Blog Scripture Readings for 9-6 Through 9-12-15

Aside

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION:

Parashat Nitzavim — Deuteronomy 29:9 (10)* – 30:20 
Haftarah — Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9
Prophets — Micah 3:1 – 7:20; Nahum 1:1 – 2:13
Writings — 2 Chronicles 9:1 – 15:19
Testimony — Hebrews 10:1 – 13:25; Revelation 1:1-20

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 Bibles when it differs from the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 9/6 through 9/12/15.

 

Yeshua was much more than a carpenter!

Hebrews 3:3, He who built the house. Yeshua is the builder of his spiritual house — the church. Interestingly, his earthly father trained him to be a carpenter. Often the physical or natural and spiritual dimensions parallel each other. The idea of Yeshua being the Creator  of all things including humanity (Heb 1:10; John 1:3, 10) and being the builder of his spiritual house provides us with an important truth.

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How is it that the death of Yeshua — one human — could pay for the sins of the whole earth — many humans? Simply this. Yeshua in his pre-incarnate state as the Word of Elohim created all humans. His life is more valuable than the lives of all those he created, since he is the Creator, even as life of the builder of a house has more value than all the houses he builds.

This is why Yeshua could pay for the sins of the whole world, and why his life was more valuable than those of all the humans that have ever lived in the history of the world.

 

The Torah: the Letter Vs. the Spirit & Blessings Vs. Curses

Deuteronomy 28:1–68, Blessings and curses for Torah obedience.

Are the curses for Torah disobedience and the blessings for obedience still applicable in the life of the redeemed believer today, or because “we’re now under grace” are these blessings and curses irrelevant to us? Or, as some preachers teach, Christians now only receive the blessings, and not the curses regardless of whether they violate the Torah or not, since Yeshua took away the curse of the law. What is the answer to this question? The short answer is this: Is the law of gravity still in effect if you jump off a cliff? For a further explanation, see my notes at 2 Cor 3:7.

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2 Corinthians 3:7, Ministry of death. Is this a reference to the Torah? If so, which aspects? Just previously in verse six, Paul is speaking about the new covenant and the letter bringing death and the spirit bringing life. What is he referring to here? Is the spirit of the Torah-law all that is applicable to the believer today, and not the letter? If so then why did Yeshua in his Sermon on the Mount excoriate the Jews for keeping the letter and not the spirit of the Torah? In fact, he strongly affirmed that his disciples must keep both the letter and the spirit. To keep only the spirit would be tantamount to saying it’s all right to murder as long as you don’t hate the person, commit adultery as you don’t lust in the process, and so on. It is plain to see that his notion is absurd. Yet this is what many Christians believe. We must keep the spirit, but don’t have to keep the letter of the law, and they will use this passage of Scripture to justify their belief. If this is not what Paul Continue reading

 

Does the Epistle to the Hebrews  Belong in the New Testament Canon?

I had to write this article a few years ago because a notable Hebrew roots teacher suddenly began promoting the idea that the Book of Hebrews was an invention of the Catholic Church and didn’t belong in the NT canon of Scripture. So far as I know, this teacher hasn’t recanted of his errant and heretical position to this day. Since then, other Hebrew roots teachers have come out advocating the additions of books to the canon of Scripture (the books of Enoch and Jahser).

This ministry dogmatically holds to the view that the books contained in the Bible as we currently have it is the inspired word of Elohim with no additions or subtractions.

I hope this article helps someone and will strengthen their faith in the Word of Elohim.

[The following is excerpted from a larger work by the same author entitled, “Can You Trust the New Testament Canon as YHVH’s Divine Word?” at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/nt_canon_full.pdf.]

The Uniqueness of the Bible

The Bible. There has never been any book like it. Its authors included kings and peasants and it was written over a span of 1500 years and 40 generations by 40 authors writing from palaces to jail cells. It was first translated into a foreign language circa 250 B.C. and has since, in whole or in part, been translated into several thousand languages or dialects. It has survived time. Though printed on perishable materials and recopied countless times over the past 2000 years by hand and by press, the main style and message of this book has never changed. The Bible has withstood vicious attacks of its enemies as no other book. Since Roman times, governmental and religious authorities have tried to ban it, burn it and outlaw it, but to no avail. It is still the most widely published and read book of all time (McDowell, pp. 13–24). Why?

Many have willingly given their lives to translate it, smuggle it, distribute it, preach its message or even simply possess a copy of it. Why? More than two billion people on earth today, about one-third of earth’s population claim to be followers of the Bible. Why? Nearly 50,000 people are currently martyred each year for refusing to budge from their faith in the Bible’s message. Why?

The answer is simple. Regardless of the language into which the Bible has been translated, regardless of the liberal or conservative biases of the translators, one thing is certain: The redemptive and salvation message of the Bible always comes through. It is a life-changing message of hope. Why? Because its pages contain words that have the power to change lives dramatically for good, for eternity. Why? Because these words are not the words of men, but of the Creator of men—of YHVH Elohim, the God of the Bible. As such, they carry the full force, power and anointing of divine origination. If not, how else can one explain the biblical phenomena? There is no human explanation for it other than the divine hand of YHVH Elohim has been on the Bible from its beginning until this very moment!

Can We Trust the Bible?

In spite of the impact the Bible has had on the lives of billions of souls over the past 2000 years, a question remains: Can you put your trust in every word contained therein? This is an important question, for if the Bible is correct, then whether you live again or not after your physical death will depend on how you orient your life with respect to the biblical message. So can we trust our lives with the words of Scripture—specifically, the message of Yeshua the Messiah as recorded in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament)? Are the 27 books which comprise the Apostolic Scriptures in our Bible the true and accurate accounts of the words of Yeshua and his directly commissioned apostles?

In this work we shall see that the 27 books of the Apostolic Scriptures would not have a been acknowledged as being “Canon” if they had not first been recognized by the apostles of Yeshua and the Body of Believers in the first and second centuries A.D. as having the same authority as the earlier Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). And the latter Christian church would not have accepted these books as canon, and subsequently affirmed their canonicity if they had not felt that these books carried the weight of apostolic authority. Period! Yet despite this profound and simple truth, many are beginning to question the authority of the New Testament Canon of Scripture.

A Problem: Some Are Questioning the Bible

The Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) are under fire. Some Messianic/Hebrew roots teachers are currently questioning if the 27 books of the New Testament are all divinely inspired or not. Some are even taking it upon themselves to begin tossing out certain books, such as the Epistle to the Hebrews, from the New Testament canon claiming that it was not divinely inspired and was added later to the canon of Scripture by the proto-Catholic Church. Others claim that the early church fathers “messed” with the original Continue reading

 

Epistle to the Hebrews: Background, Themes and Outline

Background of the Epistle to the Hebrews

A debate exists among scholars as to when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. Some believe it was written just before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, while others maintain that it was written just after 70 AD. This author favors the former position since the author of Hebrews speaks of the sacrificial system in the present tense as if was still functioning (Heb 10:11; 13:10, 11).

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At the same time, the author of Hebrews seems to be addressing the concerns of early believers that without the temple standing and the sacrificial system functioning, there is no longer remission for sins. He assiduously points out how the patterns and prophecies of the Tanakh are pointing to the greater priesthood of Messiah Yeshua in the heavenly tabernacle. As such, the author seems to have in view the destruction of the temple, yet while the temple is still standing.

Perhaps, the author was writing Hebrews in the four-year time period (between 67 AD to 70 AD) when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, then pulled away for one year, then rebesieged and destroyed the city in 70 AD. Or, he may have had in mind the prophecies Yeshua’s gave in his Olivette Continue reading

 

The Inter-Connectedness of YHVH’s Torah Commandments

Deuteronomy 27:15–18, The commandments are all inter-conected. 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. 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.

YHVH's Torah commandments are all inter-related and one is connected to another. You break one, your break them all.

YHVH’s Torah commandments are all inter-related and one is connected to another. You break one, your break them all.

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 his blindness by advising him in a way beneficial to us and to his disadvantage. Juxtaposed to that is 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 give one insight into the curious statement found in James 2:10? We can 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 where 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.

 

Ways to Help Persecuted Christians in Syria

The following article is from Open Door USA (http://www.opendoorsusa.org) — http://www.opendoorsusa.org/newsroom/tag-news-post/syrian-pastors-church-workers-carrying-out-ministry-with-gods-help/

SYRIAN PASTORS, CHURCH WORKERS CARRYING OUT MINISTRY WITH GOD’S HELP

August 31, 2015 by Janelle P in Middle East
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An estimated 700,000 Christians have left Syria, but some pastors and church workers have made the decision to stay in the country torn apart by a civil war and the savage murders and kidnappings carried out by Islamic State (IS) extremists. Life is dangerous for Christians with daily shootings, regular bomb explosions and snipers in the streets. What makes Pastor Samuel* and relief worker Fathi* from Aleppo and Pastor Edward from Damascus stay?

Before the war began, cities such as Aleppo, Damascus and Homs were home to large Christian communities. Many of the Christians who are still in Aleppo are there for two main reasons: 1) they have no money to leave the city, or 2) they feel called to stay to help the remaining people or their congregations. One of them is Pastor Samuel, a pastor of a Protestant church with 250 members attending every Sunday. His wife and children have left the country; for them it was impossible to live under the constant threat of violence. The family endured great sacrifice. They have been separated from each other for a long time.

“Despite everything that has happened, we are all trying to do our best to serve the people who remain and provide God’s hope in a hopeless situation,” says Pastor Samuel. He sees many people coming to his church, mainly people who cannot go to their own churches because of the fighting. “In many situations the only thing we can do is pray. Psalm 91 comforts me and gives me strength.”

Fathi is one of the Syrian Christians who plays a key role in helping refugees through local churches supported by Open Doors.

“No, I never thought of leaving,” he said to an Open Doors worker. “Every day I see how we can help people deal with reality. Of course, on the other side, I think of my family. I am afraid for their lives, but not for my own. Over the last couple of years the Lord had protected me when I was stopped at checkpoints and when I went through certain areas of the city and country. God protected me.

“That keeps me going. I see how we can make a difference through the work we are doing. When bullets hit left and right of you, when buildings crash, and when you fear for your life, the bigger picture helps us to continue. We need to go on. I am happy to see it is a joint effort of different churches and denominations. It is not about me.”

Pastor Edward stays with his wife Ranaa in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

“We don’t want to leave,” he shares. “We are feeling even more responsible now. To be honest, we’re not really concerned about our own safety. We thank God who is helping us day by day. He is giving us a peace that surpasses understanding.”

All of the people leaving have left a large hole in the churches.

“Of course we feel it when people leave,” says Pastor Edward. “It depresses us to see people depart. Though many have left, the church is still full. Many new people are coming to church. That is very encouraging. We see the hand of God at work.”

The three are thankful for the Christians around the world who pray for Syria.

“We thank God for all those who pray for us and who support us,” expresses Pastor Samuel. “The Lord is watching us. He is our fortress, our strength and refuge. He will protect us.”

Syria is ranked #4 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.

Open Doors President/CEO David Curry told the Christian Post in a phone interview recently that refugees in northern Iraq and Syria are facing “huge food shortages,” with close to 300,000 Christians having limited means by which to pay for food. With millions of people displaced across the region, Open Doors estimates that $20 million will be needed to provide food for the refugees in the next 18 months. Curry said that one of his biggest concerns is that Christians “will be the last among the refugees to receive vitally needed help,” and called on Christians around the world to partner with Open Doors in order to remind those who are suffering that they are not forgotten.

Help feed an entire family in Syria and Iraq for a month for just $50.

*Real names are protected for security reasons

Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.