Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
Parashah 47: Re'eh (See) - Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17; Haftarah reading: Isaiah 54:11 - 55:5. B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 1 John 4:1-6. (Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.)
Today's lesson: In today's parashah we once again see YHWH laying down the Divine Laws for His people to follow, while we encounter some "tests" He has laid down for His people:
Deuteronomy 11: 26 "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse - 27 the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of ADONAI your God that I am giving you today; 28 and the curse, if you don't listen to the mitzvot of ADONAI your God, but turn aside from the way I am ordering you today and follow other gods that you have not known. 29 "When ADONAI your God brings you into the land you are entering in order to take possession of it, you are to put the blessing on Mount G'rizim and the curse on Mount 'Eival.
30 Both are west of the Yarden, in the direction of the sunset, in the land of the Kena'ani living in the 'Aravah, across from Gilgal, near the pistachio trees of Moreh. 31 For you are to cross the Yarden to enter and take possession of the land ADONAI your God is giving you; you are to own it and live in it. 32 And you are to take care to follow all the laws and rulings I am setting before you today.
Note the words, "you are to cross"....Remember how YHWH told Abraham "to cross over" into the land which YHWH commanded him in Genesis 12? The word "hebrew" means "to cross over"; and so the moment Abraham obeyed and crossed over both physically into the land and spiritually into the Presence of YHWH, he became a Hebrew! In Deuteronomy 11:31 above, YHWH's people, the Hebrews, are told they would finally be "crossing over" into Israel, the Promised Land!
Most Christians insist TORAH is a curse, but the above, when read in context, clearly shows otherwise! The above shows that Torah is not the curse but you are cursed if you don't listen to and obey the Mitzvot (words/commands) of YHWH. Throughout the entire Torah, He keeps reiterating the need to obey His commands! After all, without Torah, how can we possibly know what constitutes SIN and moral, holy living (1 John 3:4)?
Now check out the length of time YHWH's chosen people are to possess Israel (the same Israel that most of the world, including the illustrious leaders of the United States want to divide!):
Deuteronomy 12: 1 Here are the laws and rulings you are to observe and obey in the land ADONAI, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess as long as you live on earth.
Deuteronomy 12 goes on to briefly remind us that we are to tithe (a "tenth") unto YHWH, and 12:19 reminds His people to take care of the Levites who receive nothing except for what the people give them. Deuteronomy 12:16 reminds His people to NOT eat blood, and this is reiterated here:
Deuteronomy 12: 23 Just take care not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24 Don't eat it, but pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat it, so that things will go well with you and with your children after you, as you do what ADONAI sees as right.
Note that when do what YHWH commands, "things will go well" with us! Halleluyah! When and where was the above ever revoked? In the following passage, He even reminds us to obey everything...and when and where was that ever revoked?
I can't tell you how often I've encountered people who have told me they were going to do this or that, and then insist God would surely bless them for it. For instance, we know some people who decided - without praying about it, first - to put their house up for sale and move to another state, where they immediately bought a new house.
It's been several years now, and their old house is still on the market, and they've finally decided, after their life savings were depleted because they've been carrying two mortgages, to let the old house go into foreclosure. They became very belligerent and accused me of "judging them" when I tried to tell them that things would have gone a lot smoother IF they had only asked God what to do and allowed things to happen in HIS timing, before attempting a major move such as this....
Deuteronomy 12: 28 Obey and pay attention to everything I am ordering you to do, so that things will go well with you and with your descendants after you forever, as you do what ADONAI sees as good and right.
Note that Deuteronomy 12:28 sums up the entire purpose of Torah! YHWH was and still is very adamant about OBEDIENCE. Below, He reminds His people (which includes us today!) to be careful of "other gods."
Deuteronomy 12: 29 "When ADONAI your God has cut off ahead of you the nations you are entering in order to dispossess, and when you have dispossessed them and are living in their land; 30 be careful, after they have been destroyed ahead of you, not to be trapped into following them; so that you inquire after their gods and ask, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I want to do the same.' 31 You must not do this to ADONAI your God! For they have done to their gods all the abominations that ADONAI hates! They even burn up their sons and daughters in the fire for their gods!
Notice the last sentence in Deut 12:31: "They even burn up their sons and daughters in the fire for their gods"! How many people today (including some so-called believers) have sold their children in exchange for drugs, or pimped them out as prostitutes? How many people wait like vultures for their parents or other relatives to die, or take out high dollar insurance policies and a "loved one" so they can later have killed - just to satisfy their "god" - money? All kinds of things can be our "gods" that we revere above everything including our Creator: Money, sex, possessions, other people....These things can ONLY be overcome if we totally hand our lives over to YHWH and actively begin to DO HIS WILL!
An example of the above is a Christian man I used to know, who recently died. He was a very nice man, but someone who remained lukewarm to God because he didn't know about Torah. A gambling addict, the man started his very lucrative company approximately 30 years ago after winning a million dollars in Las Vegas, and then sold it a couple of decades later for $50 million. Ever pandering to his ongoing addiction, he moved to Las Vegas when he retired - where he promptly managed to lose his entire fortune within a few short years, losing EVERYTHING including his wife and children - and all because he "had a problem." Not to make light of his gambling addiction, but I believe if this man had turned to YHWH for healing and guidance and concentrated on YHWH's will instead of his own, chances are, his life would have turned out very differently....
Just take a look at all the various "religions" and "gods" in the world today. They are all a result of disobedience to YHWH! In Chapter 13 YHWH reminds His people to beware of false teachers. Notice how adamant He is, and don't be afraid to mull over the many reasons as to why today's world, in which "tolerance" reigns, is far from YHWH:
Deuteronomy 13: 1 "If a prophet or someone who gets messages while dreaming arises among you and he gives you a sign or wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder comes about as he predicted when he said, 'Let's follow other gods, which you have not known; and let us serve them,' 3 you are not to listen to what that prophet or dreamer says. For ADONAI your God is testing you, in order to find out whether you really do love ADONAI your God with all your heart and being.
We have all heard of some modern day "prophets" who have prophesied great things, only to then have to turn around and apologize when their "prophecies" did not come to pass. (Several of these false prophets are, unfortunately, in the Messianic faith!) We are warned throughout the entire Bible to be careful and use discernment to make sure everything we see, read or hear lines up perfectly with Scripture. If it doesn't, it isn't of God!
Back to the Torah portion:
Deuteronomy 13: 4 You are to follow ADONAI your God, fear him, obey his mitzvot, listen to what he says, serve him and cling to him; 5 and that prophet or dreamer is to be put to death; because he urged rebellion against ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from a life of slavery; in order to seduce you away from the path ADONAI your God ordered you to follow. This is how you are to rid your community of this wickedness.
6 "If your brother the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or your wife whom you love, or your friend who means as much to you as yourself, secretly tries to entice you to go and serve other gods, which you haven't known, neither you nor your ancestors - 7 gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near or far away from you, anywhere in the world - 8 you are not to consent, and you are not to listen to him; and you must not pity him or spare him; and you may not conceal him.
9 Rather, you must kill him! Your own hand must be the first one on him in putting him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people. 10 You are to stone him to death; because he has tried to draw you away from ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. 11 Then all Isra'el will hear about it and be afraid, so that they will stop doing such wickedness as this among themselves.
The above is reiterated in the Brit Chadashah:
1 John 4: 1. My beloved, do not believe all spirits; but discriminate among spirits whether they are of Elohim: for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2. By this the Spirit of Elohim is known; every spirit that confesses that Y'shua the Mashiyach has come in the flesh is of Elohim. 3. And every spirit which does not confess that Y'shua the Mashiyach has come in the flesh is not of Elohim; but he is of the false Messiah of whom you have heard that he comes and now is he already in the world.
4. But you children are of Elohim; and you have overcome them, because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. 5. And they are of the world: therefore they speak from the world, and the world hears them. 6. But we are of Elohim; and he that knows Elohim, hears us; and he that is not of Elohim, hears us not. By this, we know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.
FOOTNOTE:  The Spirit of Mashiyach dwells inside a person. This does not refer to Y'shua coming in his flesh to Earth; even the demons know that much (see Luke 4:41). This refers to the neshama (spirit of man) being born from the beginning into the image of Elohim, which is evidenced by living a Set Apart life unto YHWH, having Torah written upon the heart and growing in the Attributes of Mashiyach as revealed in Isaiah 11:2.
The following makes it clear that people who are constantly telling us "not to judge them" don't know what they are talking about, because when "one of our own" goes astray, we MUST make them aware of it. In olden times, before Yeshua came to offer Himself as our Final SIN Sacrifice, YHWH ordered the death of those who incited His people away from Him and His Torah.
Deuteronomy 13: 12 "If you hear it told that in one of your cities which ADONAI your God is giving you to live in, 13 certain scoundrels have sprung up among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city by saying, 'Let's go and serve other gods, which you haven't known,' 14 then you are to investigate the matter, inquiring and searching diligently. If the rumor is true, if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done among you, 15 you must put the inhabitants of that city to death with the sword, destroying it completely with the sword, everything in it, including its livestock.
16 Heap all its spoils in an open space, and burn the city with its spoils to the ground for ADONAI your God; it will remain a 'tel' forever and not be built again - 17 none of what has been set apart for destruction is to stay in your hands. Then ADONAI will turn from his fierce anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and increase your numbers, as he swore to your ancestors - 18 provided you listen to what ADONAI says and obey all his mitzvot that I am giving you today, thus doing what ADONAI your God sees as right.
(A 'tel' is a mount of debris which accumulates and remains under a city for centuries.)
1 Corinthians 5: 11. But this is what I wrote to you, that you don't mix, if anyone is called a brother, and is a sexual sinner, or avaricious, or an idol-worshipper, or a charlatan, or a drunkard, or rapacious, with him who is such, not even to eat bread. 12. For what business have I to judge them who are without? But those within the body, judge you, 13. And those without, Elohim judges; and remove you the wickedness from among you.
FOOTNOTE: Breaking of bread, of course, is a timeworn Middle Eastern custom that is done only with family and friends. If you cannot eat with someone (as Peter tried to separate himself in Galatians 2:13), then you cannot associate with them at all. If the sinner was out of the assembly, you were not permitted to persecute them. However, you could, and in fact you must, demand that such a person put away detestable habits if they are to join the assembly and partake of the communal and havdilah meals that Y'shua and his disciples enjoyed.
Sad but true, the Christian world is filled with myriad so-called prophets, some who even dare speak for God in the first person, as these articles reveal: The prophet experiment and The Farm). Many have allowed themselves to follow all kinds people who proclaim to have "a word from the Lord." The bottom line is, if the things these "prophets" say does NOT line up with the Scriptures, it isn't from YHWH! We must always be very careful! Before Yeshua came onto the scene, false prophets were put to death if everything they said did not come to pass.
Some might say, "Wow - we are to put people to death? The Old Testament God sure was mean"! But how is what we do today, different from what He commanded back then, since the laws of the Land today include the imprisonment and/or killing of certain criminals? Today, thanks to our Final SIN Sacrifice, Yeshua, we are no longer personally required to put to death false prophets, astrologers, witches or Tarot card readers, because they will one day face the Judge Himself!
Here are some pertinent questions to ponder: Since YHWH was (and still is) so very adamant about getting rid of all false gods and teachings and their teachers, why has the world allowed Islam to grow everywhere? Why have we allowed Muslim mosques to bloom all over the United States and Europe? Why is there a Mosque on the Temple Mount? Why are there nearly 40,000 Christian denominations, all of which insist that YHWH's Torah was abolished at the cross? Why are we allowing the Mormons to get away with insisting that "Jesus and Satan are brothers"? I could go on, but you get the point.
As we move on to Deuteronomy 14 we are reminded about what we can and cannot eat. The question remains, how was that supposedly abolished at the cross? Did "unclean" animals suddenly become "clean" upon Yeshua's death? NO! Yeshua martyred Himself as our Final SIN Sacrifice; He came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH (Luke 4:43; Acts 28: 23; Acts 24: 14); not to abolish His Father's "forever" commands!
While we're at it, let's quickly take a look at a few of the following scriptures:
Deuteronomy 14: 1 "You are the people of ADONAI your God. You are not to gash yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead, 2 because you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you to be his own unique treasure out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
Above, YHWH tells His people they are not to cut/gash themselves - which, while this is directed at those in mourning - also suggests it's not a good thing to carve our bodies or tattoo ourselves or in any way mar our bodies on purpose. Why? Because, again: We are a set apart people! We are His own unique treasure! Why would anyone who has accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not want to do everything in their power to please Him?
Next, let's discuss another "odd" passage.
Deuteronomy 14: 21 "You are not to eat any animal that dies naturally; although you may let a stranger staying with you eat it, or sell it to a foreigner; because you are a holy people for ADONAI your God. "You are not to boil a young animal in its mother's milk.
Some have written to ask why God's people cannot eat an animal that dies naturally but they're allowed to let "strangers" among them partake. The answer is: Unless one belongs to YHWH, one is considered a pagan and they can do whatever they want because they are not His - and they will not enter into eternal life unless they choose to "cross over" and become His. YHWH expects HIS people to be holy/set apart!
Deuteronomy 14: 21 ... "You are not to boil a young animal in its mother's milk.
Now, today, I know of no one who boils meat in milk, but apparently they did so in biblical times. We do, however, add milk to certain meat/gravy recipes, but today we don't have to worry about the chance that the milk we use might have come from the mother of the animal we're cooking - unless, of course, we live on a farm and have just killed the animal and milked its mother....
1 John 2: 3. And by this we will be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. 4. For he that says I know him, and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. 5. But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him. 6. He that says I am in him, is bound to walk according to his halacha. 7. My beloved, I write no new commandment to you, but the old Commandment which you had from the beginning; and the old Commandment is the Word which you have heard.
Check out the following and ask yourself if the United States or any other country follows this particular command:
Deuteronomy 15: 5 if only you will listen carefully to what ADONAI your God says and take care to obey all these mitzvot I am giving you today. 6 Yes, ADONAI your God will bless you, as he promised you - you will lend money to many nations without having to borrow, and you will rule over many nations without their ruling over you. 7 "If someone among you is needy, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which ADONAI your God is giving you, you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand from giving to your needy brother. 8 No, you must open your hand to him and lend him enough to meet his need and enable him to obtain what he wants.
Deuteronomy 15 goes on to discuss how and why YHWH wants His people to observe the Feasts of Pesach (Passover), Shavu'ot (Weeks) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). Where in the Scriptures did He ever revoke those commands? Some insist "Jesus fulfilled them at the cross" but the fact is: (1) "fulfilled" doesn't mean abolished, and (2) He has only "fulfilled" the first FOUR of the Seven Feasts.
Here is an interesting passage - all about slavery. In biblical times, slavery wasn't like in modern times in which people have been forcefully removed from their homes and/or countries to serve others for free. In ancient times, people voluntarily sold themselves into slavery for various reasons, including the fact that it was the only way to support themselves and their families. Note that YHWH commanded them to be set free after seven years, if they chose to be freed:
Deuteronomy 15: 12 "If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, he is to serve you for six years; but in the seventh year, you are to set him free. 13 Moreover, when you set him free, don't let him leave empty-handed; 14 but supply him generously from your flock, threshing-floor and winepress; from what ADONAI your God has blessed you with, you are to give to him. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and ADONAI your God redeemed you; that is why I am giving you this order today.
16 But if he says to you, 'I don't want to leave you,' because he loves you and your household, and because his life with you is a good one; 17 then take an awl, and pierce his ear through, right into the door; and he will be your slave forever. Do the same with your female slave. 18 Don't resent it when you set him free, since during his six years of service he has been worth twice as much as a hired employee. Then ADONAI your God will bless you in everything you do.
Please pay special attention to, and ponder upon, these verses, and then ask yourself: Since Yeshua was our Pesach offering, is it safe to say that YHWH chose the place where His Son, our Passover Lamb, was to die?
Deuteronomy 16: 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesach offering in just any of the towns that ADONAI your God is giving you; 6 but at the place where ADONAI your God will choose to have his name live - there is where you are to sacrifice the Pesach offering, in the evening, when the sun sets, at the time of year that you came out of Egypt. 7 You are to roast it and eat it in the place ADONAI your God will choose;
Deuteronomy 16: 11 You are to rejoice in the presence of ADONAI your God - you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L'vi'im living in your towns, and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you - in the place where ADONAI your God will choose to have his name live. 12 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt; then you will keep and obey these laws.
While reading the Haftarah portion, we happened to notice the "next" verses in Isaiah which actually weren't part of today's study, but they touched us, nonetheless - as they amply explain what "judging" a person is really all about, and that we ARE to leave the heathens alone, but to bring to our brethren's attention the fact that they are sinning:
Isaiah 55: 6 Seek ADONAI while he is available, call on him while he is still nearby. 7 Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; let him return to ADONAI, and he will have mercy on him; let him return to our God, for he will freely forgive.
I pray that this lesson touched each of you, and made you aware of the importance of OBEDIENCE to our Creator, who only wants the best for us! May YHWH continue to reveal Himself to you in ways that cause you to become ever more hungry for His Word! Until we "meet" again, may YHWH bless you and keep you. May He make His Face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you His shalom. Amein.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and I wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading my 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. And, as always, please let me know if you ever see anything in my newsletters that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....