Blog Scripture Readings for 7-24 Through 7-30-16

Aside

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION:

Parashat Pinchas — Numbers 25:10 – 30:1 (29:40)*
Haftarah — Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3
Prophets — Ezekiel 25:1 – 31:18
Writings — Ezra 2:1 – 8:36
Testimony — 2 Corinthians 6:1 – 11:33

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 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.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 7/24 through 7/30/16.

 

Beware of Modern Balaams!

Balaam's ass 1

Balaam — A Subverter of Divine Gifts and a Prophet of Babylon

The name Balaam means “destruction of people.” The Hebrew word bela means “destruction, confuse, confound.” The Hebrew word am means people, tribe, nation. The name Balak means “waster, to annihilate.” He was king of Moab; distant cousins to Israel through Lot, Abraham’s nephew.

Balaam was from Pethor, a city located on the Northern Euphrates and Tigress Rivers areas called Mesopotamia in modern Syria and including modern Iraq to the south.

Balaam was a soothsayer or diviner (one who foretells or predicts events, Josh 13:22). The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash says that Balaam was a sorcerer, necromancer or wizard (one who consults evil spirits) and that the sublime prophecies he uttered over Israel were but temporary aberrations that YHVH granted him for the honor of Israel (Ibid., p. 863). These prophecies also served to glorify YHVH in the eyes of the nations. Other commentators consider Balaam to have been a true prophet of YHVH gone bad. One may consider him to have been a bad prophet going good (i.e. learning obedience to YHVH). One could also consider him to have been a false prophet seeking personal fame and fortune but who, at the same time, had prophetic abilities that he misused by mixing paganism and the truth of YHVH. This seems to be the Scriptures’ view of Balaam, for 2 Peter 2:15 indicates that Balaam had some knowledge of the truth, but turned away from Continue reading

 

What is passing away—the Torah or the covenant?

2 Corinthians 3:11, Passing away. This is not a reference to the Torah-law itself, but to the old or former covenant (i.e., the agreement or contract YHVH and Israel made with each other) as it phases into the new or renewed covenant.

Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his last supper, but it will be finalized with the two houses of Israel (see Jer 31:31, 33 and Heb 8:8) at his second coming when the two sticks or houses of Israel are reunited (see Ezek 37:15–27) at which time he will finalize the new covenant with a reunited Israel (v. 26; see also Isa 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; Ezek 34:25; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Hos 2:18–23).

We are presently in the intermediate phase between the two covenants. To view it from a different perspective, Yeshua betrothed himself to his spiritual bride (redeemed Israel, spiritual Israel or the Israel of Elohim, see Gal 6:16) at his last supper, but will marry her at his second coming. The saints who are now in Yeshua are under the new covenant as the betrothed bride of Yeshua, but all Israel will be brought into the new covenant at his second coming at which time he will finalize the covenant that he initiated with his disciples before his death.

 

Are you as sick of gospel peddlers as I am?

Young pastor with money on gray background

2 Corinthians 2:17, Peddling the word of Elohim. Are you as sick and fed up with peddlers of the Word of Elohim as I am? It’s everywhere you go—people standing along the highways of biblical religion with their hands out panhandling. Even in Paul’s day as in our, the ministry of the gospel has “many” gospel peddlers.

Show me just about any big name in Christianity, Messianic, the Hebrew Roots Movement and, in most cases, I’ll show you someone who has built their ministry on shameless self promotion, hype, glitz, corporate marketing techniques and their ability to cleverly woo people to their book seller’s table or website that is chalk full of wares that promise to fill your head with the latest prophetic insights, esoteric biblical head knowledge, pop-psychological, self-help, humanistic, new-age, ear-tickling pap. It’s all yours, if you’ll only plunk down some of your hard-earned cash.

Well, I’m not the only one who’s fed up with these modern-day merchandizers of the gospel. The Apostle Paul was too. Evidently it was rampant in his day as well as we have seen in the scripture verse quoted above: “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of Elohim…” The word peddling there means “to be a retailer, to make money by selling anything, to get sordid gain by dealing in anything, to do a thing for base gain, to trade in the word of God, to try to get base gain by teaching divine truth, to corrupt, to adulterate, peddlers were in the habit of adulterating their commodities for the sake of gain.”

These guys don’t need to bother knocking on the door of the congregation I pastor, nor at the events our ministry sponsors. The welcome mat isn’t out for them!

Haven’t these spiritual beggars read the word of Elohim? Don’t those who support them Continue reading

 

“The Lord told me…” are often the words of a lying manipulator

Numbers 22:38, The word that Elohim puts in my mouth. Balaam claimed to hear the voice of YHVH, yet his claims and the reality of the facts were two different things. YHVH makes a mockery of Balaam’s claims in front of the Moabite delegation when the lowly she-donkey is able to discern the presence of the Messenger of YHVH and Balaam is not (at least until YHVH opens his eyes).

How many times have you encountered people who claim to hear from “the LORD,” yet on closer examination they have not heard from YHVH, for the fruits of their lives and ministry do not verify their claims?

Be wary of such people who announce to others their super-spirituality and make great claims about their supposed inside track with YHVH.

Ask yourself: what do these people really want and what are their hidden agendas? What are they trying to gain for themselves or trying to cover up? Are they possibly, like Balaam, trying to control and influence others through supposed “words from the Lord” for their own selfish motives?

 

Man is the liar, NOT Elohim!

Lying preachers!

Lying preachers!

Numbers 23:19, El is not a man that he should lie. Read the rest of this verse, which speaks about the immutable character of Elohim. (Also see Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8.)

From the beginning in the Garden of Eden (thanks to the lies of Satan the serpent, see Gen 3:1–4), man has been under the spiritual delusion that Elohim changes his word, laws or commandments and that he doesn’t really mean what he says. That is to say, when YHVH gives a command, later on he may change his mind and his commands are no longer applicable to subsequent generations or people-groups.

Down through the ages, church leaders have bought in to this lie of the enemy with regard to validity of the Torah as pertaining to the life of the redeemed believer. But by saying that the Torah is “done away with,” “has been nailed to the cross” “has been fulfilled in Jesus” meaning “he did it for us so that we don’t have to do it,” isn’t this really calling Elohim a liar?

Now consider the numerous places throughout the Bible, the Word of Elohim, where the Torah is revealed as YHVH’s unalterable standard of righteousness for all time and for all people everywhere. (In this regard, read the following scriptures: Ps 119:44, 142, 144, 160, 172; Matt 4:4; 5:18–19; Rom 3:31; 7:12.)

Who is really the liar? Man or Elohim?

 

Lessons from Balaam, the Selfish, Willful Manipulator

Balaam's ass 3

Numbers 22:21–22, A willful, selfish manipulator. Balaam was willful, greedy, arrogant, rebellious and presumptuous in the face of YHVH’s revealed will. Balaam was attempting to manipulate YHVH through soulish means for his personal gain.

But the moral of the story is that YHVH is sovereign over the affairs of men regardless of men’s machinations. The will of YHVH cannot be manipulated or bent to accommodate men’s selfish ambitions. After all, how can man—a created being—hope to play mind games with the Sovereign Creator of the universe and win? In the end, man will be humbled and YHVH will be exalted as was the case with Balaam—an arrogant and internationally acclaimed “prophet.” He was made to look like a fool through a talking donkey and all this occurred in front of the accompanying delegation of Moabite leaders.

It was evident to all that Balaam was but a pawn in the hands of YHVH, and that if YHVH could make a brute beast speak, then he was certainly capable of putting his words into the mouth of mortal man, albeit a sorcerer.

What lessons can we learn here? Is it wise to toy with or tempt Elohim or try to manipulate him to fit our will? How often do we attempt to bend his will to fit our own? How often do we have our own carnal and selfish agendas and then attempt to convince ourselves and others that it is the will of YHVH? What are the end results? How many people go through life on this basis and never grow in their walk since they have never learned to distinguish between their will and that of the Almighty?

When we finally submit to YHVH and let go of our own selfish agendas, it is then that we start to have the breakthroughs in our lives and begin to experience his joy, shalom and victory not to mention an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.