Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings)

Exodus 21:1-24:18

“These are the rulings you are to present to them …” (Exodus 21:1).

The Ten Commandments did not complete the instructions of Adonai. He continued to reveal His Torah with His mishpatim or rulings. Mishpat  is a Hebrew noun which means ‘judgment or rights.’ Mishpat deals with the act of sitting as a judge and rendering a verdict so that judicial issues are properly executed.

These rulings give more specifics for how Adonai’s people were to judge cases involving slavery, murder, personal attacks with people or animals, stealing, witchcraft, foreigners, and other gods.  These judgments detail how we are to “love God and our neighbor as ourselves.”

Hebrew Word Pictures
Rulings (Law) or mishpatim – משפטים – mem, shin, peh, tet, yod, mem
– chaos consumed by the mouth, twisting the mighty finished work

Hebrew slaves
The Hebrew word for ‘slave’ comes from the verb avod and means ‘to work.’ The noun ‘slave’ is avodah suggesting ‘hard labor.’ When avod is used for those who work for another in Isra’el, it means ‘to serve.’   With a slight change in a vowel point, avod becomes eved and means ‘servant.’  Servanthood was considered a mark of humility.

Slavery in Isra’el was not like slavery as the world defines. In Isra’el a servant was bought for money, but was not ‘enslaved’ like the Hebrews in Egypt.

A Hebrew servant worked 6 years for his master, but in the seventh year, he was given his freedom. If he began work as a single man, he was to leave single.  If he began work as a married man, his family would leave with him.  If the slave married and had children while working the 6 years, the wife and children remained the master’s possession unless the servant desired to stay with his wife and children.  The master would then take the servant to the doorpost of his home and pierce his ear with an awl. The servant would remain a servant for the rest of his life.

A daughter sold into slavery was not allowed to be set free.  If she marries her master and he decides she no longer pleases him, her freedom may be purchased, though not by a foreigner, as she has already been defiled.  If the master has her marry his son, she is to be treated like a daughter. If the son marries another woman, the first wife is to be given food, clothing, and marital rights.  If the master fails to provide these three necessities, she is to be given her freedom.

Sometimes it was necessary to hire oneself out as a servant in order to live. Once hired, the servant became the property of the master. Though the rules for marriage and leaving behind a wife and children seem harsh, it may have been the best option for a male servant who had to return to a life of poverty.

There are examples of servanthood in Scripture. Jacob worked 7 years for Leah and seven more for Rachel.  Though he was not sold into servanthood, his father-in-law treated him as a servant for 14 years.  This is why Jacob wanted to create his own flocks and leave with his family.  If Laban had his way, Jacob would have remained serving him forever.

Another example of servanthood is Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant, who had a child with Abraham. When Abraham no longer wanted Hagar and his son in his camp, he sent them away with provisions.

“The word came to Jeremiah from Adonai after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.  So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free.  But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again” (Jeremiah 34:8-11).

Attacks and murder
No sentence of death was arbitrary. Each case was heard by a judge, with a minimum of two witnesses, before there could be a guilty verdict. It was important that the witnesses were not false nor took bribes because a sentence would be executed and a guilty verdict had serious consequences.

If one person attacks another and a death occurs, the murderer must be put to death.  If the killing was not premeditated, but accidental, then Adonai provided a place for the murderer to flee.  However, if someone kills another after deliberate planning, they are to be put to death.

This is the same command given to Noach in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds human blood by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”  There is a great controversy over capital punishment because humanity has forgotten they are made in the image of Adonai and each human life has value.

Kidnappers are to be put to death.  It doesn’t matter if the victim has been sold or is still held by the kidnapper; the kidnapper is to die. Children who attack their parents are to be put to death, and whoever curses his father or mother must also die.

If two people fight and one person is injured, being confined to bed, and then recovers and is able to walk around (even with a cane), the attacker will be free of liability. He must still compensate the victim time loss and take responsibility for his care until recovery is complete. The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is an example of this mishpat. It was not the priest or the Levite who obeyed instruction, but a Samaritan, a foreigner, who took care of the man beaten by robbers.

If two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is injured so that her unborn child dies, the man must be fined.  He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by the judge.  The amount is determined by a judge so the husband doesn’t set an amount too low –– the unborn child has great value in the eyes of Adonai. If any harm happens to the woman after the baby dies, then it is commanded life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-24). The ‘eye for eye’ judgment was restitution for an unborn baby and the woman who had lost her baby, not a command for more cruelty.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I [Yeshua] tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Yeshua does not the mishpatim; he expounds on them.  Restitution and compensation does not suddenly become obsolete because of Yeshua’s words. He includes forgiveness and mercy, the character of his Father to the rulings.   “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” was another way to express compensation for a wrong committed that needed justice, but needed to be followed by forgiveness. Yeshua teaches that there is more than just the outward expression of these mishpatim, there is a heart condition that needs to be resolved so that anger and bitterness would not grow among the people.

A master is to be punished for any slave who is beaten with a stick so that he or she dies. If the slave lives for a couple of days, the master is not punished since the slave is his property. If a master hits his slave’s eye and destroys it, he must let the slave go free in compensation for the eye.  If a tooth of a slave’s mouth is knocked out, the slave is to be set free as compensation for the tooth.

According to Adonai, human life is more valuable than an animal. If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox is to be stoned.  The owner of the ox has no further liability after the animal has been put to death. If the ox has the habit of goring people and the owner was warned, but did not confine it so that it kept killing, then the ox and the owner are to be killed.  If a ransom is offered for the owner, the death penalty will be commuted.  If the ox gores a son or daughter, the same rules are to be followed.  If the ox gores a slave, the owner is to give the master 12 ounces of silver, and the ox is to be killed.

If one person’s ox hurts someone else’s ox so that it dies, the live ox is to be sold and the revenue divided between the two owners. The dead animal is also to be divided. If the ox was known to be in the habit of goring, the owner is to pay ox for ox, and the dead animal is his responsibility.  The compensation is five times for an ox and four times for a sheep.

If an uncovered cistern or well causes the death of an animal, the owner of the well must compensate the owner of the animal, but the dead animal is his.

Selah
The word ‘gore’ means ‘blood that has been shed as a result of violence.’ If someone is gored and they don’t die, the animal is to be put to death. Change the word ‘ox’ in the rulings to a ‘dog.’

Justice
One of the Ten Commandments is to not bear false testimony against a neighbor. More specifically, do not repeat false rumors (or even true ones). This is known as lashon hara or ‘a wicked tongue.’

Do not join hands with the wicked by offering perjured testimony. Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong. Do not allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect is to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2).

Keep away from fraud, and do not cause the death of the innocent and righteous; for Adonai will not justify the wicked. You are not to receive a bribe for it blinds the sight and subverts the righteous. Do not favor a person’s lawsuit just because he is poor and do not deny anyone justice who is poor.

Restitution
A thief must make restitution.  If he has nothing, then he is to be sold to make restitution for the loss from the theft.  If what he stole is found in his possession, he is to pay double whether it is an ox, donkey, or sheep. If a thief is caught breaking into a person’s home and is beaten to death, it is not murder unless it happens after sunrise. 

If a person trusts a neighbor with personal property and it is stolen, then the thief must pay double.  If the thief is not found, then the neighbor must state before Adonai that he did not steal the property.   If there is a dispute over ownership of property, whether it’s an ox, donkey, sheep, clothing or any missing property, where one person says, “This is mine,” both parties are to come before Adonai; the one He condemns must pay the other double.

If an animal gets loose and grazes in someone else’s field, the owner is to make restitution from the best produce of his own field or vineyard.

If someone is looking after a neighbor’s property, a donkey, ox, sheep or any animal, and it dies, is injured or disappears, then the neighbor’s oath before Adonai that he has not stolen the property will settle the matter. The owner is to accept the oath without any restitution.  However, if the property was stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner.   If there is evidence the animal was torn to pieces, then no restitution is required.

If someone borrows an animal from their neighbor and it gets injured or dies with the owner not present, he must make restitution.  If the owner was present, he does not need to make restitution.  If the owner hired it out, the loss is covered by the hiring fee.

If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey straying, you must return it to him.  If you see an animal that belongs to someone who hates you lying down helpless under its load, do not pass him by, but help him free it.

Our family has had some of these issues with our neighbor’s cows. They break our fences, graze in our front yard leaving huge divots, and break sprinkler heads because of their weight. Though we have tried to work peacefully with our neighbor, he has no desire to fix our damaged property. Though the district justice says we can file a small claim in court and receive restitution, we know our neighbor will never comply. Over the years, we have let him know when his cows were on the road or on the railroad tracks. He is always grateful, but never willing to pay restitution for damages done on our property.

If a fire is started and spreads to thorns so that stacked grain, standing grain or a field is destroyed, the person who started the fire must make restitution.  This is the reason for an investigation into the cause of a wildfire. The person who starts it must make restitution for damage and loss of property.

Loans
Adonai’s people are not to charge interest when a poor person borrows money.  If a neighbor’s coat is taken as a down payment (collateral), it is to be returned to him at sundown because it is his only garment.

Immoral Behavior
A virgin, not engaged to be married, who is seduced by a man must pay a bride price and take the girl as his wife.  If her father refuses the man, he must pay a sum equivalent to the bride price for virgins.

Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. This is known as beastiality and is becoming more common in our world. In Europe, there are beast sex parlors. Not only is this unhealthy for humans, it is cruel to the animals.

Sorcery uses the occult practices to control forces in the spiritual realm. Adonai commands that witches along with sorceresses be put to death.

Food
Because the Israelites are to be Adonai’s treasured possession, they are not to eat meat torn by wild animals in the countryside. It is only good for feeding dogs.

“Do not boil a young animal in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19).

This command has been used to develop kashrut and the man-made kosher regulation that milk and meat are not to be eaten together. Abraham served meat with curds to the three angels, one of them being Adonai, proving this is not the foundation for the command.

Maimonides suggested that this type of ‘cooking’ was used in pagan worship. Archaeological findings in 1929 supported his theory. “In the Canaanite ritual, the milk in which the kid was cooked symbolized the milk that newly born gods were given when suckled by the pagan goddesses Athirst and Rahmay. The cooking of a goat in milk was forbidden in the Bible because it symbolizes the suckling [by the pagan goddesses} of the newborn gods!”

Sabbath
Six days were for work, but the seventh day was for rest so that animals, servants, and the visiting foreigner might be refreshed. The Sabbath was not only for the Israelites to rest, but also for the guests in their home. Even animals were to be given a day of rest; they did not work on the Sabbath.

Six years seeds were to be sown, but the seventh year, the land was to rest and lie fallow. The same was to be done with the olive grove and vineyards. Plant and harvest for six years, but give trees and vineyards rest in the seventh year. This is called sh’mittah or the Sabbath year. This command was given so the land could be refreshed. The poor were given the corners of the fields and the gleanings of the fields for six years; on the seventh year, they could harvest whatever continued to grow.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Shemita (Release) – שמיטה – shin, mem, yod, tet, hey
– consume chaos finished work twisting revealed

Other gods
Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than Adonai was to be completely destroyed.  The Israelites were not to invoke the names of other gods or even speak their names. This is the epitome of idolatry –– sacrificing to other gods. The Israelites were not to worship the gods of the Emorites, Hittites, Perrizites, Canaanites, Hivites or Jebusites nor follow their practices.  They were to demolish all idols and standing stones. They were not to make covenants with their enemies or their gods so that Isra’el would remain faithful to Adonai.


Because Isra’el had been foreigners in Egypt, they were not to oppress a foreigner; they understood how it felt to be oppressed (Exodus 23:9). Widows and orphans (the fatherless) held a special place in Adonai’s heart. If they were abused and He heard their cry, His anger would burn against the Israelites, and He would kill them with the sword making their own wives widows and their children fatherless.

Pilgrimages to Jerusalem

There were three ‘appointed times’ when the men of Isra’el were to appear before Adonai: Pesach in first month of the year followed by Shavuot 50 days later. The third gathering was to be at Sukkot in the seventh month.

During the festival of Matzah, unleavened bread was to be eaten for seven days. On Shavuot, the firstfruits of barley were to be brought to the House of Adonai. At the end of the year, at the ingathering, the final harvest was to be presented to Adonai.

The Messenger of Adonai

Adonai sent an angel to guard His people and to bring them to the place He had prepared.  They were to listen to what the angel said and not rebel against him. He would not forgive any wrongdoings since Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s name resides in him. If they listen to what the angel says and do everything he tells them, then Adonai will be an enemy to their enemies.

The Hebrew word for ‘angel’ is malak and means ‘messenger.’ This is the same ‘angel’ who acted as the Destroyer in Egypt. This is the same ‘angel’ that moved from the front of the children of Isra’el to their rear in order to protect them from the Egyptian army. This ‘angel’ is not a separate entity from Adonai, but does His will, in this case, teaching His commands to the Israelites in the wilderness. This ‘angel’ also has the authority to forgive. According to Malachi 3:1, this ‘angel’ is the ‘“messenger of the covenant.” The Israelites must listen to what the ‘angel’ says and do everything he says because he has the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh making the angel Adonai.

Yeshua is the Word that was with Elohim in the beginning at creation, and he is Elohim (John 1:1-2). He is the voice of Elohim and teacher of Torah to the Israelites. He has the authority to forgive sins and do the works of Elohim (Matthew 9:5-6, John 10:25,30). The ‘angel’ they see and the words they hear are the essence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in Yeshua.

Deliverance to Holiness

There are blessings for obeying the mishpatim and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28).  Until Adonai gave Isra’el His commandments and rulings, they had only taken the first step in the salvation process –– justification. They had put their faith in the blood of the lamb. They had been delivered from the idols of Egypt. They were immersed as they walked on dry land through the Red Sea.

Isra’el did nothing of themselves to be redeemed from Egypt nor did they earn it by being good people. Grace and mercy is the character of Adonai in the old testament as well as the new. Faith in the blood the lamb, victory over death, forgiveness of sins, and immersion in water are found in both testaments.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Grace (Kindness and Favor) or chen – חן – chet, nun
– protects life

Mercy (Compassion) or rachum – רחום – resh, chet, vav, mem
– highest authority protects and binds chaos

Sanctify (Consecrated, Holy) or kadosh – קדש – kof, dalet, shin
– what is behind the consuming pathway

Faith (Agreement) or emunah – אמונח – alef, mem, vav, nun, hey
– first strength binds chaos and protects life

‘Holiness’ or becoming set-apart to Elohim is the second step of the salvation process –– sanctification. The Israelites were led to Mount Sinai to meet with Adonai. They washed their clothes and prepared themselves to stand in His presence. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the children of Isra’el, along with the Egyptians who exited Egypt with them, were united and transformed into the nation of Isra’el through the instructions of Adonai .

With their obedience to Adonai’s Torah, they would be different from every other nation. They were to keep His Sabbath, His ‘appointed times,’ and follow His dietary regulations. They were to treat their personal property, slaves and animals with dignity. If they served other gods and assimilated into the cultures around them, they would no longer be recognized as His chosen people and would lose His blessing. If they obeyed Torah, Adonai would bless their food and water.  If they listened to His instructions, He would take away their sicknesses.

Yeshua turned water into wine and multiplied fives loaves and two fish in order to feed a multitude. Yeshua healed those who were sick, lame, and leprous. What if Yeshua had rebelled against his Father’s commands? Would the water have changed into wine? Would the loaves and fishes have been multiplied to feed 5000? Yeshua says that if we trust in him, we will not only do the works he did, but even greater ones. Are we doing the same miraculous things, or because we have been taught to disobey Adonai’s mitzvot are we impotent?

The blessing for Israelite women who obey Adonai’s instructions is birthing children. They will not miscarry or be barren. For the promise of descendants to Abraham to be fulfilled, women have to have babies. Through Adonai’s mercy, not all babies born in Egypt were murdered and lived to form a huge nation. Women are still women regardless of nationality and the regulations for niddah and childbirth still have value.

The promise for Israelite children who honor their parents is long life. Long life meant eternal in the Garden of Eden. After sin entered the world, the human life span was reduced to less than 1000 years.   After Noach, the life span was reduced even more. Psalm 90 says a man’s days are 70 to 80 years.  To enjoy the fullness of those years, children must honor their parents; the children of Adonai must obey their His Torah in order to receive long life.

“And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure. Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him. Children, don’t let anyone deceive you — it is the person that keeps on doing what is right who is righteous, just as God is righteous. The person who keeps on sinning is from the Adversary, because from the very beginning the Adversary has kept on sinning. It was for this very reason that the Son of God appeared, to destroy these doings of the Adversary. No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father. Here is how one can distinguish clearly between God’s children and those of the Adversary: everyone who does not continue doing what is right is not from God” (1 John 3:3-10).

Hornets

“I will send terror of me ahead of you, throwing into confusion all the people to whom you come; and I will make all your enemies turn their backs on you. I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites” (Exodus 23:27-28).

‘Hornet’ in Hebrew is tzirah and means ‘stinging.’  The Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites will be driven out from the Promised Land by a stinging bug creating ‘terror.’ This ‘terror’ will throw the nations into confusion. In Isra’el, there are four species of hornets bearing a resemblance to the common wasp, but larger in size.  It is an extremely fierce and ravenous insect especially in a hot climate.  Its sting is dangerous and they attack human beings in a very furious manner. A swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness and has even caused the death of the animals.

Spelled almost like hornet is tzarat meaning ‘to smite.‘   The town of Zorah in Joshua 19:41 may mean ‘town of hornets.’  In Isaiah 7:18, the fly and the bee are symbolic to the armies of Egypt and Assyria.  It could be interpreted that the hornet is symbolic of Adonai fighting for Isra’el as He did when He caused confusion within the Egyptian army (Exodus 24:14).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Hornet (Stinging) or tzirah – צרעה – tzade, resh, ayin, hey
– pull toward to the highest authority, understand and behold

National Boundaries
The nations will be driven out of the Promised Land by Adonai through terror. He will do it slowly so the land won’t become desolate or abundant with wild animals. He will drive out the nations until the Isra’el is large enough to take possession of the Land. The boundaries of the Land of Promise are much larger than the modern state of Isra’el. The true boundaries stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to the desert all the way to the Euphrates River. As the Israelites enter the Promised Land, they are to displace the nations so as not to sin against Adonai by worshiping their gods or making a covenant with them.

The Book of the Covenant

Moshe wrote down all the words of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  He built and altar at the base of the mountain and set up 12 large stones to represent the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.  Young men collected burnt offerings and peace offerings from the people. Moshe took half the blood and put it in basins; the other half he splashed against the altar. He took the book of the covenant and read it aloud so that all the people could hear. But, before they even heard the words of the covenant, the Israelites responded, “Everything that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey” (Exodus 24:7).

 “Moshe took the blood of the animals, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Adonai has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:8).

This is the third covenant Elohim makes. The first covenant was with Noach, the second with Abraham, the third is with the nation of Isra’el. It includes Adonai’s instructions and was instituted with the sprinkling of blood –– “the blood of the covenant.” For the nation of Isra’el, this is their covenant because they had never been in a covenant relationship with Adonai before. The covenant with Isra’el doesn’t negate the first two covenants, but builds on them.

Moshe, Aaron, Nadav, Avihu and Isra’el’s leaders go up on the mountain to meet with the Elohim of Isra’el. Like the 70 palm trees at Elim, there are 70 men who meet with Elohim. Seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter ayin meaning ‘to see.’ On the mountain, the 70 leaders are given a glimpse of the heavenly realm where Adonai sits on His Throne. While Moshe approaches the presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the others prostrate themselves at a distance.

Under Adonai’s feet is a pavement like sapphire, clear as the sky.  The Hebrew word lebenah means ‘bricks’ or ‘pavement’ and only occurs this one time in Scripture. ‘Sapphire’ is Greek for lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone known for its intense color.  The prophet Ezekiel describes the Throne of Adonai as being lapis lazuli (Ezekiel 1:26-28). One of the fringes of the tzizit is blue like the sea and the sky representing the ‘pavement’ and the Throne of Adonai (Numbers 15:38). Adonai does not reach out His hand against these men, instead they ‘see’ Him while they eat and drink, symbolizing a fellowship meal between the priestly leaders and Elohim.

The glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh hovered over Mount Sinai in a cloud for six days. To the Israelites, it looked like a raging fire on the top of the mountain.  On the seventh day Adonai called to Moshe from the cloud and he left his brother and the 70 leaders and entered the cloud where he remained 40 days and nights.  With the glory appearing like a raging fire on the top of the mountain, the Israelites feared that Moshe had been consumed by it. When Moshe did not return from the cloud, Aaron and the 70 men left the mountain for the camp. After Moshe had been gone for 40 days and 40 nights, the Israelites were sure he had died.

During his time in the cloud, Adonai gave Moshe the stone tablets on which He wrote Torah. He gave Moshe all of His commandments so he could teach the Israelites how worship Him and live holy lives honor Him.

Yeshua and the Mitzvot

Yeshua spent 40 days and 40 nights on a wilderness mountain. During his time of testing, he quoted from Torah to silence the Adversary. He tempted Yeshua to worship him, create bread for his hunger, and test the angels of his Father. Yeshua understood “man doesn’t live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of his Father” (Matthew 4:1-11).

“One of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh’eilah to trap him: ‘Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?’ He told him, ‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot” (Matthew 22:34-40).

Sh’eilah is the Hebrew word for ‘question.’ When used in this context, it means asking questions about Torah and halacha, expecting someone with authority to answer. Halacha means ‘to go’ and was the legally accepted way to live out a Torah command.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on [the Rock]. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on [the Rock]. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand” Matthew 7:24-26).

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Messiah [Yeshua] does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

©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, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

History of Israel and Palestine

The information below is taken from multiple internet sites so the information is easily accessed for those who want to know.

It always confounds me that people continue to believe the political rhetoric bouncing around the international community with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Some years ago I was invited by an Arab Israeli woman to speak at a presentation about the history of Israel and the Arab people because she said that I understood more than most the situation in the Middle East. I won’t say that I do because I have very limited understanding of the big picture, but I know enough history and much of it has been covered up by lies perpetuated by the Arab world, especially the so-called Palestinians and their Hamas leaders.

This particular young Arab woman and another one from Jordan explained to me their own family history. Both had grandparents living in Palestine in 1948. Both had a choice to make. One grandfather chose to stay in Israel, become a citizen and continue to raise his family. Today he has a son who manages a bank and granddaughters who work along side Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv as a doctor, lawyer and engineer.

The other grandfather who made his home in Gaza chose to leave Palestine and make his home in Jordan. Because Jordan doesn’t recognize Israel as a legal state, this young woman has relatives that she has never met living in Gaza. She is quite happy being Jordanian and believes her grandfather made the right decision in spite of the separation of family members.

What is Palestine?

Palestine is the name given to the Promised Land of Israel over 2000 years ago during its Roman occupation in order to infuriate the Jewish people.  It has never been the name of a legitimate nation or state, but a geographical term used to describe the region at certain times in history when there was no nation or established state.   Palestine comes from Peleshet meaning ‘rolling’ and is translated Philistine in the Bible.   Peleshet was first used to describe the people who migrated from the area around the Agean Sea and the Greek Islands.  These people created five city-states, one of which is Gaza.  

Modern Zionist Movement

Theodore Hertzl, born May 2, 1860, is considered the father of the Zionist movement promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine.  As a German journalist for a French newspaper, he covered the Dreyfus affair in which a Jewish French Army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany.  It was a profound antisemitic incident that divided France for many years.  While in Paris he witnessed crowds chanting “Death to the Jews!” that changed him from a German supporter to one who began challenging wealthy German to Jews to leave Germany and return to Palestine to establish a Jewish state.  He feared that as quickly as France turned on the Jewish people, Germany would too.  Hertzl died in 1904 before he could witness the events that would directly lead to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Balfour Declaration

On November 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration.  This public statement supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This was the first time in modern history that a major government supported a ‘national home’ for the Jewish people.  The wording in the document had no precedent in international law and was intentionally vague with regard to an actual Jewish state.  There were no specific boundaries given though the British government explained the wording did not mean a Jewish home would cover all of Palestine.  The British also wanted to protect the civil and religious rights of the Palestinian Arabs as well as those in the growing Jewish communities.  No one wanted antisemitism to increase or label the Jews as ‘strangers in their native land.’  In essence this was the beginning of the two-state solution that is always being discussed by the international community today.

In 1922 the League of Nations confirmed the Balfour Declaration and it became known as the British Mandate or British Rule.  The boundaries of Palestine included Trans-Jordan which was eventually removed by Winston Churchill.  Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine trying to escape the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution as 100,000 Jews were killed during this time.  

Pioneers in Palestine

Early Jewish immigrants to Palestine were pioneers in the land and began establishing self-sustaining economies.  The Jezreel Valley was drained and converted to agricultural land.  The Jewish National Fund, a charity that collected money worldwide,  purchased more land for growing the ‘national homeland.’ An underground Jewish militia was created to defend outlying Jewish settlements.  During the mid-1920s, more Jewish people arrived in Palestine.  They set up businesses and created the Jewish National Council which oversaw education, health and security.   The Hebrew University was established in Tel Aviv and Technion in Haifa.  While Jewish immigration increased; the Arabs began rioting. 

Who Owns the Land?

In 1929, animosity between Muslims and Jews intensified over the Western Wall (Wailing Wall, Kotel).  Jews were banned from using any furniture such as chairs for the elderly as the religious Muslims claimed the area was their property and that the Jews were seeking control of the Temple Mount.  More riots ensued in the area and eventually the ancient Jewish community in Hebron came to an end.

The Bible first mentions Hebron with the Cave of Machpelah or the Cave of the Patriarchs.  About 4000 years ago Abraham purchased this cave in which are buried Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.  Today it is enclosed by a mosque proving who actually owns the land as Islam did not exist until 600 A.D.   King David ruled Israel from Hebron about 1000 B.C. for seven years before moving the capital to Jerusalem.

Growing the National Homeland

Between the two world wars, using the terms of the Mandate, the British rejected all majority rule or any other measures that would give the Arab population control over Palestinian territory.  In this way they continued to support a growing Jewish ‘national homeland’ along with an Arab presence.   

Before World War II, Jewish immigration increased with an agreement between the Nazis and the Jewish Agency Ha’avara.  Jewish possessions were confiscated in order to purchase 14 million pounds worth of German goods for export to compensate the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine.  Although many Jews wanted to leave Nazi Germany, the Nazis prevented them from retaining any money keeping them from paying the British government the necessary immigration fees.  Still, Jewish immigration continued and the purchased goods helped the economy to flourish. The British used the taxes paid by the Jewish population to build a port and oil refineries at Haifa and the industrial age began in Palestine.

In the 1930s, 250,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.  Most were German doctors, lawyers and professors.  With the rise of the Nazis and antisemitism, more and more Jews tried to leave Europe, but every country in the world closed their borders to Jewish immigration, including Britain closing Palestine to any further Jewish immigration. 

The White Paper

The “White Paper of 1939” written by Nevill Chamberlain in response to the Arab Revolt (1936-39)  called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state with both Jews and Arabs jointly governing the area.  It effectively rejected the idea of partitioning Palestine.   It also claimed that with 450,000 Jewish people having settled in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration of a ‘national homeland’ had been met.  The document limited Jewish immigration and restricted Jewish rights to purchase land from Arabs.  Both the Arab and Jewish leaders rejected this proposal. 

Civil War in Palestine

On April 2, 1947, Great Britain sent the issue of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.  In July 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine met with Jewish and Zionist leaders.  The Arabs boycotted the meetings.

The report from the meeting proposed “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” to be governed by the international community.  On November 29, 1947, this resolution was adopted by the United Nations and Jewish immigration began again.

The UN General Assembly’s vote created a rift between the Jewish community and the Arabs in Palestine.  Civil war broke out and the Arab nations created the Arab Liberation Army and Egypt joined in this ‘holy war.’ They blockaded all of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem.  Though the Jewish paramilitary (Haganah) had about 100 armored vehicles to try to supply the city, they were destroyed along with hundreds of military men.

The Arabs who lived in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem or other Jewish-dominated areas evacuated east to other Arab areas.   Because the United States withdrew their support for the partition plan, the Arab League believed they could put an end to the plan.  The British decided, however, on February 7, 1948, to support the annexation of Arab Palestine.  The British Mandate would end in May 1948.

The State of Israel is Born

David Ben-Gurion reorganized the Haganah.  Every Jewish man and woman had to receive military training.  Golda Meir raised money from Jews in the United States and through Stalin’s support, they were able to purchase military weapons in Eastern Europe.  Ben-Gurion created an offensive plan, rather than defensive, to establish Jewish land continuity by conquering mixed areas. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, Jaffa and Acre fell, resulting in more than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs leaving the area. This refugee situation caused the larger Arab states to intervene.

On May 14, 1948, the British forces left Palestine ending the Mandate.  The Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel.  Immediately, the United States and Russia recognized the new state.  The Arab League of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and began the first Arab-Israeli war.  

The First Arab-Israeli War

The Arabs used the British military equipment left behind and went on the offensive.  Because Israel had not been a state before May 15, they could not buy heavy arms.  The UN declared an arms embargo, but Czechoslovakia violated it and supplied the new Jewish state with heavy military equipment and planes.  The Haganah became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  

Jewish immigrants, many of them WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors, began arriving in Israel.  They joined the IDF.  After an initial loss of land and its occupation by the Arabs,  the Israelis eventually took back that land along with some of the land that had been included in the proposed Arab state.  At the end of November 1948,  local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On December 1, 1948,  King Abdullah announced the union of Jordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan River; only Britain recognized the annexation.

Israel signed a truce, no actual peace treaty, with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.  Israel’s new borders  (The Green Line) were established even though the borders were not recognized by the Arabs as legal international borders.  Israel had taken control of the Galilee, Jezreel Valley, West Jerusalem, the coastal plain and the Negev.  The Syrians still controlled a strip of land along the Sea of Galilee originally given to Israel.  The Lebanese occupied a small area on the border between Israel and Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea and the Egyptians kept the Gaza strip as an occupied zone.  Jordan remained in the West Bank where it was originally given land.    

On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.  Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, only 6,000 men and women were killed in the War of Independence.  According to the UN, 726,000 Palestinians fled or were evicted by Israel.  Those who remained had the option of leaving or becoming Israeli citizens.  

Jerusalem of the Jews

On May 15, 1967, Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold” began to dominate the Israeli airwaves.  Two days later Syria, Egypt and Jordan and eventually Iraq gathered their troops along the Israeli borders.  On May 26, 1967, Egyptian President, Abdel Nasser, declared that the “basic objective of the battle will be to destroy Israel.”  

On June 5, 1967, the morning before the new Israeli defense minister was sworn in, the Israeli air force launched pre-emptive attacks destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces.  They also defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.  By June 11, the Arab armies were defeated and a cease-fire was called for by the UN.  This became known as the Six-day War, once again started by Arab nations losing more land.

Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.  The Sinai oil fields made Israel self-sufficient in energy.  East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel.  Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship.  For the first time since the end of the British Mandate, Jews were free to visit the Old City of Jerusalem. For the first time in centuries, they were allowed to pray at the Western Wall.  In Hebron, Jews regained access to the Cave of the Patriarchs for the first time since the 1300s.  Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem also became accessible.

Land for Peace

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted the ‘land for peace’ concept which called for “just and lasting peace” based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for the end of all states of belligerency, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries.  The resolution was accepted by both sides, but with different interpretations.  This has been the basis of all subsequent peace negotiations.  

“Land for Peace” is based on Israel Giving Up Land for ‘peace from their neighbors.’  This concept implies that Israeli withdrawal is linked to its neighbors’ willingness to formally make peace.  This never actually takes place because even though Israel gives up land, its neighbors still do not recognize their sovereignty as a nation. 

On June 19, 1967, Israel offered to give up the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan in exchange for peace.  Their offer was rejected by the Arab States: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

Yom Kippur War

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what is known as the Yom Kippur War.  They wanted to regain the land they lost in the war of 1967: Egypt wanted the Sinai and Syria wanted the Golan Heights even though they were offered the return of these lands for peace.  Because the war was started on a high holy day, Israel’s losses were great, however, in less than 24 hours, they mobilized two armored divisions which soon had the Syrians retreating. The Israelis captured territory deep inside Syria almost to Damascus.  Ten days after the start of the war, Israeli forces penetrated Egyptian defense lines and came close to Cairo. Eventually through diplomatic talks, Egypt and Syria regained a portion of their territory and UN buffer zones were established between them and Israel.  Israel withdrew from the Sinai as part of the peace agreement facilitated by the United States and retained control over two-thirds of the Golan Heights.  In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Testing Land for Peace

In 2005, the forced eviction by Israel of its settlers and military forces from the Gaza Strip was a ‘test case’ of ‘land for peace’ with the Palestinians.  Seventeen Israeli settlements  known as Gush Katif with 8,600 residents were forcibly removed from their homes on August 15, 2005.  On September 12, 2005, the Israeli Army withdrew from each settlement up to the original Green Line.  All schools, libraries, community centers, office buildings factories, and greenhouses which could not be taken apart were left.  Synagogues were burned by the Palestinians, “The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy… It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed.”

Later, it was reported that the evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip were transformed into military bases used by Palestinians to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state.  The ‘test case’ for ‘land for peace’ didn’t work.

After the withdrawal from Gush Kativ, the Palestinian Authority took control of Gaza.  On January 25, 2006, Hamas won the elections in Gaza and the West Bank.  Rockets launched against Israeli targets continued from the beginning of the expulsion and have increased since that time.  The area is now being used to smuggle weapons into Gaza through tunnels that are also used to kidnap Israeli soldiers.  

Jerusalem and the Golan

After nearly three thousand years, on December 6, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On March 28, 2019, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Even though Israeli control over the area has not been challenged, this policy will not change 50 years of international views of the Golan Heights as being occupied territory.

What is important to remember is that Israelis and Arabs do live side-by-side peacefully in Israel. It is the media and the international community that would like the world to believe otherwise. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by the terrorist group Hamas and their ultimate goal, along with most of the surrounding nations is not peace with Israel, but a complete destruction of the country and its people.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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Jerusalem and Modern-Day King Cyrus

From the days of Abraham,  Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) has been the center of the known world.  Meleki-Tzedek, the righteous king who has no beginning or end, ruled from this city called Shalem meaning ‘complete, safe, and peace’ (Genesis 14:18).  Throughout Biblical history, proven through archaeological digs, Yerushalayim has always been the center of Isra’el, the capital where the God of Israel dwells, the ehyeh asher ehyeh. 

“In the courtyards of Adonai’s house, there in your very heart, Yerushalayim. Halleluyah!” (Psalm 116:19).

“Blessed be Adonai out of Tziyon, he who dwells in Yerushalayim! Halleluyah!” (Psalm 135:21).

King Solomon built the first Temple in Yerushalayim.  It was destroyed by the Babylonians.  A second Temple was built in Yerushalayim at the command of the prophet Ezra. This is the one that the Syrians desecrated.  They knew and understood the significance of Yerushalayim and how the Temple was central to the Jewish faith.  It was for this reason the Syrians forced the Jews to offer sacrifices elsewhere; then desecrated the Altar.  Their purpose was to destroy the Jewish faith and assimilate the Jewish people into their idolatrous worship.

Yerushalayim is found 773 times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, but only 9 times in the Koran.  This is a huge discrepancy between two major world religions, but one that the world refuses to acknowledge.  They would rather the two ideologies assimilate, or better yet, the one with the proven history in Jerusalem disappear from the earth altogether.

“They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!” (Psalm 83:4).

The Adversary knows that if he can remove Isra’el as a nation and Yerushalayim as its capital, then he proves to the world there  is no God of Isra’el.   If he can destroy the Jewish people along with their faith, then he proves to the world, there is no God, Creator of the Universe, at all.  Without the Jewish people, he knows there will be no one to welcome the Messiah back into the holy city; Yeshua will not return to set up his Kingdom.  Satan’s plan, however, has a flaw.

“This is what Adonai says, who gives the sun as light for the day, who ordained the laws for the moon and stars to provide light for the night, who stirs up the sea until its waves roar — Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name: “If these laws leave my presence,” says Adonai, “then the offspring of Isra’el will stop being a nation in my presence forever” (Jeremiah 31:35). 

Unfortunately for haSatan, who is ultimately the spiritual force behind the chaos and destruction evidenced worldwide, he will not only lose this battle, he will lose the war.  Though he will continue to use the nations to fight against Yerushalayim and Isra’el as the ‘father of lies’ and deceptions, his destiny has already been determined (Revelation 20:10). 

“Why are the nations in an uproar, the peoples grumbling in vain? The earth’s kings are taking positions, leaders conspiring together, against Adonai and his anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2).

“A prophecy, the word of Adonai concerning Isra’el — here is the message from Adonai, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit inside human beings: “I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples.  Even Judah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim. When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves,  and all the earth’s nations will be massed against her” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

King Cyrus of Persia was used by God to deliver the Jewish people from their Babylonian captivity.  They returned to Yerushalayim and rebuilt their city and the second Temple.   With the help of a modern-day King Cyrus, Yerushalayim is acknowledged to be, by the largest nation in the world, the eternal capital of Isra’el.  This modern-day King Cyrus has also called for the rebuilding of the Temple.  When that happens, the greatest exodus of Jewish people from the nations will follow (Jeremiah 16:14) along with a great apostasy and a false messiah in sitting in the Temple (2 Thessalonians 2).

As the return of Messiah Yeshua comes closer with each day, the shaking of the nations will escalate, but also will the promises of God to His people.  As the nations of the world continue to stand against Isra’el and fight over Yerushalayim, more and more Jewish people will accept Yeshua as the Messiah.  They are being prepared to cry out: “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” and welcome Yeshua back to Yerushalayim after nearly 2000 years (Matthew 23:37-40).

“Adonai is rebuilding Yerushalayim, gathering the dispersed of Isra’el” (Psalm 147:2).

Soon, Yerushalayim will no longer be a city of assimilation and false gods, Greek, Roman, Baha’i, Muslim, and multiple other religions.  It will be restored to its former glory and rededicated to the glory of Yahweh.  All the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to worship the God of Isra’el on the ‘appointed times,’ the Biblical festival days.   With Messiah reigning from Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple, Yerushalayim will finally become the city of our Great King, King Yeshua.

“Look at Tziyon, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Yerushalayim a secure abode, a tent that will not be removed, whose pegs will never be pulled out and whose guy-ropes will not be cut. But there in his splendor Adonai will be with us…” (Isaiah 33:20-21).

“Many peoples will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya‘akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Isaiah 2:3).

Psalm 48

Great is Yahweh  and greatly to be praised,

in the city of our God, his holy mountain,

beautiful in its elevation, the joy of all the earth,

Mount Tziyon, in the far north, the city of the great king.

In its citadels God has been revealed as a strong defense.

For the kings met by agreement; together they advanced.

They saw and were filled with consternation;

terrified, they took to flight.

Trembling took hold of them,

pains like those of a woman in labor,

as when the wind out of the east wrecks the “Tarshish” ships.

We heard it, and now we see for ourselves

in the city of Yahweh-Tzva’ot, in the city of our God.

May God establish it forever. (Selah)

God, within your temple we meditate on your grace.

God, your praise, like your name, extends to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with righteousness.

Let Mount Tziyon rejoice, let the daughters of Y’hudah be glad,

because of your judgment [on the enemy].

Walk through Tziyon, go all around it;

count how many towers it has.

Note its ramparts, pass through its citadels,

so that you can tell generations to come

that such is God, our God forever; he will guide us eternally.”

©2017 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Jerusalem of Gold (Video)

Using the beautiful song, Jerusalem of Gold written by Naomi Shemer and sung by Jonathan Settel, we share some video highlights of our family’s time in Jerusalem 2014.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.