Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
Parasha 45: Va’etchanan (I pleaded) - Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11; Haftarah reading: Isaiah 40:1-26. B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: Matthew 4:1-11 and 22:33-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 4:1-13 and 10:25-37; Acts 13:13-43; Romans 3:27-31; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; James 2:14-26. (Tanach Scriptures are from Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible; B’rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.)
Today's lesson: This whole lesson is a huge WOW! It's amazing that Christians refer to the commands YHWH gave to Moshe as "the Mosaic Law" - as if Moshe was the one who instituted YHWH's divine commands which, by the way, were supposedly abolished by Jesus....Moshe merely presented what YHWH personally instructed him to share with Israel.
In today’s parasha we find Moshe reiterating the Ten Commandments to the “new generation” – which were originally presented in Exodus 20. This parasha also reminded me of what YHWH said in Numbers 15 concerning the obedience of, and continued worship by, His people once they entered the “Promised Land”:
Numbers 15: 17 ADONAI said to Moshe, 18 "Speak to the people of Isra'el; tell them, 'When you enter the land where I am bringing you 19 and eat bread produced in the land, you are to set aside a portion as a gift for ADONAI. 20 Set aside from your first dough a cake as a gift; set it aside as you would set aside a portion of the grain from the threshing-floor. 21 From your first dough you will give ADONAI a portion as a gift through all your generations.
My husband and I never really caught the significance of this particular scripture before until we read it during a Torah cycle one year. Ever since then, we have been offering a portion of our every meal to Him because it is definitely one of the commands that man can still keep!
Today’s reading makes it abundantly clear that YHWH expected not only faith and belief in Him, but also obedience to His Torah (Divine Instructions in Righteousness) – and we must ask ourselves, was “obedience” abolished with the death of Yeshua? Let’s dissect what YHWH said:
Deuteronomy 4: 1 "Now, Isra'el (remember – ALL who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are part of Israel!), listen to the laws and rulings I am teaching you, in order to follow them, so that you will live; then you will go in and take possession of the land that ADONAI, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Granted, at the time He was talking to “that generation”; however, our “Promised Land” is in heaven, and in order to get there, we MUST obey His commands – and we will certainly be obeying them forever after. We cannot be “carnal” in this world or offer “strange fire” (Leviticus 10:1, Numbers 3:4) before YHWH if we wish to please Him!
Deuteronomy 4: 2 In order to obey the mitzvot of ADONAI your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it. 3 You saw with your own eyes what ADONAI did at Ba'al-P'or, that ADONAI destroyed from among you all the men who followed Ba'al-P'or; 4 but you who stuck with ADONAI your God are still alive today, every one of you.
Realistically, what are many believers doing today? They are constantly either adding to or subtracting from His Word! Many Messianic (Torah observant) believers have skewed the Word by fighting over things like the spelling of the transliteration of the Sacred Names (see http://therefinersfire.org/yeshua_vs_yahshua.htm) and are concentrating on unbiblical nonsense such as “adding wives” because they believe God condones polygyny (see http://therefinersfire.org/multiple_wives_myth.htm). And Christians insist that “Jesus is God” and all we have to do is to ‘believe’ in Him in order to gain eternal life - while totally ignoring the fact that Yeshua came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH (including obedience to His Torah by, among other things, keeping the feasts and the Seventh Day Sabbath) and to personally show us how to worship and obey:
Luke 4: 43 "But he (Yeshua/Jesus) said, "I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."
And the Apostles upheld it, but somehow that is ignored, as well:
Acts 28: 23 "From morning till evening the Apostle Paul explained and declared the Kingdom of God and tried to convince people about Yeshua from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."
Acts 24: 14. But this indeed I (Paul) acknowledge, that in that same doctrine of which they speak, I do serve the Elohim of my fathers, believing all the things written in Torah and in the prophets.
YHWH over and over again reiterated via His servant Moshe the need for His people to OBEY:
Deuteronomy 4: 5 Look, I have taught you laws and rulings, just as ADONAI my God ordered me, so that you can behave accordingly in the land where you are going in order to take possession of it. 6 Therefore, observe them; and follow them; for then all peoples will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, 'This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.' 7 For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as ADONAI our God is, whenever we call on him? 8 What great nation is there that has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah which I am setting before you today?
The above absolutely brings tears to my eyes! How can anyone possibly misunderstand the fact that following YHWH’s laws will set us apart and make others recognize that we have wisdom and understanding? Please read on:
Deuteronomy 4: 9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves diligently as long as you live, so that you won't forget what you saw with your own eyes, so that these things won't vanish from your hearts. Rather, make them known to your children and grandchildren - 10the day you stood before ADONAI your God at Horev, when ADONAI said to me, 'Gather the people to me, and I will make them hear my very words, so that they will learn to hold me in awe as long as they live on earth, and so that they will teach their children.' 11You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain; and the mountain blazed with fire to the heart of heaven, with darkness, clouds and thick mist. 12 Then ADONAI spoke to you out of the fire! You heard the sound of words but saw no shape, there was only a voice. 13 He proclaimed his covenant to you, which he ordered you to obey, the Ten Words; and he wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 At that time ADONAI ordered me to teach you laws and rulings, so that you would live by them in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it.
Now, below we will see why it is wrong for us to have statues or paintings of Mary and Jesus or any other “saint” in our homes and churches. These representations can corrupt us and cause us to "worship and serve them":
Deuteronomy 4: 15 "Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day ADONAI spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16 do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure - not a representation of a human being, male or female, 17 or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline. 19 For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; ADONAI your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky.
WOW! What part of "make no carved/graven images" is too hard to understand - too hard to obey?
Deuteronomy 4: 20 No, you ADONAI has taken and brought out of the smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of inheritance for him, as you are today. 21 "But ADONAI was angry with me on account of you and swore that I would not cross the Yarden and go into that good land, which ADONAI your God is giving you to inherit. 22 Rather, I must die in this land and not cross the Yarden; but you are to cross and take possession of that good land. 23 Watch out for yourselves, so that you won't forget the covenant of ADONAI your God, which he made with you, and make yourself a carved image, a representation of anything forbidden to you by ADONAI your God. 24 For ADONAI your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Now take a look at this:
Deuteronomy 4: 25 "When you have had children and grandchildren, lived a long time in the land, become corrupt and made a carved image, a representation of something, and thus done what is evil in the sight of ADONAI your God and provoked him; 26 I call on the sky and the earth to witness against you today that you will quickly disappear from the land that you are crossing the Yarden to possess. You will not prolong your days there but will be completely destroyed. 27 ADONAI will scatter you among the peoples; and among the nations to which ADONAI will lead you away, you will be left few in number. 28 There you will serve gods which are the product of human hands, made of wood and stone, which can't see, hear, eat or smell.
29 However, from there you will seek ADONAI your God; and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and being. 30In your distress, when all these things have come upon you, in the acharit-hayamim, you will return to ADONAI your God and listen to what he says; 31 for ADONAI your God is a merciful God. He will not fail you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.
Wow!!! Notice verse 27 and on, where YHWH said He would scatter His people among the nations – which He ultimately did….And most are still there, among the pagans who have their own theologies and gods and where “Christmas trees” and “Easter eggs” are still being decorated everyone is “tolerant” of other “religions” and gods...(please take a look at the following articles):
But take a look at the Grace YHWH is willing to dole out for those who return to Him and renounce their evil ways:
Deuteronomy 4: 29 However, from there you will seek ADONAI your God; and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and being. 30 In your distress, when all these things have come upon you, in the acharit-hayamim (world to come), you will return to ADONAI your God and listen to what he says; 31 for ADONAI your God is a merciful God. He will not fail you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them. (Well, that knocks a hole in the “white supremacist” Replacement Theology!!!)
The above shows that YHWH leaves time for HIS people to wake up! Many (both Jews and Gentiles) have realized the error of their ways, given up their carnality and decided to become Torah observant believers in Messiah Yeshua who was our Final SIN Sacrifice!
And here He is, once more reiterating that HE is God and we are to obey His commands:
Deuteronomy 4: 40 Therefore, you are to keep his laws and mitzvot which I am giving you today, so that it will go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you will prolong your days in the land ADONAI your God is giving you forever."
As a refresher, please read Deuteronomy 5:6-21 where Moshe reiterates YHWH’s Ten Mitzvot (Words/Commands). Note in verse 5:11 YHWH says: 'You are not to misuse the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who misuses his name.” This is totally different from Deut. 6:13 which says: “You are to fear ADONAI your God, serve him and swear by his name” in that the former means we are not to use His Name as a cussword or tell anyone “YHWH told me to tell you…” or whatever; while the latter means you are to honor Him but using His name when you swear an oath.
Also, please note in Deuteronomy 5:12-15, YHWH's Shabbat doesn't say a thing about Shabbat being according to the moon phases as the "lunar sabbatarians would have us believe! Please see http://therefinersfire.org/lunar_shabbat.htm
It is interesting to note that our country which is a nation “under God” has NEVER bothered to keep the COMMANDED Seventh Day Sabbath (4th Commandment)! Christians have always insisted on a SUNDAY Sabbath, even though neither YHWH nor Yeshua eversuggested that Sabbath was to be observed on the “first” day. Please go re-read Deuteronomy 5:15! So, the question begs to be asked: Which god are we really worshipping?
Moving on to Deuteronomy 6 we find the Sh’ma (hear/listen/do) - which we can find written inside the mezuzahs on our doorframes:
Deuteronomy 6: 4 "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one]; 5 and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.
Okay, quick question: Who is Israel? YOU are!
In Deuteronomy 6:16 YHWH’s people are told: “Do not put ADONAI your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah [testing].” The ONLY place we are ever told to “test” YHWH is in tithing:
Malachi 3: 10 Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "See if I won't open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs.
Now, let's quickly check out Deuteronomy 7 wherein YHWH reiterates who His People are and why they are to be holy:
Deuteronomy 7: 6 For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 ADONAI didn't set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people - on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 Rather, it was because ADONAI loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that ADONAI brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 From this you can know that ADONAI your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot, to a thousand generations. 10 But he repays those who hate him to their face and destroys them. He will not be slow to deal with someone who hates him; he will repay him to his face. 11 Therefore, you are to keep the mitzvot, laws and rulings which I am giving you today, and obey them.
Whoah! I don't know about you, but the above gives me goosebumps! These verses still apply to us! My goodness, how could anyone suggest that YHWH agreed to have his mitzvot abolished on the day His Son was nailed to the stake!
As I bring today’s Torah studies to a close, I would like to point out a few important Brit Chadasha scriptures and their significance, such as in Matthew 4 where we find through Yeshua's example that we are NOT to argue with the devil or his minions! Yeshua quoted TORAH, instead of arguing with Satan when He was being "tempted":
Matthew 4: 1. Then Y’shua was taken by the Ruach haKodesh to the desert to be tempted by the accuser. 2. And he fasted forty days and forty nights and after which he hungered. 3. And approached he that was tempting and said to him “if you are the son of Elohim, say to these rocks become bread,” 4. and he answered and said, It is written that the Son of man does not live by bread alone, but by all the Words that proceed from the mouth of YHWH. 5. Then the accuser took him to the Set Apart city and raised him upon the edge of the temple,
6. and said to him, “If you are the son of Elohim, cast yourself down for it is written that his Messengers he commands concerning you, and upon their hands they will bear you up that your foot should not strike upon a rock.” 7. Y’shua said to him, Again it is written that you will not test Master YHWH your Elohim. 8. Again the accuser took him to (a) mountain that (was) very high and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9. and said to him, “These all I will give to you if you will fall (and) worship me.” 10. Then Y’shua said to him Leave enemy, for it is written that you will worship Master YHWH your Elohim and Him alone you will serve.
 Y’shua declares that he himself, along with all of mankind, is required to live by the “Words” of YHWH, and that the Commandments Y’shua teaches are in fact YHWH’s Commandments from Torah. However, Greek/English translators inserted the title Kurios/Lord, for both YHWH and Y’shua, rather than using original Names. Christian theologians then began teaching the fallacy that their “New Testaments” were the “new” Word, or new “Commandments of Y’shua” that replaced the original Word of YHWH, which is Torah. See John 8:36 (47); 12:48-50; 13:34; 14:10-21; 1 John 2:3-8; 2 John 1:5,6.
 A dark foreshadowing of the martyrdom of Ya’akov HaTsaddiq (James the Just) brother of Y’shua. Ya’akov, who routinely prayed at the Temple to ask YHWH’s forgiveness for the sins of his people, was highly regarded for his meekness, devotion and service to the Jewish people. It was said that Ya’akov had camel’s knees because he very often prayed while on his knees. He was ultimately thrown off the top of the Temple by demonized religious fanatics because of his allegiance to Y’shua Mashiyach. Ya’akov taught that Y’shua is the Arm of YHWH revealed, and he refused to renounce his belief in Y’shua Mashiyach. Origen criticized Josephus for attributing the fall of Jerusalem to the martyrdom of Ya’akov, rather than to Y’shua.
Now check out how Paul asks if FAITH nullifies Torah, and then he answers his own question!
Romans 3: 27. Where then is glorying? It is completely unmade. By what Torah? By that of works? No! But by the Torah of faith. 28. We therefore conclude, that it is by faith a man is being made righteous, and not by the works of Torah. 29. For, is he the Elohim of the Jews only and not of the Gentiles? No, but of the Gentiles also. Because there is one Elohim who makes righteous the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision by 30. the same faith. 31. Do, we then nullify Torah by faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish Torah.
 The terms “works of Torah” and “under Torah” predate Paul by hundreds of years. These terms were discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls (A Sectarian Manifesto 4QMMT:4Q394-399); while originally referring to the ultra religious halacha of the Essenes, the same principles apply to the Pharisees’ halacha. These two phrases are also mentioned in Romans 6:14, 15; 9:32; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 21; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10, 23; 4:4, 5, 21; 5:18. “Under Torah” refers to the orthodox/traditional interpretation and observance of Torah. Religious halacha is clearly NOT what Y’shua or Paul followed in their observance of Torah. The Renewed Covenant promise in Jeremiah 31:33 is to write the Torah of YHWH upon the hearts of His people, not the “Torah of men.” The idiomatic expression “works of Torah” provides insight to those of a “traditional” Jewish upbringing. Paul references Jews at the beginning of this chapter; in verse 19 he states “Now we know” referring to those who understand Torah and halacha.
And in the below, James goes on to show what “justified” means:
James 2: 24. You see that by works a man is justified and not by faith alone.
 The Hebrew word for a righteous soul = tsadiq; righteousness = tsedeq; justified = tsadaq; notice they are the same word. A soul without righteousness can never be “justified” regardless of what theologians claim. The original root word for justified relates to righteous action. However, mainstream Christianity teaches that a person is “justified” solely on the merits of belief in Y’shua, and that observing Torah is impossible. Even in Ya’akov’s day, some individuals wanted cerebral belief to “justify” themselves, which is impossible. Y’shua’s person (example) and Spirit is meant to literally be imparted into us; this must be evidenced by our actions, otherwise we do not belong to him. Theological, or cerebral “belief” without works, is dead religion; but active literal Faith comes to life in Mashiyach. Torah Observance/obedience is clear evidence that we have passed from death to life. See John 5:29, Matthew 7:23.
Christians love to use the next verse as proof that Torah was abolished, but please take a look at the footnote concerning Acts 13:39:
Acts 13: 39. And from all that which you were not able to be made righteous by the Torah of Moshe, by this (man), everyone who believes is justified!
 If a person would diligently observe all the Torah of Moshe, on their own strength, they could still never be “made righteous” because it is YHWH who makes righteous, not the act of observance itself. All observance of Torah must be based on Faith; we must recognize that our observance is according to the will of YHWH, and is done in a manner that is pleasing unto Him. The Torah of Moshe not only reveals Mashiyach, but Mashiyach is the fullness of Torah. It is Torah which establishes the criterion for Mashiyach’s righteousness. Sacrifice for sin and atonement are all established by Faith towards or “in” YHWH, and all Faith in YHWH points to Mashiyach. YHWH’s “own arm” via Mashiyach brought Salvation. Therefore, it is impossible to be “justified” by Torah without faith in Mashiyach. Belief in Mashiyach goes to the heart of Faith. Torah cannot be negated or else Mashiyach would be, as well, because they are One!
Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and I pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH.