Posts Tagged ‘parashah 54’

Parashah 54: V’Zot HaBrachah

Parashah 54: Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

“This is the blessing that Moshe, the man of God, spoke over the people of Isra’el before his death …” (Deuteronomy 33:1).

This is the last parashah of the yearly Torah cycle and is always read on Simchat Torah.   The blessing of Moshe is not only for his generation, but also for all generations to come.

Adonai came from Sinai; from Seir he dawned on His people and shown forth from Mount  Maran.  With Him were myriads of holy ones at His right hand was a fiery law for them” (Deuteronomy 33:2).

The myriads of holy ones at the right hand of Yahweh are the saints of Elohim.  These are not just those who are justified by the blood of Messiah; they are those who have been sanctified or made holy through the Word of Truth (John 17:17). 

Saints or holy ones are living, not dead, contrary to some ideologies.  Sha’ul writes to the Corinthians calling them ‘saints,’ those “who have been set apart by Yeshua the Messiah and called to be God’s holy people” (1 Corinthians 1:2).  Saints will one day judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2) and receive a glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).  Saints are to love one another (Colossians 1:4) and their prayers rise to Elohim like incense (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4).  Yeshua will be glorified through the saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

At Elohim’s right hand was a ‘fiery law’ which is Torah.  Fire in Scripture symbolizes the divinity, the glory and the holiness of Yahweh.  This is illustrated in the burning bush and the pillar of fire.  Fire came down on the Temple at Solomon’s coronation and, on Shavuot tongues of fire rested on the heads of Jewish believers in Jerusalem.  Fire can also represent judgment as in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah or purification as the refiner’s fire that smelts away dross and brings out the purity of gold (Malachi 3:1-2).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fiery Law or esh-dath – אש דת – alef, shin – dalet, tav

first consuming pathway to the covenant

“Your word is refined to complete purity, and your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140).

The refined Torah perfects us and brings us into a pure and holy walk with Elohim.    Torah is the ‘double-edged sword’ that pierces our hearts, transforms us and guide us in our daily sanctifying relationship with Elohim.

There is no difference between a holy one from a Tribe of Isra’el or a saint from the nations. Torah is an inheritance for the community Isra’el as well as for all who join that community through faith in Yeshua. The blessing continues with the saints sitting at the feet of Elohim and receiving His instruction. 

“Then a king arose in Yeshurun when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Isra’el together” (Deuteronomy 33:5).

Again, Moshe uses the poetic term Yeshurun. In the Septuagint, it is translated ‘the beloved one’ and can refer to the people of Isra’el, the land of Isra’el, or Jacob who became Isra’el

There are two different possibilities for the Hebrew root of Yeshurun.  One is  yashar that means ‘to be upright’.  The other is from the word shir or ‘song’ suggesting that there will be great rejoicing when the Messiah gathers the tribes together in righteousness.

Moshe Blesses the Tribes

Y’hudah (Judah)

“Hear, Adonai, the cry of Y’hudah! Bring him in to his people, let his own hands defend him; but you, help him against his enemies. Judah cries out for Adonai. His own hands defend him against his enemies with God’s help” (Deuteronomy 33:7).

Judah has always fought to stay alive from men like Haman, nations like the Syrians and  ideologies like the Inquisitions, the Crusaders and Nazis.   As the other tribes are scattered throughout the world, Judah remained Judah, the Jews.   Though it appears they fight their enemies with their own hands, Yahweh always intervenes in order to keep His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   In the recent conflicts with Gaza and the Palestinians,  many Jewish military spoke of miraculous events that could only be attributed to HaShem.

Levi

“Let your tumim and urim be with your pious one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you struggled at M’rivah Spring. Of his father and mother he said, ‘I don’t know them’; he didn’t acknowledge his brothers or children. For he observed your word, and he kept your covenant. They will teach Ya‘akov your rulings, Isra’el your Torah. They will set incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Adonai, bless his possessions, accept the work he does; but crush his enemies hip and thigh; may those who hate him rise no more” (Deuteronomy 33:9-11).

“Bless, O Hashem, his resources, and accept the work of his hands; strike through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again” (Deuteronomy 33:11, Orthodox Jewish Bible).

The word ‘pious’ in Hebrew is chasid and means ‘godly one.’  The contemporary Orthodox movement known as ‘Hasidic’ came out of Russia in the 18th century and spread through Europe and into the western nations.  Hasidic Jews are recognized by their long beards, dark suits and payots or side curls that hang down on the sides of their faces.  Their lifestyle gives the appearance that they are deeply spiritual because they adhere to strict religious practices and keep themselves separate from the rest of the world.

The Levites are called ‘pious’ because they were willing to keep Yahweh’s covenant even when it meant killing members of their own family. Because of the faithfulness of the Levites, they would teach Torah to Isra’el and burn incense at the Altar.  Though they would have enemies, their enemies would be crushed at the ‘hip and thigh’ and rise no more. 

Yeshua also brings division into families in Isra’el.  There is a cost to following him, just as there was a cost for the Levites.  Those Jews who choose to follow him will be and are rejected by their families (Matthew 10:34-38, Luke 14:25-32).

Benyamin (Benjamin)

“Adonai’s beloved lives securely. He protects him day after day. He lives between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12).

‘Beloved’ is the endearment that describes the bride in Song of Songs, an allusion to the Bride of Messiah.  According to this blessing, the ‘beloved’ is protected day by day and lives securely in Yahweh.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Beloved or yadid – ידיד – yod, dalet, yod, dalet

the finished work of the pathway, the finished work of the pathway

Loved or ahav – אהובalef, hey, vav, bet

the first, most important strength revealed binds the house

Yosef (Joseph)

“May Adonai bless his land with the best from the sky, for the dew, and for what comes from the deep beneath, with the best of what the sun makes grow, with the best of what comes up each month, with the best from the mountains of old, with the best from the eternal hills, with the best from the earth and all that fills it, and the favor of him who lived in the [burning] bush. May blessing come on the head of Yosef, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. His firstborn bull — glory is his; his horns are those of a wild ox; With them he will gore the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth. These are the myriads of Efrayim; these are the thousands of M’nasheh” (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

Joseph is the prince among his brothers.  The multitudes in the nations that have become Ephraim and Manasseh are his glory.   He is blessed with the best of everything from the sky, the dew, the deep; the best of what the sun makes grow, the best of the mountains, the earth and the eternal hills.  He is blessed with the favor of ‘him who lived in the burning bush.’  The burning bush and what came out was holy: the memorial name of Elohim, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  Joseph has received the favor of personally knowing Yeshua through His character, His presence and His deliverance. 

Z’vulun (Zebulun)

Yissakhar (Issachar)

“Rejoice, Z’vulun, as you go forth, and you, Yissakhar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer righteous sacrifices; for they will draw from the abundance of the seas and from the hidden treasures of the sand” (Deuteronomy 33:18-19).

These two tribes are to rejoice together because they will summon people to the mountain of Elohim and offer righteous sacrifices.  They will find their abundance in the seas and hidden treasures of the sand.  Zebulun and Issachar will have a significant role in the restoration of Isra’el.  From the sea of nations, ‘grains of sand,’ the faithful descendants of Abraham will return to Mount Tzion and worship Yahweh. 

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

Gad

“Blessed is he who makes Gad so large; he lies there like a lion, tearing arm and scalp. He chose the best for himself when the princely portion was assigned. When the leaders of the people came, he carried out Adonai’s justice and his rulings concerning Isra’el” (Deuteronomy 33:21).

Gad will become a powerful nation, like a devouring lion.  When it is time for Elohim’s justice and His rulings to be carried out concerning Isra’el, Gad will fulfill the call. 

“Justice will once again become righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (Psalm 94:15).

Dan

“Dan is a lion cub leaping forth from Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22).

Bashan was where Og, the giant was king.   It is located in the Golan Heights.  Cattle and a special breed of sheep have been raised in this area since ancient times.  Wild animals often attacked the sheep which didn’t fare well for the animals.

Dan was the rear guard as the Israelites traveled through the wilderness.  As a lion cub, Dan may become the protector of the sheep.  Dan’s land inheritance and the city of Dan are near the borders of Syria and Lebanon.  It is important that Dan is a lion cub, perhaps a small military base, and protects the sheep of the House of Isra’el. 

Naftali

“You, Naftali, satisfied with favor and full of blessing from Adonai, take possession of the sea and the south” (Deuteronomy 33: 23).

Standing on the cliff of Mount Arbel, I was able to see the land inheritance of Naftali, a beautiful, lush, fertile land.   This land lies north of the Sea of Galilee and not ‘the Sea and the south.’  Perhaps as the end times unfold,  it will be the descendants of Naphtali who secure the West Bank which lies west and south of the Sea of Galilee.

Asher

“May Asher be most blessed of sons, may he be the favorite among his brothers and bathe his feet in oil. May your bolts be of iron and bronze and your strength last as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

Asher is to be the most blessed of Jacob’s sons and the favorite among the brothers.  His feet will be bathed in oil and he will have great strength. 

Being ‘bathed in oil’ is an allusion to being anointed as king, priest or prophet. Queen Esther ‘bathed in oils’ as she prepared to meet the King.  Psalm 104:15 says, “Oil makes the face glow,” however, it is Asher’s feet not his head that will be bathed.  This may symbolize his prosperity and wherever his feet are placed, there will be blessing. 

“Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3).

Jeshurun

“Yeshurun, there is no one like God, riding through the heavens to help you, riding on the clouds in his majesty. The God of old is a dwelling-place, with everlasting arms beneath. He expelled the enemy before you and he said, ‘Destroy!’”  (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)

Yeshua will return ‘riding on the clouds” so this is prophetic to the return of the majestic King Messiah.  At his return, he will destroy Isra’el’s enemies and remove them from the Land.

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; extol him who rides on the clouds by his name, Yah; and be glad in his presence” (Psalm 68:5).

Isra’el

“So Isra’el lives in security; the fountain of Ya‘akov is alone in a land of grain and new wine, where the skies drip with dew. Happy are you, Isra’el! ‘Who is like you, a people saved by Adonai, your defender helping you and your sword of triumph? Your enemies will cringe before you, but you will trample down their high places’” (Deuteronomy 33:28-29).

Fountains symbolize spiritual nourishment that comes from the Word of Elohim.  When Yeshua reveals Himself to Isra’el as the Messiah, there will be security and the land will drip with dew, grain and new wine.  Dew also symbolizes blessing and Isra’el will finally receive the fulfillment of the blessings, the covenants and the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, Phineas, and King David. 

Two tribes are not blessed by Moshe: Reuben and Simeon.

Moshe Sleeps with His Ancestors

“I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over there” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

From the top of Mount Nebo, across from the Jordan River, Moshe was shown all of the land from Gilead as far north as Dan, all of Naphtali and the Galilee, the lands of Ephraim and Manasseh, the land of Judah all the way to the Mediterranean and beyond, the Negev desert, and the Aravah including the valley of Jericho and as far away as Tzoar.

Moshe died in the land of Moab at 120 years of age with eyes undimmed and vigor undiminished.  Though he seems old, his eyesight and vigor suggest he still had many years left to live, but because of his unfaithfulness in front of the community of Isra’el, he had to die ‘young.’  He was buried in the valley of Beit-P’or, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.  All of Isra’el mourned for Moshe for 30 days.

“Since that time there has not arisen in Isra’el a prophet like Moshe, whom Adonai knew face to face.  What signs and wonders Adonai sent him to perform in the Land of Egypt upon Pharaoh, all his servants and all his land!  What might was in his hand!  What great terror he evoked before the eyes of all Isra’el!” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

Moshe was the greatest prophet who ever lived, the most humble man on earth because that is what Yahweh called him.   It was not in pride or arrogance that he led Isra’el or wrote down the words of Torah, it was in humility.

Drawn out of the reeds of the Nile River as an infant and raised in the Egyptian court, he became a simple shepherd.  He was called by Elohim from a bush that burned, holy ground under his feet, and was transformed into a man who performed signs and wonders – the evidence that Yahweh Elohim was with him.   He stood before Pharaoh and judged his nation and his gods.  He led a nation of millions out of slavery, through the Red Sea and into a covenant relationship with the “I Am.” He  talked with Yahweh panim el panim and received hand-written instructions from Yahweh, twice.  He stood in the crevice of the ‘rock’ as the glory of Elohim passed by.

He struggled with the quarreling, judgments, and rebellion of the Israelites and offered his own life in order so they would not be destroyed from the earth.  He saw manna come with the dew, water gush from the ‘rock’ and instructed Isra’el to build a Mishkan so Yahweh could dwell among His people in a cloud of glory.  He had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years with a faithless generation who whined, groaned and mixed the holy and profane until he had enough and hit the ‘rock’ and lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land.

From the mouth of Yahweh, he received the accounts of creation, the flood, the lives of the patriarchs until the day the Hebrews left Egypt.  He was given Yahweh’s instructions, the mitzvot, the regulations, and the statutes and wrote them all in a book known as Torah, a book that would sit at the right hand of the Ark of the Covenant until the Torah in the flesh would come and bring those words to life – Yeshua of Nazareth. 

Yeshua, a prophet like Moshe, but even greater because he is the visible image of the invisible Elohim also taught the Torah spoken by his Father and written down by Moshe.  Through his death and resurrection, he instituted the promised new covenant that transformed the rebellious hearts of Isra’el into hearts of flesh.   As the living Torah, the instructions of Elohim remain a righteous and holy standard for life in this present world and the coming Kingdom, only passing away when there is a new heaven, new earth  and a New Jerusalem when Yahweh Elohim dwells with man once again and for all eternity. 

Joshua

“Y’hoshua, the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of wisdom, for Moshe had laid his hands on him, and the people of Isra’el heeded him and did what Adonai had ordered Moshe” (Deuteronomy 34:9).

Yeshua and The Resurrection

“When Yeshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar,  he said, ‘Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!’ And they jeered at him. But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up” (Matthew 9:23-25).

“When he arrived at the house, he didn’t allow anyone to go in with him except Kefa, Yochanan, Ya‘akov and the child’s father and mother All the people were wailing and mourning for her; but he said, ‘Don’t weep; she hasn’t died, she’s sleeping.’ They jeered at him, since they knew she had died.  But he took her by the hand, called out, “Little girl, get up!” and her spirit returned. She stood up at once, and he directed that something be given her to eat” (Luke 8:51-55).

“Yes, indeed! I tell you that there is coming a time — in fact, it’s already here — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will come to life” (John 4:25).

“Yeshua said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’  Marta said, ‘I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.’  Yeshua said to her, “‘I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies;   and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?’  She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world….’ Yeshua looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I myself know that you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you have sent me.’  Having said this, he shouted, ‘El‘azar! Come out!’  The man who had been dead came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and his face covered with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, “Unwrap him, and let him go!” (John 11:21-27, 41-44)

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Joshua 1:1-18

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Matthew 17:1-9

Mark 9:2-10

Luke 9:28-36

Jude 3-4, 8-10

Midrash V’zot Harachah: The Sleep of Death

Discuss Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2 and the resurrection of the ‘sleeping’ from Abraham to Moshe to those who fall asleep in Messiah today.  Discuss the difference between the ‘bosom of Abraham’ in the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and ‘absent from the body and present with Yeshua.’  It is appointed for men to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  Consider the sleeping girl, Lazarus, and Eutychus who fell out the window (Acts 20:7-12). Not everyone will sleep, but everyone will be changed from mortal to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).  Consider Enoch who walked with Elohim and was no more, and Elijah who was transported out of this world by a flaming chariot (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:3-9)

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