Without Holiness, No One Will See Elohim! Holiness Is YHVH’s Chief Quality

Our modern society has no concept of holiness. NONE whatsoever! This is because there is no fear—either reverential or dread—of Elohim. NONE! People, generally, are not only unaware of Elohim, but could care less. Live for them moment, make money and pursue the lusts of the flesh and eyes, and do what feels good is all most care people care about. And we wonder why society is ripping apart at the seams and lawlessness, anger, suicide, drug addictions, hatred and strife abound everywhere? Are we that clueless and lost as a society to be able to add two and two? Read on for the answer to these problems. 


Hebrews 12:14Holiness…see YHVH. 

Holiness is the chief attribute of Elohim and the most defining aspect of his character. It has to do with the fact that Elohim is entirely good and without evil or moral defect and totally sinless. This is why the spiritual beings around his heavenly throne are constantly crying, “Holy, holy, holy” in his Presence (Isa 6:3Rev 4:8). This is why one of his titles is The Holy One of Israel,which is used more than thirty times in the Tanakh (e.g. 2 Kgs 19:22Ps 71:22Isa 1:4Jer 50:29). This is why the high priest who ministered in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the temple wore a golden crown or headplate with the words inscribed on it, “HOLINESS TO YHVH.” Not only was this pointing upward to YHVH’s set-apartness, but man himself is to become holy or set-apart even as YHVH Elohim is set-apart, for we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews that the attribute of holiness is a prerequisite for a man coming into the Presence of Elohim (Heb 12:14).

YHVH Elohim made mankind in his own image (Gen 1:27), so that man could eventually become his glorified spirit children (John 1:12Rom 8:14–152 Cor 6:18Gal 4:5–61 John 3:1–2Rev 21:7). As part of the process of becoming an immortal child of Elohim, man must become holy as he is holy (Lev 11:444520:7261 Pet 1:16). This is the ultimate destiny of those who will submit to YHVH’s process of transforming man from profane or polluted, sin-ridden beings to becoming holy or set-apart. What does this process involve and how does it affect you?

YHVH Is Preparing His Saints to Be a Kingdom of Priests

In the Bible, YHVH declared that it was the destiny of the Israelite nation to become a chosen and peculiar people and a kingdom of priest—to be special and unique among the nations of the world—to reflect the character and nature of YHVH Elohim—to be holy (in Hebrew, kadosh) as he is kadosh. The Hebrew word kadosh means “sacredness, consecrated, set-apartness or separateness.” Set-apart or separate from what? From the sin, profaneness and pollutions of the world with all of its sin and rebellion against the Creator. YHVH Elohim is set-apart or kadosh in that he is transcendent or above the mundane with its sinfulness. He invites humans to transcend the pollutions of the carnal and the mundane and to come up to his level. The saints as the end times priesthood of Yeshua need to embrace and internalize this identity for themselves as we will discuss below.

Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a set-apart nation. (Exod 19:5–6)

For you are an set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim. YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Deut 7:6 cp. 14:2)

What does this have to do with me, you might ask? Everything, as we’ll see shortly.

The Israelites were unique because YHVH gave them his Torah-commandments—his instructions to show them how to live righteously and how to love him and their fellow man.

You have [distinguished] YHVH this day to be your Elohim, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: and YHVH has [distinguished] you this day to be his peculiar people, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments and to make you high above all nations which he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim… (Deut 26:17–18 cp. Isa 43:1Tit 2:14)

As such, YHVH commissioned Israel to become a light to the heathen nations around them and by their good example to lead them to YHVH—the one true and holy or set-apart Elohim. 

Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has Elohim so near to it, as YHVH our Elohim is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this Torah-law which I set before you this day? (Deut 4:6–8). 

So that Israel could be a spiritual lighthouse to the world to lead them to the Creator, YHVH in his sovereignty positioned the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the major trade routes of the ancient world—between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. He hoped that Israel’s example as a righteous, set-apart and thus a blessed nation who possessed high moral and spiritual standards would favorably influence the foreign merchants and travelers who would pass through that country. Hopefully, they would carry news of this special nation back to their own countries. In this manner, Israel would become a kingdom of priests to the nations to teach them the ways of YHVH Elohim. Where has YHVH placed you in the crossroads of humanity, so that you can be a spiritual light to those around you? What are you doing to be that light?

Continue reading
 

Deuteronomy 30—”Return to Me!”

Deuteronomy 30:1, It shall come to pass. This is an end time prophecy concerning the people of YHVH.

Deuteronomy 30:1–5; 31:16, Returning to Elohim. Israel’s departure from her covenantal agreements with YHVH was assured. Moses prophesied it. But repentance (verse 2) was always an option—an open door of return back to right relationship with YHVH. Have you repented of straying from his Torah-commands whether out of ignorance or purposely?

Deuteronomy 30:2, You will return unto YHVH. The word return is shuv/CUA, which means “to come back, turn back.” Bear in mind that one cannot turn back to what one never had in the first place. This prophecy says that those who YHVH has scattered because of their disobedience to his Torah-covenants will return to him. To whom is this referring? In Hosea 3:4–5, we find similar language:

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek YHVH their Elohim, and David their king; and shall fear YHVH and his goodness in the latter days. (emphasis added)

Relate this to Revelation 18:4 and Malachi 4:4–6 along with Jeremiah 16:19 (read verses 15–21 for context).

Let us not forget that, “Ideal repentance is motivated by the desire to return to [Elohim], not because one seeks to rid oneself of suffering, and benefit from Divine blessings” (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash p, 1091).

With all your heart. Moses makes the heart of man a major focal point in this chapter (see also vv. 6, 10, 17. The subject here is about returning to Elohim after having turned away from him, but this can only happen when the heart of man is willing disposed to do so, and not a minute before that. Repentance is all conditional on the heart of each individual person.

This scriptural passage presents the view that if YHVH’s people will return to him with all their heart and soul from the places he has scattered them because of their disobedience and that of their forefathers (v. 2) that he will begin to gather them together in their foreign lands (vv. 3–4). Eventually this will result in his people returning to the promised land of their inheritance (v. 5). In the process, after his people have inclined their hearts to following YHVH, he will respond by circumcising their hearts and that of their children to love him more, so they can walk in harmony with him by keeping his Torah commands, so he can bless them. This is all predicated upon his people making a choice to obey him (v. 19). Once the choice is made, he will pour out his grace upon his people, so they can continue to obey him with all their hearts. 

Deuteronomy 30:3, From all the nations to which YHVH … has scattered you. The Scriptures over and over again record that the house of Israel (Ephraim) would be scattered over the face of the whole earth (Ezek 34:6, 12; 36:19; 37:21; John 11:52), and that YHVH will regather them in the end times and return them to the land of Israel (Deut 30:3–5). Deuteronomy 32:26 says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corners …” The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash comments, “This refers to the exile of the ten tribes who were scattered to an unknown place where they have never been heard from again.

On the phrase of the same verse, “I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men. …” the same Chumash states, “This is a reference to the exile of Judah and Benjamin, the Davidic kingdom from which today’s known Jews are descended.” It goes on to say that though nations would seek to destroy Israel entirely, YHVH would never allow Israel to become extinct or disappear. Israel’s perpetual existence is a constant reminder of YHVH’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill YHVH’s intention for it” (pp. 1105–1106). 

Nineteenth orthodox Jewish scholar S. R. Hirsch in his commentary on the same verse translates the phrase, “I would scatter them into the corners …” as, “I would relegate them into a corner …,” and then says that the Hebrew here refers to the “extreme end of a surface, the side or corner ….” He, too, relates this fate to the Ten Tribes who would be scattered “to some distant corner of the world, where, left entirely to themselves, they could mature towards serious reflection and ultimate return to Me …” (p. 650). 

Some in the Christians deny that these Scriptures passages pertain to the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and instead insist that they are speaking about Judah (the Jews) only. They insist that the return of the Jews to the land of Israel starting in 1948 is the fulfillment of these prophecies and the ten tribes of Israel are lost forever. How can this a correct understanding in light of the Scriptures and the Jewish sages interpretations of those scriptures that states again and again that the ten tribes will return at the end of the age to be reunited with the Jews under the reign of Messiah Son of David (Ezek 37:15–28)?

Deuteronomy 30:6, Circumcise your heart.Obedience to YHVH is all about the heart, all about love and relationship between him and us. Are his commandments too difficult to keep? (See verses 11–14.) Ultimately obedience is about our making choices. What are those choices and what are both the long-term and short-term results of those choices? (Compare verses 29:27–28; 30:9, 20 with 30:15–16, and relate this to what Yeshua told the rich, young ruler in Matthew 19:16–19.)

Deuteronomy 30:6, Will circumcise your heart…and of your seed. This is a prophecy concerning the Renewed Covenant, to which Jeremiah makes reference (Jer 31:31, 33) as does Ezekiel (Ezek 36:26–27), and the writer of Hebrews (Heb 8:8).

 

Deuteronomy 26—Giving Financially Brings Blessing and Promotion

Deuteronomy chapter 26 discusses the joy of giving financially to those who are called and ordained of YHVH to do his spiritual work on earth as well as to the poor among you and the blessings that come on the giver as a result (vv. 1–15, 19). Giving is a holy activity (v. 13), and when YHVH’s people obey him in this area and observe his other commandments as well, he proclaims them to be his special people and promises to promote them high above the nations of the world as his holy people (vv. 17–20). This YHVH did for ancient Israel when they obeyed him, and he promises to do the same for those who obey him now (2 Cor 1:20). These eternal and immutable principles of the Torah are for all people for all time and have not changed over time regardless of men’s traditions and religious doctrines that say otherwise. You may not feel like YHVH has presently exalted you above all those around you, but consider this: What is your salvation worth and what will your status be after you’ve received your glorified body and are ruling and reigning with King Yeshua over this earth after his return?

Deuteronomy 26:4–11, You shall answer.This was the prayer that one was to make when one brought their tithe to YHVH. Bringing one’s tithe to YHVH was an act of gratefulness and worship and was brought with a joyful heart for the blessing the Almighty had bestowed upon the tithe-giver.

Deuteronomy 26:11, You shall rejoice.Bringing one’s tithes and offerings to YHVH is to be a joyful event since it is a reflection of our gratitude to him for abundantly blessing us. (Compare this verse with 2 Corinthians 9:6–11.) Giving to YHVH is a form of worship since it allows us to put our treasure where our heart is (Luke 12:34). Please join me in praying this prayer: 

Father, help us to give to you out of the abundance of our hearts joyfully and with gratitude for your blessings and bounty in our lives. Help me not to be a fair-weather giver only, but to give out of obedience, even sacrificially, that we may learn to have faith in your promises of provision and to obey you no matter the circumstances. Amein.

(For a brief study on tithing and giving, please see my teaching entitled, “Is Tithing for Us Today?” which is available on our ministry website at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/tithing.pdf.)

Deuteronomy 26:12, You shall give to the Levite, to the proselyte, to the orphan, and to the widow.Throughout the Tanakh, YHVH has a special place in his heart for the “underdogs” of society, as did Yeshua in his ministry. There are those, who through no fault of their own, and some due to their own faults, need help and extra grace and mercy. What is your attitude toward those who fall into this camp? What are you doing to help them?

Deuteronomy 26:13–15, Prayer offered when giving. This is the prayer that the tithe-payer is to pray upon bringing his tithe to YHVH. Tithing leads to prosperity, but for whom? Just the individual? Notice in verse 15 the wording: “bless your people Israel…” The tithe-payer is praying for blessings not just upon himself, but upon the entire nation. What can we draw from this? Is there room for selfish prayers here? What happens when the whole community is tithing and everyone is praying for everyone else’s well-being and blessing?

Deuteronomy 26:17–19, You have distinguished YHVH…YHVH has distinguished you.What does this mean? What is YHVH’s attitude toward Israel? What does the word avouched or distinguished (some translations read: proclaimed or agreeing) mean here? What is transpiring here with the people distinguishing YHVH and YHVH returning the action in verse 18? The resulting action is in verse 19.

 

Deuteronomy 17 on Two or Three Witnesses, Spiritual (Congregational) Leadership

Deuteronomy 17:1–3, Sacrifice. Yeshua, for us, offered himself as a spotless Lamb without blemish. Do you give YHVH your best, or do you give him the crumbs and leftovers? For example, do you give YHVH the best part of the day (the morning) for prayer, Bible reading and devotion, or the end of the day when you are tired and ready for bed? Do you give YHVH the first fruits (tithe) of your income or the leftovers (or none at all)? How are you helping to advance his kingdom on earth by using the talents, time and abilities he has given you, or are you using your energies and abilities to satiate the lusts of your flesh?

Deuteronomy 17:6 (and 19:15), By the testimony of two or three witnesses. In the Bible, one could not be accused of a crime (i.e. a sin) without the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses. This admonition is repeated in the Testimony of Yeshua:

But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matt 18:16)

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Cor 13:1)

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Tim 5:19)

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. (Heb 10:28)

Most gossip and slander would stop if this commandment were followed, and thus much division and strife within the congregation of believers. 

How many times have you repeated hearsay and gossip without checking the source? Even if you know it to be true, is it beneficial and righteous to repeat it to others? One Jewish sage goes so far as to say that Messiah has not come back because of all the gossip and slander of the people of Israel. Perhaps. At the very least, the Spirit of Elohim is greatly grieved, our intimacy with Elohim is diminished, and our marriages, families, friendships and congregations are fractured, hurt or destroyed because we speak things that should not be uttered.

How often do we accuse, slander and gossip about other people through use of the “evil tongue” (lashon hara) without going through proper channels and following proper biblical protocols to resolve interpersonal conflicts as Yeshua instructed in Matthew 18? How often do we attack others and spread our evil reports and accusations about others when we were not even eyewitnesses to what occurred or were not involved in the matter? How often do we attack YHVH’s leaders and accuse them of evil when there are no other witnesses (1 Tim 5:19)? YHVH hates those who sow discord among brethren and lying false witnesses, and calls this practice an abomination (Prov 6:16–17, 19). So let’s all be careful with our mouths!

Deuteronomy 17:2–5, Dealing with wickedness. Probably no one reading this is involved in any of the gross idolatrous practices listed here, but there are those little foxes (or little sins) that spoil the grapes (Song 2:15) and the little bit of leaven (tiny sins) that inflates or sours the whole loaf of bread. What ­idols or heathen practices, unrighteous world views, worldly attitudes, secular tendencies, profane habits and thought ­patterns, verbal expressions, etc. have you assimilated into your life that are keeping you from walking a higher, and hence, a more intimate and anointed walk with YHVH? Ask the Ruach haKodesh (the Set-Apart Spirit) to reveal these spiritual idols and strongholds to you so you can rid your life of them.

Deuteronomy 17:8–13, Matters of controversy. How respectful and obedient are you to the spiritual leaders YHVH has placed over you? Or do you follow their wise counsel only if and when it suits you? Nowadays if we don’t like a leader we simply leave our congregation and find a new one. In ancient Israel, this was not an option, nor was it an option in the first century. There was only one congregation in each town, and if there was a disagreement, people had to learn to work out their differences. What if we were in that situation today? How would that change your method of operation if you couldn’t just “cut and run” whenever things didn’t go your way or you got offended?

Deuteronomy 17:14–20, King over you. It is YHVH’s will for Israel to be ruled by a king. In the Messianic Era (Millennium), King Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of David, will rule not only over Israel but over the entire world from Jerusalem. YHVH ordained righteous leadership to help guide his people in the ways of truth and righteousness. 

When there is no leadership, everyone does what is right in his own eyes as occurred during the time of the judges. The Bible gives numerous examples of the chaos that results in a society or a group of people where there is no leadership. For example, The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash points out, “Two of the saddest episodes after Israel arrived in its Land—the graven image of Micah (Judg 17–18) and the atrocity involving the concubine at Gibeah (Judg 19–21)—are described by Scripture as having been possible only because there was no king in Israel (Judg 18:1; 19:1); had there been the leadership and discipline of a righteous king, he would never have permitted such outrages to take place” (pp. 1028–1029). 

Elohim is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Nowhere in the Bible does Elohim permit his people to be leaderless whether it was patriarchal leadership, Levitical leadership, the leadership of judges and prophets, kingly leadership, the leadership of apostles and elders culminating in the leadership of King Yeshua and the glorified saints that will be ruling with him as kings and priests in his millennial kingdom. 

Numerous times in Scripture, YHVH not only expects his  people to obey the righteous leaders he has put in place, but even unrighteous civil leaders (at least until they demand that one disobeys the higher laws of Elohim).

Many times in the Hebraic Roots Movement, one encounters folks who have been emotionally traumatized and hurt in the past by ungodly church leadership. As a result, many of these people now refuse to come under any leadership at all godly or otherwise. They pride themselves in establishing congregations and fellowships “where no one is the leader.” This is a recipe for disaster. Get back to me in one, two or five years and let me know who your experiment in this ungodly venture went. Eventually division and strife will tear such groups apart! After all, if everyone has equal say and anything can go on, who is going to stand up and say “this is wrong” and “that is unbiblical”? When grievous wolves in sheep’s clothing come in to tear the flock apart, who is going to put these agents of Satan out of the fellowship? 

No, leaderless groups are not a good thing. Those who want this are either naive when it comes to the machinations of human nature, or are they are rebels themselves and really don’t Elohim to rule over them, since he is the author of godly, righteous leadership

Do you resist YHVH-ordained leadership? If you have been hurt or “burned” by unscrupulous and self-serving leaders in the past, do you now refuse to recognize YHVH-ordained leadership thus losing the blessings that such leadership could bestow on your life? Let’s not throw the proverbial baby of righteous leadership out with the bath water because of our past hurtful experience. 

Deuteronomy 17:18, He shall write. The king was to know the Torah so that he could rule righteously based on the Word of YHVH. The book of Revelation says that the saints will be kings and priest ruling with Yeshua in the Millennium. Do you want to rule with him? If so, what are you doing now to prepare yourself for that position of responsibility? Is the study of YHVH’s Word a priority in your life or does it get bumped to last place after you have completed all the physical things you feel you need to do? How we prepare now for the future will determine our level of reward in YHVH’s kingdom. Will you be the least or the greatest? This will be determined by your study and practice of Torah. (See Matt 5:19.)

 

What does it mean to be set-apart (kadosh or holy)?

Ezekiel 44:15–31

The following is a quick study on the subject of what it means to be a set-apart and sanctified people. It is the desire and purpose of YHVH, “to open the eyes of those who are without YHVH and without hope (i.e. Gentiles), and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto YHVH, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Yeshua the Messiah” (Acts 26:18). The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, 7 further adds,

For this is the will of YHVH, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from [sexual immorality]: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the [lustful sexual desires], even as the [pagans] which know not YHVH … For YHVH has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto being set-apart.

The words sanctification and set-apart (kadosh) are related words in the Greek language and have the same meaning, which is “to purify, to consecrate, morally blameless, sacred, pure.” Only One (i.e., YHVH) who is set-apart and morally pure can take something which is unholy and defiled (i.e., man) and make it pure.

Man cannot pull himself up by his own bootstraps. He cannot become set-apart or holy, blameless and pure through his own good works. As we just read in Acts 26:18, we are sanctified (made set-apart, morally pure, blameless) through faith in Messiah who washed away the sin in us that made us unholy in the first place. He wiped clean the slate that recorded our past sins and then deposited into our lives his Set-Apart Spirit to supernaturally empower us to walk sin-free.

But then we have to stay set-apart by keeping under the sin-cleansing blood of Yeshua, by turning away from sin daily and by living a righteous, Torah-obedient life. Such will keep us in the path of righteousness. And if we happen to sin, we must confess that sin and YHVH promises to forgive us of our sin and spiritually cleanses us and restores us to a state of being set apart (1 John 1:9).

Sadly, some mistakenly believe that the Torah of Elohim (YHVH’s standard for holiness or righteousness) is no longer for us today—that it was “done away with at the cross.” If this concept is valid, then what part of the Torah (YHVH’s instructions in righteousness) is no longer for us today? You shall not murder? You shall not steal or commit adultery? Do not worship idols? Do not have sex with an animal? Keep the Sabbath? How about tithing? Tithing is part of YHVH’s Torah-law, and most Christian churches strongly advocate adherence to that law! In reality, following all of these commandments show us how to love YHVH with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and how to love our neighbor as ourselves. Keeping his divine laws helps us to walk in a sanctified manner, and to stay holy or set-apart (sanctified).

Sanctification involves coming out of the world, and getting the world out of us! It involves separating and cleansing ourselves from something that is unholy and profane (namely, the world, the flesh and the devil) and becoming a vessel that is set-apart and sacred (Yeshua-like). It is something that happens to us when we are born again, but it is also a lifelong process. Yeshua describes this in John 17:14, 17:

I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world … Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:17 exhorts YHVH’s people to,

“[C]ome out from among [the paganism of the world], and be you separate, says YHVH , and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,” says YHVH Almighty.

In summary, sanctification and being set-apart has several parts. First, there is a separation from the world, flesh, sin and darkness, which involves turning to YHVH through faith in the atoning blood of Messiah. At this point YHVH sanctifies or makes one set-apart for YHVH’s set-apart purposes and involves living a set-apart life and doing YHVH’s set-apart will. Sanctification takes something that is dirty, purifies it, and then dedicates it for a set-apart or godly use, and then commissions it to be used for that purpose. Remember the process this way: separation, purification, consecration leading to use or service with the end result being glorification and exaltation as kings and priests in YHVH’s eternal kingdom ….

To read the rest of this teaching article go to http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/holy_pr.pdf. In this article we discuss the following subjects: 

  • YHVH’s people are called to live a set-apart (holy) or sanctified life.
  • YHVH’s people are commissioned to make a difference between the set-apart and the profane.
  • How can that which is set-apart by YHVH return to that which is filthy??
  • What are some examples in Scripture of what can be profaned?
  • What keeps a person from becoming a set-apart priest of YHVH?

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

And [Yeshua] has made us kings and priests unto Elohim and his Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. … and we shall reign on the earth … with [Messiah] a thousand years. (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)

 

Deuteronomy 12—Where to Worship, the Religion of the Wilderness, Beware of False Gods

Deuteronomy 12:2ff, You shall utterly destroy. What are the present-day high placeswhere the world has placed its altars to its gods that as a called-out people and a set-apart nation YHVH is calling us to cast down and to destroy? Idols be they physical or material, emotional, and psychological in nature that form strongholds in our hearts and minds are things that hinder or prevent us from serving and obeying YHVH fully. What prevents you from keeping YHVH’s Sabbath and appointed times annual festivals (moedim)? What keeps you from prayer and intimate and set-apart times with him? What keeps you from hearing the voice of Yeshua and from loving him fully by keeping all of his commands? How about television, sports, your job and work schedule, family and peer pressure, fear, sinful habits and addictions, lust, greed, materialism and so on? What are you going to do about it?

Deuteronomy 12:3, You shall obliterate [destroy, put to death] their names [i.e. the names of pagan gods]. As The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash points out, not only was Israel to remove the idols themselves, but they were not even to refer to them by their proper names (p. 1000). Rashi, the ancient Jewish sage, says that names of ridicule were to be coined for the pagan gods and used instead. He points out in his commentary on this verse that Jews would actually formulate derisive wordplay names based on the original names of the gods. For example, the pagan temple called, “the house of the crest” became “the house of the ditch” in that the words crest and ditch were similar in Hebrew. Or the idol “everyone’s eye” became “thorn in the eye.” A similar example of this occurred during the Second Jewish Revolt of A.D. 135. The leader of that revolt, Simon bar Kosiba, was given the name Simon bar Kochba (meaning “star”), but when his revolt failed at the hands of the Romans his detractors nicknamed him Simon bar Koziba meaning “Son of a Lie” (Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah, by Daniel Gruber, p. 165). Coming up with names of ridicule for pagan deities and concepts may seem like a silly child’s game to some, but could it not serve to indelibly imprint on the minds of YHVH’s people the seriousness of idolatry and idolatrous practices? Could this not be a means of guiding the younger generation away from the ways of evil and into the paths of righteousness? In following the Jewish interpretation on this Torah command, what are some present day “gods,” “goddesses” or modern-day idols that could use renaming?

Deuteronomy 12:5ff, Put his name. Where has YHVH chosen to place his name spiritually? Are you bringing your tithes and offerings to that place so that YHVH can bless you?

Honour YHVH with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase so that your barns be filled with plenty …(Prov 3:9–10)

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

“‘Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How have we robbed you?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation [of you!] Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,’ says YHVH of Hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast [its grapes,],’ says YHVH of hosts.” (Mal 3:8–11)

Giving (through tithes and offerings) is a spiritual, kingdom principle and a key to obtaining blessings and success.

Deuteronomy 12:5, Only at the place that YHVH will choose … to place his name there … shall you seek out his Presence [habitation] and come there.The word presence (as translated in The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash) is the Hebrew word sheken (IFA) and as a verb means “to dwell or tabernacle,” and as a noun it means “dwelling, or tabernacle.” According to The TWOT, the verb is used 129 times in the Tanakh (OT) of which 43 times YHVH is the subject; that is, it describes where he dwells (e.g. on Mount Zion [Ps 74:2], among his people [Exod 25:8], or in Jerusalem [Zech 8:3]). On several occasions, it refers to his divine and glorious presence dwelling among his people (e.g. Exod 24:16; Ps 85:9). The word mishkan, which was the portable tabernacle, sanctuary or earthly dwelling place of the glorious presence of YHVH among his people, is derived from this word. What is YHVH saying in this verse? Namely, he is telling his people NOT to go just anywhere to worship him, but to go only where he has placed his name. How do we know where that is? It will be where his manifest glory and presence is to be found! Where you fellowship and worship him collectively with other believers is the manifest glory and presence of YHVH there to confirm that YHVH has placed his name there? If not, why not? Now let’s read Psalm 63:1–4,

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Deuteronomy 11—Love and Obedience to YHVH Is Rewarded

Deuteronomy 11:1, Love YHVH … and keep …his commandments.Compare this verse with what Yeshua said in John 14:15. When we understand that Yeshua is “YHVH your Elohim” does that not give us a new perspective about not only who Yeshua was/is, but his teachings in the Gospels? Does this shed new light on the issue when Paul said to “follow me as I follow the Messiah” (1 Cor 11:1)? What did Paul mean by this? Was Paul really pro-Torah?

Deuteronomy 11:8, That you may be strong.Obeying YHVH by keeping his Torah-commandments keep us strong. Strong is the Hebrew word chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure; to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair, to withstand.”

Deuteronomy 11:13, If you will hearken. Stale versus fresh manna. In the Hebrew, this phrase literally reads, “If hearken, you will hearken….” Rashi (the Medieval Jewish Torah scholar) interprets the double usage of this verb to mean, “If [you] listen to the old, you will listen to the new” meaning that if one listens to what one has already learned by taking care to review and understand it, one will gain new insights or fresh insights into the Torah (The ArtScroll Sapirstein Edition Rashi—Devarim, p. 110; The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 995). 

What does this teach us about studying YHVH’s Word consistently and regularly? YHVH gave the Israelites fresh (not stale) manna every day, even as he watered the land of Israel with the early (fall) and latter (spring) rains (a symbol for spiritual refreshment), so that the land would be fruitful without the need of man-made irrigation systems. Manna and rain both came from heaven and are used as figures of speech Hebraically to represent Torah-truth. 

Is your life being renewed regularly with fresh revelation and insights into the Word of YHVH, into his very heart and character? Does this not refresh, nourish and sustain the ground of your life, so that it yields an abundant spiritual crop of joy, shalom, intimacy with the Father and anointing? Is your life a place of fresh manna and constant rain, or a place of stale bread and drought? If so, what changes do you need to make in your life to change this situation?

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