Blog Scripture Readings for 9-15 Through 9-21-19

Aside

Parashat Ki Tavo — Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8 (9)*
Haftarah — Isaiah 60:1-22
Prophets — Micah 2:1 – 7:20; Nahum 1:1-15
Writings — 2 Chronicles 2:1 – 8:18
Testimony — Hebrews 5:1 – 10:39

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.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 9/15/19 through 9/21/19.

 

Free Resources: Preparing to Celebrate the Fall Biblical Feasts

Let us go up…!

Here are some free resources to help you to celebrate the fall biblical feasts:

Teaching articles on the biblical feasts— https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast

YHVH’s plan of salvation in the biblical feasts— https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/feasts_plan_of_salvation.pdf

Why celebrate the biblical feasts?— https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/why_study_feasts.pdf

Hoshana Rabbah YouTube videos on the biblical feasts— https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5EzE5DQnrHfWWbczzkRo6IOnglxhbRfM

Other Hoshana Rabbah resources on how to celebrate the biblical feasts— https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/moedim.html

A free, printable biblical calendar: when to celebrate the biblical feasts— https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/calendars.html

 

What Is the Purpose of the Torah?

The law of YHVH is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of YHVH is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of YHVH are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of YHVH is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of YHVH is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of YHVH are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Ps 19:7–11)

Deuteronomy 28:1, Commandments. Most people with whom I have engaged in discussion about the Torah-law of Elohim have a limited understanding of the breadth, scope and purpose of Elohim’s law. If they understand the full ramifications of the Torah, they would likely be less inclined to dismiss its validity in their lives. When discussing the Torah with people who have a traditional Christian view of  “the law,” it might be helpful to keep the following truths in mind; they help to “blow the lid” off of people’s theological boxes!

(Excerpted from a larger work by Ya’acov Natan Lawrence entitled, YHVH’s Instructions In Righteousness—A Messianic Believer’s Introduction to the Torah available online at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/torahprimer.pdf)

The purpose of the Torah is to show man how to walk in right relationship (or righteousness) with his Creator. To do this, we must love YHVH with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6:5; Mark 12:30) and love our neighbor as ourself (Lev 19:18; Mark 12:30). Once one is saved by grace through faith (See my teaching article entitled: The Abrahamic Covenant: The Covenant of Salvation, available at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/abracov.pdf.), Torah helps show man how to walk in the straight and narrow path that leads to blessings and life and avoids the curses of the law (Deut 30:15; 32:47). The Torah shows man how to avoid sin (which is the violation of YHVH’s Torah-commandments, 1 John 3:4), which is walking contrary to YHVH’s instructions in righteousness that are for our blessing and benefit.

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Shabbat Shalom!

Last Shabbat, a gorgeous pre-autumn day in western Oregon, my bride wanted to go on a gentle hike up by Mount Hood, which isn’t far from us. So up we went to enjoy YHVH Elohim’s glorious Eden-like beauty in this alpine setting. We started at the famous Timberline Lodge parking lot at the 6,000 foot level and hiked around the mountain for about a mile and-a-half or so.

When my grandfather first came up to this area in the early 1900s, it took several days by horse and wagon to get here. It was all but impassible in the winter due to snow. With the help of laborers like Grandpa, the state built an an all-weather highway to Mount Hood after WW1, and we can now be at the 6,000 foot level in about an hour and-a-half.

Please enjoy these photos we took.

In the background is the world famous Timberline Lodge built inn 1937 and perched on the side of Mount Hood at the 6,000 foot level. Sandi’s grandfather helped to build the lodge.
Sandi and I were married at this lodge in 1991, so, needless to say, it holds a special place in our hearts. Beyond that, my grandfather was a professional mountain guide and led mountain climbs from this area for decades. What’s more, Sandi’s grandfather helped to build the lodge, we both learned to ski here when we were kids, and we grew up viewing this mountain from the Portland-area were Sandi was born, and where we were goth raised and live to this day.

It was a wonderful Shabbat experience walking, fellowshipping and praising Yah as we relished the sights, sounds and smells of this pristine soul and spirit-raising environment away from the cacophony and confusion of the Babylon below.

A lot of people get “high” on a whole host of bad things that dissipate the spirit, soul and body and end up taking them away from Elohim. Well, we like to get “high” on Elohim on and in his mountains! HalleluYah!

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from YHVH, which made heaven and earth. (Ps 121:1–2)

 

What are the differences between the “Old” Covenant and the “New” Covenant?

Hebrews 8:13, Ready to vanish away. Many who read this verse assume that the writer is saying that the Torah-law was ready to vanish away ergo the law has been done away. This belief is orthodox Christianity! But is this what the author is saying here? Read it again? Is he saying that the law is vanishing away or the covenant is vanishing away? The latter! 

So what is the difference between the former and latter covenants? The covenant was nothing more than a contract between YHVH and the people of Israel that he made with them at Mount Sinai (Exod 19–24). Think of a modern contract (e.g. buying a car, a house or agreeing to pay for services rendered). A contract is nothing more than an agreement between two or more parties. Then you have the terms of the contract. If one party fails to keep up his end of the agreement, does that mean that the terms of the contract are evil? Not at all. It means that one party failed to keep his word and the contract was then voided. The same was true with the contract of the “Old Covenant” that YHVH made with the Israelites. The terms were that if they would worship him and obey his Torah-laws, he would bless them, and if not, he would punish them. They agreed to these terms three times (Exod 19:8; 24:3,7), yet they ended up not keeping their word and instead worshipped false gods and broke his laws again and again. After hundreds of years of unfaithfulness, they finally totally abandoned YHVH. The covenant was broken for good. 

But did Israel’s unfaithfulness to his Torah-laws mean that his instructions in righteousness were evil, or rather that their hearts were evil? Logic dictates the answer to be the latter. To say that the Torah was evil and needed to be obliterated (or done away with) is like saying when you get a speeding ticket, the laws prohibiting speeding should be eliminated. Of course, this is absurd, and so it is to say that the laws of YHVH need to be eliminated because the people violated the covenant thus rendering it null and void.

Here are some more observation on the subject of the Old Covenant vanishing away and giving way to the New Covenant:

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The Blessing, Unity and Order of the Torah

Deuteronomy 27:11–28, Blessing and curses for obedience. In these verses we find listed some of the blessings and cures for Torah obedience. Do you believe the Torah principles (spiritual truths) of blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience to YHVH’s Word are for us today? If not why not? 

Here are some questions to consider to ask when considering Elohim’s Torah and the blessings and curses that come upon us as a result of our response to these instructions in righteousness, which are a reflection of the character and nature of the Creator. Does YHVH’s character, truth or Word change? If these blessings are not being manifested in your life why might that be? Could it relate possibly to your level of Torah obedience and faith/trust level vis-à-vis YHVH and his Word? What changes could you make in your life that might place you in a more favorable position to receive his blessings rather than the curses?

Deuteronomy 27:15–18, The commandments are all inter-connected. To the casual reader, the admonitions contained in these verses may seem to be arranged in a random order, but this is not the case. Let’s discuss the purposeful design of the order in which Elohim gives this commandments.

Consider the following: The prohibition against idolatry (verse 15) is juxtaposed with that of degrading one’s parents (i.e. not honoring one’s parents, or as S. R. Hirsch states in his commentary, “who outwardly is respectful to his parents but inwardly considers himself vastly superior to them”) along with trespassing against one’s neighbor’s property by removing his neighbor’s boundary markers or landmarks. 

Now consider this: One who does not honor and fear YHVH but turns to idolatry (the second commandments) will not honor one’s parents (the fifth commandment) (and vice versa) will likewise not honor the property of one’s neighbor (including his neighbor’s wife). 

Juxtaposed next to these commands is the prohibition against misleading a blind person (verse 18). This means that we should not take advantage of one’s blindness by advising a blind person in a way beneficial to us and detrimental to him. 

Following this commandment is the principle about one who steals justice from another by perverting judgment against one who is weaker socially or financially or who is less informed at law than another thereby giving the advantage to the stronger (The ArtScroll Davis Edition Baal HaTurim Chumash/Devarim, pp. 2126–2127). 

Can you see how each command is interrelated with all the others? Does this not give one insight into the curious statement found in James 2:10, which declares that if you have broken one commandment you have  broken them all? This should help us to see that in one way or the other, all of YHVH’s commandments are inter-related, all depend on each other, and they all stand or fall together. 

Now relate James 2:10 back to verse eight of the same chapter where James notes that the entire Torah-law can be summarized as the “royal law of love.” 

As you review YHVH’s list of prohibitions in Deuteronomy 27 can you see any other relationships between these juxtaposed concepts? Learning to exegete (draw truth out of) Scripture in this manner will yield a whole new level of spiritual revelation to the reader.

 

Prepare for the fall feasts: Repent of sin! Here’s how…

Psalm 51:17, Sacrifices…broken spirit…contrite heart. Broken is the Hebrew word shobar meaning “to burst, break (down, off, in pieces, up), bring to birth, breach” and refers to a one’s personal spirit that YHVH has broken into or breached. This is necessary if there is to be a breakthrough in one’s spiritual life. 

The fallow ground of one’s heart must be broken up or tilled for righteousness to occur as one seeks YHVH (Hos 10:12). 

The hard and carnal heart of each person must be circumcised (Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; Col 2:11). This occurs through repentance from sin as this psalm explains. 

It is then that not only one receives salvation, but joy comes with that salvation (v. 12) along with gladness (v. 8). Why? Because YHVH has lovingly purged and cleansed us of our sins and blotted our past sins out (vv. 1, 2, 9) and the guilt therefrom (v. 14) and has us whiter than snow (v. 7). 

When does this happen? Only when we acknowledge our sins (v. 3), and not until then. This freedom from sin and spiritual heart, mind, and emotional cleansing only occurs when we humble ourselves, allow the light of YHVH’s truth (v. 6) to shine into deep and dark areas of our lives, and to expose the sin that lies therein (v. 3b). 

This process all starts when we allow YHVH to break open the fallow ground of our hard, stoney and sinful hearts (v. 17). When this happens, the good seed of his Word can fall onto the fertile soil of our lives like rain on parched ground resulting in a rich harvest (Matt 13:23) of spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22–25). So repent of sin!

 

The Priesthood and the Torah-Law Then and Now

Hebrews 7:12, Priesthood being changed…a change also of the law [Torah]. The Greek words for being changed and a change are respectively metatithemi (a verb) and metathesis (a noun). The the verb means “to transpose, to transfer, to go or pass over, to fall away or desert from one person or thing to another.” Many people interpret this verse to mean that YHVH’s Torah-law was changed (i.e. has been invalidated or annulled) by the new covenant, but is this what the author is saying here?

Before going further in our discussion, let’s lay out some basic truths of the Scriptures. 

YHVH doesn’t change (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8; Jas 1:17). The word torah [in English, translated as law] means “instructions, principles, teachings” and came directly from YHVH to his people. The Torah teaches men how to love YHVH and love one’s fellow man. It is YHVH’s instructions in righteousness and reflects his very character and nature. Who YHVH is doesn’t change.

It is a sin (a violation of the Torah) to change the Torah (Deut 4:2; 12:32).

So in this light, what is this verse really saying? It declares that the priesthood was changed. The Levitical priesthood that was temporarily and parenthetically inserted into the Melchizedek priesthood (both priesthoods are revealed in the Torah, see Exod 19:2, 4 cp. 28:1; 32:29). In the former priesthood, a father acted as the priest over his family interceding for them before Elohim via sacrifices and offerings (Gen 8:20; 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1, 3, 7; Exod 17:15; Job 1:5). In the latter priesthood, YHVH designated the descendants of Aaron as priests over Israel replacing the heads of each home as the priest of each family (Exod 30:31).

The writer of Hebrews reveals to us that with the coming of Yeshua, the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood was replaced by the original order of Melchizedek with Yeshua as its High Priest. This makes sense when we realize that Yeshua is not only the builder of his spiritual house, the church (Heb 3:3), but also the head of it, for he is the High Priest over the spiritual house of Elohim (Heb 10:21), which is comprised of the saints who are living stones and are apart of that house (1 Pet 2:5) and temple (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21–22) with Yeshua as the chief corner stone and the apostles and prophets the foundation (Eph 2:20). The saints are currently a part of this original Melchizedek priesthood, which has attained to the higher spiritual level through Yeshua, regardless of their tribal lineage (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

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