*Malachi 3; 5 I will draw near to you for the judgment, and I will be a swift witness against sorcerers; against adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who extort the wage of the worker, the widow and the orphan; and [against] those who wrong the stranger and do not fear Me, says HASHEM, Master of Legions. 6 For I ,HASHEM, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, you have not perished. 7 Since the days of your forefathers you have veered away from My laws and you have not observed them. Return to Me and I will return to you!
–This beautiful section of the Torah brings us deeper into the understanding of the nature of our King, Our Righteous Judge! Each law is a small reflection of the Law Giver. These Mishpatim-Judgments are sacred insight into God’s definition of a flourishing ‘body’ or community. They are key to establishing the basic needs within a functioning and holy assembly. The measures of truth and justice in order to maintain peace among men; to regulate the conduct of man and his fellow. It’s no wonder that having ‘thrown out’ these sound biblical principals of justice…our ‘System’ seems to be utterly flawed and unrighteous. First let us read the chilling account of God’s JUST reaction when the people reneged on their covenant to free their bondsmen and women. Keep in mind this covenant was made in the Holy Temple, with God Almighty as Witness…sealed with the blood of the split parts of calves (remember in this form of covenant…walking through the pieces is as if you declare: ‘If I break this covenant, may what happened to these animals, happen to me!’) The most horrifying words I could ever imagine ‘hearing’ in verse 17….My God declaring: “Behold, I proclaim you free….” in other words, you are not in my care any longer…heaven forbid, may it never be! We start here in Jeremiah to get an idea of how very important these covenants and ordinances are to God.
*Jeremiah 34;8 The word that came to Jeremiah from HASHEM, after King Zedekiah sealed a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem, to proclaim freedom for them, 9 that every man send forth his bondsman and his bondswoman- a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman- as freemen, so that no man should enslave his fellow Jew. 10 All the leaders and all the people who entered into the covenant hearkened- that every man should send forth his bondsman and every man his bondswoman as freemen, not to enslave them further- they hearkened and they sent them off. 11 But they reneged after that and brought back the bondsmen and bondswomen whom they had sent forth as freemen and subjugated them as bondsmen and bondswomen.
13 Thus said HASHEM, God of Israel: I sealed a covenant with your forefathers on the day I took them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves, saying., 14’At the outset of the seventh year, each of you shall send forth his Hebrew brother who will have been sold to you; he shall serve you for six years and then you shall send him forth free from yourself’; but your forefathers did not hearken to me, nor incline their ear. 15 Today you repented and did what was just in My eyes, for every man to proclaim freedom for his fellow, and you sealed a covenant before Me in the Temple upon which My Name is proclaimed. 16 But then you reneged and desecrated My Name, and every man brought back his bondsman and every man his bondswoman whom you had sent forth free on their own, and you subjugated them to be bondsmen and bondswomen to you.
17Therefore, this said HAHSEM: You did not hearken to Me to proclaim freedom, every man for his brother and every man for his fellow; behold, I proclaim you to be free-the word of HASHEM- for the sword, for pestilence and for famine; and I shall make you an object of horror for all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 I shall deliver people who violated My covenant, who did not uphold the words of the covenant they sealed before Me through the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts, 19 the leaders of Judah and the leaders of Jerusalem, the officers, the Kohanim, and all the people of the land, who passed through the parts of the calf; 20 I shall deliver them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their soul; their corpses will be food for the bird of the heavens and the beast of the land.
–Freedom is a wonderful and precious gift! God desires it among men, for in it we can flourish and give thanks to Him who has given us this life to enjoy and praise Him! I never could have imagined it would become so clear to me…even to the marrow of my bones…that I belong enslaved! Not only am I designed this way, but I long for it…I become more alive and my spirit is renewed, my cup run’s over when I feel as if I am serving my Master the way I should. There is nothing more fulfilling, uplifting and liberating than knowing I am, step by step…bit by bit…doing my ‘job’ as bondswoman of the King in Yeshua Ha Mashiac! May I never be released. May I ever be yoked to this delight! May I always be Yours and serve you forever!
*Mark 9;35 He sat down, and summoned the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all. ”
*Ephesians 6; 5 Slaves , obey your human masters with the same fear, trembling and single heartedness with which you obey the Messiah. 6 Don’t obey just to win their favor, serving only when they are watching you; but serve as slaves of the Messiah, doing what God wants with all your heart. 7 Work willingly as slaves, as people do who are serving not merely human beings but the Lord. 8 Remember that whoever does good work, whether he be a slave or a free man, will be rewarded by the Lord. 9 And masters treat your slaves the same way. Don’t threaten them. Remember that in heaven both you and they have the same Master, and he has no favorites.
–This verse in Ephesians clearly reiterates the instructions in the Torah as to how we should treat each other. Let us establish the facts about ‘biblical slavery’. The Hebrew conduct of slave ownership and treatment was so far apart from the peoples around them it is incredible. The slaves among Hebrews were usually gained because one had a debt to work off. Slave owners were to provide for food, clothing, shelter and other needs of their slaves. Although there were differences in the length of servitude, etc. among the bondsmen who were part of the Children of Israel and other ‘sojourners’ who became slaves…their needs and human rights were considered very important. Often the slave would desire to stay in the master’s charge even after his debt was paid…this proves that life was not what we imagine it when we think about the African American slaves for example. Sold into slavery by their ‘own’ people and terribly abused in every way imaginable….unfortunately this is a terrible example of what can happen when we throw out God’s order. Editing God’s word for it to serve the desires of our own hearts, and our own purposes. In these cases, whether a Hebrew or ‘strange’ slave….God is clear they are not to be oppressed.
*Leviticus 25;35 If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him-proselyte or resident-so that he can live with you.37 Do not give him your money for interest and increase; and do not give your food for increase.
39 If your brother becomes impoverished and is sold to you; you shall not work him with slave labor. 40 Like a laborer or a resident shall he be with you; until the Jubilee Year shall he work for you.
43 You shall not subjugate him through hard labor- you shall fear your God.
*Exodus 21; 1 And these are the ordinances that you shall place before them: 2 If you buy a Jewish bondsman, he shall work for six years; and in the seventh he shall go free, for no charge. 3 If he shall arrive by himself, he shall leave by himself; if he is the husband of a woman, his wife shall leave with him. 4 If his master will give him a woman and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to the master and he shall go out by himself. 5 But if the bondsman shall say, “I love my master, my wife and my children- I shall not go free”;6 then his master shall bring him to the court and shall bring him to the doorpost, and his master shall bore through his ear with the awl, and he shall serve him forever.
(*Exodus 23; 10 Six years shall you sow your land and gather in its produce.11 And in the seventh, you shall leave it unattended and unharvested, and the destitute of your people shall eat, and the wildlife of the field shall eat what is left; so shall you do for your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 Six days shall you accomplish your activities, and on the seventh day you shall desist, so that your ox and donkey may be content and your maidservant’s son and the sojourner may be refreshed. )
–This ritual of boring the hole in a slave’s ear is made to remind us of the blood on the doorposts in Goshen, when the Children of Israel were passed over by the destroyer. Perhaps in his masters care this slave feels safe. Perhaps it is more than he could ever had achieved on his own, true or not…God desire us each to be free of being bound to each other…in that we are capable of using our talents and attributes to serve Him and in doing so…we are able to be productive member of the ‘community’ as individuals. God’s command was freedom in the seventh year…this slave says ‘no thank you’. The blood and the wood of doorpost are covenantal….binding the slave to his master forever. I can’t help but think of the Word made flesh, that dwelt among us, God in His Son who truly could have been ‘free’ of us…yet he chose the ‘life’ of servitude, continually from the very beginning: caring for, tending to, guarding, healing….us. And when his hands and feet were bored through, as his precious blood dripped down the wood of the execution stake….for the sake of the Covenant he sealed with all those whom would Hearken…obey…accept….and walk with Him, He made an eternal promise that we would be his and He for us…forever. And he still ‘serves’ as the ONLY means by which we have access to the Father…casting our prayers as incense and interceding on our behalf.
*Exodus 12;22 You shall take a bundle of hyssop and dip it into the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with some of the blood that is in the basin, and as for you, no man shall leave the entrance of his house until morning. 23 HASHEM will pass through to smite Egypt, and He will see the blood that is on the lintel and the two doorposts; and HASHEM will pass over the entrance and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your homes to smite. 24 You shall observe this matter as a decree for yourself and for your children forever.
*Matthew 27;28 They stripped off his clothes and out on him a scarlet robe, 29 wove thorn-branches into a crown and out it on his head., and put a stick in his right hand. Then they kneeled down in front of him and made fun of him: “Hail to the King of the Jews!” 30 They spit on him and used the stick to beat him about the head. 31 When they had finished ridiculing him, they took off his robe , put his clothes back on him and led him away to be nailed to the execution-stake.
*Mark 10;43…On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must be your servant; 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must become everyone’s slave! 45 For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve- and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
–The following verses identify a man who has no other choice, he wants for his daughter to have a better life than he can provide for and, heaven forbid, he has to sell her. This is not just any sale it is one that is designed to result in a marriage. Additionally we read a CLEAR dissuasion for taking multiple wives. How? Consider this: the husband is required to provide for his wife three things. Food, clothing and marital relations (the amounts and values of each in accordance to his means and ‘free time’- in other words, how much money he makes and what he does for a ‘living’). If he takes an additional wife, it’s going to cost him. Literally. I see this as quite the opposite of God’s endorsement .
*Exodus 21;7 If a man will sell his daughter as a bondswoman, she shall not leave like the leave taking of the slaves. 8 If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master, who should have designated her for himself, he shall assist in her redemption; he shall not have the power to sell her to a strange man, for he had betrayed her. 9 If he had designated her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the rights of the young women. 10 If he shall take another in addition to her, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing or her marital relationship. 11 If he does not perform these for her, she shall leave, free of charge, without payment.
–The three types of death penalty of this time were stoning, hanging and strangulation. Each of these were experienced by the whole community. How? They were done (though very infrequently) in the most public of places…so that whether you were actually grasping a stone in your hand or bore witness to the horror of all the sounds and bodily functions present in these deaths….the effect would be lasting. It would serve as a crystal clear guard against these crimes. There are many factors such as witnesses, proof and of course ‘court’ judgment that made the death penalty rare. When reading through these Mishpatim- Judgments and Ordinances…we can take note of the heart, God’s heart. Just as at the giving of the Ten Words in the last portion God draws special attention to the honor of parents…a child who even strikes his parents is charged with death. It is easy to become complacent, giving far too much credit to dark forces than we should. In Ex. 21;12 the text says: God had caused it to come to his hand….; who is it that causes death and restores life? Is that to say the tragic things that happen are at the hand of a Vengeful God always ready to point the finger and strike? Heaven forbid! Those of us who have sought Him know of His nature. There is a much bigger picture than we can see…and all who were, are and will be will stand before Him to make an account of every word, deed, breath….if you trust that He is the Righteous Judge, you know He will give us a place to flee and provide refuge. (Exodus 23;7…I shall not exonerate the wicked.)
*Ephesians 6;1 Children, what you should do in union with the Lord is obey your parents, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”- this is the first commandment that embodies a promise-3 “so that it may go well with you, and you may live long in the Land.” 4 Fathers, don’t irritate your children and make them resentful; instead, raise them with the Lord’s kind of discipline and guidance.
*Exodus 21;12 One who strikes a man, so that he dies, shall surely be put to death. 13 But for one who had not lain in ambush and God had caused it to come to his hand, I shall provide you a place to which he shall flee. 14 If a man shall act intentionally against his fellow and murder him with guile, from My Altar shall you take him to die. 15 One who strikes his father or mother shall surely be put to death. 16 If men quarrel and one strikes his fellow with a stone or a fist, and he does not die but falls into bed: 19 If he gets up and goes about outside under his own power, the one who struck is absolved. Only for his lost time shall he pay, and he shall provide for healing.
* Isaiah 59;9 “That is why justice has become distant from us and righteousness has not reached us; we hope for light, but, behold, there is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep darkness. 10 We grope the wall like the blind; and like the eyeless we grope; we stumble at noon as in the dark of night; as if in graves like the dead.
*Mark 9;42 Whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust in me- it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand makes you sin, cut it off! Better that you should be maimed but obtain eternal life, rather than keep both hands and go to Gei-Hinnom (hell), to unquenchable fire! 45 And if your foot makes you sin, cut it off! Better that you should be lame but obtain eternal life, rather than keep both feet and be thrown into Gei-Hinnom! 47 And if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out! Better that you should be one-eyed but enter the Kingdom of God, rather than keep both eyes and be thrown into Gei-Hinnom. 48 where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 49 Indeed, everyone is going to be salted with fire. 50 Salt is excellent, but if it looses its saltiness, how will you season it? So have salt in yourselves- that is, be at peace with each other.
–When you read the verses above from Mark 9, did you imagine Yeshua literally meant for us to cut off/pluck out our hand, foot/ or eye? (noting that he uses the very same terminology for his illustration as the Torah does). The fact is that the verses below weren’t some ‘old’ crude means of exacting justice by literally cutting off hands for hands, etc. This was always meant to mean a ‘monetary’ payment, which would include the entire ‘expense’ of the injury…healing, time off ‘work’, pain and suffering, doctors bills and so on. We can see this is so simply by noting the context. Prior to the famous “eye for an eye” verses we read about the terrible situation of a pregnant woman being killed ‘accidentally’ and the payment due. Similarly afterward the verses regarding the setting of a slave who was injured free…’property’, and value paid back in exchange for the offense. What is the Torah’s ‘point’ and what was Yeshua’s ‘point’? They are the same ‘point’, being at peace with each other. How? Keeping our moral standards in line with God’s given commands. One who is carelessly fighting so roughly with his brother that he causes a woman to miscarry or be killed, heaven forbid, should be made an example of in the community of what NOT to do….the cost should be very high! One who will strike his ‘slave’, injuring his own ‘property’ has no business having this person who does in fact hold value! And we can avoid it all….by being at peace with each other, always bearing in mind that the horizontal relationships with our fellow should mirror the vertical relationship we desire to have with our Heavenly Father.
*Exodus 21; 20 If a man shall strike his slave or maidservant with the rod and he shall die under his hand, he shall surely be avenged. 21 But if he shall survive for a day or two, he shall not be avenged, for he is his property. 22 If men shall fight and they collide with a pregnant woman and she miscarries, but there will be no fatality, he shall surely be punished as the husband of the woman shall cause to be assessed against him, and he shall pay by order of judges. 23 But if there shall be a fatality, then you shall award a life for a life; 24 an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot;25 a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise. 26 If a man shall strike the eye of his slave or the eye of his maidservant and destroy it, he shall set him free in return for his eye. 27 And if he knocks out the tooth of his slave or the tooth of his maidservant, he shall set him free in return for his tooth.
*Genesis 4;4…HASHEM turned to Abel and to his offering, 5 but to Cain and to his offering He did not turn. This annoyed Cain exceedingly, and his countenance fell. 6 And HASHEM said to Cain, “why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? 7Surely if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rests at the door. Its desire toward you, yet you can conquer it.” 8 Cain spoke with his brother Abel. And it happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 HASHEM said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother? And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 Then He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! 11 Therefore, you are cursed more than the ground, which opened its mouth wide to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
*Psalm 130;1 From the depths I called to You, HASHEM. 2 O Lord, hear my voice, may Your ears be attentive to the sound of my pleas. 3 If You preserve iniquities, O Lord, who could survive? 4 For with You is forgiveness, that You may be feared. 5 I put my confidence in HASHEM, my soul put confidence, and I hoped for His word. 6 My soul yearns for the Lord, among those longing for the dawn, those longing for the dawn. 7 Let Israel hope for HASHEM, for with HASHEM is kindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. 8 And He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
*Romans 8;14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”).
*Galatians 3; 26 For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness; 27 because as many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah, in whom 28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise.
–It was my six year old daughter who, while we were studying Mishpatim this past Shabbat, stopped me noting that the cry of the oppressed one God would hear, was similar to the blood of Abel crying out to God from the ground. There is no mistaking the curse placed upon Cain, there is no mincing words here as God describes His justice for those who would afflict the afflicted. If you kick a man when he’s down, God says, you wont have a leg to stand on. These laws are the reflection of a Law Giver who’s tender compassion and yet just strength is beyond our comprehension. While we might only be thinking about what our fellow owes us…his Father is thinking ahead to where His son or daughter will lie down for the evening, and if they might be cold. Oh my Abba! I praise You for Your mercy! In all these things I see the (chessed) eternal loving kindness of Your Promise. You want the very best for all of us, and long for us to treat each other with the pity you have abundantly and continually show each one of us! For who could stand before you if you held up all our iniquities….blessed are You, our Kind and Just Father.
*Exodus 22;20 You shall not taunt or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 21 You shall not cause pain to any widow or orphan. 22 If [you dare] to cause him pain…! -for if he shall cry out to Me, I shall surely hear his outcry. 23 My wrath shall blaze and I shall kill you by the sword, and your wives will be widows and you children orphans. 24 When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you, do not act toward him as a creditor; do not lay interest upon him. 25 If you take your fellow’s garment as security, until sunset shall you return it to him. 26 For it alone is his clothing, it is his garment for his skin- in what should he lie down? – so that if he cries out to Me, I shall listen, for I am compassionate.
(*Exodus 23; 6 Do not pervert the judgment of your destitute person in his grievance. 7 Distance yourself from a false word; do not execute the innocent or the righteous, for I shall not exonerate the wicked. 8 Do not accept a bribe, for the bribe will blind those who see and corrupt words that are just. 9 Do not oppress a stranger; you know the feelings of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.)
*Psalm 82;1 God stands in the Divine assembly, in the midst of judges shall He judge. 2 Until when will you judge lawlessly and favor the presence of the wicked, Selah? 3 Dispense justice for the needy and the orphan; vindicate the poor and impoverished. 4 Rescue the needy and destitute, and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know nor do they understand, they walk in darkness; all the foundations of the earth collapse.
*John 14; 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands; 16 and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever. 17 The world can not receive him, because it neither sees not knows him. You know him, because he is staying with you and will be united with you. 18 I will not leave you orphans- I am coming to you.
–The study of the Commandments is the study of God Himself. I pray that we will truly all open our hearts and take note of what exactly it is we do if we amend, revise or adjust God’s given word to suit our situations, theologies, messages…pride. Take this out here, that is done away with there….I can’t keep this now, that doesn’t apply anymore….we put ourselves in the station of “God’s Editor”. (God forbid!) “Hath God really said…” “Does it really mean…” Genesis 3;1 Now the serpent was cunning beyond any beast of the field that HASHEM God had made. He said to the woman, “Did, perhaps, God say: ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?
*I Thessalonians 5;16 Always be joyful. 17 Pray regularly. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants form you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages. 21 But do test everything- hold onto what is good, 22 but keep away from doing evil.
*Exodus 23;1 Do not accept a false report, do not extend your hand with the wicked to be a venal witness. 2 Do not be a follower of the majority for evil; and do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert [the law]. 3 Do not glorify a person in his grievance. 4 If you encounter an ox of your enemy or his donkey wandering, you shall return it to him repeatedly. 5 If you see the donkey of someone you hate crouching under its burden, would you refrain from helping him?- you shall help repeatedly with him.
–A glimpse into the Heart of God Most High! El elyon! What a shame and waste it is when these verses are often disregarded or ‘thrown out’. Who of us would repeatedly help aid one who hates you? Who of us would naturally assist someone we ourselves dislike….not once, repeatedly? This is a divine ordinance from the Divine King Who’s ways are not our ways and Who’s thoughts are not our thoughts. In Matthew 18, Yeshua illuminates this nature to forgive and to allow for healing….and so too brings to light what we should expect if we can not manage to at least strive to see our fellow as our Father see’s us.
*Matthew 18; 21 Then Kefa (Peter) came up and said to him, “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven! 23 Because of this, the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared with a king who decided to settle accounts with his deputies. 24 Right away they brought forward a man who owed him many millions; 25 and since he couldn’t pay, his master ordered that he, his wife, his children and all his possessions be sold to pay the debt. 26 But the servant fell down before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 So out of pity for him, the master let him go and forgave the debt. 28 “But as that servant was leaving, he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him some tiny sum. He grabbed him and began to choke him, crying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 29 His fellow servant fell before him and begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he refused; instead, he had him thrown in jail until he should repay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were extremely distressed; and they went and told their master everything that had taken place. 32 Then the master summoned his servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt just because you begged me to do it. 33 Shouldn’t you have had pity on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And in anger his master turned him over to the jailers for punishment until he paid back everything he owed. 35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat you, unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.”
*Luke 2; 21 On the eighth day, when it was time for his b’rit-milah, he was given the name Yeshua, which is what the angel had called him before his conception.
39 When Yosef and Miriam had finished doing everything required by the Torah of ADONAI, they returned to the Galil, to their town Natzeret. 40 The child grew and became very strong and filled with wisdom- God’s favor was upon him. 41 Every year Yeshua’s parents went up to Yerushalayim for the festival of Pesach.
*John 7;2 but the festival of Sukkot in Y’hudah was near;
10…after his brothers had gone up to the festival, he too went up, not publicly but in secret. 11 At the festival the Judeans were looking for him.
14 Not until the festival was half over did Yeshua go up to the Temple courts to begin to teach.
37 Now on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking!”
*Zechariah 14;16 It shall be that all who are left over from all the nations who had invaded Jerusalem will come up every year to worship the King HASHEM, Master of Legions, and to celebrate the festival of Succos. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the land does not go up to Jerusalem to bow down before King, HASHEM, Master of Legions, there will be no rain upon them.
*Isaiah 2;3 Many peoples will go and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the Mountain of HASHEM, to the Temple of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will the Torah come forth, and the word of HASHEM from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge among the nations, and will settle the arguments of many peoples.
–The three pilgrimage festivals Pesach (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread), Shavuoth (Feast of weeks, celebrating the giving of the Torah. “Pentecost”) and Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles, booths.) are not ‘merely’ shadows of what is to come…they are pictures and expressions of Yeshua! Our Passover lamb, the Word made flesh and our Groom, awaiting his bride at the wedding supper. There is so much to these festivals and it is no wonder that God causes us from our hearts to learn about them, recognize them and remember them. These are God’s appointed times and we should try and at the very least investigate WHY they are important to Him.
*Exodus 23; 14 Three pilgrimage festivals shall you celebrate for Me during the year. 15 You shall observe the Festival of Matzos; seven days shall you eat matzos, as I have commanded you, at the appointed tome of the month of springtime, for in it you left Egypt; you shall not be seen before me empty handed. 16 And the Festival of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labor that you sow in the field; and the Festival of the Ingathering at the close of the year, when you gather in your work from the field. 17 Three times during the year shall all your men folk appear before the Lord, HASHEM. 18 You shall not offer the blood of My feast-offering upon leavened bread; nor may the fat of My festive-offering remain overnight until morning. 19 The choicest first fruit of your land shall you bring to the House of HASHEM, your God; you shall not cook a kid in the milk of its mother.
–I have been asked many times why it is I eat clean and ‘Kosher’ yet do not adhere to the extremely strict Chalachic laws regarding dairy and meat. My daughter and I discussed this on Shabbat. If we look at this verse in context we can see that it is connected to these pilgrimage feasts in which the people were to bring their offerings for worship. The text goes on to set apart the way in which these gifts were to be presented and offered….holy to God. No leavening, nothing left overnight, choicest first fruits…and finally, no calf boiled in its mothers milk. This is exactly how the Israelites pagan ‘neighbors’ would offer their sacrifices, thus God requires clear separation. Also He is compassionate and loving, He cares about taking the tiny eggs from a nest in the presence of the mother bird….and He cares about the baby being seethed in the milk that once gave it ‘life’ and sustenance. SO, does my cheeseburger qualify as being likened to an offering being set apart, or an unkind unfeeling or compassionate practice? I don’t think so, but as I told my daughter it is up to her to pray research God’s word and study with thoughtfulness this topic. And I may be wrong, we should never throw something out because it doesn’t ‘work for me’, and I will go first to the word of God, which is eternal, and not leaving it up to my own finite and miniscule discretion and understanding
*Isaiah 59;20 A redeemer will come to Zion, and to those of Jacob who repent from willful sin- the word of HASHEM.21 And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, said HASHEM, My spirit which is upon you and My words I have placed in your mouth will not be withdrawn from your mouth nor from the mouth of your offspring nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring, said HASHEM, from this moment and forever.
*Malachi 3;1 Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a path before Me; suddenly the Lord Whom you seek will come to His Sanctuary, and the messenger of the covenant for whom you yearn, behold, he comes, says HASHEM, Master of Legions. 2 Who can bear the day of his coming and who can survive when he appears? For he will be like the smelter’s fire and like the launderers soap. 3 He will sit smelting and purifying silver; he will purify the children of Levi and refine them like gold and like silver, and they will be for HASHEM presenters of offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to HASHEM as in the days of old and in previous years.
*Deuteronomy 18;15 A prophet from your midst, from your brethren, like me, shall HASHEM, your God, establish for you- to him shall you hearken. 16 According to all that you asked of HASHEM, your God, in Horeb on the day of the congregation saying, “I can no longer hear the voice of HASHEM, my God, and this great fire I can no longer see, so that I shall not die.”
*Joshua 5;13 It happened when Joshua was in Jericho that he raised his eyes and saw and behold! – a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went toward him and said to him, “Are you with us or with our enemies?” 14 He said, “No, for I am the commander of HASHEM’s legion; now I have come.” Joshua fell before him on the ground and prostrated himself, and said to him, “What does my master say to his servant?” 15 The commander of HASHEM’s legion said to Joshua, “Remove your shoe from upon your foot, for the place upon which you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
–These verses are incredible! Truly the scroll of the Book of the Covenant not only speaks about Yeshua and IS the I WAS,I AM, I WILL BE eternally…can’t we just see it! The scene of this Messenger, this Malach, this Special Angel…not just any angel…but One with Authority. What angel can forgive sin? What angel’s voice is literally God speaking? This is Yeshua who will go before Israel to protect them and bring them to the place He has lovingly made ready and prepared for them.
*Exodus 23;20 Behold! I send an angel before you to protect you on the way, and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. 21 Beware of him- hearken to his voice, do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your willful sin- for My Name is within him. 22 For if you hearken to his voice and carry out all that I shall speak, then I shall be the enemy of your enemies and persecute your persecutors. 23 For my angel shall go before you and bring you to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite, and I will annihilate them.
*Colossians 2;9 For in him (Messiah), bodily, lives the fullness of all that God is. 10 And it is in union with him that you have been made full- he is the head of every rule and authority.
*Exodus 23; 24 Do not prostrate yourselves to their gods, do not worship them, and do not act according to their practices; rather you shall tear them apart, and you shall smash their pillars. 25 You shall worship HASHEM, your God, and He shall bless your bread and your water, and I shall remove illness from your midst. 26 There shall be no woman who loses her young or is infertile in your land; I shall fill the number of your days. 27 I shall send my fear before you and I shall confound the entire people among whom you shall come; and I shall make your enemies turn the back of the neck to you. I shall send forth the hornet-swarm before you and it will drive away the Hivvite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you. I shall not drive them away from you in a single year, lest the Land become desolate and the wildlife of the field multiply against you. 30 Little by little shall I drive them away from you, until you become fruitful and make the Land your heritage.
–The vast extent of this event can be played out by picturing the masses…the Youth’s of the Congregation come forth offering their Korbanot (offerings, which in Hebrew translates as “to draw near”) for rendering gifts and worship to the Lord. Making covenant with pillar and altar, meal and blood. Then Moses reads the Book of the Covenant in earshot of the entire people. Either by miraculous acoustics or repeated wave after wave person to person….they all hear! Then as ONE they declare…we will do and we will obey. This does not reveal itself to be a time for questions, though there may be many, nor does it appear to be a time of rumination…this is, we will be obedient to God and we will strive to walk in Your Commands….only later we will it be timely seek to understand Your ways.
*Exodus 24;1 To Moses He said, “Go up to HASHEM, you, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall prostrate yourselves from a distance. 2 And Moses alone shall approach HASHEM, but they shall not approach, and the people shall not go up with him.” 3 Moses came and told the people all the words of HASHEM and all the people responded with one voice and they said, “All the words that HASHEM has spoken, we will do.” Moses wrote all the words of HASHEM. He arose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent the youths of the Children of Israel and they brought up burnt-offerings, and they slaughtered bulls to HASHEM as feast peace offerings to HASHEM. 6 Moses took half the blood and placed it in basins, and half the blood he threw upon the altar. 7 He took the Book of the Covenant and read it in earshot of the people, and they said, “Everything that HASHEM has said, we will do and we will obey!” 8 Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and he said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that HASEM sealed with you concerning all these matters.”
–Once again we see something significant about this Malach-Angel-messenger…not only does he use the same terminology as the ‘angel’ who struggled with Jacob, with the authority to bless and change his name to Israel….(Genesis 31;Then Jacob inquired, and he said, “Divulge, if you please, your name.” And he said, “Why then do you inquire of my name?” And he blessed him there. 31 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel- “For I have seen the Divine face to face, yet my life was spared.”)…but this Angel of HASHEM performs a miracle and Manoah fears death, why? (Exodus 33;20 He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for no human can see Me and live.”)
*Judges 13;17 Manoah said to the angel of HASHEM, “What is your name, so that when your word comes about, we may honor you?” 18 The angel of HASHEM said to him, “Why is it that you ask for my name? It is hidden!” 19 Manoah took the goat kid and the meal offering and brought [them] up on the rock of HASHEM- and [the angel] performed a miracle, as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 It happened that as the flame rose up from atop of the altar to the heavens, the angel of HASHEM went up in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife were watching and they fell upon their faces to the ground. 21 The angel of
HASHEM no longer appeared to Manoah and his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen a Godly angel!”
*Isaiah 6;1…I saw the Lord sitting upon a high and lofty throne, and its legs filled the Temple.
5Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am doomed: for I am a man of impure lips and I dwell among a people with impure lips, for my eyes have seen the King, HASHEM, Master of Legions.
*Exodus 24; 9 Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended. 10 They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was the likeness of sapphire brickwork, and it was like the essence of heaven in purity. 11 Against the men of the Children of Israel, He did not stretch out His hand- they gazed at God, yet they ate and drank.
–Here we see that the men of the Children of Israel who had ascended to eat this covenantal meal following the offerings, reading of the Book and the declaration by the people….did not have the same fear of death as Jacob or Manoah….they not just glanced, or looked…they gazed upon the Holy One, blessed is he….with food in their mouths. It makes it seem casual to them, we should note that Nadab and Abihu are mentioned…there is another time when their ‘service’ to HASHEM became dominated by what they thought would be proper , rather than what is prescribed. In this case it is clear that HASHEM was in the ‘right’ here with every ‘right’ to smite them for this disrespect….but the King who knows all our hearts and knows the thoughts of men saw it fit that this was not the time to stretch forth His hand. After all, it is the day of the sealing of a covenant…predestined from the beginning, designed and drafted with care, eternal and binding…irreplaceable. ‘Today’ Israel, by Yeshua’s blood…all those who would be grafted in. Halleluyah.
*Jeremiah 31; 32 For this is the covenant that I shall seal with the House of Israel after those days- the word of HASHEM- I will place My Torah within them and I will write in onto their heart; I will be a God for them and they will be a people for Me.
*Exodus 24; 12 HASHEM said to Moses, “Ascend to Me to the mountain and remain there, and I shall give you the stone Tablets and teaching and the commandment that I have written, to teach them. 13 Moses stood up with Joshua, his servant; and Moses ascended to the Mountain of God. 14 To the elders he said, “Wait for us here until we return to you. Behold! Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a grievance should approach them.”
*John 14; 19 In just a little while, the world will no longer see me; but you will see me. Because I live, you too will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am united with my Father, and you with me, and I with you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.
*Deuteronomy 18; 17 Then HASHEM said to me: They have done well in what they have said, 18 I will establish a prophet for them from among their brethren, like you, and I will place My words in his mouth; He shall speak to them everything I will command him. 19 And it shall be that the man who will not hearken to My words that he shall speak in My Name, I will exact it from him.
*Exodus 24;15 Moses ascended the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of HASHEM rested upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for a six-day period. He called to Moses on the seventh day from the midst of the cloud. 17 The appearance of the glory of HASHEM was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop before the eyes of the Children of Israel. 18 Moses arrived in the midst of the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
–I can not imagine this sight! Astounding! The Glory, a Consuming Fire atop the mountain as Moshe ascends. The people are not alone, this is clear, and I can’t imagine what is to come (in the next few Torah portions), happening…with this amazing presence, and more functionally…Aaron, Hur and the Book of the Covenant to go to, draw from…and counsel them as they await more word from God and the return of their leader, their Shepherd Moshe. And here we are as well, we wait our coming King and Messiah Yeshua…and what will we do while we are ‘at the foot of the mountain’, having been ‘covered’ in his blood and bound to the promise….what will we do? I once was told, “Once you have begun to walk, once you have the motivation to make the steps to follow God and do as He wills, once you have begun to pursue holiness and continue in that direction….God considers you as if you have already won! God already considers you to be holy! Because He thinks that highly of you!” There is no way we can be perfect, there are surely still idols we need to clear from our lives…and ask God to identify and smash along with us….but once we have begun, and as long as we continue…returning if we wander and repenting when we fail…watching with hopeful expectation…we ARE His and He will not be removed from us forever!! Just as His word is eternal, so is this Love and connection.
*Jeremiah 33;20 Thus said HASHEM: If you could annul My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that the day and night would not come in their proper times, 21 so too could My covenant be annulled with David, My servant, so that he would not have a descendant reigning on his throne, or [ My covenant] with the Levites and the Kohanim, My attendants. 22 Just as the hosts of heaven cannot be counted nor the sand of the shore measured, so will I multiply the seed of My servant David and the Levites, My attendants.
*Romans 8;38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, 39 neither powers above nor powers below, nor any created thing will be able to separate is from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
–Baruch attah ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH haolam….
Blessed are YOU LORD OUR GOD KING of the universe. You alone have planted among us life eternal, Blessed are You, gracious giver of the Torah!
In Yeshua’s name I ask that we all draw near to You our King, dive into Your eternal words and commands and strive to see that Your heart is revealed there…we can not see You but You are everywhere, we can not embrace You but Your love comforts us at every hour of every day….we can not offer anything but filthy rags yet we FEEL Your merciful encouragement in the miracles of each and every season of these lives…we walk through, as vessels for your glory and praise….O that I would be called a faithful servant…O that I could serve you forever, never loosen these binds Almighty God, may I serve you in every breath and never be free! Thank You for the time which is a gift and the WONDERS in Your eternal word!
Stone Edition Tanach- Artscroll
Complete Jewish Bible- David H. Stern