Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.
The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.
* Verse numbers in parenthesis refer to the verse number in Christian English Bibles when they differ from Hebrew Bibles or the Tanakh.
** A different Haftarah is read when it is a special sabbath in Jewish tradition. This week it is Parashat Pinchas occurring after a minor fast on the traditional calendar, so Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3 is read. Otherwise, 1 Kings 18:46 – 19:21 would be read.
Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 7/5 through 7/11/2020.
1 Corinthians 15:14,If Messiah is not risen.Yeshua the Messiah is at the center of the redeemed believer’s life and belief system. Prior to his incarnation, the entire Tanakh pointed to him; the Gospels are about his life; the rest of the New Testament (appropriately called the Testimony of Yeshua by John the apostle in the Book of Revelation) reveal him in his fullness. Since then, we all look back to him as the focal point of all history before and after him. Next to the humanly incomprehensible miracle of his incarnation, what rises in preeminence about him is his resurrection. This fact is perhaps the most unique aspect of Yeshua’s life that sets him apart from all the other religious figures that have come and gone over the course of human history. As Paul states in this verse, if Messiah didn’t rise, then the preaching of the gospel is a pointless dead end philosophy—the redeemed believers faith is meaningless.
Why is the resurrection so vital to our faith? Besides the fact that the resurrection of Yeshua is unique in the religions of men, it proves that Yeshua knew what he was talking about when he spoke about life, death, eternal life. His life, death and resurrection makes him an expert on life, death and the afterlife. He has lived on both sides of reality. He went into the realm of death, defeated it, and then came back from the dead to show man how to procure immortality by defeating death. Unlike reincarnation, Yeshua came back as himself and testified to what he had experienced. No other religious leader offers this to his disciples.
What’s more, Yeshua’s resurrection defeated death, which is man’s ultimate enemy. The followers of Yeshua no longer need to fear death, which is the mother of all human fears. This reality is the believer’s ultimate source of hope and joy as Paul so superlatively writes later in verses 54 through 57 of this chapter.
1 Corinthians 15:29, Baptized for the dead. For certain, Paul is not talking about proxy baptism for dead people in hopes of saving them spiritually as one modern church incorrectly teaches. If so, this would fly in the face of everything else he taught about the purpose and significance of the baptism ritual. If the dead know nothing, as the Scriptures teach (Eccl 9:5), then how can a dead person consciously identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua, which is the purpose of baptism?
Verse 29 is an awkward verse, to be sure. When we have such an enigmatic verse, it’s illogical to pull it out of context and make a doctrine out of it as the Mormon church does in baptizing living people for dead people. Instead, we must interpret this verse in the light of and against the contextual backdrop of other clear passages that relate to the same subject. In the context of 1 Cor 15, Paul is talking about a believer’s hope through Messiah, and how those who don’t have faith in Yeshua have no hope of eternal life. If we die with a faith in Yeshua, we have the hope of being resurrected from the dead as he was. If we die without that hope, then all we have is this physical life and then we die and that’s it. In verse 19 (in the context of the previous verses), Paul mentions the hope that we have in Messiah because of his bodily resurrection. So now when we come to verse 29 and we read the phrase “baptized for the dead,” it should be a logical conceptual progression to understand what Paul is talking about. He is saying that because baptism is a picture of death and resurrection, and if we go through that ritual and there is no hope of resurrection for the dead, then what’s the point of it all? Why get baptized if there is no hope and “if the dead do not rise at all” as he says in the latter part of the same verse? To clarify this verse, we could succinctly rewrite it as follows: “Otherwise, what will thy do who are baptized for [the hope of] the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the [hope of the] dead?” This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with getting baptized for your dead relatives. Such an interpretation of verse 29 is a sad twisting of this passage and has caused millions of people to waste a lot of time digging into their family genealogy and then getting “baptized” for all their dead relatives.
Let us recall what Peter said of the writings of Paul, “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (1 Pet 3:16). First Corinthians 15: 29 is another example of the difficult writings of Paul.
1 Corinthians 15:32,I have fought with beasts.Paul is comparing his experiences in Ephesus to a gladiatorial match against wild beasts. Likely, though, he means this metaphorically, since as a Roman citizen, it’s unlikely that he would have been subjected to such punishment (Manners and Customs, p. 297).
1 Corinthians 15:52, The last trumpet.In Jewish thought, the last trumpet refers to the final shofar blast of the series of blasts sounded on the Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) called the tekia gedolah. This is a clear indication that Yeshua will return from heaven to gather his elected — both the living and the dead — on the first day of the seventh month, which is Yom Teruah.
We shall be changed.This scripture passage along with others by Paul, James and John clearly indicates that the apostolic writers when writing these passages (i.e. prior to AD 70, the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple) viewed the second coming of Yeshua as imminent, and was not far off in the future. (See also 1 Cor 7:26, 29, 31; 1 Thess 4:14–15; Rom 13:11; 16:20; Phil 4:5; cp. Jas 5:7–9; 1 John 2:18.) The imminence of Yeshua’s second coming may have been based on a misunderstanding of Yeshua’s own words in his Olivet Discourse where he talks about the events announcing his second coming falling on “this generation” (Matt 24:34, 36). From this passage, it’s not readily understood to which generation he is referring—that one, or another off in the future, or both. It appears that the apostles applied his words to their generation.
1 Corinthians 15:56, The sting of death.For the righteous, whose sins have been forgiven, death is not to be feared but welcomed, since it’s the doorway to eternal life. For those whose sins haven’t been forgiven, death is to be feared, since sin (the violation of YHVH’s Torah commandments) still has a legal hold on them and will result in eternal death.
I get asked the question frequently, “What am I supposed to do on the Sabbath day?” The following Torah Scripture and gives us much a unique insight into the answer to this question.
Numbers 28:9, On the Sabbath day. Every Sabbath YHVH required double sacrifices to be offered. What can we learn from this seemingly minor, easily overlooked detail pertaining to the Levitical sacrificial system to enrich our Sabbath (Heb. Shabbat) experience? Much!
The Levites offering a double sacrifice on Shabbat was a foundational principle of the sacrificial system. This teaches us that we need to spend more time seeking YHVH on his set-apart or holy Shabbat. This means being a living sacrifice to YHVH. What are the ramifications of being a living sacrifice?
In this age of self-indulgence and self-centeredness, the subject of self-denial and being a living sacrifice is not a popular one, yet laying one’s life down or becoming a living sacrifice, is a fundamental principle of the Christian life—something about which Scripture speaks volumes! (Read the following: Rom 12:1; Pss 4:5; 27:6; 50:8–15; 51:17; 107:22; 119:108; Prov 15:8; 21:3; Jer 17:26; 33:11; Hos 6:6; 14:2; Jon 2:9; Mal 1:11; Matt 9:13; 12:7; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:17; 4:18; Heb 9:26; 13:15; 1 Pet 2:4.)
Self-denial is rooted in our covenantal relationship with our Yeshua, who is not only our Savior, but also our Master. When we become a disciple of Yeshua the Messiah and laid down our lives in the watery grave of baptism and accepted his payment for our sins, we covenanted to follow and obey him—to lay down our lives as well for him just as he did for us (Phil 2:5–8), that is, to become a living sacrifice to love, serve and to obey him regardless of what our carnal nature wants to do. As the apostle declared, we are not our own, but we were purchased with a price—the precious blood of Yeshua (1 Pet 1:18–19; Eph 1:4). This all translates into how we observe the Sabbath. On this set-apart day (i.e. it is set-apart from our normal, worldly activities), do we do what pleases our fleshly appetites or what pleases our Heavenly Master (Isa 58:13)?
So what types of activities should fill our Sabbath time that exemplify the Levites’ making a double offering on the Sabbath? Once again, please review the scripture verses listed above about being a living sacrifice. From these we learn that being a living sacrifice involves any activity that is a of worshipful and devotional nature toward our Heavenly Creator. Therefore, shouldn’t all of our Sabbath-day activities in some way point to YHVH, and in some way strengthen our walk with and relational ties to our Creator, and our relationship with others who are of the household of faith?
Let’s not forget an important truth: Keeping Torah is not about bondage (to a legalistic set of dos and don’ts); rather, it’s a vehicle to promote bonding and relationship (i.e. building loving relationship between man and his Creator, between man and his fellow man). Therefore, our Sabbath activities are about building spiritual relationships Elohim and our fellow man.
The resurrection of the dead is a biblical truth that stretches like a line from the beginning to the end the Bible. It is this glorious hope to which the Bible believing saint in faith clings as he or she traverses the wilderness of this life. It is this promise from on high, the saint’s cherished inheritance, our spiritual reward and Promised Land to which each child of Elohim looks that draws us forward in our spiritual journey day-by-day. The following is a list of Scriptures from the Word of Elohim that proves the hope of the resurrection of the dead is not a vain or empty one, but a reality for those who believe in and trust the promises of the Bible.
Genesis 3:2–3, The question of what happens in the afterlife goes back to the very beginning of man’s tenure on this earth as we can see from Eve’s discussion with the serpent. Out of fear of death, Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the tree of knowledge until the serpent tricked them to disobey YHVH and eat of it. The serpent lied to them by telling them that they could have immortal life and still violate Elohim’s commandments. Most men have believed this lie to this day.
Job 14:12–15, Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, and we see that from early times until now, man has had a perennial interest in the afterlife. Job wonders what his fate will be when he dies. Will he die and that’s all there is, or is there an afterlife?
Job 19:25–27, Job came to a place in his life where he obtained a faith about his fate in the afterlife. He knew that it hinged on his faith in his Redeemer. Biblically speaking, what was the mission of the Redeemer (i.e. Yeshua the Messiah)? It was to redeem man from the sting of death brought on by sin.
Psalm 16:9–10, Though this is usually viewed as a messianic prophecy, it isn’t confined to this interpretation. Who are YHVH’s holy, kadosh or set apart ones? The Messiah fits this category, of course, but so also do YHVH’s saints. As the apostolic writers teach us, as Yeshua died and rose again, so the saints who are in Yeshua will die and rise again.
Psalm 17:15, The term “awake” as in “awake from the sleep of death” is a Hebraism referring to the resurrection. David knew that YHVH created man in his own image for a purpose. If so, then why? It’s deductive reasoning. The creation of man wasn’t a pointless, dead-end endeavor on the Creator’s part. David knew the heart and character of YHVH well enough to know that Elohim had a higher purpose for man than just to live and then to die off. David also knew that man could have his perennial yearning for immortal life satisfied by the fact that man was created in YHVH’s image for a reason and that the reality of this fact would satisfy man’s deepest yearning for immortality.
1 Corinthians 14:29, Let…prophets speak…let the others Judge.
How many YouTube, internet and podcast “prophets” are out there claiming to hear form Elohim, and are making all sorts of prophetic proclamations as they build their empires of fame and fortune supposedly in the name of Elohim? Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!
Many people who claim to be prophets have a hard time being accountable to anyone. After all, they’re sure that they have heard from Elohim, so who is anyone to question them? In their mind, to question them is to question Elohim. Lack of accountability of prophets to other prophets or spiritual elders is contrary to what the Bible teaches (1 Cor 14:29). Yet such accountability is a rare occurrence in most churches where the gifts of prophecy operate.
Such a demeanor of self-delusion among “prophets” who refuse to be unaccountable to anyone can become a major stronghold of pride on the part of these individuals
If they claim to be speaking for Elohim when they are not, they are running the risk of blaspheming Elohim by speaking lies in his name. In this case, in reality, they’re speaking from the dictates of their own evil hearts, and not by the Spirit of Elohim, which is something that Elohim hates and condemns (Jer 23:16–22; Ezek 13:2–7).
Such “prophets” are under the influencing control of their carnal nature instead of the Spirit of Elohim lack, and they lack self-control, humility and meekness. Moreover, those who are driven by their own passions of impetuosity, pride, anger and accusativeness are especially vulnerable to false prophetic proclamations. They are operating not from a sound (or moderate and self-controlled) mind that is under the control of the Spirit of Elohim, but from an unsound mind (2 Tim 1:7). Such people are even open to demonic spirits because they are controlled by a spirit of pride and hypocrisy. They hate accountability from other people because the light of truth shining through others onto them might expose them for who they really are and not who they suppose themselves to be—prophets speaking the oracles of Elohim.
Furthermore, when these “prophets” have psychological disorders (e.g. they are “bi-polar,” manic-depressive, or have an obsessive-compulsive disorder) or they are under the influence of either medically prescribed psychotropic drugs or non-prescribed “legal” pyscho active drugs (like cannabis) and this is combined with some knowledge of the Scriptures and a passion for the Bible great delusion can come forth all ostensibly in the name of YHVH Elohim. In reality, these “prophets” proclaiming a toxic mix of truth error. Beware!
Add to this the alluring opportunities modern technology presents these “prophets” for stardom due to easy access to social and digital media platforms and outlets like Facebook and YouTube, the possibilities for spreading their false prophetic delusion far and wide to others is great. Anyone—literally anyone—can look good on a digital platform, and can gain sycophantic and fawning followers (just look at the sins that have been uncovered on many of the current and past crop of televangelists), but do we really know their true character or who they really? That’s why the Bible admonishes us to know those who labor among us (1 Thess 5:12), and why YHVH has given us the gift of the discernment of spirits (1 Cor 12:10).
1 Corinthians 14:21, In the law. Usually the word law (in Gr. nomos and in Heb. torah meaning “teachings, instructions or precepts) in the Scriptures refers to the first five books of Moses, but here Paul uses the term to apply to the writings of Isaiah the prophet. Obviously, Paul had a more expansive view of the law than just to the five books of Moses, for here he applies it to the prophets sections of the Tanakh or Old Testament.
Similarly, in the Gospel of John, Yeshua refers to the Psalms (which were contained in the Writings part of the Tanakh) as the law (John 10:34), and Jewish people, like Paul, regarded Isaiah as part of the law as well (John 12:34).
What all this means is that Yeshua, Paul and the Jewish people in a general sense viewed the entire Tanakh as the law, or more correctly, the instructions or teaching of YHVH, since the Hebrew word for law (i.e. torah) means exactly this. What this means to us is that Elohim’s entire word should be viewed as his legal code or instructions to men on how to act. As such, no parts of it can be eliminated, relegated to the past or “done away with.” It is thus important to view the entire Word of Elohim as equally binding and relevant to all people at all times.
Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? (Psalm 94:16)
Numbers 25:7, Phinehas…took a javelin. Phinehas, the priest, rose up against evil—in this case, sexual immorality—and took a stand for righteousness, and YHVH commended him for it. Who are the Phinehases of today?
In standing against sin, Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest, was not acting as a self-appointed vigilante as it may appear. Rather, YHVH had given the priests, of which Phinehas was one, the authority to act as judges in Israel and to pronounce sentence in criminal matters (Deut 17:9–11). Additionally, Phinehas was doubly justified in his action against the fornicators, since he was an eyewitness of these sexual crimes, and the Torah teaches that the hand of the eyewitness was to be the first to rise up in executing judgment against the criminals (Deut 17:6; Ezek 44:24). So as an eyewitness and as a priest, he was legally justified in his actions. The priests and Levites were to act as Israel’s legal experts (Lev 10:10–11; Deut 24:8; 33:10; 2 Chron 17:9; 30:22; Neh 8:2, 8; Hag 2:11; Ezek 44:23; Mal 2:7) and to make determinations between the holy and the profane (Ezek 22:26; 44:23).
Who are YHVH’s priest on the earth today? According to Peter, and John the saints are those priests (1 Pet 2:7; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). As such, the saints presently possess the divinely mandated legal authority to fulfill the responsibilities of the priesthood of old when it comes to teaching the laws of Elohim to the nations in which they live (Lev 10:10–11). Moreover, Yeshua, our Great High Priest, has tasked his disciples with the responsibility and authority to judge righteously (i.e. to make judgments according to YHVH’s standards of righteousness, John 7:24), and to be spiritual fruit inspectors (Matt 7:15–20). Today, this responsibility is primarily exercised within the congregation of the righteous (1 Cor 5:12; 6:1–6). However, besides this, the righteous saints are to act as spiritual salt in this world and to be like a spiritual light on a hill for the world to see (Matt 5:13–16). This means that they are to preach the gospel to the world, to make disciples and to teach those around them all that Yeshua has commanded them (Matt 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16). This means that the saints have heaven’s authority and commission to act as the spiritual and moral compass and conscience for the nations in which they live. This means that they will be standing against evil wherever and however they can as directed by the Spirit of Elohim, even as Phinehas did.
It is time that the righteous servants of YHVH Elohim begin to stand up in a more vocal and demonstrative way against the evil that is being foisted upon our society by those who are bent upon destroying the family, morality, and any vestiges of biblical standards of righteousness that may still exist around us. In Psalm 94:16, YHVH asks the question of his servants, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” With this in mind, the question we need to ask ourselves is this: If not me, who; if not now, when? If you have something worth living for, then do you have something worth giving your life for? If those who are caught up in demonically inspired religious systems are willing to die for their faith calling it “a holy war” and “martyrdom for their [demon] god,” can the saints of YHVH at least not take a verbal stand against the tide of evil that is sweeping our society?
The Bible is full of examples of YHVH’s servants standing against unrighteousness in their day and their receiving YHVH’s blessing for it. Several examples include the Hebrew midwives disobeying the edict of Pharaoh to commit infanticide (Exod 1:15–22), Phinehas executing judgment against the fornicators (Num 25:7–8), the three Hebrew children refusing to worship the golden image (Dan 3:8–18), Daniel violating the king’s edicts by praying to YHVH (Dan 6:10–12), John the Baptist criticizing Herod for his adultery (Mark 6:18), Yeshua turning over the money changers’ tables in the temple (Matt 21:12), and Peter and John for disobeying the Jewish leaders’ command to not preach the gospel (Acts 4:18–20). Many more examples could be given. Remember all the biblical prophets?
Numbers 25:11, Has turned back my wrath…because he was zealous. Read Psalm 94:16. What are some other examples of righteous men and women in the Bible who stood up against evil in their day whom YHVH praised for doing so? Did Phinehas rise up against evil in his own carnally-minded, emotionally-based zeal? If not, then whose zeal was he full of? (Read verse 11 again.) When we take a stand against evil as led by the Word and Spirit of the YHVH Elohim, can it ever be wrong to do so, even though the world may not agree with us and may even criticize or persecute us for doing so? Not only that, Phinehas placed his life on the line between the righteous judgment of Elohim and those who were sinning. Many times, the servants of YHVH actually have to leave their comfort zones and place themselves in harm’s way on the ragged edge between good and evil to take a stand for YHVH Elohim. (Note Aaron’s actions in Num 16:46–50.) The examples of such actions from the pages of the Scriptures are too numerous to list. Some notable examples include:
Noah preaching righteousness against the utterly corrupt generation of his day.
David versus Goliath (1 Sam 17)
Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:20ff)
John the Baptist confronting King Herod (Matt 14)
Yeshua confronting the religious leaders of his day on numerous occasions (e.g. Matt 23)
Peter and John versus the Jewish leaders (Acts 4)
Stephen confronting the Jewish leaders (Acts 7)
Paul and Silas preaching against false religion in Philippi (Acts 16) and preaching the gospel on the streets in Thessolonica (Acts 17), in Corinth (Acts 18) and again in Ephesus (Acts 19)
At times, YHVH tried to find such a person who would stand for his truth, but was unable to do so (see Jer 5:1; Ezek 22:30).
Numbers 25:11,In my jealousy.YHVH is a jealous Elohim. The word jealous is the Hebrew word qanna/TBBE(Strong’s H7067) meaning “to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous.” TheArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash states, “Jealousy is a person’s reaction when he finds that another is taking something that is rightly his. [Elohim] is jealous when Jews serve idols, because they transfer their allegiance from Him to something else.” p. 876). Torah expresses this same idea elsewhere: