Malcontents

Some people are never happy unless they have something to be unhappy about.

Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך | When you set up)

Regular Shabbat Readings

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.

  • Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך | When you set up)
  • Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:15
  • Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:14-21

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Numbers 8:1 | The Seven Lamps
    • Numbers 8:5 | Consecration and Service of the Levites
    • Numbers 9:1 | The Passover at Sinai
    • Numbers 9:15 | The Cloud and the Fire
    • Numbers 10:1 | The Silver Trumpets
    • Numbers 10:11 | Departure from Sinai
    • Numbers 11:1 | Complaining in the Desert
    • Numbers 11:16 | The Seventy Elders
    • Numbers 11:31 | The Quails
    • Numbers 12:1 | Aaron and Miriam Jealous of Moses
  • PROPHETS
    • Zec 2:6 Interlude: | An Appeal to the Exiles
    • Zec 3:1 Fourth Vision: | Joshua and Satan
    • Zec 4:1 Fifth Vision: | The Lampstand and Olive Trees

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.


The generation in the wilderness were not worse complainers than any other collection of human beings. Every association of human beings seems to be vexed by the ceaseless grumbling of the members.The Torah says, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD.” (Numbers 11:1) God is slow to anger-usually. Complaining can incite His swift wrath. The book of Numbers contains several stories of Israel’s discontent in the wilderness. In each story, the Israelites complain about something and God punishes them for complaining.Human beings are prone to complain. It often seems that people are not happy unless they find something to be unhappy about. Nothing seems to please us more than complaining about what we don’t like and what things do not meet our approval. We are malcontents.

A person of faith is duty bound to rise above the natural human instinct to complain and criticize.

Every day of our lives is full of both good things and bad things. Every human being has positive characteristics and negative characteristics. If we concentrate on the bad things that each day contains and the negative characteristics that each person possesses, we will spend our entire lives in an ugly world where everything goes wrong all the time and everyone we know is grossly deficient. With our critical spirits and tongues we can actually ruin our own lives.

Paul encourages us to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). Complaining is a form of evil speech (lashon hara). It has evil results in our lives and in the lives of others. Nobody wants to be around a chronic complainer.

A critical person complains against God. The Didache warns that grumbling and complaining is a symptom of a haughty spirit and that it can lead to blasphemy:

My child, do not be a murmurer, because it leads to blasphemy; neither be self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered. But be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and merciful and genuine and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. (Didache 3:6-8)

Grumbling about things is a telltale sign of weak faith. A person of strong faith has confidence that God is in charge and is working all things out for the good. He is not given to complaining because he believes that everything is ultimately in God’s hands.

The antidote for a poisoned, malcontented spirit is gratitude. When we force ourselves to focus on the good and the positive, and to thank God for all the blessings He daily bestows, the way we experience life is transformed. But we should not thank God only for the good things. We should thank Him for everything, as Paul says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Yeshua” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Judaism teaches that there is even a blessing for when one hears bad news: “Blessed is the true judge.”

Paul urges us to not to “grumble, as some of them did [in the wilderness], and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction” (1 Corinthians 10:10-11). (Click to Source)

 

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Exodus 20:13 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition – April 19, 2020

Exodus 20

Exod 20:1 And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying,
Exod 20:2 “I am יהוה (Yahweh) your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.
Exod 20:3 “You have no other mighty ones against My face.
Exod 20:4 “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,
Exod 20:5 you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה (Yahweh) your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
Exod 20:6 but showing loving-commitment to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.
Exod 20:7 “You do not bring (a) the Name of יהוה (Yahweh) your Elohim to naught, for יהוה (Yahweh) does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to naught. Footnote: a Or lift up, or take.
Exod 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart.
Exod 20:9 “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work,
Exod 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath (b) of יהוה (Yahweh) your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. Footnote: b There are other Sabbaths, but this is the weekly Sabbath.
Exod 20:11 “For in six days יהוה (Yahweh) made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה (Yahweh) blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.
Exod 20:12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the soil which יהוה (Yahweh) your Elohim is giving you.
Exod 20:13 “You do not murder.
Exod 20:14 “You do not commit adultery.
Exod 20:15 “You do not steal.
Exod 20:16 “You do not bear false witness against your neighbour.
Exod 20:17 “You do not covet your neighbour’s house, you do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour.”
Exod 20:18 And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the voice of the shophar, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance,
Exod 20:19 and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.”
Exod 20:20 And Mosheh said to the people, “Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.”
Exod 20:21 So the people stood at a distance, but Mosheh drew near the thick darkness where Elohim was.
Exod 20:22 And יהוה (Yahweh) said to Mosheh, “Say this to the children of Yisra’ĕl: ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from the heavens.
Exod 20:23 ‘You do not make besides Me mighty ones of silver, and you do not make mighty ones of gold for yourselves.
Exod 20:24 ‘Make a slaughter-place of earth for Me, and you shall slaughter on it your ascending offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I cause My Name to be remembered I shall come to you and bless you.
Exod 20:25 ‘And if you make Me a slaughter-place of stone, do not build it of cut stone, for if you use your chisel on it, you have profaned it.
Exod 20:26 ‘Nor do you go up by steps to My slaughter-place, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.’

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

New King James Bible

 

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Expounding the Torah

Did Moses speak in tongues? Tradition says that Moses spoke the words of the book of Deuteronomy in the seventy languages of humanity.

Portion Summary

Devarim (דברים) is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Devarim means “words.” The English-speaking world calls this book Deuteronomy. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: “These are the words (devarim) which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1).

One ancient name for the book of Deuteronomy is Mishnah HaTorah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” This is similar to the Greek Septuagint name Deuteronomos, which means “second law.” The English name Deuteronomy is derived from Deuteronomos.

The book of Deuteronomy is dominated by Moses’ farewell address to the children of Israel as he urges them to remain faithful to the covenant and prepares them for entering Canaan. During the course of the book, Moses reviews the story of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the trip to the Promised Land, reiterates several laws of Torah and introduces new laws. The book seems to follow the general pattern of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty document.

As we study the first week’s reading from the book of Exodus, the children of Israel are assembled on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.

Special Shabbat Reading

Special readings are applicable this Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Chazon (שבת חזון | Vision)
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27

Shabbat Chazon (“Sabbath [of] vision” שבת חזון) takes its name from the Haftarah that is read on the Shabbat immediately prior to the mournful fast of Tisha B’Av, from the words of rebuke and doom coming from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 1:1-27. It is also referred to as the Black Sabbath due to its status as the saddest Shabbat of the year (as opposed to the White Sabbath, Shabbat Shuvah, immediately precededing Yom Kippur).

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Devarim (דברים | Words)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
  • Gospel: Matthew 24:1-22

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Deuteronomy 1:1 | Events at Horeb Recalled
    • Deuteronomy 1:9 | Appointment of Tribal Leaders
    • Deuteronomy 1:19 | Israel’s Refusal to Enter the Land
    • Deuteronomy 1:34 | The Penalty for Israel’s Rebellion
    • Deuteronomy 1:46 | The Desert Years
    • Deuteronomy 2:26 | Defeat of King Sihon
    • Deuteronomy 3:1 | Defeat of King Og
  • PROPHETS
    • Isaiah 1:1 | Introduction
    • Isaiah 1:2 | The Wickedness of Judah
    • Isaiah 1:21 | The Degenerate City

Portion Summary

Devarim (דברים) is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Devarim means “words.” The English-speaking world calls this book Deuteronomy. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: “These are the words (devarim) which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1).

One ancient name for the book of Deuteronomy is Mishnah HaTorah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” This is similar to the Greek Septuagint name Deuteronomos, which means “second law.” The English name Deuteronomy is derived from Deuteronomos.

The book of Deuteronomy is dominated by Moses’ farewell address to the children of Israel as he urges them to remain faithful to the covenant and prepares them for entering Canaan. During the course of the book, Moses reviews the story of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the trip to the Promised Land, reiterates several laws of Torah and introduces new laws. The book seems to follow the general pattern of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty document.

As we study the first week’s reading from the book of Exodus, the children of Israel are assembled on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.


The book of Deuteronomy opens, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah” (Deuteronomy 1:1). Those words preface more than thirty chapters of Moses continuously talking. The sages puzzled over this. How did the man who was slow of speech become so eloquent? Just a few verses later, it says, “Moses undertook to expound this Torah.” According to Jewish tradition, Moses expounded the Torah in the seventy languages. The Midrash Tanchuma takes up the discussion.

Come and see! When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Go and I will send you to Pharaoh,” Moses said, “Woe! You are giving over the mission to me? I am not a man of words.” He said, “There are seventy languages known in Pharaoh’s court, so that if anyone comes from a foreign country, they can speak to him in his language. I am going as your apostle, and they will question me, and I will tell them that I am an apostle of the Almighty, and it will be obvious to them that I do not know how to converse with them. Will they not mock me and say, ‘Look, the apostle of the Creator of the universe who created all the tongues! He is unable to comprehend or answer.’” This is what Moses meant when he said, “Woe, I am not a man of words.” … forty years after the exodus from Egypt, however, he expounded the Torah in seventy languages, as it says, “He explained this Torah.” (Midrash Tanchuma, Devarim 2)

According to this story, Moses felt unqualified to serve as an apostle of Hashem because he could not speak in all seventy languages. After the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (i.e., Shavuot) Moses no longer suffered with that impediment. He demonstrated to the people of Israel that he could now teach Torah in all seventy languages.

We should be able to see the connection to our apostles who spoke the good news in all languages on the day of Shavuot. On that day that they became apostles of the Almighty and His risen Son, they received the gift of languages.

The seventy tongues represent the seventy mother-languages spoken by all humanity. The presentation of the Torah in every language alludes to the universal quality of the revelation of God through the Torah of Moses. Just as Moses is said to have expounded the Torah to Israel in every language, likewise, the disciples proclaimed the good news of Yeshua on Shavuot in every language.

Expounding the Torah is a job for every disciple. In the same way that it is incumbent upon us to spread the gospel in every place and at every time, it is also incumbent upon us to teach the Torah. After all the Torah is very much a part of the gospel, and the message of the gospel is quite meaningless without the Torah. Therefore, we are all called to emulate Yeshua, our teacher, who dedicated His life to proclaiming the gospel and teaching the ways of Torah.

When properly presented, the Torah should be an avenue to Messiah. It should be a central part of the good news of the kingdom and the call for repentance in the name of our Master. One who undertakes to teach the Torah to others is like one imbued with the Holy Spirit on the day of Shavuot. (Click to Source)

 

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The Complainer and the Atheist

SHELACH

Portion Summary

The thirty-seventh reading from the Torah is called Shelach(שלח), an imperative verb that means “send out.” The portion is so named from the first few words of the second verse: “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan” (Numbers 13:2). The Torah reading tells the tragic story of how the spies returned with a bad report about the Land of Promise and influenced the congregation of Israel to rebel against the LORD. Thus God consigned the generation of Moses to wander in the wilderness for forty years.

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Shelach (שלח | Send)
  • Torah: Numbers 13:1-15:41
  • Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
  • Gospel: Matthew 10:1-14

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Numbers 13:1 | Spies Sent into Canaan
    • Numbers 13:25 | The Report of the Spies
    • Numbers 14:1 | The People Rebel
    • Numbers 14:13 | Moses Intercedes for the People
    • Numbers 14:26 | An Attempted Invasion is Repulsed
    • Numbers 15:1 | Various Offerings
    • Numbers 15:32 | Penalty for Violating the Sabbath
    • Numbers 15:37 | Fringes on Garments
  • PROPHETS
    • Joshua 2:1 | Spies Sent to Jericho

Portion Summary

The thirty-seventh reading from the Torah is called Shelach(שלח), an imperative verb that means “send out.” The portion is so named from the first few words of the second verse: “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan” (Numbers 13:2). The Torah reading tells the tragic story of how the spies returned with a bad report about the Land of Promise and influenced the congregation of Israel to rebel against the LORD. Thus God consigned the generation of Moses to wander in the wilderness for forty years.


The spies returned from Canaan with a giant cluster of grapes. The grapes should have encouraged the Israelites. The land was indeed a good land full of bounty, just as God had promised. The ten spies, however, interpreted the giant grapes differently. They used them as evidence that the land was inhabited by unconquerable giants. “What would you expect from the vineyards of giants?” Isn’t it strange how two people can look at the same thing—such as a cluster of grapes—and come to opposite conclusions? To Joshua and Caleb, giant grapes were a good thing. To the other spies, the giant grapes were a sign of despair.

God said He heard the grumbling and the complaints of the children of Israel. He hears our complaints too. The sin of grumbling is related to the sin of gossip. Both are forms of evil speech; both result from a critical spirit.

Gossip destroys others, breaks up friendships and severs relationships. Grumbling destroys your quality of life and that of those around you.

Imagine going to the zoo with a cranky and undisciplined five-year-old. You take the child to see the lions, but he is sulking because you did not buy him candy. You take him to see the zebras, but he is angry because he does not want to hold your hand in the crowd. You take him to see the monkeys, but he is having a fit because he wanted French fries. You buy him French fries, but he leaves them uneaten because he complains that they are soggy. At the end of the day, he did not see lions, zebras, and monkeys, nor did he eat French fries. He has had a miserable day, and so have you. The child transformed what could have been a wonderful experience into a horrible one for no good reason.

As an adult, it is easy to look at a situation like that and realize how foolish the unruly child is being. It’s harder to realize that our own complaints, grumbling and murmuring is just as petty. Adults are usually sophisticated enough to disguise their childish tantrums and inner discontentment. We disguise them as serious adult issues, concerns and complaints. On closer investigation, many of those issues tend to be no more than sulking over soggy French fries. The worst part is that this is not a trip to the zoo. This is your life. If you spend it fussing and sulking, you will never enjoy the good things God is continually doing for you. You will never even notice them.

The Torah teaches that God hears all of our complaints and negativity. That’s why the sages teach that the complainer is tantamount to an atheist. His complaints deny the existence of God as if there is no God to hear his bitter words. (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf) – The Tourists Connection – SCRIPTURES FOR June 29, 2019

Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf)
Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1-24
Hebrews 3:7-19
The Tourists Connection
If a list were made of the top ten stories the Hebrews are known for during their sojourn in the wilderness, the account of the twelve spies would certainly be found. Many fingers have been pointed at the faithless reports given by the ten spies. Is there a deeper level of understanding regarding the reason behind the difference in the statements shared by the ten versus the two? Could we find another lesson from their experience that can give instruction to us today? Let’s see.
The Hebrew word translated as spies is “tuwr.” It is interesting that the word sounds like our English word “tour”, though it is not the actual root of the word. We can use the comparison to draw a lesson. We can look at these men, not as it describes as “in the Land”, but rather as tourists? At the time, they were travelers, not dwellers. Consider, after all, when they returned to camp they brought back souvenirs of fruit of the land to show off. The fruitful bounty could have been inspiration to take the Land as Yah directed. Yet, it is not what they brought back on their shoulders which truly mattered, instead, it was what was in their hearts.
It is hard to envision the immense feast of produce these men saw or the terror of the massive size of its inhabitants during their “tour.” A few years back a section of the wall of Hevron was found that dates back to the time of Scripture. On one of my trips in Israel I was able to visit that section of unearthed wall. I remember just staring at it. I have always had a connection to Joshua. The haftorah readings for the Torah portion related to my birthday are verses in the first section of Joshua. That day at the wall I just stood and stared as I considered that ancient stone and pondered whether it may have been a spot Joshua had fixed his own eyes upon.
All twelve of the men saw the same sites, ate the same food and walked the same soil, so why the different accounts given upon their return? Most would say it was based on their level of faith which to some measure, I agree with. Going back to our original question whether we have another lesson from the spies experience, let us consider this point of view. I believe we can also reflect on the word “connect”. Joshua and Caleb connected with the Land. They were able to see past the giants inhabiting the area, even the bountiful harvest. It was their King’s Land. He was calling them to possess His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Their heart connection to Yah instilled a deep passionate connection for His Land, their inheritance. It appears the other ten did not make this connection.
My friend and brother Hanoch Young says it best, if you connect with the Land, the Land will connect with you. For Joshua and Caleb, the Land became a part of their very hearts. Sadly it seems for the others it was just another random handful of dirt.
As with Joshua and Caleb, you and I will fight for our heart’s desires and what and who we are connected to. That connection will manifest itself in actions which may in the end be termed faith, but faith begins with the relationship established in our heart.
What did Joshua and Caleb connect to? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 11:12 which reveals to us that the eyes of Yah are continually on that Land. Eyes do not lead your heart, they follow your heart. What your eyes gaze upon is an outward manifestation of where your heart is.
The eyes and hearts of Joshua and Caleb connected with the eyes and heart of the Father Himself. This is why they were allowed to enter the Land and would later give their very lives to possess it.
What caused Joshua and Caleb to connect with the Land and the others did not? I wish I could give you a complete answer. What makes one person go to Israel and weep while another is engrossed in taking pictures and playing on their cell phone? That is a question I cannot answer, but I am certain it involves the heart.
I have taken hundreds of people to Israel through the years. Most everyone will take pictures, bring home souvenirs and have stories to tell friends and family when they return. For the majority the memories will fade and become like the memories of taking the children to an amusement park. For others, life will never be the same. What is the difference? I do not know. What about the person who has never stepped foot in Israel, but yet the mention of the word brings tears to their eyes? I don’t know.
Joshua and Caleb connected to Israel on that day. They joined to the heart of their Father. This connection gave them the faith to see past giants and other obstacles. Their relationship gave them the blessing to cross over Jordan and enter into the Promise Land!
My prayer as I read this Torah portion is, “Father, I desire a heart like Joshua and Caleb, a heart for what is important to you. Give me the heart that brings forth the faith to see past giants so I too may enter your Land, my destiny!” (Click to Source)

 

Bat Kol at the Transfiguration

In our days it is even exceedingly rare to hear a voice speak from heaven, but it seems to have been more common in the days of the Apostles. Talmudic literature offers several anecdotes of “a voice from heaven” speaking during the late Second Temple Era.

The Hebrew term for the heavenly voice, bat kol, literally means “daughter of a voice,” a way to describe an echo or reverberation. The Talmud uses the term to refer to a voice heard from an unseen speaker. The Apostle Paul heard a voice from heaven speak to him as did the writer of the book of Revelation. The Gospels record three incidents involving a voice speaking from heaven: the voice at the Jordan, the voice at the triumphal entry (John 12:29), and the voice on the mount of the Transfiguration.

The voice from heaven that spoke at the Transfiguration repeated the same message which the Master heard at the time of His immersion in the Jordan. In that instance, the voice addressed Yeshua directly, saying, “You are my Son …” On the high mountain, the voice addressed the disciples, “This is My beloved son …”, and the message came with the addition imperative, “Listen to Him!”

This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him! (Matthew 17:5)

The mysterious declaration “This is my beloved son” alludes directly to Psalm 2 where the LORD tells His anointed one (messiah), “You are my Son; today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7). The sages regarded Psalm 2 as a psalm about the Messiah, and they frequently employed the psalm to provide proof texts regarding the Messiah.

The words “with whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17) directly allude to the messianic servant song of Isaiah 42:1: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him …” (Isaiah 42:1). “With whom I am well-pleased” is a Greek equivalent for the Hebrew idiom, “In whom My soul delights.” By alluding to Isaiah 42:1, the first of the servant songs, the voice from heaven identifies Yeshua of Nazareth as the subject of all of Isaiah’s “Servant of the LORD” prophecies which culminate in the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.

The voice directed the disciples to “listen to Him,” alluding to the prophecy of the prophet like Moses. In Deuteronomy 18 Moses told the children of Israel that the LORD would one day raise a prophet like him from among the Jewish people. The Torah says, “You shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15). The heavenly voice identified Yeshua as the prophet like unto Moses to whom the people must listen. (Click to Source)

English Bible Versions and Today’s Messianic Movement

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What English Bible version should you use as a contemporary Believer? This is a topic that can not only be rather confusing, but is something that can also evoke some rather strong emotions. Very few English Bible readers, who are committed to a steadfast faith in God, ever stick with one single Bible version or translation to employ in their studies. At the same time, though, it might also be said that various Bible readers can get a bit too comfortable examining a particular version, because they just get too familiar with it, or they are too stuck reading a particular Bible with their personal notes in it, or they get too acclimated to a particular version for some other sentimental reason.

Given both the changing dynamics and components of modern English speech, as well as the immense publishing venue of English Bible translation, we cannot hope to probe all of the pros and cons of various contemporary English versions. We can, though, have a much better idea about the kind of English versions we should be employing, and most especially what to do when we encounter various verses or passages of importance.

Today’s Messianic people are widely astute and aware of how each English Bible version, whether it be Jewish or Christian, is going to have some kind of translation bias to it. Jewish versions of the Tanach in English are not likely to translate various Messianic passages in support of the Messiahship of Yeshua of Nazareth, whereas Christian versions will. Various Christian versions of the Apostolic Scriptures, or New Testament, will not typically translate various passages about the Torah or Law of Moses in favor of its continued validity in the post-resurrection era. Yet, both Jewish and Christian Bible versions are used and employed by the broad Messianic movement. And, the Messianic movement itself has produced several Bible versions of its own which are employed within its ranks. Today’s Messianic versions tend to widely uphold the Messiahship of Yeshua and the validity of the Torah, but may have other limitations.

This article will attempt to explore some of the key details which today’s Messianic people need to be aware of when they encounter various English Bible versions. We will be reviewing some of the contemporary Jewish and Christian versions which are used in sectors of the Messianic movement. Also important will be a review of some Messianic Bible versions, particularly of the Apostolic Scriptures, which tend to be encountered. (Click to Source)

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No, Halal and Kosher Are Not the Same

Yes but halal is the same thing as kosher.’ Um no, not even close. While there are some similarities, there certainly are some big differences which we must be aware of.

halal-and-kosher
The differences between halal and kosher far outweigh the similarities – Photo: Supplied

In an age where truth matters little, where image trumps substance, and where widespread ignorance in so many areas reigns supreme, it is not surprising to find people totally clueless about Islam and its agenda in general, and the issue of halal foods and products in particular.

Part of that ignorance manifests itself in the all too common response when you seek to warn about the huge halal industry: ‘Yes but halal is the same thing as kosher.’ Um no, not even close. While there are some similarities, there certainly are some big differences which we must be aware of.

Similarities

From a superficial overview, it might seem that both of these things are quite straightforward, benign, and no big deal. Simply put, both have to do with which foods are acceptable or unacceptable to those of two different faith traditions.

In Islam, halal foods and products are those that are permissible for the Muslim, while haram foods and products are prohibited and unlawful. The Koran speaks to this in various places, such as surahs 2:172-173 and 5:3-5. Major haram items are pork and alcohol.

In Judaism kosher foods are those allowed to Jews and are not prohibited in the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Places like Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 speak to this. The lists are more detailed than what is found in the Koran. Pork is also not allowed for Jews, as for Muslims.

There are halal certification bodies which charge fees for their services, and to an extent it is the same with kosher items. However, that the halal industry is big bucks and part of a greater effort to Islamicise the West is found in just how far-ranging it has become of late.

Things never dreamed of in the Koran and the hadith are now said to be covered by halal certification. In Australia this includes the following:

  • cat food
  • milk
  • Easter eggs
  • honey
  • Cadbury chocolates such as Freddo Frogs and others
  • Vegemite
  • Bega cheese
  • Calcium and Vitamin C tablets
  • Johnson’s Baby Bath
  • baby food
  • McDonalds’ fish fillet
  • plastic wrapping
  • cutlery

Easter eggs? Plastic wrap? Indeed, many hundreds of companies in Australia now pay for halal certification, including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and Franklins. That this is a money-making scam should be clear to many. But that leads me to look further at the various differences between the two.

Differences

The truth is, the differences between halal and kosher far outweigh the similarities. Let me start with a particular set of differences – that which has to do with animal slaughter. Only Jews who have been specially trained are allowed to slaughter kosher animals, while Islamic slaughter can be performed by most adult Muslims.

The two methods are different as well. For example, invoking the name of God is essential in halal slaughter, but not in kosher slaughter. Also, halal slaughter is something that most folks are rightly concerned about. The RSPCA for example has spoken out against it, seeking to have it banned because of all the cruelty and suffering the animal can undergo when it is not first properly stunned.

Some might say this is no different than kosher slaughter, but there are differences. It seems that the Jewish method of slaughter, shechita, causes no suffering, pain or distress to the animal:
www.shechitauk.org/testimonials/

For a good overview of some more of these differences, see this article: www.jewsnews.co.il/2013/11/03/some-differences-between-kosher-meat-and-halal-meat-thank-g-d-i-keep-kosher.html

Moreover, generally all Kosher products come with a label. But routinely many halal products do not, and the consumer is usually left unclear as to if it is or is not. Furthermore Jews living in host countries over the centuries have not sought to impose kosher dietary laws onto others.

And this leads to some really important differences here. We need to see the bigger picture – in this case, the major differences between Judaism and Islam. As many have noted, it is probably more accurate to call Islam a political ideology instead of just another religion.

As its founder, history and key texts have always made clear, the global spread of Islam, the establishment of a universal caliphate, the endgame of seeing everyone submit to Allah (by death, conversion, or dhimmitude) is what Islam is all about.

It seeks global supremacy, with everyone under the rule of sharia law. And something like the halal scheme is just one facet of this. It is what we refer to as creeping sharia or stealth jihad. Sharia law for everyone is the end in view here. As just one indication of this, consider the words of Dr Mustafa Ceric, the grand mufti of Bosnia and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Speaking at a conference in Islamabad, Pakistan in December 2010, he said there was a need to “conquer the world through the Halal movement, as Halal means pure and hygienic and the non-Muslim world will have no choice but to accept it”.

Those who have studied Islam closely are well aware of this halal jihad. Sam Solomon for example discusses how the halal industry fits in with this global creeping sharia:

Halal food markets, Islamic dress markets, Sharia-compliant finance and banking, Islamic education, Sharia courts, etc., are all part and parcel of a unified, multifaceted socio-political-religious process deployed to transform the existing society from a civil/liberal/secular/pluralistic society into an Islamic society. The envisioned Islamic society would be a society whereby Islam is supreme over all other worldviews, both secular and religious, and whereby the civil/liberal/secular law is subservient to Islamic law.
www.christianconcern.com/sites/default/files/20190114_ChristianConcern_PolicyReport_HalalFoods.pdf

Is halal certification really needed?

Finally, one can look at the whole notion of just how necessary halal is for the Muslim. If it can be shown that most of it is quite unnecessary, then we can indeed see all this as a scam, as a tax, as a type of extortion, and as a revenue-raiser.

That huge amounts of money are being raised, with at least some of it funnelled in some very worrying directions (eg., the funding of overseas jihadist activities) has been demonstrated by many. I have documented some of these concerns here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/09/02/halal-certification-follow-the-money/

But the truth is, Islamic law does not record intricate certification procedures, and halal certifications seems to be a recent business construct. Thus we now have dozens of halal certification bodies in Australia. They seem to be designed not to help the Muslim know what to eat or abstain from, but to soften up the West to Islamic beliefs and practices – and make a whole lot of money in the process.

One Australian expert on Islam, Dr. Bernie Power, has laid out the case as to why the halal certification movement may in fact contradict basic Islamic principles. He notes that some significant international Muslim scholars actually resist the scheme.

He identifies “ten reasons based on the Qur’an and the Hadith, and corroborated by Islamic scholars, which demonstrate that halal certification is not necessary or is contrary to accepted Islamic beliefs”:

Reason 1: In Islam, Allah is the supreme law-giver, whereas halal certification undertakes that role for itself.
Reason 2: Halal certificates are unnecessary, since halal is the default setting for most food.
Reason 3: Halal materials should not be declared haram.
Reason 4: Halal certificates are unnecessary because the food of Christians and Jews (called ‘People of the Book’ in the Qur’an) is halal for Muslims.
Reason 5: The issuing of halal certificates is bid’ah (innovation), which is forbidden in Islam: such certificates are not legitimate under Islamic law.
Reason 6: Halal certification opposes the Islamic principle of justice.
Reason 7: Halal certification impedes economic development and diversity by concentrating capital in the hands of the wealthy few.
Reason 8: Halal certification combats the Islamic ideal of brotherhood (Q.49:10; 3:103), for halal certification is destroying social cohesion in the Muslim community.
Reason 9: Halal certification denies the applicability of prophetic example. Muhammad ate meat from Jews and Christians without any such certificate.
Reason 10: Halal certificates oppose the truth, for they may promote error and falsehood.

You can read his lengthy and detailed research paper here: www.mst.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/The-Halal-Certification-controversy.pdf

Conclusion

In sum, the incessant and sweeping push for halal foods and products by Muslims is not only far different than kosher foods in Judaism, but it is a genuine concern for all those who value freedom, democracy, and genuine pluralism. And this is something many, many people are legitimately worried about.

As just one indication of this, less than 48 hours ago I posted an article on halal and creeping sharia, and in the short time it has been up on my website, it has already had well over 5000 shares on Facebook. People have a very real concern about the implications of halal certification and its role in the spread of Islam, something they just do not have with Judaism and kosher foodstuffs. billmuehlenberg.com/2019/01/19/halal-foods-and-creeping-sharia/

Let me close with the warnings of an Egyptian woman who recently wrote an impassioned letter to Western countries, urging us to wake up to the realities of Islam. She reminds us that Islam is not so much a religion as an expansionist political ideology, one which is simply incompatible with Western values and our way of life:

Islam is a supremacist, racist political and social ideology wrapped in a thin peel of religious rituals. It seeks domination and supremacy over all other systems and religions…. Muslims use your own democratic laws and values against you, and they do it successfully while you keep sleeping as if as in a deep coma. This is why the leftists are the people who are worthy of the title ‘useful idiots.’ They are in a perpetual state of shame and self-loathing and will be the first victims of Islam once it takes over.

Since the halal industry – unlike kosher dietary laws – is a big part of the Islamic takeover of the West: (Click to Source)

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LECH LECHA – Abraham’s Great Reward

Life will place us in situations where we stand to make a profit by sacrificing our principles. The person who refuses to compromise his values may lose out financially, but his ultimate reward is God Himself.

God promises Abraham a numerous offspring in a dream. (Image: Wikimedia commons, public domain, art by Wenceslas Hollar)


In the days of Abraham a great war swept through the land of Canaan. The invading armies captured the Canaanite city of Sodom and took the inhabitants captive. A fugitive survivor escaped and came to Abraham. He told him that his nephew Lot was among the captives.

There was little that Abraham could do about it. After all, he did not have an army at his command. Besides, Lot had it coming. Abraham could have said, “That’s what he gets for claiming the best of the land for himself. The LORD has repaid him for his greed.” But he did not. Instead he demonstrated courageous loyalty. He immediately gathered the able-bodied men in his household and the Canaanite neighbors who would assist him and set off in pursuit of the invaders. That’s the kind of person Abraham was.

God honored Abraham’s selflessness. Though Abraham went up with only 318 men against a much larger army, God delivered the enemy into his hands. Abraham rescued his nephew and all of the prisoners. He returned from the battle with the prisoners and all the plunder the invaders had taken.

The evil king of Sodom offered Abraham a handsome reward for his efforts. “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself,” he said. It was a generous offer and would have made Abraham very wealthy. Abraham refused the proposal. He knew the king of Sodom was cunning and wicked. Abraham did not want to owe any allegiance to such a man. He said, “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’” (Genesis 14:22-23).
Some people are tempted to sacrifice their principles for the sake of money. Abraham stood fast because his faith was in the “possessor of heaven and earth.” He did not need the rewards of the wicked king of Sodom, no matter how tempting.

When God saw how Abraham refused reward from the king of Sodom, He appeared to him and said, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1).

Life will often place us in situations where we stand to make a profit by sacrificing our principles. The person who refuses to compromise his values may lose out financially, but his ultimate reward is God Himself. (Click to Source)

 
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Living Torah Commentary – Shof’tim (Judges) – Love What He Loves – SCRIPTURES FOR August 18, 2018

Shof’tim (Judges)

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Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

Isaiah 51:12-52:13

Matthew 5:38-42; 18:15-20

Acts 3:13-26; 7:35-53

Love What He Loves

With the above title in mind, let’s ask the question: Just what does Yah love? For that matter, how can we determine what He loves?

Through the years, the answer to that question has deepened for me, as it hopefully has for you. In my Pentecostal days, I was told He does not like us to smoke, drink, chew, or go out with girls who do! I’m smiling and shaking my head as I reflect on those words, but not so much from humor, but more because my younger mind used to believe there was such great depth to them. Thank Yah for His patience in my immaturity!

Let’s face it—none of us like being called immature. And yet, if we are not purposefully choosing to grow in Yah by daily allowing Him full reign to mature us (i.e., to bring forth His good, life-giving fruit in every area of our lives), then we are choosing to remain “immature.” Ouch!

What causes us to grow and mature—to develop a strong “immune system”—and consistently produce Ruach’s fruit? Well, first we must know what He loves (nutritious, hardy, and delicious fruit), as well as what He hates (toxic, diseased, and bland fruit). Torah clearly shows us both.

For example, Yah loves for His people to get together during times of Feasts, Shabbats, and New Moons to focus on loving Him and each other—according to His definition of love, of course. Additionally, Torah reveals we are to be different in our appearance, appetites, attitudes, and of course, our authorities. We are to surrender to Him as our King, rather than looking to an earthly king like the Hebrews did. Or in today’s culture—looking to ourselves as the final, ultimate authority.

What about the flip side? Are we faithful in hating what He hates—the bugs, diseases, and toxins in every area of our lives? If not, then we won’t be able to mature as He designed, because our heart’s “immune system” will constantly be compromised.

On my recent trip to Texas, I spent time with a man whom I met a year ago, but this year our relationship was taken to another level. Why? Because he is a man who makes me think. After my teaching on the Tabernacle, he expounded on Romans 12:2 which tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. He pointed out the word “transformed” is the same word regarding the transfiguration of Yeshua. If we look into the definition of the word, it tells us our minds are to be so radically changed, it is as if the Divine glory, which came into the Tabernacle in the wilderness, now indwells within our very mind.

So with that said, allow me to ask the question again in a bit more direct manner: Are we spending the same amount of time, energy, and resources in hating (removing and rejecting) what He hates, as we are in loving (nurturing and guarding) what He loves? Each of us might want to read that question, again. Slowly.

In Deuteronomy 17, we are told to put to death, by stoning, a man or woman found among us whose desire is to transgress His covenant. Now, I am not telling anyone to stone someone, but are we willing to show a divisive person the door, and if they refuse to cooperate, then help them leave? How about on another level? Do we put as much time, energy, and resources into eliminating what He hates from our homes, as we do in filling it with what He loves? What about our very lives—physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, financially, relationally, and spiritually?

As we continue these last words of Deuteronomy, may our hearts and minds continue to be transfigured by His glory as we seek to love what He loves—and just as important—hate what He hates. (Click to Source)

Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem

Why a weekly reading schedule?

On a weekly basis we hear the term unity in our churches and congregations. It is a subject spoken of, but is it truly lived out?

Going back to the time before Yeshua walked this earth, the Hebrews established a weekly Torah portion reading. Today this schedule goes from Genesis to Deuteronomy in one year. No matter where you travel in the world the same scriptures are being read and taught from. We understand the spiritual power of unity, which is why we join our faith with synagogues, congregations and churches that are choosing to follow this schedule. Our weekly readings include a reading from the prophets as well as the Renewed Covenant, (New Testament). Each week as you read, imagine that the same scriptures are being declared in most every country and time zone around the world.

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