Weekly Torah portion from the One New Man Bible – Vayeira – Nov 3, 2017

Vayeira

Genesis 18:1 – 22:24

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18.1. And the LORD* appeared to him in the plains of Mamre and he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and there were three men standing by him. And when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and he bowed toward the ground 3. and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, do not pass by, I pray You, from Your servant:4. let a little water, I pray you, be brought and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree.

5. And I shall get a morsel of bread and comfort your hearts for you. After that you will pass on, for that is why you have come to your servant.” And they said, “So do as you have said.” 6. And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it and make cakes.”

7. And Abraham ran to the herd and fetched a good, tender calf and gave it to a young man and he hastened to dress it. 8.And he took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree and they ate.

18:9. And they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There – in the tent.” 10. And He said, “I shall certainly return to you at this time next year and, see, Sarah your wife will have a son.” (Rom. 9:9) And Sarah listened in the tent door, which was behind him. 11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well up in age: the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself saying, “After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” 13. And the LORD* said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Will I, who am old, of a surety bear a child?’ 14. Isanything too hard for the LORD*? (Matt. 19:26, Luke 1:34) At the time appointed I shall return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Rom. 9:9) 15. Then Sarah denied it saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

18:16. And the men rose up from there and looked toward Sodom and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17. And the LORD* said, “Will I hide from Abraham that thing which I am about to do, 18. seeing that Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? 19. For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they will keep the Way of the LORD*, to do acts of loving kindness and judgment, so the LORD* may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.” 20. And the LORD* said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very grievous, 21. I shall go down now and see whether they have done everything I told them, which has come to Me. And if not, I shall know.”   22. And the men turned their faces from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD*. 23. And Abraham drew near and said, “Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24. If there are fifty righteous within the city will You also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are there?

25. Far be it from You to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked and that the righteous should be like the wicked: far be that from You. Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26. And the LORD* said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I shall spare the entire place for their sake.” 27. And Abraham answered and said, “Behold now, I, who am but dust and ashes, have taken upon me to speak to the LORD*. 28. If by chance there will lack five of the fifty righteous, will You destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And He said, “If  I find forty-five there, I shall not destroy it.” 29. And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “If by chance there will be forty found there?” And He said,  “I shall not do it for forty’s sake.” 30. And he said to Him, “Oh do not let the LORD* be angry, and I shall speak: If by chance thirty will be found there?” And He said, “I shall not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31. And he said, “Behold now, I have taken upon myself to speak to the LORD*: If by chance twenty will be found there?” And He said, I shall not destroy it for twenty’s sake.”  32. And he said, “Oh please, let not the LORD* be angry, and I shall speak yet but this once: If by chance ten will be found there?” And He said, “I shall not destroy it for ten’s sake.”

18:33. And the LORD* went His way, as soon as He had left speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Lot Rescued

19.1. And two angels came to Sodom in the evening and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. And when Lot saw them he rose up to meet them and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2. And he said, “Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house and tarry all night and wash your feet and you will rise up early and go on your way.” And they said, “No. But we will stay in the street all night.” 3. And he pressed upon them greatly and they went in with him and entered his house and he made a feast for them and baked unleavened bread and they ate.

19:4. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both old and young, all the people from every quarter. 5. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so we can know them.” 6. And Lot went out to them at the door and shut the door behind him 7.and said, “I pray you, brothers, do not behave so wickedly.

8. Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known a man: let me, I pray you, bring them out to you and you do to them as is good in your eyes. Only to these men do nothing, for therefore they came under the shadow of my roof.” 9.And they said, “Stand back!” And they said again, “This one came in to sojourn and he thinks he is  a judge. Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” And they pressed sore upon the man, Lot, and came near to break the door. 10. But the men put forth their hand and pulled Lot into the house to them and shut the door. 11. And they struck the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12.And the men said to Lot, “Do you have here any besides yourself? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whoever you have in the city, bring them out of this place, 13. for we will destroy this place, because their cry has become great before the face of the LORD*, and the LORD* has sent us to destroy it.”

19:14. And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place, for the LORD* will destroy this city.” But he seemed like one who teased to his sons-in-law. 15. And when the morning came, then the angels hastened Lot saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters that are here, so you will not be consumed in the iniquity of the city.” 16. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand and upon the hand of his wife and upon the hand of his two daughters. The LORD* had pity on him and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17. And it was, when they had brought them out, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you! Do not stay anywhere in the plain! Escape to the mountain, so you will not be consumed.” 18. And Lot said to them, “Oh, not so, my lord. 19. Behold now your servant has found favor in your sight and you have magnified your loving kindness, which you have shown to me in saving my life. And I cannot escape to the mountain, lest something bad overtake me and I die. 20. Behold now, this city is near to flee to and it is a little one. Oh, let me escape there, (is it not a little one?) and my soul will live.” 21. And he said to him, “See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I shall not overthrow this city of which you have spoken. 22. Quick! Escape there, for I cannot do anything until you have come there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

19:23. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24. Then the LORD* rained brimstone and fire from the LORD* out of heaven upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah. (Rev. 14:10; 20:10; 21:8) 25. And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain and all the inhabitants of the cities and that which grew upon the ground.

26. But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt.

19:27. And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD*, 28. And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the plain and there it was! The smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace.

19:29. And it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain that God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelled.

19:30. And Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the mountain and his two daughters were with him, for he feared to stay in Zoar and he lived in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31. And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on the earth to come in to us according to the statute of all the earth. 32. Come, let us make our father drink wine and we will lie with him so we can preserve our father’s seed.” 33. And they made their father drink wine that night and the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not perceive when she lay down, or when she arose. 34.And it was the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, last night I lay with my father. Let us make him drink wine this night also, and you go in and lie with him, so we can preserve our father’s seed.”

35. And they made their father drink wine that night also and the younger arose and lay with him, and he was not aware when she lay down or when she rose.

19:36. Both the daughters of Lot were thus with child by their father. 37. And the firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moab to this day. 38. And the younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon to this day.

Abraham Again Calls Sarah His Sister

20.1. And Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, the south, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 2. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech (Avimelekh) king of Gerar sent for and took Sarah. 3. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are but a dead man for the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4. But Abimelech had not come near her and he said, “Lord, will you slay also  a righteous nation? 5. Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister?’ And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.” 6. And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I AM knows that you did this in the integrity of your heart, for I AM also withheld you from sinning against Me, therefore I did not let you touch her. 7. Now therefore restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live, but if you do not restore her, know that you will surely die, you and all that are yours.”

20:8. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their ears, and the men were very much afraid. 9. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And bywhat have I offended you, that you have brought a great sin on me and on my kingdom? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” 10. And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see that you have done this thing?”

20:11. And Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely reverence for God is not in this place and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.’ 12. And yet indeed she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13. And it was when God caused me to wander from my father’s house that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness which you will show to me: at every place where we will come, say of me, He is my brother.’”

20:14. And Abimelech took sheep, oxen, men servants, and women servants and gave them to Abraham and restored Sarah his wife to him. 15. And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you. Stay wherever it pleases you.” 16. And to Sarah he said, “Behold I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver: here, it is eye-covering for you, for all that are with you and you are vindicated before all.”

20:17. So Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his maid servants and they bore children. 18.For the LORD* had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Sarah and Isaac

21.1. And the LORD* visited Sarah as He had said and the LORD* did for Sarah what He had spoken. (Gen. 18:10) 2. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (Heb. 11:11) 3.And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. 4. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5. And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

21:6. And Sarah said, God has made me laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me. 7. And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah should be given children to nurse? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” 8. And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the day that Isaac was weaned. 9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scornful. 10. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman will not be heir with my son, with Isaac.” (Gal. 4:30, Heb. 11:17)

21:11. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12. And God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed in your sight because of the lad and because of your bondwoman. In all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice because your seed will be called in Isaac.  (Rom. 9:7, Heb. 11:18) 13. And of the son of the bondwoman I shall also make a nation, because he is your seed.”

14. And Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and a skin-bottle of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder and the child, and sent her away. And she left and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. 15. And the water was spent in the bottle and she put the child under one of the shrubs. 16. And she went and sat down opposite, a good way off, about a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” And she was sitting opposite him and lifted up her voice and wept. 17. And God heard the voice of the lad, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be in awe! God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him in your hand, for I shall make a great nation of him.” 19. And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad a drink.

21:20. And God was with the lad and he grew and lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21. And he lived in the wilderness of Paran and his mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

21:22. And it happened at that time that Abimelech and Fikhol the chief captain of his army spoke to Abraham saying, “God is with you in all that you do. 23. Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my son, or with my son’s son, but according to the kindness that I have done for you, you will do to me, and to the land in which you have sojourned.” 24. And Abraham said, “I shall swear.” 25. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away. 26. And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing: neither did you tell me, but I heard of it just today.” 27. And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them to Abimelech, and both of them made a covenant. 28. And Abraham set seven ewe-lambs of the flock by themselves. 29. And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe-lambs mean that you have set by themselves?” 30. And he said, “For you will take these seven ewe-lambs from my hand, so they may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well.” 31. Therefore he called that place Beer-Sheba because both of them swore there.

21:32. Thus they made a covenant at Beer-Sheba, then Abimelech and Fikhol the chief captain of his army rose, and they returned to the land of the Philistines

33. And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-Sheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD*, Eternal God. 34. And Abraham stayed in the Philistines’ land many days.

The Ultimate Test

22.1. And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham.” And he said, “Here I am.” 2And He said, “Now take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love! Get yourself into the land of Moriah! Offer him there as an offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you!”

3. And Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the offering and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. 4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5. And Abraham said to his young men, “You stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” 6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand and a knife, and they went, both of them together.7. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father.” and he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8. And Abraham said, “My son, God will see to it, providing a lamb for a burnt offering for Himself.” so they went, both of them together. 9. And they came to the place which God had told him about, and Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

22:11. Then the angel of the LORD* called to him out of heaven and said, “Abraham. Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12. And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad! Do not do anything to him! For now I know that you revere God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.”

22:13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behind him there was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14. And Abraham called the name of that place “The LORD* Will See to it” as it is said to this day, “The LORD* Will Show Himself on the mountain.”

22:15. And the angel of the LORD* called to Abraham out of heaven the second time 16. and said, “By myself I have sworn,” says the LORD*, “For because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17. that I shall greatly bless you, and I shall multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand on the seashore, (Heb. 6:14; 11:12) and your seed will possess the gate of his enemies, 18. and in your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”

22:19. So Abraham returned to his young men and they rose up and went together to Beer-Sheba and Abraham stayed at Beer-Sheba.

22:20. And it was after these things that it was told Abraham saying, “Behold, Milkah has also borne children to your brother Nahor, 21. Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22. Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23. And Bethuel begot Rebeccah (Rivkah).” These eight Milkah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore also Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.  (Click to Source)

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Torah Commentary – Vayera (He Appeared) – The Rewards and Challenges of Listening – SCRIPTURES FOR November 4, 2017

Torah Commentary
Vayera (He Appeared)

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Gen 18:1-22:24
2Kings 4:1-37
Luke 17:26-37
Romans 9:6-9
Hebrews 6:13-20
Ya’akov 2:14-24
 
The Rewards and Challenges of Listening
 
The journey to Canaan taught Abram and Sara much about listening. They have learned so much that their names have been changed. What has been added to each of their names? It is the Hebrew letter hey, which is a picture of breath and authority. HaShem’s voice has now become a part of them. Is it all just fun and games from here? Absolutely not, though the rewards will definitely overcome the challenges.
Imagine Abraham there in front of his tent by the oaks of Mamre. Maybe he was engaging in a bit of afternoon daydreaming about where he had come from. He is suddenly startled out of his daydream by three men standing in front of him. As they greeted one another Abraham caught something. The voice of one of these men was a voice he had heard before. It was the voice of the Creator, but now it was coming from a man standing in front of him. No wonder he was hurried in the dinner plans. Can you imagine his face when he ran into the tent and told Sarah, “You won’t believe who is coming to dinner tonight!”
Abraham has come a long way from listening to the inaudible voice become audible. That growth of listening will now put him in line to listen and act on greater instructions. You know, things like “I need someone to intercede for their nephew who has made all the wrong decisions.”
The listening will come with wonders and miracles like, “You just thought you were too old to have children!” The listening would also cause him to hear something he never dreamed of when he was told to sacrifice his son on an altar on Mt. Moriah. It was not the listening that day that would determine his future, but rather his trained response to the words he heard.
Stop for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of Abraham. When he hears HaShem call his name his response is, “Here I am.” In Hebrew it is the word “hineni.” Before we go further, consider how we respond to the sound of our name from a spouse, child, parent or friend. We normally say something like “What do you want” or another conditional response. Abraham’s response, the word “hineni,” is much different. It is more like, “I am here and whatever you need or ask the answer is already yes.”
Abraham did not think to question what he heard, because hineni is never linked to questioning, just yes and obedience. Let’s pull this week and last together. I would imagine we are all in agreement that our desire is for and to listen to HaShem’s voice better. We desire the inaudible to become audible at times. We may even go so far as to say we would like to hear that voice as clear as if it were manifested in front of us. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to listen with the attitude of hineni?” Have we grown past putting conditions to the voice? Abraham gives us a great example and footsteps to follow. Since it is revealed to us that he was just a man with issues and failures it kind of takes our excuses away for not trying. (Click to Source)

Lekh-Lekha – Get yourself out – “The Father of Faith” – 23 October, 2017

Lekh-Lekha

Get yourself out

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Genesis 12:1-17:27
Isaiah 40:27-41:16

“The Father of Faith”

by Mark Huey

By the time one turns to the third Torah reading, Lekh-Lekha, the recorded story of humanity indicates how the Almighty God has had direct contact with certain noted individuals. Despite the fact that considerable history is covered in a relatively short space (Genesis chs. 1-11), we see that after the scrambling of the languages to encourage migration (Genesis 11:7-8), there remained a growing population in Mesopotamia. As Genesis 11 closes, the genealogical trails recorded narrow down to one chosen family, and eventually one individual in Abram/Abraham, who will dominate a great deal of the Scriptural message for future generations (Genesis 11:27-32). Noting the significant amount of faith demonstrated by Abraham, the Apostle Paul would call him in the First Century, “the father of us all” (Romans 4:16).

The Lord Calls Abram

Abraham and his family were natives of the Mesopotamian city of Ur (Genesis 11:28), located in what is today Southern Iraq. Located adjacent to the Euphrates River, Ur was undoubtedly an important commercial center, which received a wide amount of trade extending down into the Persian Gulf. While Lekh-Lekha informs us of how Abraham’s family, presumably including his father Terah and others, had some kind of connection with the Creator God—it is also true that idolatry was rampant in their native land. As Genesis 11 concludes, we find that Terah, his son Abram with wife Sarai, and grandson Lot, departed Ur and moved northward, ultimately settling in Haran on the way to Canaan (Genesis 11:31). Why they settled in Haran is unknown, but it was here where Terah died and left his oldest son Abram with his estate, and perhaps the inclination to continue the journey to Canaan with his wife and nephew.

It is at this juncture that the account turns dramatically to the voice of the Lord commanding Abram to leave not only his country, but his relatives and his father’s house, in order to journey to a special land that He was going to show him:

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3).

At the time of this command from the Lord, Abram was seventy-five years old and childless (Genesis 12:4-5). He had been an obedient son in leaving Ur. The Lord obviously had His eye upon Abram, and when this dramatic communication came, he must have been overwhelmed with fear. Not only was Abram commanded to leave all of the comforts of his country, but he was given a significant blessing that has been repeated numerous times down throughout the ages (i.e., Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8).

Can you imagine hearing this list of blessings from the Creator God? Here was a seventy-five year old man, who was living in what seems to be a remote part of upper Mesopotamia, who heard that the Almighty was going to make him—a childless husband—into a great nation (l’goy gadol, Genesis 12:2). On top of promising Abram many descendants, God said that He would bless Abram, and make his name great, in order to be a blessing to others. Also stated is how those who blessed Abram would be blessed, and that those who cursed him would be cursed. Perhaps the most important remark made is v’nivreku b’kha kol mishpechot ha’adamah, “and all the clans of the earth through you shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, Alter). In spite of the complications of his being reared in Ur, with its many temptations and having seen many other gods worshipped, Abram knew who this One God was, and heeded His word when it was delivered.

Upon hearing the audible voice of God, and the incredible blessings communicated, Abram was required to exercise some faith or trust in this promise. Abram not only embarked on his journey forward from Haran with his wife Sarai, nephew Lot, and their accumulated possessions—but upon arriving in the Land of Canaan, we see that the Lord appeared to him with another promise, which is that his descendants would be given this land. Abram’s response was to build an altar and worship the Lord, confirming how he was dedicated to the Creator God and wanted his fellow travelers to recognize his faithfulness:

“Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:5-8).

Abram and Sarai in Egypt

Upon arriving in the land of Canaan, the faith that Abram had demonstrated in God began to be tested. Almost immediately, Abram had to survive a regional famine (Genesis 12:10), which required him to actually relocate to Egypt in order to find food for his entourage. While in Egypt, Abram had to contend with the possibility that the Egyptian Pharaoh would admire the beauty of his wife Sarai, and want to include her in his harem. This dilemma caused Abram to take some measures that seem somewhat contradictory to him being a man of faith, indicating that Abram did have a few faults:

“Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev. Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, ‘See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife”; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.’ It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house” (Genesis 12:9-15).

Departing Canaan, after all of the promises delivered from the Almighty, had to be difficult. After all, God had dynamically affirmed to Abram significant promises to give his descendants such territory. They arrived in Canaan, there was a famine, and to complicate matters, the only known source of food was in Egypt. The customs of the Egyptians were known to Abram, who feared that knowledge of his marriage to Sarai was going to jeopardize his personal survival. Rather than introduce Sarai as his wife, Abram chose to refer to her as his sister, being less than honest. One might justifiably ask why a man of God would subject his wife to such an ordeal.

It is detectable that there was a lack of trust on the part of Abram, in telling Sarai to say that she was his sister. While the ruling Pharaoh thought that Sarai was only Abram’s sister, he was treated well and was given livestock and servants from him (Genesis 12:16). We further see how a plague hit the Pharaoh because of him keeping Sarai, who then found out that Sarai was Abram’s wife. Consequently, Abram and his company were escorted out of Egypt (Genesis 12:17-20).

To many modern-day followers of the Holy One, the actions of Abram in Egypt are quite perplexing. The person commonly regarded to be “the father of the faith,” was not sternly admonished for his decisions in the Scriptural text. Did God condone Abram’s actions in telling Sarai to call herself his sister, considering the real possibility of Abram’s execution by Pharaoh? While speculation has surely been offered over the centuries by both Jewish and Christian readers, the key promise delivered by God (Genesis 12:1-3) would undoubtedly have to override whatever human or mortal actions might intervene. It would be fulfilled no matter who would try to stop it. Abram would have multitudes of descendants. If he were killed by the Pharaoh, then it would prove that the Creator God was untrustworthy.

Still, one can only imagine the conversations that took place as Abram and Sarai, after the uncomfortable situation in Egypt, journeyed back east toward the Negev and Canaan (Genesis 13:1). They might have had additional wealth and an expanding entourage of servants (Genesis 13:2-4), but there was still a growing faith and trust in the God they served that needed to develop further.

Abram and Lot

Upon Abram’s return to the place of the altar he had originally built (Genesis 13:3), he must have worshipped and praised the Holy One for guiding him and his family through the famine ordeal. But another challenge was looming. With the additional wealth and expansion of herds belonging to both Abram and Lot, the herds needed to be separated so that both growing families could find sufficient grazing land. Rather than the elder Abram choosing where to ultimately settle, and sending Lot on his way, Abram elected to let his nephew have the choice on where he desired to raise and graze his herds (Genesis 13:5-12).

Abram had to have absolute trust in the Lord, as he deferred to Lot’s decision on where he wanted to relocate. Lot was naturally attracted to the lush and abundantly watered land in the valley of the Jordan. But, Abram was totally content in Lot’s decision, because after all, God had promised the land of Canaan to his descendants. As Lot moved himself to Sodom, there is a narrative prompt informing readers how “the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD” (Genesis 13:13).

As Abram and Lot went on their separate ways, and Abram began to establish himself within this new land—the only major remaining challenge was the thought of descendants and for him and the aging Sarai. As the two of them got older, the likelihood of the two of them bearing children was becoming an issue. So to perhaps ease some of their concerns, the Lord once again confirmed to Abram that he was doing the right thing. The Promised Land would be theirs for perpetuity, and they would have great numbers of descendants:

“The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.’ Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD” (Genesis 13:14-18).

After hearing about the magnitude of his descendants, and surveying the land through its length to breadth, Abram decided to relocate from his perch along the heights between Bethel and Ai, to further south to some land near Hebron (Genesis 13:18). Upon arriving in his new location, faithful Abram acknowledged the blessings of the Lord, and built another altar to worship and praise Him. After having received God’s blessings of favor in the land, surviving through a famine in hostile Egypt, being sent back to Canaan with additional wealth, and resolving the growing disputes with Lot’s herdsmen—Abram was now in the area where he ultimately would reside and be buried. Yet, Abram would be significantly tested, as his nephew Lot encountered trouble in Sodom.

Wars in the Middle East are not just a recent occurrence, but have been present throughout history. A regional conflict erupted between various local kings, with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah caught up in the fighting (Genesis 14:1-9). In the midst of the fighting, the two cities were vacated (Genesis 14:10) and looted by the invaders (Genesis 14:11). Lot was actually one of those who was taken prisoner, as he was living in Sodom. Upon hearing about Lot’s capture, faithful and loyal Abram took rescuing actions to save Lot and his family from certain demise:

“They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom. Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people” (Genesis 14:12-16).

Despite difficult odds, the aged Abram saw that an expedition, or in modern-day terms a “strike team,” was assembled to go rescue his nephew. Obviously, Abram did not need to risk his own life and those of his companions to save Lot—but by faith in the Lord, and displaying some skill, Abram not only defeated the marauders, but returned to Sodom with some booty and prisoners of war (Genesis 14:16). At this point in our Torah portion, we see a definite peek into the faithful heart of Abram:

“Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.’ Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, “I have made Abram rich.” I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share’”” (Genesis 14:17-24).

Interestingly, the king of Sodom, and the king of Salem, Melchizedek, went out to greet Abram upon his return. The contrasting actions of these two kings is indicated by the disposition of their hearts. The reluctantly grateful king of Sodom wanted some of the spoils of war, but requested only the prisoners, seemingly being generous in not wanting the goods taken. Abram was not impressed, as he simply requested that those who fought be rewarded with a legitimate division of the spoils taken.

On the other hand, Melchizedek, the king of Salem, was obviously a follower of the One True God, the same as Abram. It is understood by Abram’s response to the praise bestowed upon the Most High God, that he knew how he and Melchizedek both honored and worshipped the same God. By giving Melchizedek a tenth of his spoils, Abram established a precedent for what developed into the process of the tithe to be given to the Lord. Abram did not want to be yoked to the wicked king of Sodom in any way, but instead, wanted all to know that his allegiance, praise, and worship were to the Lord, the One who had led him on his successful expedition to rescue Lot. As we can see, the faith of Abram was becoming more apparent as revealed. Abram’s special relationship with the Holy One was becoming obvious to all in the region.

Abram Reckoned as Righteous

Following the rescue of Lot, the nagging problem of what to do about children still remained for Abram and Sarai. This couple did not have a physical heir, and the biological clock was surely continuing to tick, as their servant Eliezar of Damascus was the only recognized heir. Had not God promised a physical heir? If so, would this even be possible at such a late stage in their lives?

God was surely pleased with Abram’s handling of the various testing events he had experienced. In His mercy to Abram, He saw that the concern of children for Abram and Sarai was unrelenting. Upon returning from the encounters with the two kings, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, and specified much more than the surety of Abram having a physical heir. Abram is stated to have been reckoned righteous because of his belief in the Holy One:

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.’ Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.’ Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, ‘This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.’ And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:1-6).

The word of Genesis 15:6, “And he trusted in HASHEM, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (ATS), is one of the most important verses in the entire Bible for understanding the relationship of people to their Creator. In Genesis 15:6, the verb aman is employed, which in the Hifil stem (casual action, active voice) is defined by CHALOT to regard “rely upon (God)” and “believe in” Him.[1] The Septuagint rendered this with the verb pisteuō, “to trust, trust to or in, put faith in, rely on, believe in a person or thing” (LS).[2] While it is most common to see Genesis 15:6 rendered with some form of “believe” in English Bibles, it is not outside of the realm of possibilities to render it with “have faith.” It is upon this critical verse, Genesis 15:6, that James and Paul would both appeal to emphasize a life of trust in the Heavenly Father (James 2:23; Galatians 3:6; Romans 4:3, 20-22).

One of the biggest mistakes that many of today’s Christians can make, when encountering the Tanakh or the Old Testament, is thinking that it presents us with a God who demands that His people work to earn their salvation. While God surely does expect good works and actions of His people, the thrust of Genesis 15:6 is that belief/trust/faith in Him is what reckons a person righteous as one of His own. Abram was confronted with a situation, in being promised by God multitudes of descendants, where he must have had many doubts about it ever taking place. He and his wife were both elderly people! Yet, much of his human uncertainty had to have been overcome—as he placed himself entirely in God’s hands—because we are told how “Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6, NLT). The Apostles would later apply Genesis 15:6 to a life of required faith and trust that people must not only place in the Heavenly Father, but in His Son sent to die to atone for sinful humanity.

The Conception of Ishmael

Within Lekh-Lekha, we see how Abram and Sarai concluded that they would not be able to conceive a child, due to Sarai’s advanced age. Instead, Sarai recommended that Abram take her handmaiden Hagar to conceive a child. Perhaps, they must have thought, the physical heir from Abram’s loins need not come from Abram’s wife herself. So, the two of them resorted to a local, Ancient Near Eastern, pagan practice. And, while Abraham and Hagar were able to conceive a child, it notably resulted in Sarai despising Hagar:

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me’” (Genesis 16:1-5).

Was the act of Abram impregnating Hagar an act of faith, or of faithlessness? It is noted later that God would actually bless Ishmael (Genesis 17:20), and that from Ishmael would come forth a great nation. Yet in his letter to the Galatians in the First Century, the Apostle Paul would use the analogy of Hagar conceiving Ishmael, to dissuade the new, non-Jewish Believers from being circumcised as proselytes (Galatians 4:21-31). Abram impregnating Hagar has never had a great reputation in the Holy Scriptures, and it is a negative lesson from which all are to learn. Rather than Abram and Sarai waiting to let a child be naturally conceived via their normal sexual relations—they instead force things by having Abram impregnate Sarai, by which a less-than-legitimate child would be born. While Abram is indeed to be regarded as “the father of faith,” he was human and did not always act according to faith.

Abram and Sarai Renamed

Lekh-Lekha concludes as an eternal covenant was made with Abram (Genesis ch. 17), as the Lord once again appeared to and spoke to him. Abram was not only promised that from himself would come “a multitude of nations,” hamon goyim (Genesis 17:4, 5), but it is here when Avram was renamed Avraham or Abraham. Not only would a plentitude of descendants come forth from Abraham, but a child of promise would come forth from the womb of Sarai, renamed Sarah:

“Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.’ Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ God said further to Abraham, ‘Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations’…Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’ But God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him’” (Genesis 17:1-9, 15-19).

A physical reminder, circumcision of the foreskin of the male sexual organ, would be issued upon those who would be the beneficiaries of the covenant cut between God and Abraham (Genesis 17:22-27). While physical circumcision is to be regarded as a badge of honor upon those who practice it, as it connects a man to the Patriarch Abraham—circumcision can also be a badge of dishonor, considering all of the unfaithful acts that can be committed with the male member. Both faithful acts to God, and less-than-faithful acts, are seen demonstrated by Abraham in our Torah portion. Both faithful and unfaithful acts have been demonstrated by those men in history who have been physically circumcised (cf. Romans 2:25-29).

Abraham Remembered

Lekh-Lekha is a rather comprehensive Torah reading, with many events witnessed that will inform those studying the remainder of the Tanakh and Apostolic Writings. Students receive an incredible overview of key trials that ultimately led the chosen Abraham, to be regarded as “the father of faith.” Abraham was uniquely selected by God for this role. While he had his faults, Abraham proved that he was a man who had to place great confidence in his Creator, as the challenges he faced steadily grew. Abraham has left us an example that has stood the test of time. The author of Hebrews lauds the faith of Abraham and Sarah, as they are noted as persons who acted upon the steadfast trust that they placed in the God who called them, not quite knowing what was going to occur or where they were specifically going:

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE [Genesis 15:5-6; 22:17]” (Hebrews 11:8-12).

As you have reviewed the testimonies of Abraham and Sarah, while these two were not perfect people, they did walk by faith and they are examples that we are to follow as Believers in Yeshua. This is because born again Believers, by faith, are to be those who look beyond this temporal realm to the eternal. Hebrews 11:16 says that “they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

By contemplating the faith and actions of Abraham, we should each be inspired to walk in a manner that exhibits trust in the Lord, and a secure belief in the reliability of His Word and promises. A clear result of this trust are to be actions of obedience generated when we hear the voice of the Lord, and we serve Him in the world. Perhaps, as we edge closer and closer to the return of the Messiah Yeshua—which certainly requires great faith (cf. 2 Peter 3:4)—a few of us may demonstrate a faith of greater proportions than Abraham? If this is at all possible, then this would also mean that the mistakes made by Abraham must be quantitatively avoided. (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] William L. Holladay, ed., A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden, the Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1988), 20.

[2] LS, 641.

Torah Commentary – Lech Lecha (Get Yourself Out) – One Man Was Listening – SCRIPTURES FOR October 28, 2017

Torah Commentary
Lech Lecha (Get Yourself Out)

jesus-in-the-synagogue

Gen 12:1-17:27
Isaiah 40:27-41:16
Acts 7:1-8
Romans 3:19-5:6
Hebrews 7:1-19; 11:8-12
 
One Man Was Listening
I was talking to a Jewish friend with a number of other people in the room a few of years ago. During the conversation someone said, “God spoke to me” and went on to state what they thought they had heard. After the crowd left my Jewish friend looked at me with a facial expression I have seen many times. A look which normally means I am about to learn something very important. He brought up the “God told me” statement and proceeded to explain why he would not make a statement like that. It was not that he believes HaShem does not speak to people, but rather his explanation brought a greater meaning to the dialogue between the Creator and His creation. My friend’s explanation went like this. God is always speaking, so to say “God told me” is to say He only speaks on occasion. A better way for this person to have explained their encounter would be to say, “In a moment that I was listening…”
Allow me to expound a bit. Is there ever a time in which HaShem is not speaking? I would say “no”. His voice is in world events, creation itself and even conversations we are having with others around us. The question is, “Are we listening for His voice in those things and at those times?”
In Genesis 12 we read of a dialogue between HaShem and a man named Abram. It appears from the text that he hears an audible voice, but was his hearing the audible voice due to his learning to hear an inaudible one? Let me explain. As Abram grew up in Ur and later in Haran, did he witness the sin and depravity of the culture and wonder if there had to be a better way of living? If so, he heard His voice. If ancient writings are true and his father was a seller of idols, did he look at them and consider they were just carvings of wood and stone? If so, he heard His voice. Did he look up to the stars at night and wonder just who it was that created the heavens and the earth? If so, he heard His voice.
My point is that Abram had made a lifestyle out of listening to the ever speaking voice of HaShem. On that now infamous day when the inaudible became the audible it was as natural to follow that voice as it was for Abram to breathe.
There is another person in the story though that does not get much credit until later. Her name is Sara. Scripture does not record her hearing a voice. That is not until Abram came home and told her to pack her bags as they were moving to a new place. From the text it appears that Sara did not question Abram’s decision, but started packing. How could she do this? I believe it was because she had been listening for the voice of HaShem as Abram had.
When Abram came home with the news, Sara did not need to get alone and pray, because the inaudible voice she had been hearing had now become audible through her husband’s voice. On that day, her husband’s voice and the Creator’s voice matched exactly. No questions were needed.
Through the next few weeks we will see the journey of Abram and Sara continuing to follow HaShem’s voice. We will read of the times their hearing was good and the times it was not so good. I am so thankful Father did not just give us the successes of this couple. If he had, the standard would have been too high to reach. I am also grateful He did not only record their failures as it would cause us to not even try. The successes and failures give me hope; for it tells me Abram and Sara were human, flesh and blood like you and me.
In Genesis chapter 17 HaShem tells Abram to “Walk before me and be perfect.” Thankfully the word translated perfect is not the best meaning for the word. In Hebrew it is tamiym and means entire, complete and whole. In the Complete Jewish Bible, David Stern translates it as pure-hearted. Other translations use whole-hearted. The Hebrew spelling is tav, mem, yod, mem. It is a picture of waters coming together and merging into covenant as one. Think about that for a moment. Have you ever seen two rivers come together? They don’t struggle to become one river, they just do. Flowing in covenant with our Creator should be no more difficult than two rivers combining into one. That is, if we have learned to “listen” to the direction we are supposed to flow.
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton

Noach – Noah – “A Resting Faith” – 16 October, 2017

Noach

Noah

Genesis 6:9-11:32
Isaiah 54:1-55:5 (A); 54:1-10 (S)

jesus-jew-2

“A Resting Faith”


by Mark Huey

Perhaps one of the most compelling testimonies of faith and belief in God, witnessed from the opening chapters of Genesis, is the life of Noah. The example of Noah, in association with the disastrous judgment of the Flood brought upon the world, is something from which we all need to take significant instruction. While the tests and challenges faced by Noah have been praised and heeded by followers of the Creator God down through the ages since, our second Torah portion also records some significant unfaithful acts, of those many human beings who have rebelled against the Holy One and suffered the consequences of sin. These contrasting examples continually remind Torah students that there are two distinct paths people can choose to follow.

As we each contemplate the multiple centuries of early human history condensed into the chapters of Noach, it is critical to note that distinctions, between the faithful and the faithless, have never really changed to our present day. People will either have faith in the Almighty God, and follow His instructions and directions for living as communicated—or they will demonstrate a breach of faith, and disregard His instructions and directions for living. The consequences of what one chooses really do matter, because the final destiny of every person is determined by either his faith in the Almighty or his denial of Him. So, with these points already recognized as a premise, let us examine our parashah for this week with these sobering thoughts in mind.

Evil Always

The closing words of our previous Torah portion, Bereisheet (Genesis 1:1-6:8), describe the nearly complete dissatisfaction that the Creator God had with humanity, given how civilization had gotten progressively worse. The Lord decreed that He actually needed to blot out—exterminate—the human race because of its wickedness:

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:5-8).

It is difficult to imagine that the Creator God had this amount of grief over His creation of humankind, and that He was sorry that He had ever done it. What He had previously decreed as tov meod, or “very good” (Genesis 1:31), had now become something significantly riddled with wickedness and sin. Seeing that kol-yetzer machshevot l’bo raq ra, “all purpose (of) thoughts his heart only evil” (Genesis 6:5, editor’s wooden rendering), “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:5, NIV). God was absolutely distressed about what had befallen human civilization, and drastic action had to be taken. Obviously, falling from the status of being “very good,” to God wanting to exterminate the human race, must have been very distressing.

As our Torah portion for this week opens, we see that there was one individual who found favor in God’s sight: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). What needs to be immediately recognized here is how the Hebrew chein or “favor,” was translated by the Greek Septuagint as charis or “grace.” There is certainly grace in the Old Testament! The favor or grace of God has always been a characteristic of Him.

Why was Noah (and his family of course) the only person who found grace in the sight of the Creator? In the narrative from Bereisheet last week, some information is given to readers about the birth of Noah, which appears to give us some clues as to the tasks the Lord intended him to fulfill. Upon Noah’s birth, it is communicated that his father Lamech named him Noach, because he was one who would be able to provide some sort of rest:

“Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.’ Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 5:28-32).

Why would Noah provide rest from how, “Out of the ground which the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands” (Genesis 5:29, RSV)? Does this have to do with the promised seed that was anticipated to come (Genesis 3:15)? Does this have to do with the destiny that Noah was supposed to fulfill? If so, why did Lamech regard the ground as “cursed”? Did this come as a result of the Fall, or could it have been the result of human sin and how difficult life had become for those still seeking to follow the Creator God?

There are many questions that can be asked about why Noah was named Noah, as what Noah did is considered and probed by each of us from this week’s Torah portion. We need to stay away from far-fetched speculation or guessing, and stick to what is communicated to us about Noah’s character and belief. Noah was one of a select line of people, who in spite of the growth of sin throughout the world of humanity, remained in communion with the One True Creator. As Noah found favor or grace in His sight, he was regarded as righteous (tzadiq) and blameless (tamim), walking with Him. Because of Noah’s faithfulness to God and His ways, he was given what must have seemed to be an impossible task to fulfill. Noah would have the job of building an ark that would rescue the animals associated with humanity from the deluge, and he followed the instructions that God gave him:

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.’ Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:8-22).

Reading what Noah was told, its implications for how human civilization had truly fallen into great evil, and how Noah obeyed—is truly daunting. There are definitely debates over what much of this meant for the participants, how the ark was built, and how the Flood actually took place as an ecological disaster, in contemporary Jewish and Christian theology. The main point, of course, is that sin had to be judged, Noah had to rescue what would survive, and above all how Noah—who among all the people of the world, still had faith in God—kept faith in God.

The Flood Arrives

The test of faith for Noah, in what God had commanded him, would have had to be extraordinary. Yet, Noah labored on the ark project with his sons, and presumably also his wife and their wives—possibly without any other help (Genesis 7:5-6). Noah faithfully obeyed the instruction of the Lord, and also had to endure the ridicule of his contemporaries, who no doubt chided him for what must have seemed to them an utter folly. In 2 Peter 2:5, Noah is regarded as “a preacher of righteousness.” Even if this is rendered as “a herald of righteousness” (ESV),[1] with no verbal declarations really made—we can know that Noah’s actions in obeying God’s command that he build an ark, surely spoke for themselves. The author of Hebrews would attest in the First Century, how Noah was a great example of faith, as he had obeyed God and prepared the ark, and in the process he condemned the sinful world around him:

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

Apparently, God in His infinite wisdom, chose to condemn the unbelieving world that had broken faith with Him, by Noah’s lengthy construction project. God wanted to show how keeping faith with Him is absolutely necessary, in order to be spared from His righteous and holy judgment. We see how after the Flood takes place, the waters recede, and Noah and his family were given the job of repopulating the Earth, that a special covenant was made between Noah and the Lord. Most notably, God promised to never judge the Earth again with such an ecological catastrophe as the Flood:

As a reward for Noah’s faithfulness, the Lord established a permanent covenant with Noah and his descendants. This, in essence, reiterated the covenant that was first established with Adam, but now had some additional statements regarding the preciousness of blood, prohibitions against murder, and promises to never flood the Earth again with a visible covenantal sign notable by the rainbow:

“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.’ Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, ‘Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth’” (Genesis 9:1, 6-17).

Following the great disaster of the Flood, and given the job for humanity to literally “start over,” Noah, his sons, and their future descendants would never have to fear another flood of water destined to wipe out civilization. But in spite of the knowledge of the Flood, which would not only make its way into the record of Holy Scripture, but also many Ancient Near Eastern mythologies[2]—human civilization at large has had extreme difficulty remaining faithful to the Creator God, and staying away from the torrent of evil that caused the Flood in the first place!

The Tower of Babel

The narrative of Noach, while dominated by the account of the Flood, does continue on. Noah’s descendants had children, and they began to repopulate Planet Earth (Genesis 10). From God’s perspective, He desired humanity to expand around the globe, but there was still a problem present within the hearts of people. Would people keep faith in Him as the Creator, obeying His direction—or would people break faith in Him, following their own devices for living? The great contrast between the faithful and the unfaithful is evident in the testimony we see of Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter, and who founded his own kingdom (Genesis 10:8-10).

In the account of what transpired at Babel, the epitome of the unfaithfulness of fallen humanity is witnessed. Nimrod and his followers disobeyed God’s specific commands to populate the Earth, by not only building a great city, but making the effort to build a tower that would reach up into Heaven itself. God’s response to this action was to confuse human language, so that people would not be able to easily communicate with one another, and they would have no choice but to spread abroad into different linguistic and ethnic communities:

“Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).

God was certainly not pleased with the actions of Nimrod and his cohorts. If they kept on building their great tower, the observation of the Lord was actually, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (NJPS). The building of a tower to reach up into Heaven, into the realm of the Creator, would mean what? Going into Heaven to demand a supernatural place of authority alongside of God? Going into Heaven to actually overthrow God? Obviously, either one of these was impossible to do, but human ingenuity and unity for rebellious activities against the Creator was epitomized by the Tower of Babel. So, God confused the languages of people, and forced those at Babel to disband and separate, spreading out across the Earth.

In the scene of the Tower of Babel, a definite example of faithlessness—demanding one’s own will in defiance of God’s will—is crystal clear. People can either keep faith in God, and obey His directions, or they can break faith with God and suffer the consequences. Our Twenty-First Century generation needs to surely heed the example of the Tower of Babel and what it represents for global unity, because we largely have no significant language barriers to overcome. The barriers and divisions we have are political, ideological, and economic. Yet, if human civilization were ever to put some of these aside, what might this communicate in terms of our relationship with the Creator? Obviously for people who are faithful to our Heavenly Father and the Messiah Yeshua, it is said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). When it comes to those who are unfaithful to the Holy One, we see something more like, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed” (Psalm 2:2). Such will be what takes place when the antimessiah/antichrist finally arrives onto the scene of history.

The Days of Noah to Come

Naturally, many skeptics, in today’s faithless world, will disparage and ridicule the account of the Flood and the Tower of Babel, just like they will mock the account of Creation and the Fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. But, we need to take comfort in knowing that mocking God and His Word are to be expected, as the End of the Age approaches, and as Believers await the return of the Messiah. The Apostle Peter communicated,

“[T]hat you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:2-7).

Without wanting to read too much into Peter’s statements above, other than Peter describing how the account of the Flood has significant importance for those who will face the end-times, we can safely deduce that there will be a generation of supposed Bible Believers who will mock the message of Holy Scripture. These will be people who will assume that since life has gone on as it always has gone on, that there will be no Second Coming of the Messiah, and with it the complete arrival of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Just as the Flood came suddenly and swiftly, judging a generation of sinful people—so will the end-times suddenly and swiftly judge the final generation when it finally arrives. The Messiah Himself spoke of the days leading up to His return, as being like the days of Noah:

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

While sudden judgment will come upon the sinful world in the time leading up to Yeshua’s return, we should all be very mindful of how much of what occurred in the time leading up to the Flood will be repeated on some level. There is nothing more horrifying than considering the great evil that was perpetuated in human hearts and minds (Genesis 6:5-7). While in the pre-deluge society, people could probably have only killed other people with primitive weapons of war—today the stakes are immensely higher. The means to kill people are significantly more advanced and more lethal, as humanity does possess the legitimate ability to suffer self-extinction. Just this past Summer (2011), when my daughter Maggie was at her CORTRAMID training for the Navy, she spent three days aboard a nuclear ballistic missile submarine, with enough firepower to wipe out the population of half the United States. While an Ohio class submarine with Trident II missiles is intended to be a weapon of deterrence, under the careful control of a responsible government that will only launch nuclear missiles as a last resort—think about all of the rogue states and leaders and groups out there, who would love to have weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, given the prophetic reality that we read about in Scripture, such weapons will be used at one point or another by someone.

While each of us must have a steadfast faith in the God of Creation, to believe in His Word, that there was a real Flood that wiped out humanity in Noah’s day, and that we are to learn lessons for the end-times—how much faith do we have to display in recognizing that the Sovereign Lord Himself presently withholds the full force of evil from being unleashed on Planet Earth? Why has there not been a nuclear bomb detonated in a city, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? Why has there not been another 9/11 terrorist attack since 2001? Should we not be grateful for the level of “peace” that was present throughout the Cold War?

As we peruse the Torah this year, with the theme of faith in mind, there is no better admonition for us to consider, than how the Apostle Paul once said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Yeshua the Messiah is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6). At some point in the future, and we are already seeing it grow today, the evil and sin of the world will reach a point like that manifested in the time of Noah. The people of the world will fall into the two distinct categories (1) of being faithful to God, and (2) being unfaithful to God. While there will surely be more than just the eight righteous who were spared from the Flood (1 Peter 3:20), the need for us to make sure that there are hundreds of millions of righteous people who possess faith in Yeshua is great!

Examine yourself and make sure that you are among the faithful! Make sure that you have a resting faith, in not only the written Word of God—but most importantly in the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! Be sure that you are faithful to the Lord, and that you can pass whatever tests are to come! (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] Grk. dikaiosunēs kēruka.

[2] Consult the article “Encountering Mythology: A Case Study From the Flood Narratives” by J.K. McKee.

Shabbat Shalom! – Weekly Torah Portion – Noah – Oct 20, 2017

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Noah

6:9. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man, perfect in his generationsNoah walked with God. 10. And Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11. The whole earth was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence.12. And God looked upon the earth and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

6:13. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them and, behold, I shall destroy them from the earth. 14. Make a box of gopher wood for yourself. You will make compartments in the box, and will cover it within and without with atonement. 15. And this is how you will make it. The length of the box will be three hundred cubits, its width is fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16. You will make a window for the box, and you will finish it a cubit upward. And you will set the door of the box in its side, with lower, second, and third stories will you make it. 17. And, behold, I AM, even I, am bringing a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh, in which is the breath of life, from under heaven, and everything that is on the earth will die.”

First Covenant with Noah

6:18. “But with you I shall establish, ratify, My covenant and you will come into the box, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh, you will bring two of every sort into the box, to keep alive with you; they will be male and female. 20. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every sort will come to you, to keep alive. 21. And take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you will gather it for yourself, and it will be for food for you and for them.” 22. And Noah did so. According to all that God commanded him, so he did. (Heb. 11:7)

The LORD* Invites Noah and Family

7.1. And the LORD* said to Noah, “Come into the box, you and your entire house! For I have seen you righteous before Me in this generation. 2. Of every clean beast you will take to yourself by sevens, the male and his mate: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his mate. 3. Also of fowls of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4. For yet seven days, and  I AM shall cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living substance that I have made I shall erase from off the face of the earth.”

7:5. And Noah did according to all that the LORD* commanded him. 6. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7. And Noah, his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, went into the box because of the waters of the flood. 8. Of clean beasts and of beasts that are not clean, of fowls, and of everything that creeps upon the earth, 9. they came in two by two to Noah in the box, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10. And it was after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13.In the selfsame day Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the box; 14. they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth after its kind, and every fowl after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15. And they came in to Noah in the box, two by two of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16. And they that came in, male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him, and the LORD* shut him in. 17. And the flood was upon the earth for forty days and the waters increased and raised the box, and it was lifted up above the earth. 18. And the waters prevailed and were increased greatly upon the earth, and the box went upon the face of the waters. 19. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.  20. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered. 21. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, of fowl, of cattle, of beast, of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man. 22. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land, died. 23. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, man, cattle, the creeping things, and the fowl of the skies. And they were destroyed from the earth, and only Noah and those that were with him in the box remained alive. 24. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred fifty days.

After the Flood

8.1. And God remembered Noah, every living thing and all the animals that were with him in the box, and God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters decreased. 2. The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3. And the waters returned from off the earth continually and after the end of the hundred fifty days the waters were abated. 4. And the box rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. 5. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. 6. And it was at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the box which he had made. 7. And he sent out a raven, which went forth to and fro until the waters were dried up from off the earth. 8. He then sent out a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground, 9. but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot and she returned to him in the box, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand and took her and brought her in to him in the box. 10. And he stayed yet another seven days and again he sent the dove out of the box. 11. And the dove came in to him in the evening and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off, so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 12. And he stayed yet another seven days and sent forth the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.  13. And it was in the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the box and looked and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

8:15. And God spoke to Noah saying, 16. “Go forth from the box! You, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you!17. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you, of all flesh, of fowl, of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, so they can breed abundantly on the earth and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth.”

8:18. And Noah, his sons, his wife, his sons’ wives went out with him. 19. Every beast, every creeping thing, every fowl, and whatever creeps upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the box.

8:20. And Noah built an altar to the LORD* and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21. And the LORD* smelled a sweet savor and the LORD* said in His heart, “I shall not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for the imagination of man’s heart is bad from his youth. (Jer. 32:30) Neither will I again any longer strike everything living, as I have done. 22. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”

Second Covenant with Noah

9.1. And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. 2. And the fear of you and the dread of you will be upon every beast of the earth and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moves upon the earth and upon all the fishes of the sea. They are delivered into your hand. 3. Every moving thing that lives will be food for you, even as the green herb. I have given you everything. 4. But you will not eat flesh with its life, which is in its blood. 5. And surely your blood of your lives will I require, at the hand of every beast I shall require it, and at the hand of man. At the hand of every man’s brother I shall require the life of man. 6. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man will his blood be shed, for He made man in the image of God. 7. And you, be fruitful and multiply. Bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.”

9:8. And God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him saying, 9. “And behold, I AM establishing My covenant with you and with your seed after you, 10. and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the box, to every beast of the earth.

11. And I will confirm My covenant with you. Neither will all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, nor will there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12. And God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I am giving between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13. I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14. And it will be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud, 15. and I shall remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh: and the waters will no longer become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16. And the bow will be in the cloud, and I shall look upon it, so I can remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” 17. And God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”

9.18. And the sons of Noah who went out from the box were Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.19. These are the three sons of Noah, and the whole earth was overspread by them.

9:20. And Noah began to be a man of the soil, a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21. And he drank of the wine and was drunk, and he was uncovered within his tent. 22. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23. And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24. And Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25. And he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants will he be to his brothers.” 26. And he said, “Blessed be the LORD* God of Shem; and Canaan will be his servant. 

27. God will enlarge Japheth, and he will dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan will be his servant.”

9:28. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred fifty years. 29. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years.

Descendants of Noah

10.1. Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and sons were born to them after the flood. 2. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshekh, and Tiras. 3. And the sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Rifat, and Togarmah. 4. And the sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5. By these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, each one by his language, by their families, in their nations.

10:6. And the sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 7. And the sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca: and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 8. And Cush begot Nimrod who began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD*, therefore it is said, “Even as Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the LORD*.” 10. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11. Asshur went forth out of that land and built Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, 12. and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13. And Mizraim begot Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naftuhim, 14. Patrusim, Casluhim, from whom came the Philistines, and Caftorim. 15. And Canaan begot Zidon his firstborn, Heth, 16. the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgashite, 17. the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, 18. the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and later the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad. 19.And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you come to Gerar, to Gaza: as you go to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and to Lasha. 20. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their countries, in their nations.

10:21. Born to Shem, to him also, the father of all the children of Ever, the elder brother of Japheth. 22. The children of Shem were Elam, Ashshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 23. And the children of Aram were Uz, Hul, Geter, and Mash.

24. And Arpachshad begot Shelah, and Shelah begot Ever. 25. And to Ever were born two sons; the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26. And Joktan begot Almodad, Shelef, Hazarmavet, Jerah, 27. Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28. Oval, Avimael, Sheva, 29. Ofir, Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as you go to Sefar, a mountain of the east. 31. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

10:32. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and the nations were divided by these in the earth after the flood.

Tower of Babel

11.1. And the whole earth was of one language and of few possessions. 2. And it was, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they stayed there. 3. And they said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone and they had slime for mortar. 4. And they said, “Come, we will build a city and a tower for ourselves, whose top may reach to the heavens and we will make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5. And the LORD* came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6. And the LORD* said, “Behold, the people are one, and they all have one language. And they begin to do this and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so they will not understand one another’s speech.”

11:8. So the LORD* scattered them abroad from there over the face of the entire earth and they stopped building the city.9. That is why the name of it is called Babel, because there the LORD* confounded the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD* scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

11:10. These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a hundred years old and begot Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11. And Shem lived five hundred years after he begot Arpachshad and he begot sons and daughters.

11:12 And Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and he begot Shelah. 13. And Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he begot Shelah and he begot sons and daughters.

11:14. And Shelah lived thirty years and he begot Ever. 15. And Shelah lived four hundred three years after he begot Ever and he begot sons and daughters.

11:16. And Ever lived thirty-four years and he begot Peleg. 17. And. Ever lived four hundred thirty years after he begot Peleg and he begot sons and daughters.

11:18. And Peleg lived thirty years and begot Reu. 19. And Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he begot Reu and he begot sons and daughters.

11:20. And Reu lived thirty-two years and begot Serug. 21. And Reu lived after he begot Serug two hundred seven years and begot sons and daughters.

11:22. And Serug lived thirty years and begot Nahor. 23. And Serug lived two hundred years after he begot Nahor and he begot sons and daughters.

11:24. And Nahor lived twenty-nine years and begot Terah. 25. And Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he begot Terah and he begot sons and daughters.

11:26. And Terah lived seventy years and he begot Abram (Avram), Nahor, and Haran.

11:27. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29. And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milkah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milkah, and the father of Iscah. 30. But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

11:31. And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they left with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to Haran and lived there.

11:32. And the days of Terah were two hundred five years, and Terah died in Haran. (Click to Site)

Torah Commentary – B’resheet (In the beginning) – Noach (Noah) – The End Justified the Beginning – SCRIPTURES FOR October 21, 2017

Torah Commentary

B’resheet (In the beginning)

Noach (Noah)

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Genesis 1:1-11:32
Isaiah 42:5-43:10
John 1:1-18
Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5
Note: To catch up with the Torah cycle this is two portions combined
The End Justified the Beginning
We begin another Torah cycle! I express this with anticipation. Many “new to Torah” folks may question why we read through and study the same five books year after year. Allow me to answer the question by asking the seasoned Torah pursuers, “Was anything new revealed to you as you read through the Torah last year that you had not seen in previous years?” I imagine there is not a single “no” out there, so a shout of exuberance, “Here we go again”!
It is in this section of our readings that makes me wish I was on the three year Torah cycle. Actually, that is not completely true. Skip the three year cycle and let’s jump to the thousand year millennial cycle with Messiah teaching it from Jerusalem. This portion carries so much meaning that I desire to camp out at each sentence.
Honestly, I am having a very difficult time getting through the first verse this year. This is not uncommon, although this year seems to have more meaning. I have been meditating on this verse in light of Isaiah 46:10, “At the beginning I announce the end, proclaim in advance things not yet done; and I say that my plan will hold, I will do everything I please to do.” A more literal translation of the verse would be “HaShem declared the end out of the beginning.” I recognize we understand that He knows all things, but have we considered He declared that all things would happen even before they happened. This means HaShem knew Eve would listen to the serpent instead of Him. Cain killing Abel was no surprise. He knew man would become so corrupt He would have to kill all but eight people and start over. HaShem knew that for six-thousand years man would repeatedly turn his back on his Creator. In fact, the Hebrew word “nagad”, which is translated “declared” is a picture of a man walking away from the teachings and instructions of Yah.
On a personal level we recognize HaShem knew my sins and yours. All of our days are numbered and no surprise to Him. He even knew that after you and I turned back to His ways that we would fail. Yet, His grace is sufficient. His love is endless. We have the gift of repentance and Yeshua’s Blood to atone for us. Father’s Love is great. His desire for a relationship with us in spite of our shortcomings is humbling.
Now here is a challenging question for you. Had you been HaShem knowing all man would do against you for six-thousand years. If you knew in advance the pain for man’s rebellion and had a choice to go forth with Genesis 1:1, what would you have done? Consider that for a moment. Truth is He made a choice I am not sure I would have made. Why did He?
The answer lies in a single word of the verse in Isaiah which is “end.” Yah did not focus on the process, but rather the end result. What is the end result? Take a moment and read Revelation 21:1-4. Therein lays the answer to why Father made the choice to go forth with Genesis 1:1. It’s all about relationship to have a people that would be His and He would be theirs.
Where is our vision as we read these first words of Genesis 1:1? What do we plan to focus on during this next Torah cycle? I would challenge you to focus, not on what has been or what is, but rather on what will be. When you read again the words, “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth”, allow your mind to consider the love, mercy, grace and desire our Heavenly Father has to look past the process of redemption and see the destination called redemption. This truth in itself will continue to help us put one foot in front of the other in our journey.
One more challenge as we begin this Torah cycle. Many of us have read through the Torah several times. With that comes the hazard of just glancing through the verses. Consider this a good time to think about reading in a different translation. This may help notice messages in Scripture we have never seen before. Remember that even the people’s names and genealogies have great meaning. Take time to pull out your concordance to do some research. An example that many of us know is located in Beresheet Chapter 5. Genealogy can make you glassy eyed, right? In this particular case the meanings of the names form a sentence and witness to Messiah, which is “Man is appointed to mortal sorrow, but the blessed Elohim shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the despairing comfort.” How is that for declaring the end out of the beginning?
May our year be filled with Yah’s Spirit of revelation. Not revelation for our intellect, but rather to prepare us to be a people He is proud to call His. (Click to Site)

 

Bereisheet – In the Beginning – “Torah and Faith” – 9 October, 2017

Bereisheet

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In the Beginning

Genesis 1:1-6:8
Isaiah 42:5-43:10 (A); 42:5-21 (S)

“Torah and Faith”


by Mark Huey

One of the many blessings bestowed upon people, within the Messianic community of faith, is the annual opportunity to return to a study of, and reflection upon, the many profound truths embodied in the weekly Torah readings. It is here within the Chumash or Pentateuch, that Messiah followers can consider the foundation of our faith, as we each seek to be faithful to the God of Creation, pondering His ways and acts for humankind. It is in these first five books of the Holy Writ, that God communicates, without reservation, not only His faithfulness to a chosen people—but most assuredly, the absolute need for His people to faithfully seek Him with all of their hearts and souls (Deuteronomy 4:29).

With a new Torah cycle now upon us, it is my intention to focus the attention of each of us on the critical element of faith (Heb. emunah; Grk. pistis), as first thematically witnessed within the weekly portions—and then obviously present in various important places throughout the remainder of Scripture. According to the author of Hebrews, who in Hebrews ch. 11 focuses on many of the faithful predecessors of our common belief, without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). This year’s Torah teachings will attempt to help the modern-day, Messianic follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who believes in the Messiah Yeshua and has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to increase his or her “measure of faith” (Romans 12:3) in the Lord in order to please Him. Hopefully, this enhancement in faith will result in promoting a greater usefulness for advancing His Kingdom, so that you will find yourself rewarded by Him via your trust and obedience.

For all people who trust in the God of Israel, the study of His Torah is something foundational to understanding the totality of the Holy Scriptures. Most assuredly, the basis for the remainder of the Scriptures comes from the certainty in the human heart, that In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).[1] This opening word to the Bible, speaks to not only a certain starting point in past history for the origin of the universe, but the undeniable fact that there is an Omniscient, Omnipotent God, who has made all things according to His intelligent design. Without affirming this conviction, based on faith in the supernatural act of Creation—much of which is beyond human intellect and comprehension—the balance of Holy Scripture would be nothing more than a collection of interesting stories and philosophical speculations, written and compiled from a variety of merely human authors.

Genuine belief in the Creator God and His revealed Word is essential to being a man or woman of faith! Without a steadfast confidence in the God of the Bible, belief in Him, and His plan for each of us and the world at large, is highly unlikely. Possessing faith in the LORD God, and in the Messiah He has sent, is imperative if we want to understand our destiny as human beings.

The Concept of Faith

It is critical for us to take a brief look at the concept of faith, and what it entails for us as the people of God. In order to do this, there might not be a better place in the Bible than the previously referenced Hebrews ch. 11, to see where a succinct definition of faith is articulated:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3).

Here, it is stated how “faith means that we have full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see” (Phillips New Testament). Followers of God from antiquity past gained His approval by possessing faith in Him—but such “faith” is not a visible, tangible entity. Faith, rather, is intended to be an intense trust or belief implanted into the heart and mind, rooted within a hope that looks beyond the seen world, directed toward an unseen God who created the world. This is something that goes beyond the natural revelation of God in the Creation (cf. Romans 1:19-20), as it is something that each person is to possess as the trials and tribulations of life force us to mature in our relationship with Him, and in our reckoning of His ways and instruction. Faith in God includes an intrinsic desire to know Him as the loving Creator, who has wondrously fashioned everything that exists. In the view of the Apostle Paul, God has allotted to each of us a measure of faith:

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

Hopefully, by considering the great examples of faith—or faithlessness—through our course of Torah study this year, God will mercifully increase the measure of faith that each of us has. In so doing, may true seekers of God learn more about Him, and be strengthened in order to more fully walk in His ways! May we also have some answers to the questions we have been asking of our Heavenly Father, in terms of how we are to serve Him and what we are to do, during our time here on Earth.

Adam, Eve, Belief, and the Fall

Without a doubt, it requires a certain amount of faith in God, to believe in the Creation account of Genesis chs. 1-2. God took six distinct periods or yamim,[2] in order to form our universe, including: the cosmos, our solar system, Planet Earth, its vegetation, sea and land creatures, and ultimately humanity. People today, who declare faith in the God of the Bible, give Him absolute credit for bringing into existence all that is seen on this planet, and in what lies beyond—and also what they cannot see in terms of microscopic objects and other dimensions. The pinnacle of God’s Creation is undoubtedly the man and woman (Psalm 8), who were made by God in His image (tzelem) to rule over the Earth:

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:27-28, 31).

One would think that living in the Garden of Eden, where God walked with the first man and woman (Genesis 3:8), and with the creatures and vegetation subject to their dominion—would have been sufficient reason for them to exhibit significant confidence in the goodness and provision of Him as Creator. The instruction given by God, to not eat of the Tree of Good and Evil, seems pretty straightforward and simple enough to follow (cf. Genesis 2:15-25). Yet as is known to each of us, the fact that there was a rule to follow, which forbade its fruit from being eaten, allowed the serpent to enter in and tempt Eve, who had been formed after Adam, and had fewer encounters with God than he did (1 Timothy 2:13).[3] When encountering the serpent, Eve reported how God has forbidden the tree’s fruit from being eaten, but she was taken in by the serpent’s crafty words—not having been informed enough by her husband as to the consequences of what eating the fruit will bring:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden”? The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Genesis 3:1-7).

When Adam and Eve both ate the forbidden fruit, they did not “drop dead.” Once they knew the intimate presence of God coming to them in the cool of the evening (cf. Genesis 3:8), but after eating the forbidden fruit, they found themselves “naked,” and they knew something had been spiritually altered. It was at this point that the first human couple’s belief, trust, faith, or confidence in God’s order was challenged. With the intimacy of knowing God in an incredibly personal way—what was going to happen now that God has been disobeyed?

As a result of disobedience, Adam and Eve had their eyes opened to the knowledge of good and evil. They were cast out of the Garden of Eden, and by being expelled from Paradise they were going to have to contend with new challenges that were not a part of their previous, privileged time. Curses were issued upon them. There would be pain in childbirth, and a battle of the sexes would erupt with a woman possessing an “urge” (NJPS)[4] for her husband, who would in turn dominate her. There would be difficulty in having to see vegetation grow, as outside of the Garden of Eden would be thorns and thistles. Most importantly, physical death would come, and the body would return to the physical elements from which it was hewn:

“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it”; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face You will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:16-19).

Rather than experiencing physical death immediately, Adam and Eve were instead expelled from God’s most intimate presence, in which they could receive eternal life and never-ending communion with Him. Cherubim and a flaming sword were stationed outside of the entrance to the Garden of Eden, preventing Adam and Eve from reentering (Genesis 3:21-24).

In reading through Genesis chs. 1-3, and with what happened with Adam and Eve after they both ate the forbidden fruit, one can certainly think that all hope was lost. Did not the first two human beings flagrantly oppose God, by disobeying God’s clear instruction? If people have a free will, could this not be taken as an indication that when God’s instruction is known, people will most always break it (cf. Romans 5:13)? To think that all hope was lost would be a bad conclusion to draw, because as God punished the serpent, there is a promise of a seed (Heb. zera) to come who would crush the serpent’s head:

“The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

Elsewhere in Scripture, we see that this Seed is none other than Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), in whom final redemption is found (cf. Galatians 3:16, 19). In fact, given the likely association of the figure of Eve with the false teaching that plagued many women in First Century Ephesus, is it any wonder why Paul would direct Timothy’s attention, saying how women “shall be saved through the child-bearing” (1 Timothy 2:16, YLT)? When the definite article in dia tēs teknogonias is translated, then a definite reference to the Incarnation of Yeshua—the One who is the Child-Bearing—can be detected, referring back to the Genesis 3:15 promise.[5]

Eventually in future history, the curses brought down upon humanity would be nailed to the cross of Yeshua (cf. Colossians 2:14), and the subsequent guilt of sin would be remitted for those who acknowledge and have faith in Him as Savior. Romans 5:12 still reminds each of us, though, how “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin…in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (TNIV). Those who do not receive Yeshua the Messiah into their lives, placing faith in His atoning action for us, still have to reckon with the problems introduced to humanity by the actions committed by Adam and Eve. For, Adam and Eve quantitatively demonstrated a lack of faith in what the Creator had explicitly told them to not do. Lamentably, for all of us as the subsequent offspring of Adam and Eve—an inclination to not place our faith or trust in what the Lord has told us, has been inherited. All people have sinned in Adam.

Cain, Abel, Disbelief, and Fratricide

While life was certainly more difficult outside the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, they had plenty of time to consider their transgression and how their communion with God was disrupted, but not necessarily destroyed. In reading through the first Torah portion, we find that in spite of the disruption that had been introduced, the Lord continued to commune with them. Adam and Eve had to begin to populate Planet Earth, because even though life would be difficult, God had not rescinded His decree that humanity should subdue the world. So, Adam and Eve went about the tasks before them, and among their children, they had two sons named Cain and Abel:

“Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.’ Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” (Genesis 4:1-2).

As these two sons grew up, Cain became a tiller of the soil, while Abel tended to flocks. Both of these sons presented offerings from their hard work to the Lord. We see that Abel’s offering of the first of his flock was accepted by God, but Cain’s offering was disregarded:

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:3-5).

Many Christian readers think that the reason Abel’s offering from the flocks was accepted before the Lord, but Cain’s offering from the fruit of the ground was not accepted, has to do with how a blood sacrifice is necessary to cover sin, and it is obvious that plants cannot do this. Yet as we encounter later in the Torah, various grain and cereal offerings, as well as those of oil and wine, become an important part of the Levitical institution and in the Ancient Israelites demonstrating their thanks to God for His provision. The Lord would not have rejected an offering of plants simply because they were plants.

What might be more notable is how Abel presented “the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions” (Genesis 4:4), and Cain only “brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). This would mean that Abel gave God the finest of his flocks, and Cain may have given God some rather standard or even sub-standard produce.[6] Resultant from the Lord’s rejection of Cain’s offering before Him, Cain got rather angry, and He was warned against the urge of sin that he must see mastered and put down:

“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire [teshuqah; urge, NJPS] is for you, but you must master it’” (Genesis 4:6-7).

Cain was not able to heed God’s warning to him, and because of this, we see the first recorded murder—a fratricide—in Holy Scripture:

“…And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:7).

While Cain had gone through some of the motions of offering up some of the fruits of his gardening efforts, he had clearly lacked some faith and confidence in the Lord to whom it was offered. On the other hand, when Abel brought a sacrifice from the firstlings of his flock, the Lord looked upon it with favor. Cain’s offering was not the best he could have offered. In the First Century C.E., the author of Hebrews observed how the faith exhibited by Abel to make a sacrifice to God, was considered an act of righteousness—and it was something that had a resonating effect down through the ages:

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).

While there is likely to be discussion and debate over the difference of sacrifice offered by both Cain and Abel, the faithlessness of Cain and the faith of Abel were definitely contrasted in the reaction of Cain in murdering his brother. In a new world where their parents Adam and Eve had been cast out of the Garden of Eden, and where there were many unknowns with this family existing as the only human beings—the reasons of Cain for murdering his brother Abel are difficult to fathom. With relatively few people on the planet, it is hard to imagine a brother killing another brother. But such was the wickedness and lack of faith in the heart of Cain, which he succumbed to, as he let sin take control of his actions. While the judgment issued upon Cain was tough to bear (Genesis 4:8-16), the murderous precedent he set, for people murdering other people, has unfortunately not changed.

For those studying the Torah, reflecting on these two brothers—with one possessing faith in God, and another demonstrating extreme faithlessness—is critical for assessing exactly where our hearts are today, when it comes to us demonstrating our trust in the Almighty. What kind of offerings do we present before Him? When we serve the Lord, do we offer Him our very best, or do we cut corners in some way?

The Creator God is intently observing the hearts of people and their actions, as He may accept one offering but disregard another. In contemplating the reality of God evaluating every human heart, perhaps some introspection should arise within us, as we analyze the motivations behind our own offerings to the Lord and how we serve Him? Do our sacrifices come from the heart, or are they simply a rote expression of various traditions that have been passed down for millennia?

This brings to my mind some thoughts expressed by Yeshua the Messiah, when He was admonishing some scribes, while comparing the offerings of wealthy people to the heartfelt gift of a poor widow:

“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:41-44).

Clearly as this example evidences, the Lord God is most concerned with the heart of those who claim to have faith in Him. He sees through the facades of those like Cain, or various wealthy people, who might be simply following ritualistic practices—be they sacrificial offerings or making a contribution out of their excessive resources. Nevertheless, despite the frailties of the human heart as it struggles with faith in the Creator God, we need to recognize that He forgives those who are deceived by the wiles of the Devil, and who turn to Him in repentance!

Enoch and Faith

Continuing through the Torah portion Bereisheet, there is a curious recognition of a later descendant of Adam and Eve, who apparently exhibited such a great amount of faith, that he was literally taken up (Heb. verb laqach) to God without having to endure physical death. This, of course, is the remarkable testimony of Enoch:

“Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24).

Apparently, God was so blessed with the faith of Enoch, that he did not see death. That Enoch was a man pleasing to God, is affirmed by the author of Hebrews:

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP [Genesis 5:24]; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Hebrews 11:5).

Can you imagine the amount of faith that Enoch must have had? Here was a descendant of Adam, through the line of Seth (Genesis 5:1-24), who multiple generations later exhibited such a profound faith in the Almighty, that He was simply taken to Heaven. Without speculating too much on what this means or what Enoch did, Enoch is to serve as a great inspiration to those of us who look to the Creator God! For assuredly, if God regarded the faith of Enoch so highly, this being taken up would also occur to various other people in later Biblical history. We see something similar take place, in how the Prophet Elijah was ushered into Heaven via a chariot of fire:

“Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ He said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’ As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven” (2 Kings 2:8-11).

The Prophet Elijah’s faith was lauded by James the Just, as he said,

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months” (James 5:17; cf. 1 Kings 17:1; 18:41-46; b.Sanhedrin 113a).

Elijah’s righteous faith was the same faith that all Believers in Yeshua are encouraged to maintain. Recall that along with Moses, Elijah appeared at the scene of the Transfiguration, when Yeshua was manifested to Peter, James, and John in all of His glory (Mark 9:4; Matthew 17:3; Luke 9:30).

“Torah and Faith”

What does this overview of faith, from the first Torah portion of Bereisheet, mean for us, as we will be examining the Torah cycle again for another year?

  • We must believe in the Word of God, as it has been recorded and preserved down through the ages.
  • We must believe that God in His infinite wisdom created the universe, and that all things operate according to His grand design.
  • We must believe that God created man and woman in His image, but that people do have a free will to respond in faith toward Him, or to respond without faith toward Him.
  • We must believe that through the actions of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the testimony of Enoch—people can choose to either trust in God, or disregard His instruction and endure the consequences.

Thankfully, through the preservation of God’s continuing revelation as witnessed in the balance of the Holy Scriptures, there is confirmation that He has not deviated one iota from His original design for Planet Earth and human civilization. God continues to allow people to be born, with a nature inherited in Adam, permitting each and every one to freely choose whether to walk by faith in Him, or to demonstrate a hollow trust in their own efforts.

The great news for those of us today, who recognize the significance of the redeeming work of Messiah Yeshua—the promised Seed of Adam and Eve destined to bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15)—is that faith in Him and His ultimate sacrifice is sufficient to overcome the curse of the sin nature. Messianic Believers study the Torah, because we know that by better understanding how we will frequently disregard God’s Law, we are all transgressors in need of a Savior (cf. Galatians 3:24). As Paul communicated to the Romans,

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua the Messiah, abound to the many” (Romans 5:6-15).

Genuine faith in Yeshua’s atoning work restores the intended relationship that the Father desires with each man and woman. Without reservation, let me say that if your faith in the Lord is weak, or if you find yourself relying upon your own good works or mortal abilities to gain favor with God—then you are being deceived by the same crafty serpent that originally deceived Adam and Eve. God requires faith in what He has done via His Son. When we receive the redemption offered in Yeshua, then we can manifest good works as a result of the faith in Him that we possess. As the Apostle Paul communicated to the Believers in Asia Minor,

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Each of us as modern-day Believers in Yeshua must be able to learn from the examples of faith or faithlessness, as we read the Holy Scriptures—beginning with the trials and tribulations of our spiritual forbearers whom we encounter in the Torah. These illustrations have been preserved for us, so that we might incorporate the lessons that they provide us—and we can heed the appropriate warnings where necessary. Paul admonished the Corinthians with the following:

Now these things happened to them as an example [warning, RSV], and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:11-13).

Remember that our Eternal God is always faithful to His people: If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). While various temptations of this world might be keeping you away from a fervent desire to increase your measure of faith, recognize that by exercising your free will, you can choose to walk by faith—just as multiple examples of faith-filled saints have done down through the centuries. You do not have to fall prey to the lure of the enemy, and can do the right thing when you are tempted. In so doing, the Father will be greatly pleased!

However, it is always up to each one of us to individually exercise and expand our faith, by conscious study and reflection. Each of us must be reminded how, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah” (Romans 10:17). It is my prayer that by hearing, your faith will be expanded in this next Torah cycle. Through such an expanded faith, may our obedience to God’s Word be manifested—in order to fulfill all of the good works that each of us was created to complete! (Click to Site)


NOTES

[1] Heb. b’reisheet bara Elohim et ha’shamayim v’et ha’eretz.

[2] Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), pp 398-401; Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, eds., The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2001), 1:399-401.

[3] Editor’s note: Be aware of how the verb appearing in 1 Timothy 2:13, plassō, can mean “to mould and form by education, training” (H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994], 643), and that various Bibles do properly translate 1 Timothy 2:13 with “formed” (KJV, RSV, NIV, NRSV, ESV, CJB, TLV). If “created” (NASU) were intended in 1 Timothy 2:13, then the verb ktizō could have been used instead.

[4] Heb. teshuqah; cf. Genesis 4:7.

For a review, consult the article “Addressing the Frequently Avoided Issues Messianics Encounter in the Torah” by J.K. McKee, under the sub-section “Development and Advances of Gender Relations.”

[5] Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., The New Oxford Annotated Bible With the Apocrypha, RSV (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), pp 1441-1442 note for us how,

“This much debated verse has also been translated (1) ‘she will be saved through the birth of the Child’ [referring to Jesus Christ], or (b) ‘she will be brought safely through childbirth.’”

[6] Cf. Nahum M. Sarna, “Genesis,” in David L. Lieber, ed., Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary(New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2001), 25.

The One New Man Bible – B’reshite – Oct 13, 2016

creation

B’reshite

(Genesis 1:1 – 6:8)

Creation

1.1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2. And the earth was totally empty, devoid of all life, (Jer. 4:23) both animal and plant; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered, brooded, over the face of the waters.

1:3. And God said, “Light, Be!” And there was light. 4. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. 5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, day one.

1:6. And God said, “Firmament, Be in the midst of the waters! Divide the waters from the waters!” 7. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8. And God called the firmament the Heavens. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

1:9. And God said, “Waters under the heavens, Be gathered together to one place! Dry land, Appear!” And it was so.10. And God called the dry land Earth, and He called the gathering together of the waters the Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11. And God said, “EarthBring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth!” And it was so. 12. And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13.And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

1:14. And God said, “Lights, Be in the firmament of the heavens, to divide the day from the night! Be for signs and for appointed times and for days and years! 15. Lights, Be in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth!” And it was so. 16. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, 18. and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

1:20. And God said, “Waters, Teem abundantly with the moving creature that has life, and fowl to fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven!” 21. And God created the great whales and every living creature that moves, with which the waters teemed abundantly, after their kind and every winged fowl after its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22. And God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful! Multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and fowl, multiply on the earth!” 23. And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

1:24. And God said, “Earth, Bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth after its kind!” And it was so. 25. And God made the beast of the earth after its kind and cattle after their kind and everything that creeps upon the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good.

1:26. Then God said, “We will make mankind in our image, after our likeness and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27. So God created mankind in His own image; He created him in the image of God. He created them male and female. (Matt. 19:4) 28. And God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful! Multiply! Fill the earth! Subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth!”

1:29. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of   a tree yielding seed; it will be food for you. 30. And to every beast of the earth, to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food.” And it was so.

1:31. And God saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

First Sabbath

2.1. Thus the heavens and the earth and the entire host of them were finished. 2. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. (Heb. 4:4) 3. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.

2:4 These are the chronicles of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD* God made the earth and the heavens. 5. And no plant of the field was yet on the earth and no herb of the field had yet grown, for the LORD* God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6. But there went up a mist from the earth and it watered the whole face of the ground. 7. And the LORD* God formed man from the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.

2:8. And the LORD* God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9. And the LORD* God made to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food: also the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad. (Rev. 2:7; 22:2,14)

2:10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was divided, and became into four headwaters.11. The name of the first headwater is Pishon: that is it which encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the one that encompasses the whole land of Cush. 14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that it is which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

2:15. And the LORD* God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it. 16. And the LORD* God commanded the man saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, 17. but you will not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”

2:18. And the LORD* God said, “It is not good that the man, Adam, should be alone. I shall make a helper for him, corresponding to him.” 19. And out of the ground the LORD* formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. 20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper for him.

2:21. And the LORD* God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. 22. And He built the rib, which the LORD* God had taken from man, into a woman and brought her to the man. 23. And Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Wife (Ishah), because she was taken out of Husband (Ish).

24. Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and will cling to his wife, and they will be one flesh.” (Matt. 19:5, 1 Cor. 6:2, Eph. 5:32)

2:25. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Mankind’s First Test

3.1. Now the serpent was more tricky than any beast of the field which the LORD* God had made. And he said to the woman, “Really? Has God said, ‘You will not eat of every tree of the garden?’” 2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, 3. but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, ‘You will not eat of it, neither will you touch it, lest you die.’” 4. And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die,5. for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and bad.” 6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it and ate, and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7. And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. 8. And they heard the voice of the LORD* God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD* God among the trees of the garden. 9. And the LORD* God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10. And he said, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11. And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12. And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.”

3:13. And the LORD* God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” 14. And the LORD* God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. You will go upon your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15. And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; he will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel.”

3:16. To the woman He said, “I shall greatly multiply your sadness and your child-bearing: you will bring forth children in sorrow, and your desire will be to your husband and he will rule over you.” 17. And to Adam He said, “Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you saying, ‘You will not eat of it.’ Cursed is the ground for your sake. You will eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life. 18. Also thorns and thistles will it bring forth to you, and you will eat the herb of the field. 19. By the sweat of your brow will you eat bread, until you return to the ground, for out of dust were you taken, for you are from dust and to dust will you return.”

3:20. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living.

3:21. For Adam and also for his wife the LORD* God made garments of skins, and clothed them.

3:22. And the LORD* God said, “Behold, the man has become as one of us, knowing good and bad, and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever.” (Rev. 22:2,14) 23. Therefore the LORD* God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from where he was taken. 24. So he drove the man out and He placed the Cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Cain and Abel

4.1. And Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bore Cain (Kayin), and said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD*.” 2. And she again bore his brother Abel (Hevel). And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

4:3. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering to the LORD* from the fruit of the ground. 4. And Abel also brought from the firstlings of his flock and from its fat. And the LORD* turned to Abel and his offering, 5. but He did not turn to Cain and to his offering. And Cain was very, very angry and his countenance fell. 6. And the LORD* said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7. Behold, if you do well, you will be accepted. And if you do not do well, sin sits waiting at the door, and its desire is to possess you, but you can rule over it.”

4:8. And Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it happened when they were in the field that Cain rose to Abel his brother, and slew him. 9. And the LORD* said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I did not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10. And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to Me from the ground. (Heb. 11:4) 11. And now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12. When you till the ground, from now on it will not yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth.” 13. And Cain said to the LORD*, “My punishment is greater than  I can bear. 14. Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the earth and I shall be hidden from Your face, and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will be that everyone who finds me will slay me.” 15. And the LORD* said to him, “Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD* set a mark upon Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. 16. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD* and dwelled in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

4:17. And Cain knew his wife and she conceived, and bore Enoch: and he was building a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

18. And to Enoch was born Irad and Irad begot Mehujael and Mehujael begot Methusala and Methusala begot Lemekh.

4:19. And Lemekh took two wives for himself: the name of the one was Adah and the name of the other Zillah. 20. And Adah bore Jabal: he was the father of all who dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. 21. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all who handle the harp and another stringed instrument. 22. And Zillah, she also bore Tubal-cain, a sharpener of every cutting tool in bronze and iron, and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

4:23. And Lemekh said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, you wives of Lemekh! Hearken to my speech, for have I slain a man because of my being wounded and a young man because of my injury? 24. If Cain will be avenged sevenfold, truly Lemekh seventy-seven fold.”

4:25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth (Shet), “For God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” 26. And to Seth, a son was born to him also and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD*.

Descendants

5.1. This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created mankind, He made him in the likeness of God. 2. He created them male and female and blessed them, and called their name Mankind (Adam), in the day when they were created. 3. And Adam lived a hundred thirty years and begot in his own likeness, after his image and called his name Seth. 4. And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years, and he begot sons and daughters. 5.And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred thirty years and he died.

5:6. Seth lived one hundred five years and begot Enosh. 7. And Seth lived eight hundred seven years after he begot Enosh, and begot sons and daughters, 8. and all the days of Seth were nine hundred twelve years and he died.

5:9. And Enosh lived ninety years and begot Kenan. 10. And Enosh lived eight hundred fifteen years after he begot Kenan, and begot sons and daughters. 11. And all the days of Enosh were nine hundred five years, then he died.

5:12. And Kenan lived seventy years and begot Mahalalel. 13. And Kenan lived after he begot Mahalalel eight hundred forty years, and begot sons and daughters.

14. And all the days of Kenan were nine hundred ten years, then he died.

5:15. And Mahalalel lived sixty-five years and begot Jared. 16. And after he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred thirty years and begot sons and daughters.

17. And all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety-five years, then he died.

5:18. And Jared lived one hundred sixty-two years, and he begot Enoch. 19. And Jared lived eight hundred years after he begot Enoch, and begot sons and daughters. 20. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty-two years, then he died.

5:21. And Enoch lived sixty-five years and begot Methuselah. 22. And Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he begot Methuselah, and begot sons and daughters. 23. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. 24.And Enoch walked with God, then he was not, for God took him. (Heb. 11:6)

5:25. And Methuselah lived one hundred eighty-seven years and begot Lemekh. 26. And Methuselah lived after he begot Lemekh seven hundred eighty-two years and begot sons and daughters. 27. And all the days of Methuselahwere nine hundred sixty-nine years, then he died.

5:28. And Lemekh lived one hundred eighty-two years, and begot a son. 29. And he called his name Noah saying, “This one will bring us comfort from our work and the toil of our hands, from the ground which the LORD* has cursed.” 30. And Lemekh lived five hundred ninety-five years after he begot Noah, and begot sons and daughters. 31. All the days of Lemekh were seven hundred seventy-seven years, then he died.

5:32. And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Preparation for the Flood

6.1. And it was, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2. that the sons of the leaders saw the daughters of men, that they were fair and they took them for wives of all whom they chose. 3. And the LORD* said, “My spirit will not struggle forever with mansince he is but flesh. And his days will be one hundred twenty years.”

6:4. There were giants in the earth in those days and also after that, when the sons of the leaders came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty, macho, men who, from old, were men of badreputation.

6:5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was continually only bad. 6. And the LORD* was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart.7. And the LORD* said, “I shall destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth: man, beast, the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD*. (Click to Site)

Torah Commentary – Vezot ha’Bracha – “And this is the blessing” – SCRIPTURES FOR October 14, 2017

Vezot ha’Bracha
“And this is the blessing”
Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Joshua 1:1-18

4f282-bible2bstudy

The Baton Passes On
This Shabbat’s readings mark the end of the Torah cycle. The scriptures we will read are maybe the most bittersweet of all the Torah. Moses finishes his message of Deuteronomy by speaking a blessing over the people he has led for the past forty years. I would imagine that as the words are coming to a close, each one becomes harder to speak than the last. He knows that in a very short time his life will end. Moses has run his race, but has been stopped just short of what he thought his finish line would be. He stands looking into a land he will never enter.
On the surface nothing seems fair. Moses deserves to go in. He made one mistake and it cost him dearly. The Hebrews made many mistakes, but they would soon be enjoying a land they did not deserve. Nothing seems to make sense here. Is there possibly something else to the message of Moses that makes it clearer? Let’s consider it.
When we think of Moses, we think of Torah. In fact, it is called the Torah of Moses. Moses would pass the baton of Torah to a man whose name is Joshua. At least that is his English name. In Hebrew, his name would be very close to the name of Messiah, Yeshua. After the death of Moses, Joshua would receive orders to never allow the Torah of Moses to depart from him. He was to meditate on it day and night. He would also meet a man who was referred to as the Captain of The Army of Yah.   I believe the scripture is very clear through the actions of Joshua that this man was indeed the Messiah, Yeshua. It would be after Joshua’s acceptance of the challenge and revelation of this man that he indeed would enter into the Promised Land with the Hebrews. It would be as he continued in the orders and revelation that he would lead the Hebrews to possess what had been promised to them many years earlier.
So what is the message to us today? Could it be that Yah is telling us that Torah alone will not lead us into the fullness of Yah’s promises? Could it be that simply going through Torah year after year will only bring us to the shore of our own Jordan, but never allow us to cross over? Could it be that we are being told through this account to, with a firm grasp of Torah in our heart, move on? We are to look for a person whose name is similar to the successor of Moses, who will lead us on? A man who not only is the Captain of the army of Yah, but in fact is the embodiment of the Torah?
The message that I see as I look at the complete account is this; Torah alone will not lead us into the fullness of His promises, nor will we ever be allowed to enter in without Torah. It will be as we firmly grasp the Living and the Written Torah, never allowing ourselves to lose focus of the two as one, that we will enter in.
As a final thought leading into our new Torah Cycle I would like to share a quote from Barry Phillips. Please read Psalm 40:7 first for the full meaning. “Torah reveals the Redeemer while in itself offering no redemption.” You may need some time to let that one soak in. (Click to Site)