Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
Parashah 46: Ekev because- Deuteronomy 7:12 â€“ 11:25; Haftarah reading: Isaiah 49:14 - 51:3. B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; James 5:7-11. (Tanach Scriptures are from Sternâ€™s Complete Jewish Bible; Bâ€™rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.)
Today's lesson: Todayâ€™s parashah was absolutely awesome! Today, we once again see Moshe reiterating YHWHâ€™s commands before the â€œnew generationâ€� crosses over into the Holy Land. (By the way, the term â€œHebrewâ€� means â€œto cross overâ€� (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_language). In Genesis 12:1 we see Avram (later renamed Avraham) being told to leave his fatherâ€™s house and go to the land that YHWH intended to show him. Avram â€œcrossed overâ€� both physically and spiritually when He obeyed YHWHâ€™s command, thus becoming our first Patriarch! In Exodus 33:1, we see YHWH telling Moshe to â€œleave this placeâ€� and go to the Promised Landâ€¦and shortly we will see His Chosen actually â€œcrossing overâ€� into Israel where they fulfill YHWHâ€™s Genesis 12:2 promise to have their own land and to make them into a great nation.
Making them into a â€œgreat nationâ€�, however, came with some responsibilities: He expected His people to be holy and set apart, adhering only to HIS commands â€“ which includes displacing all the pagans they encounter to keep themselves from becoming infected by paganistic ways:
Deuteronomy 7: 12 "Because you are listening to these rulings, keeping and obeying them, ADONAI your God will keep with you the covenant and mercy that he swore to your ancestors.
Deuteronomy 7: 16 You are to devour all the peoples that ADONAI your God hands over to you - show them no pity, and do not serve their gods, because that will become a trap for you. 17 If you think to yourselves, 'These nations outnumber us; how can we dispossess them?' 18 nevertheless, you are not to be afraid of them; you are to remember well what ADONAI your God did to Pharaoh and all of Egypt - 19 the great ordeals which you yourself saw, and the signs, wonders, strong hand and outstretched arm by which ADONAI your God brought you out. ADONAI will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, ADONAI your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left and those who hide themselves perish ahead of you. 21 You are not to be frightened of them, because ADONAI your God is there with you, a God great and fearsome.
22 ADONAI your God will expel those nations ahead of you little by little; you can't put an end to them all at once, or the wild animals will become too numerous for you. 23 Nevertheless, ADONAI your God will give them over to you, sending one disaster after another upon them until they have been destroyed. 24 He will hand their kings over to you, and you will wipe out their name from under heaven; none of them will be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. 25 You are to burn up completely the carved statues of their gods. Don't be greedy for the silver or gold on them; don't take it with you, or you will be trapped by it; for it is abhorrent to ADONAI your God.
Many people use scriptures like the above to suggest "the God of the Old Testament was mean." But nothing could be further from the Truth! YHWH doesn't waste words; there is a reason for everything He says. In cases like the above, he ordered the extermination of the godless pagans who did not belong to Him and who were/are/would be infecting others with their godlessness. In the above case, those particular pagans lived in the land that YHWH wanted HIS people to inhabit, and in order to keep HIS people from being infected with pagan ways, He wanted every last one of the pagans and their idols destroyed. If Israel had only heeded these warnings, the Land wouldn't be full of paganism now!
We learn later on exactly why YHWH destroyed these pagans:
Deuteronomy 9: 4 ...it is because these nations have been so wicked that ADONAI is driving them out ahead of you.
Time and time again, throughout the Torah, YHWH warned His people NOT to become greedy for silver or gold or possessions. In this particular case, He was warning them that silver and gold could entrap men and remove their eyes from HIS Word:
Deuteronomy 7: 25 You are to burn up completely the carved statues of their gods. Don't be greedy for the silver or gold on them; don't take it with you, or you will be trapped by it; for it is abhorrent to ADONAI your God. 26 Don't bring something abhorrent into your house, or you will share in the curse that is on it; instead, you are to detest it completely, loathe it utterly; for it is set apart for destruction.
Notice Moshe reiterates in verse 26 that we are not to bring â€œsomething abhorrentâ€� into our houses lest we share in the curse that is on it â€œfor it is set apart for destruction.â€� What do we bring into our houses today that YHWH wouldnâ€™t approve of? One example is that cute little Indian god, Kokopelli, who graces the rugs, sheets or towels of many "Southwestern" households. Another is the â€œChristmas treeâ€� whose roots are deeply ensconced in paganism. Even â€œJesus hanging on a crossâ€� on our walls is an offense, as YHWH told man NOT to make any kind of image of God (Exodus 20:4-6).
Obedience to YHWH is key to our relationship with Him. YHWH Himself repeated this mantra time and time again throughout His Torah!
Deuteronomy: 1 "All the mitzvot I am giving you today you are to take care to obey, so that you will live, increase your numbers, enter and take possession of the land ADONAI swore about to your ancestors. 2 You are to remember everything of the way in which ADONAI led you these forty years in the desert, humbling and testing you in order to know what was in your heart - whether you would obey his mitzvot or not.
Deuteronomy 8: 6 So obey the mitzvot of ADONAI your God, living as he directs and fearing him.
Deuteronomy 8: 11 "Be careful not to forget ADONAI your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. 12 Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, 13 and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, 14 you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting ADONAI your God - who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves;
We should pay particular attention to the times when YHWH repeats Himself! The key is to remain close to Him through love and obedience so that we won't be considered "lukewarm" on Judgment Day. Letâ€™s read Deuteronomy 8 in context:
Deuteronomy 8: 6 So obey the mitzvot of ADONAI your God, living as he directs and fearing him. 7 For ADONAI your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams, springs and water welling up from the depths in valleys and on hillsides. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley, grapevines, fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land where you will eat food in abundance and lack nothing in it; a land where the stones contain iron and the hills can be mined for copper. 10 So you will eat and be satisfied, and you will bless ADONAI your God for the good land he has given you.
Deuteronomy 8: 11 "Be careful not to forget ADONAI your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. 12 Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, 13 and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, 14 you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting ADONAI your God - who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves; 15 who led you through the vast and fearsome desert, with its poisonous snakes, scorpions and waterless, thirsty ground; who brought water out of flint rock for you; 16 who fed you in the desert with man, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end - 17 you will think to yourself, 'My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.' 18 No, you are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth, in order to confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as is happening even today.
Now please pay very close attention to Mosheâ€™s warning:
Deuteronomy 8: 19 If you forget ADONAI your God, follow other gods and serve and worship them, I am warning you in advance today that you will certainly perish. 20 You will perish just like the nations that ADONAI is causing to perish ahead of you, because you will not have heeded the voice of ADONAI your God."
Isnâ€™t that exactly what we have done? Isnâ€™t this exactly why the world is in the shape itâ€™s in? How many different â€œgodsâ€� are in the world today? How many â€œreligionsâ€� and â€œdenominationsâ€�? Israel became a desert wasteland once His people began to disobey â€“ and it remained as such until Israel was given back to â€œthe Jewsâ€� on May 14, 1948, three years after the Holocaust. Please see http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Declaration%20of%20Establishment%20of%20State%20of%20Israel and also http://therefinersfire.org/whose_land.htm
Anyway, reading on we can see that YHWH didnâ€™t choose the Hebrews because they numbered more than other peoples, or for their righteousness, or because their hearts were upright, but because He simply â€œchoseâ€� them:
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.
Deuteronomy 9: 5 It is not because of your righteousness, or because your heart is so upright, that you go in to take possession of their land; but to punish the wickedness of these nations that ADONAI your God is driving them out ahead of you, and also to confirm the word which ADONAI swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. 6 Therefore, understand that it is not for your righteousness that ADONAI your God is giving you this good land to possess. "For you are a stiffnecked people!
And what does He expect of those whom He has chosen?
Deuteronomy 10: 12 "So now, Isra'el, all that ADONAI your God asks from you is to fear ADONAI your God, follow all his ways, love him and serve ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being; 13 to obey, for your own good, the mitzvot and regulations of ADONAI which I am giving you today. 14 See, the sky, the heaven beyond the sky, the earth and everything on it all belong to ADONAI your God. 15 Only ADONAI took enough pleasure in your ancestors to love them and choose their descendants after them -yourselves -above all peoples, as he still does today. 16 Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don't be stiffnecked any longer! (See also Luke 10:25)
17 For ADONAI your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awesome God, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes. 18 He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You are to fear ADONAI your God, serve him, cling to him and swear by his name. 21 He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which you have seen with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors went down into Egypt with only seventy people, but now ADONAI your God has made your numbers as many as the stars in the sky!
Deuteronomy 11: 8 Therefore, you are to keep every mitzvah I am giving you today; so that you will be strong enough to go in and take possession of the land you are crossing over to conquer; 9 and so that you will live long in the land ADONAI swore to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 "For the land you are entering in order to take possession of it isn't like the land of Egypt. There you would sow your seed and had to use your feet to operate its irrigation system, as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing over to take possession of is a land of hills and valleys, which soaks up water when rain falls from the sky. 12 It is a land ADONAI your God cares for. The eyes of ADONAI your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
13 "So if you listen carefully to my mitzvot which I am giving you today, to love ADONAI your God and serve him with all your heart and all your being; 14 then, [says ADONAI,] 'I will give your land its rain at the right seasons, including the early fall rains and the late spring rains; so that you can gather in your wheat, new wine and olive oil; 15 and I will give your fields grass for your livestock; with the result that you will eat and be satisfied.' 16 But be careful not to let yourselves be seduced, so that you turn aside, serving other gods and worshipping them. 17 If you do, the anger of ADONAI will blaze up against you. He will shut up the sky, so that there will be no rain. The ground will not yield its produce, and you will quickly pass away from the good land ADONAI is giving you.
Please re-read verses 16-17 above. "Other gods" include not only the various "gods" of worldly religions, but can also include money, possessions, idols, people, self, etc. YHWH has always warned His people to be very careful of "the world" and it's myriad seductions!
Deuteronomy 11: 18 Therefore, you are to store up these words of mine in your heart and in all your being; tie them on your hand as a sign; put them at the front of a headband around your forehead; 19 teach them carefully to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up; 20 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates - 21 so that you and your children will live long on the land ADONAI swore to your ancestors that he would give them for as long as there is sky above the earth.
WOW! Could He be any clearer? Our Elohim is absolutely amazing! Talk about patience! He not only told us time and time again who He was and how to be holy/set apart in His eyes, but then He sent us Yeshua our Messiah to teach us personally "how it's done" ... and who died for us so that we would be able to have eternal life merely by "believing" in Yeshua! (Of course, that did NOT negate the need to continue obeying Torah....)
Deuteronomy 11: 22 "For if you will take care to obey all these mitzvot I am giving you, to do them, to love ADONAI your God, to follow all his ways and to cling to him, 23 then ADONAI will expel all these nations ahead of you; and you will dispossess nations bigger and stronger than you are. 24 Wherever the sole of your foot steps will be yours; your territory will extend from the desert to the L'vanon and from the River, the Euphrates River, to the Western Sea. 25 No one will be able to withstand you; ADONAI your God will place the fear and dread of you on all the land you step on, as he told you.
In the Haftarah portion today, we learn of the great love YHWH has for His Creation - which is why He is constantly barraging us with His Torah (Divine Instruction in Righteousness).
Isaiah 49: 13 Sing, heaven! Rejoice, earth! Break out in song, you mountains! For ADONAI is comforting his people, having mercy on his own who have suffered. 14 "But Tziyon says, 'ADONAI has abandoned me, Adonai has forgotten me.' 15 Can a woman forget her child at the breast, not show pity on the child from her womb? Even if these were to forget, I would not forget you. 16 I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, your walls are always before me."
If He loves US that much, shouldn't we be willing to repay His love with simple, childlike obedience? When we marry, do we ignore our spouses? NO! We do everything in our power to show them our love! So, why is it that many (if not most) never bother to DO anything for God? They can't even obey the simple command of keeping the SEVENTH DAY SABBATH....Take a look at Isaiah 51:4-8 (which wasn't part of today's portions, but it was so awesome, I couldn't help but mention it, because it's heart-rendering to see YHWH practically begging us to HEAR and OBEY Him):
Isaiah 51: 4 "Pay attention to me, my people! My nation, listen to me! For Torah will go out from me; I will calm them with my justice as a light for the peoples. 5 My righteousness is at hand, my salvation goes out, my arms will judge the peoples. The coastlands are putting their hope in me, trusting in my arm. 6 "Raise your eyes toward the skies, look at the earth below. The skies will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like clothing. Those living on it will die like flies; but my salvation will be forever, and my justice will never end. 7 "Listen to me, you who know justice, you people who have my Torah in your heart: don't be afraid of people's taunts, don't be upset by their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like clothing, the worm will eat them like wool; but my justice will be forever, and my salvation for all generations."
All YHWH expects us to do is to LISTEN and OBEY! Yet most of the world is lukewarm towards Him...."We're under grace; we don't have to do anything but believe"....At this point I would like to draw your attention to the Book of Mark, where Yeshua explains why He offers parables (i.e., our rote participation means nothing; rather, the importance of being able to think about and figure out exactly what the meaning behind the parables are):
Mark 4: 9. And he would say, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 10. Now when they were alone, his twelve, those who were with him asked him about that parable. 11. And Yâ€™shua said to them, It is given to you to understand the mystery of the Kingdom of Elohim, but to those outside everything is in parable. 12. So that when they see, they will not yet see, and when they hear, they will not hear and comprehend. Unless perhaps they return and their sins be forgiven them. 13. And he said to them, You do not understand this parable, how then will you understand all parables?
As a matter of fact, Yeshua Himself didnâ€™t just â€œlisten and discardâ€� what YHWH said; He â€œhad an ear to hearâ€� and He Himself obeyed His Father YHWH, even when the enemy tempted Him, making promises to make Yeshua lord of this world, if He would only turn and worship Satan:
Luke 4: 1. Now Yâ€™shua while being filled with the Ruach haKodesh returned from the Yordanan and the Spirit led him into the wilderness 2. For forty days that he might be tempted by the accuser. And he did not eat anything in those days. And when he had completed them, he hungered at the end. 3. And the accuser said to him, â€œIf you are the Son of Elohim, say to these rocks that they should become bread.â€� 4. Yâ€™shua answered and said to him, It is written that man should not live by bread alone, rather, by every Word of Elohim. 5. And Satan took him up to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth in a short period of time. 6. And the accuser said to him, â€œI will give all this authority and all its glory that is delivered to me, and I can give it to whomever I desire.
7. All of it will be yours, if therefore you prostrate yourself before me.â€� But Yâ€™shua answered and said to him, It is written that you should worship Master YHWH your Elohim, and you should serve Him alone. 9. And he brought him to Urishlim and placed him upon the edge of the temple and said to him, â€œIf you are the Son of Elohim, cast yourself down from here to below, 10. For it is written that He will command to His Messengers that concerning you, to keep watch over you, 11. And they will bear you upon their arms, or else you dash your foot against a stone.â€� 12. But Yâ€™shua answered and said to him, It is said that you should not test Master YHWH your Elohim. And when the accuser had finished all his temptations, he departed from His presence for a while.
Matthew 4: Then Yâ€™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 â€œif you are the son of Elohim, say to these rocks become bread,â€� 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, â€œIf 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.â€� 7. Yâ€™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, â€œThese all I will give to you if you will fall (and) worship me.â€� 10. Then Yâ€™shua said to him Leave enemy, for it is written that you will worship Master YHWH your Elohim and Him alone you will serve. 11. Then the accuser left him alone and behold, Messengers approached and were ministering to him.
Important: Note that Yeshua didn't fight or argue with the devil; He quoted Torah! All who know YHWH and Yeshua and Torah need to learn to heed and do likewise. Arguing with others usually gets us nowhere. Scripture speaks for itself. People will either listen and begin to obey...or they won't.
 Yâ€™shua declares that he himself, along with all of mankind, is required to live by the â€œWordsâ€� of YHWH, and that the Commandments Yâ€™shua teaches are in fact YHWHâ€™s Commandments from Torah. However, Greek/English translators inserted the title Kurios/Lord, for both YHWH and Yâ€™shua, rather than using original Names. Christian theologians then began teaching the fallacy that their â€œNew Testamentsâ€� were the â€œnewâ€� Word, or new â€œCommandments of Yâ€™shuaâ€� 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 Yaâ€™akov HaTsaddiq (James the Just) brother of Yâ€™shua. Yaâ€™akov, who routinely prayed at the Temple to ask YHWHâ€™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 Yaâ€™akov had camelâ€™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 Yâ€™shua Mashiyach. Yaâ€™akov taught that Yâ€™shua is the Arm of YHWH revealed, and he refused to renounce his belief in Yâ€™shua Mashiyach. Origen criticized Josephus for attributing the fall of Jerusalem to the martyrdom of Yaâ€™akov, rather than to Yâ€™shua.
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