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Lech Lecha (Get yourself out)

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Torah Gemstones – Lech Lecha (Get Yourself out) Genesis 12:1-17:27

It’s hard to imagine a child born of a father who is one hundred years old as Abraham was, although I did read recently about a ninety-six year old man from India who just became the father of a baby boy.  However, Abraham, in the Torah portion Lech Lecha, was not just any father.  In fact, he was destined to be the Father of many nations.  That promise was given to Abraham at the ripe old age of ninety-nine by God.  Since we know that all numbers in Scripture are significant, the fact that Abraham was ninety-nine carries with it all kinds of implications.  In this portion, ninety-nine is related to the commandment of circumcision, to Abram’s name change and to the conception of Isaac.

Let’s first look at the change in Abraham’s original name.  The meaning of Avram can be defined as a father bringing forth a prolific amount of offspring.  This is the foundation for his new name as well.  With addition of the letter ה (hey), the name changes to what we have come to understand as the “Father of many Nations”, which is something more significant. Originally, hey meant a breath or a sigh as in “to behold a great sight”, but it can also mean a revelation.  The sages tell us God added the letter hey to his own name (יה) to create the physical world and then He poured His Divine nature into that world.  The letter hey points to the revelation of the divine nature of God in the present physical age through the person of Abraham.

In addition, we find a very interesting word in Genesis 2:4, “b’hevaram”, which is translated “when they were created”, speaking of the creation of the heaven and the earth.  This word can then be re-arranged to spell “in  Abraham” (b’avraham).  Through Abraham, God’s purpose on earth would be fulfilled in that he would bring forth the seed of God in a physical world. In this way he was part of creation.  In this word, b’hevaram, the letter hey is diminished, or is written much smaller than the rest of the letters.  Possibly because the physical world has been diminished by sin, is therefore only temporary and will ultimately pass away.  Heaven and earth will pass away but the “word” of the Lord will stand forever.  But from Abraham would come forth not only physical seed but spiritual seed as well.

There is another connection to Abraham’s seed.  When he was ninety-nine God commanded him to be circumcised.  This was a commandment established by God as an everlasting covenant between Abraham and God, and between Abraham’s seed and God.  In fact, it was the outward sign of the promise of God that related to seed.  The guarantee of the covenant, to the seed of Abraham, was the whole of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.  The root word for circumcision is orlah, which is translated flesh, really meaning a barrier obstructing something beneficial.  Cutting away the flesh was a picture of the destruction of the physical nature. This cutting away removed that barrier between God and Abraham and his seed, his physical descendants.  Ultimately though, the outward sign of the covenant was the circumcision of the flesh, while the inward sign was the circumcision of the heart.  The outward was the physical seed.  The inward was the spiritual seed and Abraham was the father of them all.

Related to circumcision and the cutting away of the flesh was the promise of a son.  Isaac was the initial seed that would come forth from the loins of Abraham.  He was the first of the physical seed of Abraham who would receive the benefits of the covenant circumcision.  Now all who come forth, as Abraham’s physical seed, are called those of the “circumcision”.  They are connected to the number ninety-nine because that is when the promise was given to Abraham.

Therefore remember your former state:  you Gentiles by birth – called the Uncircumcised by those who merely because of an operation on their flesh are called the Circumcised – at that time had no Messiah. 

Ephesians 2:11

Now that we have a better understanding of the meaning ninety-nine perhaps this parable in the gospel of Luke (15:4,7) will take on new meaning.

“If one has a hundred sheep and loses one – he leave the ninety-nine sheep in the desert and goes after the one lost until he finds it.  When he finds it he puts it on his shoulder.”

The concept of lost here is describing those who are separated from the whole, which is represented by the number one hundred.

You were estranged (separated) from the national life of Israel.  You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise.  But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.  For he himself is our shalom – he has made us both one and broken down the fence which has divided us…in union with him the whole building is held together and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord.

                                       Ephesians 2:11-21

It is the belief that when ten Israelites assemble for worship or study, the Divine presence dwells among them.  This is called a minyan and is based on ten.  In our example, the number one hundred becomes the fullness of the ten and is the ultimate place the Divine Presence dwells.  The community of the circumcised is identified as the ninety-nine and the uncircumcised as the one.  The community was not complete until our mediator, Yeshua, tore down the middle wall of partition between circumcised and uncircumcised.  It was the Messiah who came to seek and save that which was lost and restore those who have long been separated from the household of Abraham back to the whole of the commonwealth of Israel.  Truly Abraham is the father of us all.

 

Noach

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Torah Gemstones – Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

One of the more captivating elements in this week’s Torah portion is the Ark Noach built.  The Ark may well be one of the most recognized and beloved fixtures in Scripture for young and old alike.  In addition many Christian and Jewish commentators have illustrated, discussed, dissected, and written about the Ark.  Some have even embarked on archaeological treks to Turkey in the hopes of finding it.  But even with all that has been uncovered, it is still possible to find hidden meaning and additional significance to the Ark.  I propose that it is really an early design of the Temple or House of God given to Noach by the Spirit.

The word for Ark in Hebrew, “tevah” (תבה), is found almost exclusively in this Parshah  and is used twenty-four times.  What is the significance of the number twenty-four?  Well, the priesthood in the Temple, from the family of the Levites, was divided into twenty-four Mishmarot or courses, and each course served one week in each half of the year.  All the priests would then serve together in the Temple during festival times.  In addition, a group of Israelites called the Ma’amad (standing) represented twenty-four different geographic districts in the land of Israel.  Both the Ma'amad and the Mishmarot of the Priesthood represented the same area.  When the Mishmar was required to serve in the Temple, members of the related Ma'amad group would go up to Jerusalem with them and serve as witnesses to the various services.  The number twenty-four is therefore connected to the Temple, the service of the priests along with the participation of the men of Israel.  Both these groups represented the unity of Israel in the context of the Beit HaMikdash (house of the sanctuary) or the House of God.

Here is another example of how the Ark and the Temple are related.  If we reverse the order of the letters in “tevah” a new word emerges, “habeit”, which means “the House”.  If we further break down the individual Hebrew letters of “tevah” (tav, bet, hey), we find that originally “taveh” meant to “reveal the sign of the house”.  So the Ark, in its design, becomes a literal prophetic sign for the future House of God, the Temple.

Also, consider God gave the design of the Tabernacle and its services to Moshe through the Spirit of God.  He gave the design and pattern for all the services, the furniture and the priesthood, for the First Temple to King David by the Holy Spirit.  David then passed on those designs to his son, Solomon, who was responsible for the actual building of the Temple.  It is reasonable to conclude that God gave the design for the construction of the Ark to Noach, by the Spirit, which was really an early representation of the Tabernacle of Moshe and the Temple of David.  The ultimate purpose for the Ark, the Tabernacle and the Temple was to provide a Place for the Presence or Shekinah of God to dwell on earth.

There are other parallels to the Temple.  The Ark was made of gopher wood (possibly cedar wood) and was designed with a number of compartments.  It was covered with pitch inside and out.  The word for “pitch” is the same as the word for “covered” and both come from the root “kapar” which means atonement.  Solomon's Temple was lined with cedar wood from Lebanon and covered with six hundred talents of gold.  At the altar, in the House of God, was the place of atonement for all who served in the Temple.  It is likely that Noach functioned as a priest inside the Ark just as a priest did in the Temple.  In addition, the Hebrew word for “compartment” is translated as a stall for animals but even more significant is its meaning of a “bird’s nest”.  It is very interesting that in the rabbinic literature, the sages often referred to the Temple as the “Nest” where the nation of Israel would return to, in the same way the dove returned to the Ark.  The Temple also had numerous rooms or compartments attached to it for a variety of administrative functions.  Consider Yeshua’s words from John 14 in speaking of the heavenly Temple, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. I am going to prepare a place for you”.

The measurements of the Ark were 300x50x30 cubits and based on these numbers it appears the Ark resembled a large rectangular box or chest.  This design allowed the Ark to float above the water and remain stable despite the violent tempest below.  It is also interesting that both the Tabernacle and the Temple building resembled a large rectangular box.  They both functioned as the place of protection and provision for those inside the camp of Israel.  We recognize that outside the Ark was a place of death and destruction while inside the Ark was the place of safety.

According to Scripture, the Ark contained three different levels or stories, one for Noach and his family, one for the animals and one for the refuse.  These no doubt represented levels of sanctity.  This could possibly point to the three levels of sanctity related to the courtyards of the Temple.  The courtyard of the Gentiles was considered a lower level of sanctity while the Azarah, which surrounded the Temple building, was the highest level.  The Azarah was where the priests ate and slept in preparation for their service in the Temple.  The upper level of the Ark was where Noach and his family resided.

The Ark had one opening on its side.  The Temple and the Tabernacle both had one opening on the west side.  It was said Noach and his family entered the Ark by means of ladders.  The story of Jacob reminds us of the ladder between heaven and earth that was actually placed at the location of the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem.  It signified the concept of ascending into the presence of God.  So consider how the Ark was raised up by the waters of the flood, fifteen cubits above the mountains.  What a wonderful picture of being raised up and entering into the presence of the Father.  There are numerous examples of the number fifteen being associated with the Temple and its services.  All are related to the idea of ascending.  For instance, there were fifteen steps between the Nicanor Gate and the Courtyard of the Women where Levites stood to sing and praise God. Even the name of God, YAH, has the value of fifteen.

Finally, the Ark was designed with a “zohar” or a light in the top.  This has been translated in a variety of ways by the sages as being either a window in the top, or a skylight or a luminous precious stone of some kind.  Ultimately, it was a source of illumination.  It was said the Temple had windows not to let light in but to let the Shekinah or Spirit of God shine out to the whole world.  Perhaps the function of this “zohar” in the Ark was the same.

These are just a few examples that point to a relationship between the Ark and the Temple.  It is remarkable that our Heavenly Father, through the Spirit, could take something so familiar and illuminate the Scriptures to see an even greater revelation.  Imagine how much more there is to see.

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 5

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How important is the Hebrew language in your research?

Download the PDF Workbook for this series

This question can cause some real frustration for those who don’t know Hebrew.  It is true one of the keys to study and research is working in the original language.  But we are so very fortunate today that there are many incredible resource tools for study even without that working knowledge of Hebrew.  In this session called “Hebrew Language Elements”, I will bring to light some valuable information about the Hebrew language itself. Even if you don’t know Hebrew, hopefully you will be inspired to take advantage of the many resources available.

 

 

Part 5

Part 5 - 

Beresheet

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Torah Gemstones – Beresheet (In the beginning) Genesis 1:1-6:8

 

“God called to the light:  Day, and to the darkness He called:  Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, One Day.”

Genesis 1:5

This verse lays out the pattern of the Kingdom of Heaven in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  Although it is difficult to see from the English translation, the Kingdom of Heaven or Malchut Shemayim is revealed in the Hebrew language.  Most of us translate this passage, “and there was evening and there was morning the first day”.  However, the actual interpretation should be “One Day” or Yom Echad.  It is, in fact, the Day of the Unity of our God and the Day of the fullness of His Kingdom.  The term Yom Echad is really an idiom for the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is really the framework into which all Scripture fits.

Out of that “One Day” or Yom Echad comes the remaining six days of creation.  The days are really just parts that make up the unity of "The Day".  Separately, each day is very significant for what was created but, ultimately, all of the days of creation will be reunited as One Day or Yom Echad.  The restoration or the unification of these days is complete on the seventh day, the Shabbat.  An important pattern emerges.  This concept begins with a whole, then individual parts are separated out each having a special function and design and finally the whole is restored again as a unity, but in a different form. So the Kingdom begins with Yom Echad or One Day, separates out into the six days of creation, and then is finally restored as a whole in a different form called the Shabbat.  Although there are many instances of this particular pattern in Scripture, this example is the first and the best.

The sages identified this pattern as “the seven thousand year” plan of God from the Talmud Sanhedrin.  They concluded that each day represented one thousand years in the history of mankind and the final one thousand years represented the Messianic Kingdom or the Millenium.  The fullness of the Kingdom was seen in the Shabbat or the seventh Day.  The Kingdom would be restored on the seventh day, which is a picture of the return of Gan Eden (Garden Eden) to the earth.  Sin caused Adam and Eve to be diminished and brought decay to the physical universe.  The final redemption, brought by Yeshua the Messiah, would ultimately restore man and the universe on the seventh Day.

In addition, the light that was called Day was described as “good”, which, according to the sages, pointed to a light that existed eternally.  It was said this special light was reserved for the righteous.  It was a light that filled the universe and was described in Sefer HaBahir as “so exceedingly intense that no human could gaze upon it.  God stored it away for the righteous in the Olam Haba” (the world to come).  The light was, therefore, eternal and as such was the pure reflection of the Kingdom, which would be restored at the time of Shabbat or the Messianic Kingdom.  Ultimately it was a light that would be concealed during the six days of the history of mankind but, with His utterance, would be revealed at the time of the Kingdom in the World to Come.

Yom Echad is the day that is all Day where there is neither darkness nor light, neither night nor day.  It is described as “That Day” or the Day of the Lord.  It is an Awesome Day, a Great Day, a Day of Rest, a Day of Salvation, Redemption, and Deliverance.  It is a Day that is all Day.

The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times as strong – like the light of seven days on the Day that Adonai bandages the injury of his people and heals with wounds of his blow. 

Is 30:26

Behold a Day is coming…and on “That Day” on the Day the Mt of Olives will split open…it will be on “That Day” the light will not be either very bright or very dim.  It will be “Yom Echad”.  It will be known as the “Day of Lord” neither day nor night.  On “That Day”, Adonai will be One and His Name will be One.

Zech 14

The concept of the Kingdom of Heaven as the Day of the Lord is evident all through the Gospels and the Epistles.  A good example of this pattern can be found in the book of Second Peter, which contains a quote from Psalm ninety.  Psalm ninety has sometimes been compared to the entire creation week.  Here the Day of the Lord is described as the Kingdom coming forth on earth.

“With the Lord “One Day” (Yom Echad) is as a thousand years and a thousand years as “One Day” (Yom Echad)…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

2 Peter 3:8

Therefore the key to unlocking the mysteries of the Bible is recognizing the Father established the Kingdom of Heaven from the very beginning in the expression Yom Echad or One Day.   All creation now waits anxiously for the restoration of the Kingdom to be manifested at the time of the Messianic Kingdom, the Shabbat of Shabbats, on the seventh day.

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 4

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Do you take the time necessary to evaluate the context of the passage you are examining?  The contextual framework is a great way to begin your studies.

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This session is designed to give you an overview of some of the most important elements that form the backdrop of Scriptures.  I will explain the key components of the context, which includes the history, geography, culture and archaeology of any passage.

 

Part 4

Part 4 - 

Chol HaMoed Sukkot (Intermediate days of Sukkot)

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Torah Gemstones – Chol haMoed Sukkot (intermediate days of Sukkot) - Ezekiel 33:12-34:26

It was a Chol haMoed Sukkot (the intermediate days of Sukkot) when Yeshua arrived at the Temple precincts in John 7 and began to teach.  He then continued his teachings into Hoshanah Rabbah (the great salvation) with some of the most significant words of his ministry.

Yeshua stood and cried, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink! Whoever puts his trust in me, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water”! (Now he said this about the Spirit whom those who trusted in him were to receive later).

It is clear there was a relationship between living water flowing out from the “belly” and the Spirit or Shekinah of God.

In last week’s Torah Portion (Ha’azeinu), I explained how the Rock upon which all the community was built was not the “church”, but rather the faith of Abraham.  Abraham was described as the rock from which you were hewn in Isaiah.  The place where Abraham expressed that faith was the Foundation Stone (Even Shetiyah), which was not only the place the Ark rested in the Holy of Holies, but where he offered up his son Isaac as a Burnt Offering to the Lord.  It was from this rock the Shekinah or Spirit would emanate out to the whole world.

This week’s portion reveals something similar.  Yeshua’s reference to living water, for those who are thirsty and need a drink, also alludes to the same Foundation Stone (Even Shetiyah) in the Holy of Holies.  Some of the sages of Israel said that,

“This stone was called Shetiyah, which in Hebrew means "drinking," because beneath it is hidden the source of all the springs and fountains from which the world drinks its water”. 

There is also an interesting play-on-words in John between Gihon and belly as the source of living water.  Although Gihon is literally translated “belly”, even more fascinating is its root meaning, “womb”.  Therefore “out of his womb will flow rivers of living water”.  Adding to this imagery, the Foundation Stone is said to be the navel or the womb of all creation.

The actual water source is again the Gihon Spring.  This spring was the main supply of drinking water for the city of Jerusalem and ultimately has been described as a life-giving source for the people of that city.  Anciently, the Gihon was said to flow underneath the Foundation Stone of the Temple on Mt Moriah and according to Scripture was one of the headwaters of Gan Eden (garden of Eden).  From the Gihon, Hezekiah dug his tunnel to channel fresh water down to the pool of Shiloach to protect Jerusalem’s water supply from his enemy, the Assyrians.

The Pool of Shiloach, which means “pool of sent” received its water from the Gihon (the womb).  The pool came to represent the Spirit of God being sent out to the world.  From the Shiloach, the blind man was healed on Shemini Atzeret the concluding day of Sukkot, and from it the High Priest drew out water with his golden vessel at Sukkot.  This particular ceremony, considered the greatest of the year, was associated with the Scripture in Isaiah 12:3.

“Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

The words of Paul take on an added dimension.

“All of them were guided by a pillar of cloud and they all passed thru the sea and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all        immersed themselves into Moshe also they all ate the same food from the Spirit and they drank the same drink from the Spirit – for they drank from a spirit-sent Rock which followed them and that rock was Messiah”.

I Co 10:4

Isn’t it interesting that both Moshe and Yeshua were called the “sent one”? Moshe, whose name means “to draw out of water”, and Yeshua who is the Rock of our Salvation, are connected to the waters of the Pool of Shiloach (or sent) through the womb of creation, the Foundation Stone in the Temple.

“In the Messianic era, says the Talmud, a trickle of water will begin flowing from the Holy Temple. This trickle will grow and grow until it becomes a gushing river. The Talmud cites a verse in Zechariah: ' "On that day a spring (Gihon) will be opened for the House of David and for and the people living in Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and impurity." '

Finally, there just happens to be a special prayer for Sukkot that is part of the Hoshanot or prayers meaning “Please Save”.  It is called the Foundation Stone and consists of twenty-two lines that are really just phrases:  Chosen Temple; Arnan’s granary; hidden rendezvous; Mount He is seen; where David resided; fairest of brides; joy of all the earth; pilgrimage of the tribes; Tabernacle of Salem; valuable cornerstone; Holy of Holies; resting place of your Honor. 

Is your life a living testimony of the Spirit of God coming forth from the Foundation Stone that is the center of the Universe?  Are rivers of living water flowing forth from you? Are you connected to the Rock of your salvation and the Spirit-sent Rock that is our Messiah?  One thing we do know – it is never too late.

 

Ha’azeinu

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Torah Gemstones – Ha’azeinu (Hear) Deuteronomy 32:1-52

Ha’azeinu is the last portion of the annual Torah cycle except for Berachah from Deuteronomy 33 and 34, which is read at Shemini Atzeret.  Therefore, Ha'azeinu is always read around the time of Yom Kippur during what is called Shabbat Shuvah or the Sabbath of Return.  Ha’azeinu translates “hear” as in “to incline one’s ear to the speaker in order to listen to the words”.

The structure of this Torah portion is in two columns with each column containing seventy lines.  It is then divided into six different sections.  The Levites would recite a different section each Shabbat and when they completed the six they would begin the cycle again.  The completion of the reading of Torah portions, the structure of seventy lines, which relates to the seventy weeks of Shavuot and also to Israel’s return from exile after seventy years, and the repeating cycle of the six sections are all features that connect to the redemption.  Ha’azeinu is filled with a variety of elements related to Yom Kippur and the final redemption of the nation.

One significant element of Ha’azeinu is the concept of G-d as the Rock.  The grammatical form used here for Rock is found fives times in this portion alone, compared with just three times in the rest of the Tanakh.  Interestingly, five is often associated with the Messianic Kingdom and the redemption of the Messiah indicating a connection again between this portion and the final redemption at Yom Kippur.

The message of Ha’azeinu was that the nation of Israel should repent and return to the Rock.  G-d is described here as “the Rock who gave birth to you” and “the Rock who is perfect for all His ways are just”.  The word for rock, tsur, means an enemy, trouble or one who closes in with pressure.  When we stray from G-d, who is our Rock, He brings pressure as well as affliction, distress or adversity to cause us to return and repent.  The climax for the return is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  It is also called the Day of the Sealing (Yom HaPeduth) because it is the last opportunity to repent before we are sealed in our rebellion.

The Rock is also identified as the foundation stone in the Holy of Holies inside the Temple on Mt Moriah, where the Ark of the Covenant sat during the First Temple Period.  According to Jewish heritage, G-d made this Rock the foundation of all the earth, which was also thought to be the site of the Garden of Eden.  Mt Moriah became the most holy place on earth and the place for the worship of G-d.  Inside the Holy of Holies was G-d’s throne room on earth.  It was the place of the center point of the universe as well as the center point for the community of Israel.

This Rock or Shetiah was actually a cliff and part of a natural rock on the mountain.  In the Talmud (Yoma) it is written that: "After the Ark was taken away, a stone remained there from the time of the early Prophets, and it was called Shetiah.” It was said, all the world was created from it and built on it as the foundation”.

It was to this rock on Mt Moriah that God sent Abraham to offer up his son as a burnt offering. God confirmed his choice of Abraham and his seed through this act of faith.  Anciently, Mt Moriah, where Abraham built the altar to offer up his son, was actually called the Rock of Abraham.

“Look to the rock from which you were hewn, the quarry from which were dug, look to Abraham your father and Sarah who gave birth to you”.  I called him when he was only one person, then blessed him and made him many.

Isaiah 51:1,2

“You are the sons of the prophets; and you are included in the covenant which God made with our fathers when he said to Avraham, by your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed”.

Acts 3:25

“If you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to promise.”

Gal 3:29

According to the Jewish commentary, Yalkut shim’oni:

      “When the Holy One wanted to create the world he passed over the   generations of Enoch and the flood; but when he saw Abraham who was to arise, he said. Behold, I have found a rock (petra) on which I can build and establish the world. Therefore he called Abraham a rock, as it is said, “Look to the rock from which you were hewn.”

Now perhaps the words of Yeshua take on new meaning to what has been traditionally taught.  When Peter recognizes Yeshua as the promised Messiah and the Son of the Living God in Matthew, Yeshua answers,

“You are Kefa (rock) and on this rock I will build my community and the gates She’ol will not overcome it.”

Matt 16:18

The Rock upon which all the community is built is not the “church” but rather the faith of Abraham.  It was Abraham who believed G-d and it was credited to him as righteousness.  The place where Abraham expressed his trust was at the foundation stone (Shetiah), the future site of the Holy Temple.  That was the place of the Rock of his Salvation and the place of his Rock and Redeemer.  Abraham was our earthly Father and the forerunner of all the “spiritual” seed.  He is the rock upon which our faith is built.

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 3

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www.bible-archaeology.info

Did you know that over 90% of Scripture deals with some aspect of the Temple?  How much do you know about the Temple and the Tabernacle?

Download the PDF Workbook for this series

In this third session, I explain how the overall framework of the Scriptures is the concept of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Kingdom has a King and a throne on earth, which is patterned after the throne in “heaven”.  Most of us have not grown up under a monarchy so we don’t understand the protocols associated with approaching the King.  You will begin to see the value of learning about the Place of the Presence of God on earth and how important it is to your studies.

 

Part 3

Part 3 - 

V’yalech

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Torah Gemstones V’yalech (he went) - Deuteronomy 31:1-30

This week’s portion, V’yalech, is usually read with Nitzavim, but because it is a leap year it is read alone.  So instead of both portions being tied to the Shabbat of Rosh HaShanah, V’yalech is connected to the Shabbat before Yom Kippur.  The theme for Yom HaKippurim is the final ingathering of the children of Israel back to their land in conjunction with the final redemption brought about by the Messiah.  We will find the same theme in this week’s Torah portion.

The key to the Redemption has always been associated with entering Eretz Israel (land of Israel).  But of course we know Moshe was not allowed to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan into the land.  We, more often than not, view this as rather unfair considering all that Moshe accomplished for the nation as he led them through the wilderness.  He was ultimately responsible for their redemption during the Passover in Egypt. So, how is it, that one sin could prevent him from entering the land?  After all, Moshe was the most humble man on the earth and the great deliverer of his people.

The narrative reveals, in the natural realm, the reason he could not cross over.  However, we will find on a deeper level this has more to do with levels of sanctity than a sin committed.  The Father has designed His creation around the concept of boundaries and levels of sanctity.  For Moshe and the children of Israel, this included the mountain where the Torah was given, the camp of Israel in the wilderness, the land of Israel itself, the city of Jerusalem and ultimately the Temple and its precincts.  The pattern is that inside the boundary exists a place of safety, preservation and blessing.  Outside the boundary, the people remained exposed to dangers, certain vulnerabilities and on-going attacks by the enemy.

The structure of the faith was really all about ascending higher and higher through various boundaries into the presence of God.  So it was that Eretz Israel (land of Israel) was holier than all other lands because it had a higher level of sanctity.  The sages declared that, every upward movement towards holiness was accomplished through the land of Israeland that eventhe ascent of prayer came only in the Land of Israel.  Further, when a person attains to the level of the Land of Israel, he is worthy of being called a `man of strength and valor'.  It was also said that, through the sanctity of the Land of Israel, the true guide and leader of our age will be revealed”.  The true guide and leader was Joshua son of Nun who is a wonderful picture of the Messiah.  It was Joshua, then, who would lead the children of Israel to “cross over” the Jordan and enter the land.

The idea of boundaries was always connected to the land.  One example is the concept of the Two Ages.  The sages viewed “this present physical age” as representing life outside the land and the future “world or age to come” as life inside the land.  One ascended to a higher level of sanctity when one entered the land of Israel.  This was considered the highest status the children of Israel could achieve.  Ultimately Moshe represented the deliverer of Israel in “this present age”, while Joshua was seen as the deliverer associated with the “World to Come.

Moshe was a physical being in a physical age and subject to the laws of nature, including the Laws of Entropy. Therefore his physical body was in a state of decay that would result in death.  Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died”.  That number represented the flesh, decay and death.  And the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed FLESH; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."  (Genesis 6:3,4)  So Moshe, who represented the world of the flesh, could not enter the land of Israel because of his physical status.  Spiritually speaking, only a resurrected body could enter into the land and "the World to Come".  The final ingathering of the Children of Israel included the resurrection of the dead.  As it was said, Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither can corruption inherit incorruption”.

It was Yeshua the Messiah, in his resurrected body, who ultimately achieved the highest level of sanctity, and who could enter the land at the time of the Redemption.  Joshua son of Nun was a picture of the Messiah as he crossed over to conquer the land.  Yehoshua (Joshua) ben Nun was the one who would come after Moshe.  Moshe was the great deliverer associated with redemption at Passover, but Yeshua was the final deliverer associated with the final Redemption at Yom Kippur.

The Messiah, in the rabbinic literature, is called Messiah Ben Nun just as Joshua was called Ben Nun.  Joshua was prepared and groomed by Moshe and, ultimately, embraced the quality of humility that was reflected by Moshe.  It was he who would cross over the Jordan leading the nation of Israel to a higher level of sanctity.  It was he would lead the people of God over the boundary marker of the Jordan from death to life.

Nun in Aramaic means fish.  In the Talmud, the Messiah, whose appearance is said to bring fruitfulness to the whole world, is also called Nun or fish.  Nun also meant kingship.  In one of the Psalms there is a variation of the word Nun referring to the Messiah.  According to Rashi, this word Yinon could be broken into a Yud and Nun meaning the continuity of kingship .  The letter Nun, which means a continuing seed, is also the 14th letter of the alphabet and is associated with the eternal Kingdom of David.  This is based on David's name which has a value of fourteen.

What a wonderful picture of the final redemption, the rulership of Messiah and the land of Israel at the time of Yom Kippur.  This is His eternal kingdom, the highest level of sanctity, which we all aspire to.  Are you ready to enter in this Yom Kippur?

Prayer: The Gate of Heaven (4 parts)

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What does prayer mean for the body of Messiah?

This series traces the historical development of prayer, focusing on the Men of the Great Assembly under Ezra, to the time of Messiah in the First Century. From there, I examine the place of prayer where Jacob's ladder stood between Heaven and Earth. I also identify the very first place prayer is mentioned in the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Avi Melech and what that means for the community of believers as well as the nations.

 

 

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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