Balak – Destroyer – “Self-Inflicted Curses” – 2 July, 2017

“Self-Inflicted Curses”

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by Mark Huey
mark@outreachisrael.net

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, chronologically finds the Ancient Israelites further down the trail on their arduous and circuitous march to Canaan, the Promised Land, but without the able counsel of Aaron to co-administer with the aging Moses. Following the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:24-29), the indigenous populations of the desert areas begin an incessant military attack on the migrating Israelites. A brief engagement with the Canaanites is described in Numbers 21, as Israel must turn to the Holy One for guidance and deliverance to secure victory.

Israel’s journeys take a turn to avoid the conflict with the Edomites, who earlier had refused passage through their territory (Numbers 20:18-21). At this point, the complaints of Israel once again centered around their perceived lack of bread and water (Numbers 21:5). To chastise the Israelite grumblers, God sent snakes into the camp with a deadly venomous bite (Numbers 21:6). This judgment created an opportunity for Israel to gaze, by faith, upon the brazen serpent fashioned by Moses in order to receive physical healing (Numbers 21:7-9). The lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, is intended to parallel the lifting up of Yeshua the Messiah on the cross:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Rather than elaborate on the significance of this to our faith, I would like to instead focus on how the Torah goes on to record the continuing sojourn of the Israelite survivors in the wilderness. The journey continues as a series of encampments are detailed from Oboth to Moab to Zared, to beyond the Aram at the border between the Moabites and the Amorites (Numbers 21:10-14). Apparently, more specific details of these different encampments and the conflicts that ensued were contained in another text called “the Book of the Wars of the LORD” (Numbers 21:14), that today is no longer extant.[1] Some additional locations are cited as the sojourn proceeds “from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland” (Numbers 21:19-20).

Many Bible scholars have attempted to trace the exact locations of these wanderings, and Biblical archaeologists are often very interested as to where they might have been located in the Ancient Near East. Time does not permit us the luxury of researching these specific places, but most assuredly, we know that God gave His people more instruction and admonition at each stop. (Click to Article)

Dani Sayag – “The Sermon on the Mount – Salt and Light” – June 10, 2017

Steve Cioccolanti June 10 2017 – GEMATRIA and BIBLE CODES –

Steve Cioccolanti Prophecy Update This Week

Faith vs. Legalism

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As a Messianic Jew I am not liked by anyone. My Jewish brothers and sisters tell me that because I believe “in Jesus” (almost none of them really understand what that means) I am no longer Jewish; on the other side, because I follow Torah (as best as I can) and maintain a “Jewish” worship and lifestyle, my brothers and sisters in Messiah tell me I am legalistic and not really saved because I am “under the law” and not “under the blood.”

Both are just so very, very wrong.

Shaul (AKA Paul, that nice Jewish tent maker from Tarsus) tells us in Romans, Chapter 4 all about legalism and faith. He begins at the beginning, with Abraham, and identifies how the Tanakh confirms that Abraham was considered righteous because he believed what God told him would happen. That faithfulness, demonstrated by Abraham believing in what hadn’t yet happened, was why God credited him with righteousness. There was no task he accomplished, or behavior he performed, other than believing.

But that wasn’t all: Abraham did more than just believe. He did all the things that God told him to do, without hesitation or complaint. He left his father’s house, he left his neighbors, his home…everything he knew and was comfortable with, and took everyone and everything he owned to…he had no idea where.

When God told him to cut up animals and lay them out, he did that and remained out in the heat of the day, shooing away the birds.

When God said to circumcise himself and everyone else, he did it that day.

When God said to take Isaac and sacrifice him, he left early the very next morning.

Whatever God said to do, he did.

So, even though Abraham’s righteousness came from trusting faithfulness in what God said, he also spent his life doing what God told him to do.  We call that obedience.

Going back to Romans 4, Shaul points out that circumcision had nothing to do with Abraham’s righteousness because the righteousness was credited before he was circumcised; because of that, Gentiles who are not circumcised can be saved without undergoing the procedure, but if one chooses to do so, as an act of obedience, it doesn’t mean that person is being legalistic.

The difference between legalism and faith is simply the reason for performing the act: if I do what is in the Torah because I want to obey God, that is not legalism. If I do what is in the Torah to make me righteous, I am being legalistic. Of course, if I can obey Torah perfectly, I will be made righteous by doing so; the problem with that scenario is that no one can obey Torah perfectly. Therefore, there has to be a better way. We call that way “Grace”, God’s forgiveness for our sins, which is possible through believing in Yeshua, whose sacrifice replaced the need to bring a sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem to have our sins forgiven.

This is why Yeshua had to die: because the temple wasn’t going to exist, which means the sacrificial system God created for us in the Torah would no longer be available, Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced needing the temple to receive forgiveness of sin. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – B’har (On Mount Sinai), B’chukotai – The Heart of the Matter – SCRIPTURES FOR May 20, 2017

Torah Commentary
B’har (On Mount Sinai), B’chukotai
Leviticus 25:1-26:2; 26:3-27:34
Jeremiah 32:6-27; 16:19-17:14
2Corinthians 7-13
 The Heart of the Matter
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For our culture, many of the instructions of Leviticus seem quite foreign to us. There is even a debate whether most of these Scriptures pertain only to the time when we have entered the Land. “Buying and selling of crops, allowing the land to rest on the seventh year and redeeming our poor relative from slavery”, you have to admit, are not things most of us spend our waking thoughts pondering today. When it comes to food storage many people consider storing food for the winter. Wrap your head around storing supplies for three years to take your family through the Jubilee. Due to the difference in culture, we can get lost in the relevance of these verses for our day and read through them way to fast. A quick glance may cause us to miss the heart of the Scriptures.
Torah is about relationship with HaShem, family and the people we are called to interact with on a daily basis. The mysteries and wonders of Torah are awesome, but if we miss the theme of relationship, we miss the heart of the matter. Torah is teaching us through practical day-to-day life instructions how to love our Creator and how to treat one another. This principle is brought out again in Leviticus 25:14-17. Here Scripture speaks of selling property to a neighbor while considering the amount of how many years remaining until the Jubilee and the return of said property.  On the surface we do not see the point of the instruction, because in our society when we sell an item to someone, we do not expect him or her to bring it back in seven years. All transactions are typically final.  What can we learn in this instruction? The heart of the instruction is in verse 17, which tells us not to take advantage of one another in our transactions.
Let us put some flesh on this principal. Back in the days when I sold real estate, I did not like to sell property to or for friends. Sadly, more often than not, it turned out to be a disaster. I found that no matter how hard I tried, the “friend” was much harder to work with than a stranger off the street. They usually wanted special favors and in the end could not believe why I did not turn my entire commission over to them and call the transaction a favor based on friendship. This was an example of taking advantage of a friendship, which is what Leviticus warns us against. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Emor (Speak) – “Small Matters” – Day 15, Month 2, 5777; 11 May 2017

Torah Commentary
Emor (Speak)
Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Ezekiel 44:15-31
Matthew 5:38-42
Galatians 3:26-29

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“Small Matters”
The Book of Leviticus is devoted to the subject of what is clean and what is not clean. Simply put, we should desire to live our lives pursuing that which Yah calls clean and stay away from what He calls unclean. In doing so, it is not only so we can live a life of blessing and closeness to Him, but so we may also show forth His holy character to others.
In this Torah portion His name, YH VH, is used 81 times. We see a summary of instructions for His Feasts. We also find something I want to draw attention to. The word profane is used 12 times. We find Webster’s dictionary defines the word profane as “irreverence for that which is sacred.” Strong’s Concordance has many definitions, one of which is to “make common.” These definitions supply descriptions that may differ from what we would normally consider profane to mean.
Consider it this way. For most of us, trees in our living rooms and decorated eggs hidden in the yard are practices that have become distant memories. We would look back to those practices and call them unclean. Now we have the blessing of celebrating Feasts that have been called clean by our King. However, is it possible to observe the Feasts clearly taught in Scripture and make them unclean? Go back to the definition of Webster, “irreverence for that which is sacred.” His Feasts are sacred, if we do not reverence them in Light of Him, we can make them unclean in His sight. Read Amos 5:21“”I hate, I utterly loathe your festivals; I take no pleasure in your solemn assemblies.” The people were “doing” the Feasts, but in such a way that Yah not only said He hated them, but He no longer called them His.
How do we keep from making the same mistakes of our ancestors? Take a moment to reflect on your last Shabbat, Passover, Unleavened Bread, New Moon, the current counting of the Omer. Without looking at a sheet of paper or a calendar, what day is it on the counting? What was the Torah portion for last Shabbat? Do you recall its overall theme? Did you even bother to read it? Are you napping through Leviticus? Can you tell what phase the moon is in right now?
Do I need to go on? Consider your answers to the above questions. Answer truthfully. In the eyes of Yah, was your last Shabbat clean or unclean? Was your celebration of the last New Moon more “common” than sacred? How many days of counting the Omer have you missed?
In Luke 16 we read about faithfulness. Verse 10 says, “Someone who is trustworthy in a small matter is also trustworthy in large ones, and someone who is dishonest in a small matter is also dishonest in large ones. ” How are we doing in the “small matters” like counting the Omer? Is our reverence or lack of reverence in what many would call a small matter affecting the weightier matters? I can only answer for myself on this one. Today we are in the middle of the Counting of the Omer. Though we do not have a place in Jerusalem to take an offering to and perform our daily counting, Scripture still tells us to count. How we do so may be as simple as acknowledging a number or adding Scripture readings and prayer. Question is, “How important is the counting to us?” Is it something we are looking forward to every day or do we let a few days go by and realize we have forgotten? Are we allowing the counting to become common? (Click to Article)

 

Torah Commentary – Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones) – Searching For Life – Day 8, Month 2, 5777; 4 May 2017

Torah Commentary
Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones)
Leviticus 16:1-18:30; 19:1-20:27
Ezekiel 22:1-19
Romans 3:19-28; 9:30-10:13
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
2 Corinthians 2:1-11
Galatians 3:10-14
Hebrews 7:23-10:25
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Searching For Life
Life is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it as,”The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” According to this definition life is just going through motions which will allow someone to know if we are an animal, plant or just a rock. Simply put, if it moves, grows and reproduces, it has life, if not, it’s a rock. Another definition for life is, “The period between the birth and death of a living thing.”
As I consider these definitions in light of the words in Leviticus 18:5, which explains we will have life through obedience to Torah, the dictionary definitions appear to pale in comparison of how I feel our Creator desires us to have life. If we throw into the mix the words of Yeshua in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, life in its fullest measure,” the definitions really lose value.
What is the difference between the book definitions of life and what most of us desire as the Scriptural definition of life? I believe it comes down to one word, purpose. Consider the word purpose for a moment. Is it possible for us to have life, but never find purpose? We all know the answer is a resounding “yes”!
When we reflect on an example of life without purpose our minds may envision a homeless person on a street corner. He or she wakes up in the morning the same as the rest of us, breathes the same amount of air as we do and in truth goes through many of the same motions to sustain a level of life. Is simply sustaining life all that our Creator intended? Obviously, not! Would you say, when compared to the homeless person on the street corner, we have achieved the Scriptural definition of life in its fullest measure by reading the Torah each week, eating clean and observing the Feasts? I’m not sure I would.
Ask an honest question of yourself. Do you feel you are walking in the Scriptural definition of life? Now I am going to go where only the truly insane go. Comparing your life of Torah today with your life in a church in the past, do you feel you have more life now or just more knowledge? I wish I could get a show of hands here.
If my conversations with people through the years are any indication to the answer of the above question I would say most of us feel we have more knowledge than life. If you are the exception, please do not become offended. Maybe you have found the keys to abundant life and should be the one writing instead of me. For all the rest, please read on.
Leviticus 18 promises we will have life through observing His laws and rulings. Yeshua says we will have abundant life through Him. Is the key to life in joining these two verses together? If so, is there a verse which combines their meaning? Look at Psalm 40:7, “In the scroll of the book it is written about Me.” This verse is our key to the equation. It is all about Him. (Click to Article)

The Fall Feasts of 2017, Revelation 12 and the Rapture

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By Jesse Wanskasmith
March 15th, 2017

In the last issue of The Mountain, I wrote about ‘The Sign of Revelation 12 Occurring in the Skies Above Us.’ This article delves into what some have long understood to be the pre-tribulation Rapture in Revelation 12:5 and how the heavenly sign is just one sign of many that mark the Fall Feasts of 2017 as something extraordinary. Much of this information has been lost to the Church including the importance of the Fall Feasts and how Old Testament law relates to what God has planned for End-Times. Be courageous and read on!

Acts 2:19 (Interlinear) And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.

What is the Rapture?

The Rapture is a removal of True Righteous Believers from Earth by God to preserve these Christians from Satan’s wrath during the Great Tribulation (Rev 12:12). It is an unscheduled undisclosed event when Jesus comes half-way to Earth to meet his Church in the air.

1 Thes 4:15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

We are told in 1st Corinthians that “in the blink of an eye” we will be transformed from our earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies and be brought up into Heaven.

1 Cor 15:50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Dr. Mike Svigel, an associate professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, in a 2013 interview on My Digital Seminary, commented on the Revelation 12:5 “Snatched up” reference, “The word in Revelation 12:5 is the word for “rapture,” harpazo, and always means a sudden removal, a snatching. In contrast, for the ascension of Christ, the New Testament uses terms such as “to be lifted up,” epairo (Acts 1:9), “to ascend,” anabaino (John 20:17; Ephesians 4:8-10) and “to take up,” analambano (Mark 16:19; Luke 1:11). These are neutral terms meaning a removal from one place to another.

John 14:3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
Does God plan to have his children live through the Tribulation? 

John 3:18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

This is hard question to address as it has many interpretations that often divide the Church. Some ministries such as Morning Star ministries are preparing for coming hard times, but are we truly being called to prepare for the judgements described in Revelation? Of all the recorded dreams and prophetic warnings received by believers, the vast majority of them have NOT called for individuals to prepare large quantities of food, shelter, backup power or cords of wood to survive some upcoming global cataclysm. Christian faith has an added value of spiritual protection and God has plans to keep his followers from enduring this judgement as long as they keep the narrow path toward him. Let’s examine this in detail.
There are two trains of thought regarding the Rapture that are discussed here:

  1. The Church will live through part or all of the Tribulation and that Righteous believers will be Raptured sometime after it begins. During this time, a supernatural protection will be granted to those (Rev 7:3). This is the ‘Preservation Through’ theory.
  2. That Righteous Believers will be “snatched away” prior to the Anti-Christ global authority. This is the ‘Rescue-From’ theory. 1st Thes 1:10 and Jer 30:7 both support the argument that God will offer a protection in some form or another from these judgements.

1 Thes 1:10 (NLT) And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
 
1 Thes 1:10 (Last sentence, direct translation) Deliver [Rhoumai #4506] us [Hemas #2248] of separation of a part from the whole [Apo #575] anger, wrath, indignation [Orge #3709].
 
Jeremiah 30:7 (Interlinear) Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

The Jeremiah verse talks about deliverance from this time of Jacobs Trouble. The word saved means Yasha` “to be liberated, be saved, be delivered”, Strongs word #3467.

Dr. Mike Svigel, commented on the judgement in 1st Thes and if that applies to pre-tribulationists theology, “I see a lot of strength in passages that promise rescue from coming wrath tied to the coming of Christ (1 Thes 1:9-10) and in the context of the Rapture (1 Thes 5:9), but also in the promise of being kept from the hour of testing in Revelation 3:10 and Peter’s reminder that, based on God’s past pattern of rescuing his righteous from judgment prior to pouring out his wrath (in the cases of Noah and Lot), He will rescue the godly from trial (2 Peter 2:6).”

It’s important to note that the Tribulation includes wrath attributed to both Satan and God and that both maybe present at any given time. McHyde identifies in a 2010 article, “Would God Allow His Bride to Go Through the Great Tribulation” that after only the 7th Trumpet is when, “God’s wrath picks up where Satan’s wrath let off.” Citing Revelation 15:1 and 1 Cor 15:52, McHyde makes the claim that only immediately prior to God’s wrath, will the Rapture come.

1 Thes 5:9 (HCSB) For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ
Rev 12:12 (interlinear) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Revelation 11:18 (NLT) The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth. (Click to Article)