son” (Proverbs 3:12).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Humble or anav – ענו – ayin, nun, vav
– understand life binding

Test or nasah – נסה – nun, samech, hey
– life support revealed

More Hornets

The hornet was mentioned in Exodus, now in Deuteronomy, and will be again in Joshua 24:12. In each account, the hornet will drive away Isra’el’s enemies. The Hebrew word for ‘hornet’ is tzirah and means ‘stinging.’ The hornet is a medium-sized insect that has a terrible sting. It flies fast and fights hard making it quite the opponent coming face to face with a swarm.

Hornets may be a metaphor for ‘terror of Elohim’ or there may actually have been hornets. Adonai has a combative character especially against the wicked or lawless.   He is aggressive, and when filled with righteous anger or jealousy, He will defend His Name and His people. The hornet is going to be evidence of ‘I Am’ in the conquest of Canaan. Though the Israelites would be using their swords, Adonai Tz’vaot would fight the battle (2 Chronicles 20:15). Through His direct intervention, Isra’el would have the victory over nations. The hornet would put the fear of Adonai into the hearts of their enemies.  With each conquest, the nations would see Adonai’s power and fear Him.

“Listen, Isra’el! You are to cross the Yarden today, to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, great cities fortified up to the sky; a people great and tall, the ‘Anakim, whom you know about and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of ‘Anak?’Therefore understand today that Adonai your God will himself cross ahead of you as a devouring fire; he will destroy them and bring them down before you. Thus will you drive them out and cause them to perish quickly, as Adonai has said to you” (Deuteronomy 9:1-3).

“Wherever the sole of your foot steps will be yours; your territory will extend from the desert to the Lebanon and from the River, the Euphrates River, to the Western Sea” (Deuteronomy 11:24).

Adonai will cross the Jordan ahead of the Israelites as a devouring fire and will destroy their enemies. This is not because of Isra’el’s righteousness, but because of the wickedness of the nations.  ‘I Am’ cannot allow wickedness to continue and therefore, through Isra’el, He judges “a people great and tall” (Deuteronomy 9:2).

The history lesson continues …

“Then Adonai gave me [Moshe] the two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God; and on them was written every word Adonai had said to you from the fire on the mountain the day of the assembly. Yes, after forty days and nights Adonai gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant” (Deuteronomy 9:10-11). 

For 40 days and nights Moshe stayed on the mountain at Horev receiving the covenant for Isra’el written by Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s own hand. Moshe destroyed the first two stone tablets because of the rebellion with the golden calf. He went up the mountain for another 40 days and nights while Adonai inscribed another set of stones with the Ten Words that were kept in the Ark of the Covenant.

“So now, Isra’el, all that Adonai your God asks from you is to fear Adonai your God, follow all his ways, love him and serve Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being; to obey, for your own good, the mitzvot and regulations of Adonai which I am giving you today”
(Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Love or ahavah – אהבה – alef, hey, bet, heh
– first strength reveals house, behold

Serve or abad – עבד – ayin, bet, dalet
– see family pathway

Heart or lev – לב – lamed, bet
– urges forward the house

“See, the sky, the heaven beyond the sky, the earth and everything on it all belong to Adonai your God. Only Adonai took enough pleasure in your ancestors to love them and choose their descendants after them — yourselves — above all peoples, as he still does today” (Deuteronomy 10:14).

Again, the witness of two for Elohim is the heaven beyond the sky, the earth and everything on it. Everything belongs to the Creator. El Shaddai took pleasure in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He chose their descendants to be His people and they remain so today.

Therefore …

“Therefore, you are to store up these words of mine in your heart and in all your being; tie them on your hand as a sign; put them at the front of a headband around your forehead; teach them carefully to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up; and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates — so that you and your children will live long on the land Adonai swore to your ancestors that he would give them for as long as there is sky above the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:18-20).

Circumcision of the Heart

“Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don’t be stiff-necked any longer!”
(Deuteronomy 10:16)

The Israelites were commanded to ‘circumcise the foreskin of their heart.’ This is an impossible task for any human being, even for the chosen people. Adonai finds fault with His people and had to ‘renew’ His covenant. The problem wasn’t with His Torah, His mitzvot and regulations, but with the hearts of human beings. There had to be a change, not the removal of His divine law, but a transformation of the heart and how it received His Torah.

“For God does find fault with the people when he says, ‘See! The days are coming,’ says Adonai, ‘when I will establish over the house of Isra’el and over the house of Y’hudah a new [a renewal of the] covenant…. For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,’ says Adonai: ‘I will put my Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts’” (Hebrews 8:8-12).

The prophet Ezekiel explains the Torah will be put in the minds and hearts of Adonai’s people through the Ruach haKodesh. The firstfruits of this promise happened at Shavuot in Jerusalem, its complete fulfillment won’t occur until Yeshua returns (Acts 2). Everyone who wants to be part of the renewed covenant must enter by faith, receive the circumcision of heart and the seal of the Ruach haKodesh. Obedience to Elohim’s instructions will then be written line by line, precept by precept on the new heart. No two people will have the same precepts written on their hearts at the same time which it why it is important to encourage and sharpen one another as ‘iron sharpens iron’ (Proverbs 27:17).

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

What is a b’rit milah? If b’rit means ‘covenant,’ what is a milah? A b’rit milah is the terminology used for ‘circumcision of the flesh,’ but it has a much deeper meaning.

The circumcision of the flesh or the cutting away of the foreskin on a male baby is considered the ‘unveiling’ of the covenant G-d made with Abraham in Genesis 17.  It was part of the firstborn redemption in Exodus 12-13 and was one of the covenants G-d gave to His people, Isra’el (Leviticus 12:3).  Circumcision of the flesh was always to be in unity with the circumcision of the heart, a symbol of faith in the flesh of all males of Isra’el.

The Torah is divided into ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’ commands.  Circumcision is one of the ‘to do’ commandments and is an act of faith and keeping covenant with G-d.  It is connected to the ‘blood covenant’ as circumcision is the act of cutting the flesh.  Symbolically, it is the same as killing an animal to prepare it for sacrifice by the priests.

Yeshua never spoke against circumcision nor did his disciples even though there are many Christian teachers who do.   Satan perverts everything G-d commanded as he’s a liar and murderer since the day of creation, as he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden with lies.  Yeshua said the same thing of him, ‘he is the father of lies’ (John 8:44).

Circumcision is done by a mohel (special man who does circumcisions).  First, he makes the area numb, not to make the baby suffer in pain, then he cuts off the foreskin with a special sterilized knife.  During the ‘cutting’  he blesses the child:

“Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melech ha’olam she’tzivnu al hamila, omein.”
‘Blessed are you, Adonai, king of the universe, who commanded the circumcision, amen.’

A b’rit milah  is a holy and a happy event in the Jewish family. Once done it means the child has entered into the covenant with YHA [yod-hey-vav-hey].  In heaven it is also a very happy event since one more neshsma (spirit/soul) entered into the covenant of Isra’el with YHA. 

The Messiah is also in the b’rit milah.  In the Hebrew language milah also means ‘Word.’   Thus, a b’rit milah can also mean ‘Covenant of the Word.’  Who is the Word in the flesh?  Yeshua! (John 1:1, John 1:14)

Christians believe by this verse that Yeshua became the Father, the Creator.  This is not the case in Hebrew understanding. ‘G-d’ in Hebrew is Elohim, and Yeshua is Elohim indeed,  but not the Creator Himself!  Moses was also Elohim to Aaron and the Israelites showing he was given authority by G-d, YHA Elohim, the only Creator, the ultimate Elohim!

When G-d created the world in speech, by the words, ‘Let there be light [or],’ Yeshua was made in the Spirit of YHA Elohim.  On the sixth day, Adam and Eve were also created in light. That was their b’rit milah by YHA Elohim.  Then they sinned and He gave them garments of ‘or’ (leather or skin) to cover their shame which also covered the cut foreskin of Adam.  Removing the foreskin brings a man back as a first step of repentance to YHA.  Of course this has to be done freely and willingly with a heart filled with spirit of true repentance.

Ultimately, a b’rit milah is a circumcision of the flesh and heart through the Word of Elohim who is Yeshua. When Moshe tells the Israelites to ‘circumcise the foreskin of their hearts,’ he is directing them back to the Garden, back to Abraham, back to their faith in the coming ‘seed of woman,’ the Word in the flesh, the blood sacrifice, Yeshua. (Sarit Nachman, Israel)

“For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awesome God, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes. He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).

Adonai secures justice for the widow and orphan, and He loves the foreigner. Foreigners to the covenant have a place in Adonai’s plan of redemption because of His promise to Abraham that He would bless all nations through his seed.

“You are to fear Adonai your God, serve him, cling to him and swear by his name. He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which you have seen with your own eyes” (Deuteronomy 10:20-21).

Adonai is to be our praise. In Hebrew the word for ‘praise’ is y’hudah or Judah. Yeshua, our salvation, is from the Tribe of Judah, the brother of the Jewish people. Many people call themselves Israelites, but according to Sha’ul, those who have circumcision of heart and whose praise comes from Adonai are the true Jew and Jewish like their Messiah.

“For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

The Early and Latter Rains

Adonai is bringing the Israelites into a good land, not like Egypt where they had to irrigate their fields. It is a land with streams and springs that come up from the valleys on the hillsides. It is a land where they will grow wheat and barley, have grapevines, fig trees and pomegranates, olive oil and honey. It is a land where the stones contain iron and they can mine copper. It is the Land that Adonai cares for and His eyes will always be on from the beginning of the year to the end. Obedience to His Torah will bring the rains in the spring and the rains in the fall and the land will soak up the water and produce fruit.

“Be glad, people of Tziyon! rejoice in Adonai your God! For he is giving you the right amount of rain in the fall, he makes the rain come down for you, the fall and spring rains — this is what he does first. Then the floors will be full of grain and the vats overflow with wine and olive oil” (Joel 2:23-24).

The early rains or the spring rains symbolize the spring mo’edim. With the first coming of Messiah Yeshua, the early rains of Pesach, Matzah, and Firstfruits were fulfilled. The Ruach haKodesh was poured out in the early rains on Jewish believers from all over the known world. As they heard the message of salvation in their own language, they returned to their homes as the first missionaries to the world of Yeshua’s life, death and resurrection. They were the firstfruits of the early rains.

“After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions; and also on male and female slaves in those days I will pour out my Spirit. I will show wonders in the sky and on earth — blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and terrible Day of Adonai. At that time, whoever calls on the name of Adonai will be saved. For in Mount Tziyon and Yerushalayim there will be those who escape, as Adonai has promised; among the survivors will be those whom Adonai has called” (Joel 3:1-5).

The latter rains symbolize the fall moed’im. They will be fulfilled when Yeshua returns as the ‘reality’ in Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. A second time Adonai will pour out His Ruach haKodesh on the land and the people of Isra’el and there will be a harvest or ‘ingathering’ of souls. They will recognize Yeshua as their Messiah and the fullness of the renewed covenant will become reality in the Millennial reign of King Yeshua.

“When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim; and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced” (Zechariah 12:9-10).

Yeshua and Mercy

“How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

“As they came up to the crowd, a man approached Yeshua, kneeled down in front of him, and said, ‘Sir, have mercy on my son, because he is an epileptic and has such terrible fits that he often falls into the fire or into the water…. Yeshua rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, so that from that moment he was healed’” (Matthew 17:14-18).

“Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You pay your tithes of mint, dill and cumin; but you have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah — justice, mercy, trust. These are the things you should have attended to — without neglecting the others!” (Matthew 23:23)

“As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demonized begged him to be allowed to go with him. But Yeshua would not permit it. Instead, he said to him, ‘Go home to your people, and tell them how much Adonai in his mercy has done for you.’  He went off and began proclaiming in the Ten Towns how much Yeshua had done for him, and everyone was amazed” (Matthew 5:18-20)

“Yeshua said: ‘A man was going down from Yerushalayim to Yericho [Jericho] when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him naked and beat him up, then went off, leaving him half dead.  By coincidence, a cohen was going down on that road; but when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levi who reached the place and saw him also passed by on the other side. But a man from Shomron [Samaria] who was traveling came upon him; and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. So he went up to him, put oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them. Then he set him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he took out two days’ wages, gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him; and if you spend more than this, I’ll pay you back when I return.’ Of these three, which one seems to you to have become the ‘neighbor’ of the man who fell among robbers?  He answered, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Yeshua said to him, ‘You go and do as he did’” (Luke 10:30-37).

“But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’  I tell you, this man went down to his home right with God rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:13-14).

©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.

Rejoicing in the Torah – Simchat Torah

“Tell the people of Israel, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to the LORD on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to the LORD; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work’” (Leviticus 23:34-36).

Simchat Torah is a joyful celebration with music, dancing, and flags which surpasses even the ‘season of our joy.’ On this day, the yearly cycle of reading the Torah concludes. The scroll is rolled from the end of Deuteronomy back to the beginning of Genesis in order to begin a new annual cycle of studying Torah.

Rejoicing in the Torah

In synagogues around the world, the Torah scroll is removed from the ark and given to a group in the congregation to hold. It is marched or danced around which is called hakafot meaning ‘spinning in circles.’ Hakafot is done multiple times as the scroll is given to different groups or individuals until everyone has taken danced with the Torah. After the Torah scroll is blessed by touching and kissing from the participants, it is returned to the ark. Everyone continues dancing in joyful praise of the Torah of God; children wave flags and hand out candy.

The Eighth Day

The number eight in the Bible symbolizes ‘new beginnings’ like the Simchat Torah celebration. Dedication ceremonies for the Temple, the anointing oil, and the Altar of Sacrifice also lasted eight days. This is why Hanukkah or the re-dedication of the Altar lasts for eight days. Jewish baby boys were, and still are, circumcised and named on the eighth day in a ceremony called a b’rit-milah.

A b’rit-milah is Hebrew terminology for ‘covenant of cutting’ or what is known as ‘circumcision.’ Circumcision was the covenant ‘sign,’ given to Abraham, a symbol of a blood covenant, with God’s promise to make him the father of many nations.

Because of Abraham’s faith, a b’rit-milah was always to be in unity with the ‘circumcision of the heart.’ When God told the Israelites to “circumcise the foreskin of your hearts” in Deuteronomy 10:16, He was directing them back to Abraham, the father of faith, to whom circumcision was given. He was also referring back even further to the Garden of Eden and the promise of the coming Seed who would become the blood sacrifice for sin.

According to the details given in the first two chapters of Luke, it can be determined that Yeshua was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. This means that on the eighth day, the Shemini Atzeret, while he was being circumcised in Bethlehem, the Jewish people were dancing and celebrating Simchat Torah in Jerusalem. As Israel and the priests rejoiced in the Torah that held all the prophecies of the coming redemption, a little baby boy, the living Torah, was being circumcised and given the name ‘salvation.’ What a b’rit-milah celebration Yeshua had with his entire family of Jewish brothers and sisters!

“On the eighth day, when it was time for his b’rit-milah, he was given the name Yeshua, which is what the angel had called him before his conception” (Luke 2:21).

In the modern Hebrew language, milah also means ‘word’ so b’rit-milah can also mean ‘the cutting of the Word‘ or ‘the covenant of the Word.‘ With a b’rit-milah every Jewish baby boy enters into a ‘covenant with the Word.’ Who is the Word? Whose blood became the ‘cutting of the covenant’? Yeshua!

Though circumcision of the flesh is commanded for Israel and is vitally important to the covenant made with Abraham, it is even more important to enter the ‘covenant of the Word’ by faith and receive a circumcised heart. Without faith it is impossible to please God; without a circumcised heart, it is impossible to obey God (Hebrews 11:6, Deuteronomy 30:6-8).-8).

Years ago I heard a Messianic rabbi explain that the circumcision of a baby boy was not for the infant as much as for the father who gives the child to be circumcised and witnesses the event. It is at the moment when his beloved son’s foreskin is ‘cut,’ that the father is ‘cut to the heart‘ and remembers the promises given to Abraham for descendants. It is this ‘sign’ of the covenant in the loins of a baby boy that is a generational reminder of the promised Seed that would redeem Israel.

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

Simchat Torah is the joyful celebration of the Torah, the written covenant God gave to Israel so they would be a light to the nations. On the eighth day while everyone in Israel was celebrating the Torah of God, Yeshua had his b’rit-milah and entered into the ‘covenant of the Word.’ The Word had become flesh and was ‘cut.’ Yeshua became the Living Torah, that would bring the ‘circumcision of the heart’ to the people of Israel and the nations. As Yeshua’s Father watched his son’s b’rit-milah,’ He remembered His covenant with Abraham and witnessed the continued fulfillment of that promise.

©2014 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 article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.