Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

“Then Yeshua instructed him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift prescribed by Moses, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4

This week’s parasha is called “Metzora” (Leviticus 14-15) which means “leper”. It begins with “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing.” The day of his cleansing refers to the day he is healed from his leprosy. 

Last week’s reading dealt with the priest’s role in diagnosing the disease and declaring the person clean or unclean. The bible spends at least 3 chapters on this topic yet there is no information on how to heal, only how to diagnose, isolate, inform the community and ritually purify and atone for a healed leper.

Leprosy was considered a chronic and incurable disease, a punishment for sin and a divine curse. There are few stories in the Bible in which the sickness and the healing were an act of God. There is no recorded instance in which the priests performed the prescribed purification rituals since it is very likely they never encountered a Jew that was actually healed of his leprosy.

Moses’ hand turned leprous and restored back to normal as an act of God at the burning bush encounter.
Miriam was struck with leprosy as punishment by God and was restored to health after Moses prayed for her.
Naaman was a gentile king who was healed by following the instructions of Elisha the prophet of Israel.
Gehazi the assistant of Elisha contracted Naaman’s leprosy as punishment from God and was never healed.

Jews believe that some works of healing are the act of God and the expectation therefore is that the Messiah would be able to perform such healings that are beyond medicine. Healings such as raising the lame, opening the eyes of the blind, the mouth of the mute and the ears of the deaf and healing a leper. When Yeshua walked the earth and started performing such miracles the conclusion of the crowd was that he is the son of David meaning the Messiah.

The leper expressed faith in Yeshua’s messiahship when he approached him and said: “Lord if you are willing you can make me clean.” He dared to draw near although he was supposed to remain socially isolated. Yeshua in response chose to heal the leper specifically with a touch, saying: “I am willing.” According to scripture if you touch a leper, you are now unclean and need to be ceremonially cleansed. But in Yeshua’s case the touch led to the leper’s cleansing testifying again to who Yeshua is.

Yeshua asked the leper to keep the healing quiet and tell no one except the priest. According to the law of Moses this healed leper was to appear before the priest and testify that he has been healed of his leprosy and go through the rituals detailed in this weeks’ reading. The priest on the other hand, would have had to pull out the books of Moses in order to recall what he must do for this person which was healed, as I am sure he never encountered a person which was healed of leprosy before. The priest would also have to deal with the fact that “Yeshua of Nazareth” is the reason for the healing and so contemplate the fact that he must be the Messiah the son of David.

Genesis

Genesis 1:1-6:8
1st Samuel 20:18-42

Genesis 6:9-11:32
Isaiah 54:1-55:5

 
“Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
This verse from Genesis 6:11 is the opening verse for “Parashat Noah”, the second reading of the yearly cycle. The Hebrew word that is translated as violence is “HAMAS”.
We divide the 5 books of Moses into 53 weekly reading portions. We complete the annual Torah readings on “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing in the Law), which was the very holiday in which Hamas attacked Israel: October 7. The holiday in which we were supposed to rejoice became the most gruesome day in the history of the modern state of Israel.
In the second week of the war as violence is rising around the world and we hear many reports of riots and pro-terror demonstrations, we read this portion in every synagogue.
The opening paragraph of this portion gives the reason why God had decided to destroy the earth:
“Then God said to Noah, “The end of all living creatures has come before Me, because through them the earth is full of violence (HAMAS). Now behold, I will destroy both them and the earth.'” (Genesis 6:13)
Yeshua warned us that when He returns, things will be just as they were in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26), when the earth was filled with lawlessness and violence, and the people carried on with their lives, unaware that judgement was coming and destruction was decreed.
In the days of Noah only his family found favor before God and He spared their life in the arc; the world and all living creatures outside the arc were destroyed. After the flood God gave a sign in the sky that He will have mercy on the earth – that sign was the rainbow. God decided that the rainbow will remind Him of His promise to Himself to have mercy on sinners.
There is judgement that is coming on the earth, this time not with water but with fire. Yeshua warned His followers: “…on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:29-30)
At that time there will once more be a sign in the sky, this sign will be the coming of Yeshua: “And He (Yeshua) said to the disciples, “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” (Luke 17:24)
Yeshua is coming back and every eye will see Him for it will be like lightning that flashes across the sky. He is coming to judge the world and at the same time He is the very essence of God’s mercy for sinners who repent and put their trust in Him, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The Messiah Yeshua “…who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)
“I have declared to both Jews and Gentiles that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Yeshua.” (Acts 20:21)
The prophet Zechariah prophesied:
“And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of pleading, so that they will look at Me whom they pierced; and they will mourn for Him, like one mourning for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:9-10).
This day is coming, a day of national repentance. Pray for the salvation of many both Jews and Gentiles.

 

Genesis 12:1-17:27
Isaiah 40:27-41:16
Genesis 18:1-22:24
2nd Kings 4:1-37
 
Genesis 23:1-25:18
1st Kings 1:1-31
Genesis 25:19-28:9
Malachi 1:1-2:7
Genesis 28:10-32:3
Hosea 12:13-14:10
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Obadiah 1:1-21


This week’s bible reading is about Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel. When Jacob reaches a critical moment in his life he wrestles with a mysterious man saying:
“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Jacob’s life is marked by the pursuit of God’s blessing. From his mother’s womb he came out striving for it, holding on to his twin brother’s heel, symbolizing his desire to be the first born. Later he took advantage of his brother’s hunger and tricked him into selling him his birthright, and lastly he deceived his father into giving him the firstborn blessing. When Esau, his brother, realized this he vowed to kill Jacob but his father Isaac said, I blessed him and “he shall be blessed”.
But God had declared even before all of this that He would bless him, the Lord said to his mother Rebeca: “the older will serve the younger”.
The mysterious man Jacob wrestled with said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel… And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

When Jacob had to face his brother again he prayed: “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the favor and of all the faithfulness, which You have shown to Your servant; for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. Save me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. For You said, ‘I will assuredly make you prosper and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted.’”

Jacob realizes he is unworthy of God’s blessing, as we all should. It is from Jacob’s son, Judah, that Messiah came to bless the whole world. Anyone who will strive to receive this blessing of God’s free gift of salvation through His first born son, the Messiah, shall be blessed with salvation and will be joined to the household of Israel.

This weeks Parashah is called “Vayishlach” Genesis 32-36
Genesis 37:1-40:23
Zechariah 2:14-4:7



“From the beginning of the Jewish history appears before us a mysterious contrast between Joseph and Judah, and this contrast continues up until the time of the redemption in Messiah, son of Joseph and Messiah, son of David” (Rabbi Hirsch commentary on Psalms 80:2).

This week’s reading (Parasha) is the beginning of the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph is the beloved son of his father Jacob (Israel). Judah is the brother who convinced his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery. One is righteous the other a traitor. One born to Rachel, the beloved wife, the other is Leah’s son, the unloved wife.

How is it that in the Genealogy of the Messiah in Matthew, Judah is mentioned and not Joseph? Why in the middle of the story of Joseph there is a whole chapter about the story of Judah? Why is the Messiah promised to be of the tribe of Judah and not Joseph? What is the meaning of the contrast between these two brothers?

This mysterious contrast is the reason for a Jewish interpretation that teaches that there will be ‘two Messiahs’. One would be “The Son of Joseph” the other “The Son of David”. The Messiah, son of Joseph “will give his soul and pour out his life unto death (Isaiah 53:12), and his blood will atone for the people of God, so that later David’s kingdom might be in Israel forever”.

So how did Judah, the traitor, become the one from whom the Messiah, Son of David will come? I believe it is because of his courage to depart, repent and amend. He departed from his brothers when his father’s grief over Joseph was too hard to watch. He repented when his sin caught up to him as he grieved two of his own sons and Tamar, his daughter in-law, made him face his unrighteousness. He amended the past when he assured his father he would protect Benjamin and when he demanded to become a slave in his brother’s place, his father’s beloved. This victory over his past sin is the reason that he is a key person in the lineage of the King Redeemer.

The effect of this moment in Judah’s life was that Joseph reveled himself to his family and the news of this “resurrections” revived Israel’s spirit!
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1st Kings 3:15-4:1


 
Joseph had prophetic dreams with a message from God. Joseph’s family did not need interpretation but did lack faith in the message. The foreigners on the contrary lacked understanding and needed Joseph to interpret God’s message, yet believed.

One of Joseph’s dreams was on the earth – in the dream his brother’s wheat bundles bowed down to his wheat bundle, and the second dream was in the heavens where the moon sun and 11 stars bow down to Joseph. The first dream was interpreted by his brothers who refused to accept it and the second by his father who rebuked him yet kept the matter in mind.
Many times people blame Joseph for telling his dreams as though he was bragging or day-dreaming them up out of his own delusions of grandeur. They forget that these dreams were a direct message from God and that he was “the chosen” who was to live through great suffering for the sake of his family.

Joseph is a clear picture of Messiah, the chosen one who was the beloved of His father and was sent to the children of Israel with the message of God on His lips. Yeshua said things like: “I am the way the truth and the life.” His brothers did not accept His words and Yeshua clarified: “I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.” (John 12:48)
The dreams in heaven and on the earth allude to the all-encompassing authority that was given to Joseph and the authority that ultimately belongs to the Messiah, Yeshua, who said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18).

Joseph endured rejection, isolation, mistreatment, slander, slavery and imprisonment before he saw the fulfilment of his dreams. He endured all of that for the purpose of preserving life, the life of his family that mistreated him and the lives of many throughout the land that came to obtain bread from Joseph, the bread that their lives depended on. The same happened to the Messiah Yeshua, who was rejected by the children of Israel, slandered, excommunicated and imprisoned before he ascended from death itself and preserved the life of many around the world!
Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28

Did you ever find yourself in a worst case scenario situation?

This is the backdrop to this week’s Parashah (weekly Hebrew reading). Parashat “Vayigash” (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27) begins with Judah’s worst nightmare coming true. It’s funny when you think about it because it is also the moment in which Joseph’s “best dream” is coming true. His brothers are all bowing down before him just like in his old prophetic dream.

Judah finds himself with his back against the wall, so to speak. His little brother, Benjamin, the one his father was so afraid to let go of lest something bad happen to him (a feeling Judah is all too familiar with) is accused of theft and condemned to slavery.

Judah who assured his father that he would bring the boy back to him finds himself at the very same scenario he was in many years ago. At that time he actually influenced his brothers to sell Joseph to slavery, not thinking about how that would break his fathers heart. But now, would he again let his brother (the favorite son of his father) become a slave in Egypt?

Judah is given the opportunity to repent of his past sin and he does! It all begins when he draws near. He overcomes his fear and dares to speak to the most powerful man in the land: “My lord, you are equal to Pharaoh so please don’t be angry with me when I speak.” Interesting Jewish interpretation by the Malbim to this verse reads: “A plea for mercy could be addressed only to the king. Do not be angry. I am asking for mercy not a provision of Justice. For you are equal to Pharaoh. Like Pharaoh you have the power to grant pardon.”

Joseph who is a clear picture of Messiah son of Joseph, the one who suffers for the redemption of Israel, is given all authority over the land. He has the power to condemn and he has the power to forgive.

Judah represents Israel, he betrayed his father in the past and sinned against his brother, he has now the power to repent, and as he overcomes and repents the family reunites and is saved from sure death, since the famine was severe and Joseph is now able to bring his family near and provide for them. Judah the overcomer becomes the head of the tribe from which Messiah would be born.

When you find yourself is a worst case scenario it might just be the greatest opportunity for redemption. Draw near to the King and ask for mercy. 

Genesis 47:28-50:26
1st Kings 2:1-12

Exodus

Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23

 

“Why Do You Call Me Good?” (Luke 18:19)
This week’s Parasha (Exodus 1-6:1), begins with the death of Joseph. When Joseph was Lord over the land he provided for his family, they multiplied and were very prosperous. When Joseph died, things changed very quickly and times of great distress and trouble followed.

How did the children of Israel even get to this place? Slaves outside of the promised land. In the grand scheme of things this is the direct result of the fact that they themselves sought to kill their own brother, Joseph (a child of Israel) and sold him to slavery. Now the new king of Egypt enslaved all the children of Israel and even sought to kill every male child.

Into this horrible reality Moses, the redeemer, is born. When his mother saw him she saw that he was “Ki Tov” (good). The English translation reads, beautiful, fare or goodly, but the phrase used in Hebrew is the same phrase used in the creation story: God looked at what He created and behold it was very good (Ki Tov). The first “Ki Tov” in the bible refers to light, “God saw that the light was good” (Genesis 1:4). Rabbinic interpretation of this verse makes references to the Messiah (Midrash Pesikta Rabbati 36:1), teaching that the light that God saw as good is Messiah’s light and that God foresaw the redemptive acts of the Messiah even before He created the world.

When I read Exodus 2:2 (in Hebrew) “And she saw that he was good” immediately my mind wondered to Genesis. Every mother looks at her child and thinks that he is beautiful but the “seeing” here seemed different. This connection was not lost by Jewish interpreters: “And the Rabbis say: At the time when Moses was born, the entire house was filled with light, as it is written here: “And when she saw him that he was a goodly [tov] child,” and it is written there: “And God saw the light, that it was good [tov]” (Genesis 1:4).


“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict..” (Hebrews 11:23 NIV). I think this translation conveys the actual meaning, a child that doesn’t cry is no ordinary child. It is likely that she was able to hide him because he didn’t cry.

Moses like Joseph was brought into the Egyptian palace and lived a life of Royalty, like Joseph he was destined to later rescue the children of Israel and like Joseph he first experienced their rejection. Moses was the great leader and savior of the children of Israel and as such he is a clear foreshadow of the Messiah. At the end of his life he said: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)

If Messiah is to be like Moses than there should be many similarities between Yeshua and Moses, and there are!
Moses was a miracle child persecuted by evil (king Pharaoh’s order to murder all the Hebrew male children) but was kept alive by God and brought to royalty (raised by Pharaoh’s daughter in Egypt’s palace). Yeshua was a miracle child persecuted by evil (king Herod’s order to murder all the Hebrew children) but was kept alive by God in Egypt.
Moses gave up his royal privileges to save his own people who were enslaved (to Egypt). Yeshua gave up his divine privileges to save His own people who were enslaved (to sin). “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth” (Numbers 12:3), Yeshua “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)
Both Moses and Yeshua experienced rejection from the people they were trying to save, both were know for performing great miracles, Moses opened the Red Sea, Yeshua walked on the water. Both Moses and Yeshua had a special relationship with God (Numbers 12:8, John 1:18). Both were in the wilderness, (Moses 40 years, Yeshua 40 days).

There are many other points of similarities but it is clear from Scripture that Messiah is especially exalted (Isaiah 9, 52:13) and is the ultimate Redeemer and Savior. He is the actual Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Exodus 10:1-13:16
Jeremiah 46:13-28
 
 
 

Why did God choose to culminate the plagues on Egypt with the death of every firstborn?

God met Moses in the wilderness and sent him back to Egypt with a clear message for Pharaoh:
Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I said to you,
‘Let My son go so that he may serve Me’;
but you have refused to let him go.
Behold, I am going to kill your son, your firstborn.”

(Exodus 4:22-23)

When Moses came before Pharaoh, he tries to deliver this message, but Pharaoh interjects:
“Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?
I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
(Genesis 5:2).
Moses, maybe feeling a bit timid, replies: please let us go otherwise He will strike us…(Genesis 5:3).
It appears Moses doesn’t dare threaten the King of Egypt with the death of his own er.

 

Next God brought 10 plagues on Egypt and with each plague He judged the Gods of Egypt and showed His superiority over them and His sovereignty as Lord over all the earth, thus introducing Pharaoh to the God of Israel but Pharaoh continually hardened his heart. Finally, God sent Moses to pronounce the final Judgement:
“…all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die,
from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne,
to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones;
all the firstborn of the cattle as well… 
and all these servants of yours will come down to me and bow themselves before me, 
saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.”
And he left Pharaoh in the heat of anger.“
(Exodus 11:4-8)

 

God declares: Israel is my firstborn! in the bible being
a firstborn meant you had both special privileges and responsibilities, in
other words, Israel had special privileges and responsibilities among the
nations.

 

Israel is the nation entrusted with the word of God, chosen
to display the faithfulness and holiness of God and to give birth to the
Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is to be “firstborn the most exalted of the kings
of the earth.”
(Psalm 89:27), “the firstborn among many
brothers and sisters.”
(Romans 8:29), “the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.”
(Colossians 1:15), “the firstborn from
the dead”
(Revelation 1:5).

So why did God choose to culminate the plagues on Egypt with the death of every firstborn?
After the God of Israel showed Pharaoh who is the Lord that He should obey His
voice, He is going to show His mercy even in judgement by providing a way out.
The firstborn did not have to die, if they accepted the protection that the
blood of the sacrificial Lamb offered. Anyone in the land of Egypt who would
apply the blood of the lamb to their door posts and mantle will escape the
coming death and judgement.

This is the institution of the Passover which is to be
celebrated every year remembering what the Lord has done. It is to point toward
God’s ultimate provision, His firstborn son, the Messiah who is called the lamb
of God who takes away the sins of the world. By applying His sacrifice of blood
to the “doorpost” of your heart you to will be “passed-over” from death to
life!

Exodus 13:17-17:16
Judges 4:4-5:31
 
 

When you can’t help but sing…

This week’s Parasha covers the iconic story of the Exodus and the victorious Red Sea crossing in which the God of Israel is displaying His might and dominion over all creation. As the Israelites watched the sea open for their passing and then close on their enemies, they were awestruck and could not help but sing and dance for joy, praising their God!

Moses recorded this song of praise that is repeated for generations by religious Jews during their daily morning prayer. Miriam, following him, took the tambourine and started singing and dancing before the Lord echoing Moses’s lyrics and along with her all the women of Israel!

The song is called “Shirat haYam” The song of the sea. Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying:

“I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

The Lord is a warrior;
The Lord is His name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has thrown into the sea;
And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The waters cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, Lord, is majestic in power;
Your right hand, Lord, destroys the enemy.

And in the greatness of Your excellence, you overthrow those who rise up against You; You send out Your burning anger, and it consumes them like chaff. At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, the flowing waters stood up like a heap; the depths were congealed in the heart of the
sea.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I shall be satisfied against them; I will draw my sword, my hand will destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Who is like You among the gods, Lord?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,

Awesome in praises, working wonders?
You reached out with Your right hand, the earth swallowed them.

In Your faithfulness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;
In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.

The peoples have heard, they tremble; Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were terrified; The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; All the inhabitants of Canaan have despaired.
Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone,

Until Your people pass over, Lord,
Until the people pass over whom You have purchased.
You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance,
The place, Lord, which You have made as Your dwelling,
The sanctuary, Lord, which Your hands have established.

The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”

 

This song comes after the Israelites witness the fullness of the
wrath of God over the nation that enslaved and oppressed them for years.

The song of Moses is mentioned also in the last book of the New Testament. It has new lyrics but similarly comes in response to the final victory of The Lord who shall reign forever and ever.
It follows the final judgement and execution of the wrath of God in the last days. It mentions plagues and those who are victorious over the oppressor of the people of God. Another supernatural sea is mentioned, a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who sing stand on the sea. It also mentions together with Moses (the bond-servant of God), the Lamb who is THE Servant of God (Isaiah 52:13) who took away the sins of the World (John 1:29). The Passover lamb (1st Corinthians 5:7) The Lamb of God!

This makes me want to sing….He shall rain over all the earth… Forever and ever!

Exodus 18:1-20:23
Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

What if God spoke to you directly from Heaven?

This week’s Parasha describes such a grand event, an event so unique and extraordinary that it happened only once in human history. God spoke to an entire nation directly from heaven, they heard His voice and trembled in fear, in fact this event was so awe-striking that the people begged Moses to ask God to stop!

It is a scary thing to be in the presence of holiness. God is so holy that He warned the people through Moses not to get near the mountain lest they die, they had to prepare themselves for 3 days, wash their garments and abstain from sleeping with their wives. “…for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” (Exodus 20:11) When the three days were completed, God spoke, laying down “The Law”:

  1. I am the Lord your God …
  2. You shall have no other gods…
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…
  5. Honor your father and your mother…
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet…

And all the people were watching and hearing the thunder and the lightning flashes, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it all, they trembled and stood at a distance. Exodus 20:1-18

Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but do not have God speak to us, or we will die!” Exodus 20:19

What a great and awesome event, God has a meeting with a nation, the nation of Israel. He is going to great lengths in order to guide this people both in the wilderness and spiritually. Moses explains: “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you will not sin.” Exodus 20:20

God has made a promise to Abraham which He intends on keeping. He is making Abraham’s descendants into “A great nation” (Genesis 12:2). A nation that will carry God’s word and preserve it for all generations, a nation that will birth the Messiah, a nation that will display God’s amazing love and unfailing mercy, a nation that will be the very proof that God is sovereign and is true to His word and promises. A people set apart for His benefits and for His name sake.

“Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it?

Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived?

Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Deuteronomy 4:32-34

Moses is speaking these words to the people of Israel in the same sermon in which he is informing them of all the hardship they will experience when the Lord disciplines them for not obeying these commandments.

I don’t think there is a human of any descent that can claim that he kept all of the 10 commandments, let’s face it the human race has not been able to keep just one commandment: “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge”. We all broke the law, but the Israelites are put on display for it. They display the consequences of disobedience but also the mercy of God over His people. God calls Israel “my servant” but this servant of God could only suffer for their own wrongdoing. God’s ultimate Servant, the Messiah, God’s only son suffered for other’s wrongdoing. He died a sacrificial death to atone for all our sins.

As Abraham loved God and did not withhold His only beloved son from Him, so also God loved Abraham with an everlasting love and did not withhold His only beloved son, the Messiah, but gave Him over to death as God’s atonement for humanity.

Exodus 21:1-24:18

Isaiah 66:1-24

 Did Messiah contradict the Torah?

This week’s Parasha, “Parashat Mishpatim (Judgements or legislations)” comes right after God gave the 10 commandments which are the core foundation of the law. In this Parasha Moses is instructed by God to layout before the Israelites the different legislations within the law of God.

God Has chosen Israel as a nation for Himself and is now establishing their governing rules before He is bringing them to the land which He promised their father Jacob (Israel). Up until this point people came to Moses with their disputes and Moses would inquire of God regarding the ruling in different cases. This was a task too big for Moses and His father in-law suggested that he chooses people to judge the easier cases and bring only the difficult cases to him, in doing so they basically formed a “court system” and in this week’s Parasha God gives the law that is to guide their rulings.

This law deals with how Israel should treat God and how they should treat each other. It also details the punishments for law breakers (criminals) and the rules of compensation.

The famous saying: “an eye for an eye” comes from the rules regarding compensation in cases of personal injuries. Here again we see God’s principal of “Mida keneged mida”: measure for measure. If someone strikes another and causes an injury the
penalty should measure up to the loss caused: “…you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-25). The meaning here is not that the judges should inflict the same injury on the perpetrator (as a superficial reading of the verse may seem to imply) but rather that the
payment should be as high as the loss or injury. This is how this legislation is interpreted by Jewish scholars. The term “eye for eye” has the same meaning as in Leviticus 24:18 “But the one who takes the life of an animal shall make restitution, life for life.” Life for life, meaning that the person that caused the death of the animal should pay back by exchanging the dead animal for a live one.” Life for life” doesn’t mean that the owner of the dead animal should now kill the animal of the perpetrator.

The problem lied in how people adopted this term “eye for eye” in order to justify personal revenge. It is this problem that Messiah was addressing in the sermon on the mount saying: “You have heard that it was said” meaning: this is what people say… He didn’t say: “It is written…(Kakatuv)” as is the custom of Jewish Rabbis to say before quoting a verse. Messiah is referring to the faulty thinking that this verse means you have the right to revenge and a justification to “take the law into your own hands”.

Therefore Messiah explained: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I say to you, do not show opposition against an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other toward him also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42)

The law will award you the proper compensation but as for your own personal reaction you should repay evil with good and in doing so prove that you fear God.

Exodus 25:1-27:19
1st Kings 5:26-6:13

Exodus 27:20-30:10
Ezekiel 43:10-27



What can the High Priest teach us about the Messiah?

This week’s Parasha (Jewish cycle of scripture reading) deals with the priestly garments and the ordination of Aaron and his sons into the priestly office. The High priest garments are described in great detail and are to be made by skilled workers to whom the Lord have given wisdom in such matters. The purpose of these garments is to bring glory and splendor.

The High Priest is to bare the names, judgements and guilt of the children of Israel on his shoulders, heart and forehead for remembrance. 

On His shoulders there are two precious stones set in
gold and inscribed with the names of the children of Israel. (Exodus 28:12)

On His heart there is an ephod with 12 precious
stones set in gold and inscribed with the names of the children of
Israel. (Exodus 28:29-30)
On his forehead is a gold plate inscribed with the words “Holy to the Lord”. (Exodus 28:38)
The names of Israel are for bearing judgments and for remembrance and the inscription of Holy is for bearing their guilt.

How can one man bear the guilt of an entire nation? How can garments perform such heavy-duty functions?

The High Priest is a shadow or a picture of the greater intermediator
between God and men, the Messiah. The One who comes to bare the sins of many. The only truly “Holy” One. The one who bears the guilt of God’s children on His shoulders and who bears the judgements that are due to us on His heart, by His everlasting love. Messiah is described by the prophet Isaiah as one who bears the guilt and suffering of the people: “…upon him was the punishment that made us whole…the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all…My Servant, will justify the many, For He will bear their wrongdoings.” ” (Isaiah 53:5-6,11).

This Parasha emphasizes that there is only one who could both bear and atone for the people’s sins and that is the High Priest through transferring the death punishment which the guilty deserved to the innocent animal. How much more (Kal VaChomer) with the atoning death of the Messiah:

“For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14)

Exodus 30:11-34:35
1st Kings 18:1-39

Exodus 35:1-38:20
2nd Kings 11:17-12:17

God can use a person with a willing heart!

This week’s Parasha is Va Yakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20). Moses is gathering the people and instructing them to: “Take from among you gifts to the Lord; everyone whose heart is so moved…” (Exodus 35:5). The people have just gone through great trauma in the previous reading which tells of the harsh consequences following the sin of the golden calf in which 3000 people in Israel were killed. The people were also mourning the fact that God told Moses that He will not continue to dwell in their midst.

Moses intercedes for the people profusely saying: “If in any way I have found favor in Your sight, Lord, please may the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our wrongdoing and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” (Exodus 34:9). God agrees and tells Moses to gather all the items and workers that will be required to construct the tent of meeting in which the Glory of the Lord will dwell, but He asks that all of this will be done out of a willing heart. A willing heart to part-with precious things (gold, jewels, fabrics, perfumes) and be willing to give of your time effort and skill to accomplish this holy work.

Today the people of Israel are again recovering from trauma and mourning the many people who were killed in Israel. Yesterday we at Trumpet had the opportunity to take part of a big production to encourage our soldiers who have been in battle and have gone through difficult things. I got to see many willing hearts of people from all backgrounds who were moved to do good, to give of themselves, of their time, skills (cooking, photography, massaging) and gladly parted with their precious things (money) in order to accomplish this holy work. The people were united to do good and the Lord was in our midst as we got to share the Love of the Lord, pray for protection and unite with our people.
Exodus 38:21-40:38
1st Kings 7:51-8:21
 
 
 
Exodus 35:1-40:38
1st Kings 7:40-50
 

God can use a person with a willing heart!

This week’s Parasha is Va Yakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20). Moses is gathering the people and instructing them to: “Take from among you gifts to the Lord; everyone whose heart is so moved…” (Exodus 35:5).
 

The people have just gone through great trauma in the previous reading which tells of the harsh consequences following the sin of the golden calf in which 3000 people in Israel were killed. The people were also mourning the fact that God told Moses that He will not continue to dwell in their midst.

Moses intercedes for the people profusely saying: “If in any way I have found favor in Your sight, Lord, please may the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our wrongdoing and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” (Exodus 34:9). God agrees and tells Moses to gather all the items and workers that will be required to construct the tent of meeting in which the Glory of the Lord will dwell, but He asks that all of this will be done out of a willing heart. A willing heart to part-with precious things (gold, jewels, fabrics, perfumes) and be willing to give of your time effort and skill to accomplish this holy work.

Today the people of Israel are again recovering from trauma and mourning the many people who were killed in Israel. Yesterday we at Trumpet had the opportunity to take part of a big production to encourage our soldiers who have been in battle and have gone through difficult things. I got to see many willing hearts of people from all backgrounds who were moved to do good, to give of themselves, of their time, skills (cooking, photography, massaging) and gladly parted with their precious things (money) in order to accomplish this holy work. The people were united to do good and the Lord was in our midst as we got to share the Love of the Lord, pray for protection and unite with our people

Leviticus

Leviticus 1:1-5:26
1st Samuel 15:1-34
Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Ezekiel 36:16-38
Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
Leviticus 12:1-13:59
2nd Kings 4:42-5:19
Leviticus 14:1-15:33
Malachi 3:4-24
 
 

“Then Yeshua instructed
him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and
offer the gift prescribed by Moses, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4

This week’s parasha is called “Metzora” (Leviticus 14-15)
which means “leper”. It begins with “This shall be the law of the leper in the
day of his cleansing.” The day of his cleansing refers to the day he is healed
from his leprosy.

Last week’s reading dealt with the priest’s role in diagnosing the disease and declaring the person clean or unclean. The bible spends at least 3 chapters on this topic yet there is no information on how to heal, only how to diagnose, isolate, inform the community and ritually purify and atone for a healed leper.

Leprosy was considered a chronic and incurable disease, a punishment for sin and a divine curse. There are few stories in the Bible in which the sickness and the healing were an act of God. There is no recorded instance in which the priests performed the prescribed purification rituals since it is very likely they never encountered a Jew that was actually healed of his leprosy.

Moses’ hand turned leprous and restored back to normal as an act of God at the burning bush encounter.
Miriam was struck with leprosy as punishment by God and was restored to health after Moses prayed for her.
Naaman was a gentile king who was healed by following the instructions of Elisha the prophet of Israel.
Gehazi the assistant of Elisha contracted Naaman’s leprosy as punishment from God and was never healed.

Jews believe that some works of healing are the act of God and the expectation therefore is that the Messiah would be able to perform such healings that are beyond medicine. Healings such as raising the lame, opening the eyes of the blind, the mouth of the mute and the ears of the deaf and healing a leper. When Yeshua walked the earth and started performing such miracles the conclusion of the crowd was that he is the son of David meaning the Messiah.

The leper expressed faith in Yeshua’s messiahship when he approached him and said: “Lord if you are willing you can make me clean.” He dared to draw near although he was supposed to remain socially isolated. Yeshua in response chose to heal the leper specifically with a touch, saying: “I am willing.” According to scripture if you touch a leper, you are now unclean and need to be ceremonially cleansed. But in Yeshua’s case the touch led to the leper’s cleansing testifying again to who Yeshua is.

Yeshua asked the leper to keep the healing quiet and tell no one except the priest. According to the law of Moses this healed leper was to appear before the priest and testify that he has been healed of his leprosy and go through the rituals detailed in this weeks’ reading. The priest on the other hand, would have had to pull out the books of Moses in order to recall what he must do for this person which was healed, as I am sure he never encountered a person which was healed of leprosy before. The priest would also have to deal with the fact that “Yeshua of Nazareth” is the reason for the healing and so contemplate the fact that he must be the Messiah the son of David.

Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Ezekiel 22:1-19



What mystery is hidden in the sacrifice of the “Day of Atonement?”
The traditional Jewish reading on the “Day of Atonement ” is Leviticus chapter 16 which focuses on the offerings that the high priest was to bring before God as atonement for the entire nation of Israel. Two goats, sacrifice one on the altar as a sin offering, but present the other as a live sacrifice to be sent into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
The scapegoat was sent to the desert after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. This is where we get the term scapegoat which refers to someone who is not guilty, yet made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.”
A beautiful picture of this can be seen in the story of Abraham.
The binding of Isaac, Abraham’s promised son, is traditionally read on the second day of “Rosh Hashanah”, just a few days before the “Day of Atonement.” Abraham, the father of our faith was tested and found faithful. The climax of testing was when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, but the careful reader will find that Isaac was not the only son Abraham had to sacrifice.
Abraham was tested by God when he had to send Ishmael off to the desert. Ishmael was only a young boy who was made to suffer because of the messy situation his own family created (Sarah, Abraham and Hagar). He was sent to the desert like that scapegoat, rejected by his own family. At God’s command Abraham was willing to sacrifice both Isaac on the altar like that sin offering and Ishmael by sending him to the desert like that scapegoat.
He could do that because he believed in God’s promises that both Ishmael and Isaac would have numerous descendants. Abraham prophesied with great faith that: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:8) pointing to the ultimate atonement made by God himself for the house of Israel through His own beloved son who suffered rejection and death for the salvation of Israel, the Messiah, Yeshua.
Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Ezekiel 44:15-31

Leviticus 19:1-20:27
Amos 9:7-15
Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Jeremiah 32:6-27
Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Jeremiah 32:6-27
Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Jeremiah 32:6-27

Numbers

Numbers 1:1-4:20
Hosea 2:1-22
Numbers 4:21-7:89
Judges 13:2-25

Numbers 8:1-12:16
Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1-24

 

 

Numbers 16:1-18:32
Isaiah 66:1-24

 

Numbers 19:1-22:1
Judges 11:1-33

 

Numbers 22:2-25:9
Micha 5:6-6:8

 

Numbers 25:10-30:1
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

 

 

Numbers 30:2-32:42
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
 

 

Numbers 33:1-36:13
Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2
 

Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Isaiah 1:1-27
Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Isaiah 40:1-26

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Isaiah 49:14-51:3

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
Isaiah 51:12-52:12



What is Haftarah? you might wonder…
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, together they shout for joy. For every eye will see when the LORD returns to Zion!” Isaiah 52:7-8
This verse will be chanted in synagogues throughout the world and in Israel this weekend. In Jewish practice the first five books of Moses are divided into weekly reading portions called “Parasha” and are paired with a series of reading selections from the Prophets, called “Haftarah”. Typically, the Haftara reading is thematically linked to the Parashah. The reading cycle ends on the last day of the 7th Biblical feast, which is the Feast of Tabernacle, and immediately the reading begins again.
This week’s Haftarah reading is Isaiah 51:12-52:12. It is the fourth of seven weekly Haftarot recited after Tisha b’Av (day of mourning the destruction of Zion and the Temple). This Haftarah talks about the redemption of Zion.
Pray for this day and for the full redemption of Zion.

Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Isaiah 54:1-10

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
Isaiah 60:1-22

 

When will the dawn break?

This week’s Haftarah (Jewish reading portion from the prophets) starts with the call to Arise.
“Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

The imagery Isaiah is using is that of morning dawn. That time of day when light first appears in the sky, just before the sun rises, the breaking forth of light which is casting out darkness.
Israel is called to “Arise and Shine” because “Her light” has come. Who is Israel’s light? The source of light is the Lord, it was always so. Light was there at God’s word in the very first day of creation. God said: “let there be light and there was light”. The rabbis raise the question: why does it say “there was” when in every other day of creation it uses the pattern of: “Let there be”…”and it was so”? On the first day it doesn’t say “it was so” but rather “there was”. There was light before God created the sun moon and stars (on the 4th day) emphasizing the fact that they are not the source of light but that God is. Rabbis also teach that this light is the light of Messiah.
The breaking forth of light symbolizes the time of Israel’s full redemption, the time of the rain of the Messiah, the redeemer and deliverer of Israel, the time when all Israel will be saved.

Paul is talking about this time in Romans 11:25:
“For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be uninformed of this mystery
so that you will not be wise in your own estimation
that a partial hardening has happened to Israel
until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
Romans 11:25-26

The portion read this week is the entire chapter 60 of Isaiah which describes Israel’s glorious future at the Messianic era. It is the Sixth of seven weekly Haftarot recited after Tisha b’Av (day of mourning the destruction of Zion and the Temple) and leading up to The feast of Trumpet.

 

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Isaiah 61:10-63:9

Which verse would you have picked?
The portion from the prophets (Haftarah) which will be read by Jewish people worldwide this weekend is of Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9. It is the seventh of seven weekly Haftarot recited after Tisha b’Av (day of mourning the destruction of the Temple) and leading up to the Feast of Trumpets. This haftarah is always read on the weekend before the feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah).
This reading portion is so beautiful and so packed full of wonderful verses which inspired many songs, that it was very difficult to pick just one verse to feature.
The series of 7 Haftarot is referred to as “Haftarot of comfort”. Isaiah has pronounced God’s harsh judgement over Israel in but also great words of comfort and encouragement. The Lord is reassuring His people that judgement and devastation is not the end of the story. God will restore His people, He has good plans for them, He watches over them and has never forsaken them. He is the author of salvation, therefore His people rejoice because He will at the end cloth them with wonderful garments of salvation. The prophet Isaiah praises the Lord for the rescue and salvation of Israel.
Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30
Isaiah 55:6-56:8
Deuteronomy 32:1-52
Hosea 14:2-10; Micha 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27
Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Joshua 1:1-18