Getting ‘Unhitched’ from the Old Testament? Andy Stanley Aims at Heresy

August 10, 2018

Reading the Torah

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.

10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

(2 Timothy 3:1-17)King James Version (KJV) Public Domain


Eventually, we learn to take an individual at his word. Andy Stanley is a master communicator, and he communicates very well and very often. His preaching and teaching often bring controversy, and he quite regularly makes arguments that subvert the authority of Scripture and cast doubt upon biblical Christianity. He returns regularly to certain themes and arguments — so regularly that we certainly get the point. He evidently wants us to understand that he means what he says.

Earlier this year, Stanley brought controversy when he argued in a sermon that the Christian faith must be “unhitched” from the Old Testament. He claimed that “Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.”

Later, explaining his statement, Stanley told Relevant magazine, “Well, I never suggested we ‘unhitch’ from a passage of Scripture or a specific biblical imperative . . . . Again, I was preaching through Acts 15 where Peter, James, and Paul recommended the first-century church unhitch (my word, I’m open to an alternative) the law of Moses from the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles in Antioch.”

Indeed, in the sermon Stanley did not argue that any specific Old Testament command should be nullified. Instead, he went even further and told his listeners that the Old Testament should not be seen as “the go-to source regarding any behavior in the church.” In his view, the first century leadership of the church “unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish Scriptures.”

Again, controversy rightly erupted after those comments, spoken earlier this year. But in recent days Andy Stanley has returned to the same theme, this time in a conversation with Jonathan Merritt on his podcast, Seekers and Speakers.

In this conversation, Stanley speaks of outgrowing a childhood belief about the Bible and coming to understand what he presents as a far more complex reality. How complex? Well, Stanley argues that we must know that biblical references to the Scripture “did not mean the Bible.”

Note his words carefully:

This is something I’m trying desperately to help people understand and every time I try to explain it I get misunderstood so here I go again. There was no “The Bible” until the fourth century. When we think about the Bible we think about a book that contains the Jewish Scripture and the Christian writings and such a thing did not exist until after Christianity became legal and scholars could come out of the shadows and actually put such a thing together.”

There is more:

So the early church no one ever said in the early church, ‘the Bible says, the Bible teaches, the Bible says the Bible teaches,’ because there was no ‘The Bible.’ But the point of your question, there was Scripture but every time we see the phrase ‘the Scripture’ or ‘Scripture’ in the New Testament, as you know we have to stop and ask the question, what was this particular group of people referring to because there was no ‘The Bible’ and there was no book that contained all the Jewish Scripture because it was contained in synagogues and as you know virtually no one could read and write.”

Well, wait just a minute. It is true that Jesus and the Apostles did not have the Old Testament and the New Testament bound together in a book (codex) form. It is, of course, also plainly true that the New Testament did not exist until it was given, book by book, by the Holy Spirit to the church in the first century. But it is not true that references to “the Scriptures” or “the Scripture” by Jesus and the Apostles are any mystery to us. They are plainly referring to what we know as the Old Testament. There are references to “Moses and the Prophets” (Luke 16:29) and to the “Law and the Prophets”(Luke 16:16), but faithful Jews in the first century would emphatically have known exactly what the Scriptures are.

As a matter of fact, Mark Hamilton has documented the fact that the Greek phrase, ta biblia, “the books” was “an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books several centuries before the time of Jesus.”

The fact that the Old Testament Scriptures were at the time in scroll form in synagogues rather than book form is plain, but the fact is that the Jewish authorities made their arguments on the basis of appeal to the Scriptures, and so did Jesus and the Apostles. Both Jesus and the Apostles did make their arguments “according to the Scriptures” (see, for example, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Consider Jesus preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth:

“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:17-21)

Jesus was powerfully arguing “the Bible says” in a way that his hearers in the synagogue clearly understood, and that pattern is found throughout the New Testament. Geerhardus Vos underlines this fact when he states, with reference to the Kingdom of God: “The first thing to be noticed in Jesus’ utterances on our theme is that they clearly presuppose a consciousness on his part of standing with his work on the basis of the revelation of God in the Old Testament.” In John 5:46-47 Jesus rebuked those who did not believe in him with these words: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Similarly, the Apostles made their arguments for the gospel of Christ with reference to the Old Testament and its testimony to Christ and the saving purpose of God. At no point in the New Testament is the Old Testament dismissed. Rather, as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 5:17-19)

The pattern is promise and fulfillment, not rejection and repudiation. This is true even in the case of Acts 15, with the apostles citing the authority of Amos 9:11-12 and even citing the binding authority of Genesis 9:4 on the Gentile believers. Again, the pattern is promise and fulfillment. Andy Stanley argues that the Old Testament should not be cited as “the go-to source regarding any behavior in the church,” but the moral law of the Old Testament remains honored by the church and repeated (even intensified) in the New Testament.

Peter, James, and Paul did not “unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish Scriptures,” nor can we.

We are looking here at the ancient heresy of Marcion, who argued that the Old Testament must be repudiated by the church. Marcion, who lived about the years 85-160, taught that the Old Testament revealed a Creator deity who is not even the same God who sent Jesus. Unsurprisingly, he also held to a heretical Christology. The Old Testament deity was repugnant to Marcion, who argued that Christianity just make a clean break from Judaism. The Old Testament, he taught, reveals a vindictive law-giving creator deity who bears no resemblance to the merciful redeeming God revealed in Jesus Christ. As Irenaeus, one of the most significant church fathers argued, “Marcion himself divides God in two, saying that one is good, the other judicial, and in so doing takes God away from both.”

Marcion was embarrassed by the Old Testament, and so are many modern people. Andy Stanley, at the very least, seems to fear that embarrassment in others, even if he does not identify with it himself.

He spoke this way with Jonathan Merritt: “I’m convinced that we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument.” We can make a better case for Jesus than the case Jesus made for himself?

But the embarrassment comes through clearly in Andy Stanley’s comments in the interview. He spoke of people who have “lost their faith” because they read the Old Testament, and then said this:

It’s the same God. But he was doing two different things. All that differentiating between those things is so important. Again, in this sermon, I said, ‘Hey, it’s time that we face the facts and unhitch our faith and our practice from some of these Old Testament values that we can appreciate in their original context, but we really don’t have any business dragging them into a modern context.’”

To be clear, Andy Stanley does not endorse the full heresy of Marcionism, which was universally condemned by the early church. He actually appears to aim for the heresy of Marcionism, and his hearers are certainly aimed in that direction. He clearly says that God is the same God in both testaments, but says that he reveals himself in two completely different ways. Just like Marcion, he argues that the church must “unhitch” from the Old Testament. He actually says: “I am convinced for the sake of this generation and the next generation, we have to rethink our apologetic as Christians, and the less we depend on the Old Testament to prop up our New Testament faith the better because of where we are in [the] culture.”

The church cannot “unhitch” from the Old Testament without unhitching from the gospel Jesus preached. Speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said “it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)

Alarmingly, in the podcast Stanley questions whether Jesus actually meant his own references to Old Testament narratives to be taken as historical. He said: “Then a person has to decide, okay, well actually Jesus references the Garden of Eden, or he references in the beginning when God created the first two people, he references Jonah. Then you have to decide when the Son of God references these people and these incidences and these prophets, what did he mean? I am comfortable, not everybody is, but I am comfortable letting the conversation go from there.”

It is very instructive to remember that the most influential theological liberal of the twentieth century, Adolf von Harnack, chose Marcion as his theological hero. Why? Because, like Marcion, he wanted to reduce Christianity to what he claimed to be its essence, the benevolent fatherhood of God. All the doctrines of orthodox Christianity, including the doctrines concerning the divinity of Christ, were dismissed as either Jewish or Greco-Roman encrustations.

[By the way, I am sure that Andy Stanley means no anti-Semitism in referring to the Old Testament as the “Jewish Scriptures, but this use does have the implied effect of identifying these Scriptures only with the Jewish people, and not with Christianity. But the Christian identification of the Old Testament as the “Jewish Scriptures” has a dangerous pedigree. In any regard, Adolf von Harnack must also be remembered as seeking to champion Marcion within German Protestantism just as anti-Semitism was rising once again with deadly power in Germany. As Alister McGrath notes, “Sadly, Marcionism is a heresy that seems to be revived with every resurgence of anti-Semitism.”]

The issues actually reach deeper. In recent years, Andy Stanley has encouraged getting over “the Bible tells me so.” He actually claimed in 2016 that the church veered into “trouble” when it began to make its arguments on the basis of the Bible. He cited “deconversion” stories in which people told him that they lost their Christian faith when they lost confidence in the Bible. He said: “If the Bible is the foundation of your faith, here’s the problem: it’s all or nothing. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards religion.”

In the podcast interview, he gives us another glimpse of what he means:

“Now, for you and me, it is much easier for us to embrace all of those things as historical primarily because of how we were raised, but I totally get when a 25-year-old or a 35-year-old comes to faith in Jesus and then starts reading the Old Testament. They’re kind of looking like, ‘Really?’ Well, you know, that’s difficult, but that doesn’t undermine my faith, and I would never press somebody to say, ‘Well if you can’t accept all of it as historically true, then you can’t really be a Christian.’ I think that’s a little bit absurd.”

But another key question is whether one can be a faithful Christian while denying the truthfulness of Scripture. Jesus himself makes the point that without the Old Testament as the Word of God, we really do not know who he is. Then what does it mean to be a Christian?

As we sing, Jesus Christ is the church’s one foundation, but we cannot know him apart from the Bible.

In this latest interview, Andy Stanley also suggests that “Christianity ultimately and eventually created the Bible.” That is consistent with Roman Catholic theology, but not with evangelical Christianity. In the interview Stanley affirmed again that affirmation of the virgin birth is not necessary. He had earlier stated, “If someone can predict their own death and resurrection, I’m not all that concerned about how they got into the world.”

But the New Testament is very concerned about how Jesus got into the world, and if he was not conceived by the Holy Spirit, then he was conceived in some other way. Here we need to remember that the etymology of heresy is rooted in choice. A heretic denies a belief central and essential to Christianity. But heresy also takes the form of choice. You can choose to believe in the virgin birth or not, Stanley argues; he is not all that concerned about it.

Several years ago, I argued that Andy Stanley represents a new face of theological liberalism. In our day, he is playing the role that was played by Harry Emerson Fosdick in the early twentieth century. Stanley may not intend to play that role — he sees himself as an apologist.

So did Fosdick. He sought to rescue Christianity from itself, from its doctrines and truth claims. He cited his own “deconversion” stories as justification for remaking Christianity.

He also sought to “unhitch” Christianity from the Old Testament. In his famous 1923-1924 Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale, Fosdick called for a new, modern understanding of the Bible. This would require jettisoning what were for him and many others the embarrassing parts of the Old Testament. He described the effort to retain much of the Old Testament as “intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating.” To the young preachers of that day, Fosdick argued: “The Old Testament exhibits many attitudes indulged in by men and ascribed to God which represent early stages in a great development, and it is alike intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating to endeavor to harmonize those early ideals with the revelations of the great prophets and the Gospels.”

Here we go again.


Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Modern Use of the Bible (New York: Macmillan, 1924), p. 27.

Alister McGrath, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), p. 131.

Irenaeus quote from Judith M. Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 36-37.

Mark Hamilton, “From Hebrew Bible to Christian Bible: Jews, Christians, and the Word of God,”  (PBS FrontLine, April 1998).

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The King’s Copy and the Rule of Law

If Yeshua is the king of the Jews, then the laws that pertain to Jewish kings apply to Him. Even the Messiah is not above the rule of law.



The commandment “to write a personal copy of the scroll of the Torah” applies to the king of Israel. This provision was meant to ensure that the king himself submits to the rule of law and does not become a despot without accountability or boundaries. The king writes a copy of the Torah so “that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen” (Deuteronomy 17:20). In other words, the king is subject to the laws of Torah just like everybody else in the kingdom.

He has no sovereign exemptions. He has no royal exception or special immunity. By writing a copy of the Torah for himself, the king reminded himself that he is not above God’s law. In the eyes of the Torah, the king is just another citizen of God’s kingdom.

The king of Israel must immerse himself in the Torah. He must write his own copy of the Torah onto a scroll. He is to keep it with him always, and he is to read and study from it every day of his life. He cannot turn away from the commandments in the Torah, neither to the right nor to the left. Even the king of Israel must obey the Torah of God. He must submit himself to it as a standard for conduct and administration.

“He shall write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll,” when he goes to war, he takes it out with him; when he comes back, he is to bring it back with him; when he is in session in court, it is to be with him, when he is reclining, it is to be before him, as it is written, “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life.” (m.Sanhedrin 2:4)

We refer to this basic ethic as the rule of law. We can compare it to the way the constitution of a governing body functions in the modern world. In theory, a nation’s constitutional principle presides over both the governed and the government. In the constitutional model, ultimate sovereignty is vested in the constitution that formed the government, not in the government.

This is the theory of modern politics in the free world. For example, in the United States of America, the constitution lays out the parameters for American government. Ostensibly, the government can legislate and govern only within those parameters. No government official may over-step the bounds of the national constitution. Government officials are subject to the rule of the constitution and the legislation spawned by it, just as private citizens are. Without the rule of law, a government would be able to rule capriciously and without mitigation, as is often the case in dictatorships and rogue states where law has collapsed and absolute power has prevailed.

In God’s economy, the Torah functions as the constitution over Israel’s government. No one is above God’s Torah because no one is above God. His word has the final authority, and even the king may not transgress it.

Without the rule of law, the ethics of the Torah are reduced to simply good advice: the commandments become 613 suggestions. We often hear Bible teachers state that the rule of law in Torah does not apply to believers. In so doing, they place believers on a plane of authority even above the kings of Israel and the Messiah Himself.

According to Deuteronomy 17, if Yeshua is a true king of Israel, He must “keep Torah all the days of his life” and “carefully observe all the words of the Torah” and “not turn aside from the commandment to the right or the left” (Deuteronomy 17:20). Yeshua was not above the rule of law. If He broke the Torah, He committed a sin. (Click to Source)


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Torah Reading – One New Man Bible – Va’etchanan – July 28, 2018

Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

3:23. “And I implored the LORD* at that time saying, 24. ‘LORD* God, You have begun to show Your greatness and Your mighty hand to Your servant, for what god is in heaven or on earth that can do according to Your words and according to Your might? 25. I pray You, let me go over and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly mountain and Lebanon.’ 26. But the LORD* ignored, passed by, my plea for your sake and would not hear me. And the LORD* said to me, ‘Let it be enough for you! Speak no more to Me of this matter. 27. Get up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward, northward, southward, and eastward and behold with your eyes, for you will not go over this Jordan. 28. But charge Joshua, encourage him and strengthen him, for he will go over before this people and he will cause them to inherit the land, which you will see.’

3:29. “So we Stayed in the valley over against Beit-Peor.”

Moses Summarizes the Commandments

4.1. “Now therefore listen, O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgments, which I am teaching you, to do them, so you will live and go in and possess the land which the LORD* God of your fathers gives you. 2.You will not add to the word which I command you, neither will you take anything from it, so you can keep the commandments of the LORD* your God which I command you. (Rev. 22:19)


3. Your eyes have seen what the LORD* did because of Baal-Peor, for all the men who followed Baal-Peor, the LORD* your God has destroyed them from among you. 4.But you who grasped the LORD* your God are alive, everyone of you this day. 5.Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD* my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it.

6. Therefore keep and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the peoples that will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7. For what nation is there so great that God is so near to them, as the LORD* our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?’ 8. And what nation is there so great that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Torah, which I AM giving you this day? 9. Only take heed to yourself and keep your inner beings diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life, but make them known to your sons and your sons’ sons. 10. The day that you stood before the LORD* your God in Horeb, when the LORD* said to me, ‘Gather the people together for Me and I shall make them hear My words so they can learn to revere Me all the days that they will live upon the earth, and so they can teach their children.’ 11. And you came near and stood under the mountain and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. 12.And the LORD* spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no other person, only a voice.

4:13. “And He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, ten statements, and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14. And the LORD* commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, so you could do them in the land where you go to possess it. 15. Therefore take good heed to yourselves, for you saw no manner of a person or figure on the day the LORD* spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16. lest you corrupt yourselves, and make for yourselves a graven image, the likeness of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17. the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flies in the air, 18. the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth, 19. and lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, and are led astray to worship them and serve them, which the LORD* your God has divided to all people under the whole heaven. 20.But the LORD* has taken you and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be to Him a people of inheritance, as you are this day. 21. Furthermore the LORD* was angry with me for your sake and swore that I should not go over the Jordan, and that I should not go in to that good land, which the LORD* your God gives you for an inheritance, 22. but I must die in this land. I must not go over the Jordan, but you will go over and possess that good land. 23. Be careful for yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD* your God, which He made with you and you make a graven image, the likeness of anything, which the LORD* your God has forbidden you. 24.For the LORD* your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Heb. 12:29)

4:25. “When you beget children and children’s children and you have remained long in the land and corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, the likeness of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD* your God, to provoke Him to anger, 26. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from off the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You will not prolong your days upon it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27. And the LORD* will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD* will lead you. 28. And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29. But if from there you will seek the LORD* your God, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with your whole being. 30.When you are in tribulation and all these things have come upon you in the latter days, if you turn to the LORD* your God, and are obedient to His voice, 31. for the LORD* your God is a compassionate God, He will not forsake you or destroy you or forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.

4:32. “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it? 33. Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?34. Or has God attempted to take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD* your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35. It was shown to you so you would know that the LORD*, He is God. There is no one else besides Him. 36. He made you to hear His voice out from heaven so He could instruct you, and upon earth He showed you His great fire and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. 37. And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their seed after them and in His sight He brought you out from Egypt with His mighty power 38. to drive out nations from before you, greater and mightier than you are, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance as it is this day. 39. Know therefore this day and consider it in your heart, that the LORD* He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath. There is no other. 40. Therefore you will keep His statutes and His commandments, which I command you this day, so it will go well with you and with your children after you, and that you will prolong your days upon the earth, which the LORD* your God gives you forever.

Three Cities of Refuge in the East

4:41. Then Moses set apart three cities on the east side of the Jordan toward the sunrising 42. so the slayer could flee there, who kills his neighbor unawares and did not hate him in times past, and that fleeing to one of these cities he might live:

43. Bezer in the wilderness in the plain country of the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead of the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan of the Manassites.”

4:44. And this is the teaching which Moses set before the children of Israel.

45. These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spoke to the children of Israel after they came out of Egypt 46. on this side of the Jordan, in the valley over against Beit-Peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel struck after they had come out of Egypt, 47. and they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, who were on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrising, 48. from Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even to Mount Sion, which is Hermon, 49.and all the plain on this side of the Jordan eastward, even to the sea of the plain under the slopes of Pisgah.

Resuming the Commandments

5.1. And Moses called all Israel and said to them, “Listen! Obey, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day so you can learn them and keep and do them! 2.The LORD* our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3.The LORD* did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. 4. The LORD* talked with you face to face on the mountain out of the midst of the fire. 5. I was standing between the LORD* and you at that time, to tell you the Word of the LORD*, for you were afraid by reason of the fire, and did not go up on the mountain. He was saying,

The Ten Statements

5:6. “I AM the LORD* your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

5:7. “You will have no other gods before Me.

5:8. “You will not make for yourself any carved or molded image, or any likeness of anything that is in the sky above, or that is in the earth below, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.

5:9. “You will not bow down yourself to them, or serve them, for I AM the LORD* your God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, 10. and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

5:11. “You will not take the name of the LORD* your God in vain, for the LORD* will not hold guiltless who takes His name in vain.

5:12. “Keep the Sabbath to sanctify it, as the LORD* your God has commanded you. 13. Six days you will labor and do all your work, 14. but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD* your God, you will not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your ox, your donkey, any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, so your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. 15. And remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD* your God brought you out from there through a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD* your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

5:16. “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD* your God has commanded you, so your days may be prolonged and so it may go well with you in the land which the LORD* your God gives you. (Eph. 6:3)

5:17. “You will not murder.

“Neither will you commit adultery.

“Neither will you steal:

“Neither will you bear false witness against your neighbor.

5:18. “Neither will you desire your neighbor’s wife, nor will you covet your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

5:19. “The LORD* spoke these words to all your assembly in the mountain out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness with a great voice, and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and delivered them to me.

5:20. “And it was, when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain burned with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders 21. and you said, ‘Behold, the LORD* our God has shown us His glory and His greatness and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God does talk with man, and he lives. 22. Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us if we hear the voice of the LORD* our God any more, then we will die. 23. For who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the Living God speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have, and lived?24. Go near and hear all that the LORD* our God will say and speak to us everything that the LORD* our God will speak to you and we will hear it and do it.’

5:25. “And the LORD* heard the sound of your words when you spoke to me and the LORD* said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken to you: they have well said all that they have spoken. 26. Othat there were such a heart in them that they would revere Me and keep all My commandments always, so it would be well with them and with their children forever. 27. Go! Say to them, “Get into your tents again!” 28. But as for you, stand here by Me and I shall speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which you will teach them, so they may do them in the land which I AM giving them to possess. 29. You will observe to do therefore as the LORD* your God has commanded you: you will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 30. You will walk in all the Ways which the LORD* your God has commanded you, so you can live and that it may be well with you and you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.’”

Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments

6.1. “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD* Your God commanded to teach you, so you would do them in the land where you go to possess it, 2. so you would revere the LORD* your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you: you, your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life and so your days may be prolonged. 3. Therefore hear, O Israel and observe to do it, so it may be well with you, and so you may increase mightily as the LORD* God of your fathers has promised you in the land that flows with milk and honey.”

The Sh’ma

6:4. “Listen! Obey, O Israel! The LORD* is our God! The LORD* is One!

5. And you will love the LORD* your God with all your heart, with your very being, and with all your might. (Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:33, Luke 10:27) 6. And these words, which I am commanding you this day, will be in your heart 7. and you will teach them diligently to your children, and you will talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8. And you will bind them as a sign upon your hand (Pro. 7:3), and they will be as frontlets between your eyes. 9. And you will write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

6:10. “And it will be, when the LORD* your God has brought you into the land which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give you great and good cities which you did not build, 11. and houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, and wells dug, which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant. When you have eaten and are full, out for yourselves so you do not forget the LORD*, Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13. You will revere the LORD* your God, serve Him, and will swear by His name. (Matt. 4:10, Luke 4:8) 14. You will not go after other gods, of the gods of the people that are all around you, 15.for the LORD* your God is a jealous God among you, or the anger of the LORD* your God will be kindled against you and destroy you from off the face of the earth.

6:16. “You will not tempt the LORD* your God, (Matt. 4:7, Luke 4:12) as you tempted Him in Massah. (Exod. 17:7) 17. You will diligently keep the commandments of the LORD* your God, His testimonies, and His statutes, which He has commanded you. 18. And you will do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD*, so it will be well with you and so you can go in and possess the good land which the LORD* swore to your fathers, 19. to cast out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD* has spoken.

6:20. “And when your son asks you in time to come saying, “What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD* our God has commanded you? 21. Then you will say to your son, we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and the LORD* brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, 22. and the LORD* showed signs and wonders, great and bad upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household before our eyes. 23. And He brought us out from there, so He could bring us in to give us the land which He swore to our fathers. 24. And the LORD* commanded us to do all these statutes, to revere the LORD* our God for our good always, so He could preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25. And it will be our acts of loving kindness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD* our God, as He has commanded us.”

Deal With Your Conquered Foes

7.1. “When the LORD* your God brings you into the land where you are going to possess it and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittite, the Gergashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 2. and when the LORD* your God delivers them before you and you strike them, utterly destroying them, you will make no covenant with them or show them favor. 3. Neither will you make marriages with them! You will not give your daughter to his son, nor will you take his daughter for your son. 4. For they will turn away your son from following Me so they may serve other gods, so the anger of the LORD* will be kindled against you and destroy you suddenly. 5. But this is how you will deal with them: you will destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. 6. For you are a holy people to the LORD* your God. The LORD* your God has chosen you to be special people for Himself, above all the people that are on the face of the earth.

7. The LORD* did not set His love upon you, nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people, 8. but because the LORD* loved you and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn to your fathers, the LORD* has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9. Know therefore that the LORD* is your God! He is God, the Faithful God Who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations 10. and repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack to the one who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. 11. Therefore you will keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which I command you this day, to do them.”

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Torah Commentary – Sh’mini – The Eighth Day – Passover – Opportunities to … – SCRIPTURES FOR April 7, 2017


Torah Commentary
There is a bit of confusion on whether the Torah this week is the end of Pesach or S’himini. Since we always aim to please you will find a commentary on both listed below.
Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47
2 Samuel 6:1-19
Hebrews 8:1-6
The Eighth Day
With every passing day it seems I yearn more for a realm known as the eighth day. I see not only the wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, but I observe and experience for myself just how painful life can be on this side of the restoration of all things.
Recently I stood on the Temple Mount and saw Arab children playing soccer on the holiest site on earth. I did not feel animosity toward them, but rather to the one who is behind the demonic religion they are being taught to serve. On another day I looked out the bus window and saw the memorial to a Jew killed in Ariel just a few weeks ago. What was his crime? Being a Jew and breathing the air of Israel. I talked with friends in Israel who struggle with life and death on a daily basis. The yearning for His Eighth Day increased.
In recent days I have wept with my wife over the loss of our pet and wept for a daughter in law who lost her beloved senior dog just days later. I yearn for the Eighth Day.
This week’s Torah portion is titled Sh’mini or Eighth. It is speaking to us of a realm beyond our own. It is one which will only be revealed after the tribulation and a thousand year reign in which the written Torah will go forth from Jerusalem by none other than the Living Torah seated upon a throne. It is a time which none of us can really comprehend. Men such as Ezekiel, John and Rav Saul were given glimpses into this time. What did they think when the veil to the Eternal Kingdom was pulled back for them? Saul described the experience best in 1 Corinthians 2 when he said the eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things we have in store for us.
What do the shadows in this Torah portion teach us about that day? In Leviticus 9:4 we read HaShem will appear to us. I believe in that day it will not be the partial or veiled appearing such as Moshe saw, but we will see His fullness. What will be our response on that day? Look at Leviticus 9:24. The Hebrews shouted in amazement and fell on their faces. Will we do the same, but multiplied many times over? So much for the thought of casually walking up to “The Man Upstairs” to ask Him a few unanswered questions!
This Torah portion also contains two unique properties. In Leviticus 10:16 we find the middle of Torah and in 11:42 the center letter of Torah.  What does this teach us about the Eighth Day?
In 11:42 the center letter is a vav. The vav connects all things to all things as we see in the Tabernacle. The vav connected all items to make the Tabernacle echad, (one.) The vav is in the midst of the verse speaking of the detestable thing which crawls on the ground. Sounds like a serpent in a garden. Reminds me of the word spoken that he will be destroyed and all will be redeemed. Can we, draw from this the “Heart of Torah,” which is the heart of Yah, is about redemption?
The other verse, I mentioned, which is known as the middle of Torah is Leviticus 10:16. The words to the left and right in the Complete Jewish Bible are that Moshe “carefully investigated.” Hebrew would better translate that Moshe “searchingly searched.” With either translation the message becomes clear that those who searchingly search to carefully investigate will find the heart of redemption which is the Eighth Day, the day of the restoration of all things.
Allow me to sum this up as follows. There is an Eighth Day coming. There will be no one who simply stumbles into that realm. It is a time reserved for those who searchingly search for His heart, the heart of redemption. For now though it is only a realm which we can imagine, or can we really? It will be a moment in which even the breath in our bodies will explode with a shout. When we see the love, compassion, patience, grace and mercy in His eyes, we will fall on our faces as He is revealed to us in full. It will be in this moment that the trials, tribulations, tears and pain of this life will melt from our beings. All will be restored and we will again walk with Him in the cool of a garden evening breeze. I cannot even figure out what that means, but I know with every fiber of my being, I yearn for the day to come.
Deuteronomy 14:22 – 16:17
Numbers 28:19 – 25
Opportunities to …
I sat down at my computer yesterday and wrote a commentary for this week. After finishing I found that the readings I was using were not for this week, but rather for next week. At least this is what some schedules based on a few calendars have listed. I emailed a list of readings for the counting of the omer. Before I hit the send key I thought about how my readings and counting might not line up with some others who were following a different calendar. I added a note to the email requesting others to walk in respect of others who see things differently.
Even my own walk has been one of changes in understanding. I have set my dates by the Hillel calendar and by the sighting of the moon. I have looked at, prayed about and studied the reasoning of both as well as the ripened barley in Israel. Today, I have decided to use the Hillel calendar knowing full well that there are people who have unsubscribed from my newsletter because of my decision. Truth is that no matter which way I go I would have some who would unsubscribe. In the end I have to do what I feel is right for me and my family.
What do I do with those who disagree? Exactly what I said earlier, respect. It is as simple as this, I show respect. What is respect though? For many people respect is a temporary pause in the discussion so the person can have a bit more time to find that magical Scripture which is going to prove the other person wrong. Once found, the person attacks the other with both barrels blazing. If you do not agree with their viewpoint, the respect comes to a halt and separation begins. This is not the respect I am talking about. Respect to me is being able to discuss without the need to “win.” To agree to disagree.
This brings up a question. Why did HaShem allow these possibilities for different interpretation? Did He not know they were in His Word? Could He have made it so clear there would be no discussion? Maybe that word, discussion, is the clue. He not only allowed room for interpretation and discussion, He planned it. Why? To present us opportunities to either love each other through our differences or divide because of them. Which one have we as a whole been known for? I don’t need to provide the answer, do I?
We can boil it all down to a very basic thought. Differences in interpretation are designed into Scripture to give an opportunity to respect and love or divide and hate. There is, however, a complication to the equation. I only have control over one of the parties, me. I can show love and respect all I want, but if it is not given back we are not going anywhere. What do we do when love and respect is a one way street? Keep walking and find others who have the same motives as you and pray for those who are left behind in their “I am right” attitudes.
In John 13:35, Yeshua does not say people will know we are His by our pure doctrines, but rather by the love we show toward each other. What does it mean to walk in love toward each other? A friend of mine in Israel put it as best as I have ever heard. He said, “Love is not staring into each other’s eyes, but rather walking toward a common destination.” This says it all to me.
Whether you and I agree on every Scripture, doctrine, calendar or way of life, (I doubt that will happen) the questions is, “what is our common destination”? Is it His Kingdom being established soon and in our day? If that is the case, I can walk with you, if you can walk with me. When we get to the destination, to quote a pastor and teacher from years ago, J. Vernon McGee, “He will straighten you out…right after He straightens me out.”
Make a decision before you take another step, a decision to simply not take the bait of division. You stand your ground and know “In Whom you have believed.” Keep walking as if you do not have time for meaningless and futile arguments. Don’t allow yourself to be lead off the road by things which may in the end not matter. Show love and respect. You never know, maybe others are just waiting to see someone who will take the lead. In the end, you may take a moment, turn around and see a few people following. (Click to Source)
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Torah Commentary – Joined To HaShem – Mishpatim (Rulings) – Getting Into His Mind – February 10, 2017

Torah Commentary – Mishpatim (Rulings)


Exodus 21:1-24:18
Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
Matthew 5:38-42; 15:1-20
Acts 23:1-11
Hebrews 9:15-22; 10:28-39
Getting Into His Mind
If you ever want an interesting study, type in “Mind of Messiah” in a Bible search. Of course you may have to use the word “Christ”, but nonetheless it will take you on quite a journey. One of my favorite verses revealed in the search is Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua.” One reason I find this so fascinating is because I see this verse in the Tabernacle. If we overlay a shadow of Messiah’s earthly body on a slide of the Tabernacle we find that the place His head would be is the place where the Ark resided. What is in the Ark? We find the Torah and the Mitzvot (The Ten Words and the instructions of how to carry them out.).  We see pictured in the Tabernacle the Torah is His mind. This thought is quite a ways from my denominational instruction which the “Mind of Messiah” was something up for interpretation.
We can look at the above illustration like this. Torah teaches us how Yah thinks. Torah teaches us His mind, how to get in His head. Stop and think about that for a moment. Can we really learn to think like He thinks, act like He acts, do what He would do and does do? The answer is an all too simple yes. We just need to look at the words revealed and allow those words to direct our thinking and actions.
This week the Torah portion is Mishpatim, Rulings. Now I would imagine most of you do not have slaves, nor are we slaves so these words may seem irrelevant. We might want to skip over these instructions. Not so fast. Are you an employer or an employee? Are you self employed hiring your services out to others? Do you volunteer in public service? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then you can translate these words into your life and relationship with those you are interacting with. For example let’s say you work for a company and have a boss. Do you work with the attitude of doing the minimum to make it through the day and not get fired?  Or do you do your job with thanksgiving as unto the glory of our Heavenly Master?
Let’s look at another ruling.
In Exodus 22:17, we are not to allow a sorceress to live. Again, most of us probably do not have a sorceress living under our roof, but what about that horoscope you may read just because you are curious? How about the fortune cookie at your favorite Chinese restaurant? Maybe the Harry Potter book you have been meaning to throw out. Are these types of sorcerers we are allowing to live in our lives and homes?
As you can see through the examples, these rulings are all a part of learning how He thinks, putting on His mind.
What does this way of thinking do? It will set us apart and cause us to not only be peculiar unto Him, but peculiar to others. It will cause us to walk in a way different than the crowd. Oh, wait a minute that is part of His mind also. In Exodus 23:2 we are told to not follow the crowd. Why? Let me answer with a question. When has the crowd ever been right? Can you name one time? I can’t. All I see in history is the crowd heading toward destruction.
On this subject I see something happening in our day. It is based on of the words of Yeshua in Matthew 7:13-14 where He speaks of the narrow gate versus the broad gate. Allow me to ask another question in light of this verse. Do you see the road and the gate getting narrower in our day? I sure do. What I am wondering today is just how narrow the road and gate are going to be by the time this all wraps up.
To illustrate this I have added something to the teaching I do on the Tabernacle. I now have four posts which make an entrance to my representation of the Tabernacle. The teaching is in three sessions and at the beginning of each session we make the gate to enter a bit narrower. The illustration has made an impact on participants.
How do we deal with the narrowing gate of our day? First we must decide who we are going to follow, the Almighty or the crowd. If you are reading this commentary I think you have already answered that question. The next step is growing in our understanding of His mind more than we have in the past. Think of it this way. What you know about His mind has taken you to the place you are today. If you desire to move further you will need to know His mind better than you do today.
How do we do this? Is the answer just too easy for us? Is it as simple as slowing down while reading His Word instead of rushing through? Is it as easy as praying for further understanding?
One last thought on this. In Exodus 23:29 the Hebrews were told that when they went into the Land it would take time to drive out the enemies. Can we see this as part of our above thoughts? Does knowing His mind take time? Does it take time to replace our old way of thinking with His way of thinking? Is it an instant work? I think we all know the answer, but are we willing to pay the price and take the time? I can only answer that one for myself!  (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem

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Torah Commentary – Vayechi (He Lived) – Enjoying the Fruit – SCRIPTURES FOR December 30, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayechi (He Lived)


Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
Enjoying the Fruit
Ya’akov is 130 years old when he arrives in Egypt. The following 17 years will be a gift in which he will be able to enjoy the fruit of his life, his family. During this time he will watch his boys mature, marry and bring forth children. Possibly the most joy he will have is spending time with the sons of Yosef. His appreciation and thanksgiving for them had to be very special.
Ya’akov knows his days are numbered and begins one of the greatest honors a father can give, blessing his children. He begins not with his sons, but rather his two grandsons, Efrayim and M’nasheh. It makes me wonder if these two, now young adults, were concerned about what would become of them after Ya’akov died. Had they been told the story of how Yosef was treated and wondered if they would be fully accepted after his death? Any doubts as to their place in the family were laid to rest as Ya’akov changed their family status from grandsons to sons. Efrayim and M’nasheh were not to feel like second class citizens in the family of Israel. May we receive this message in our day.
The teaching of the blessings is so rich, not only for them, but for us as the first words of the blessings tell us he was speaking more to a family living at the end of time than in their time. For those who would like to dig further into these blessings there are four messages I recorded some years ago called “The Twelve Tribes.” The mp3 downloads are available at
When Ya’akov finishes the blessings the verse says he breathed his last and was gathered to his people. I find these words rich. For Ya’akov, death was as natural as life. In fact, most of his life had been a struggle; his death was one of the easiest steps he took. What a contrast to most people’s lives today. Ya’akov may have taught his family as much in his death as he did in his life. This is a great lesson to ponder.
The last request of Ya’akov was regarding his burial. He did not leave his wishes to chance or for his family to discuss. He made sure his wishes were known. This is another good lesson to ponder. For Ya’akov, his last words proved that for him, you may take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can never take Israel out of the man of covenant.
A couple more points. First is concerning the sons and their suspicion of Yosef. Though the 17 years Yaakov was alive, the sons of Yaakov never really accepted that Yosef had fully forgiven them, it is evident through their last recorded words prior to the death of Yosef that this had been a topic of conversation.  Just how many sons were still alive to bring forth these words? Yosef was one of the youngest. Had the suspicions of possible retribution been passed to their sons? We do not know the details, but there is something for us to consider.
Yosef is again a type and shadow of Messiah son of Yosef. Let me ask you this, “When it comes to your life and trusting our sins to be forgiven, do we fully trust or have doubts?” Is there a haunting thought in the back of your mind that there was that one thing you are just not sure has been forgiven?  Take a look at Psalm 103:12. Notice the verse does not say north and south. Why? For if he removed sins from north to south they could be found again. Think of it regarding the sphere of the earth. From south you can only go so far north till you find it and vice versa. East and west never meet. Allowing His forgiveness of ALL THINGS is a very freeing day. The story of Yosef allows us to walk in that forgiveness.
The end of the days of Yosef approach as we come to the end of Genesis. What are his last instructions? Don’t leave my bones in Egypt! Though his life has been one of great honor and prosperity in Egypt, he learned and walked in the example of his father, “You can take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the man of covenant”.
Let us live that lesson well! (Click to Source)


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



(Genesis 1:1 – 6:8)


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*.


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


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)


Could 2017 Be A Jubilee Year?

The biblical year runs from Nisan to Adar.  It begins roughly in the month of April and ends in March.  In order to identify what year is the Jubilee we would naturally look for significant events in history within that Spring to Spring timeframe.  The Jubilee signals release from bondage and a return to lands and possessions.  According to the Torah the Jubilee is the fiftieth year (Lev. 25:10-11) following a sevenfold sabbatical year cycle (7 x 7 years).  The Jubilee is declared or consecrated on the tenth day of the seventh month by blowing a trumpet throughout all the land, which is the Day of Atonement (Lev. 25:9).  So let’s see if 2017-2018 might actually be the Jubilee and remember that we are only looking for events that fall roughly between the April to April range:

2017-2018: 50 years since the Jews recaptured their biblical capital.  Back in May Israel celebrated this anniversary by declaring the “Jubilee of Jerusalem” and even lighting up the Jerusalem sky with “50”.  You can read more about this here and here.


1967-1968: The Jews recapture Jerusalem in June 1967 along with other large swaths of the Holy Land (Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula).  This definitely fits the Jubilee theme of receiving back lands and possessions.

1917-1918: The Ottoman Empire, which had controlled the Holy Land for centuries, was defeated by the British and Jerusalem fell to General Allenby in December 1917.  The land of Israel was transferred from anti-Semitic enemies to those friendly to the Zionist cause.  The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 was a pledge by the British government to eventually establish a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land.  Again we see the Jubilee themes of returning lands and possessions – the Jews were promised they would get their land back.  This declaration was also of monumental prophetic significance in that it was effectively a statement that the Gentiles who had controlled Israel and Jerusalem for over 2,000 years were relinquishing control.

1867-1868: Jews in Europe had been subject to harassment, stolen lands and property, and the relinquishment of civil rights for centuries, but in the early 19th century that began to change.  Just a few months after Franz Joseph was coronated Emperor of Austria-Hungary, the Jews were emancipated across the empire on December 22, 1867 (again in the Spring to Spring range).  Interestingly, the Austro-Hungarian Empire lasted for exactly one Jubilee (1867-68 to 1917-18).

1817-1818: Emperor Alexander I of Russia established the Ministry of Religious Affairs with the intention of offering Jews who would convert to Christianity full civil rights, free land, and no taxation.  He placed the head of the Russian Bible Society in charge of the new ministry and both were inclined towards the physical and spiritual well-being of the Jewish people who were being persecuted elsewhere in Europe.

Also, an extraordinarily rare astronomical event occurred on January 3, 1818 when Venus occulted Jupiter.  Planetary occultations are so rare that sometimes they only happen once every few hundred years.  This was the only planetary occultation to occur until 2065.  While its connection to the Jubilee isn’t readily apparent, Venus and Jupiter seem to be the two “stars” that represent Christ – Venus represents the glorified Christ (His divine nature; see Rev. 22:16) and Jupiter represents Christ’s human nature along with the Church, His body (see here).

1517-1518: The Protest Reformation was kicked off on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a copy of his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.  The Reformation was a release from the spiritual bondage of the Roman Catholic Church.  It allowed for most of the religious and Christian freedoms we now use and cherish today and most importantly, it began a revitalization in the Christian faith and return to many of the early Church’s beliefs and practices.  The Reformation set the stage for massive worldwide evangelization in the following centuries.  By most counts, greater than 40% of Christians are now Protestants (about one billion people).  Next month will witness the 500th anniversary of this momentous event.

1267-1268: The chief Jewish leader Nachmanides, commonly called “Ramban”, made aliyah to Jerusalem in 1267 and established the Ramban Synagogue on Mt. Zion that same year.  At the time there was no other active synagogue in the city and the Jewish community had dwindled to perhaps no more than 10 people.  Because Nachmanides moved to the city, many other Jews followed suit, which resulted in nearly 700 consecutive years of Jewish presence in Jerusalem until the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when the Jews were forced out of the Old City.  (Click to Site)

Torah Commentary – Ha’azinu (Hear) – Yom Kippur and the Song of Moshe – SCRIPTURES FOR September 23, 2017

Torah Commentary
Ha’azinu (Hear)
Deuteronomy 32:1-52
Isaiah 55:6-56:8, 2 Samuel 22:1-51
2 Kings 22-23


Yom Kippur and the Song of Moshe
It has been a long sermon for Pastor Moshe.  The thirty-one chapters of what we know as the Book of Deuteronomy all came forth during this sermon.  He has given the people a summation of the Torah and repeatedly told them the choice they have: to follow it or not. Whether they receive the blessings or the curses and the life or the death will result from their choices.
But how should a message like this end?  How about with a song?  It would not be just any song, but rather a song Moshe would compose, right there on the spot.  It was much more than just a song, much more than lyrics attached to a melody. The song would have the purpose of once again telling them and generations to come, the choice they have regarding following Torah, and the blessings and curses which would come from their decisions!
In this Song of Moshe, a song which is sung by those in the Book of Revelation, the summation is not of the Torah, but rather of the fall and redemption of mankind.  We see the love of a Dad to his children and the judgment of a Father when they get out of line.  We see the protection and nurturing on one hand and the deserved judgment on the other.  It is a song of the highs of obedience and the lows of correction.  It is a song which brings the assurance of victory in the end and confidence of eternal reward for those who remain faithful.  No wonder it is a song sung during the time of Revelation!
After the last note of the song rings out, reality sinks in.  Moshe is reminded of the walk he must soon take.  It is a walk he will make alone, the last walk that he will ever take in his lifetime.
I cannot imagine the emotions Moshe must have felt during this time.  He had failed to “demonstrate My holiness” to the people.  Striking the rock had, and would, cost him dearly.
With this very sobering image in our minds, let’s consider a question for ourselves.  How are we doing at “demonstrating His holiness” to the world around us?  How are we doing in this task with our spouse, our family, our co-workers or just any person we come in contact with on a daily basis?  After the closing song is sung, what image of The Father is being seen in our lives on a daily basis?
At this point I could continue about what it means to demonstrate His holiness, or how Moshe was apparently judged more harshly because of his failure, or any number of other avenues available, but I won’t.  I simply end this rather brief but direct Torah commentary with a short and direct question for each of us to answer privately to ourselves and also to Yah: “How am I doing at ‘demonstrating His holiness?'”
On a final note, it is interesting that this Torah portion falls in the days between Yom Teruah and Sukkot. The fall feasts prior to Sukkot are all about repentance and preparation, and I believe it is appropriate to get our hearts right before having the opportunity to “live out” our preparation by demonstrating His holiness at the gathering of Sukkot, all in practice of standing before Him on The Yom Kippur to come.

(Click to Site)

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